1095: On the last day of the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II appointed bishop Adhemar of Le Puy and Count Raymond IV of Toulouse to lead the First Crusade to the Holy Land. The call for the Crusade is based, in part, on false reports of atrocities committed by Muslims against Christian pilgrims. The Crusades, which will begin in the following year, mark a dark chapter in Jewish history as those marching under the Sign of the Cross sack Jewish settlements in Europe and later slaughter Jews living in Eretz Israel.
1598: “In the archives of the city of Amsterdam, probably the oldest date dealing with Portuguese Jews is today, when there was entered in the "Puyboek," v. 22b, the announcement of the intended marriage of Manuel Lopez Homé and the above-mentioned Maria Nuñez”
1660: At Gresham College, 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decide to found what is later known as the Royal Society. A British physician named Isaac de Sequeira Samuda or Isaac de Sequeyra Samuda was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1727, making him the first Jew to be so honored.
1744: Frederick the Great took Prague in the Wars of Succession and the populace ransacked the ghetto. He soon left and the Croats returned. They accused the Jews of treason and again their quarters were sacked. A few weeks later (December 18 and January 7) Empress Maria Theresa banished all the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia. Due to the protests of the Jews and the governments of England and Holland, the decree was dropped everywhere but in Prague.
1757: Birthdate of William Blake, English poet, painter and printmaker. Controversy surrounds Blake’s grasp of Jewish mysticism. It seems pretty clear that Blake’s art and writing invoke Kabbalah, but scholars debate how Blake accessed the Jewish mystical concepts he quoted. Some argue that the dozen or so Hebrew inscriptions in Blake’s etchings and watercolors show that Blake was fluent in Hebrew. But close analysis of the works, some of which are on exhibit at The Morgan Library & Museum, reveals that Blake had not even mastered the letter alef. Reading Kabbalah in Hebrew without knowing the first letter of the alef-bet would be as implausible as tackling “Finnegans Wake” with barely a grasp of the English alphabet. Arguments that Blake knew Hebrew date back to Frederick Tatham, who cared for Catherine after Blake’s death in 1827. In a letter to bookseller Frances Harvey, Tatham said that Blake’s library included “well thumbed” books in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and Italian, as well as works by Swedenborg and Christian mystic Jacob Boehme. “His knowledge was immense, his industry beyond parallel,” Tatham wrote. Modern scholars echo Tatham’s claim. Writing in the journal Modern Philology in 1951, David V. Erdman ascribed “some Hebrew” to Blake, particularly the knowledge that beth-lehem means “house of bread.” “We know that Blake knew a little Hebrew,” Anthony Blunt agreed, writing in the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes in 1943, “for he wrote to his brother in 1803 that he was learning the Hebrew alphabet, and his etching of the Laocoön [a copy of the sculpture “Laocoön and His Sons”] bears a few words in Hebrew script.” In his book “The New Apocalypse: The Radical Christian Vision of William Blake (The Davies Group, Publishers, 2000), Thomas J. J. Altizer suggests not only that Blake knew Hebrew, but also that he was self-taught. But the work that Blunt cites as proof of Blake’s proficiency in Hebrew, “Laocoön” — a circa 1820 print depicting snakes strangling the famous Trojan priest and his two sons — is one of the best pieces of evidence that Blake did not know Hebrew. Writing “malakh Jehovah,” which he translated as “The Angel of the Divine Presence,” Blake inadvertently rotated the alef 90 degrees on its y-axis. He spelled “Lilit” (Lilith) correctly, but he miswrote “Jeshua” (Jesus) with another rotated letter, this time an ayin (the 16th letter). “Laocoön” does not appear in the Morgan show, but an etching from Blake’s Job series does. In an etching from Blake’s Job series, the artist again wrote “The Angel of the Divine Presence,” but this time he wrote the Hebrew “melekh Jehovah,” which means King Jehovah, rather than malakh (with an alef), the Angel of Jehovah. In “William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job,” S. Foster Damon says that Blake intentionally removed the alef to show that Job was worshipping a false God — mistaking an angel for the king. But could Blake really have known enough Hebrew to distinguish between “melekh” and “malakh,” when he revealed in “Laocoön” that he didn’t even know how to form the letter properly? “Job’s Evil Dreams,” features a bearded figure with hooves encircled by a snake. The figure hovers above a reclining man and points with its right index finger to the Ten Commandments. Though Blake wrote out only two of the commandments in full, the inscriptions contain more than a dozen mistakes. One line contains a properly and an improperly formed alef, a further inconsistency suggesting that Blake was copying a language he did not understand. “Blake did study Hebrew with his one-time patron, William Hayley, but scholars are not agreed about his proficiency in the language,” explained Leslie Tannenbaum, associate professor of English at Ohio State University and author of “Biblical Tradition in William Blake’s Early Prophecies: The Great Code of Art” (Princeton University Press, 1982). According to Tannenbaum, the late Gerald Bentley, a Blake scholar who taught at Princeton University, implied in a biography that Blake was “fairly fluent” in Hebrew. But Tannenbaum also notes that Sheila A. Spector, whom he describes as “an extremely meticulous scholar and expert on Blake and the Kabbalah,” writes that Blake did not know the biblical language.In Blake’s preface to the chapter “To the Jews,” from the poem “Jerusalem,” Tannenbaum sees references to the kabbalistic concept of Adam Kadmon (the primordial man). Blake learned Kabbalah from Swedenborg’s writings on Boehme, who seems to have been influenced by Balthasar Walther, Tannenbaum adds, and Blake also identified with the Avignon Society, which sought science and reason “in such unlikely places as alchemical lore, cabbalistic numerology, mesmerist séances, Swedenborgian spiritualism, and (perhaps most surprising of all) the Scriptures.” In “Wonders Divine: The Development of Blake’s Kabbalistic Myth” (Bucknell University Press, 2001) Spector, an adjunct associate professor at New York University, agrees that Blake’s kabbalistic sources were Christian rather than Jewish, and English rather than Hebrew. Further, Blake was “unfortunately” influenced by his contemporary Anglo-Israelites, who thought that English derived from Hebrew “and that the language of the Jews was a spurious version in which the rabbis obscured the ‘true Christian’ message to be found in the Bible,” Spector said.“Under the circumstances, the question of whether or not Blake was fluent in Hebrew misses the point,” she added. “He rejected normative Hebrew in favor of the linguistic gymnastics that re-interpreted words to conform with some eccentric – to be charitable – interpretations that coordinated Hebrew and English, as well as Greek, etymologies to proffer a new interpretation of Scripture.” (As reported by Menachem Wecker)
1816(8th of Kislev, 5577): Eighty-six year old Benjamin D’Israeli, the Italian born Anglo-Jewish merchant who was the grandfather of the British Prime Minister of the same name passed away today.
