141 BCE (18th of Elul, 3619): The fight begun by Matthias and Judah came to a successful conclusion when Simon was elected High Priest and was recognized as the governing authority of an independent Jewish state.
301: San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world's oldest republic still in existence, is founded by Saint Marinus. During World War II the 15,000 people of San Marino provided a refuge for 100,000 fleeing the fascists, including a large number of Jews.
590: Gregory I, known to history as St. Gregory and/or Gregory the Great became Pope at the age of 50. At first blush, Gregory seems to be a classic anti-Semite. He regarded Judaism as “depravity” and Jewish interpretation of the Bible as “perverse.” For all intents and purposes he banned conversion to Judaism. He banned Christians from working for Jews. He also limited opportunities by ordering Christians not to use Jewish doctors and forbidding the clergy from employing Jewish clerks. Following the precedent of Justinian, he barred Jews from holding public office, forbade the building of new synagogues and urged the rescuing of Jews from “their false” doctrines i.e. conversion to Christianity. At the same time, Gregory opposed forced conversion, calling on church officials to use “gentleness and kindness to make the Jews desire to change their way of life.” For Jews who did not wish to convert he said, We will not have the Hebrews oppressed and afflicted unreasonably.” On more than one occasion Gregory intervened on behalf of the Jews when they were attacked even by mobs led by officials of the Church. When synagogues were invaded, Gregory ordered the buildings to be restored to the Jews and repairs made to any damaged items. When a converted Jew entered a synagogue and tried to make it into a church, Gregory responded with the following admonition, “Just as the law forbids he Jews the building of new synagogues, it also guarantees them preservation of the old ones.” Gregory strongly opposed Judaism, but compared to his contemporaries and successors, he “did not lack scruples.”
1189: Many Jews living in London were killed in riots during the coronation of Richard I. One of the victims was Rabbi Jacob of
a student of the famous Rabbenu
Tam. Richard the Lionhearted was not an anti-Semite. In fact he moved to stop the riots. Unfortunately Richard was so busy with the
third Crusade and fighting to hold his lands in Orleans that he had no time to
protect the Jews. France
1260: The Mamluks defeat the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in Palestine, marking their first decisive defeat and the point of maximum expansion of the Mongol Empire. The battle was fought in the Jezreel Valley in the Galilee. It seems a little strange to those who connect this geography with David and Goliath to think of the Mongols of the Kahns fighting to control Eretz Israel. The Mamluks were Moslems. Their immediate connection with the Jewish people can be traced to one of the founders of the Egyptian Caliphate, Saladin who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem. After 1260, inland Jewish communities such as Safed grew replacing coastal communities such as Acre in importance. The battle was the high water mark for Mongol attempts to conquer the land that came to be known as the Ottoman Empire.
1658: Oliver Cromwell the Lord Protector of
died at the age of 59. Cromwell gets high marks in terms of Jewish
history. He was responsible for bringing
openly practicing Jews back to England
after a three and one half century absence.
Even with Cromwell championing their cause, the road to readmission was
not smooth. However by 1657, a year
before the Lord Protector’s death, the Jews of London felt secure enough in
their position to purchase a building to serve as a synagogue. England
1758(30th of Av, 5518): Rosh Chodesh Elul
1777(1st of Elul, 5537): Rosh Chodesh Elul
1783: The American Revolutionary War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The majority of Jews in the Colonies had supported the American cause. The treaty ensured them and their progeny a life in “the last best hope of man.”
1814: In London, English merchant Abraham Joseph and his wife gave birth to James Joseph who gained famed as mathematician James Joseph Sylvester.
1834: Birthdate of German rabbi, Hermann Tietz.
1836 (21st of Elul, 5596): Daniel Mendoza who was boxing champion of England from 1792 to 1795 and is called “the father of scientific boxing” passed away.
1845: In Besançon, France, Adelaide (née Friedmann) and Leopold Herz, gave birth to Cornelius Herz a pioneer in the field of electricity who “was the founder, along with Alphonse de Rothschild, of the American Syndicate of Electricity.”
1852: Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Stockholm.
1855: Birthdate of Heinrich Conreid, the Silesian native who became director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
1859: Birthdate of French socialist leader Jean Jaurès who was an early and energetic defender of Alfred Dreyfus.
