1163: Baldwin III, the first so-called King of Jerusalem to have been in “the Holy Land” passed away. None of these Crusader monarchs were rightful heirs to the crown worn by David, Solomon and their successors. His successors would so bungle things that 25 years later Saladin would take the city which was a boon for the Jewish people.
1258: Mongols overran Baghdad, burning it to the ground and killing 10,000 citizens. This marked the beginning of the Il-khan (Mongol) Dynasty in Persia. The Dynasty lasted until 1335. With the conquest of Baghdad by the grandson of Genghis Khan, the Mongol dynasty replaced the Abbasids. The Mongols were for the most part tolerant of Judaism. An Arab writer reported that on the eve of the Mongolian invasion there were 36,000 Jews living in the city and that they supported 16 Synagogues. Most of the city was destroyed during the siege. It is during this period that Judeo-Persian literature flourished specifically the poetry of Shahin whose most famous work was Sefer Sharh Shain al Hatorah.
1660(28th of Shevat, 5420): Saul Levi Morteira passed away. Born in 1596, he was a Dutch rabbi of Portuguese descent. In a Spanish poem Daniel Levi de Barrios speaks of him as being a native of Germany ("de Alemania natural"). When in 1616 Morteira escorted the body of the physician Elijah Montalto from France to Amsterdam, the Sephardic congregation Bet Ya'aḳob elected him ḥakam in succession to Moses ben Aroyo. Morteira was the founder of the congregational school Keter Torah. He taught Talmud and Jewish philosophy to the older students. He had also to preach three times a month.. Among his most distinguished pupils were Baruch Spinoza and Moses Zacuto. Morteira and Isaac da Fonseca Aboab (Manasseh ben Israel was at that time in England) were the members of the bet din which pronounced the decree of excommunication ("ḥerem") against Spinoza. Some of Morteira's pupils published Gibeat Shaul a collection of fifty sermons on the Pentateuch, selected from 500 derashot written by Morteira.
1763: The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement marking the end of the Seven Years War which those living in North America called the French and Indian War. As part of the agreement, France ceded Quebec to the British. This opened the way to Jewish settlement in Canada since French law had prohibited Jews from settling the colony. Under “the law of unintended consequences,” the war left Britain with a debt that it looked to the North American colonies to help pay off. The taxation levied on the 13 colonies was a cause of the American Revolution which helped to create the nation that has become home to one of the leading Jewish communities in our history.
1755: Sixty-six year old French author and political philosopher Charles Louis De Secondat Montesquieu, simply known as Montesquieu passed away. A product of the Age of Reason, the optimistic Montesquieu’s most famous work is De l'esprit des lois which is known in English as The Spirit of the Laws, published in 1748. Montesquieu did not just believe in religious toleration. He believed that the state had a responsibility to see to it that religious groups leave each other in peace. In the Spirit of Laws he writes, “’I cannot help remarking by the way how this nation (the Jews) has been sported with from one age to another: at one time their effects were confiscated when they were will to become Christians; and at another, if they refused to become Christians they were ordered to be burn.’” He described the Jews as a “’a mother that brought forth two daughters who have stabbed herewith a thousand wounds.’” As befitted his optimistic views, Montesquieu believed “’the Jews are at present safe; superstition will return no more, and they will no longer be exterminated on conscientious principles.’” Unfortunately, History would prove him wrong.
1767: In Berlin Esther Bamberger and Liepmann Meyer Wulff gave birth to Amalie Beer the mother of Giacomo Mayerbeer.
1779: Jews were granted right of residence in Stuttgart, Germany(As bad as all the bad things that happened to the Jewish people were, one often considers some of the good things also bad - Anon). The Jewish experience in the Germanic states was a mixed bag. Emancipation and anti-Semitism co-existed in an uneasy alliance that produced great culture but ended in the ashes of the Shoah.
1791: Birthdate of Reverend Henry Hart Milman who published History of The Jews in 1829, which was the first work by an English clergyman that “treats Jews as an Oriental tribe.” Milman based his work on “documentary evidence” and minimized the mythological approach that was used in earlier such works. In a world where the Bible and Science were clashing, his view was upsetting to many Christians and delayed the advancement of his career.
1795: Birthdate of Dutch born French painter Ary Scheffer. Scheffer was not Jewish but one of his famous paintings “Ruth & Naomi” is based on the Book of Ruth.
1799: Duke Karl Eugene decreed that no Jew should be deprived of the right of residence in Stuttgart, Germany
1800(15th of Shevat, 5560): Tu B’Shevat
1800(15th of Shevat, 5560): Benjamin Cohen - the maternal grandfather of Jonas Daniel Meijer, the first Jewish lawyer in the Netherlands – passed away. Born in 1725, Cohen was a successful businessman, Jewish teacher and supporter of William V, Prince of Orange-Nassau, the last Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic.
1802: In London Isaac D’Israeli married Maria Basevi, the daughter of Anglo-Jewish merchant whose family originally came from Italy. This union produced five children the most of which was Benjamin, the future Prime Minister and Earl Beaconsfield.
1804: Birthdate of Joseph Zender, the German Jewish bibliographer who became librarian of the Hebrew department of the British Museum in 1845.
1817: Seventy-three year old Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg, the “prince bishop” sovereign of Frankfurt during whose reign Karl Ludwig Börne was appointed a police actuary in 1811 and then forced to resign three years later because he was Jewish, passed away today.
1824: Simon Bolivar named dictator by the Congress of Peru. At the turn of the nineteenth century, the Jews of Curacao became involved with Simon Bolivar and his fight for the independence of Venezuela and Colombia from their Spanish colonizers. Two Jewish men from Curacao distinguished themselves in Simon Bolivar’s army, while another supplied moral and material support to Bolivar, as well as refuge for him and his family.
1829: Leo XII, the Pope who in 1826 order that the gates of the Ghetto at Ancona be replaced and that the “old time persecutions” be resumed, passed away today.
1831: Birthdate of Dr. Isaac Rülf, a German rabbi who supplemented his income as a newspaper editor and became an early supporter of the Zionist cause.
