Ahead of Yom Kippur, Ultra-Orthodox Jews Cast Out Sins with Chickens and Water

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An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man performs the Tashlich ritual ahead of Yom Kippur in Ashdod, Israel
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man performs the Tashlich ritual, to symbolically cast away sins, ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in Ashdod, Israel September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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JERUSALEM (Reuters)

Waving chickens above their heads, ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel performed the ritual of “kaparot” ahead of Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar, which begins at sundown on Tuesday

In the Mea Shearim neighbourhood of Jerusalem and in other cities around Israel, religious Jews said prayers as they performed the traditional rite with the birds, which then go to slaughter.

The participants called for forgiveness, symbolically passing their sins to the doomed bird while calling it “my substitute, my atonement”.

 

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man performs the Kaparot ritual ahead of Yom Kippur, in Ashdod, Israel
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man performs the Kaparot ritual, where white chickens are slaughtered as a symbolic gesture of atonement, ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in Ashdod, Israel September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

 

Most participants used white chickens. A small number chose to use a darker-coloured bird. The slaughtered chickens are generally donated to the poor.

The custom is intended to symbolise the cleansing of sins in the build-up to the ‘Day of Atonement’ the period of fasting and prayer that is observed by Jews the world over.

 

 

In Ashdod, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, some also performed the ritual known as Tashlich, in which people empty their pockets into a source of water, casting their sins out to sea.

The worshippers threw bread on to the sea to draw fish towards them, so that they can symbolically bear the sins away.

 

(Reporting by Amir Cohen and Ronen Zvulun; Writing by Stephen Farrell; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

 

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man performs the Kaparot ritual ahead of Yom Kippur, in Ashdod, Israel
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man performs the Kaparot ritual, where white chickens are slaughtered as a symbolic gesture of atonement, ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in Ashdod, Israel September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

 

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man performs the Kaparot ritual ahead of Yom Kippur, in Ashdod, Israel
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man performs the Kaparot ritual, where white chickens are slaughtered as a symbolic gesture of atonement, ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in Ashdod, Israel September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

 

Ultra-Orthodox Jews perform the Tashlich ritual ahead of Yom Kippur in Ashdod,Israel
Ultra-Orthodox Jews take part in the Tashlich ritual, to symbolically cast away sins, ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in Ashdod, Israel September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

 

Ultra-Orthodox Jews perform the Tashlich ritual ahead of Yom Kippur in Ashdod, Israel
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children take part in the Tashlich ritual, to symbolically cast away sins, ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in Ashdod, Israel September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

 

Jewish worshippers take part in the Tashlich ritual on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement in Herzliya
Jewish worshippers take part in the Tashlich ritual on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement in Herzliya, Israel September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

 

Ultra-Orthodox Jews perform the Tashlich ritual ahead of Yom Kippur in Ashdod, Israel
Ultra-Orthodox Jews take part in the Tashlich ritual, to symbolically cast away sins, ahead of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in Ashdod, Israel September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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