1825: In Münster (Westphalia), Elias Marks and Alexander Grove Village founded The Marks Grove Village Foundation which funded programs to help train Jewish children and integrate them into German society.
1827 (9th of Kislev, 5588): On the secular calendar Dov Baer Schneersohn passed away. Dov Ber succeeded his father Shneur Zalman of Lyady as the second Lubavitcher Rebbe. Shneur Zalman was the found of Chabad, Dov Baer was known as the “Middle Rabbi” because he came between Shneur Zalman and the third Rebbe Menachem Mendel known as the Zemen Zedek. Among other things, Dov Baer was responsible for starting a Chabad settlement in Hebron in 1823. In 1826, Dov Baer was imprisoned by the Czar on trumped up charges of sending money to support the Sultan of Turkey. He was released on the tenth of Kislev which has been a day of celebration among Lubavitchers ever since. “The only way of converting darkness into light is by giving to the poor.” “Every act of kindness that God performs for man should make him feel not proud, but more humble and unworthy.”
1829: Birthdate of composer Anton Rubinstein. Rubinstein was quite a widely performed composer in his lifetime, but following his death, his works were largely ignored. Some have suggested that this was due to the anti-Semitism prevalent at that time in Germany, the musical hub of Europe.
1831: Birthdate of John William Mackay, the Irish born American industrialist and one of the four Silver Kings of the Comstock Lode who was greatly upset when in 1890 he was erroneously accused of “despising Jews.”
1839: According to a report issued today by the Ministry of the Interior, Joseph Friedlander was the only Jew living in Saxon outside of Dresden or Leipzig.
1842(25th of Kislev, 5603): Chanukah
1862: During the Civil War, after volunteering for duty, Theodore Minis Etting “received the appointment of acting Midshipman” today in the United States Navy.
1863: Thanksgiving was first observed as a regular American holiday. Proclaimed by President Lincoln the previous month, it was declared that the event would be observed annually, on the fourth Thursday in November. While Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, it has it origins in the Bible. The Pilgrims were students of what they called The Old Testament. When they had enjoyed their first successful harvest at Plymouth, they looked to scripture for a way to express their joy. They found the answer in the holiday of Sukkoth – a celebration of in-gathering; a celebration of thanks that took place after the harvest was completed. There are reports that the first Thanksgiving was a week-long affair but I would avoid making any claim that this was intended to mirror the seven days of Sukkoth.
1864: During the Civil War, Major Alfred Mordechai, Jr. was named Chief of Ordinance for the Union Army’s Department of the Cumberland.
1873: Birthdate of Louis Ginzberg, the native of Kovno, Lithuania who became a noted Talmudist, as a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, a leader of the Conservative Movement in the United States for half a century.
1873: Birthdate of Lehmann (Leo) Katzenberger, the owner of several shoe shops in Nuremberg who guillotined by the Nazis for allegedly having an affair with an Aryan woman.
1873: An article published today that traced the history of laundering clothes from ancient to modern times reported that “the ancient Jews had great regard for cleanliness. They never sat down to a meal or said a prayer without first washing their hands, and it is only fair to presume that a people who would be so particular in keeping their goodies clean would not be behind in keeping their garments equally spotless and free from taint, the more particularly as among these ancients white garments were the emblems of purity and holiness.
1874: The Young Men’s Hebrew Association hosted a musical and literary entertainment this evening at Number 112, West 21st Street in Manhattan.
1874: Rabbi Schneerson, an American citizen in Palestine, was attacked by a group of Jews at Tiberias. After robbing him, he was imprisoned, stoned, stripped naked and ridden through the streets, barely escaping with his life.
1878: A theatrical review published today shows the changing view of the Jew, at least in the theatrical community. Unlike his famous predecessors, the great tragedian Edwin Booth portrays Shylock as man “of well and keen perception.” “A certain class of critics” now seek Shylock “as a species of hero and martyr who is more worthy of our sympathy and pit than our contempt.”