1836: Dr. Albert Moses Levy completed his service chief surgeon in the Texas Volunteer Army that had fought against Mexico.
1840: Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Three years before the wedding Victoria had “knighted Moses Haim Montefiore” and a year after her marriage she made Isaac Lyon Goldsmid a baronet, making him the first Jew to receive a hereditary title. According to one source, “Prince Albert may have had a Jewish father.” According to this report, “Albert's mother was dismissed from the court of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha for having an affair with the Jewish chamberlain, the Baron von Mayern.”
1852: "The Revolution in Northern Mexico" published today reported that the Mexican revolutionaries are opposed by foreign merchants in Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico. They are led by an English Jew named Charles Uhde a man with major business interests "south of the border" and who is the editor of the Brownsville Flag.
1853: Birthdate of Victor Mordechai Goldschmidt, German mineralogist. Goldschmidt made important studies of crystallography. His books The Index of Crystal Forms and The Atlas of Crystal Forms are considered classics of mineralogy.
1858: Lord John Russell's bill that would modify the oath of office so that Jews could serve in Parliament was "debated and read for a second time" in the House of Commons.
1862: “The Lily of Killarney” an operetta in three acts by Julius Benedict premiere at Covent Garden Theatre in London.
1868(17th of Shevat): Rabbi Chaim ben Jacob Polani author of Lev Chaim passed away
1869: Twenty-seven year old Myer S. Isaacs, who would go on to become a distinguished jurist and President of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, married Marie Solomon, the daughter of B.L. Solomon.
1869: Twelve years after founding The Jewish Messenger with his father and seven years after being admitted to the Bar, 27 year old Myer S. Isaacs married Marie Solomon, the daughter of New Yorker B.L. Solomon. She would pass away in 1888 leaving him with six children including I.S. Isaacs and Louis Isaacs. He would on to become a judge and President of the Baron de Hirsch Fund.
1874: Baron Mayer Amschelm de Rothschild, late Member of Parliament for Hythe was laid to rest this morning at the Jewish Cemetery at Willesden. According to an article in the Pall Mall Gazette, “the funeral cortege consisted of a hearse drawn by four horses followed by thirty mourning coaches and a large number of private carriages.”
1876(15th of Shevat, 5636): Tu B’Shevat
1876: In Kings County, the trial of P.N. Rubenstein who is charged with the murder of Sara Alexander, was scheduled to resume this morning at 10 o’clock.
1877: It was reported from Belgrade that the Serbians have refused to discuss granting equal rights to the Jews and Armenians living in their realm. The opposition is led by merchants in Belgrade who do not want any new business competitors.
1879: Dr. William M. Taylor will deliver a lecture on “Walter Scott” to the Young Men’s Hebrew Association who are holding a social at the Chickering Hall.
1879: Joseph G. Wilson, the United States consul at Jerusalem approved the plan of the American Jews in Southern Syria to organize their own kolel saying that “a responsible agency for the distribution of their charities may be the means of great and lasting good," and promised cooperation to the best of his power.
1880(28th of Shevat, 5640): Adolphe Crémieux, a French statesman and leader of the Jewish community, passed away. A lawyer and political leader he championed the rights of the less fortunate in general and the Jews in particular. Born before the first French Revolution, he came to power following the Revolution of 1830. He fought to end the death penalty for political offenses and the abolition of slavery in France’s colonies. Crémieux worked tirelessly to improve the conditions of the Jewish community. “In 1827, he advocated the repeal of the More judaico, legislation stigmatizing the Jews left over from pre-revolutionary France. He founded the Alliance Israelite Universelle in Paris in 1860, becoming its president four years later. In 1866 Crémieux traveled to Saint Petersburg to successfully defend Jews of Saratov who had been accused in a case of blood libel.”
1881: “La Civilta Cattolica, an official Jesuit publication founded by Pope Pius IX and published under the direct control of the papacy, publishes an article in a 36-part series of anti-Semitic pieces. Father Giuseppe Oreglia di Santo Stefano, one of the journal's founders, argues that pogroms against the Jews are a natural consequence of Jews demanding too much liberty”
1888: In the Ukraine, Adel and Akiva Brodetsky, the beadle of the local Synagogue, gave birth to Selig Brodetsky, a “British Professor of Mathematics, a member of the World Zionist Executive, who served as the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and was the second president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.” He passed away in 1954.
1890: Birthdate of Boris Pasternak, the Russian Nobel Prize-winning novelist and poet, author of Dr. Zhivago.
1890: The Grand Lodge, No. 1 of the Independent Order of Free Sons of Israel met for a second day at Webster Hall. Among the attendees were David Keller, S.B. Hamburger, Aaron Stern, Harry Jacobs, Gabriel Marks and Benjamin Baker.
1890: It was reported today that Edward Lauterbach delivered a speech eulogizing the late Seligman Solomon, the Jewish philanthropist who was the driving the force behind the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. The memorial service is an annual event held at the asylums building on Tenth Avenue.
1891: Birthdate of Lessing Julius Rosenwald, an American businessman who was the son of Julius Rosenwald of Sears & Roebuck fame.
1891: It was reported today that very few of the Jewish immigrants from Russia who have received assistance from a fund established by Baron Hirsh settle in the southern United States. Many of them settle in the West, while smaller numbers settle in the Middle Atlantic States or New England.
1891: According to the first paragraph of trust agreement signed by Baron Hirsch which was made public today, his reason for establishing a charitable fund is that he has “observed with painful interest the suffering and destitution of the Hebrews dwelling in Russia and Rumania where they are oppressed by severe laws and unfriendly neighbors, and have determined to contribute to the relief of such of my brethren in race who have emigrated or shall emigrate from these inhospitable countries to the Republic of the United States of America.”
1892: “A New Loan Commissioner” published today described the appointment of Edward Jacbos to the position of Loan Commissioner in New York by Governor Roswell P. Flower. A native of Buffalo, the 38 year old Jacobs is a lawyer who has never held office but is a member of the Tammany Society (Ed. Note – Yes the Jewish lawyer belonged to the Irish Catholic political organization) Jacobs is an active member of several Jewish charities and social organizations including the Hebrew Sanitarium, the Sons of Israel and B’nai B’rith.