1860: Birthdate of Edward Albert Filene,
merchant. Born in Boston , Filene was one of
long list of American Jews who gained wealth and power as “merchant
princes.” As president of the Salem,
Massachusetts firm of William
Filene's Sons he pioneered in scientific and ingenious methods of retail
distribution: the "bargain basement" was one of his innovations. He
planned and helped organize the Boston Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of
Commerce of the Boston and served in World War I as chairman
of the War Shipping Committee. He was active in civic reform movements and was
the founder (1919) of the Cooperative League, which became the Twentieth
Century Fund. He wrote several books on business methods and on economics. His
liberal economic and political views made him a controversial figure. United
1862” Birthdate of Moses Hyamson, the Russian born Rabbi who served as Chief Dayan (Judge) of the London Beth Din and acting Chief Rabbi of the British Empire.
1864: The Varieties Theatre which would eventually become "a Jewish theatre" opened today at 37 Bowery.
1864: Birthdate of Francis Crawford Burkitt, the British scholar and divinity professor at Cambridge whom Solomon Schechter trusted to go through many of the Greek language manuscripts that had been found in the Cairo Geniza. (For about this see “Sacred Trash” by Hoffman and Cole).
1872(30th of Av, 5632): Rosh Chodesh Elul
1872: “John H. Morton, boatswain of the Packetship Charles H. Marshall of the Black Ball line appeared before U.S. Commissioner of Emigration Osborne on charges of having inhumanly treated Meyer Velt, a German Jew who was a passenger on board the ship.” Velt claimed that he had been tied up by Morton and the “repeatedly cuffed, kicked and beaten.” Credence was added to his charges by the fact that several others on the ship complained of “bad treatment” and because similar charges had been brought against the Charles H. Marshall before. The Commissioner sent Morton back to Castle Garden expressing regret that the law did not allow him to punish the boatswain but suggested that he be sent to Police Court to answer for his crimes.
1875: Birthdate of Albert von Breitenbach, the native of Cologne, Germany who gained fame as American songwriter Fred Fisher whose works including “Come Josephine In My Flying Machine” and “Peg O’ My Heart.”
1879: It was reported today that Vasile Boerescu , the Romanian Foreign Minister, has been visiting governments in Europe in an attempt to gain modifications of those parts of Treaty of Berlin which committed his government to emancipating its Jewish population. Boerescu justified Romania’s treatment of the Jews by comparing it to the plight of Chinese in the United States.
1880(27th of Elul, 5640): Fifty-six year old Charles Steckler, a leading merchant in Jackson, CA passed away today, apparently having taken his own life.
1881: It was reported that the Board of Estimate and Apportionment has made the distributions to several New York charities including $1,957.14 to the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society.
1882: “Cairo, A Mountain Town” published today provides a description of this Catskill mountain village which provides a summer retreat for a variety of visitors “a good many” of whom “are Jews who “don’t care anything about…Sunday” and “want to play croquet, play the piano and go out riding.” According to the locals the Jews “are just like anybody else. There’s nice Jews and there’s them that aint nice.”
1883(1st of Elul, 5643): Rosh Chodesh Elul
1883: G.D. Ginsburg wrote to his daughter that he had spent a month to make sure that the recently discovered scroll of Deuteronomy presented by Moses Shipra was a fake because the forger had shown “extraordinary cleverness” and skill and his diligence would make it impossible “for this clever band of rogues to” traffic in any more take antiquities.:
1885: In New York City the apartment belonging to the family of Samuel Neuman and the adjacent schhol for Jewish children are scheduled to be fumigated today as the Health Department continues its fight against small-pox. Neuman, the son of a Jewish tailor, was found to infected with the disease and is being treated at Riverside Hospital.
1890: Coroner Levy went to Bellevue Hospital and had Lemuel Jaynes arrested after he ascertained that the nurse had mistakenly administered a lethal dose of carbolic acid to a typhus patient.
1891(30th of Av, 5651): Rosh Chodesh Elul
1891: A special inquiry is to be made into the fitness of Hirsch Birchanski to remain in the United States. The Russia Jew contends that contrary to the contention of Immigration Commissioner, he does have the ability to support himself and tis therefore eligible to enter the United States.
1892: Birthdate of Brigadier General Henning Linden led a group of reporters including Marguerite Higgins and a detachment of the 42nd (Rainbow) Infantry Division as the soldiers received the surrender of the camp commander, generating international headlines by freeing more than 30,000 Jews and political prisoners
1892: As concerns of a cholera outbreak worsened, members of the Peekskill, NY, Board of Health began inspecting the streets and houses in neighborhood populated primarily by Hebrews, Hungarians and Italians. (The immigrant population was thought to be the primary carry of the disease which had broken out in Europe.)
1892: It is reported that a group of Russian Jews who had been “expelled from Odessa and traveled to Paris by way of Constantinople” under the sponsorship of the Israelite Alliance have left for Dieppe where they will set sail for Canada. Many of the Jews sailing for Canada really want to settle in the United States and doing this to avoid the cholera quarantine at several U.S ports.