1880(25th of Kislev, 5641): First Day of Chanukah
1880: It was reported today that meetings instigated by the anti-Semitic party are being held in Leipzig.
1880: It was reported today that the police have torn down placards in south-eastern Berlin “directly inciting the inhabitants to persecute the Jews.”
1881: New York Congressman Samuel S. Cox returned from his visit to Palestine today on board of the SS Republic. (Four years later Cox resigned his seat in Congress to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, replace Lew Wallace, the author of Ben Hur, the novel with the Jewish prince as its protagonist.)
1881: The articles of incorporation for the Hebrew Society for the Improvement of the Sanitary Condition of the Poor were filed in the County Clerk’s office today.
1881: “Aid For Hebrew Immigrants” published today described efforts to meet the rising and growing tide of Jewish immigrants Russia. Leading Jewish citizens in New York have agreed to organize the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society which will be incorporated under the laws of New York State. Jacob Schiff publicly expressed his opposition to the formation of the group, but most of his co-religionists including Charles L. Bernheim, Jacob Seligman and Frederick Nathan overcame his objections. Baron Maurice de Hirsch has pledged a million pounds to support the efforts of the society to assist in the establishment of agricultural “colonies” which will provide homes and a livelihood for the immigrants.
1881: Birthdate of Austrian Stefan Zweig. Although barely known today, in his time he was a noted poet, essayist and dramatist. Although he was an assimilated Jew, he could see that Austria was no place for Jews and he fled the country in 1934. Sadly, he and his wife committed suicide in Brazil in 1942. They had come to the conclusion that the life was no longer worth living in a world that was spinning a downward spiral.
1883(28th of Cheshvan, 5644): “Russian Hebraist and author Mordecai Plugian” who was “a descendant of Mordecai Jaffe” passed away today.
1883: It was reported today that “Sir Moses Montefiore is the first Jews that was ever elected to be Sherriff of London. He was chosen a few days after the succession of Queen Victoria and received the honor of Knighthood at the hands of her Majesty when she visited the city on the following Lord Mayors’ Day.”
1884: “Hittite Inscriptions” published today provided a detailed review of The Empire of the Hittites by William Wright who contends that these ancient people were contemporaries of the ancient Israelites and were involved in the story of their enslavement in Egypt.
1884: It was reported today that Reverend Charles H. Eaton has told his congregation that “the sentiment of the Hebrew song sung at the Feasts of Tabernacles” has now come “naturally to our lips upon our Thanksgiving Day.” (Editor’s note – Nice to see that a 19th century Christian source acknowledge the Jewish origins of our most popular secular holiday)
1885: It was reported today that much to the surprise of her family, Mamie Curran, a Catholic girl, has secretly married a Jewish suitor, John Cohen. Her father, Edward Curran, is so distraught over the news that he has gone to his room which is over a local saloon and his refused to leave it.
1886(1st of Kislev, 5647): Rosh Chodesh Kislev
1887: It was reported today that German-Jewish author and historian Jacob Auerbach has passed away.
1887: It was reported today that Daniel Greenleaf Thompson has dedicated his latest book, The Religious Sentiments of the Mind, to “my friend and partner, Oscar S. Straus…” Straus was a leading figure in the American Jewish community who served as U.S Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.
1888(24th of Kislev, 5649): In the evening, kindle the first light of Chanukah on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This will not happen again until 2013.
1888: Baron Hirsch has made a donation of $5,000,000 for schools for Jews in Galicia and Bukovina
1888: In New York, police began looking for Yetta Reiner, and 18 year old girl who has been in this country for two weeks and has been reported as missing.
1888: Mrs. Julia Lind challenged the will of her late mother Jettie Lissauer, a Jewess who passed away in December of 1887.
1889: Two hundred and fifty-eight children who attend the Industrial and Sunday Schools sponsored by the United Hebrew Charities will be eating Thanksgiving dinner today at St. Mark’s Place in New York City.
1889: The Conference of the Civic, Commercial, Industrial and Educational Bodies will present a silk banner to the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society as its annual Thanksgiving festival today at 3 p.m.
1889: Samuel D. Levy celebrated his birthday today by sending a box of candy to each of the children who attend the schools sponsored by the United Hebrew Charities.
1889: The Washington Centennial Committee presented a banner to the youngsters at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in recognition of their “excellent marching in the civic parade” that had been held last Spring. Charles Freund accepted the banner on behalf of his schoolmates. General William T. Sherman spoke to the boys complimenting them on their drilling.
1889: The cornerstone of the new Temple that will be used by Congregation Zichron Ephraim was laid this afternoon on 67th Street between Lexington and Third avenues.
1890: Herman Kertscher is under arrest following the accident at yesterday’s annual parade of the boys at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. While driving his wagon, his horse crashed into the parade seriously injuring two boys. Kertscher “made no effort to stop his horse either before or after the accident.
1890: A day following the national holiday, Temple Israel of Harlem will host a Thanksgiving Service where the topic of the sermon will be “The Ethics of Gratitude.”
1891: Today’s review of “Pauline Blanchard” which opened at the Standard Theatre in New York described the theme of the play as “well-worn” and “familiar” but praises the performance of Sarah Bernhardt in the title role saying that her “genius elevates this role” and that “her acting was incomparably fine and eloquent…played with all of her energy.”
1892: Engineer George Franjieh presented his plans for a tramway in Jaffa. The plan, like his one for a new water supply system to Jerusalem, we rejected.
