Friday, April 29, 2016

This Day, April 30, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin


 
April 30

313: Licinius defeated Maximinus at the Battle of Tzirallum, thus making him the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire.  The Emperor of the Western Roman Empire was his brother-in-law, Constantine. The two in laws would clash repeatedly until Constantine defeated Licinius and eventually killed him despite the pleas of his sister to spare her husband’s life. We know that Constantine made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire with all that that would mean for the Jews of Europe.  Would it have been any different if Licinius had triumphed?  Who knows?  Lucinius did subscribe to the policy of tolerance towards Christians but those who were writing history in the fourth and fifth century tended to create an idyllic vision of Constantine which meant painting a less than flattering portrait of Licinius.  Gibbon follows the same path in his history of the Roman Empire.

711: Moorish troops led by Tariq ibn-Ziyad land at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus).  For the Jews living under the Visigoth rulers of Spain, this is good news.  The victory of the Moors will mark the start of what is called the Golden Age.  Ironically, the Golden Age will begin to tarnish not because of Christians, but because of an invasion by another, more religiously conservative group of Moslems. (Some sources say this actually happened on April 29) 

1245: Birthdate King Philip III of France, the son Louis IX (St. Louis).  During Phillip’s reign, the Pope turned the attention of the Inquisition from suppressing the heresy of the Albigenses to the Jews of southern France who had converted to Christianity. The popes complained that not only were baptized Jews returning to their former faith, but that Christians also were being converted to Judaism. Pope Gregory X ruled that Jewish converts who had returned to Judaism, as well as Christians who converted to Judaism were to be treated by the Inquisitors as heretics. The instigators of such apostasies, as those who received or defended the guilty ones, were to be punished in the same way as the delinquents. When the Jews of Toulouse buried a Christian convert in their cemetery, they were brought before the Inquisition in for trial, with their rabbi, Isaac Males and having been found guilty were burned at the stake. Needless to say, Phillip did nothing to protect his subjects. 

1349: The Jewish community at Radolszell, Germany, was exterminated.  This appears to have been part of a wave of attacks on Jewish communities that took place during 1348 and 1349.  They were in response to fears about the Black Death and a convenient way for non-Jewish nobles and others to avoid having to re-pay their Jewish creditors. 

1425: Birthdate of William III of Luxembourg who” minted a silver groschen known as the Judenkopf Groschen. Its obverse portrait shows a man with a pointed beard wearing a Jewish hat, which the populace took as depicting a typical Jew.”

1492: The Edict of Expulsion for all the Jews of Spain was passed. Since professing that Jews were not under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, the Church decided to level a ritual murder accusation against them in Granada and was thus able to call for the expulsion of both Jews and Marranos from Spain. The Marranos themselves were accused of complicity in the case, and both were ordered to leave within four months. Torquemada, the director of the Inquisition (and incidentally of Jewish descent), defended this against Don Isaac Abarbanel. The edict was passed, and over fifteen thousand Jews had to flee, some to the Province of Aragon and others, like Abarbanel, to Naples. Still others found temporary sanctuary in Portugal.

1563 The Jews were expelled from France by order of Charles VI

1556: A community of Marranos at Ancona (Italy) was devastated when Pope Paul IV retracted letters of protection issued by previous Popes' for protection of the Jews, and ordered immediate proceedings to be taken by the Holy Office. The result of the findings came in the spring and early summer, when 24 men and 1 woman were burned alive in successive proceedings. Their deaths are memorialized in that city every Tisha B'av.

1637(6th of Iyar, 5397): Abraham Joseph Jacob Katzenellenbogen a Polish rabbi born in 1549 who “was the grandfather of Ezekiel Katzenellenbogen, author of Keneset Yehezkel” passed away today in Lemberg.

1659: In New Amsterdam, Cornelius Plavier mortgaged his house on Heere Street (later Broadway) at the city wall (Wall Street) the day after judgment was rendered against him in a case brought by Abraham Cohen. It is assumed that the money obtained from the mortgage was intended to satisfy the judgment.  But no documents actually exist to prove that Cohen got either the money or the beaver pelts which were owed to him.

1693(24th of Nisan): Rabbi David Ha-Kohen of Jerusalem, author of “Da’at Kadoshim” passed away.

1722: “The officers of Harvard Corporation vote that Judah Monis be approved as an instructor of the Hebrew language at the College, under the condition that he convert to Christianity. One month before assuming his post at Harvard, Monis converts before a large assembly in College Hall.”

1788: In Philadelphia, the members of Congregation Mikveh Israel appealed to the non-Jews of the City of Brotherly Love.  Founded in the 1740’s the congregation was dealing with unforeseen debt brought on by the economic downturn that followed the American Revolution.  Such prominent citizens as Benjamin Franklin, State Attorney General William Bradford and Thomas McKean one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence helped to provide the congregation with financial assistance

1789: George Washington took the oath of office making him the first elected President of the United States.  As can be seen from his correspondence with various Jewish congregations Washington had a positive view of Jews.  More to the point, his welcoming attitude expressed in that correspondence set the tone for the American Jewish experience and his election helped solidify the creation of the new republic which has been a haven for Jews for the last two centuries.

1789: Colonel David S. Franks was “one of the marshals in charge of the procession” at George Washington inaugural.

1789: G. M. Seixas was one of the fourteen ministers who participated in the inaugural exercises of Washington’s administration in New York” today.

1793 (18th of Iyar, 5553): Lag B’Omer

1796: Birthdate of Adolphe Crémieux “a French-Jewish lawyer and statesman, and a staunch defender of the human rights of the Jews of France.”

1800 The government of Czar Paul I enacted a decree forbidding Jews from importing books in any language. This was part of series of schemes to help the Russian government control their newly acquired mass of Jews.  This large population had become part of the anti-Semitic Russian Empire as a result of the three-way partition of Poland.

1803: The United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from the French in what is known as the Louisiana Territory.  French law had banned Jews from settling in these lands which means the purchase opened a swath of land stretching from the banks of the Mississippi west to the Rocky Mountains to Jewish settlement including such cities as St. Louis and New Orleans.

1806: The question of the treatment of the Alsace Jews and their debtors raised in the Imperial Council today.

1812: Fifty-six year old “English author and bookseller” Henry Lemoine who was a supporter of David Levi, the author refuted Joseph Priestly’s written demand that the Jews convert to Christianity and published his obituary in which he described Levi “as a great explainer and defender of Judaism against both Christians and sceptics” passed away today.

1812: The Territory of Orleans became the 18th U.S. state under the name Louisiana. The first Jews, who were Sephardim, came to Louisiana at the start of the 18th century.  “In New Orleans community life began in the 1820’s with the purchase of a burial plot by a society that called itself Gates of Loving Kindness.  A house of prayer, now known as the Touro Synagogue soon followed and by 1850 still another congregation existed in the city.”  For more about the history of the Jews of Louisiana see “Gefilte Fish in the Land of the Kingfish: Jewish Life in Louisianaat


1817(14th of Iyar, 5577): Pesach Sheni

1825: Birthdate of Iganz “Ignatz” Grossman, the husband of Anna “Nettie” Rosenbaum and Hungarian Rabbi who came to Brooklyn in 1873 to lead Congregation Beth Elohim and whose three sons – Louis, Rudolph and Julius – all became Rabbis.

1830: In Klweinsteinach, Bavaria, Abraham Schloss and Miriam Strauss gave birth to Seligman Schlosss, who served as “vice president and director of Fort Wayne and Belle Island Railroad Company for over twenty years” and director of the Cleveland Jewish Orphan Asylum for eight years.