1892(12th of Shevat, 5652): Henry Adler passed away today.
1894: Meyer Markowitz remained in custody on charges that he had broken the lock off of an icebox and tried to steal the contents to feed his family. Markowitz is a tailor who has been out of work for several months due to the Depression. He had exhausted all other sources of assistances, including asking for aid from the United Hebrew Charities. The arresting officer was sympathetic to his plight but the law against theft had to be reinforced.
1895: Birthdate of Samuel Holtzman, the Brooklyn born boxer who fought under the name of Frankie Callahan.
1895: “Charity and Pleasure” published today traces the history of the Purim Association which was formed in 1862 by ten young Jewish men – Moses H. Moses, Herman H. Stettheimer, A. Henry Shutz, Solomon B. Solomon, Joseph A. Levy, Louis G. Schiffer, Solomon Weill, Adolph Sanger, Lionel Davies and Myer S. Isaacs. The men decided to combine the celebration of the holiday with fundraising by hosting an annual ball that would provide funds for a growing listing of agencies that now includes Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Montefiore Home, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, United Hebrew Charities, the Russian Emergency Fund and many, many more.
1895: “For Sick Poor Children” which was published today provides a history of the Sanitarium for Hebrew Children. The organization grew out of a meeting in the Spring of 1877 at which Dr. S.N. Leo and John J. Davis decided that the children of Jewish parents would benefit from a series of outdoor excursions each summer. The first excursion took place in August of 1877 and provided a riverboat excursion for between 700 and 800 children and their mothers. These events have become part of the summer time activities for underprivileged New York youngsters thanks to the fundraising activities of Jewish leaders including Abraham Ettinger, Leonard Lewinson, Mrs. A.M. Kohn and Mrs. Julius Hart.
1896: Herzl reads Auto-Emancipation by Leon Pinsker. Leon Pinsker was a Russian born physician who became a Zionist years before Herzl had his “vision of a Jewish state. ’Auto-Emancipation was a pamphlet Pinsker published in 1882 “in which he urged the Jewish people to strive for independence and national consciousness.”
1897: Freedom of religion granted in Madagascar. This “liberal sounding statement” was actually the product of French imperialism. France conquered the island in 1895 and the Chamber of Deputies voted to annex it in 1896. The extension of Freedom of Religion, including securing the rights of French Jews who might settle there, was part of the law of unintended consequences. Madagascar would enter into Jewish history as the site where the Nazis offered, before World War II to deposit the Jews. This was the so-called Madagascar Plan.
1898: Birthdate of French journalist and author, Joseph Kessel
1898: Birthdate of German aircraft designer and journalist whose 1929 article in The World Stage exposing the creation of “a secret German Air Force in violation of the Treaty of Versailles” was ignored in the West but earned him an 18 month prison term in a German prison for treason and espionage. (Editor’s note: This warning came four years before Hitler came to power putting the lie to the contention that German re-armament was strictly a Nazi affair)
1901: Birthdate of actress and teacher of thespians, Stella Adler. Adler was part of a major theatrical family. She began her career on the Yiddish stage before making the transition to Broadway. Her fame as an actress was exceeded only by her fame as an inspiration for aspiring actors and actresses at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting in New York City. She passed away in 1992 at the age of 91.
1901: Birthdate of German born American mathematician Richard Dagobert Brauer.
1903: Herzl writes to Lord Rothschild, reports about the commission and asks for a meeting in Paris.
1903: Birthdate of Russian born composer, Matvey Isaakovich Blatner.
1906: It was reported today that the Russians are refusing to cash money orders intended to aid Jewish citizens and are returning them to the senders because “orders have been issued from St. Petersburg to refuse payment…because the money is for the purpose of aiding the revolutionary cause.”
1906: “In the lower sections of” New York City “the majority of the workers” removing snow “were Jews, refugees, young men and old” many of the latter of which were “too weak for the work and had to quit” due to exhaustion.
1910: Forty-nine year old Jules Guérin the anti-Semitic journalist who helped to found the Anti-Semitic League of France and was active in the campaign to smear Captain Dreyfus passed away today.
1911(12th of Shevat, 5671): Madame Fakima Modiano, a prominent philanthropist from Salonica, passed away.
1911: At the request of the Hahambashi, the Turkish Minister of War directs his officers in every Army Corps to provide money for Jewish soldiers to buy Matzah and kosher food during the 8 days of Passover.
1912: De Witt Seligman saw his brother Washington Seligman, both of whom were the sons of James Seligman founder of J & W Seligman & Co, for the last time today at the brokerage firm of Post & Flagg noting that his brother “appeared to be in the best of spirits at that time” and giving no hint that he was about to commit suicide.
1912: Birthdate of Herbert Baum, “the Jewish member of the German resistance against National Socialism who was either hanged or decapitated by the Nazis in Moabit Prison
1912: Birthdate of Heinrich Josef Krips, the son of a Jewish-born convert to Catholicism, who gained game as conductor Henry Krips.
1912(22nd of Shevat, 5672): Sydney James Stern, 1st Baron Wandsworth the eldest son of Viscount David de Stern, senior partner of the firm of Stern Brothers, and Sophia, daughter of Aaron Asher Goldsmid passed away today leaving “estate of 1,555,984 pound sterling most of which was bequeathed to charity, over a million being given to found an orphanage in his name which was actually used to found Lord Wandsworth College.”
1913(3rd of Adar I, 5673): Sixty-eight year old Patterson, NJ merchant Marcus Cohen passed away.
