September 29, 2017: Readers express thoughts about Yom Kippur

Your letters to the editor.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Readers express thoughts about Yom Kippur Regarding “Atone for your sins” (September 27), showing a man performing the kaparot ceremony, there is nothing “gentle” about pinning a chicken’s wings backward and “waving” the bird in this manner over the head.
The fact that the ritual chant characterizes the chicken as a symbolic receptacle for the practitioner’s punishment and sins translates in practice to cruelty.
Fortunately, more and more Orthodox rabbis are speaking out against the traditional kaparot ceremony, urging that money for charity be waved instead of chickens.
Machipongo, Virginia
The writer is president of United Poultry Concerns and the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos.
With regard to “It’s time to prepare for Yom Kippur fast” (September 26), Judy Siegel recommends that the pre-fast and post-fast meals include protein sources such as egg, cheese, fish and meat. This seems inconsistent with the spirit of Yom Kippur.
During the High Holy Days, Jews pray for good health. But animal-sourced food has been linked to strokes, cancer and other chronic, degenerative diseases. We also seek God’s compassion. But there is little compassion for animals raised on factory farms. Finally, we pray for peace. But animal- centered diets require vast amounts of land, water, energy and other resources, perpetuating widespread hunger and poverty that can lead to instability and war.
On Yom Kippur, we Jews are expected to examine our deeds and do tshuva (penitence).
A very important part of that would be to shift toward plant-based diets that are most consistent with compassion, justice, peace, environmental sustainability and other basic Jewish teachings.
The photo accompanying “It’s time to prepare for Yom Kippur fast” shows children on bicycles enjoying the lack of traffic on Yom Kippur – the holiest of days. The text warns that children on bikes should wear safety equipment.
This brings a pain to my heart.
How wonderful it would be if the roads were completely empty save for parents taking their children to synagogue to help them understand the significance of the day. The shield and armor of understanding their Jewish roots would protect them for their lifetime ahead.
A group of non-Orthodox Jews in Rehovot wanted to use their neighborhood community center to have prayers on Yom Kippur near where they live. They approached a Conservative synagogue to help them organize the prayers. But they were denied the use of the community center.
Is the mayor of Rehovot committing the sin of preventing Yom Kippur worship because it would involve seating men and women together? Is it possible that this is happening in the 21th century in our own country, Israel, where there is a struggle to encourage Jewish tradition and unite Jews? Instead of encouraging non-Orthodox Jews to perform the mitzva of praying on Yom Kippur and hear the blowing of the shofar, the head of a municipality is preventing them from doing so.
I hope it will be on his mind when he recites the Kol Nidrei prayers.
This is not the first time the mayor has acted in this manner.
He prevented a group of youngsters with disabilities who had not had a chance to have a bar mitzva from participating in a group bar mitzva ceremony because it would take place at a Conservative synagogue – where men and women would not sit separately.
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, quoted in “Two soldiers killed, four wounded in IDF drill” (September 28), was referring to Sgt. Avinoam Cohen, one of the two soldiers killed, and not to the other, Sec.-Lt. Avshalom Armoni.
The Jerusalem Post wishes to clarify that the Shamasneh family, written about in “East Jerusalem Arab family removed from home” (September 6) says it lived in the Sheikh Jarrah home since 1964. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, however, found that the family had failed to provide necessary documentation to prove residency for that long a period, something that might have entitled it to tenancy protection under the law.