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Kosher Butchers on the Chopping Block.

It was after hours, at a storefront on 72nd Street in New York City. Inside, about a dozen journalists, myself included, chatted over glasses of wine and hors d'oeuvres, while the store's proprietor, Paul Whitman, readied himself behind a table for a presentation. He fiddled with a computer and projector and invited everyone to take seats. Then he stopped to scrape a knife across a whetstone while one of his coworkers plunked a 25-pound beef shoulder in front of him.

Whitman owns Fischer Bros. & Leslie, a 66-year-old kosher butcher shop on the Upper West Side, thought to be the oldest in the city. He had invited us to his store for a hands-on demonstration in the art of kosher butchery. Since Morris and Louis Fischer first opened their business in 1949 (Whitman's father-in-law, Leslie Niederman, a Holocaust survivor, joined the company a few years later), the store has been a constant on Manhattan's Jewish food map. And Whitman, a trained biochemist and business school graduate-turned-full-time butcher, has kept business chugging well into the 21st century. But as he discussed the virtues of different knives, pointed out which veins need to be removed from a kosher animal, and broke down the shoulder into familiar cuts, I realized Whitman is one of a dying breed.

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Author:Koenig, Leah
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Nov 11, 2015
Words:222
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