1913: Birthdate of Charles “Charlie” Thompson a native of Brookline, MA who helped to smuggle three surplus B-17 Bombers into Israel as she prepared to fight for her independence.. The story of how he and Al Schimmer did this sounds like the stuff of a fictional spy-thriller but it really happened. These three planes were the only heavy bombers the Israelis had during the war with the invading Arab armies who were supported by modern aircraft. He was imprisoned by the U.S. for 18 months for doing this but was pardoned posthumously by President Bush in 2008
1914: The completion of the first English translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew by a body of Jewish scholars representing all shades and schools of Jewish thought and learning was celebrated at a dinner in the great hall of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America tonight. Jacob H. Schiff gave the main address praising the work of the translators.
1914: “Twenty-nine prominent clergymen and churchmen, representing all denominations including Jewish organizations were appoint trustees of Andrew Carnegie’s Church Peace Union
1914: Birthdate of one of the world’s greatest harmonica players, Baltimore native Lawrence "Larry" Cecil Adler.
1914: Birthdate of Wausau, Wisconsin native Benjamin Walter Heineman, the “lawyer and corporate leader who took over railroads, created one of the nation’s first conglomerates and became a close confidant and adviser to President Lyndon B. Johnson…”(As reported by Denise Grady)
1915: “Denies Pogrom Stories” published today described claims by Russia’ Foreign Minister that reports of attacks on Jews organized by the Russian government are untrue saying that the suffering of the Jews came because so many of them lived in Poland and those parts of Russia where war was being waged and that these reports were being spread by “the German Ambassador in American…in an attempt to create a feeling hostile” to the Russians.
1915: As he left today on a trip to the South, Adolph Lewishon said that “The question of equal rights for Jews, and also of Palestine will not doubt arise at the future peace conference and I believe that the Jewish question will be treated with more sympathy and friendship by the nations than at any other time” because of the ardent patriotism shown by the Jews.
1915: The list of the officers for District 1 of the International Order of B’nai B’rith published today included Herman Asher, Grand President; Abraham K. Cohen, First Vice President; Joseph Rosenzweig, Second Vice President; Solomon Sulzberger, Treasurer and Dr. Bernard M. Kaplan, Grand Secretary.
1915: In New York, Percy St. Straus, head of R.H. Macy & Co. and President of the Dry Goods Association told those attending the dinner marking the final night of the convention of National Dry Goods Association that “the department store men can afford to see a minimum wage law enacted without making any protest. (Editor’s note – 100 years later, in the United States, the battle is being waged over raising the minimum wage – the more things change the more they stay the same)
1916: Nathan Straus who is staying at a hotel in Long Beach, CA today mailed a check for $250,000 to New York “for distribution among the need Jewish children of Poland” and Mrs. Straus mailed another check for $100,000 for the same cause.”
1917(18th of Shevat, 5677): Raphael “Al” Hayman, the business partner of Charles Frohman with whom he established the Theatrical Syndicate, the dominant theatrical booking agency of its day passed away. Frohman, one of three Jewish brothers from Ohio who made it big in the world of New York entertainment, has died two years earlier when he was on board the RMS Lusitania.
1917: Birthdate of Edward Lawrence “Eddie” Turchin, the New York native who at the age of 26 played a handful of games with the Cleveland Indians in 1943.
1918: Abdul Hamid II Ottoman Sultan passed away. Sultan Abdul-Hamid II's is famous for his refusal to allow Dr. Theodore Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism, to settle Palestine with Jewish colonists. Herzl offered to buy up and then turn over the Ottoman Debt to the Sultan's government in return for an Imperial Charter for the Colonization of Palestine by the Jewish people. Herzl probably thought that he was offering the Sultan a bargain, knowing that the Sultan's dearest wish was to rescue the empire from the indebtedness it had fallen into as a result of easy European loans. While some saw this as a form of anti-Jewish bias others contend that Abdul Hamid’s response was based on internal nationality problems that were already troubling the empire. Hamid had enough problems with indigenous groups without bringing a new nationality problem to his tottering empire.
1918: “Owing to the wheat conservation rules of the United States Food Administration, Albert Kruger, the director of a” Jewish “relief society on the east side, said” today “that the Jewish population of the country will have its supply of matzoth for the Passover season reduced by at least 30 per cent.”
1923: Birthdate of Brooklynite Alex ‘Allie Sherman who was best known as head coach of the NFL’s New York Giants.
1923: Texas Tech University was founded as Texas Technological College in Lubbock, Texas. Today, Texas Tech boasts a small, but vibrant Hillel about which you can find out more by seeing http://www.orgs.ttu.edu/hilleljewishsociety/.
1925(16th of Shevat, 5685): Jacob “Jay” Pike, the brother of Lipman Pike, passed away today. Lipman was a famous baseball player. Jay played in only one major league. In 1877, he got a hit while playing in the outfield for the Brooklyn Hartfords who on that day beat the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
1927: Birthdate of Austrian born British novelist, story-writer and memoirist Jakov Lind author of Landscape in Concrete and Ergo.
1928: The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported today the District Court of Jaffa ruled that “compulsory Sabbath observance is in contradiction with Article XV of the Palestine Mandate that states: “The mandatory shall see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals are assured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.” The District Court was overruling a decision by a Tel Aviv magistrate who had fined a Jewish shopkeeper named Altschuler for violating the city’s ordinance regarding the observance of the Jewish Sabbath.
1929: Birthdate of Jerry Goldsmith the prolific composer who wrote hundreds of film scores and television theme songs, including music for the films Patton and Basic Instinct and television's The Twilight Zone. He passed away at the age of 75 in 2004.
1929: Birthdate of Elaine Edna Kaufman, founder of owner of Elaine’s, the famed restaurant on the Upper East Side that she made into a New York landmark.
1930: In Manhattan, Beulah and Adolph Lobl gave birth to Elaine Lobl who gained fame as award winning children’s author E.L. Konigsburg. (As reported by Paul Vitello)
1932(3rd of Adar): Yiddish author Mordecai Rabinowitz (Ben-Ammi) passed away today.
1936: With the unification of the police and the SS, the Gestapo became the supreme police agency of Nazi Germany. Gestapo Law was enacted in Prussia, giving them exclusive right to make arrests, and entitled to investigate all activities considered hostile to the state. The same law gave the Gestapo complete independence from the courts.
