1902 Kosher Meat Boycott

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1902 Kosher Meat Boycott was a significant event in the history of the Jewish community in the United States, particularly in New York City. It was a consumer-led protest against the rising cost of kosher meat that lasted for approximately a month, from May to June 1902.

Background[edit | edit source]

In the early 20th century, the majority of Jewish immigrants in New York City were from Eastern Europe. They maintained their traditional dietary laws, which included the consumption of kosher meat. The kosher laws require that animals be slaughtered in a specific manner, and the meat is then salted and rinsed to remove all traces of blood. This process is more labor-intensive and costly than non-kosher meat production.

In 1902, the price of kosher meat increased from 12 to 18 cents per pound. This increase was due to a variety of factors, including a rise in the cost of cattle and a meat shortage caused by a strike in the Midwest. The price increase was particularly burdensome for the Jewish immigrant community, many of whom were working-class and struggled to afford the higher prices.

The Boycott[edit | edit source]

The 1902 Kosher Meat Boycott began in May when a group of women in the Lower East Side of New York City refused to buy kosher meat in protest of the price increase. The boycott quickly spread to other parts of the city and to other cities with large Jewish populations, such as Chicago and Boston.

The boycott was largely organized and led by women, who were typically responsible for household food purchases. They picketed butcher shops, disrupted sales, and in some cases, even threw meat into the streets. The boycott was largely peaceful, although there were some instances of violence and arrests.

Aftermath and Impact[edit | edit source]

The 1902 Kosher Meat Boycott was successful in bringing about a temporary reduction in the price of kosher meat. However, the prices eventually rose again. Despite this, the boycott had a lasting impact. It was one of the first major consumer protests in the United States and demonstrated the power of collective action. It also highlighted the role of women in the Jewish immigrant community and their willingness to fight for economic justice.

The boycott has been the subject of several historical studies and is often cited as an example of consumer activism in the early 20th century.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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