Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

VIDEO: Taking Kapparot Way Too Far

Worried that your day-old infant won’t be forgiven on Yom Kippur? Maybe you should wave a chicken over his head.

That’s the route one ultra-Orthodox woman has taken in a video circulating widely on WhatsApp and posted to the internet today by Yeshiva World News.

It’s unclear where or when the video was recorded — one source says Kiryas Joel in upstate New York, another claims Israel.

The video depicts and ultra-Orthodox woman clutching a chicken in a hospital ward for newborn babies and performing the Kapparot ritual over a presumably male infant.

Kapparot usually entails Jewish men circling a chicken over their heads on the eve of Yom Kippur and then having the chicken slaughtered, in a symbolic transfer of God’s judgment.

Performing the ritual over a newborn appears to be highly unusual.

“To think for a moment that me taking a chicken and waving that chicken, that I’m going to receive atonement, it’s foolish,” Rabbi Shea Hecht told the Forward earlier this week. Rather, he said, “It’s meant to give me the mindset that when I enter the synagogue [at the start of Yom Kippur], that I recognize that life is a gift.”


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.