Jewish Slaughterhouses in Morocco and the Challenge of Kosher Food

The Jewish community in Morocco lives its rituals and customs in accordance with the precepts of Judaism. Thus, in addition to the Rabbinical Court which rules on cases and disputes between Jews and the temples where they go for their prayers and feasts, Jews have their own slaughterhouses, where cattle and poultry are sacrificed in the Jewish way, which obeys strict standards and numerous conditions in order to remove all “forbidden” impurities from the animals’ flesh. The animals sacrificed must be ruminant mammals with cracked hooves. Thus, Jews do not consume horse meat, as is common among Muslims, just as they do not consume the lower part of the animal’s body, certain fats, ligaments and veins.

The slaughter process is supervised by religious leaders and experts appointed by the councils of Jewish communities wherever Jews live. These supervisors ensure first and foremost that the slaughter is carried out in accordance with the rules of hygiene and cleanliness. They also go to all slaughterhouses to endorse the sacrifice, verifying the implementation of the shehita, which corresponds to the Jewish rite of slaughter by jugulation that makes the animals pure and fit for consumption. Butchers undergo thorough training in the field of butchery and slaughter, given by Master Butchers more experienced than them, before obtaining a license to practice this profession.

Kosher meat is sold at high prices compared to meat sold in Islamic butcher shops. It is considered one of the most sacred foodstuffs among Jews. Before being cooked, it is carefully washed and stripped of all blood.

Halal rituals are similar in Judaism and Islam. Both religions prohibit the consumption of pork and all types of insects except grasshoppers. Slaughter is carried out in the same way, cutting the neck of the animal in a single blow, thus ensuring that all the major blood vessels are completely severed.

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