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Kaparot at Machane Yehuda

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Kaparot at Machane Yehuda


Basic Information

Location Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem
Date 2013/09/08 - 2013/09/13
Recurring Event: yes
Phone number 077-544-8702
Country Israel
City Jerusalem

Tourist Information

Free entry yes
Suitable for kids no
Handicap accessibility yes
Yearly event yes
Website http://www.machne.co.il/en/category/events


Kaparot is a long-standing tradition still performed by some Jews between the holidays of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. The Hebrew word “kapara” roughly translates as “atonement”, and it is a ritual in which the person swings a live chicken over his head three times while chanting a prayer, symbolically transferring his sins onto the chicken. The chicken is later slaughtered and donated to the poor for the pre-fast meal before Yom Kipur, such that his sins are converted into a good deed. Nowadays an adjustment has been made such that the individual can wave around and transfer his sins onto a bag of coins, since many people in this day and age are a bit uncomfortable handling livestock. The tradition of using a live chicken is still practiced in some parts in Israel, and each year the municipality authorizes pre-allocated and pre-approved stations throughout Jerusalem which are supervised by veterinary professionals. One of these stations is at the infamous Machane Yehuda Market (as locals deem “the shuk”) in the Nachlaot neighborhood. It is a fascinating annual event, both to observe and to partake in – for those who are open to new experiences and have strong stomachs!

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