Lower East Side, 1902 #usa #general

Scott D. Seligman

If you have female ancestors from Russia or Eastern Europe who were living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1902, there’s a good chance they participated in the community-wide kosher meat boycott in that year. When the price of kosher meat went up 50% in a matter of weeks, many Jewish women took to the streets and stopped buying meat entirely as a means to get prices down. The boycott lasted for weeks and was effective, although there was attendant violence. Scholars have known about this uprising for many years; it marked the dawn of female Jewish activism in America. But I have just published what I believe is the first book-length account of the events and their causes. 


What I have learned about Jewish genealogical research over the years was immeasurably helpful in my research; in addition to searching English and Yiddish newspapers and immigration, census and vital records, I traced and contacted descendants of several of the leaders, including Sarah Zimmerman Edelson, Catherine Zeisler Schatzberg, Sara Zucker Cohn and Paulina Wachs Finkel, for stories and photographs. I’ll be giving virtual talks about the book beginning December 1. If you’d like to learn more about the boycott and see the schedule of book talks, please visit www.greatkoshermeatwar.com

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