1892: “Suffering at Ziontown” published today described the desperate condition of the fifty Russian Jews at the settlement in New Jersey who are so poor that they “have been subsisting on berries and fruit picked by the wayside.”
1892: Based on reports published today, Baron de Mohrenheim, the Russian Ambassador to France believes that the Parisian press is “in the hands of the Jews” and “that the Rothschilds had opposed the Russian loan…in order to promote” a financial “collapse.”
1892: It was reported today that any plans by England, the United States and “Continental countries” to shut off the flow of immigrants from Russia because of the threat of cholera might be part of plan to stop the flow of Jews from that country, which is a problem in and of itself for these same countries.
1892: As Europe and the United States contend with a possible cholera epidemic, “officials of Jewish relief societies confirm” that no Russian Jews are entering the Thames, the gateway to London.
1893: “Dramatic Debut…In The House” published today described the maiden speech of Coningsby Disraeli the son of Ralph Disraeli and the nephew of Benjamin Disraeli in the House of Commons.
1893: “Sketches of Business Men in New York City” published today provided a detailed descr of the life of Oscar S. Straus.
1893: “Individual Wealth” published today traced the history of wealth distribution back to Biblical times when “The Old Testament indicates that the trade of the Jews with the East was in the hands of Solomon and that is profits enriched the King and not the people.” In modern times “the colossal fortunes of Hirsh or Rothschild…are really insignificant when contrasted with the wealth of a nation” but they attract attention like the point of a pyramid while no one looks at the base where the real wealth is.
1894: “Renan’s Final Volume” published today provides as detailed review of Histoire Du Peuple D’Israel by Ernest Rean, the fifth volume of the French Jewish authors History of Israel.
1894: Members of the boards of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum and United Hebrew Charities will attend the funeral of Jacob Bamberger which begins at ten thirty this morning at Temple Emanu-El
1894: About 400 clothing cutters, most of whom are Jewish held a meeting at Metropolitan Sienger Hall today and voted to go out on strike.
1896: Based on information that first appeared in The Menorah Monthly “Jules Simon” published today reiterated the fact that the late French Prime Minister was not a Jew although he was often attacked for being one by his anti-Semitic detractors. He was a member of the Israelite Universal Alliance and was a close friend of Aoldphe Cremieux, the French leader who was Jewish.
1897: Nathan Straus decided to stop the sale of raw milk following the arrest of one of the employee’s at the milk booth at the Hebrew Institute “on charges of selling milk below the required standard.” Straus had begun the sale of milk in 1893 as part of his campaign to improve the health of the immigrant and poor populations.
1898: In Hempstead, Long Island, Rabbi Cohen of Manhattan was among those attended a meeting at the home of Dr. A.D. Rosenthal where plans were discussed for holding High Holiday services which led to a discussion for the need for a permanent place of worship.
1898: It was reported today that according to the Irish author Edward Dowden, the tale of Shylock wanting a pound of flesh is actually a variant on a Persian tale in which the “Jew is not impelled to cruelty because the money is not returned to him but for the reason that he is in love with debtor’s wife and” he wants to get the husband out of the way.
1899: “Prodded the Prince of Wales” published today described a park-bench encounter at Marienbad between the Prince of Wales and an un-named Polish Jew who carried on a conversation with the future British monarch without knowing his identity that ended with him “digging his Royal Highness in the ribs and telling him he looked too healthy to need the water cure.”
1899: In the Hague, the first meeting The International Congress of History, of which Oscar S. Straus is a member of the American Section, came to a close.
1899: “Hebrew New Year Cards” published today described the growth in the sale of these “fancy affairs, ornamented with lace and flower and each with a motto or greeting in English and Hebrew” which “have been sold for some time in the Jewish stores” but a now being sold in the large department stores.
1899: It was reported today that “throughout Austria, the Radicals and Socialists are now practically united in demanding their Constitutional rights” and “complete equality for the Jews.”
1899: “The Jews” published today provide Mark Twain’s current view on these people
1901: Pitcher Bill Cristall made his major league debut with the Cleveland Blues.
1902(1st of Elul, 5662): Rosh Chodesh Elul
1902: Two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation Beth Israel at
There were no celebrations. Hamburg
1903: Fire destroys a synagogue at
1905: Birthdate of Arthur Koestler, author of Darkness at Noon.
1908: In Czernowitz, the First Conference for the Yiddish Language comes to a close.
1910: In New Orleans, LA, Dr. Joseph Conn and Hortense Holtzman Conn gave birth to Catherine Conn who gained fame as Kitty Carlisle.