1892: Baron Hirsch was wounded in the hands and forearm by the explosion of his gun while hunting at Acheres in France.
1892: The French government was confronted by a demand that the coffin of Baron Reinach be exhumed amid rumors that his death was a sham and that the coffin does not contain his body.
1893: The Berlin Verein Zur Abwehr Des Anti-Semitismus, a Society to Combat Anti-Semitism, held its first general meeting today under the leadership of Rudolf Geniest, Heinrich Rickert and Theodor Barth at which it was reported that it had 13,33i members in 963 localities
1893: “New Bill At The Theatres” published a review of the “Merchant of Venice” which found Henry Irving’s portrayal of Shylock to be “fine, subtle, thoughtful” but not his greatest work since “he reached the zenith of his powers some time ago.” (Irving was one of those who had made a career playing the Jewish banker, providing at one time, a powerful interpretation.) As in so many earlier productions, Ellen Terry played Portia to Irving’s Shylock.
1894: “Russian Jews Forgive Russia” published today described a strange ceremony where 400 Jews having attended a memorial service for the late Czar in Paris swore allegiance to his successor, Nicholas II “in the presence of the Russian Consul and the secretary of the Russian Embassy.”
1894: General Mercier, the French Minister of War “declared in an interview with Le Figaro that Dreyfus’ guilt was ‘absolutely certain.’”
1895: Three hundred and fifty young ladies attended the Thanksgiving Day Dinner hosted by the Girl’s Industrial School of the United Hebrew Charities at St. Marks Place.
1895: Registrar Ferdinand Levy delivered a speech at the Thanksgiving Service held at the synagogue at 115 East 86th Street entitled “The Jews as a Citizen and Patriot.”
1895: Rabbi Silverman delivered a sermon at the Temple Emanu-El Thanksgiving Service entitled “The Ethics of American Patriotism.”
1895: Rabbis Mendes and Harris will speak at the West End Synagogue Thanksgiving Service to which The Young Men’s Hebrew Association and members of Temple Israel of Harlem have been invited.
1895: Half a dozen Jews including Rabbi Isaac Blankfort “rushed into the Madison Street (Police) State” tonight “and said that two loafers had assaulted them and pulled their beards on East Broadway.” The police went out and arrested the two after they saw them “striking at every Jew they passed.”
1896: According to reports published today, the Tenth Ward of New York, in spite of its being the most densely crowded area of its size in the world” has “a remarkably low rate” because “its population consisted largely of Hebrews, who were the first race in the world that learned the secret of the ‘length of days’ and have known what not to eat ever since the adoption of the Levitical codes, three or four thousand years ago.
1897: In Paris, “Le Figaro published a letter informing the public about the belief that Esterhazay was the doorway to France and its army.” (By doorway, they meant that Esterhazy and not Drefyfus was the spy selling French military secrets to the Germans)
1898: In Chicago, opening of a charity fair bazaar sponsored by the Young Men’s Hebrew Charity Association the proceeds of which will split evening between Michael Reese Hospital and United Hebrew Charities.
1898: “Jewish Agrarian Colony In Bessarabia Russia” published today descried a law that “has just been promulgated in St. Petersburg for the establishment of a Hebrew agrarian colony on the estate of Baron Horace Guenzburg…which covers about 1,350 acres.”
1902: In Berlin, Gertrude Sternberg and Dr. Oscar Jolles gave birth to Heinz-Frederic Jolles who gained fame as pianist and composer Henry Jolles.
1903(9th of Kislev, 5664): Sixty-five year old Jules Levy, “the most celebrated cornetist of the 19th century, passed away today.
1905: Sinn Fein founded today based on the vision of Arthur Griffith whose disciples included Michael Noyk the Lithuanian born Irish-Jewish lawyer who joined shortly after the “Easter Rising.”
1905: In a letter from U.S. Ambassador White of Morocco to the Algeciras Conference, he stated, "Concurrent testimony positively affirms the intolerance of the Mohammedan rule in that country toward non-Musselmans….Jews, especially, appear to suffer from painful and injurious restrictions."
1907: In Haverhill, Massachusetts, scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer opened his first movie theater. From these humble beginnings would come the famed studio MGM.
1908: Birthdate of Claude Levi-Strauss. Born in Belgium, Claude Levi-Strauss was the son of an artist, and a member of an intellectual French Jewish family. He was a popular French anthropologist most well-known for his development of structural anthropology.
1910: In Brooklyn, Alter Abelson, a rabbi and poet, and of Anna Schwartz Abelson, a writer of short stories gave birth to Lionel Abel who won an Obie for his tragedy “Absalom.
1912: Birthdate of Morris Louis. Born Morris Louis Bernstein, Louis became one of America’s leading abstract expressionist painters before his untimely death at the age of 49.
1914: It was reported today that Lemberg, a major city in Galicia which the Russian have captured from the Austrians has a population of 30,000 Jews, 50,000 Roman Catholics and 15,000 Greek Orthodox.
1914: “Palestine for the Jews” published today includes Israel Zangwill’s response to the following inquiry addressed to him by H.G. Wells: “And now what is to prevent the Jews having Palestine and restoring a real Judea?”
1914: William Jessup Hand, an attorney, writes from Scranton, PA that “it is plan that Leo Frank was denied…the highest and most vitally essential right of every person: a fair and impartial trial.
