To The Editor:
It was shocking and appalling to me to read of the torture and murder of so many chickens that a certain group of Orthodox Jewish people perform to expiate their sins before the high holy days.
As a Jewish person, I am certainly not anti-Semitic. As a human being (and also a member of PETA), I find this practice to be primitive and barbaric. Hey, folks, this is the 21st Century.
I am sure these people could find a harmless way of ritually expiating their perceived sins.
As stated in your article, according to some rabbis, this practice is not even a religious requirement. In fact, there is a Jewish ritual of casting bread on the waters, which includes people throwing pieces of bread in the ocean which represents casting off their sins. This is certainly a harmless, effective and non-polluting ritual.
Your article also described an incident in which one of the men participating in this ritual of swinging a poor chicken around over his head, yelled at the bird to shut up so he could finish saying his prayers prior to killing it.
One would think that G-d might be more likely to listen to the cries of pain and fear of this bird rather than the prayers of this person who was torturing any of G-d’s innocent creatures.
The article also indicated that nothing could be done legally to put a stop to this brutal practice because of First Amendment rights. However, do we not also have laws prohibiting animal abuse.
In Judaism, there is also an injunction in the Torah against causing harm to any living creature. So how do these practitioners reconcile this contradiction?
It seems to me that abusing animals in this manner is a much bigger sin than any sins these people may be trying to expiate. I pray that there may soon be an end to this vile practice.