1913(1st of Elul, 5673): Rosh Chodesh Elul
1914: Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa was elected Pope serving as Benedict XV who dealt with issues related to the suffering European Jewry during WW I and the early days of the implementation of the Balfour Declaration under the British mandate.
1915(24th of Elul, 5675): Ernst Nathan, the former Collector of Revenue under President Benjamin Harrison and prominent Brooklyn Republican passed away in his 74th year. A native or Prussia, Nathan had served as President of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, Temple Beth Elohim and the Jewish Federation of Brooklyn Charities.
1917: The British cabinet formally discusses the document that will be known as the Balfour Declaration. While most ministers favored the declaration, Edwin Montagu a Jewish member of the cabinet spoke out against the declaration. He feared that the declaration of
as the Jewish National Home would undermine the progress that British Jews had
made on the road to full acceptance in their English homeland. As secretary of
state to Palestine ,
Montagu claimed that the pro-Zionist statement would inflame the Moslem
population of India . India
1922: Birthdate of Alexander Petrovich Kazhdan, the Soviet born American expert in Byzantine studies.
1924: Pitcher Happy Foreman made his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox.
1925: In Tajik, Sivyo Davydova and Rubin Mullodzhanov gave birth Shoista Mullojonova, the Bukharian Jewish singer.
1926: In Oklahoma City, OK, Theodore and Esther Greenberg gave birth to Alan Greenberg the future leader of Bears Stearns.
1926: “A heated debate marked today's session of the Council of the League of Nations when it came to consider the report of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations on the situation in Palestine.” (As reported by JTA)
1926: A fight broke out today between a group of Bedouins and the residents of Avodath Israel after the Jews refusing the shepherds’ request to their sheep graze on land belonging to the settlement. The Jews refused because they it would be a violation of the government quarantine imposed in response to the current cattle plague. (As reported by JTA)
1926: The “Philadelphia Jewish Times” expressed its agreement with the statement made by Louis Marshall “that the rights guaranteed by the national minority treaties are essentially the same as those guaranteed to citizens by the United States Constitution and therefore the Turkish Jews had no right to renounce their minority rights.” (The Turkish Jews were responding to the reform movement in Turkey where the leaders were trying to create a secular state.)
1929: British forces repulsed an Arab raiding party this evening at El Mesha, a village east of Mount Tabor. The Arabs suffered 26 casualties to one wounded British private. Fourteen Arabs were killed when they attacked Yesod Ha’Maalah and two others were killed when they attacked Nishmar Ha’Yarden.
1931: Elmer Berger, a Reform Rabbi who would emerge as a lead of the anti-Zionist movement, married Seville Schwartz today.
1933: Birthdate of Dr. Charles Joseph Epstein, the geneticist who survived an attack by the Unabomber.
1934: The United Singers Society of Newark sponsored a Labor Day program at Union Singers Park featuring band music, fireworks and folk dancers dressed in authentic German costumes. The program was attended by 4,000 people. While the park was decorated with a variety of banners and flags emblematic of the German groups participating in the event, there were Nazi decorations or pictures of Hitler. The Singers Society was a conservative organization that had distanced itself from the pro-Hitler elements in the United States.
1938: The Italian newspaper Tevere, which has been publishing harshly anti-Semitic material for several years, praises the Mussolini decree rescinding the citizenship of all Jews who entered Italy after 1919.
and Britain declared
war on France .
The response of Germany
was a bit on the puzzling side to say the least. The two allies had waited forty-eight hours
to declare war. The two western Allies
were so inactive after the Germans took France that the following period
was known as the Phony War. For the Jews
of Poland the war was not phony as they fell under the Nazi boot. Poland
1939(19th of Elul, 5699): The SS executed 26 Jews in the Polish frontier town, Wieruszow. The victims included Israel Lewi, Abraham Lefkowitz, Moseh Mozes and Usiel Baumatz. Their fate presaged the fate of all the Jews of Poland.
1939: At a meeting of the Jewish Agency Executive, an organization informally recognized as the ad hoc Jewish government of
David Ben-Gurion vows that Jews will fight Hitler. A total of a million and a
half Jews will fight in the armed forces of nations opposing Germany: 555,000
Jewish servicemen and women in the American Armed Forces; 500,000 for the
Soviet Union; 116,000 for Great Britain (26,000 from Palestine and 90,000 from
the British Commonwealth); and 243,000 Jews for other European nations. Palestine
1939: German troops invaded the home in Bielsko, Poland 15 year old Gerda Weissmann, the future American author and human rights activist.