1914: “It was learned today that when counsel for Leo M. Frank asks leave of the Supreme Court of the United States on November 30 to file a petition for a writ of error a brief will be presented at the same time” due to the rules of procedure governing appeals of this sort.
1916: Screenwriter Samuel Ornitz and his wife gave birth to cinematographer Arthur J. Ornitz who directed “Wanted – A Master” which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1936 for Best Short Subject (One-Reel).
1917(13th of Kislev, 5678): Sixty-two year old German lexicographer Emil Levy whose son Frederich would dies in a concentration camp, passed away today.
1917: Sigmund Romberg’s revue "Over the Top," premiered in New York City.
1918: The Jewish Guardian reported that on the first anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) declared, “Speaking entirely as a non-Jew, I look on the Jews as the natural importers of western leaven so necessary for countries of the Near East.”
1919: Birthdate of Faye Schulman, the Lenin born photographer who was one of only 26 people spared by the Nazis when they slaughtered the Jews of town including her parents, sisters and younger brother. They did not kill her because they wanted her to develop their pictures of the massacre
1922: “The Russian delegation arrived in Lusanne” where negotiations had already begun on settling the outstanding questions regarding the replacement of the Ottoman Empire, which had included Palestine, with what would become the modern nation of Turkey.
1922: In the Bronx, Sadie "Sonia" Birkenfeld and Harry Eidus, a Latvian born Jewish violinist gave birth to Arnold Eidus, “the first American violinist to win the Jacques Thidbaud Award
1924: French premiere of “Le Miracle des Loups” (The Miracle of the Wolves) the historical melodrama directed by Raymond Bernard.
1926: Dr. Henry S. Pritchett, a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in a report to the Endowment on his observations in Egypt, Palestine and Greece, made public today, declares that the movement to colonize Palestine with Jews is "unfortunate and visionary," and will in the long run "bring more bitterness and more unhappiness both for the Jew and for the Arab." According to Dr. Pritchett, “Zionist plans for a national Jewish home in Plaestine…have nothing to commend them and are bound to fail.” He also wrote despairingly of any attempt to improve the economic conditions in Palestine; attempts which he said were doomed to failure. Nicholas Murray Butler, who is President of the Carnegie Endowment, was responsible for the report being published today. As President of Columbia, Butler has advocated limiting the enrollment of Jews at Columbia where he has supported a strong quota system.
1928: Birthdate of Shulamit Aloni. Born in Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel, Aloni served in the Palmach in the War of Independence and gained fame as an attorney, teacher, journalist and the winner of numerous awards including Honorary PhD in Humanities from Hebrew Union College (1994), Honorary PhD of Law from Kon-Kuk University in Seoul (1994),Honorary PhD of Philosophy, Weitzman Institute of Science (1999), Decoration of Honor from the International Academy for Humanism (1996), Honorary PhD from the Free Univeristy in Brussels (1997) and Israel Prize Honoree for special lifetime contribution to Israeli society (2000).
1932: Groucho Marx performed on radio for the first time
1933(10 of Kislev 5694): Sixty-seven year old Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein died in Jerusalem
1937(24th of Kislev, 5698): This evening Jews kindled the first Chanukah Candle.
1939: The Nazi governor-general of Poland established the Judenrat. The Jews were ordered to set up Jewish Councils in every Jewish community in the General Government of Germany. Heydrich ordered that the deportation of 80,000 Jews and Poles should be carried out by December 17.
1939: In what was tantamount to a death sentence, “The authorities of Kaunas, Lithuania arrested” Polish refugee “ Maurycy Orzech, a correspondent for the Jewish Daily Forward and ordered him to return to the German-occupied territory of Poland.”
1939: During today’s meeting of the Good Neighbor Committee on the Émigré and the Community “Edward M.M. Warburg, chairman of the administration committee of the Joint Distribution Committee tod of the tremendous burned placed on the Jewish community in this country and abroad by the refugee problem and warned that anti-Semitism was spreading in Europe.
1939: In Bucharest, Premiere George Tatarescu delivered a speech today in which he announced a new plan that “would facilitate the emigration of Jews who are not Rumanian.”
1939: It was reported today that “70,000 Jews from Germany have been absorbed in Palestine since 1936” and that there are plans for “the immediate settlement of 25,000 Jewish refugees in Palestine.”
1939: As the case against Fritz Kuhn, the leader of the German American Bund who is charged with grand larceny came to a climax, Assistant District Attorney Herman J. McCarthy presented his summation to the jury he challenged Kuhn’s contention that he was the victim of plot carried out by Daniel Kirchman, the young Jewish lawyer whom Kuhn says was a thief and the young Jewish accountant Irving Hest who is on the staff of District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey.
1940: The anti-Jewish film Der Ewige Jude, “The Eternal Jew,” was released
1941: The first transport of Laupheim (Germany) Jews left for Stuttgart, before being shipped to Riga.
1941: Hitler entertains Hajj Amin al-Husseini. The grand mufti of Jerusalem pledges to cooperate in the extermination of the Jews and offers to enlist Arabs to fight for Germany.
1943: Birthdate of singer Randy Newman known for a variety of off-beat ditties including Short People, I Love LA, and Raindrops.
1943: A testimonial is scheduled to be held tonight to celebrate the 70th birthday of Dr. Louis Ginzberg, the Polish born Talmudist and Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) who has been living in the United States for the last 44 years. Dr. Louis Finnkelstein, President of the JTS is chairing the committee hosting the event; a committee that includes several notables such Dr. Butler, President of Columbia, Dr. Woodburn, Chancellor of New York University and Dr. Hertz, the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire.