1833: Prussian educator and philanthropist Baruch Auerbach took four orphans into his own house which was the start of the Baruch Auerbach Orphan Asylum that cared for 300 children during his lifetime and which was home to seventy orphans when he passed away.

1837: Birthdate of Dr. Alfred R. Gaul, the English composer and conductor who created the cantata “Israel in the Wilderness.”

1859: Tuscany was incorporated in the kingdom of Sardinia (later the kingdom of Italy) and to the position of the Jewish people improved because “the principle of equal rights without discrimination on religious grounds was introduced there also.” (As described by Virtual Jewish Library)

1863: During the Civil War, today was a day that President Lincoln had designated “as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer.”  He requested “all the people to abstain…from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.” The Jews joined their fellow Americans in honoring the proclamation with most synagogues being described as “opened” with the Psalms normally read on religious penitential days being invoked on this national day of penitence. According to published reports, very eloquent address was delivered by Rabbi Raphall, at the Greene-street Synagogue. “He remarked that it was a curious coincidence that on this, a fast day appointed by their own religious observances, they met in compliance with the Proclamation of the President of the United States, to fast and pray. He had been in this country fourteen years. During the first ten years no public proclamation had ever directed their thoughts and feelings to humiliation and fasting. Once in every year the highest functionary in every State proclaimed a day of general thanksgiving, and with that the debt of national gratitude was supposed to be paid. But now the rulers of the nation come year after year and call upon the people to weary Heaven with fruitless professions of a penitence they did not feel, and of a humility they did not practice. These proclamations fast days, on which no one fasts, are but the repetition of those so strongly reproved by the prophet Isaiah; and, though the people dare not put his questions, "Wherefore do we fast and Thou seest it not? Afflict our souls and Thou will not notice it!" -- since in reality the people do neither -- still the answer would stand good. "Because while you profess humiliation, you persist in your arrogance and your extortions do not cease." If ever a people needed to humble itself before God -- if ever fasting and prayer, sack cloth and ashes were to be worn -- it was by the people of these United States. Like our fathers, the Israelites of old, for whom pious Nekeiniah made such fervent supplication, the people of this country are justly amenable to his confession made for Israel: "In their dominions, in all the great prosperity Thou didst bestow upon them, and throughout the large and rich land which Thou gavest unto them, they did not serve Thee, neither turned they from their evil deeds." The preacher then drew a parallel between the sins of the Israelites, which called forth the reproof of the preacher, and the past conduct of this nation, which was equally amenable to the words of the inspired prophet. What were they to say for the citizens of the United States who already and so long possess the two greatest earthly blessings, Education and Freedom, and yet make so bad a use of both? Education should be the guardian of freedom and of virtue, it was the birthright of every American, bestowed on all and withheld from none. But what principles did it actually inculcate -what virtues did it really teach? Did it inculcate respect for free institutions? Answer, ye place-hunters, ye ballot-box stuffers, ye shoulder-hitters, who reduce self-government to a disgusting farce. Did it teach patriotism? Answer, ye spoils-men, ye office-seekers and holders, who cement party lines with the cohesive force of public plunder. Did it teach common honesty? Answer, ye peculators and speculators, who fatten on the blood of the hard-worked masses, and who dignify roguery by the name of smartness. His heart ached as he spoke to them of the effects of perverted education; it would ache still more were he to direct attention to the bitter fruits of abused freedom. He need not remind them that while the best men North and South had long been driven aloof from the affairs of the country, demagogues, fanatics and a party Press had so managed matters that they found themselves in the third year of a destructive but needless sectional war, which has armed brother against brother, consigned hundreds of thousands to an untimely grave, and to ruin and devastation tens of thousands of square miles of flourishing and happy land; and what was worse than all this, while humanity weeps we must suppress our sympathy. However, our hearts may yearn for peace and brotherly love, our reason convinces us that the present is not the time to expect, or even to hope for the cessation of blood. On the contrary, though we may detest the cause and course of events, it is our duty loyally to stand by our section of the country, to maintain her quarrel and defend her rights, while we have the consolation to know that our side did not begin the fray, and that the cause of Union was the worthiest in the field.”  

1863: In article published today entitled “The Rothschilds and the Union” W.W. Murphy takes issue with Harper’s Weekly depiction of the famous banking family and ask that corrections be made.

“In your paper (Harper's Weekly) of Feb. 28, you do a great injustice to the eminent firm of ROTHSCHILDS here, when you hint that they are like a certain Rabbi who held opinions that some men were born to be slaves. I know not what the other firms -- and there are many of the ROTHSCHILDS, all related -- in Europe think of Slavery, but here the firm of M.A. VON ROTHSCHILD & SON are opposed to Slavery and in favor of Union. A converted Jew, ERLANGER, has taken the rebel loan of £3,000,000, and lives in this city; and Baron ROTHSCHILD informed me that all Germany condemned this act of lending money to establish a slaveholding Government, and that so great was public opinion against it that ERLANGER & CO. dare not offer it on the Frankfort Bourse. I further know that the Jews rejoice to think that none of their sect would be guilty of lending money for the purpose above named; but it was left, they say, for apostate Jews to do it”.

1863: The Army of the Potomac (Union) which included Jacob Ezekiel Hyneman and Captain Joseph Greenhut made the openings in a clash with the Army of Northern Virginia (Rebel) under the command of Robert E. Lee which would be known as the Battle of Chancellorsville.

1864: During the Red River Campaign, Union forces including Frederick C. Salomon, scored a tactical victory in the bloody Battle of Jenkin’s Ferry

1866: Birthdate of Leon Levi Bandes, the native of Vilna who as Louis Miller played a pioneering role in the development of a Yiddish language press in the United States capped by the founding of The Forward
http://www.yiddishkayt.org/miller-bandes/

1869: Birthdate of Hungarian painter Philip de Laszlo.

1870: Leopold Karpeles who served as a Sergeant with Company E, Massachusetts Infantry was issued his Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery displayed during the Wilderness Campaign in 1864.

1870: The New York Times published a review of a unique book entitled "The Bible In India: Hindoo Origin of Hebrew and Christian Revelation" in which the author, Louis Jacolliot, attempts to prove that "the Hebrew and Christian revelations have a common origin in India among the Hindoo mythologies."

1871: The New York Times reported that a magistrate in London found a group of Jews guilty of gambling in a “public house” when they were caught playing chicken hazard and fined them accordingly.  In their defense the Jews had claimed that although they had been caught playing chicken hazard they had really had gathered together to observe Passover.  According to the Jewish defendants, the police must have missed seeing the blood on the doorposts or else they would have passed by and left them undisturbed.  Apparently the Judge and the rest of Christian London are not aware of the custom of playing chicken hazard as part of the Passover celebration.  [Editors note: If you have ever played chicken hazard or can shed some light on this please let me know.  Who knows, maybe a great miscarriage of justice needs to be undone.]

1872(22nd of Nisan, 5632): 8th Day of Pesach

1872: The New York Times reported that over 3,000 barrels of Matzoths...were consumed:” in New York “during the past week and 1,000 barrels were sent throughout the country some going to Canada and” to South America.

1877:  Birthdate of Alice B. Tolkas. Born into a middle class Jewish family in San Francisco, Tolkas was a writer whose claim to fame was her relationship with another Jewish literary light, Gertrude Stein.

1880: It was reported from Vienna that after a fried broke out in Grusbach, Moravia, “some malicious persons incited the mob to attack the Jews. At least one Jew has died of his wounds and another had a hand cut off.

1881: It was reported today that a mob led by a school teacher has been responsible for some of the violence aimed at the Jews living in Argenua, West Prussia.