1939: Franny Krongold and Jacob Silberman, the parent of Rosie Silberman Canada’s first Jewish woman judge, were married today in Poland
1939: The last Kindertransport, did not begin its scheduled trip because of the outbreak of World War II.
1941: The Germans hung three Jewish brothers in Dubossary. Dubossary was in
which was part of the Soviet at this time. Six hundred elderly Jews of
Dubossary were thrown out of their homes, brought into eight synagogues, where
each house of worship was then burned to the ground. Six Jews who refuse to serve on the Jewish
Council at Moldavia , are publicly hanged.
Later, 600 elderly Jews are driven into Dubossary's eight synagogues and burned
alive when the synagogues are set ablaze. Dubossary, Ukraine
1941: The Germans test Cyclon B for effectiveness at
The tests were declared a success as all of the “subjects” were
killed. Cyclon B will be the
extermination weapon of choice for the Final Solution. Six hundred Soviet
prisoners of war and 300 Jews are "euthanized" at Auschwitz.
more than 800 Jews battle Nazis in a revolt led by Dov Lopatyn. Most of the
rebels are killed Lachva,
1942 The Geneva-based World Jewish Congress learns of deportations of French Jews.
1942: The Germans informed Dov Lopatyn, the head of the Judenrat in Łachwa, Poland was to be liquidated today. Lopatyn rejected the Nazi offer to spare his life if he would cooperate when he led the uprising that day claimed the life of approximately 1,100 Jews but enabled another 1,000 to escape. Yitzhak Rochzyn, one of the leaders of the uprising was killed by the Germans but Lopatyn escaped, joined a partisan unit with whom he fought until he was killed in 1944. “Either we all live or we all die” is a statement attributed to Lopatyn which Jews of the 21st century might do well to remember.
1942: Josef Kaplan, a leader of the ZOB (Jewish Fighting Organization), is arrested in
joining another leader, Yisrael Zeltzer, in detention. When another ZOB leader,
Shmuel Braslav, is stopped in the street by German troops, he is shot dead
after trying to pull a knife. Another ZOB leader, Reginka Justman, is shot
after being stopped while carrying the ZOB's arms cache to a new hiding place;
the arms are seized. Warsaw
1942: The Times of London began running articles describing the deportations of French Jews. The articles ran until September 14.
1943: The New York Times published an article entitled “50,000 Jews Dying In Nazi Fortress.”
1943: During World War II, the Allies invaded mainland
. The Nazis moved south bringing with them
their racial laws and exposing the Italian Jews to the reality of the
Holocaust. The Nazis would fail to
dislodge the Allies, but thanks to the ineptitude of allied commanders, the fight
up the Italians peninsula would waste lives and fail to shorten the war. Italy
1943: “Rothchild Rites Planned” published today summarized the accomplishments of the late Edward S. Rothchild the banker who “is believed to have built the first sizable office building in San Francisco after the San Francisco Fire and Earthquake.”
1943: Judge Louis E. Levinthal, President of the Zionist Organization of America was reported today to have issued a statement “hailing the resolution” adopted by the American Jewish Conference “calling for the right of Jewish refugees who can reach Palestine to establish permanent homes” as “an impressive manifestation of the overwhelming and enthusiastic support of American Jewry for the reconstruction of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth.”
1943: In Dordogne, France, David Feuerwerker and of Antoinette Feuerwerker gave birth to historian Atara Marmor.
1944: Bloeme Evers-Emden was placed on the last transport from the Netherlands bound for Auschwitz.
1944: The day after famous painter Felix Nussbaum arrived at Auschwitz, his brother was sent to the Nazi death camp.
1944: The Allies begin air evacuations of Jews from partisan-held regions of
to Allied-occupied Yugoslavia . Italy
1944: A senior Italian police officer named Giovanni Palatucci was arrested in the German-held Yugoslavian city of Fiume for aiding Jews, is sent to the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany, where he would die.
1944: The Frank family, including sisters Margot and Anne, were put on the first of the three final trains at Westerbork concentration camp that shipped its human cargo to Auschwitz.
1946: Those charged with war crimes and the evidence against them was returned to Dachau when the Soviets failed to arrive at the border zone and take possession of them
1946(7th of Elul, 5706): Eighty-three year old pianist and composer Moriz Rosenthal who studied with Franz Liszt passed away today.
1949: Birthdate of Raik Haj Yahia, an Israeli Arab who served in the Knesset in 1998 and 1999 as a member of the Labor Party.
1950: Dr. Pinchas Churgin, President of the Mizrachi Organization of America announced today that a tract of land has been set aside in Tel Aviv for the construction of new college of arts and sciences patterned after American undergraduate colleges. The plan is for the new school to begin accepting applicants within the next three years.