1944: As he tried to negotiate the rescue of Hungarian Jews Rudolf Kasztner followed the instructions of the Germans and left for the Swiss border.
1944: In Budapest, Hungarian Fascist gangs attacked a hospital of Jews, killing 28.
1946: Three Jewish refugee ships were reported off Haifa tonight, trying to run the Navy-Air Force blockade in a new challenge to British immigration policy.
1947: In Haifa, the British admit 1,450 Jews from Cyprus, ahead of immigration quota.
1948 (26th of Cheshvan): Moses Kleinman editor of Ha-Olam, passed away
1948: Lt. Col. Moshe Dayan and his Arab counterpart met at Government House in Jerusalem. Under UN supervision, the two military commanders worked out the terms of cease fire for the divided holy city. Once the cease fire was announced soldiers of the Arab Legion danced with joy and Arab refugees returned to the Old City. All attempts by Jews to pray at the Wall were rebuffed. As the cease fire took effect Chaim Weitzman returned to the city for the first time in a year. The first President of Israel comforted the people over the fact that Jerusalem was divided. “All will come to pass in peace.”
1948: Birthdate of self-promoting political lobbyist Dick Morris.
1948: Birthdate of author Bruce Vilanch.
1948: The Polaroid Land Camera first went on sale, at a Boston department store. The 40 series, model 95 roll film camera went on sale for $89.75. This first model was sold through 1953, and was the first commercially successful self-redeveloping camera system. A sepia-colored photograph took about one minute to produce. Jewish inventor Edwin H. Land had previously demonstrated his invention of instant photography at a meeting of the Optical Society of America on 2 Feb 1947. His first commercial success came in 1939 with his invention of Polaroid filters for lenses in products such as ski goggles, sunglasses and slip-on sunglasses for optical glasses.
1949: U.S. premiere of “Port of New York” produced by Aubrey Schenk with music by Sol Kaplan.
1949: Birthdate of bandleader and David Letterman straight man Paul Shaffer.
1950: The New York Council of the Pioneer Women is scheduled to have its Chanukah meeting at the home of Mrs. David H. Panitz.
1950: Oscar Karlweis and Mrs. Irving M. Engel are scheduled to address today’s meeting of the Brooklyn Section of the National Council of Jewish Women being held at Temple Beth Elohim.
1950: Dr. Henry shoskes is scheduled to address todays meeting of the Abraham Herman Chapter of HIAS.
1950: The Passaic, NJ Section of Hadassah is scheduled to meet this evening at the Y.M.H.A.
1951: In France, re-release of “Le Miracle des Loups” the classic film directed by Raymond Bernard first shown in 1924.
1953: Birthdate of Homeland Security “Czar” Michael Chertoff
1954: For the first time ABC aired “What’s Going On?” a game show produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman.
1954: Enrico Fermi, Italian physicist and Nobel Prize laureate passed away. Fermi was not Jewish, but his wife was. He left Europe in 1938 because he was afraid of the fate that awaited her and her family.
1961: One hundred five Moroccan Jews sailed from Casablanca for Nice on board the French steamship Lyautey. This marked the beginning of a major exodus of Morrocco's ancient Jewish community.
1957(5th of Kislev): Dr. Pinchas Churgin, the first president of Bar-Ilan University passed away.
1962(1st of Kislev, 5723): Rosh Chodesh Kislev
1962: Birthdate of Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz who gained fame as Jon Stewart host of the fake news program The Daily Show. Born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, the popularity of this late-night show has earned Stewart notoriety as “the most trusted name in fake news,” a sardonic reflection of his stature as the Walter Cronkite for a younger generation. He has also gained attention as an outspoken critic of established news media sources.
1963(12th of Kislev, 5724): Actress Karyn "Cookie" Kupcinet, daughter of columnist Irv Kupcinet is murdered. The crime remains unsolved.
1963: Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz delivered a sermon at the interfaith Thanksgiving Day service attended by President Lyndon Johnson who was making one of his first such appearances since the assassination of President John Kennedy.
1963: This evening, in a nationally televised address, President Johnson paraphrased the words Rabbi Rabinowitz had used early in the day, “speaking of how blessings can come from evil situations.”
1963(12th of Kislev, 5724): Seventy year old Abba Hillel Silver, who served as Rabbi of The Temple in Cleveland, Ohio and was an ardent Zionist passed away today.
1964(23rd of Kislev, 5725): Fifty-six year old Hans von Halban, the French physicist who worked on the Heavy Water project related to the development of the Atomic Bomb passed away today.
1966: Birthdate of actor, writer and media commentator Sam Seder
1966(15th of Kislev, 5727): Seventy year old Russian born physicist who worked with Albert Einstein, and Nathan Rosen, the father of Joe Rosen, passed away today.
1968: In today’s Village Voice, Alfred Leslie, revealed that “Pull My Daisy” directed by Robert Frank was not “an improvisational masterpiece” but “actually carefully planned, rehearsed,” before being shot “on a professionally lit studio set.’ (Frank was Jewish, Leslie was not)
1970: Birthdate of Ran Ben Shimon, the Israeli football (soccer) player who became the manager for Hapoel Tel Aviv.
1980(20th of Kislev, 5741): Nachum Gutman passed away. Born in 1898, he was a Russian-born Israeli painter, sculptor and author.
