When Jewish Wives Beefed With Butchers and Changed the World

If You’ve Participated in a Community Protest or Consumer Boycott, You Can Thank the Great Kosher Meat Strike of 1902

Sarah Edelson had been pushed too far.

The price of the kosher meat that she and most of the half million or so Jewish homemakers on Manhattan’s Lower East Side fed their families had risen 50 percent over the previous few months, from 12 to 18 cents a pound. That suddenly put this staple out of the reach of most Russian and Eastern European immigrant Jewish families, whose breadwinners took home only about $10 a week in 1902.

Non-kosher meat was cheaper, of course, and widely available. But it was …