1951: President Harry Truman sent a message to Alexander Kahn, general manager of the Forward expressing his sorrow over the death of Abraham Cahan whom he described "as a teacher and guide to generations of Jewish immigrants" (As reported by JTA)
1951: According to published reports Israel is facing the worse food crisis that has confronted the Jewish state since its birth three years ago. Except on the black market, fruits and vegetables have been all but unavailable on the local market. The meat ration has been canceled for the last three weeks and there was no sugar ration available during August. The cause of the shortage is the continued flow of new immigrants to the country which means that the food supply is always outstripped by the ever-increasing demand.
1954: The German U-Boat U-505 begins its move from a specially constructed dock to its final site at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Ironically, this captured Nazi ship would be a must-see stop each time a certain Jewish family visited Chicago during the summers of the 1950’s
1969: In Brooklyn Georgia Brown and Jonathan Baumbach gave birth to screenwriter and director Jonathan Baumbach
1974(16th of Elul, 5734): Seventy –four year old Russian born American painter Moses Soyer passed away today.
1984(6th of Elul, 5744): Songwriter Arthur Schwartz passed away after suffering a stroke. He was 83. Born in
in 1900, Schwartz supported himself as a piano player while going to . After graduating, Schwartz decided to follow
his artistic bent and became a highly successful song writer for vaudeville,
Broadway and NYU Law
School . Unfortunately, most
of his hits were of the popular mode and have not stood the test of time. Hollywood
1999: The Times of London reviewed The Rich and the Poor: Jewish philanthropy and social control in nineteenth-century London by Mordechai Rozin.
The nature of the relationship between rich and poor, which is the subject of Mordechai Rozin's book on Jewish philanthropy in nineteenth-century London, is a contentious one. Since the collapse of socialism in 1989, students of British philanthropy have moved on from analyses based on a theory of class conflict to a more benign view of the charitable. Today, social historians, captivated by those buzzwords "community" and "civil society", are prone to see charities as valuable intermediary institutions acting as buffers between the individual and the State. In the past, they were more likely to treat those societies as devices by which the rich created a subservient class of Mr Pooters while maintaining the status quo. It is thus surprising to read a book published at the end of the 1990s which has all the hallmarks of the 70s. Nothing dates a history book more than a fashionable concept, and the term "social control" in The Rich and the Poor: Jewish philanthropy and social control in nineteenth-century London is redolent of an earlier way of thinking. Of course, many philanthropists wished to keep the poor in their place, particularly at times of social unrest, and used charitable work to confirm their status or climb the social ladder. Concentrating on the philanthropy of a small band of wealthy Jews, Rozin makes a case for this line of argument, but he does so by ignoring a great deal else, not least the religious and psychological pressures which so often lay behind charitable endeavor. By defining the function of philanthropy "as collective action . . . for the sake of the combined interests of the elite as a group, regardless of personal contributions of its individual members", he sidesteps the risk of having to deal with expressions of personal service. The successive waves of Jewish immigrants to London would have tested any system of relief. It certainly tested the Jewish Board of Guardians, established in 1859 to co-ordinate Jewish charity. The Board is central to Rozin's thesis, and he concludes that the rich and powerful who ran it were self-serving despots hostile to the basic needs of the Jewish poor, paternalists who put class interest ahead of ethnic solidarity. The Board's treatment of new immigrants was insensitive, but difficult decisions had to be made when charitable funds were limited. Rozin, somewhat surprisingly, believes that Jewish plutocrats had the financial resources to deal with sick and destitute Jews. A more usual refrain among historians is that nineteenth-century charitable resources were woefully inadequate, so much so that government intervention became a necessity. As an advocate of state welfare, Rozin must take added pleasure in accusing his plutocrats of stinginess. By concentrating on the Board of Guardians, Rozin ignores the enormous contribution made by wealthy Jews to non-Jewish charities such as the Prince of Wales's Hospital Fund for London (King's Fund). The financiers Baron Hirsch and Sir Ernest Cassel, who gave vast sums in aid of the London poor, are not even mentioned. Innovative Jewish charities in the East End, for example mothers' meetings and nursing societies, are likewise neglected. Still, the most valuable sections of the book touch on the variety of Jewish philanthropy. Like Engels, Rozin believes that the working classes were more charitable than the rich, and the pages on good works beyond the elite are particularly welcome. Institutions established by the poor themselves offered an alternative source of relief to the Board of Guardians. Their very existence, in Rozin's view, was evidence that the Board had failed in its duty by the harshness of its policies. They are also evidence of its failure to "control" the poor. As Rozin confirms, leading Jewish institutions shared the same social philosophy that marked English philanthropy, with its emphasis on casework, dislike of indiscriminate doles, and incentives to work. Yet, in practice, the charity of wealthy Jews, like that of their Christian counterparts, was more compassionate than such a doctrine suggests. In the case of the Jewish poor, who were known to be frugal and industrious, distinctions between deserving and undeserving claimants were often inappropriate. To those on the doorstep, not least Jewish lady visitors, the destitution and disease could be so overwhelming that abstract debate about the causes of poverty was meaningless; they were not to be reasoned out of their humanity by doctrinaire guidelines, or, dare one say it, even by self-interest. There may be something to be said for this study as a corrective to former glowing accounts of Jewish philanthropy, but charitable enterprise was more complex than is suggested here, where indulgence in social theory masks, and distorts, the lived experience.
