Michigan Shliach Sues USDA to Allow Kaporos; Wins

In suburban Detroit, Congregation Bais Chabad of Farmington Hills — which said its kapparot ritual is its best-attended and “financially, the single most important” event – filed a suit against Tom Vilsack, secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, The Detroit News reported Monday.

Because the slaughterhouse normally used was unavailable, and because there are no kosher slaughter facilities in Michigan, the congregation arranged for a halal butcher to slaughter the fowl used in the ritual. (The chickens are supposed to be ritually slaughtered and then donated to the poor.) But according to the complaint, the USDA objected to the arrangement “on the basis of USDA requirements that any kosher slaughter facility be certified and inspected,” a process that would take months.

Claiming the USDA’s actions represent “unconstitutional interference with religious practice,” the congregation went to court Monday seeking an emergency motion for injunctive relief.

On Monday evening, the USDA announced that it will allow the ritual to go on as planned.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith presided over the case in which the USDA said it would grant a one-time exemption for the slaughter of 800 to 1,000 chickens. The issue came to a head Friday when the butcher normally used by Rabbi Chaim Moshe Bergstein was unavailable and Amanah Poultry and Grocery in Hamtramck, a halal butcher, was chosen instead.

When Ahmed Hassan spoke to the USDA about handling the Kaporos birds, the USDA ““objected on the basis of USDA requirements that any kosher slaughter facility be certified and inspected.” The process would take longer than the window needed for Kaporos.

14 Comments

  • 5. To #1 wrote:

    The kappores depends on the chicken being alive not on what happens with the chicken afterwards

    • 6. Pedant wrote:

      that’s not true at all the loshonois cleary to point to the schitah being the ikur.

      in any case, it’s obvious the schita isn’t being done by a goy

  • 7. to #1 wrote:

    If you click on the link to dtw news they changed the story, it also says…
    The person who kills the bird after the ritual is called a shokhet. Congregation Bais Chabad relies on a shokhet from Cleveland, Rabbi Avraham Labe Ginsberg. This, says the complaint, demands coordination and timing.

    • 8. Milhouse wrote:

      They didn’t change the story. That was there from the beginning. They lost their butcher, not their shochet, so they got another butcher who could handle the job. If they’d lost their shochet it would have been a different story.

  • 9. Total Shock wrote:

    If this was a Purim story I would understand. A halal butcher was used for kapporos for a Bais Chabad? That simply means that none of those people did kapporos this year. They should have used money instead. It would have been better for everyone if they would have lost the lawsuit.

  • 12. Very misleading wrote:

    Not even a question there was a shochet that I’m sure since it was on through Chabad but the article is definitely misleading

  • 13. Anonymous wrote:

    of course the article should have said “a halal butcher shop”. See what one missing word can do?? glad it was cleared up by#7:
    “7. to #1 wrote:
    If you click on the link to dtw news they changed the story, it also says…
    The person who kills the bird after the ritual is called a shokhet. Congregation Bais Chabad relies on a shokhet from Cleveland, Rabbi Avraham Labe Ginsberg. This, says the complaint, demands coordination and timing.”

    • 14. Milhouse wrote:

      Why should it have said “shop”? What would have been added by the word “shop”? The article seems perfectly clear as it is.

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