The ritual calls for waving the chicken over your head three times and then slitting its throat as a promise to repent for sinning. Or something. Gothamist was on the scene:
The stench of death, of hot entrails, feces, and blood, pulled at the nostrils of the hundreds crowded along on a closed-off half-block of President Street in Crown Heights on Monday evening. The source of the odor was the chickens that men wearing aprons and shower caps were slaughtering by the dozen under bare bulbs on a makeshift stage taking up 50 feet of sidewalk for the ritual offering of kapparot. Organized by Eshel Hachnosas Orchim, a group that hosts many of the thousands of Hasidic Jews who travel to Brooklyn from around the world to celebrate the High Holy Days in the home of the late Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, the event offered participants the opportunity to buy the chickens for $12 each—roosters for men and hens for women. Chicken in hand, the purchaser would read a prayer as the bird is waved over his head three times, then hand it off to have its throat slit as a reminder that death could be nigh and he should repent.
Things got quite heated between the protesters and chicken people.
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. 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?”
Hit the Gothamist link for much, much more.