1936: At Cambridge, Massachusetts, “Wassily Leontief, a political refugee from the Soviet Union, a Nobel laureate Economist who pioneered computer modeling, and poet Estelle Marks” gave birth to Svetlana Leontief the American art historian who married in 1958 and became Svetlana Alpers.
1938: The Palestine Post reported from London that the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Ormsby Gore, made a clear reaffirmation of the British desire to proceed with the partition, as recommended by the Peel Report and the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations. Gore repeated that partition was the best means to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine.
1938: The Palestine Post reported that a British Army sergeant was killed by an Arab terrorist near Tulkarm.
1938: The Palestine Post reported that the final allocation of 31 seats at the Jerusalem Community Council was: Labor 10, Revisionists four, Hapoel Hamizrahi and Sephardim three each, and the rest were divided between nine smaller parties. The total number of votes cast was 9,368.
1939: Pope Pious XI passed away. The Pope earned high marks from the B’nai B’rith which featured him on the cover of its monthly magazine in 1939 hailing for his stag against fascism and racism. In 1939, The Jewish National Monthly describe him as "the only bright spot in Italy has been the Vatican, where fine humanitarian statements by the Pope have been issuing regularly".
1939: Jewish converts were banned from Evangelical-Lutheran churches in Thüringen, Germany.
1939: “…One Third of a Nation…” starring Sylvia Sidney (born Sophia Kosow) and Sidney Lumet who appeared with his father Baruch Lumet and with music by Nathaniel Shilkret was released in the United States today.
1939(21st of Shevat, 5699): Sixty-four year old Ernest Lesser who “who was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1900 and whose Jewish communal activities included serving as Warden of the New West End Synagogue passed away today. (Lesser was a man born before his time as can be seen by his support for the “enfranchisement of female seat-holders of the United Synagogue” and his description of “the problem of augunot as ‘a canker in our midst.’”
1940(1st of Adar I, 5700): Rosh Chodesh Adar I
1942(23rd of Shevat, 5702): Thirty seven year old Baruch Kremer, the husband of Batia Kremer and father of Joshua Kremer was murdered by the Nazis in his hometown of Kurenets.
1942: As of today, “the approximate ghetto and concentration camp populations of German Jews in Riga and the vicinity were: Jungfernhof concentration camp, 2,500; the German ghetto: 11,000; Salaspils: 1,300. Of the Latvian Jews, about 3,500 men and 300 women were in the Latvian ghetto.”
1944: Birthday of Geoffrey Alderman, the native of Middlsex and Oxford graduate who in 2006 “was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Oxford for his important work on Anglo-Jewish history” and who is the father of Naomi Alderman the of Disobedience, for which she earned the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers.
1944 (16th of Shevat, 5704): Dr. George Bernhard, exiled editor and political economics of pre-Nazi Germany who had been living in the United States since February, 1941 passed away today at the age of 68 from the effects of pneumonia. A native of Berlin, Bernhard was part of a Jewish family that had lived in Germany for centuries. Bernhard’s enjoyed a successful business career before devoting his time to government service and the publishing industry. “Dr. Bernhard’s Pariser Tageblatt was considered the world’s first anti-Nazi daily” and “was read all over the world by German speaking Nazis” before the Nazis took control of it in 1936. Bernhard stayed one step ahead of the Nazis, publishing in Paris until it fell in 1940 and then moving on to Marseilles before had to leave Vichy France in 1941. Dr. Bernhard who had been a deputy member of the Agency for Palestine as a representative of the German Jews and was a member of the executive committee of the Jewish World Congress was a member of the staff of the Institute of Jewish Affairs from the time he arrived in the United States until his demise.
1944(16th of Shevat, 5704): Yiddish author Israel Joshua Singer brother of two other Yiddish writers, Esther Kreitman and Isaac Bashevis Singer, passed away.
1944: The first ship to break the British blockade of Palestine arrives in Eretz Israel. Worldwide publicity of "illegal" immigration of Jews to Israel was an important factor in England's ultimate decision to give up the mandate. Most of you know the story the “Exodus” which Leon Uris used as basis for novel of that name that later was a big screen Hollywood event. The story was based on an actual event that took place in 1947. However, it was only one a series of blockade runners seeking to bring Jews from Europe to Palestine despite the White Paper banning immigration and the military might of the British Royal Navy.
1944: Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt was honored today for her work in helping to rehabilitate 40,000 refugee children in Israel. More than 1,000 persons attended the meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel where she received the first citation and cash award given for humanitarian work with children by Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, in memory of the late Henrietta Szold, founder of the organization.
1944: Birthdate of Georffrey Alderman the British historian whose works include The Jewish Community in British Politics and Modern British Jewry. He is the father of British authoress Naomi Alderman who was born in 1974.
1944: U.S. premiere of “Lady in the Dark” the film version of the Broadway musical created by Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin and Moss Hart.
1947: Following the Paris Peace Conference of 1946, the Paris Peace Treaties were signed between the victorious Allied Powers and Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland.
1947: Dov Rosenbaum, Eliezer Kashani and Mordecai Alkoshi were convicted by a British court of carrying firearms.
1948: The Central Committee of the Communist Party indicted Dimitri Shostakovich and other leading Soviet composers as "formalists," enemies of the people. This bogus charge and all that flowed from it caused one critic to describe 1948 as “the worst year of Dmitri Shostakovich's life;” a year in which the Stalinist government would fire him from two teaching positions, ban his works and take away his livelihood. Shostakovich, who was not Jewish, responded to all of this travail by setting eleven texts from "Jewish Folk Poetry" -- a collection of Yiddish folk poems published the year before in Russian translation -- for soprano, alto, tenor and piano. This musical work would gain fame as "From Jewish Folk Poetry." Shostakovich's orchestration of the cycle would not be heard in public until 1955, two years after Stalin’s death. [Ed. Note: Shostakovich was not Jewish and I do not know why he chose this way of thumbing his nose at Stalin at a time when the Soviet dictator’s anti-Semitism was reaching a new crescendo]
1949: Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" opened at Broadway's Morosco Theater. How Jewish was Arthur Miller? He was Jewish enough that when Marilyn Monroe married him she converted to Judaism.