1993(14th of Kislev, 5754): Marvin H. Bernstein, a businessman and philanthropist in New York for many years, died today at the Miami Heart Institute. He was 66 and lived in Miami. Mr. Bernstein was the founder and for 34 years the president of the Variety Knit Corporation of Manhattan, which makes women's clothing and T-shirts. He also founded the Marvin Bernstein Oil Company, a petroleum exploration company with headquarters in Miami.n Mr. Bernstein was a fund-raiser for and a contributor to the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the Simon Weisenthal Center, Israel Bonds, the Weitzman Institute of Science, Tel Aviv University and other medical and religious groups.
1993(14th of Kislev, 5754): Monroe Abbey passed away. Born in 1904, he was a Canadian lawyer specializing in mining law and a Jewish civic leader in Montreal. He was president of Canadian Jewish Congress from 1968 to 1971.He was married to Minnie Cummings. His daughter, Sheila Finestone, was a Member of Parliament and Senator. In 1978, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in recongition for being "devoted community worker who has held office in every important Jewish organization in Montreal".
1994(25th of Kislev, 5755): First Day of Chanukah; in the evening kindle the second light
1994(25th of Kislev, 5755): Jerry Rubin, the 1960s war protester, died in Los Angeles at 56, two weeks after he was hit by a car.
1999: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or about topics of Jewish interest including A Life on the Stage: A Memoir by Jacob Adler, translated and edited by Lulla Rosenfeld, Carl Sagan: A Life by Keay Davidson and Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos by William Poundstone.
2000(1st of Kislev, 5761): Rosh Chodesh Kislev)
2000: Workers cut away at the ice that has encased David Blaine since he began the Frozen in Time stunt 63 hours, 42 minutes and 15 seconds ago which was a world’s record.
2001(13th of Kislev, 5762): Kal Mann passed away. Born Kalman Cohen, the Philadelphia native gained fame for writing lyrics to such rock and roll hits as Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear," Bobby Rydell's "Wild One", and Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again."
2002(23rd of Kislev, 5763): Three suicide bombers detonated an SUV in the lobby of the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, killing 13 people and injuring 80. Among the dead were three Israeli tourists who presumably were the targets of the attack, and 10 Kenyans, mostly members of a dance troupe. About 20 minutes earlier, two surface-to-air missiles were fired at an Arkia Boeing 757 airliner carrying 271 people, narrowly missing the aircraft, which was taking off from nearby Moi International Airport. The plane was able to land safely in Tel Aviv.
2002(23rd of Kislevn 5763):Noy and Dvir Anter, aged 12 and 14, of Ariel, and Albert (Avraham) de Havila, 60, of Ra'anana were killed along with 10 Kenyans when a car bomb exploded in the lobby of the Israeli-owned beachfront Paradise Hotel, frequented almost exclusively by Israeli tourists, near Mombasa in Kenya; 21 Israelis were among the 80 wounded. Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack, as well as for the simultaneous attempt to down an Arkia plane.
2002(23rd of Kislev, 5763): Haim Amar, 56; Ehud (Yehuda) Avitan, 54; Mordechai Avraham, 44; Ya'acov Lary, 35; and David Peretz, 48 - all of Beit She'an; and Shaul Zilberstein, 36, of Upper Nazareth, were killed and about 40 wounded when two terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at the Likud polling station in Beit She'an, near the central bus station, where party members were casting their votes in the Likud primary. The Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.
2004: Juilliard instructor Samuel Zyman praised Jay “Bluejay” Greenberg's talent during a CBS News 60 Minutes broadcast this evening.
2004: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or on topics of special interest to Jewish readers including including High Noon In the Cold War: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Cuban Missile Crisis by Max Frankel and Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire by Ann Norton.
2005: The Jerusalem Post reported from Budapest that the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, David Admon had recognized the efforts of 13 Hungarians and their families to assist Jews during the Holocaust by presenting them with the title of "the Righteous among the Nations." Ten of the 13 honored were awarded the distinction posthumously. The ceremony in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was attended by the president of the National Assembly, Katalin Szili, and the primate of the Catholic Church in Hungary, Cardinal Peter Erdo. Yad Vashem has so far awarded the "Righteous among the Nations title to over 20,000 people worldwide, including 650 in Hungary. Nearly 600,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered during World War II.
2006: Groundbreaking Ceremony for the New Schechter Institute Campus in Jerusalem.
2006(7th of Kislev,5767): Seventy-nine year old “Elliot Welles, a Holocaust survivor who spent the years after World War II as a tireless hunter of Nazis, starting with the man who murdered his mother passed away today at the age of 79. [Information supplied by Margalit Fox, one of the great obituary writers for the New York Times
2006: In a move that would earn him the appellation of “Bigot” from New York Mayor Ed Koch, Dennis Prager “wrote that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should not be allowed to take his Congressional oath using a Koran because ‘the act undermines American civilization.’” (Apparently Mr. Prager’s Jewish education did not include a study of the problems that Jews in England had in taking their seats in Parliament after being elected.)
2007: “Yiddish Theatre: A Love Story” is shown for the last time at the Two Boots Pioneer theater in Manhattan. This new documentary film is about Zypora Spaisman the amazing woman who has kept the oldest running Yiddish Theater in America alive. Zypora Spaisman is a Holocaust survivor who conquers all hearts in her passion for art, life and Yiddish.
