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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, September 21, 1864


A charge of assault with a deadly weapon, preferred in the Police Court yesterday, against Jacob Friedberg, was dismissed, at the request of all parties concerned, because of the scandal it would occasion to the Jewish Church to let the trial proceed, both the assaulted man and the man committing the assault being consecrated servants of that Church. The weapon used was a butcher-knife, with a blade more than two feet long, and as keen as a razor. The men were butchers, appointed by dignitaries of the Jewish Church to slaughter and inspect all beef intended for sale to their brethren, and in a dispute some time ago, one of them partly split the other's head open, from the top of the forehead to the end of his nose, with the sacred knife, and also slashed one of his hands. From these wounds the sufferer has only just recovered. The Jewish butcher is not appointed to his office in this country, but is chosen abroad by a college of Rabbis and sent hither. He kills beeves designed for consumption by Israelites, (or any one else, if they choose to buy), and after careful examination, if he finds that the animal is in any way diseased, it is condemned and discarded; if the contrary, the seal of the Church is placed upon it, and it is permitted to be sent into the market - a custom that might be adopted with profit by all sects and creeds. It is said that the official butcher always assures himself that the sacred knife is perfectly sharp and without a wire edge, before he cuts a bullock's throat; he then draws it with a single lightning stroke (and at any rate not more than two strokes are admissible,) and if the knife is still without a wire edge after the killing, the job has been properly done; but if the contrary is the case, it is adjudged that a bone has been touched and pain inflicted upon the animal, and consequently the meat cannot receive the seal of approval and must be thrown aside. It is a quaint custom of the ancient Church, and sounds strangely enough to modern ears. Considering that the dignity of the Church was in some sense involved in the misconduct of its two servants, the dismissal of the case without a hearing was asked and granted.

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