1949: Lehi Leader Nathan Yellin-Mor was sentenced to 8 years in prison after having been guilty of being part of the leadership of a terrorist organization for his role in the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte.
1950: Seventy-seven year old, French sociologist Marcel Mauss, the nephew of Émile Durkheim, passed away today in Paris.
1950: Birthdate of Mark Spitz, Olympic Games swimming gold medalist.
1951: Birthdate of Robert "Bob" Iger, “the president and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company.”
1950(23rd of Shevat, 5710): French anthropologist and sociologist Marcel Mauss passed away. Mauss was the nephew and intellectual heir of Émile Durkheim. His most famous work is The Gift.1952: Birthdate of Zvika Greengold the native of the Kibbutz of the Ghetto fighters who earned Medal of Valor for his heroics during the Yom Kippur War.http://www.badassoftheweek.com/greengold.html
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that a strong explosion shook the Soviet Legation building in Tel Aviv, injuring three members of the staff. Israel expressed "horror and detestation" at this cowardly act. The owner of a Soviet bookshop in Jerusalem was threatened. This violence came as a wave of anti-Semitism swept across the Soviet Union.
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that The Haifa Technion opened a faculty of agricultural engineering.
1954: Birthdate of Peter Wennik Kaplan, the Manhattan born Harvard graduate who spent 15 exciting years as the editor of the New York Observer. (As reported by Margalit Fox)
1962: Ray Lichenstein’s first solo exhibition which included the canvas “Look Mickey” opened today.
1963: In Montreal, Ray and Moishe Applebaum gave birth to their third child, Michael Mark Appelbaum, the future mayor his native city.
1965(8th of Adar I, 5725): Fifty year old screenwriter Arnold Manoff who was a victim of the blacklist passed away today.
1966(20th of Shevat, 5726): Billy Rose composer and band leader passed away. Born William Samuel Rosenberg in New York City, he began his career as a lyricist. Two of his most famous efforts were "Me and My Shadow" and “It’s Only a Paper Moon."
1970(4th of Adar I, 5730): Three Arab terrorists attacked an “airport bus head for an El Al plane at the Munich airport” killing 1 Israeli passenger and wounding 8 others including actress Hanna Maron who had to have her leg amputated after being injured in the grenade blast.
1970(4th of Adar I, 5730): Just 4 months shy of his 100th birthday, Rabbi Tobias Geffen, “the Coca Cola Rabbi” passed away in Atlanta, GA.
1971: “The House of Blue Leaves,” directed by Mel Shapiro, opened today Off-Broadway at the Truck and Warehouse Theatre, where it ran for 337 performances with a cast that included Harold Gould,
1974: Birthdate of Ivri Lider, one of Israel’s most popular pop rock singer-songwriters.
1977: In the Bronx Yehonathan Netanyou Lane was named in honor of the Bronx-born Israeli soldier who died freeing hostages in Entebbe Raid in 1976. Netanyou was the only Israeli soldier to die in the daring rescue mission. His brother would build a political career based on the fame garnered from being Jonathan’s surviving brother.
1978: “Blue Collar” a crime drama co-starring Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto and featuring Milton Selzer was released in the United States today.
1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Prime Minister Menachem Begin rejected the US position that the Jewish settlements in the administered areas are illegal and an obstacle to peace. He said that Israel offered Palestinians a local autonomy which was "more than anything they had been offered by the Arab states which ruled them in the past Jordan and Egypt."
1979(13th of Shevat, 5739): Sixty-two year old Rephoel Baruch Sorotzkin, the Rosh Yehsiva of the Telz Yeshiva in Clevland, the husband of Rochel Bloch, passed away today which was the same date on the Hebrew calendar on which he was born.
1980(23rd of Shevat, 5740): Nathan Yellin-Mor, the leader of Lehi who had been born at Grodno in 1913 and whose political transformation led him to become “a radical pacifist who support negotiations with the PLO” passed away today.
1983: Peace Now held a demonstration in Jerusalem.
1983(27th of Shevat, 5743): “Right-wing terrorist Yona Avrushmi” murdered IDF veteran and teacher Emil Grunzweig and injured nine others including Abraham Burg and Yuval Steinitz when he threw a grenade at a peace rally in Jerusalem.
1984: “Unfaithfully Yours” the movie version of the novel by the same name directed by Howard Zieff, produced by Daniel Melnick, with a script co-authored by Barry Levinson and co-starring Albert Brooks was released today in the United States.
1990(15th of Shevat, 5750): Tu B’Shevat
1990: The New York Times reported that based on a poll created by Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist at Queens College of the City University of New York, and by the study's sponsor, the Israel-Diaspora Institute, a Tel Aviv-based public policy center that deals with relations between Jews in Israel and elsewhere officials of American Jewish organizations, although highly distrustful of the Palestine Liberation Organization, say that Israel should talk to the P.L.O., a national survey has found.
1990: On Off-Broadway revival of “The Rothschilds,” a musical based on Frederic Morton’s biography opened at the American Jewish Theatre.
1991: An American official said today that Air Force F-15's had destroyed a Scud surface-to-surface missile launcher in western Iraq, but it was not the one that lobbed another projectile into Tel Aviv, Israel, wounding 26 people.
1991: During Desert Storm, the Israeli Army allowed some West Bank and Gaza Palestinians to return to their jobs in Israel today for the first time in three weeks.
1994 (29th of Shevat, 5754):Naftali Sahar a citrus grower, was killed by blows to his head. His body was found in his orchard near Kibbutz Na'an.
1995: Eli Rosenbaum has been named director of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), Jo Ann Harris, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division, announced today. OSI is the unit of the Criminal Division that identifies and takes legal action against those who participated in persecutory activities of the Nazi regime during World War II. "
1996(20th of Shevat, 5756): Seventy-five year old Haskell L. Lazere, who was executive director of the New York chapter of the American Jewish Committee from 1969 to 1989 and helped found various human rights coalitions in New York City, passed away at his home on the Upper East Side.(As reported by Wolfgang Saxon.