2007: “The Land Was Theirs” is shown at the Highstown Memorial Library in Highstown, NJ. “An absorbing documentary about Farmingdale, New Jersey, one of many Jewish farming communities in the United States established with the help of the Jewish Agricultural Society. Spanning more than fifty years, the history of Farmingdale provides a perspective on the pressures, problems, and satisfactions of rural Jewish life as experienced in one community.”
2007: Social scientist Riane Eisler, Czech born Jewish American author of the influential The Chalice and the Blade, discusses her new book, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C
2008(1st of Kislev, 5769): Rosh Chodesh Kislev
2008: Daniel “Barenboim made his conducting debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York for the House's 450th performance of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.”
2008: Former government minister and civil rights activist Shulamit Aloni celebrates her 80th birthday.
2008: The centenary of the legendary French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss is celebrated in Paris. As a centenary celebration of a legend, however, it is rather unusual, as the birthday boy is very much alive and well at this time. (He passed away on October 30, 2009.)
2008: Indian commandos were dropped by helicopter on the roof of the besieged Chabad headquarters in Mumbai as Indian snipers at the site opened fire early this morning. Sharpshooters in buildings opposite the headquarters of Chabad began shooting early today as a helicopter circled overhead. Meanwhile, there were at least three blasts in the building as militants were believed to be holed up inside - possibly with hostages - but the situation still remained murky. Approximately 5.000 Jews live in Mumbai. This does not include the large number of Jewish visitors to the city, including a large number of Israelis on their way to visit other tourist sites on the subcontinent. Where there are Jews, there is Chabad. In this case the Chabad House is run by Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, from Brooklyn and his Israeli born wife. In response to requests from Chabad, Jews around the world recite Psalm 20 as they wait for further word on the fate of their co-religionists facing this nightmare.
2009: In Cedar Rapids, IA, Noah Thalblum is called to the Torah as Bar Mitzvah at Shabbat Morning Services.
2010: Today Germany's main Jewish group elected its first leader born after the Holocaust, Dieter Grauman a 60-year-old businessman born in Israel who promised to focus the organization more on contemporary Jewish life.
2010: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Dealings: A Political and Financial Life by Felix Rohatyn and I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron.
2010: The Los Angeles Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes by Stephen Sondheim
2010: Party Like A Jew is scheduled to come to an end in Brussels, Belgium.
2010: Terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza resumed rocket fire on the Western Negev this morning, striking near Sderot. As usual when no one is injured and there is no serious damage, Israel media did not report the Kassam attack. The short-range rocket exploded in mid-air as thousands of children and college students returned to schools and the local Sapir College.
2010(21st of Kislev, 5771): Eighty-nine year old “Samuel T. Cohen, the physicist who invented the small tactical nuclear weapon known as the neutron bomb, a controversial device designed to kill enemy troops with subatomic particles but leave battlefields and cities relatively intact, died today at his home in Los Angeles” (As reported by Robert D. McFadden
2011: The 92nd St Y is scheduled to host “Finding A Lost Tribe of Israel: The Bnei Menashe of India,” a program in which “the Bnei Menashe community, along with Shavei Israel founder Michael Freund, tell the remarkable story of how this lost tribe is finally coming home.”
2011: President Shimon Peres, under the instructions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left for Amman today to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II, to discuss stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
2011: The IDF returned fire on the source of at least three rockets fired into northern Israel from Lebanon tonight, Three rockets fired from Lebanon landed in the Western Galilee, with police searching for a possible fourth rocket.
2012: The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington is scheduled to present its legislative agency at tonight’s “Northern Virginia Legislators’ Reception at the JCCNVa
2012(14th of Kislev, 5773): Ninety-six year old New York real estate and newspaper tycoon Jerry Finkelstein passed away today. (As reported by Robert D. McFadden
2012: The French Institute American Alliance Française is scheduled to host a reception prior to the opening of “Haim Shelley Part One & Two” which “presents works by Brigitte NaHoN from 1999 to the present, a period when the artist lived in New York and immigrated to Tel Aviv.”
2012: The convulsions of the Arab Spring may be driving the American public’s support for Israel to new highs, according to a poll released today by the Washington-based group The Israel Project.
2012: Today Germany announced its opposition to the Palestinian bid to upgrade its status at the United Nations to a nonmember state, but did not indicate whether it would vote against or merely abstain.
2013(25th of Kislev, 5774): First Day of Chanukah
2013(25th of Kislev, 5774): Eighty-eighty year old Joseph Bihari one of three brothers who “the founders of Modern Records in Los Angeles and its subsidiaries such as Meteor Records based in Memphis” passed away in Los Angeles. (As reported by William Yardley)
2013: Thanksgiving – for the first time since 1888, the first day of Chanukah and Thanksgiving coincide. In 1888 it happened on November 2
2013: A Jordan-based scientific research center that counts as its members Iran and other Middle Eastern countries has named an Israeli physicist from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, Eliezer Rabinovici, as vice president, AFP reported.
2013: A two-year-old baby was seriously injured today when Muslim terrorists hurled rocks at the car she was in, at the entrance to the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in southern Jerusalem.
2014: In Melbourne, “Orange People” is scheduled to be shown this afternoon at the Jewish International Film Festival.
2014: In Atlanta, GA, the Berman Museum’s store is scheduled to hold a “Black Friday Sale” offering “BIG SAVINGS.”