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ADL Disturbed by the Tenor in Protests in Crown Heights Surrounding Pre-Yom Kippur Ritual

  • October 11, 2016

New York, NY, October 11, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed concern over a demonstration in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn in which some protestors demonstrating against the Jewish ritual of “kapparot” used offensive and inappropriate rhetoric and reportedly resorted to violence.

Kapparot is a pre-Yom Kippur ritual performed by some Jews in which a chicken is passed over one’s head before being slaughtered in accordance with Jewish law and its monetary worth donated to charity.

At the event in Crown Heights on October 10, protests took place next to the ceremony, and while many protestors were civil, some taunts included “you are murderers,” “you are going to burn in hell,” and children were derisively told “your parents are murderers!” Some of the troubling comments also reflected stereotypes about Hassidic Jews and one sign compared the kapparot participants to Hitler. Some reports also accused protestors of physically assaulting a visibly Jewish family walking with a stroller.

“In our vibrant American democracy anyone is free to gather and express their opinion. However, some demonstrators in the protest crossed the line and violated the decency and sensitivity which binds societies together,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director. “Comparing kapparot to the systematic murder of millions of Jews is outrageous and highly offensive, and reports that families with children were subject to strong verbal and even physical abuse is deeply troubling.”

Mr. Bernstein added, “While we understand that these acts may have been committed by a small volume of protestors, we call on the leaders of the protests to condemn these outrageous acts and inappropriate rhetoric as counter to the basic values of civility and respect.”

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.  Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_NY