Friday, February 23, 2007

Ritual Slaughtering for Dummies

Fred has found an old Jewish how-to book, published in England, on slaughtering. Judging from the illustrations and the non-technical language, I imagine it was directed at laymen, which makes sense: The book dates to 1733, a time when every Jew was his own shochet.

Commenting on the post on his own blog, Shmarya points out that one of the pictures illustrates "casting" an especially barbaric slaughtering technique. This isn't unexpected. 18th century England was a very violent society. Students and servants were regularly beaten, and the entertainments of the day included bear baiting, bull baiting and similar spectacles. It shouldn't surprise us that casting was common in such a time and place, but what's our excuse?

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