2000: The New York Times included reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or about topics of Jewish interest including It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States by Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks, Stella in Heaven: Almost a Novel by Art Buchwald and JEW VS. JEW The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry by Samuel G. Freedman which is reviewed by Stephen J. Whitfield the smartest person I ever met at Tulane University. He now teaches at Brandeis University.
2000: A ceremony was held at the site where the Struma was sunk to commemorate the tragedy. It was attended by 60 relatives of Struma victims, representatives of the Jewish community of Turkey, the Israeli ambassador and prime minister's envoy, as well as British and American delegates. There were no delegates from the former Soviet Union
2000: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed concern at the Vatican’s beatification of Pope Pius IX, who was responsible for the 1858 abduction of a six-year old Jewish child through the following statement issued by Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The beatification of Pius IX is troubling for the Jewish community. Pius was responsible for the case of Edgardo Mortara, who at the age of six was abducted from his family in
2001: The nations of Israel and Georgia “jointly issued postage stamps to honor Shota Rustaveli. Designed by Yitzhak Granot, the Israeli stamp (3.40 NIS) showed the author with Hebrew text in the background.” A fresco depicting the Georgian poet can found at the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. (This serves as another reminder of the multi-national and multi-religious affiliations that have been part of the history of the Israeli capital for centuries.)
2001(15th of Elul, 5761): Eighty-two year old film critic Pauline Kael, passed away today. (As reported by Lawrence Van Gelder)
2001: In Jerusalem, three people were injured during a series of car bombings.
2002: Pitcher Justin Wayne made his major league debut with the Florida Marlins.
2004: The Seventh Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, under the musical direction of pianist Elena Bashkirova, opens in
2004: Jonathan David Leibowitz was sworn as a member of the Federal Trade Commission.
2004: Governor Vilsack proclaimed this as Celebrate 350 Day in
. The proclamation marked the start of
various community activities in Iowa
marking the birth of the American Jewish Community Iowa
2005: The end of the summer holidays proclaims the start of the performing arts season and it begins with Dan Ettinger on the podium at the Rishon Performing Arts Center.
2005: The Jerusalem Post reported that Palestinian leaders were “upset” with Pakistani officials for meeting with Israeli government officials in
. The high level meeting was viewed by the
Palestinians as a reward for Turkey ’s
withdrawal from Israel ;
a reward which they felt was unwarranted. Gaza
2005: As evidence of the vitality of the century old Cedar Rapids Jewish Community, Natalee Birchansky celebrated her Bat Mitzvah at
2005: Mike Bloom married a woman named Farah at Caleo Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona
2006: The New York Times featured a review of Janna Levin’s A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines a historical novel featuring Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing as characters.
2006: The Washington Post featured reviews of Richard Grant’s Another World, a novel about an “unlikely hero who goes behind Germany's front line to retrieve evidence of the Nazis' Final Solution and A.B. Yehoshua’s A Woman In Jerusalem “a dreamlike novel by an Israeli master” in which a Jewish human resource manager is sent on an odd quest. [Speaking from experience, there is more fact than fiction to this since Jewish human resources professionals spend a lot of time dealing with odd requests.]
2007: Maimonides finishes third in the Hopeful Stakes at
. Maimonides is named for the Jewish sage and
is owned by Ahmed Zayat, an Egyptian living in Saratoga . New Jersey
2007: In Jerusalem, the weeklong festival known as Jewish Music Days begins with a grand opening concert at Beit Shmuel, featuring Frank London and the AndraLaMoussia Ensemble. “
is an internationally acclaimed musical artist and a founder of the Klezmatics
who will create unique encounters with the Jerusalem-based ensemble, a mosaic
of traditions and originality.” London
2007: On Labor Day a statue of labor leader Samuel Gompers was unveiled in
Gomper’s Park. Up until now, the park, named in honor of the longtime President
of the American Federation of Labor had no monument to the man who led the
fight for the eight hour day. Chicago
2007(20th of Elul, 5767): Dr. Jacob Levin passed away in
. There is not enough space to record the
virtue of this man. Suffice it to say
that he was a mensch par excellence. Highland Park, Illinois
2007: Rabbi Aaron Sherman, of Temple Judah said he supports same-sex marriage in Iowa. "I don't find that two people of the same sex getting married in any way diminish the sanctity of marriage," he said.