1881: It was reported today that mobs of peasants have attacked the Jews of Elizabethgrad (Russia).  The mob, which destroyed the local synagogue, was driven by its superstitious beliefs about Jewish Passover practices.

1881(1st of Iyar, 5641): Rosh Chodesh Iyar

1881: “Anti-Jewish Riots In Europe” published today describes attacks on Jews in Germany and Russia.  A wave of violence aimed at the Jews in Argenau, West Prussia included a mob led by a school teacher wrecking the home of the Jews.  In Russia, the violence has been fueled by Christian superstitions surrounding the observance of Passover and was highlighted by the destruction of synagogue in Elizabethgrad.

1882: It was reported today that Rabbi Hirsch of Sinai Congregation in Chicago had offered prayers on behalf of Kaiser Frederick William of Germany, “asking that his life…be spared.”  The only problem with this entry is that the Kaiser had died in March.

1882: President Jesse Seligman presided over today’s annual meeting of the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum. Currently the organization is providing service to 327 orphans, 245 of whom were born in New York City.

1882: Based on information supplied by the Times of London, it was reported today that when the American Legation at St. Petersburg intervenes on behalf of the Jews, it will be speaking for several European governments as well as the administration in Washington.

1882: It was reported today that according to The Free Press the Jews of Podolsk and Walkwoich have been subjected to renewed attacks.  Additionally, some of the most notorious leaders have been released from custody despite orders from St. Petersburg calling for their prompt punishment.

1883: It was reported today that the will of the late Dr. Edward Bouverie Pusey prohibited the publication of his English translations of the “Hebrew scriptures” since he no longer felt that the corrections may not have been valid.

1883: Mark Gradginsky and his wife Adelaide were among those being held at police headquarters on charges of receiving and selling stolen goods – specifically $23,000 of lace goods taken from Muser Brothers by one of their employees. The Gradginskys who are well-known members of the Jewish community, denied knowing that the goods were stolen.

1883: It was reported today that “The Jews in Philadelphia Prior to 1800” by H. Polock Rosenbach will be published by Edward Sterne & Co.  It is thought to be the first book published on the subject, but the publisher is planning on printing only 250 copies.

1885: The will of Isaac Vogel, a Jewish clothier, was filed in the Surrogate’s Court today.

1887: This afternoon in Chicago, Leopold Bloom socked William B. Andrews in the cheek causing the latter to fall to the sidewalk in front building housing the Board of Trade where the two were traders.  Bystanders were not sure what caused the altercation except they heard somebody use the word “liar” and somebody use the word “Jew” before the blow was struck.

1888: “A Prayer for the Emperor” published today described the prayers offered by Rabbis in the United States including Rabbi Hirsh of Sinai Congregation of Chicago for the well-being of Emperor Frederick William of German “because of the interest he has shown in the Jews.” (The only problem with this entry is that the Kaiser had died on March 9, 1888)

1889: Rabbi Gustave Gottheil of Temple Emanu-El and Rabbi Henry S. Jacobs were among the clergyman who helped plan today’s service that was part of the centennial commemoration of the inauguration of George Washington.

1890: It was reported today that a four member commission acting on behalf of the Imperial Council is “framing a bill to regulate the position of the Jews in Russia” which will be detrimental to their interest.

1890: The Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorized the School Board to lease the old Hebrew Orphan Asylum building on 77th Street.

1891: Pianist and composer Leopold Godowsky married Frieda Sax.

1891: The wife and daughter of Abraham L. Grabfelder, a director of the Sanitarium for Hebrew Children arrived in New York having cut short their trip to Europe when they told that Grabfelder had become seriously ill.

1892: The Young Men’s Hebrew Association hosted the first annual gymnastic program featuring members of the organization.

1892: Colonel Carl Weber testified before the joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on Immigration and Naturalization on the condition of those arriving at Ellis Island.  Included in this was a description of those who arrived aboard the SS Masillia and were later found to be contaminated with typhus. Contrary to earlier reports the immigrants were Turkish Jews and not Russian Jews.  He said that their religion had nothing to do with the illness which was cause by their extended sea voyage which took them to numerous ports before arriving in New York.

1893(14th of Iyar, 5653): Pesach Sheni

1894: Mrs. Jesse Seligman and Misses Alice and Madeline Seligman were aboard the train which arrived at Grand Central Station from California carrying the body of Jesse Seligman who had died suddenly on April 23 at San Diego, CA.

1894: The widow of Jesse Seligman and his two daughters were driven to their home at 2 East 46th Street while the body of the late banker was taken to the undertaker and then to Temple Emanu-El where “a plaster cast of the dead banker’s head was taken by a sculptor who will make a statue for the grounds of the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Society.

1895: Gustav Freytag, author of the immensely popular Soll und Haben (Debit and Credit) “a novel in which a Jewish merchant is presented as a villain and threat to Germany” while proclaiming the virtues of the German people, especially the middle class, passed away today. (Editor’s note – for those who wonder how Hitler could have happened, a look into the history of German anti-Semitism might provide some of the answers.)

1898: It was reported today that “ Tract Pesachim (Passover) the fifth volume of Dr. M.L. Rodkinson’s new English edition of the Babylonian Talmud has just been published…This tract has, so far as is known, never been translated into any modern language, although it is one of the volumes most frequently perused by students of the Talmud.  There are still fifteen more volumes of the Talmu to follow; the next of which is promised with the next three months.

1898: Following the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Dr. A.P. Madison said that the Russian Jews of Chicago who number about 25,000 people “will organize a regiment of infantry and offer their services to the President to fight Spain and to free Cuba.”

1898: As patriotic fervor sweeps the United States, in New York “special services were held today at Temple Rodolph Sholom at which national hymns were sung and prayers were offered for the President and the army and navy.

1898: The attorney representing Horace J. Young, who is accused of deserting his wife Clara, the daughter of Jewish businessman Julius Praeger will be allowed to examine the witnesses who claim that the couple was never legally married but that Young left her when he found out she was pregnant.

1899: In London, the Times published a letter from Joseph H. Hertz, the Chief Rabbi expressing his opposition the Slaughtering of Animals Bill presented to the House by Sir A. Shirley-Benn, MP which would effectively band Shechita which “would therefore inflict cruel hardship on hundreds of thousands of law-abiding citizens and would in effect constitute a grievous religious persecution.”

1899: Elections for officers were held at today’s annual meeting of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum.

1899: A committee made up of a cross-section of representatives of Jewish charitable organizations in New York City met today to make arrangement for memorial services to be held in honor of the late Baroness Hirsch.

1899:  At Nicoleaieff, Russia a town of 100,000 that includes 30,000 Jews, approximately 5,000 rioters “wrecked hundreds of Jewish houses and shops, desecrated Jewish graves and killed and injured a large number” of Jews in connection the Easter Festivities of the Greek Church which came to an end today on Greek Orthodox Easter.

1900: Herzl has a “coincidental meeting” with Bernard Lazare in Paris. Lazare intends to go to Constantinople. Herzl asked him if he would try to win Ambassador Constans over to the Zionist cause

1901: In Manhattan, twenty-three year old Mortimer L. Schiff married Adele Schiff.

1901: By the end of April, Herzl had read Moses Hess’ Rome and Jerusalem.

1902: Herzl completes his Palestine Novel Altneuland (Old New Land) which portrays his vision for life in the new Jewish Homeland.
 
1904: By the end of April Herzl made preparations to proceed to Paris and London in early May in order to arrange the financing of the Uganda expedition. He made contact with the New York financier, Jacob Schiff. Schiff declared himself ready to negotiate a loan for Russia if it proved ready to do something for the Jews.

1904: Herzl had an interview with Austrian Foreign Minister Agenor Goluchowsky, who gave evidence of an earnest interest in Zionism and advised Herzl to work in England for a Parliamentary expression of opinion in favor of Palestine. Immediately after this audience, a consultation of his doctors establishes an alarming change in the condition of his heart muscles. Herzl is ordered to Franzensbad for six weeks.

1904: The St. Louis World’s Fair where nine of the works of Moshe Maimon “were shown at the Russian exhibition” opened today.

1905: Over the last 12 months, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association provided services to 166,289 through its various programs including lectures, religious services, and physical education activities. The association had an income of $39,423.21and spent $38,673.32 under the Presidency of Percival S. Menken.

1907: Fifty-six year old historian and philosopher Julius Langbehn who attackedJews “as corrupters of German culture” and advocated beliefs later adopted by Adolf Hitler which have led him to be labeled as a “proto-Nazi.”

1908: H.H. Asquith, the British MP who got caught up in a love triangle with Edwin Montague and Venetia Stanley, became leader of the Liberal Party.

1910: Birthdate of actor Al Lewis who played Grandpa on “The Munsters.”

1910:Dr. Emil Schürer, the German professor of theology who wrote A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ passed away today.

1912: Carl Laemmle of IMP (Independent Moving Pictures Company) joined with several others to form the Universal Motion Picture Manufacturing Company whose Ft. Lee, NJ studios produced many of the early films that helped build the American cinema industry.

1913: Charles Edward Sebag-Montefiore married Muriel Alice Ruth de Pass, daughter of Charles de Pass and Mabel Kate Benjamin, today at Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Lauderdale Road, London, England,

1914: Otto Henne am Rhyn, the author of Mysteria, a work on the doctrines and mystic rites of ancient religions in which Part Four “Son of Man, Son God” deals with Judaism and the impact of Hellenism, passed away today.

1915: “In the Tuscan port city of Livorno” Alfred Sabato, the chief rabbi and his was gave birth to Elio Toaff who served as a rabbi Venice from 1947 to 1951 when he became Chief Rabbi of Rome. (As reported by Bruce Weber)

1915: Turkish authorities prevented the Jews of Smyrna from leaving the country.

1916: At a meeting tonight of the Public Interest League Professor William M. Sloane of Columbia said, “As much as I love and respect the Jews, I am forced to admit that they constitute the largest” of Socialists and that since “the Jew has no country…he has been accustomed to cry out against Governments because he has been treated with injustice.”

1916: In Philadelphia, PA, the People’s Relief Committee held a concert which raised money for the Fund for Jewish War Sufferers and “served as a memorial for poet for Jewish poet I.L. Peretz.”

1916: Among those listed today as contributors to The American Jewish Relief Committee were the Jewish Conference of Minneapolis ($350) and the Mendelsohn Benevolent Society ($50).

1916: Dr. Stephen S Wise delivered an address on “The Liberation of Reform Judaism” and Nathan Straus spoke on “The Jew in Philanthropy” at the opening session of the Ninth Semi-Annual Assembly of the Eastern Council of Reform Rabbis being held at Temple Emanu-El.

1917(8th of Iyar, 5677): Second Lieutenant Nathan Andre died today at Dieppe.

1917: As the American Jewish community begins to take play its role in support the country’s war effort and Allied leaders seek to support what will be the mutually exclusive goals of keeping Russia in the war and protecting that country’s fragile democracy, “a committee consisting of Chairman Boris Kamenka, Baron Alexander Gunzburg and Henry Sliesberg representing the Jewish of Russia sent a telegram to Jacob H. Schiff, Justice Louis D. Brandies, Professor Richard James Horatio Gottheil, Oscar S. Straus, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Louis Marshall and Henry Morgenthau saying “that the Jews of Russia are confidently supporting the Russian Government.”

1918(18th of Iyar, 5678): Lag B'Omer

1920: In Vienna, Ilona Neumann and Robert Kronstein gave birth to Gerda Hedwig Kronstein who gained fame as Gerda Lerna , the historian who “spearheaded the creation of the first graduate program in women’s history in the United States…” (As reported by William Grimes)

1923(14th of Iyar, 5683): Pesach Sheni

1924(26th of Nisan): Rabbi Joseph Lowenstein, author of “Dor, Dor ve-Dorshav” passed away

1924: Birthdate of Sheldon Harnick “an American lyricist best known for his collaborations with composer Jerry Bock on hit musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof. Harnick began his career writing words and music to comic songs in musical revues. One of these, "The Merry Minuet", was popularized by the Kingston Trio. It is in the caustic style usually associated with Tom Lehrer and is sometimes incorrectly attributed to him.”

1924: On the Lower East Side, Max Printz and Tillie Leiter gave birth to Ruth Leah Printz who gained fame as Ruth Greenglass the wife of David Greenglass, her fellow “atomic spy.”

1925: The Revisionist party (Brith HaTzionim HaRevisionistim) was founded by Zev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky.in Paris, France. Jabotinsky was an ardent Zionist.  He had already made Aliyah. In 1921 he took up arms to help defend the Jewish community from attacks by armed, Arab mobs.  The British arrested Jabotinsky and imprisoned him.  This experience was one of the factors that led him to demand a more aggressive policy toward the British believing that only worldwide pressure would force the British to abide by the mandate. The revisionist believed that the highest priority of the Zionist movement should be in bringing greatest number of Jews to Eretz –Israel in the shortest possible time.  Jabotinsky would die of a heart attack in 1940.  Menachem Begin would inherit his political and spiritual mantle.  As head of the Irgun, Begin waged war against the British after 1945 when it became obvious that the British were going to continue their pro-Arab, anti-Jewish policies.

1926: Birthdate of Cloris Leachman.  Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Leachman has enjoyed a long and distinguished film and television career.  Two of her most famous films were "The Last Picture Show" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." 

1929: In Tel Aviv, the fourth Palestine and Near East Exhibition comes to a close.

1929: Nathan Straus presided over the opening of the Nathan and Lena Straus Health Care Center in Tel Aviv.   Straus presented this modern health facility to Hadassah which will administer for the benefit of all the inhabitants – Jew, Christian and Moslem – with the only goal being to improve the quality and length of life of all citizenry.

1933: Gian Clemente Bayard, the son Iris Origo who stayed in Italy during WW II where she saved the lives of children and Allied airmen, passed away tragically today at the age of 8.

1935: Jews were no longer allowed to display the German flag. This was quite disturbing to the thousands of Jews who had fought for the Kaiser in World War I

1935: U.S. premiere of “The Scoundrel” co-directed by Ben Hecht who also co-authored the script and co-starring Lionel Stander.

1936: The Flying Camel spreads its wings on the shores of the Mediterranean as the emblem of the Levant Fair opening today in Tel Aviv.

1936: “The University of Michigan confirmed a previous announcement that two university delegates would attend the celebration of the 550th anniversary of Heidelberg University in June…despite the fact that the Nazi political machine would assume an important role in the celebration.”

1936: “Pre-Honeymoon” which was co-authored by Anne Nichols, the creator of the 1922 hit “Abie’s Irish Rose” opened tonight on Broadway.

1936: Despite Arab violence in Palestine, the High Commissioner opened the Levant Fair at Tel Aviv today where “more than 5,000” people heard “Mayor Dizengoff stress the importance of this biennial exhibition in the development of trade in the Near and Middle East with Western manufacturers.”

1936: At Beersheba, the Bedouin chieftains “met the chief secretary of the government and submitted a memorandum demanding a ban on Jewish immigration and the sale of land to Jews.”

1936(7th of Iyar, 5696): August Lederer, an Austrian industrialist and patron of the arts who was best known for his connection with Gustav Klimt passed away.

1939: In the Bronx, Julian Kleban and his wife gave birth to Edward “Ed” Kleban the composer and lyricist best known for his on “A Chorus” for which he shared the 1976 Tony Award for the Best Original Score with Marvin Hamlisch.

1940: The Lodz Ghetto was officially sealed. The Jews were resettled in the Lodz Ghetto in an action replete with brutality, looting, abuse, and murder. As they were led to the ghetto, snipers on rooftops opened fire on them to frighten them and expedite their departure. They fled to the ghetto in panic. When The Lodz Ghetto approximately 164,000 Jews from Lodz were packed into its four square kilometers, of which only two and a half square kilometers were built. The congestion in the area that comprised the ghetto was seven times greater than it had been before the war. The ghetto area was carved into three sectors by two main streets that linked neighborhoods outside the ghetto. Wretched conditions including congestion, hunger, cold, and poor sanitation led immediately to mass mortality.

1941:  Having installed the Ustasha movement as the government of occupied Croatia, the Nazis watched as on this date their willing puppet enacted a new definition of the term "Jew."  This enabled the Croat government to enact the Nazi inspired plan for the treatment of the Jews.  At the same, this definition caused some dissension in the ranks of the anti-Semites since it created a loophole designed to protect the Jewish wives of some of the non-Jewish Ustasha leaders.

1942: Today the Germans ordered the Jews of Pinsk to move into the ghetto by 4:00 p.m. on May 1. More than 20,000 persons were packed into the ghetto, a cramped area in a slum quarter

1942(13th of Iyar, 5702):  Twelve hundred Jews were killed in Diatlovo, Belorussia. The Jews offered armed resistance, but it was futile.

1943: During a trip to Palestine, Archbishop Spellman visits Haifa and Tel Aviv where he has lunch with Brig. Gen. R.W. Crawford, head of the United States Service Command.

1943: By the end of the month of April Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto began to falter as bunkers were broached by German troops. Artillery bombardment of the ghetto had foiled Jewish strategy of engaging Germans in costly hand-to-hand combat.

1943: The German government established Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp for Jews. The camp was located in northwest Germany.  Approximately 40,000 perished there from a variety of forms of inhumane treatment.  Anne Frank died there in March, 1945, a month before the camp was liberated by the allies.1943: At Dj. Arada, Tunisia, Lance-Corporal John Patrick Kenneally accompanied by a sergeant, charged the enemy forming up for assault, inflicting many casualties. Even when wounded he refused to give up, but hopped from one fire position to another, carrying his gun in one hand and supporting himself on a comrade with the other. He was awarded the VC for bravery for this action. This was a repeat performance for Kenneally who showed similar bravery on April 28.1943: Birthdate of Ze'ev Boim, a native of Jerusalem who moved from teaching to a career in politics that including servings as the Mayor of Kiryat Gat for 13 years and a member of the Knesset. (As reported by Jonathan Lis)

1943(25th of Nisan, 5703): According to reports, 2,000 Jews being deported to Sobibor attacked their guards.  All of the deportees fell victim to hand grenades and machine gun fire.

1943: “Tonight We Raid Calais” a WW II movie featuring Lee J. Cobb and Howard Da Silva and with music by Emil Newman was released in the United States today.

1943: "Hopeful Hint Ends Bermuda Sessions" published today stated that recommendations which were not capable of being accomplished under war conditions and which would most likely delay the war effort of the United Nations were rejected. [Editor’s Note: The title is a strange one since the conference offered no hope whatsoever to the Jews of Europe.]

1944: SOE agent Violette Szabo, codenamed Louise, returned to England from France aboard a Lysander, after completing her first mission.

1944: Two thousand Jews were deported from Topolya, Hungry to Birkenaus.  This is the second deportation from Hungry to Birkenau.  Once again the Nazis have the Jews write postcards to their family back home telling them not to worry.

1944: Sixty-five year old Esther Raphiel passed away today after which she was buried at the Natchitoches, LA, Jewish Cemetery.

1944: Birthdate of Lydia Shtimerman, the Russian born English violinist who gained fame as Lydia Mordkovitc

1945: In Berlin, Hitler murdered Eva Braun and then committed suicide in his bunker. The bodies are then carried outside and cremated.  Years later, the Soviet government released a report stating that their troops had recovered the charred remains and brought them back for verification.  What finally happened to the bodies is still in dispute although they no longer exist.

1945: The Red Army liberated 23,000 Jews and non-Jews from Ravensbruck. One of the oldest of the camps, it was opened in 1939 just north of Berlin.  It was primarily a camp for women.  In the last two years of its existence 90,000 were killed there.  The camp was noted for its medical experiments in which the inmates were used for experimental purposes.  As the retreating Nazis were forced to shut down the gas chambers in Poland, they built one at Ravenbruck that opened in early 1945.  This puts the lie to the idea that the Final Solution was not an integral part of the Nazi program from start to finish.

1945: Concentration camp München-Allag was liberated.

1945: Soldiers of the 63rd Division (U.S. Army) which was recognized as a liberating unit by the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2000 completed the liberation of seven the eleven Kaufering subcamps.

1946(29th of Nisan, 5706):Seven Jews were murdered by anti-Semitic Poles at Nowy Targ, Poland, very near to where five Jews were killed on April 21

1949(1st of Iyar, 5709): Rosh Chodesh Iyar

1950: A compromise was reached today among competing factions of the trade union movement in Israel that will allow tomorrow’s May Day celebrations to go on as planned.  Histadrut had threatened to cancel the festivities unless the “pro-Soviet minority” agreed to march without banners carrying proclamations that would be offensive to “the western democracies.” 

1952(5th of Iyar, 5712): Yom HaAtzma'ut

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that in its First of May Day proclamation, the Histadrut Executive will announce that all Palestine Arab workers wishing to do so, will henceforth be admitted to the Histadrut's Trade Unions, as of May 1, 1953.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that a gang of Bedouin terrorists mined a bridge on the Nitzana-Beersheba road and opened fire when an army truck was passing by. Nobody was hurt, but the bridge was damaged.

1955: Birthdate of Menachem Mazuz who served as Israeli Attorney General from 2004 to 2010.

1956: “The Last Hunt” the movie version of a novel by the same name directed and written by Richard Brooks and produced by Dore Schary was released today in the United States.

1956: Israeli Chief of State Moshe Dayan delivered the eulogy at Nahal Oz for Roi Toberg, the kibbutz security officer who had been murdered in an ambush yesterday after which his body was mutilated by the terrorists.

1960: Eighty-five year old Italian born Giorgio Polacco, the conductor at the Met from 1915 to 1917 and the Chicago Civic Opera from 1921 to 1930 passed away today in Manhattan.

1961(14th of Iyar, 5721): Pesach Sheni

1961(14th of Iyar, 5721): Seventy-three year old Israeli political leader Peretz Naftali passed away today.

1963: Founding of Haifa University

1970(24th of Nisan, 5730): Jacques (Jacob) Presser passed away. Born in 1899, he was a Dutch historian, writer and poet best known for his book “Ashes in the wind: The destruction of the Dutch Jews” on the history of the persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands during World War II. Yet he also made a significant contribution to Dutch historical scholarship, as well as to European historical scholarship.1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that despite Israeli protests and the U.S. Congress pressure, the U.S. President Jimmy Carter reiterated that the joint sale of U.S. jets to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia was in Israel's best interests. He refused, however, to say what his Administration will do if the Congress will veto any part of this three-country package.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, left for Washington on his second successive visit to U.S. and President Carter, in an apparent attempt to resolve the problem of the stalled Israeli-Egyptian peace negotiations.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that there were mixed feelings in Israel about the prospects of the third pullback in South Lebanon, moving to the line west, from about six to ten kilometers, from the Israeli border. There was a growing uncertainty whether the UNIFIL, which was filling the gap, would protect Israel from further terrorist activities.

1979: Paul Massing, author of Rehearsal for Destruction: A Study Of Political Anti-Semitism in Imperial Germany passed away today

1982: An Israeli Cabinet official who received a suspended prison sentence last week for larceny and breach of trust resigned from the Cabinet today. The official, Aharon Abuhazira, Minister of Labor, Welfare and Immigrants Absorption, submitted his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister's office after the Central Committee of his party, Tami, authorized it

1982: “The Chosen” a movie version of the Chaim Potok novel directed by Jeremy Kagan starring Robby Benson and featuring Barry L. Miller, Ron Rifkin, Evan Handler with music by Elmer Bernstein was released today.

1983: “King Hussein of Jordan said today that the United States was partly responsible for the collapse of his talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization on President Reagan's peace plan.”

1985(9th of Iyar, 5745): Mickey Katz passed away.  Born in 1909, Katz was comedian and musician who specialized in Yiddish humor. In his day he was known as what they called "a novelty band leader" i.e. a Jewish Spike Jones.  Katz is also known for being the father of Joel Grey and the grandfather of Jennifer Gray.

1985(9th of Iyar, 5745): Eighty-four year old director Hungarian born American director and producer Julius White “who was best known for his films of The Three Stooges” passed away today in California.

1985: Birthdate of Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot who represented Israel in the 2004 Miss Universe Pageant.

1985: One person was injured today during a grenade attack on a bus in Israel.

1985: One person was injured today during a “grenade attack on Israeli intelligence center in Bat Pam, south of Tel Aviv.”

1985: A London production of “Follies,” a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman opened at the Forum theatre

1986: The city of Houston declared today Albert Moses Levy Memorial Day, in honor of Jews who participated in the fight for Texas

1986: In Savannah, Georgia, Mary and Ronald S. Agron gave birth to actress Dianna Elise Agron who went to Hebrew School and celebrated her Bat Mitzvah before pursuing her show biz career.

1987: Thomas Friedman reports that an Islamic revival is quickly gaining ground in the most unlikely of places – Israel. “From Israeli Arab villages in the northern Galilee, to the turbulent Palestinian universities in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, to the teeming refugee districts of the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, an Islamic revival is taking place among Moslems living under Israeli control. The revival was inspired in part by the Iranian revolution led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. But it is also a home-grown movement of Palestinian Moslems seeking strength to confront Israel by returning to their classic Islamic identities that once brought them grandeur… What this means for the already intractable Arab-Israeli conflict, said Eli Rekhess, a Tel Aviv University expert on Israeli Arabs, is that future 'coexistence will be that much more difficult and the lines of differences between the two communities that much sharper.’''

1989: Several thousand people, many of them Holocaust survivors and their families, gathered in midtown Manhattan to honor the victims of the Holocaust and to commemorate the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in which Polish Jews fought the Nazis in 1943. Several thousand people, many of them Holocaust survivors and their families, gathered in midtown Manhattan yesterday to honor the victims of the Holocaust and to commemorate the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in which Polish Jews fought the Nazis in 1943. The event was the first in a series scheduled around the country this week in memory of the Jews who died in the Holocaust. ''We are here to remember the victims,'' said Benjamin Meed, who is chairman of the United Commemoration Committee of Metropolitan New York and president of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization, which sponsored the event. ''We recall with love their lives.'' The service, at the Felt Forum, included prayers, speeches in English and Yiddish, and songs that were sung by Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and members of the Jewish underground during World War II. Mayor Edward I. Koch spoke, as did representatives of several national Jewish groups.

Speaking in Yiddish to the nearly 5,000 people who were present, Rabbi Israel Lau, the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, told of his liberation as an 8-year-old boy from the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald in Germany. He admonished the audience to remember the Holocaust's victims in their celebrations of traditional Jewish holidays like Passover. Rita Gurko Lerner, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, spoke of her heritage, saying she felt she could be a daughter ''to any one of you.'' ''Where most of my friends had grandparents, I had none,'' Mrs. Lerner said. ''Our lives are deeper, richer and more significant because my parents strove to overcome the tragedy that they endured.'' In memory of those who lost their lives, six Holocaust survivors lighted six candles on the stage, each representing a million of the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust. Each survivor was escorted by one of his or her children. ''Our concern is with the past; our commitment must be to the future,'' said Mr. Meed, who was in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943. ''For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.'' Other events scheduled for this week include a ceremony, sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, in the Capitol rotunda in Washington tomorrow, and a citywide memorial service in Chicago by Holocaust survivors next Sunday.

1990(5th of Iyar, 5750): Yom HaAtzma’ut

1992: NBC broadcast the final episode of season 8 of the “Cosby Show” a sitcom co-created by Ed Weinberger.

1992(27th of Nisan, 5752): Yom HaShoah

1992(27th of Nisan, 5752): Sixty-seven year old American economist Harvey Joshua Levin passed away today.

1993: U.S. premiere of “Three Hearts” with a script by Adam Greenman.

1993(9th of Iyar, 5753): Eighty-five year old Frija Zoaretz, the native of Libya who made Aliyah in 1949 and served as MK for the National Religious Party passed away today.

1995: Following the merger of Abraham & Straus with the Macys, Bloomingdales and Sterns chains earlier in the year, “the name of Abraham & Straus passed into mercantile history” today marking “the end of a journey” that began in 1865>

1996(11th of Iyar, 5756): David Opatoshu passed away. Born in 1918, David Opatoshu began his stage career in New York's Yiddish theatre in the late 1930s. Though he worked extensively in English-language plays, films and TV programs, the scholarly looking Opatoshu never completely severed his ties with his roots. His first film was the all-Yiddish "The Light Ahead” (1939) from 1941 through 1945, he delivered the news in Yiddish on New York radio station WEVD; in the 1970s, he was directing and starring in ethnic stage productions; and in 1985, he narrated a documentary film on the Yiddish theatre in America, "Almonds and Raisins".  Opatoshu appeared in numerous films and television productions frequently playing the part of the Communist or some other vaguely eastern European intellectual villain.  Two of his more memorable performances were in the film Exodus in 1960 and Masada in 1981. 

1996(11th of Iyar, 5756):  President Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres signed an accord in Washington extending U.S. help to Israel in countering terrorism

1998(4th of Iyar, 5758): Yom HaAtzma'ut – Fiftieth Anniversary of Israeli Independence. The fifth of Iyyar fell on a Friday in 5758 which precluded celebrating the holiday on the technically correct date.

2000: The New York Times included reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach by Alice Kaplan and the recently released paperback edition of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon by Richard Zimler a novel in which a young follower of the mystical Jewish tradition tries to track down his uncle's killer in 16th-century Lisbon.

2001: Cookbook author Joan Nathan received the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America award for lifetime achievement from the James Beard Foundation. Acclaimed cookbook author Joan Nathan found her way to food writing from a very different, if related, field. Armed with a master's degree in French Literature, she took a job as foreign press officer to Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kolleck. Inspired by his habit of conducting meetings over meals, Nathan wrote and published her first cookbook, The Flavor of Jerusalem in 1975. The success of Nathan's first book was followed by the publication of The Jewish Holiday Kitchen in 1979, An American Folklife Cookbook in 1984, and Jewish Cooking in America in 1994. Jewish Cooking in America was an instant hit, winning both the Julia Child Best Cookbook Award and the James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook. In addition to writing cookbooks, Nathan helped found New York City's Ninth Avenue Food Festival. In March, 2001, Nathan published The Foods of Israel Today, which contains recipes from Muslim and Christian as well as Jewish traditions. Nathan is the host of the PBS television show Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan, based on her award-winning book. The show combines recipes, history, and visits to chefs. Nathan contributes articles to Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, Hadassah Magazine, and the New York Times. Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook (2004) combines and updates the earlier Jewish Holiday Baker (1997) and Jewish Holiday Kitchen (1979). In 2005, Nathan utilized the research for her new book The New American Cooking: An American Folklife Cookbook in her role as guest curator of Food Culture USA at the 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The New American Cooking won the 2006 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award in the American category.

2002: Beginning today, the Batsheva Dance Company from Israel is scheduled to perform the American premiere of ''Naharin's Virus,'' an adaptation of a 1996 play by the German writer Peter Handke. The music for the dance, which had its premiere in Tel Aviv last year, is adapted from traditional Arabic folk music by Habib Alla Jamal, Shama Khader and Karni Postel

2003(28th of Nisan, 5763): Ran Baron, 24; Dominque Caroline Hass, 29 and Yanai Weiss, 46 were murdered and dozens more wounded including Keith Trowbridge, 37 and Avi Tabib, the security guard, when a terrorist working for Fatah Tanzim and Hamas blew himself up at Mike’s Place a popular Tel Aviv Restaurant. The murderer was part of a group of three British Muslims who came to Israel to kill Jews.

2003(28th of Nisan, 5763): Seventy-two year old Arnold Horween, the successful Chicago businessman “company supplies the leather used to manufacture the National Football League's Wilson footballs” passed away today. (As reported by Ana Beatriz Cholo)

2003: The Israeli president, Moshe Katzav and his Polish counterpart, Aleksander Kwasniewski, led 3,000 people from around the world in a ''March of the Living'' through the gate to Auschwitz -- the words ''Arbeit macht frei'' mean ''Work makes you free'' -- and to the nearby twin camp at Birkenau. The march was to mourn Jews killed at the death camp in World War II and commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Among the marchers was Norman Frejman, 72, of Florida, who as a child survived the Warsaw Ghetto, deportation to the Majdanek death camp and slave labor in Germany. ''I am getting old,'' he said, ''so I had to come here to see it once again. This is hallowed ground.''

2004: “Envy” a comedy directed by Barry Levinson who produced the film with Paula Weinstein and starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Rachel Weisz was released in the United States today.

2006: The New York Times featured books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including High Lonesome: New & Selected Stories 1966-2006 by Joyce Carol Oates, Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid by Joe Klein and Family and Other Accidents by Shari Goldhagen.

2006(2nd of Iyar, 5766): Paul Spiegel leader of the Central Council of Jews, Germany’s main Jewish organization, passed away.

2007: In today’s  “unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal held that Robert Shapiro's law firm, Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, LLP, could be held liable for his alleged misconduct, even though Shapiro holds no equity interest in the firm and is not a true partner

2007: Aubrey Drake Graham, known as “Drake” became the first unsigned Canadian rapper to have his music video featured on BET when his first single, "Replacement Girl" was featured as the "New Joint of the Day"

2007: At the Jewish Museum of Florida an exhibit styled “Bonim: Jewish Developers Building Florida & Building Community” comes to end. “From swampland to cities, this exhibit highlights the enormous impact of Florida’s Jews on one of the state’s leading industries.” The exhibit demonstrates that starting in 1820 when Moses Levy began purchasing 100,000 acres in north central Florida, Jews have played a major role in transforming Florida from the region’s least populated state into one of the nation’s largest states.  

2007: The Jewish Heritage Center of Western Canada presents a lecture by Dr. Deborah Lipstadt which is based on her experiences during the David Irving Libel Trial.  Her book History on Tiral: My Day In Court with David Irving is the story of her libel trial in London against David Irving who sued her for calling him a Holocaust denier and right wing extremist.

2008: Famed Yiddish actress Esta Saltzman who lived in Manhattan for over 40 years before passing away, will be buried today in a family plot at the Knollwood Park Cemetery.

2008: An exhibition style “Zap, Pow, Bam Super Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics at the Jewish Museum of Florida comes to a close.

2008: The Jerusalem Cinematheque presents a screening of The House on August Street” which depicts the untold story of Beate Berger who founded the “Beith Ahawah Kinderheim” in Berlin in 1922 for needy Jewish children and then saved “her” children from Nazi Germany through a unique rescue operation that ended with her bringing the children to the new “Ahawah” home she built in the Haifa Bay.

2008: As part of the annual Yom Hashoah observance in Iowa City, the University of Iowa Hillel Chapter presents Professor Ronald Berger who will speak about "Surviving the Holocaust: One Family's Story". Professor Berger teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. This is a gripping account of two Jewish brothers fro, Poland who survive the Holocaust. Dr. Berger's father endures several concentration camps and a horrific winter death march. His uncle survived outside the camp system by passing as a Catholic among anti-Semitic Polish workers and partisans eventually becoming an officer in the Soviet army. Prof. Berger considers the role of luck, prewar influences, and risk taking as factors in the brothers' survival.

2008: “Reparations Ethics: The War Continues,” aired on Israeli. The film criticized the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany for misspending funds and for being unresponsive and insensitive to the suffering of aging Holocaust survivors. The Claims Conference, which negotiates and distributes payments to Holocaust survivors, promptly countered that the filmmakers’ attacks were inaccurate. The film, produced by journalists Orly Vilnai-Federbush and Guy Maroz, was the latest salvo in an increasingly heated battle over compensation to Holocaust survivors in Israel.

2009: Goldwin Smith’s Anti-Semitism Fuels Anger by Danielle Davis, exposing the professor’s views on Jews was published today.

2009(6th of Iyar, 5769): Mark I. Levy, a fifty-nine year-old lawyer with an Atlanta-based firm who was about to lose his job because of the economy was found dead in his Washington office. Police speculated that the cause was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  The fate of the Yale law school graduate should serve as warning to all of us in these perils of these uncertain economic times.

2009: The 92nd Street Y presents “The Borowitz Report: Obama’s First 100 Days” in which Award-winning comedian and satirist Andy Borowitz, and a panel including Hendrick Hertzberg, Jonathan Alter  and Judy Gold take an irreverent look at President Obama's first 100 days in office
2009: Brooklyn College Hillel sponsors an Israel Street Fair celebrating Israel Independence Day.

2009: In Washington, D.C., Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrator Jules Feiffer reads and discusses Which Puppy a children’s picture book he recently co-authored with his daughter Kate.

2009: In Texas, Heroes and Legacies sponsors “The Kinky Friedman Cigar Event” featuring five Kinky Friedman Cigars including The Governor, Kinkycristo, The Willie, Texas Jewboy and the Utopian

2010 President Barack Obama proclaimed the month of May as Jewish American Heritage Month. Below is the full text of his proclamation.

 In 1883, the Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus composed a sonnet, entitled “The New Colossus,” to help raise funds for erecting the Statue of Liberty.  Twenty years later, a plaque was affixed to the completed statue, inscribed with her words:  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….”  These poignant words still speak to us today, reminding us of our Nation’s promise as a beacon to all who are denied freedom and opportunity in their native lands. Our Nation has always been both a haven and a home for Jewish Americans.  Countless Jewish immigrants have come to our shores seeking better lives and opportunities, from those who arrived in New Amsterdam long before America’s birth, to those of the past century who sought refuge from the horrors of pogroms and the Holocaust.  As they have immeasurably enriched our national culture, Jewish Americans have also maintained their own unique identity.  During Jewish American Heritage Month we celebrate this proud history and honor the invaluable contributions Jewish Americans have made to our Nation.

The Jewish American story is an essential chapter of the American narrative.  It is one of refuge from persecution; of commitment to service, faith, democracy, and peace; and of tireless work to achieve success.  As leaders in every facet of American life—from athletics, entertainment, and the arts to academia, business, government, and our Armed Forces—Jewish Americans have shaped our Nation and helped steer the course of our history.  We are a stronger and more hopeful country because so many Jews from around the world have made America their home.

Today, Jewish Americans carry on their culture’s tradition of “tikkun olam”—or “to repair the world”—through good deeds and service.  As they honor and maintain their ancient heritage, they set a positive example for all Americans and continue to strengthen our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2010 as Jewish American Heritage Month.  I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies to celebrate the heritage and contributions of Jewish Americans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

 

                                                      The Twist

 … President Obama has made a subtle, symbolic gesture that some would say demonstrates uncommon sensitivity to the Jewish community. Thanks to the New Jersey Jewish News for this story, which reports that President Obama removed the standard phrase “in the year of our Lord” from a proclamation welcoming May as Jewish Heritage Month. As the newspaper reports, previous similar proclamations — by Obama, George Bush, and Bill Clinton — all included the standard line affixed at the end, pegging the missive’s date to the birth of Jesus Christ … Obama, in praising Jews for their unique contributions to American culture, took the extra step of taking it out this time. This may not sit well with “the our-country-is-a-Christian-nation crowd” and it may seem like a small thing, but it shows a certain level of sensitivity if not outright political courage. There are those who think that Jewish community should be more outspoken in acknowledging this, and in voicing appreciation.”

2010: The Los Angeles Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “If You Knew Suzy: ‘A Mother, A Daughter, A Reporter’s Notebook’” by Katherine Rosman.

2010: An exhibit sponsored by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research styled “One Foot in America: The Jewish Emigrants of the Red Star Line and Eugeen Van Mieghem,” is scheduled to come to a close today. The exhibit  tells the story of the Red Star shipping line, focusing on the lives of emigrants--the reasons they fled, their arrival in Antwerp and their experience with the city's Jewish community, their living conditions onboard the ships, and their hopes and dreams, is scheduled to close at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

2011: Today is reported to be the deadline for the Lincoln Square Synagogue to raise an additional $3 million in pledges so that can receive $20 million from an anonymous donor who has offered to give the money to this leading New York Orthodox synagogue so that it can continue construction of its new building which had been halted to due financial problems.

2011: Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation is scheduled to present a Yom Ha'Shoah Music Program featuring Brian Nedvin, tenor and Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University who “will present a combination of lecture, images, and songs to educate and remind us of our obligation to never forget those lost during the Holocaust.”

2011: Naomi Shilyansky is scheduled to be called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah at Agudas Achim in Iowa City, IA.

2011(26th of Nisan, 5771): Ben Masel, who campaigned for decades for the legalization of marijuana, among other causes, died today in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin (As reported by the Eulogizer)

2012: Deidre Berger is scheduled to take part in a Q&A following a screening of “Jealous of the Birds,” a documentary about the 15,000 Holocaust survivors who stayed in Germany, at the Westchester Jewish Film Festival.

2012: It was announced that Raviv Ullman had joined the cast of Alena Smith's new Off-Broadway play “The Bad Guys.”

2012: International Workshop on Holocaust Testimonies: Truth and Witness is scheduled to begin at the Wiener Library in UK.

2012: In Hawaii, "From Zion A Voice to the Nations” is scheduled to host a coffee hour with former Governor Linda Lingle who is running for the U.S. Senate.

2012(8th of Iyar, 5772): Historian Benzion Netanyahu passed away today at the age of 102.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/world/middleeast/benzion-netanyahu-dies-at-102.html?hpw

2013: “Steal a Pencil for Me” an opera that chronicles Jack and Ina Polak’s romance as well as life in Westerbork and Begen-Belsen is scheduled to be performed at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

2013: The Historic Sixth & I Synagogue is scheduled to host its noon-time “Food for Thought” with Rabbi Yosef Edelstein helping attendees “to digest” Jewish ethics, Jewish mysticism and Jewish philosophy

2013(20th of Iyar, 5773): Friends and family remembered Evyatar Borowsky as a joker, a hardy settler, and a devoted husband and father Tuesday evening as they gathered to bury the 31-year-old victim of a terror attack at a West Bank junction earlier in the day.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/slain-terror-victim-recalled-as-comedian-and-model-husband/

2013: An IAF aircraft on Gaza this morning assassinated a senior Salafist terror activist who was reportedly behind an April 17 rocket attack on Eilat from the Sinai

2013(20th of Iyar, 5773): Eighty-seven year old  French author Viviane Forrester passed away today.
http://forward.com/articles/176721/who-was-afraid-of-viviane-forrester/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Saturday-and-Sunday_Daily_Newsletter%202013-05-18&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_term=The%20Forward%20Today%20%28Monday-Friday%29

2013: Three fires broke out in the Lachish region today, destroying an estimated 20,000 dunams.

2013: Newly installed Pope Francis accepted an invitation from President Shimon Peres to visit Israel, as the two leaders held their first meeting today.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/pope-francis-accepts-invitation-to-visit-israel/

2014(30th of Nisan, 5774): Rosh Chodesh Nisan

2014: “Cardinal O’Connor’s Mother Was Convert From Judaism, Family Research Reveals” published today.

2014: The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations voted today to deny membership to “J Street.”

2014: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to a panel discussion entitled “New Perspectives on Jewish Refuges and Migrants after World War II.”

2014: Shaaray Tefila and J Street are scheduled to host an evening with IDF veterans Oded Na’aman and Yoav Litvin.

2014: “Disobedience: The Sousa” is scheduled to be shown at the JCC Rockland International Jewish Film Festival.

2015: Seventy-three year old Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is scheduled to announce that he will seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States.

2015: “Dora,” a film about a young lady named Dora with Down syndrome is scheduled to be shown at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia.

2015: Mike Hale described “Revolution of the Eye, a new exhibition opening at the Jewish Museum.

2015: The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is scheduled to host a production of “The Last Cyclist” Karel Svenk’s play “written and rehearsed in the Terezin Concentration Camp.”

2015: In Atlanta, GA, the Breman Museum is scheduled to host “The Wildest Party of the Year.”

2015: The National Football League held its 2015 NFL Draft in the Auditorium Theatre which had been designed by architect Dankmar Adler.

2015: Yeshiva University Museum and the Center for Jewish History in cooperation with the American Sephardi Federation are scheduled to sponsor “A Musical Journey through Space” “hosted cellist Elad Kabilio and accompanied by clarinetist, Avigail Malachi-Baev and vocalist, Inbal Sharret-Singer.

2016: Israeli saxaphonist and composer Eli Degibri is scheduled to perform at the White House as a part of International Jazz Day, which will take place today.

2016(22nd of Nisan, 5776): Eighth Day of Pesach; for more see http://downhomedavartorah.blogspot.com/

2016: In Iowa City, Lubavitcher Rabbi Avrohom Blesofsky is scheduled to host Sedudat Moshiach this evening.