2001: Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" was presented to a crowd of 18,000 men and women at Madison Square Garden.
2001(17th of Shevat, 5761): Abraham “Abe” Beame, first Jewish Mayor of New York City passed away. (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)
2002: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including the recently published paperback edition of James Atlas” Bellow: A Biography, the encyclopedic portrait of the writer Saul Bellow in which the author beat all the bushes to trace his personal life and achievements, drawing on more than a decade's worth of research.
2003: Eighty-seven year old journalist Herb Brin was interred today “in Jerusalem, overlooking the Temple Mount.”
2003(8th of Adar I, 5763): Ron Ziegler, Press Secretary for Richard Nixon during the Watergate Scandal passed away. (As reported by Tina Kelley)
2003(8th of Adar I, 5763): Antoinette Feuerwerker, a French jurist, veteran of the WW II Free French forces and the wife of Rabbi David Feuerwerker, passed away today in Jerusalem at the age of 90.
2005 (1st of Adar I, 5765): Playwright Arthur Miller passed away. (As reported by Marilyn Berger)
2006: In “Beating Swords Into Photographs” published today, Menachem Wecker reviews the wrong of David Seymour.
2006: Sheloshim ends for Judy Rosenstein (nee Levin) of blessed memory.
2006: An animated film, Curious George, based on the character created by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey featuring Will Ferrell as the voice of the originally unnamed Man With the Yellow Hat, was released. (The Reys are Jewish- Ferrell is not)
2007: “Musical Genius” Chen Halevi performs together with five musicians from the Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble in a Classical-Romantic-Modern program featuring works by Mozart, Dvorak and Paul Ben-Haim at the Israel Conservatory in Tel Aviv.
2008: The Sunday New York Times featured a review of Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again by Jewish author David Frum.
2008: The Sunday New York Times featured a pre-Valentine’s Day interview with Ben Karlin, Wisconsin alum and former member of Hillel based on his book Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me
2008: Jerusalem Post on-line reported that “anger boiled over in Sderot on as residents took to the streets, demanding that the government take stronger steps against the rocket fire from Gaza following a Kassam strike that shattered one local family's Shabbat.
2008: At the Tucson Jewish Film Festival in Tucson, AZ a showing of “Samuel Bak:
Painter of Questions,” a documentary that explores Bak's work and life through the lens of his childhood experiences.
2008: The 12th New York Sephardic Jewish Festival continues with showings of “Sallah Shabati,” “Souvenirs,” “Operation Mural: Casablanca 1960,” “The Jews of Lebanon” (le Petite Histoire des Juifs de Liban) and “My Love (Aviva Ahuvati).”
2009: Adelphi University Cultural Events Lecture Series presents a presentation a lecture entitled “Israel and the United Nations” by Ambassador Danny Carmon, Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations followed by a Q & A session.
2009: Kinky Friedman “confirmed to the Associated Press that he was still interested in running” for governor of Texas.
2009: In Little Rock, Arkansas, the Chabad-Lubavitch Center for Jewish Life, under the dynamic leadership of Rabbi Pinchas Ciment, presents a lecture on the power of prayer by Dr. Lisa Aiken, entitled, “Dear G-d, is anyone listening?”
2009: Israelis go to the polls in the only free, democratic elections (in the western sense of that that term) held in that part of the world. Kadima captures 28 seats and Likud captures 27 seats in the inconclusive race to control the 120 seat Israeli Parliament.
2009: Eighty-nine year old Leo Alan Orenstein, who directed and produced over 150 television shows at the CBC will be laid to rest today at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
2010: Today, the Antiquities Authority said that “archaeologists in Jerusalem have discovered an ancient street which confirms the accuracy of the 1,500 old Madaba Map which depicted in a mosaic floor of a church in Madaba, Jordan, that shows Jerusalem as it was in the Byzantine period, between the 4th and the 7th centuries. (As reported by Nir Hasson)
2010: Maggie Anton, author of the outstanding trilogy about Rashi’s Daughters, is scheduled to speak at Milken JCC in West Hills, CA.
2010: The 14th New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to present the New York Premiere of “Azi Ayima” (Come Mother), “a story of transition, cultural crisis, social survival and also lots of faith, optimism, joy and dignity, told for the first time by Moroccan women of the first generation to immigrate to Israel.”
2010(26th Shevat, 5770): First-Sgt. Muhammad Ihab Khatib, 26, was stabbed to death at the Tapuah junction on this afternoon by Mahmoud Hattib, a Palestinian Authority police officer from Yabed. Khatib was waiting in his Sufa jeep in a queue of traffic when he was stabbed in the chest through an open window. In the soldier's attempt to speed away, the vehicle overturned. Khatib was evacuated to Petah Tikva's Beilinson Hospital, where he succumbed to the knife wounds. The soldier is survived by a father, a mother, two brothers and three sisters. Several years ago, his uncle was killed in action. In the Second Lebanon War, his aunt was killed when a Katyusha rocket fired by Hizbullah hit her house.
2011: “Five Brothers,” “The Loners” and “There Were Nights” are scheduled to be shown at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
2011: Opening night of the Jewish Film Festival in San Diego, CA.
2011: Laura Cohen Apelbaum, Executive Director of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington and Archivist Wendy Turman are scheduled to present an illustrated lecture of Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln's City, detailing Civil War-era personalities and events in Washington and Alexandria.
2011: Dr. Nathan Abrams is scheduled to deliver an illustrated lecture entitled “(Jewish) men and (gentile) women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way” based on romantic comedy, “When Harry Met Sally.”
2011: At a ceremony for the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told an audience today in the United Nations General Assembly hall that “an independent, strong, thriving and peaceful State of Israel is the vengeance of the dead.”