, Daniel Mendelsohn, author of the award-winning family memoir The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million,
discusses and signs his new book of essays, How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken, at
Politics and Prose Bookstore. Washington,
2008: The Budapest Short Film Festival opens featuring “Mother Economy” as an official selection. The nineteen minute film is artist Maya Zack’s powerfully imaginative meditation on Holocaust remembrance and on the myth of the Jewish mother.
2008: Brad Meltzer reads from and signs his new thriller, The Book of Lies, at Barnes & Noble, in
. Bethesda, Maryland
2008: A critically acclaimed fully staged off-Broadway production of Joseph Stein’s “Enter Laughing: The Musica”l opened at the York Theatre. Stein is the son of Charles and Emma (Rosenblum) Stein, two Jewish immigrants from Poland.
2009: Agi Mish'ol launches his new book Bikkur Bayit (House Call) at Mishkenot Sha'ananim in Jerusalem. “
2009: Beit Avi Chai presents Part 4 of a workshop for people interested in Rambam (Maimonides), his unique philosophy, and its significance today.
2009: The Antiquities Authority said a 3,700-year-old wall that is the oldest example of massive fortifications ever found Jerusalem will be opened to the public beginning today.
2009: The Washington Post features a review of Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow
2010: In Washington, DC, Adas Israel is scheduled to kick-off the Labor Day Weekend and Erev Shabbat observance with L'Dor VaDor - The Back to Shul BBQ
2010: The New York Times published a review of Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends by Tom Segev. In the book, the author reports for the first time that Wiesenthal received financial support from Mossad and that he played a key role in the capture of Adolph Eichmann.
2010(24 Elul, 5770): Sixty-year old standup comic Robert Schimmel, a frequent guest on Howard Stern's radio show, has died after suffering serious injuries in a car accident.
2011: The 14th Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival is scheduled to open.
2011; Matisyahu is scheduled to perform in Lowell, MA.
2011: Kandi Abelson is scheduled to perform at the Off The Wall Comedy Basement in Jerusalem.
2011: An estimated 460,000 people gathered across the country this evening to protest for social change as part of the "March of the Million," Channel 10 news reported.
2011: An estimated 400,000 Israelis are marching across the country as part of the 'March of the Million,' a rally which organizers hope will grow to be the biggest social protest in Israel's history. According to initial estimates over 300,000 people have amassed in Tel Aviv's Kikar Hamedina square, where the central event is currently taking place.
2011: Egypt's military has begun an operation to close a network of smuggling tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border following tension with Israel, security officials said today. Hundreds of tunnels snake under the 9-mile (14-kilometer) border, where smugglers bring Gaza supplies and fuel limited by an Israeli blockade. Israel charges Gaza's Hamas rulers get weapons, ammunition and rockets through the tunnels and smuggle militants out.
2012: “Labor on the Bimah,” a three-day social justice activity that “focused on the importance of workers' rights and organized labor and the challenges workers face” is scheduled to come to an end.
2012: The French Israeli singer Françoise is scheduled to perform her Paris-Jazz show at Avram’s Bar in Jerusalem.
2012: Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel Ayala Procaccia is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State: Freedom of Religion and Freedom from Religion.” This event is in memory of Sir Zelman Cowen, a leading legal mind who served as 19th Governor General of Australia.
2012: A member of the Jewish community of Alexandria today denied reports that Egyptian authorities had canceled Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur prayers in the city – citing security concerns – saying he would personally lead the services during the High Holidays. Youssef Gaon, the caretaker of the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue, was quoted by a Jewish official as saying prayers will be held at the 180-year-old house of worship this year, albeit without an ordained rabbi or cantor.
2012: A new public elementary school named after a Holocaust survivor opened in Silver Spring, Md. The Flora M. Singer Elementary School, whose name was unanimously approved by the Montgomery County Board of Education on May 8, opened its doors to students today.
2012: On Labor Day, American Jews can reflect on their role in the American Labor Movement:
2014: Dr. Moshe Lavee of University of Haifa, Israel, is scheduled to lecture on "The Egyptian Midwives: Gender and Identity in Lost Aggadic Traditions from the Genizah" at the University of Connecticut.