Matzo Brawl!

Nov. 29, 1907
Los Angeles

Oh Those Shriners:
Recall, if you will, the grisly train wreck that killed a large number of Shriners returning from their convention in Los Angeles. It seems that one of them, George F. Hageman, inadvertently touched off a legal dispute between two belles of Reading.

Sarah Reber and Maude Weber went before the court insisting that each of them was the rightful heir of the bachelor, who was “tall and handsome and very popular with the fair sex,” The Times says. Both women claim that Hageman “spent his last evening in Reading with them” before he left for the Shrine convention and made promises of $12,000 in stock.

The court awarded the stock to Reber.

The City Beautiful:
By the way, this postcard of Broadway and 7th reflects one of Charles Mulford Robinson’s complaints in drafting a design for downtown Los Angeles: all the low awnings along the streets. (Note the Orpheum Theatre).

“We are very ‘country’ with our low awnings,” The Times says, quoting Robinson. “A man cannot walk a block without having to duck his head more than once. An ordinance would fix things”

Currant Affairs:
And finally, an artistic baker in the Russian quarter has provoked a riot over his preparation of matzo bread, sending five people to jail.

About a month ago, an enterprising baker at Turner Street and Vignes announced that he was going to prepare matzo bread with spice, raisins and currants.

“This was met with some dismay,” The Times says, “and the authorities on Orthodox were sent for. They agreed that this would be a digression from the rules laid down by the Jews.”

Nonetheless, Joe Wasserman liked the baker’s wares and decided he would have them for Thanksgiving dinner, regardless of any ruling. Thus began an argument between Wasserman and his brother Sam, with whom he and his wife had been living rent-free for four months. Sam said that if Joe insisted on eating the matzos, he would tell the grocer that Joe planned to take a trip to San Bernardino despite owing the market $20.

“Yesterday morning, the decorated matzos arrived at the Wasserman home and a family row resulted,” The Times said. “The Jewish [illegible] lined the streets until the Russian grocer, hearing the noise, hurried over, whereupon Yiddish, German, Russian and Odessa were all spoken at once and Turner Street sounded like a Tower of Babel. The decorated matzos were thrown out in the street.”

“Someone picked up the discarded be-decorated matzo and threw it at [Joe] Wasserman and the entire crowd began to fight.”

“The matzo was to have been used as evidence, but a trusty in the jail thoughtlessly ate it yesterday afternoon,” The Times says.

e-mail: lmharnisch (AT)

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1907, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Crime and Courts, Downtown, LAPD, Religion, Streetcars. Bookmark the permalink.

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