"…A white-bearded man waded into the chaos brandishing two chickens by their wings in the face of Michelle and other activists gathered to protest the slaughter. Reaching over a barricade with both hands, he mashed the two chickens into a protester's shirt. Asked to explain his actions, he declined to identify himself, but said a woman had grabbed his wife and daughter. Another circle formed around a videographer and Michelle. This time she yelled, "You people are sick!" and "Don't fucking touch me!" The assembled men responded with chants of "Shiksa, shiksa," "Go fight ISIS," and "What about abortion?" A young man named Larry McDrew jeered from one side, "I'm gonna get you."…"
Gothamist has a detailed report and a great video of the Crown Heights, Brooklyn pop-up kapparot (kaporos) center. The video, which you can watch here, shows hasidim jostling the Gothamist reporter and harassing protesters. It was, as Gothamist reports it, a sad spectacle:
…A crowd of 30 or so men, teenagers to seniors, gathered around an activist named Michelle who was filming with her iPhone. She was surrounded, and made no moves to become less so, instead yelling, "Shame on you!" There was a tussle, and 71st Precinct Community Affairs Officer Frank Bulzoni escorted a crying Michelle, who declined to give her last name to a reporter, from the barricaded area at the foot of the slaughter platform.
"You're not wrong. What you did wasn't wrong," Bulzoni repeated to her, until an elderly Hasidic man standing in traffic on Kingston Avenue caught his eye. When the man wouldn't move, Bulzoni lost it and hustled the man across the street, bellowing, "Grow up! You've got to learn to act like an adult! You're a child!"
"You were whispering to her, now why are you yelling at me?" the man responded. "You're supposed to protect the community!" a second man yelled.
A white-bearded man waded into the chaos brandishing two chickens by their wings in the face of Michelle and other activists gathered to protest the slaughter. Reaching over a barricade with both hands, he mashed the two chickens into a protester's shirt. Asked to explain his actions, he declined to identify himself, but said a woman had grabbed his wife and daughter. Another circle formed around a videographer and Michelle. This time she yelled, "You people are sick!" and "Don't fucking touch me!" The assembled men responded with chants of "Shiksa, shiksa," "Go fight ISIS," and "What about abortion?" A young man named Larry McDrew jeered from one side, "I'm gonna get you."
Hostility was sometimes also directed at non-Hasidic reporters. The chicken-wielder's wife tried to blot out a Gothamist videographer's shot of the slaughter by holding her iPhone to the lens, and tried to block a reporter's camera with her hand, screaming, "You don't have the right to photograph me! Don't impose your cultural values on me!" A man grabbed the video-camera's lens and tried to press the record button. Another interrupted an interview to accuse Gothamist of anti-Hasidic bias and of preparing a "hack job." Teens frequently stood in front of cameras in a line, while others crowded around behind and jostled.…
The chickens are supposed to go to feed the poor, but activists have also documented them dead in dumpsters along Eastern Parkway and abandoned still alive in crates following the festivities. Last week, a judge declined to block this year's kapparot rituals, but the suit is ongoing. In 2013, thousands of birds left out in the elements around Brooklyn died during a heatwave.
On Friday night, activist David Karopkin came across a stack of crates that he says contained about 1,000 birds in a locked lot at 43rd Street and Dahill Road in Borough Park. He says he and a friend watched for 15 hours as no food or water was delivered. Twice, he says, police from the 66th Precinct came out and both times they refused to file a report. Video he shot appears to show several chickens pecking at the flesh of a dead bird in their crate. He said he stayed until a private investigator took over his vigil, and that no one showed up at the lot until it was time for the slaughter later on Saturday [night].
"It's not just cruel—it's illegal," he said, noting that even if just animal cruelty was considered, the people responsible could face as much as a year per count.
"I'm not saying [kapparot practitioners] should be thrown in jail. I'm just saying someone should at least recognize that there's crimes being committed here.”…
One cantor visiting from Melbourne, Australia said that where he is from Hasidic families drive to an abattoir outside of the city to perform the ritual, and hold the chickens in ventilated boxes when handling them. He said the atmosphere in Crown Heights is undeniably "a bit uncomfortable" at first glance, but that it is a function of so many people performing the ritual together in the middle of the city, which forces them to rely on factory-farm suppliers and crude storage methods.
Bilad Yoram, visiting from Afula in the north of Israel, trained for two years to become a shochet, or kosher butcher, and now works at a hospital where he prepares meals for needy people. He faulted "the way [the Crown Heights kapparot] is maintained" for giving fodder to protesters. In his experience in Israel, he said, the slaughter takes place in private yards and there are just three hours between the procurement of a chicken and its killing, which is "instant."
"I do hope that it will change, that you won't have to see every year that [protesters] will come and manifestate here," he said, "and that we'll be in a very right place where everything is clean."
The NYPD, the NYC Health Department, Attorney General's Office, the New York City ASPCA, and the New York Humane Society did not respond to requests for comment.
And that last line is the real story here. To politicians and top NYPD brass, it doesn't matter what laws are broken or how many animals are neglected and tortured. What matters is the hasidic bloc vote.
The faster non-haredi new Yorkers get that message and vote out those politicians, the faster New York City will become humane and equitable.