2011: It was announced today that three authors who attended the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop are among five finalists for the Sami Rohr Prize in fiction for Jewish Literature. They are Allison Amend for “Stations West,” Julie Orringer for “The Invisible Bridge” and Austin Ratner for “Jump Artist.” Top prize is $100,000 and a $25,000 Choice Award will be given to the first runner-up. Established in 2006, the annual prize honors the contribution of contemporary writers in the exploration and transmission of Jewish values. It is intended to encourage and promote outstanding writing of Jewish interest in the future. Fiction and non-fiction books are considered in alternate years. Other finalists, announced by the Jewish Book Council, are Nadia Kalman for “The Cosmopolitans” and “Joseph Skibell for “A Curable Romantic.” Finalists will meet with the judges March 15 in New York, and the winners will be announced shortly thereafter. The 2011 award ceremony will be held in New York City on May 31.
2011(6th of Adar I, 5771): Tel Aviv University Professor Michael Harsegor, one of Israel's most-prominent historians, passed away today at the age of 87. For decades Harsegor taught history at Tel Aviv University and was considered an expert on Late Middle Ages European History. He was most well-known to the Israeli public for hosting the long-running Army Radio program "historical hour". Harsegor was a native of Romania, but moved to Israel in 1949 at the age of 25. In Romania, he was sentenced to 20 years hard labor for being a member of the HaShomer HaTzair Zionist youth movment, but was released in 1944.After arriving in Israel, following a short imprisonment by British forces in Cyprus, Harsegor became a member of Kibbutz Zikim, and also gave the kibbutz its name. (As reported by Ben Hartman)
2012: In New York, an exhibition of the work of Ilan Averbuch, an Israeli artist who creates sculpture using wood, stone, copper and steel is scheduled to come to an end.
2012: The 92nd Street Y is scheduled to host a Tu B’Shevat Dinner this evening.
2012: Jews around the world can participate in the International Young Israel Movement Mishloach Manot Campaign 2012 starting at 10:AM www.iyim.org.il/mishloach-manot/
2012: Israel's Defense Ministry said this morning that it had conducted a successful test of the Arrow 2 missile defense system.
2012: The Knesset's Judicial Selection Committee approved Justice Asher Grunis as the new Supreme Court President today.
2012: A general strike in Israel's public sector will continue today, after negotiations between the Histradrut Labor Federation and the Finance failed to resolve the gap between the two sides late yesterday
2013: In Washington, DC final scheduled day for “Matzah Without Dogma: Four Centuries of Secular and Humanistic Judaism” featuring Rabbi Adam Chalom, North American Dean of the IISHJ
2013: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to present “The Queen of H Street, a one-woman show that tells the true life story of Anna Shulman, her arrival in the U.S. and in Washington, and her impact on the H Street neighborhood, home to Jewish merchants in the 1920s and 1930s
2013: At the Grammies, “The Jewish Canadian singer Drake won an award for Rap Album of the Year and the indie pop band “fun” whose leader singer Antonoff is Jewish won the Song of the Year with “W Are Young.” (As reported by JTA and The Jewish Press)
2013: The Baltimore Zionist District and United Against a Nuclear Iran are scheduled to join forces today with more than a dozen other organizations — Jewish and non-Jewish -- in front of the Baltimore Convention Center during the Motor Trend International Auto Show to call upon auto manufacturers to stop doing business with Iran.
2013: “Orchestra of Exiles” a film about Bronislaw Huberman, the man who saved 1,000 musicians, their families and their friends, is scheduled to be shown in Iowa City, Iowa.
2013: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and Posen Foundation are scheduled to present: “Jews and Words: A Celebration of Jewish Writing, Language, and Expression” – a series of panel discussion including such literary luminaries as Jonathan Sarna and Dora Horn.
2013: Four hundred police officers and 200 private security guards were on hand at Teddy Stadium in the capital as Beitar Jerusalem played a high-tension match against Arab squad Bnei Sakhnin tonight.
2013: Barack Obama will be making his first presidential visit to Israel next month primarily in order to tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in person to hold off on any military intervention in Iran, it was reported today
2013: 2013: A float satirizing local politicians dressed as Nazis holding canisters of Zyklon B gas is to take part in a carnival parade in the Belgian city of Aalst which is scheduled to take place today. (As reported by JTA and Forward)
2014: A version of “Threshold to the Sacred: The Ark Door of Cairo's Ben Ezra Synagogue” based on the exhibit at the Walter’s in Baltimore is scheduled to come to a close at Yeshiva University.” (As reported by Menachem Wecke)
2014: The Tulane University Jewish Studies Department led by its chair Dr. Brian J. Horowitz is scheduled to host a lecture by Jennifer Richard entitled “Passover and Politics: Remember the Jewishness of Hannah Arendt.”
2014: “Putzel” is scheduled to be shown at the 14th annual the David Posnack JCC Jewish Film Festival.
2014: “Five Hours from Paris” is scheduled to be shown for the first time at UK Jewish Film Festival.
2014: The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported today that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife were the most generous American philanthropists in 2013, with a donation of 18 million shares of Facebook stock valued at more than $970 million to a Silicon Valley nonprofit.”
2014: Abraham H. Foxman announced today that he would be stepping down as head of the Anti-Defamation League in July of 2015.
2014:”A red alert sounded in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council early this afternoon after a rocket launched from within Gazan territory was detected.”
2014: “The crisis at Hadassah’s two Jerusalem hospitals intensified today as nurses and administrative employees joined doctors in a strike that has been going on since last Tuesday.” (As reported by Aron Donzis)
2015: Florida International University is scheduled to host a lecture by Dr. Juan Gil on “Conversos in Seville and the Empire, From the Coast of Africa to the Indies.”
2016: The JCC Manhattan is scheduled to host “Israel in Love.”
2016: “A Life for Football” which “dramatizes the story of Munich-based soccer team FC Bayern and its club president, Kurt Landauer, a Jew who returned to Munich after the war to reinstate the club and the game in the city” is scheduled to be shown at the 26th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival.
2016(1st of Adar I, 5776): In an ecumenical quirk of the calendar Ash Wednesday coincides with Rosh Chodesh Adar I. http://downhomedavartorah.blogspot.com/