Huffpost New York

Kaparot: Yom Kippur In Crown Heights (PHOTOS)

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Photographer Matt Rodigheri has been documenting the Orthodox Jewish community in Crown Heights for a year.

Kaparot, or "Atonement" is a custom performed by Orthodox Jews during the days approaching Yom Kippur. A live chicken is taken and swung around one's head while the appropriate prayer is said. The chicken is then slaughtered according to Kosher law and either donated or eaten.

The idea behind this practice is that the sins of the practitioner are transfered into the chicken and the animal dies in the person's stead. Kaparot is said to have its origins in the destruction of the Holy Temple when a goat was chosen by the High Priest and slaughtered on Yom Kippur to absorb the sins of the entire people of Israel.

Often a source of controversy, the custom has been targeted by PETA and Rabbis alike as unethical.

Thousands of chickens are consumed in this manner in Brooklyn every year during the holiday.

WARNING: SOME PICTURES MAY BE GRAPHIC

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