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Ritual slaughterer

There were always several Jewish slaughtermen and butchers in the Judengasse.
They had to be licensed by the city council.
At the end of the 17th century there were two slaughtermen, ten butchers and three meatcutters supplying meat to the Jewish population.

Within Judaism, shochetim are responsible for the ritual slaughter of animals whose flesh is then processed by Jewish butchers.
The slaughterman receives both theoretical and practical training and is required to lead a pious life.
His professional competence is certified by a rabbi.

Jewish religious law stipulates that only ritually slaughtered or kosher meat may be eaten.
In ritual slaughter, the animal is killed by an extremely swift slitting of its trachea and aesophagus.
The incision must be made in a single, totally fluent movement using a razorsharp knife.
The severance of the main neck arteries and sudden halt in the flow of blood combined with neural shock causes instant unconsciousness.
After slaughter, the slaughterer performs the bedika, primarily an examination of the animal's internal organs.
Only perfectly healthy animals can provide "kosher" meat.

Since the mid19th century antisemitic forces have repeatedly tried to use the argument of cruelty to animals in order to suppress kosher slaughtering.
Scientific investigation has, however, proved that kosher slaughtering is a fully effective method for stunning an animal.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources