Thursday, January 29, 2015

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

January 30

1349: The Jews of Freilsburg Germany were massacred.

1592: Clement VIII began his papacy during which enacted numerous anti-Jews moving including the issuance of Cum Saepe Accidere, a papal bull that “forbade the Jewish community of the Comtat Venaissin of Avignon, a papal enclave, to sell new goods, putting them at an economic disadvantage”  and Caeca et Obdurata, a papal bull that “banned Jews from living in the Papal states outside the cities of Rome, Ancona, and Avignon” which among other things had the effect of expelling the Jews from Umbria and Bologna. Last but not least, he issued Cum Hebraeorum militia a papal bull that “forbade the reading of the Talmud.”

1648: Spain and the United Netherlands sign The Treaty of Münster and Osnabrück marking the end of the eighty yearlong Dutch revolt against Spanish rule.  The treaty guarantees the independence of the Protestant Netherlands from the rule of Catholic Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.  It means that the Jewish community in the Netherlands, which includes many Sephardic refugees and Marranos, will be able to grow and flourish.

1649: King Charles I was beheaded.  One of those who took part in the trial was Isaac Dorislaus, the son of Dutch Reform minister who has been misidentified by some as being Jews. There was a “converso community” living in England but the Jews would not be formally re-admitted until after Oliver Cromwell came to power following the King’s death.

1667: The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ceded Kiev, Smolensk, and left-bank Ukraine to the Tsardom of Russia in the Treaty of Andrusovo. According “to the treaty...arranged with John the Jews, who then lived in the towns and districts that became Russian territory, were permitted to remain "on the side of the Russian czar," under Russian rule, if they did not choose to remain under Polish rule. Jewish wives of Greek Orthodox Russians were permitted to remain with their husbands without being forced to change their religion.

1807: Sir Robert Grant was “called to the bar” and began the practice of law. This was but one step on the ladder that led to Grant’s successful career as a member of the House of Commons.  Grant was not Jewish.  Robert Grant was a strenuous advocate for the removal of the disabilities of the Jews, and twice carried bills on the subject through the House of Commons. They were, however, rejected in the Upper House, which did not yield on the question until 1858, twenty years after Grant’s death. 

1817(13th of Shevat): Rabbi Yom Tov Netel, author of Tehor Ra’ayonim passed away

1823: Birthdate of Ida Warburg the future wife of Eduard Wolf.

1831: In Paris Edmond Rochefort and his wife gave birth to Victor Henri Rochefort allied himself with anti-Semite Edouard Drumont and the infamous Hubert-Joseph Henry during the campaign to convict Dreyfus and then to destroy as much of the Jewish community as possible.

1839(15th of Shevat, 5599): Tu B’Shevat

1842(19th of Shevat, 5602): Sixty-five year old Branca Brendel Bernisse Hartog Kann the daughter of  Jacob Hirsch Pinto and Levia Leonora Liebe Pinto and the wife of Hirschel Eliazer Kann passed away today in Nederland.

1852: The horribly mutilated body of Jacob Lehman was found today in the Delaware River. Lehman was the son of Aaron Lehman, a German Jewish peddler living in Philadelphia.  When last seen, Jacob had in his possession $200 worth of watches, jewelry and other items that constituted most of his father's inventory. 

1852: A jury in Philadelphia rendered the following verdict: "That the lad Jacob Lehman came to his death at the hand or hands of some person or person to the Jury unknown."  Lehman was the son of a German Jewish peddler whose gruesomely dismembered body had been found floating in the Delaware River

1854(1st of Shevat, 5614): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1854: In Riga, Eleazar Frommer and his wife gave birth to Jacob Frommer the Rabbi of Congregation Bikur Cholim Bnay Abraham, New Haven, CT.

1855: Henry Fitzroy, the husband of Hannah Rothschild and the son-in-law of Nathan Mayer Rothschild completed his term as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department.

1857: The will of Marcus Cone was offered for probate today. Included in the will were instructions for establishing Cone's German Human Benevolent Society of New York, Cone's German Human Benevolent Society of Syracuse and Cone's German Human Benevolent Society of Albersweiller, the Germany city in which he was born.  Cone wanted to establish the two societies in the United States because neither of these cities had any organized way to provide aid for their indigent Jewish citizens.

1860: It was reported today that "In England, astonishment is expressed” that Emperor Napoleon has not appointed the Duc de Persigny to the Foreign Ministry. Unbeknown to the public M de Persigny will not join the cabinet because he refuses to serve with Achille Fould, the Minister of State. M Fould is a favorite of the Empress who “absolutely clings” to him “as the only man competent to” serve as “Minister of State and of the Household of the Emperor.” Furthermore, M Fould is Jewish, a millionaire and is connected to “other rich Jews” through his banking connections.(“Nearly all the millionaires of Paris at this moment are Jews.”) The Emperor is reportedly “afraid to offend so important” a component needed to ensure the stability of his government.  “There are people malicious enough to suggest that the Empress' wish in the matter goes for very little, however, and that she is made to bear the blame because that is more convenient in these personal matters than a reason of State.”

1863(10th of Shevat, 5623): Phineas Mendel Heilprin passed away today in Washington, D.C.  Born at Lublin in 1801, he moved to Hungary in 1842 and then left in 1848 when the revolutionary movement failed.  He arrived in the United States where he gained a reputation as a scholar and author.  His son Michael, who was born in 1823 came to the United States after the failure of the Kossuth led revolution.  On the eve of the Civil War, he refuted Rabbi Raphall’s position on slavery in the United States describing it as being immoral and contrary to the teachings of Judaism. He continued to espouse liberal cause until his death in 1888.

1863: In Warsaw, Talmud scholar Marcus Jastrow and his wife gave birth to American psychologist Joseph Jastrow.

1867(24th of Shevat, 5627): In Bristol, UK, Joseph Abraham the London born son of Moses Abraham and the brother of John Abraham with whom he worked as a wine merchant and who served as both the President of the Bristol Hebrew Congregation and Mayor of Bristol passed away today.

1873(2nd of Shevat, 5633): “French ship-builder and philanthropist Jacques Isaac Altaras, a native of Aleppo who tried to help settle Russian Jews in Algeria and who “founded a school for Jewish children at Marseilles, passed away today.

1875: The London Punch has a cartoon of Disraeli shaking hands with Gladstone and saying: "Sorry to lose you. I began with books; you’re ending with them. Perhaps you're the wiser of the two." Disraeli is Benjamin Disraeli the English Prime Minister who began as an author.  Gladstone was his political opponent who held the post of Prime Minister.]

1876: It was reported today that Jews had joined with Gentiles to raise twelve thousand dollars for the Woman’s Christian Home in St. Louis, MO. 

1876: It was reported today that a Jewish synagogue has been opened in Toronto, Canada.

1877: The Downtown Hebrew Benevolent Society is schedule to host a ball tonight as part of the New York City 1876-1877 Ball Season.

1878: It was reported today Marcuse Woodle has been elected President of the Literary Society of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association and Samson Lachman has been elected Vice President.

1879(6th of Shevat, 5639): Fifty-nine year old Abraham Treunefels the son of Rachel and Gershon Hirsch Treuenfels passed away today.

1882: Birthdate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States.  Roosevelt’s New Deal created a variety of career opportunities for a whole generation of newly college educated generation of Jewish professionals. For several generations of Jews, FDR was a near-saint.  Starting in the 1970’s, questions were raised about Roosevelt’s failure to do more to rescue the Jews of Europe.  The problem with criticizing Roosevelt is the need to come to grips with the level of anti-Semitism that existed before, during and after the war.  This reality played a part in Roosevelt’s dealing with the furor of the Holocaust.

1889: In Kiel, Germany, Jewish businessman and communal leader Julius Frankenthal and his wife Cäcilie, née Goldmann., gave birth to Käte Frankenthal who gained fame as a psychiatrist and a socialist political leader who served on the Berlin City Council and in the Prussian State Parliament during the days of the Weimar Republic.

1892: The SS Massilia arrived in New York with “250 Russian Jews among her steerage passengers.”  After having been expelled from Russia they sailed to Palestine where the Ottoman authorities issued orders banning them from landing at Jaffa.  A Jewish society then paid for their passage to America.  The Superintendent of immigration said that the refusal of the Turks to let them land would not influence his decision as to whether or not they can enter the United States.

1893: Birthdate of Rabbi Yitzhak-Meir Levin a Haredi, politician, member of the Kensett and one of 37 people to sign the Israeli declaration of independence.

1893: Charles Barton’s production of “The Outsider,” a play whose villain is a Cockney Jew, is scheduled to open at the Park Theatre in New York

1894: In Pennsylvania, Isadore Engel and Emelia (Molly) Schwartz gave birth to Dorothy Engel, the future wife of Herman Maltz who owned and operated Maltz Furniture Store in Los Angeles.

1894: Samuel Gompers and Henry Weisman are scheduled to address a mass meeting at Madison Square Garden sponsored by the Trades and Labor Conference.

1894: When his father passed away today Yissachar Dov Rokeach became the third Belzer Rebbe,

1894: Members of the Hebrew Typographical Union No. 317 are among those who will join in a march led by the E.H. Wade Post of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic, whose members were all Civil War veterans) which is scheduled to held this evening in New York City to call attention to the plight of the unemployed during the worst economic depression to hit the United States that started in 1893.

1896(15th of Shevat, 5656): Tu B’Shevat

1896: “What’s In A Name” published today described campaign being conducted by the sister of the late Abraham Hayward to disprove “the damnatory suspicion” that the two of them have “some mixture of Jewish blood.”  The efforts which have included a letter writing campaign to the London Athenaeum are proof that there “is the existence of …prejudices in the British Islands.”

1896: In Philadelphia, President Oscar Straus is scheduled to preside over the opening session of the 4th annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society

1897: It was reported today that the Municipal Library at Leipzig has a manuscript entitled “The Tree of Life” written by Jacob Ben Judah.  The manuscript is date 1287 and “it contains the liturgy of the Jews in England and their hymns.

1897: Rabbi de Sola Mendes is scheduled to deliver a sermon at West End Synagogue entitled “The Truth About Jonah”

1897: Based on information that first appeared in The American Hebrew, it was reported today that Rodef Shalom has selected Dr. Rudolph Grossman to serve as it next Rabbi, a move “that seems strange for an old conservative congregation” since he was trained at the Hebrew Union College, the Cincinnati based school that trains Reform rabbis.

1898: It was reported today that police had to be called when a riot broke out following an anti-Jewish speech by Lucien Millevoye in Bordeaux.

1898: The Young Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Circle of the Auxiliary Society of the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Social Orphan Asylum held its regular monthly meeting this afternoon.

1898: The Hebrew Infant Asylum Association held its third annual meeting this afternoon.

1898: It was reported today that next month’s Purim Ball sponsored by the Purim Association  will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria

1898: Doctors Richards, Greenfield, Taubenhaus and Singer were among those who addressed a group of Jews in Brooklyn tonight as part of a campaign to gain support for the construction of a Jewish hospital in Brooklyn

1899: Rabbi Gustav Gottheil preached a sermon at Temple Emanu-El this morning in which he praised the value and role of daily newspapers.

1899: “The Jews in Palestine” published today provides a summary of the report submitted in December of 1898 by U.S. Consul General B. Bie Randal in which he said that “960 families, numbering 5,000 souls inhabit 22 Jewish colonies in Palestine which have been founded and subsidized by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, representing the Alliance Israelite Universelle..”  Jacob’s Memorial (Zikhron Ya'akon) is the largest of the colonies with a population of 1,600 people.  The colony includes a synagogue, a school with five teachers and 4,000 acres on which the settles are growing fruit, mostly grapes, honey and mulberry leaves which is part of a plan to raise silkworms. (More 2014)

1899: It was reported today that of the four bills introduced in the New York legislature seeking a exemption from property tax, on was seeking such relief for the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.

1899: Rabbi Isaac C. Noot, principal of the Hebrew Free Schools delivered a lecture today at Temple Beth-El on “Thou shalt not bear false witness against the neighbor.”

1900: Birthdate of Russian composer Isaak Iosifovich Dunayevsky.

1902: Birthdate of Nikolaus Pevsner, the native of Leipzig who became a noted British expert on art and architecture.

1903: Leopold Greenberg, Herzl's representative in London, left for Cairo to carry on political negotiations.

1904: Herzl finished his visit to Italy.

1907(15th of Shevat, 5667): Tu B’Shevat

1908: Caught up in the dispute between the Territorialists and the Jews who will only settle for a homeland in Palestine, Churchill drafted a letter at the behest of British Zionist, Rabbi Dr. Moses Gaster.  Seeking not to offend either party, Churchill expressed his support for the Zionist dream of settling in Palestine while allowing that a temporary refuge may have to be found if such is the wish of the Jewish people.  The Territoralists were those Jews were willing to accept the British offer of a homeland in Uganda or Kenya as an immediate solution to the suffering of the Jews in Russia.  The Russian Jews were among those who were the strongest opponents of the solution.

1909:  Birthdate of activist and author Saul David Alinsky

1912: In response to an appeal by Dr. J. L. Magnes the New York City Jewish community announces subscriptions amounting to over sixty thousand dollars annually for five years for Jewish education in New York City.

 1912: In Brooklyn, N. Y, The Atlantic Union Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist convention adopts resolutions protesting against the recent massacres of Jews in Russia and outbreaks of anti-Jewish feeling in so-called Christian countries as un-Christian and affirming their belief that the Jew is entitled to religious and civil rights.

1912: Birthdate of Barbara Tuchman.  Ms. Tuchman was a prolific popular historian who won a Pulitzer Prize for The Guns of August a book that President Kennedy urged people to read so that his generation might avoid the folly which led to World War I.  Ms. Tuchman won a second Pulitzer for Stillwell and the American Experience in China, a very readable tome that uses the experiences of Stillwell's career in Asia to explain the events that would ultimately lead to the victory of the Communist Chinese.  Although she was Jewish, Ms. Tuchman wrote only one book related to Jewish History - Bible and Sword (England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour).  Ms. Tuchman passed away in 1989 at the age of 77. Born in New York City, New York she is best known for her book The Guns of August (1962), a history of the outbreak of World War I, and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, (1970). She won Pulitzer Prizes for both books. Tuchman's father was a one-time owner and publisher of The Nation, as well as the founder of the Theatre Guild. Her maternal grandfather was the ambassador to Constantinople under President Woodrow Wilson, and her uncle was the Secretary of the Treasury under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She said, "The unrecorded past is none other than our old friend, the tree in the primeval forest which fell without being heard." Tuchman never went to graduate school, and never took a single course in writing. In deciding to write, she said, "The single most formative experience, I think, was the stacks at Widener Library where I was allowed to have as my own one of those little cubicles with a table under a window, queerly called, as I have since learned, 'carrels,' a word I never knew when I sat in one. Mine was deep in among the 940's (British History, that is) and I could roam at liberty through the rich stacks, taking whatever I wanted. The experience was marvelous, a word I use in its exact sense meaning full of marvels. It gave me a lifelong affinity for libraries, where I find happiness, refuge, not to mention the material for making books of my own."Tuchman said, "Nothing sickens me more than the closed door of a library." She also said, "Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill."

1916(25th of Shevat, 5676): Joseph Jacobs passed away. Born in 1854, he “was an Australian literary and Jewish historian who was a writer for the Jewish Encyclopedia and a notable folklorist, creating several noteworthy collections of fairy tales.

1915(15th of Shevat, 5675): Tu B’Shevat

1915: In Atlanta, the defense rested this afternoon in the case of Dan S. Lehon, CC. Felder and Arthur Thurman who are on trial subornation of perjury in an effort to secure a new trial for Leo Frank who was convicted of murdering Mary Phagan.

1915: From Berlin, the Overseas News Agency reported that in Russia,“Jews ae being prosecuted officially and demonstrations against the are being organized by the government.”

1918: In New York City, Joseph Opatovsky, who gained fame as Yiddish author Joseph Opatoshu and his wife gave birth to David Opatovsky who gained fame as actor and screenwriter David Opatoshu.

1919: The Versailles Conference decided that the Arab provinces should be wholly separated from the Ottoman Empire and the newly conceived mandate-system applied to them. This decision clashed with the expectation of Faisal's Arab delegation that his state would include Palestine, and the conditional understandings reached in the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement.

1920(10th of Shevat, 5680): Henriette Goldschmidt, the wife of Rabbi Abraham Meyer Goldschmidt, who was a social worker, educator and one of the founders of the Women’s Educational Association passed away today in Leipzig.

1922(1st of Shevat, 5682): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1923: In Newark, NJ, Jacob Israel Gersten and Henrietta (Henig) Gersten gave birth to Bernard Gersten, the Executive Producer of Lincoln Center Theater.

1926(15th of Shevat, 5686): Tu B’Shevat

1927: Birthdate of Zeev (Heinz) Raphael, a native of Germany who escaped to safety in Sweden three days before the German invasion of Poland.

1927(27th of Shevat, 5687): Rabbi Joseph Israel Deutsch passed away today.

1928: Birthdate of Irwin Michnick who gained fame as Mitch Leigh, “an American musical theatre composer and theatrical producer best known for the musical Man of La Mancha.”

1928: Birthdate of Harold “Hal” Prince, Tony Award winning theatrical producer and director.

1930(1st of Shevat, 5690): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1930(1st of Shevat, 5690): “Prominent philanthropist in colonial India, Alice Edith Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading GBE, née Alice Edith Cohen the daughter of London merchant Albert Cohen, the first wife of Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading passed away today.

1930: Simcha Hinkas, a Jewish policeman, went on trial in Tel Aviv. He is accused of leading a crowd of Jews who reportedly killed five adults and wounded two children in an Arab family on August 25, 1929 during the Arab Uprising.  According to the government, while Hinkas was on duty at a crossroad on Herzl Street during the Arab riots he saw a truck filled with Jews fired on by Arabs who killed four and wounded five.  Hinkas allegedly went back to his barracks, got his rifle and led a Jewish mob in an attack on an Arab house.  A government witness identified the bullets in the dead Arabs as having come from a government issued rifle, but could not tie them to the gun belonging to Hinkas.  Two Arabs later identified Hinkas from a group of 13 Constables, but other Arabs identified different Constables.  Alfred Riggs, assistant superintendent of the police “declared that Hinkas was one of the mildest and best of the police” but, “for reasons of his own,” the British police official seemed certain that the Jewish policeman was guilty.

1931: Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" premieres at Los Angeles Theater.

1933: On the day that Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Eli Boschwitz, a judicial abriter came home and told his wife, 'We are leaving Germany forever.'"  Boshwitz was the father of  5 year old Rudy Boschwitz the future Republican leader who would eventually serve 12 years as U.S. Senator from Minn. 

1933: Youth Aliyah opens its offices in Berlin. The previous year Recha Freier, a rabbi's wife decided it would be a good idea to send young people from Germany to Kibbutzim. She founded the Juedische Jugendhilfe organization to help facilitate the work. That same year it became a department of the World Zionist Organization under Henrietta Szold.  Five thousand adolescents were rescued before the war and another 15,000 after the war.

1934: Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Chasan of the Bronx announce the engagement of their daughter Shulamith Chasan to Theodore S. Chazin, son of Cantor and Mrs. Hirsch L. Chazin.  Mr. Chazin is a practicing attorney and the secretary of the Jersey City Zionist District.

1934: Moses Mendel Penn, the oldest patient ever cared for at Montefiore Hospital for Chronic Diseases, will observe his 109th birthday there today. He has partly recovered from a stroke that paralyzed one side of his body eight months ago. Mr. Penn entered the hospital on the application of the Bronx Young Men's Hebrew Association, of which he is the oldest living member.

1935: “Three Men on a Horse,” a comedy starring Garson Kanin and Sam Levene opened on Broadway at the Playhouse Theatre where it ran for 835 performances.

1935: Birthdate of Albert “Albie” Louis Sachs, the South African born son of Lithuanian Jews who fought against Apartheid and was appointed a Judge of the Constitutional Court by Nelson Mandela.

1937: Rabbi Samuel Goldenson delivers a sermon entitled “The Ten Commandments and Social Problems” during Saturday morning services at New York’s Temple Emanu-El.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that a Jewish constable, Mordechai Schwartz, who was charged with the premeditated murder of Police Constable Mustapha Khoury, was sentenced to death. The court refused to accept evidence that the previous murder by Arabs of two Jews in Karkur had influenced Schwartz to an immediate act of reprisal. Schwartz continued to claim his innocence.

 1939: Hitler, in his anniversary speech in Berlin, talked about the event of war, "The result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe." Hitler also spoke in warm terms about its friendship with Poland.

1940: The Dominican Republic Settlement Association (DORSA), a special committee created by the Joint Distribution Committee signed a contract with the Trujillo regime that was part of plan to settle Jewish refugees in that Central American country.
1942: In a speech at the Sports Palace in Berlin, Hitler told of his confidence in victory and his hatred for the Jews. "The hour will come when the most evil universal enemy of all time will be finished, at least for a thousand years." By the spring, four labor camps would be converted to death camps for the purpose of extinguishing the Jews; joining Chelmno were Belzec, Treblinka, Sobibor, and Auschwitz.

1942: Birthdate of Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane.

1943 (24th of Shevat, 5703): In Letychiv, Ukraine, German Gestapo commences mass shootings of Jews from Letychiv Ghetto. 200 surviving Jews from Letychiv slave labor camp were ordered to undress and were shot with machine-gun into a ravine. Some 7,000 Jews were murdered in Letychiv.  For those with a sense of irony, this was Shabbat and the Torah reading was Yitro.

1943: The SS Pierre Soule, a liberty ship, was launched today 45 days after its keel was laid. The ship was named after Pierre Soule a Louisiana political leader who was an ally of Judah P. Benjamin, and according to one story in the New York Times, was Jewish. 

1944: Seven hundred Jews are deported from Milan, Italy, to Auschwitz.

1945: Hitler gives his last ever public address; a radio address on the 12th anniversary of his coming to power.

1948: Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu extremist.  While Gandhi was a figure revered by many, some Jews have their reservations about this proponent of civil disobedience and non-violence no matter what the threat.  After Kristallnacht Gandhi wrote, "If the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary sacrifice, even the massacre I have imagined by Nazis could be turned into a day of thanksgiving that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of a tyrant...the German Jews will score a lasting victory over the German gentiles in the sense that they will have converted the latter to an appreciation of human dignity."  Apparently Ghandi lacked any concept of the evil that was Hitler.  But even after the war when the total horror was known, Gandhi said that the Holocaust was "the greatest crime of our time, but the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife.  They should have thrown themselves into the sea from the cliffs....It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany." 

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported from Bonn that the West German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, assured Israel that his country would pay the first installment of 47 million marks of the German-Israeli Reparation Agreement within the next two months.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that IDF patrols had beaten back two attacks by Jordanian marauders at two points along the armistice lines, inflicting heavy casualties. Jordan falsely claimed that a number of Israeli soldiers were killed in both encounters. Both sides complained to the UN Israeli-Jordanian Mixed Armistice Commission.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that traces of copper were found near Jenin.

1958: “Sunrise at Campabello” the play written by Dore Schary that provided a dramatic depiction of FDR’s struggle with Polio premiered at the Cort Theatre in New York City.

1964(16th of Shevat, 4724): Writer and theatrical producer Allen A. Adler passed away today in New York City at the age of 47. Adler was part of a famous Jewish theatrical family.  His grandfather was actor and producer Jacob Adler.  His father was theatre manager and owner, Adolph Adler.  His uncle was Luther Adler and his aunt was Stella Adler.

1971: Carole King's “Tapestry” album is released. This recording by Brooklyn born Jewess Carol Klien would become the longest charting album by a female solo artist and sell 24 million copies worldwide.

1974: The Mayor and City of West Berlin hosted a reception to mark the 85th birthday of Dr. Kate Frankenthal. A psychiatrist and socialist political leader during the Weimar Republic she fled Germany in 1933 and settled in the United States in 1936 where she became a consultant to the Jewish Family Service of New York.

1975: The final part of the Agranat Commission’s report was published today. The commission had been set up after the Yom Kippur War to find out why the IDF had failed to perform as expected prior to, and during, the hostilities.1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that US President Jimmy Carter sent a sharp note to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, complaining over the plan to establish Shilo, a new West Bank settlement. 1978(22nd of Shevat, 5738): Mordechai Yehuel, 27, of Ramat Gan was stabbed and killed in Ramallah.

1979: The civilian government of Iran announced it had decided to allow Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to return from exile in France. The subsequent Islamist revolution would end the reign of the Shah, a regime which was much friendlier to Israel than the government that would follow. In retrospect, one can draw a straight line between the French decision and the Iranian nuclear threat that the West and Israel face in the 21st century.

1982: U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig “filed a reported with President Reagan  that revealed” his “fear that Israel might, at the slightest provocation, start a war against Lebanon.”1990: The Israeli Government said today that it had no official policy of settling Soviet Jewish immigrants in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir dismissed the debate over the issue as an ''artificial storm'' created by panicked Arab leaders.

1991(15th of Shevat, 5751): Tu B'Shvat

1991: The New York Times reviews The Smile of the Lamb by David Grossman; translated by Betsy Rosenberg.

1991: In Amman, around 3,000 Jordanians demonstrated in favor of Iraq, burned American and Israeli flags and urged Mr. Hussein to fire chemical weapons at Israel. The demonstration reflected Jordan's tilt toward Baghdad throughout the gulf crisis. "O Saddam, hit, hit Tel Aviv!" some chanted. "With chemical weapons, O Saddam!" others replied. Jordan's population is more than half Palestinian, and many have voiced support for the Iraqi leader as a champion who will lead them to statehood.

1991: The Young Professionals of the American Friends of Tel Aviv University is sponsoring a black-tie cocktail party and dance, at Stringfellows to benefit the Adopt-a-Student Endowment Fund at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University.

1992: Publication date of “Hideous Kinky, an autobiographical novel by Esther Freud, daughter of British painter Lucian Freud and great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud.

1992: "ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD," by Tom Stoppard, adapted by Yosef Brodski, staged by Yevgeny Arye and featuring the Gesher Theater Company is scheduled to be performed in Brooklyn, NY.

1992: As Israel presses the United States for loan guarantees to cope with a projected huge influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, officials here said today that the immigrant flow this month had sunk to its lowest in almost two years and could dwindle even further

1998: Premier performance of Paul Simon's "The Capeman."

1998: U.S premiere of “Zero Effect” a detective move directed and written by Jake Kasdan.

1999(13th of Shevat, 5659): Ninety-three year old Professor Mirra Komarovksy the Russian born daughter of “Zionists and land owning Jews” who came to the United States where she became a leading authority in the field of Women’s Studies passed away today. (As reported by Eric Pace)

2000: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Einstein’s German World by Fritz Stern and The Greenspan Effect: Words That Move the World's Markets by David B. Sicilia and Jeffrey L. Cruikshank.

2001: Two people were injured during at the Tayibe Bridge bombing for which Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

2001: Prime Minister Ehud Barak saw 20 immigrants' representatives inside his Jerusalem office and then presided tonight over a modest support rally at the city's convention center as he continued his campaign against Ariel Sharon.

2003: In “A Burst of Light Provides Privacy,” published today Elaine Louie discusses the work of Ayala Sefaty of Tel Aviv who designed her own underwater restaurant in Eilat.

2003: “The Israeli experiment aboard the space shuttle Columbia has accomplished its goals of studying the effects of dust storms on weather and recording electrical phenomena atop storm clouds, scientists said today. Researchers from Tel Aviv University said their Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment had gathered solid information on the plumes of dust and other aerosol particles blown from deserts by storms before being carried worldwide by high winds. The particles affect rain production in clouds, deposit minerals in the ocean and scatter sunlight that affects global warming, the scientists said. ''The experiment has worked without a hitch,'' Dr. Joachim Joseph, a principal investigator, told a briefing at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. ''We have very good data, very unique data.'' A twin-camera multispectral instrument in the payload bay of the shuttle has been scanning desert particles whipped into the atmosphere and, at night, making images of the tops of some of the thousands of thunderstorms that rumble through the atmosphere every hour. The shuttle, nearing the end of a 16-day mission, is to return to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday with its crew of seven, including the first Israeli astronaut, Col. Ilan Ramon, a combat pilot in the Israeli Air Force. The flight, which had been delayed almost two years, finally went into orbit at a time when storms in the Sahara that push dust into the Mediterranean Sea are infrequent. But researchers said luck was with them and they were able to obtain images of dust plumes. The first was made on Sunday, blowing from the western coast of Africa into the Atlantic. The big payoff was on Monday, on the last scheduled pass over the Mideast. ''On the last orbit over the Mediterranean,'' Dr. Joseph said, ''we got a nice dust storm over Israel. ''We just lucked out.'' Israeli scientists said they had clear images of cloud-to-space lightning, called sprites, and the first scientific pictures recorded from space that show an elf, a luminous doughnut-shape electrical glow above a thunderstorm that lasts less than a millisecond. Aside from the successful science, the mission is important to Dr. Joseph because Colonel Ramon is carrying a keepsake, a small Torah scroll used at Dr. Joseph's bar mitzvah almost 60 years ago while he was in a concentration camp in Germany. The elderly rabbi performing the ceremony, who died soon afterward in the camp, gave the Torah to the boy and told him to tell people what had occurred there. Dr. Joseph said Colonel Ramon saw the Torah when visiting his house and was so moved by the history that he asked to take it into space as a tribute. In an interview from space last week with Israeli officials, the astronaut displayed the Torah. ''This represents more than anything the ability of the Jewish people to survive despite everything from horrible periods, black days, to reach periods of hope and belief in the future,'' the colonel said. Because of the gesture from space, Dr. Joseph said, he feels he has finally fulfilled his promise to the rabbi.”

2004: Airing of the 13th episode of “Boston Public” co-starring Fyvush Finkel, Michael David Rapaport, Anthony Heald, Jessalyn Gilsig and Joey Slotnick following which it was announced that the series would be cancelled due to low ratings.

2005: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Lot’s Daughters: Sex, Redemption, and Women's Quest for Authority by Robert M. Polhemus and the newly released paperback editions of Growing Up Fast by Joanna Lipper and Oracle Night by Paul Auster

2005: In “The Observant Reader,” Wendy Shalit provides a prescient synopsis of the varying ways in which Orthodoxy is portrayed in contemporary literature.

2005: A Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures” which had opened at Studio 54 in 2004 closed today

2005: In “The Nation; One Clear Conscience, 60 Years After Auschwitz,” published today Roger Cohen tells the story of Miecyslaw Kasprzyk, an unsung hero of the Holocaust.

2006(1st of Shevat, 5766): Playwright Wendy Wasserstein, author of the Heidi Chronicles and The Sisters Rosensweig passed away at the age of 55.

2007: It was announced today that Michael Abraham Levy who had been named Baron Levy, had been “arrested by police on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice regarding the cash for peerages investigation and immediately released on bail” Six months later he would be cleared of charges related to a scandal regarding charges of granting life peerages in exchange for political contributions.

2007: The House of Love and Prayer, a new multi-lingual musical based on the life of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, had its final performance at the JCC in Manhattan

2007: In Derby, UK, as part of Holocaust Memorial Day observances a screening of 'Into the Arms of Strangers,” for students from the Millennium Centre, with a Q&A session to follow with Steven Mendelsson who traveled on the “Kindertransports.”

2008: In Manhattan, the 92nd St Y presents Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in debating “Does God Exist?” Two of today’s most provocative voices as debate the ultimate religious question: Is there a God? Best-selling authors Christopher Hitchens and Shmuley Boteach pull no punches as they discuss organized religion and its place in American life.

2009: Maira Kalman started a new illustrated blog in the New York Times called “And the Pursuit of Happiness” about American democracy today

2009: Lillian Hellman’s “Scoundrel Time” opens at the City Lit Theatre in Chicago.

2009:Batsheva Dance Company, one of the most inspirational and sought-after companies in the dance world, presents its acclaimed production, ‘Three’ at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase, New York. 

2009: A swastika was discovered today at Congregation Shaarey Tphilohan Orthodox synagogue in Portland, Maine which claims to be Portland's oldest Jewish congregation.
2009 (5th of Shevat 5769: Milton Parker, who brought long lines and renown to the Carnegie Deli in Manhattan with towering pastrami sandwiches and a voluble partner who kibitzed with common folk and celebrities alike, passed away today at the age of 90. (As reported by Dennis Hevesi)

2010: The Museum of Modern Art is scheduled to present a musical event featuring Israeli pianist Menahem Pressler with the New York Chamber Soloists.

2010: The JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, NJ, is scheduled to observe Tu B’Shevat with a program  of stories and songs led by Miki Rahav, of Kibbutz Yagur entitled “Celebrating 100 years of Kibbutz Life with Stories and Songs.”
2010(15th of Shevat, 5770): Tu B’Shevat
2010(15th of Shevat, 5770): Eighty-seven year old British historian Jack Richon Pole, the son of Ukrainian Jews who had found refuge in the UK, whose most famous work was Political Representation in Britain and the Origins of the American Republic passed away today.
2010(15th of Shevat, 5770): Aaron Ruben, who was a producer, writer and director for some of the most popular television comedies of the 1960s and ’70s, notably “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” and “Sanford and Son,” passed away today at his home in Beverly Hills, at the age of 95. (As reported by William Grimes)

2010: Joëlle Alexis won the World Cinema Documentary prize for Editing tonight at Sundance for her work on Yael Hersonski's “A Film Unfinished.”  The movie examines an unfinished Nazi propaganda film about life in the Warsaw ghetto.

2011: Blood Relation, a documentary film by Noa Ben Hagai is scheduled to shown on the final day of the Seventh Annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival.
2011:  At the 92nd Street Y Drawing on a compendium of more than 600 New York Times articles on the Civil War, Harold Holzer and Craig L. Symonds are scheduled to discuss revelations about America’s great conflict that are still affecting Americans today.
2011: Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit is scheduled to sponsor Super Sunday, the community wide telethon to benefit the Federation's 2011 Campaign.2011: “Return to Haifa” is scheduled to have its last performance at the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater, Washington DCJCC

2011: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Neoconservative Persuasion: Selected Essays, 1942-2009 by Irving Kristol, Panorama by H.G. Adler and Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety by Gideon Rachman

2011: Cyprus has recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said on today, following similar recent declarations coming mostly from South American states.

2011(25th of Shevat, 5771): Eugene Lubin, whose men and boys clothing store in suburban New York provided bar mitzvah suits for decades, and who was a longtime leader in Jewish organizations, passed away today at the age of 88. The store, Lubin's Men's World, has operated in several locations throughout Westchester County, just north of New York City. In 2010 it opened an operation within Rothman’s, an upscale men’s clothier in Scarsdale. “What happens when upscale specialty men’s clothier Rothman’s invites Lubin’s, the 56-year-old young men’s clothing institution (it has dressed generations of bar mitzvah boys), to move into his Scarsdale shop? Y-chromosome clothing kismet. From boys to men, all are suitably attired here at this brilliant -- and stylish -- pairing of retail roomies,” a Westchester magazine raved. Eric Schoen, who is active with the Jewish Council of Yonkers, said that “Gene Lubin was a man who cared greatly about the city of Yonkers and was involved in its business, civic, religious and philanthropic community." But, like others, Schoen also returned to Lubin’s bar mitzvah suits. "He also cared that bar mitzvah boys and anyone celebrating a special occasion looked perfect," Schoen said. "People traveled far and wide to get that perfect fit." Lubin was a former president of the Westchester Jewish Council and was a member of the Yonkers citizen budget commission in 1993. (As reported by the Eulogizer)

2011(25th of Shevat, 5771): Meyer O'hayon Tapiero, a Morocco native who was among the founders of the new Jewish community of Marbella in Andalusia, Spain, passed away at the age of 94. Tapiero and and his wife came to the resort town of Marbella in 1955 on a holiday from their home in Casablanca, where they had a successful men’s clothing business, and decided to set up their home and family in the Spanish region because he “felt the political change coming in Morocco and decided to look at new prospects beyond its borders.” His wife had come to Morocco from Berlin, which she fled in 1942. Tapiero convinced two brothers to join him in Spain, and they and other family members from Morocco built a synagogue and helped redevelop the community, which had been devoid of Jews since the Inquisition. The community is now a popular destination for Jewish tourism and has a Chabad house and other Jewish services (As reported by the Eulogizer)

2012: The 92nd Street Y is scheduled to host “Terezin Between Celebration and Investigation” a frank and challenging discussion about the dual function of the art of Terezín led by Hanna Arie-Faifman and Michael Beckerman.

2012: The Israel Prisons Service parole board decided today to reduce the sentence of former minister Shlomo Benizri, a member of the Shas party who was recently sentenced to four years in prison for bribery and other offenses. The parole board decided to cut Benizri's sentence down by a year and four months, so the former minister is due to be released in April.

2012: President Bill Clinton will receive the Tikkun Olam Lifetime Achievement Award of the Jewish Federation of Arkansas. The federation made the announcement today and will bestow the honor at a Feb. 4 ceremony in Little Rock marking its 100th anniversary celebration dinner.

2013: The Library of Congress is scheduled to host a presentation on the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design featuring Professor Ezri Tabari, the founder and former chair of the Bezalel MA degree program in industrial design

2013: Jori Slodki is scheduled to teach a two hour class “Oy Vay! A History of Yiddish” at (of all places) Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City, Iowa.

2013: The ORT Braude Academic College of Engineering in Karmiel is scheduled to host the opening session of “From There to Here,” a month long event that will give 15 Oleh artists living in northern Israel showcase their works.

2013: Yeshiva University Museum with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and Jewish Theological Seminary are scheduled to present a panel discussion featuring David G. Roskeis and Naomi Diament, the co-authors of the newly published Holocaust Literature: A History & Guide

2013: Former Representative Gabby Giffords gave a brief emotiaonal opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee that was holding hearings on gun violence.

2013: Israeli forces attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border today, sources told Reuters, after Israelis warned their Lebanese enemy Hezbollah against using chaos in Syria to acquire anti-aircraft missiles or chemical weapons.

2013: Beitar Jerusalem soccer club welcomed Muslim Chechen players Zaur Sadayev and Gabriel Kadiev to the team in a press conference today attended by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and dozens of foreign reporters.

2014: “Nazi-looted paintings recovered by the Allies platoon known as the Monuments Men are scheduled to be sold at auction in New York” today. The four lots will go on the block at Sotheby’s in New as part of a sale of Old Master paintings and sculpture. Some of the works were owned by the Rothschild family. Two of the family’s paintings to be auctioned were placed in the private collection of Nazi leader Hermann Goering, Reuters reported.” (As reported by JTA)

2014: Joan Dodek (Past President, Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry) and Marcia Weinberg (Former Chair, Soviet Jewry Committee of Jewish Community Council) are scheduled to discuss their daring trips to visit refuseniks in the Soviet Union and involvement in the struggle to free Soviet Jewry at Washington Hebrew Congregation.

2014: In New York, the Jewish Museum is scheduled to host an evening of entertainment “featuring a live performance by Mirah” to mark the upcoming closing of “Chagall: Love, War and Exile.

2014: Rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit in an open area in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported.

2014: Oxfam accepted actress Scarlett Johansson’s resignation as a global ambassador, calling the role “incompatible” with her work for the Israeli company SodaStream.“Oxfam has accepted Scarlett Johansson’s decision to step down after eight years as a Global Ambassador and we are grateful for her many contributions,” the global anti-poverty charity said in a statement issued today. “While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador.” (As reported by JTA)

2014: The editors of an ultra-Orthodox daily newspaper today accused the State of Israel of encouraging anti-Semitism throughout the world, claiming that lax religious adherence in the nation and “harassment” of the Haredi community were to blame.

2015: Ernst Lutisch’s “Angel” is scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Cinematheque

2015: “Born Yesterday” is scheduled to be shown at the 92nd St Y as part of the Women on Top series.

2015: The Eden-Tamir Music Center is scheduled to present “Piano Games” featuring Ariel Halevi, Dror Semmel and Michaek Serzekel.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This Day, January 29, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

January 29

904: Sergius III began his papacy during which Jews first began settling at Mayence, Germany in 906.

1421(17th of Shevat, 5181): The Jews of Sargossa, Spain were spared from slaughter at the hands of King Alfonso V , thanks to the fact that a handful of synagogues beadles had acted on the advice given to them by the Prophet Elijah in a dream  shared by each of them.  The resulting salvation on the 17th of Shevat was celebrated by Saragossan Jews, and dubbed "Purim Saragossa." A Hebrew Megillah (scroll) was penned, describing the details of the miraculous story. To this day, this scroll is read in certain communities on Purim Saragossa.

1478: “The Washington Haggadah,” the creation of Joel Ben Simeon was completed today. “In addition to the full text of the Passover night liturgy, the Washington Haggadah features stunningly intricate illuminated panels and a series of Passover illustrations that include depictions of "The Four Sons," "The Search for Leaven," and "The Messiah Heralded." The enduring popularity of Joel ben Simeon's miniatures is reflected in the many reproductions of his work that have appeared over the years in anthologies of Jewish art and manuscript painting. In 1991, the Library of Congress published a facsimile edition of the Washington Haggadah, accompanied by a companion volume with a detailed scholarly description, analysis, and assessment of the manuscript.”

1482: Pope Sixtus V addresses a “severe letter” to Ferdinand and Isabella censuring the conduct of the Inquisition.  “In this letter the pope admitted that he had issued the bull for the institution of the Inquisition without due consideration.”

1581: Baptism of Sir Rowland Cotton, the English MP who learned Hebrew from Hugh Broughton.

1676(OS): Tsar Alexis I of Russia passed away. “During his reign a considerable number of Jews lived in Moscow and the interior of Russia. In a work of travels, written at that time, but published later, and bearing the title, Reise nach dem Norden the author states that, owing to the influence of a certain Stephan von Gaden, the czar's Jewish physician, the number of Jews considerably increased in Moscow. The same information is contained in the work, The Present State of Russia by Samuel Collins, who was also a physician at the court of the czar. From the edicts issued by Alexis Mikhailovich, it appears that the czar often granted the Jews passports with red seals (gosudarevy zhalovannyya gramoty), without which no foreigners could be admitted to the interior; and that they traveled without restriction to Moscow, dealing in cloth and jewelry, and even received from his court commissions to procure various articles of merchandise. Thus, in 1672, the Jewish merchants Samuel Jakovlev and his companions were commissioned at Moscow to go abroad and buy Hungarian wine.” Another edict “instructed a party of Lithuanian Jews to proceed from Kaluga to Nijni-Novgorod, and as a protection they received an escort of twenty sharpshooters.” The Czar’s attitude towards the Jews was a mixed bag as can be seen from his expulsion of “the Jews from the newly acquired Lithuanian and Polish cities” – Mohilev, Wilna, and Kiev. Altogether, taking into consideration the hatred of foreigners among the Russian population of his time, it is evident that Alexis was kindly disposed toward the Jews.”

1689: The Convention Parliament adopted a resolution declaring England to be “a Protestant Kingdom” and that only a Protestant could be King.  This effectively removed James II from the throne and paved the way for William and Mary to come to the throne. The Jews had already returned to the British Isles, but the Protestant monarchs would prove to be sympathetic to their cause which helped with the peaceful growth of the nascent Anglo-Jewish community.

1735: Sixty-eight year old George Granville, the British playwright adapted “The Merchant of Venice” into the “Jew of Venice” in 1701 passed away today.

1790: "The Jews of Paris obtained a certificate, couched in most flattering terms, and testifying to their excellent reputation, from the inhabitants of the district of the Carmelites, where most Jews dwelt at this time.”

1791: During the French Revolution, a Jewish delegation dressed in their uniforms as National Guardsmen and bearing certificates of ‘good behavior’ from the Christian citizens of Paris appeared before the Commune seeking support for their demand to be granted full rights as citizens of France.

1794: Ezekiel Hart, one of the early leaders of the Canadian-Jewish community married Frances Lazarus. She was the niece of Frances Noah and her husband Ephraim Hart, a successful New York merchant.

1803(6th of Shevat, 5563): Jonas Phillips passed away. Born in Germany in 1736, he was the first of the Phillips family to settle in America. A founder of Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, Phillips was the father of twenty-two children and the grandfather of Uriah Phillips Levy, the first Jewish Commodore in the United States Navy.

1803: Birthdate of Anselm Salomon von Rothschild, who was an Austrian banker, and a member of the Vienna branch of the Rothschild family, born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany to Baron Salomon Mayer von Rothschild and his wife Caroline.

1808:  Ezekiel Hart was elected to the Canadian parliament but was prevented from taking his seat because as a Jew he could not take the oath "on the true faith of a Christian." Though reelected in May 1808, and in April 1809, he was again prevented from being seated. Only in 1832 was legislation passed allowing Jews to hold public office and giving them full civil rights. Born in 1767, Hart passed away in 1843.

1817(12th of Shevat, 5577): Sixty year old Abraham Furtado, the President of the Assemblee des Notables and  assistant of the Mayor of Bordeaux passed away in Bordeaux.

1819: Sir Stamford Raffles establishes at a post at Singapore. By 1830, there at least 9 Jewish traders living at the British outpost and by 1840, the Sassoon family with all that that meant for the growth of the colony and the Jewish community.

1820: King George III, whose life had been saved by a Jew in 1800 and who had his first conversation with a Jew when he spoke to boxer Daniel Mendoza passed away

1830: The date for the congregation charter for Nidce Israel, in Baltimore which became the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

1832: In St. Petersburg, Maria Ivanovna Maltsova and Captain Pavel Nikolayevich Ignatyev gave birth to Count Nikolay Pavlovich Ignatyev who was appointed Minister of the Interior by Alexander III who fomented pogroms and who was the driving force behind the issuance of the infamous May Laws.

1843: In Niles, Ohio, William and Nancy (née Allison) McKinley gave birth to William McKinley, Jr. who appointed Oscar Straus to serve as United States Minister to the Ottoman Empire.

1848: In a speech at the annual Thomas Paine Dinner, suffragist and anti-slavery activist Ernestine Rose declared "superstition keeps women ignorant, dependent, and enslaved beings. Knowledge will make them free."

1849: Isaac Noah Mannheimer delivered a speech in the Austrian Reichstag where he called for the abolition of capital punishment.

1852: Birthdate of Frederick Hyman Cohen, the native of Kingston Jamaica, who would gain fame as the Composer, Conductor, and Pianist, Sir Fredrick H. Cowen.

1856:  Queen Victoria institutes the Victoria Cross. Frank de Pass was the first Jew to be awarded Britain’s highest award for valor.  He earned it for action on the Western Front on November 24, 1917.  The award was made posthumously since he was killed the next day.

1859 (24th of Shevat, 5619): Passing of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. Born in 1787, he was renowned Chassidic leader, and forerunner of the "Ger" Chassidic dynasty.

1860: Birthdate of Russian author Anton Chekhov. Unlike other Russian literary lions, Chekhov fully opposed anti-Semitism.  He was a supporter of Dreyfus, publicly declaring his innocence and supporting Zola when he came to the defense of the French Colonel.  When Alexsi Suvorin, his long time friend and literary colleague, attacked Zola as an agent of the Jews, Chekhov ended their professional and personal relationship.

1861: Kansas became the 34th state of the Union. One of the unique aspects of the history of the Jews of Kansas was the Jewish agricultural colonies that were established on the High Plains during the 1880’s. The Jewish Agriculturists' Aid Society of America seven Jewish agricultural colonies in places with such Biblical and or Jewish names as Beersheba, Montefiore, Lasker, Leeser, and Touro, Gilead and Hebron. For more about this interesting attempt to create what Zionist would come to call The New Jew in America’s heartland see "Jewish Farming Communities Enriched Kansas Cultural Heritage" at Today there is a thriving Jewish Community in Kansas, much of it centered in Overland, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb.

1877(15th of Shevat, 5637): Tu B’Shevat

1877: After studying at the Jewish Theological Seminary at Breslau, David Kaufmann was ordained as a Rabbi.  He had received his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig 3 years before his ordinated.

1877: It was reported today that according to an unconfirmed rumor, the Ottoman government is so desperate for money that it has offered to sell the Pashaluk of the Holy Land, which is effectively Palestine, to any candidate acceptable to the Jews in return for a loan.  If the Jews are not interested, the Turks might make a similar offer to Brigham Young since agents of the Mormon have been reported making similar inquiries during the past year.

1878: Birthdate of Dr. Alexander Marx, the native of Elberfield, Germany who became the director of libraries and Jacob H. Schiff Professor of History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

1882: Seventy-one year old General Alfred von Henikstein, “the youngest son of the Jewish banker Ritter Joseph von Henikstein, who was baptized as a child” and who was” chief of staff before the battle of Königgrätz in the Austro-Prussian War” passed away today.

1890: It was reported today that Professor Felix Adler officiated at the wedding of Gertrude Hiller and Gustave Leve in New York City.

1890: Forty year old Mrs. Basche Gersohnfeld a Russian Jewess and her four children ranging in age from eleven to two arrived at Castle Garden where she was met by her husband Moses who had come to American before her with their son Joseph and was working as butcher.

1890: Commissioner Stephenson denied Basche Gershonfeld and her young children the right to leave Castle Garden because even though her husband Moses was earning $12 a week as a butcher and her son Joseph was earning $9 a week he was not sure that they would not become public charges.

1891: It was reported today that the 200 year old Wells Mansion which is believed to be the oldest house still standing in Boston, MA, has been purchased by a Jewish millionaire named Ratchesky. (This may be Abraham “Cap” Rashesky who founded the A.C. Ratchesky Foundation.

1892(29th of Tevet, 5652): Sixty three year old Benjamin Russak, a partner in Harris & Russak, a “fur-manufacturing house” passed away today.  A native of Posen, he came to the United States in 1848 and opened a retail hat, cap and fur store with his brother-in-law, Henry Harris. The firm prospered and was one of the first to enter into the fur-seal trade.  Russak was active in several organizations including the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the United Hebrew Charities and the Hebrew Technical Institute.

1892(29th of Tevet, 5652): Eight year old Liebmann Adler, the native of Lengsfeld, Germany who came to the United States in 1854 to lead a congregation in Detroit, MI, before becoming the Rabbi at the Ḳehillath Anshe Ma'arabh ("Congregation of the Men of the West"), of Chicago in 1861 passed away today.

1892: Birthdate of German –born American director Ernst Lubitsch.

1895: It was reported today that the mid-year exams, including tests in Hebrew, will begin this week at Columbia College in New York,

1896: It was reported today that the American Jewish Historical Society will be holding its fourth annual meeting in Philadelphia.

1897: Captain Ferdinand Forzinetti, the commandant of military prison, who was “one of the first to be convinced of the innocent of Dreyfus” received a letter of commendation from the Ministry of War “for having taken part in a panel that reviewed the regulations concerning the serving of military justice.” Later in the year, he would be relieved of duty when his support for Dreyfus became a matter of public record.

1897: “Our Jewish Population” published today included a summary of paper presented by Philadelphian David Sulzberger at the annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society which described the growth of Jewish population in the United from 3,000 in 1812 to its present level of 500,000 “of whom 140,000” live in New York City. 

1897: Rabbis Kohler and Kleeberg will co-officiate today at the funeral of Dr. Solomon Deutsch, the author of Essays on the Talmud

1898: Lucien Millevoye delivered an anti-Dreyfus speech tonight in Bordeaux.

1898: “Fortunes in Antiquity” provided a review of The Art of Getting Rich in which Henry Hardwicke uses the story of Cain and Able as evidence that “the first occupations of mankind were sheep industry and tillage.”  Furthermore, as can be seen from the fact that “the wealth of the patriarchs…consisted principally in their flocks” the “pastoral life…seems to have been more…profitable among the Hebrews than tillage.” 

1899: “Homer and Jewish Rites” published today noted the similarity between the Jewish rituals concerning the washing of the hands and the prayer uttered in the Iliad, “Now pray to Jove what Greece demands: Pray in deep silence and with the purest hands.”

1899: The meeting of the Zionist Actions Committee in Vienna came to an end.

1899: Mr. Green introduced a bill in Albany today that would exempt “the real property of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association of New York City from all taxes commonly known as ‘land taxes.’”

1899: It was reported today that Governor Theodore Roosevelt has chosen Jastrow Alexendar to serve as State Inspector of Gas Meters.  “In Mr. Alexander, the Governor believed he had found another Maccabee – a Jews who had come to this country from Germany while a young man, had become thoroughy imbued with the American spirit, had enlisted when the civil war broke out, and by reason of conspicuous courage had been advanced to be an Adjutant General.”

1903: Herzl and the Actions Committee in Vienna work out the outline of a Charter which is taken to Cairo by the expedition and delivered to Leopold Greenberg.

1903: Birthdate of Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the Riga born intellectual who made Aliyah in 1935 and whose career both in depth in breadth is beyond my ability to even begin to describe.

1904: In Warsaw Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, the originator of Esperanto and his wife gave birth to their youngest daughter Lidia Zamenhof who died in Teblinka.

1905: Carl Jung made an entry in the records of the Burgholzli Hospital in which he described his treatment of Sabina Spielrein  whom he described as “oriental” and “voluptuous.”  The young Jewess went from being a patient of Freud and Jung to being a pioneer in the field of psychoanalysis. (As reported by Karen Hall)

1913: The British Consul in Jerusalem, P.J.C. McGregor wrote a dispatch assuring his government that he had talked to one of the leading Zionists in Palestine who denied reports in some British papers that the Palestinian Jews were pro Turk and pro German. This un-named leader assured the British diplomat that the Zionist sought the protection of the Union Jack since it was the only force that would support their goal of a Jewish home in Palestine.

1913: Birthdate of Nina Zimet Schneider.  A native of Antwerp, Belgium, Schneider grew up in the United States where she combined forces with her Husband Herman to write dozens of books for children “that deftly explained the intricacies of stars, plants, the human body and even the networks of pipes and cables below the city streets…” 

1913: Churchill sends a letter to the Reform Club announcing his resignation because Baron de Forest, his Jewish friend and Member of Parliament had been blackballed in his bid for membership.

1915: “With the evidence of the negro Jim Conley, the principle witness against Leo M. Frank when the latter was convicted of the murder of Mary Phagan and that of Herbert Hass, of counsel for Frank, Solicitor Hugh Dorsey, late this afternoon rested the case of the State against Dan S. Lehon, C.C. Fedler, and Attorney Arthur Thurman, representatives of the W.J. Burns Detective Agency, who are accused of subornation of perjury in the effort to get a new trial for Frank.”

1916: The opposition in the Senate yesterday to the nomination of Louis D. Brandeis of Boston to the Supreme Court of the United States appears to have been softened overnight. One Democratic Senator, who is especially well placed for knowing the drift of sentiment on the subject, said today that twenty-four hours ago he would have estimated that two-thirds of the Senate was against Mr. Brandeis.

1916: In Argentina, premiere of “The Miracle” a British silent film treatment of Max Reinhardt’s play of the same name.

1917(6th of Shevat, 5677): Esther Kantrowitz, the mother of Meta Itskowitz, who raised her grandson Eddie Cantor from the time he was two because both of his parents had passed away died today.

1918: Hugo Guttman, a German-Jewish Lieutenant in the Kaiser’s Army began serving as “Adolf Hitler’s direct superior.”

1918: Two days before his death, Zionist leader Dr. Jechiel Tchlenow wrote a letter to the convention of the English Zionist Federation which was to take place four days later in which he stated that the convention was of the greatest historical importance; that Great Britain is the traditional friend of the small nations and that history would record in letters of gold the English promise to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national homeland in Palestine.

1921: Birthdate of Eugene V. Klein the American businessman, supporter of candidates as varied as Pierre Salinger and Richard Nixon whose sport’s endeavors include ownership of the Seattle Supersonics and San Diego Chargers.

1923: Birthdate of writer Paddy Chayevsky.  Chayevsky created works both for the big screen and television. Some of his more famous efforts included Marty, Hospital and Network.  “Television is democracy at its worst.”

1924(23rd of Shevat, 5684): Seventy-nine year old Frederick Salomon van Nierop a Dutch lawyer who was Chairman of the Supervisor Board of the Amsterdam Bank, a member of the Amsterdam Main Synagogue and President of the Committee of the General Affairs (a Jewish communal organization) passed away today.

1928: The New York Times reported on improving economic conditions in Palestine.  For example, at Petakh Tikvah, an additional fifty Jewish workers have been hired and “the Arab lessees of local orange groves have promised to take on 200 more Jews within the next few days.”

1929: U.S. premiere of “The Case of Lena Smith” directed by Josef von Sternberg, produced by Jesse L. Lasky, filmed by cinematographer Harold Rosson based on a story by Samuel Ortiz.

1929: Birthdate of Richard Lawrence Ottinger who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from New York before he went on to pursue a career as a law school professor.

1928: When asked by an interviewer in an article published two days before his 80th birthday “When should one commence giving?” Nathan Straus replied, “As soon as one has a little more than he actually needs.  At first it is hard.  But afterwards it grows into a pleasure and there is nothing more satisfying, nothing to make one happier than to give in order to relieve the distress of others.” By “others” Mr. Straus means “men women and children of all races and creeds.”  He has “the deep seated feeling that all humanity is one blood whatever the accident of birth or the circumstances of religious faith.  We are all brothers and should help each other to the full extent of the opportunities that the one God of all mankind gives to each of us.

1932: In New York City, the Julien Levy Gallery owned by Julien Levy hosted “the landmark multi-media Surrealist exhibition of the work of Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, and the introduction of Salvador Dalí's The Persistence of Memory owned by Levy who “also championed the surrealist work of Leon Kelly.”

1932: French premiere of “Comradeship” the Franco (La Tragédie de la mine)-German(Kameradschaft) film starring Alexander Granach as “Kasper.”

1932: The American Hebrew appeared for the last time. It would merge with the New York Jewish Tribune and re-appear as American Hebrew and Jewish Tribune

1932: In London, England, celebration of the 80th anniversary of the birth of famed composer, conductor and pianist Sir Frederic H. Cowen.

 1933: Paul von Hindenburg, President of Germany appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.  The Nazis did not come to power through a coup or putsch.  They came to power legally, using the German political and electoral processes.

1937: American release date of “The Good Earth” the cinematic treatment of Nobel Prize winning author Pearl Buck’s novel of the same name starring Jewish actor Paul Muni. The Jewish connection continued with Luise Rainer winning the Oscar for Best Actress and Karl Freund winning the Oscar for Best Cinematography.

1941(1st of Shevat, 5701): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1941(1st of Shevat, 5701): At the Lodz Ghetto, Bluma Lichtensztajn committed suicide and painter Maurycy Trebacz died of hunger. (He was one of five thousand Jews who will die of hunger over the next six months.)

1943: Germans execute 15 Poles at the village of Wierzbica for aiding three Jews. One of the victims is a two-year-old girl.

1944: In Trieste, the Nazis conduct a roundup of Jews aimed the old and sick people including those living in facilities for the aged. 

1944: A Nazi court in Kraków, Poland, sentences five Poles to death for aiding Jews. One of the accused, Kazimierz Jozefek, is hanged in the public square.

1944: In Lithuania, Soviet led partisans including Jews from the Kovno and Vilnius ghettos attacked Koniuchy which was later described a pro-Nazi town from which Germans launched attacks against partisans.  According to various reports several civilians were killed in the action which has led to it being described as a “massacre.”

1945(15th of Shevat, 5705): Tu B’Shevat

1945: Birthdate of Paysach J. Krohn, rabbi, mohel and author of the “Maggid” series of books for ArtScroll.

1947: Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" premiered in New York City

1948: Birthdate of Canadian Gerald Barry Falovtich who gained fame as singer-songwriter Yank Berry, “the philanthropist who along with his friend and partner Muhammad Ali has fed over 954,000,000 documented meals to the needy around the world over the last twenty years.”

1948: The colleagues and friends of Dr. Alexander Marx will hold a reception in the reading room of the JTS Library so that they can celebrate his 70th birthday and congratulate him on his 45 years of service to the academic institution which is the flagship of Conservative Judaism.

1948: At its annual meeting in the Commodore Hotel, the board of governors of the Hebrew Union College approved an $8,000,000 "Blueprint for the Future."

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Mapam, by a vote of 228 to 22, expelled from the party one of its veteran Zionist leaders, Dr. Moshe Sneh. According to the Post's leading article there was no room in Mapam for two groups which justified the new Soviet anti-Semitic policy and this explained why Sneh, and his more extreme "Left Faction," were expelled. They were expected to join the Communists.  

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that President Juan Peron said that the gates of Argentina stood wide open to any Soviet Jew who wished to find shelter there. The offer was also valid for Jews from other Soviet-dominated countries.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that The Ministry of Interior closed the Communist daily Kol Ha'am for 10 days for publishing articles threatening the public peace.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that arson damaged the Russian bookshop in Jerusalem.

1954: Dr. Robert Oppenheimer sent a telegram requesting a hearing before the Atomic Energy Commission which had suspended his security clearance in response to charges that he was untrustworthy because of associations with Communists.

1959: Marian Winters began playing the role of “Myra Solomon” in the stage production of “Tall Story.”

 1962:  Violinist Fritz Kreisler passed away.  According to at least one source, Kreisler’s father was Jewish, but he was not.  Reportedly Kreisler’s wife was an Austrian anti-Semite whose reactions to Kreisler’s ethnic origins have helped to cloud the issue.  At least one of Kreisler’s brothers is reported to have said that he was Jewish but the same could not be said of Fritz.

1964(15th of Shevat, 5724): Tu B'Shevat

1964: Birthdate of Ruhama Avraham, the Sephardi native of Rishon LeZion who was first elected to the Knesset in 2003.

1964: Premiere of Stanley Kubrick's anti-war dark comedy, "Dr Strangelove"

1967 "Let's Sing Yiddish" closed at Brooks Atkinson in New York City NY after 107 performances.

1968(28th of Tevet, 5728): Eighty-five year old J. B. S. Hardman, born Jacob Benjamin Salutsky who was a leader of the Jewish Socialist Federation of the Socialist Party passed away today.

1969: Birthdate of Dov Charney CEO of the garment company American Apparel.

1969(10th of Shevat): Max Weinrich a founder of the Yiddish Institue (YIVO) and author of History of the Yiddish Language passed away

1970(22nd of Shevat, 5730): Areyh Ben-Eliezer, the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, a member of several pre-state organizations including Hebrew Committee for National Liberation, The American League for a Free Palestine and the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, passed away

1970: Gideon Patt, a sabra born in Jerusalem during the British Mandate, began serving in the Knesset following the death of Areyh Ben-Eliezer.

1975: Alan King hosted the First Annual Comedy Awards of the Year.  Considering the number of Jewish comedians going back to the early days of vaudeville, the choice of the Jewish King is doubly appropriate.

1975: Birthdate of actress Sara Gilbert.  Sara is the younger sister of Melissa Gilbert who starred in “Little House on the Prairie.”  Sara starred in the sitcom “Roseanne” a twentieth century version of the family unit which provides an interesting counterpoint to the 19th version of the family shown on Little House on the Prairie.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Prime Minister Menachem Begin had reversed his earlier decision and recommended to the cabinet that the Israeli military delegation return to Cairo to resume negotiations. He hoped that the joint Egyptian-Israeli Political Committee would eventually resume its meetings in Jerusalem. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made a direct appeal to US Jewry and complained "that the behavior of the Israeli government had been negative and disappointing." Egypt, according to its Foreign Ministry statements, would never bargain over its territory and will always defend the rights of the Palestinians.

1983(15th of Shevat, 5743): Tu B’Shevat

1983: Birthdate of Ethiopian born Israeli fashion model Esti Mamo.

1989: It was reported today that a Holocaust museum is to be built on the National Mall in Washington, DC has received thousands of artifacts, including letters, diaries, arm bands and secret coded communications between inmates.

1989: It was reported today that a Jewish institute plans to donate $100,000 for training black South African medical workers. The grant will be presented to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

1990: Yuli M. Vorontsov, the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister, met with the head of Israel's consular delegation in Moscow, Aryeh Levin. Mr. Vorontsov was quoted as saying, ''We oppose any use of citizens' leaving the Soviet Union, at great risk to them, to push Palestinians off land belonging to them.'' Soviet displeasure over the settlement debate is also threatening an agreement reached between El Al and Aeroflot for direct flights between Moscow and Tel Aviv. The head of the Soviet consular mission in Israel, Georgi Martirosov, told reporters on Monday that ''recent Israeli statements have hindered any possibility of moving this process forward.''

1991: After several days of growing frustration over the slow pace of allied efforts to eliminate Iraq's Scud missile launchers, Israeli officials warned today that Israel may not wait much longer before it attacks. An Israeli television interviewer offered a sentiment common among Israelis when he told Defense Minister Moshe Arens this evening: "The Americans keep bombing launchers but haven't been terribly effective. Meanwhile, Americans are watching the Super Bowl, and Israelis are sitting in shelters and sealed rooms." Mr. Arens responded: "The situation you described isn't going to continue -- not two months, and not a month. I simply estimate that a situation in which we'll be neutral or not active, and their ability to launch missiles against us isn't eliminated, it won't continue for a long time."

1991: In a meeting with a visiting French politician today, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir is reported to have said that Israel wants to play an active role in the battle against Iraq but is constrained by limits imposed by the United States. Mr. Shamir said he hoped the limits would be lifted soon. Iraq has fired 26 missiles at Haifa or Tel Aviv on seven occasions over the last 12 days, killing four people and wounding nearly 200. More than 2,000 apartments have been seriously damaged or destroyed. Elementary schools remain closed because there are too few teachers to help children put on gas masks quickly when the missile alert sounds. Productivity in business and industry is off. Much of the nation is traumatized. For the first time, Israel is under attack and unable to respond.

1991: Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman will share a stage in New York today when they team up to honor Zubin Mehta. The three violinists will appear at the annual lunch that benefits the orchestra. Last week, Mr. Mehta turned around en route to New York from Europe and flew to Tel Aviv on the eve of the war in the Persian Gulf as a show of support for Israel, where he is musical director of the national orchestra.

1992: Gila Almajor, performed a one-woman play entitled “The Summer of Aviya” which she wrote as part of “Israel: The Next Generation.”

1992: The daughter of Abie Nathan the Israeli philanthropist and peace campaigner, Sharona Nathan El Saieh, accepted the Abraham Joshua Heschel Peace Award from the Jewish Peace Fellowship today on behalf of her father because Mr. Nathan is in prison in Israel

1993: Feeling bolstered by a seal of approval from the country's High Court of Justice, Israel renewed its diplomatic offensive today to stave off United Nations sanctions over its deportation of more than 400 Palestinians to Lebanon.

1999: “Shakespeare In Love” co-produced by Harvey Weinsten and Edward Zwick co-starring Gwyneth Paltrow premiered in the U.K. today.

2000(22nd of Shevat, 5760): Harold H. Greene a federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia who was nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 passed away.

2001: Eric Edelman completed his service as U.S. Ambassador to Finland.2001: Prime Minister Ehud Barak campaigned inside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, where he spoke to a small group of disabled Israelis and some youth advocates.

2002: In the battered center of Jerusalem, beefed-up police squads guarded sidewalks and street corners today as weary shopkeepers opened for business and workers repaired the stores damaged by a bomb set off yesterday by a Palestinian woman. Along the main street, Jaffa Road, where two terrorist attacks in six days have killed three Israelis and wounded dozens, the routines of daily life became a test of bravery. Shmuel Kapash waited for customers in his empty shoe shop as an employee peered warily out the front door. Going back to work this morning was no easy matter, they said. ''I'm scared, but I have to make a living,'' Mr. Kapash said. ''I can't stay home, but I think twice before going out of the store for some fresh air. I try not to step out.'' After yesterday’s  attack, the Israeli Merchants Association demanded that the government give shopkeepers in urban centers that have been targets of attacks tax breaks similar to those granted to businesses in communities along Israel's borders. In downtown Jerusalem, the disappearance of tourists and many shoppers has drastically cut sales. At the Freiman & Bein shoe store, a Jerusalem institution for more than 50 years, Yoach Freiman stood in the debris left by the bomb, which went off just outside the front door. The store has functioned continuously on Jaffa Road, through war and peace, since 1947, and it was not about to close now, Mr. Freiman asserted. ''We don't have the right to close down or to be frightened by such incidents,'' he said of the latest bombing. ''We owe it to our customers, who have been coming here for four generations. The principle is to continue our normal lives.''

2004(6th of Shevat, 5764): “Eleven people were killed and more than 50 wounded, 13 of them seriously, in a suicide bombing of an Egged bus #19 at the corner of Gaza and Arlozorov streets in Jerusalem. Both the Fatah-related Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, naming the bomber as Ali Yusuf Jaara, a 24-year-old Palestinian policeman from Bethlehem. The victims: Avraham (Albert) Balhasan, 28, of Jerusalem; Rose Boneh, 39, of Jerusalem; Hava Hannah (Anya) Bonder, 38, of Jerusalem; Anat Darom, 23, of Netanya; Viorel Octavian Florescu, 42, of Jerusalem; Natalia Gamril, 53, of Jerusalem; Yechezkel Isser Goldberg, 41, of Betar Illit; Baruch (Roman) Hondiashvili, 38, of Jerusalem; Dana Itach, 24, of Jerusalem; Mehbere Kifile, 35, of Ethiopia; and Eli Zfira, 48, of Jerusalem.”

2004: As she was returning to her home in Rehavia after having left her child at kindergarten, award winning-Israeli author Zeruya Shalev was severely injured when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a near-by bus.  Shalev is the daughter-in-law of Israeli playwright Aharon Megged and the cousin of award winning author Meir Shalev. [Meir Shalev’s latest literary effort is “Beginnings,” a must read for anybody interested in the TaNaCh and Jewish philosophy and history]

2004: Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah carried through with their deal to exchange prisoners and war dead today, in a trade greeted in Israel by a spare ceremony for three fallen soldiers and in Lebanon by a day of national celebration. Besides the soldiers -- Adi Avitan, Benny Avraham and Omar Sawayed -- Hezbollah also freed an Israeli businessman, Elhanan Tannenbaum, kidnapped by Hezbollah in October 2000. Unlike the returning Lebanese, Mr. Tannenbaum, who said he had been treated well in captivity, did not receive a hero's welcome. He was permitted a brief reunion with his family at the airport, and was then taken away for a medical check and questioning by the Israeli authorities about possible illegal activities, Israeli officials said.

2004: The Thirteenth Annual New York Jewish Film Festival comes to an end.

2005(19th of Shevat, 5765): Eighty- year old Ephraim Kishon passed away

2006:  A day after International Holocaust Memorial Day, the new Chancellor of Germany met with the acting Prime Minister of Israel.  In one of those amazing turnabouts in history German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany would have no contact with Hamas until it disavowed terrorism and recognized Israel and all agreements signed with it. This declaration comes in the face of the recent electoral victory by Hamas, an organization dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel and death to the Jewish people.

2006: “An estimated 300,000 people took part in Yitzchak Kaduri’s funeral procession today which started from the Nachalat Yitzchak Yeshivah and wound its way through the streets of Jerusalem to the Givat Shaul cemetery near the entrance to the city of Jerusalem.”

2006: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville by Bernard-Henri Lévy

2007: Haaretz reported that according to the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism this past year saw a substantial rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries. In an annual press conference, the forum explained that 2006 was characterized by escalation in the number and violent nature of attacks on Jews, proliferation of Holocaust denial and increased comparison of Israel to the Nazi regime.

2007(10th of Shevat): A Palestinian from the Gaza Strip blew himself up today inside a bakery in the Israeli resort city of Eilat, killing all three people inside. The two owners of the bakery, Amil Elimelech, 32, and Michael Ben Sa'adon, 27 were killed in the attack as well as one of their employees, Israel Samolia, 26. Elimelech was married with two children while Ben Sa'adon was married with one child. Samolia was an immigrant from Peru. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, each took credit for the bombing.

2008: In New York City, the 92nd St Y hosts “Commando Krva Maga: Israeli Self Defense” where attendees learn defense skills developed by the Israeli military, now popular with civilians.

2008: In Iowa City, the funeral is held for Dr. Michael Balch, Associate Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Iowa and a longtime member of the Jewish community. Michael earned a BS in Engineering Science from Pratt Institute in 1960 an MS from New York University in 1962 and a PhD in Mathematics from New York University in1965.  His areas of expertise were Economic behavior under uncertainty and Theories of deterrence, arms control, and war.  He passed away on January 28, 2008 (21 Shevat, 5768).

2008: Barnard College named as its next president Debora L. Spar, a Harvard Business School professor who has written about the economics of the human fertility industry and the evolution of the Internet but has not previously been affiliated with a women’s college. Professor Spar, 44, whose appointment is effective July 1, will succeed Judith R. Shapiro, president since 1994, the college announced on Tuesday morning. “We never expected to have anybody until March or April or May, but she was too good to pass up,” said Helene L. Kaplan, a Barnard trustee and one of two leaders of its presidential search committee. “She’s bright, she’s lively, she’s young and she’s very energetic.”

2009: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, the former (now emeritus) president of George Washington University, discusses and signs Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks Out on Higher Education at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md.

2009: An American appeals court today dismissed a lawsuit by Holocaust survivors who alleged the Vatican bank accepted millions of dollars of their valuables stolen by Nazi sympathizers. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a lower court ruling that said the Vatican bank was immune from such a lawsuit under the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which generally protects foreign countries from being sued in U.S. courts2009: “The Wedding Song,” Karin Albou’s story of a friendship between a Muslim man and a Jewish woman, set in Tunisia during the Nazi occupation is featured tonight at the New York Jewish Film Festival.

2010: An exhibition entitled Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin is scheduled to have its final showing at the JCC in Washington, D.C.  Siona Benjamin is a painter originally from the Bombay Jewish (Bene Israel) community now living in the United States.

2010: The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem is scheduled to celebrate Tu Bishvat from a bit of a different angle, with parents and children and having a chance to learn about the connection between planting trees and global warming.

2010: The Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Chapter of Hadassah is scheduled to sponsor a Tu B'Shevat Seder and Shabbat Services at Temple Judah.

2010: US President Barack Obama's national security adviser cited a heightened risk that Iran will respond to growing pressure over its nuclear program by stoking violence against Israel. The adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, said today that history shows that when regimes are feeling pressure they can lash out through surrogates. He said that in Iran's case that would mean facilitating attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas

2010: Pei Xiong provides a description of the academic efforts of Jane Eisner in “Jane Eisner ’77 Teaching a New Generation of Writers.”

2011: A screening of The Matchmaker directed by Avi Nesher is scheduled to take place at the Seventh Annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival.

2011: Internationally recognized rising star, Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman is scheduled to join Orpheus for the first time in a performance of Prokofiev’s hauntingly beautiful second violin concerto at Carnegie Hall.

2011: “A Musical Mitzvah Evening” the Mitzvah Day fundraiser for Agudas Achim is scheduled to take place in Iowa City, IA.

2011: Israel watched fearfully today as anti-government unrest roiled Egypt, one of its most important allies and a bridge to the wider Arab world. The Israeli prime minister ordered government spokesmen to keep silent. Officials speaking anonymously nonethless expressed concern violence could threaten ties with Egypt and spread to the Palestinian Authority. 2011: An official at Cairo International Airport said today that El Al was trying to arrange a special flight Saturday to take roughly 200 Israeli tourists out of Egypt. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

2011: At Coe College in Cedar Rapids, the final performance of “Copenhagen” in which Barb Feller played Margrethe Bohr and her husband Steve played Niels Bohr

2011: Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”

2012: “The Religion Thing” is scheduled to have its final performance at Theatre J in Washington, D.C.

2012: A display featuring a selection of 32 Chanukah lamps selected by Maurice Sendak is scheduled to come to a close today at the Jewish Museum in New York.

2012: “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray” is scheduled to be shown at the Boulder JCC in Boulder, CO.

2012: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “Ida” by Gertrude Stein, “Stanzas in Meditation: The Corrected Edition” by Gertrude Stein, “Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition” by Marni Davis, “The Street Sweeper” by Elliot Perlman and “God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World.”

2012: An Israel Defense Forces Heron-class drone crashed in central Israel, Army Radio reported today, with no injuries reported.

2012: Anger and despair gripped many residents of the town of Harish today, the day after a local synagogue was found completely gutted by a fire that broke out early yesterday morning on Shabbat. While police said today they are sure the fire was caused by an electrical short, some residents say they believe it was intentionally set by unknown assailants looking to threaten the Breslov hassidic community that worships at the synagogue.

2013: In London, The Wiener Library’s Young Volunteers are scheduled to host a special interactive discussion workshop for 16-25 years during which they will discuss the advantages and disadvantages in using Social Media to raise awareness and promote learning about the Holocaust and Genocide.

2013: “Numbered,” a film directed by Urial Sinai and Doan Doron is scheduled to be shown at the JCC in Manhattan

2013(18th of Shevat, 5773): Ninety-six year old Louis Lesser, chairman of Louis Lesser Enterprises passed away today.

2013: Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today that he will step down as Israel's central banker on June 30, two years before the end of his second five-year term.

2014: The Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at NYU is scheduled to present its inaugural Fritzi Weitzmann Owens memorial lecture with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, titled "Dignifying Difference: The Next Generation of Multifaith Leadership."

2014: “The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a bill that would enhance the already close U.S.-Israel defense relationship. The bill initiated by U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (D-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), the top two members on the committee’s Middle East subcommittee, passed unanimously today. (As reported by JTA)

2014(28th of Shevat, 5774): Eighty-nine year old sociologist Lewis Yablonsky passed away today.

2014(28th of Shevat, 5774): Eighty-five year old psychologist Theodore Millon passed away today, (As reported by Benedict Carey)

2014: “The head of Israel’s most powerful intelligence agency depicted today a changing battlefield in which offensive cyber capabilities will, in the near future, represent the greatest shift in combat doctrine in over 1,000 years.

2015: “Felix and Meira” and “The Go-Go Boys: The Inside story of Cannon Films” are scheduled to be shown on the final day of the New York Jewish Film Festival.

2015: In New York City, the 16th Street Book Club is scheduled to discuss Hope: A Tragedy, a novel by Shalom Auslander

2015: The Thaler Holocuast Memorial Programming Committee chaired by Dr. Bob Silber is scheduled to meet today in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.