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KOROBKA ("meat-tax"):

That part of the Basket-Tax which is levied in Russia on kasher meat and poultry. The tax on salt, preserved provisions, flour, and grain, while in some instances included in the basket-tax, should not be confounded with the meat-tax proper. The meat-tax was originally devised by the Jews themselves in order to supply funds for various communal needs, such as the support of the poor, and the maintenance of hospitals and other charitable or educational institutions. At first under the direct control of the Ḳahal, it was later placed under the jurisdiction of the corresponding municipal government. With the abolition of the ḳahal organizations in 1844 its character was somewhat changed, and it was made obligatory instead of voluntary on the part of the Jewish communities.

The imposition of this tax and the consequent increase in the price of meat have been the cause of much dissension within the communities. The burdensome character of the tax has increased since the abolition of the ḳahal, the present system of farming out the kasher meat monopoly to individuals having led to a lax collection of the other portions of the basket-tax and the more rigid collection of the meat-tax proper. Kasher meat costs in many places from 2 to 3 cents per pound more than other meat; and the burden of taxation thus falls most heavily on the poor, resulting in their imperfect nourishment and stunted development.

Bibliography:
  • Levanda, Polny Khronologicheski Sbornik Zakonov, s.v., St. Petersburg, 1874;
  • Mysh, Rukovodstvo k Russkim Zakonam o Yevreyakh, 2d ed., p. 434, ib. 1898;
  • M. Morgulis, in Yevreiskaya Biblioteka, vi. 61;
  • Budushchnost, 1901, No. 7.
H. R. J. G. L.
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