Monday, August 24

When the Chickens Went on Strike: A Rosh Hashanah Tale by Erica Silverman

Rosh Hashanah... the Jewish New year... will begin on September 18th of this year and will last until September 20th.  During Rosh Hashanah people will sound the shofar each morning, light candles in the evenings, enjoy festive meals with friends and family, and attend services at a synagogue.  Some people will also participate in the Jewish ritual of atonement called kapores (also known as kapparot or kaporos) during this time.  Kapores is a ritual in which a chicken or money is waved over a person's head and the chicken is then slaughtered in accordance with halachic rules and donated to charity.  Kapores is a controversial practice and people often choose to wave money instead of a chicken.  Some choose not to do either.  Erica Silverman tells the story of kapores from an interesting perspective... from the perspective of the chickens!  The story is called When the Chickens Went on Strike: A Rosh Hashanah Tale and was first published in 2003.  

Learn about the Jewish ritual of atonement called kapores/kapparot/kaporos with the book When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman.

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.

Author's Summary

One Rosh Hashanah, a boy overhears some chickens planning a strike. They are sick of being used for Kapores, the New Year custom in which people swing a live chicken over their heads, hoping to erase their bad deeds. When all of the chickens run away, the women try to coax them back with grain, the men try to get them back with force, and the rabbi tries to negotiate. Finally, the boy pleads, "Without Kapores, I will never be able to make my papa proud." A chicken responds, "Boychick, for this, you need a chicken?" This amusing and telling story about wise chickens and foolish villagers will be enjoyed by anyone who has ever wanted to be a better person. 

🍎 Author: Erica Silverman
🍎 Illustrator: Matthew Truman
🍎 Publisher: Puffin
🍎 Date: *may be out of print*
🍎 Pages: 32

Learn about the Jewish ritual of atonement called kapores/kapparot/kaporos with the book When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to read When the Chickens Went on Strike with a group of third-grade boys. I met them at their Jewish school in Buffalo, NY. They told me they all celebrated Rosh Hashanah, but only half of them participated in the act of kapores. Some waved money. Some waved chickens.

Learn about the Jewish ritual of atonement called kapores/kapparot/kaporos with the book When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman.
  
The boys enjoyed listening to the When the Chickens Went on Strike.  They laughed at the funny parts and became thoughtful when the main character spoke of wanting to be a better person.  We had a lengthy discussion about customs, traditions, and how they change and they took delight in teaching me about kapores and modeling how it's done.  (No worries... no chickens were used!)  Afterward, they sat and worked independently on their reading response papers below.

Learn about the Jewish ritual of atonement called kapores/kapparot/kaporos with the book When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman.
"My favorite part of the story is when the chickens attacked the people.  And that is why I liked the story. "

Learn about the Jewish ritual of atonement called kapores/kapparot/kaporos with the book When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman.
"Chickens: We are tired of being swung around and around.  
People: But we need you for our holiday!"

Learn about the Jewish ritual of atonement called kapores/kapparot/kaporos with the book When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman.
"The chickens wanted freedom.  They did not like kapores."

Learn about the Jewish ritual of atonement called kapores/kapparot/kaporos with the book When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman.
"The women ran away from the chicken and the men fast."

Learn about the Jewish ritual of atonement called kapores/kapparot/kaporos with the book When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman.

To download a FREE copy of this reader-response sheet, click on the image above.  Clicking on this image will take you to the Teachers-Pay-Teachers third-party website.  This is a FREE download-- no purchase necessary.

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