May 23 In Jewish History
1052: Birthdate of Philip I, King of France who passed away in 1108. Philip’s life overlapped that of Rashi (1040-1105). In his day, Philip certainly was more powerful than the wine merchant of Troyes. But how many people study Philip today and how many Rashi read. Philip was the king during the First Crusade. However, he was not allowed to participate because Pope Urban II had excommunicated him. This may account, to some extent, why the Jews of France did not suffer in the same as did their Germanic co-religionist during what turned out to be the start of one of the deadliest periods of Jewish history.
1275: King Edward I of England ordered the cessation of persecution of Jews of Bordeaux, France. This was at a time when English kings still had holdings in France and dreams of sitting on the French throne. This is the same Edward who will eventually banish the Jews from England after draining them of all of their wealth.
1420: Albert V (Austria) accused a rich Jew, Israel of Enns, of purchasing a wafer in order to desecrate it. All the Jews in the territory were jailed, dispossessed of their property, separated from their families and then subjected to attempts at forced conversion.
1420: At the behest of the Church, Duke Albrecht ordered the forcible conversion of the Jews of Austria. Those that had not converted or escaped or been sent off in the boats were burned at the stake on March 12, 1421, and their beautiful synagogue destroyed.
1421: Those Jews still remaining in Austria were imprisoned and/or expelled.
1423: Benedict XIII, the Avignon-based "antipope" known for his relentless persecution of the Jews died today.
1498: Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican monk who was a violent opponent of the comparatively philo-Semitic Pope Alexander VI was convicted as a heretic and burned at the stake on the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.
1510: Emperor Maximilian of
1524: Ismail I, Shah of Persia and founder of the Safavid dynasty passed away. Conditions for the Jews of Persia declined under the Safavids when they adopted Shia Islam as the state religion. “Shi'ism assigns importance to the issues of ritual purity ― tahara. Non-Muslims, including Jews, are deemed to be ritually unclean ― najis. Any physical contact would require Shi'as to undertake ritual purification before doing regular prayers. Thus, Persian rulers, and the general populace, sought to limit physical contact between Muslims and Jews. Jews were excluded from public baths used by Muslims. They were forbidden to go outside during rain or snow, as an "impurity" could be washed from them upon a Muslim.”
1533: The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void. As a condition to their marriage, Henry’s father promised Catherine’s Spanish parents that Jews would never be allowed to settle in England. When Henry decided to divorce Catherine he claimed that the marriage had taken place in violation of biblical law. He sought the support of Italian rabbis in making this claim. The Rabbis did not support the English monarch, probably figuring that there was no reason to antagonize the Pope (who was a lot closer) than a distant English monarch.
1552: Sebastian Munster, the first Christian to publish a complete edition of the Bible in Hebrew passed away.
1568: Netherlands declared independence from Spain. Protestant Dutch rebels led by Louis of Nassau, brother of William I of Orange, defeat Jean de Ligne, Duke of Aremberg and his loyalist troops in the Battle of Heiligerlee, opening the Eighty Years' War. The conflict combined politics and religion as Protestant Dutchmen rebelled against Catholic Spain. Holland had provided a haven for Sepharidic Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition. A community of Portuguese merchants had settled in Amsterdam prior to the outbreak of hostilities. The Protestant clergy were not exactly thrilled about the Jews settling in the country and it took several decades for the Jews of Holland to gain full acceptance.
1572 (18 Iyar 5332): On Lag B’Omer Moses Isserles, also known as the Rama passed away Born sometime between 1520 and 1525, he was the son of Israel Isserles, “ a wealthy leader of the Cracow community who, in 1553, received royal dispensation to build a synagogue in memory of his wife which is known as the Ream Synagogue.” Moses Isserles served as Rosh (Head of the) Yeshiva in
1578: The Ottoman Sultan rescinded the order to deport the wealthy Jews of Safed to the
1637(28th of Iyar): Seven Jews, including Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac, were murdered today in Cracow.
1708(4th of Sivan): Rabbi Solomon ben David de Oliveria, author of “Ez Hayyim” passed away today.
1773: Distinctions between Old Christians and New Christians were banned in
1788: South Carolina becomes the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Thanks to John Locke who wrote South Carolina’s original constitution Jews, along with heathens and dissenters were guaranteed “freedom of conscience.” Jews began voting in the colony’s elections in 1702. By 1750, there were enough Jews in the colony to warrant the building of the first synagogue in Charleston “which called itself “Beth Elohim” (House of God). Francis Salvador was the most prominent Jewish leader when the Revolution began in 1775. In 1790, South Carolina enacted legislation that was intended to abolish religious discrimination.
1825(6th of Sivan, 5585): First Day of Shavuot
1846: In Fürth, Bavaria, Joel and Babette (Elsasser) Krakauer gave birth to Adolph Krakauer who came to New York in 1865 and then to Texas where became a successful merchant and leading businessman in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas before his death in 1914.
1848: Birthdate of Otto Lilienthal German born aviation pioneer. He died in 1896 after one of his gliders failed to work properly.
1851: Richard Lalor Sheil an Irish writer, orator, and Member of Parliament passed away. Jews should remember Sheil as a supporter of measures to allow Jews to sit as members of Parliament in the United Kingdom. Following the Rothschild’s election to the House of Commons Sheil delivered a speech entitled “On Disabilities of the Jews” that began included these words in the opening paragraph, “A British subject ought in every regard to be considered a British citizen; and inasmuch as the professors of the most ancient religion in the world, which, as far as it goes, we not only admit to be true, but hold to be the foundation of our own, are bound to the performance of every duty which attaches to a British subject, to a full fruition of every right which belongs to a British citizen, they have, I think, an irrefragable title. A Jew born in England can not transfer his allegiance from his sovereign and his country; if he were to enter the service of a foreign power engaged in hostilities with England and were taken in arms he would be accounted a traitor. Is a Jew an Englishman for no other purposes than those of condemnation? I am not aware of a single obligation to which other Englishmen are liable from which a Jew is exempt; and if his religion confers on him no sort of immunity it ought not to affect him with any kind of disqualification.”
1859: Two Polish Jews, Philip Moses and Samuel Preiss filed a complaint today claiming that a tailor name William Meyer had attacked Preiss and stolen his watch while Preiss was in his store. The two plaintiffs gave such contradictory stories that it led the Judge to believe that Meyer was actually the victim of blackmail attempt. He charged Moses and Preiss with attempted blackmail and filing a false police report. The two complaining witnesses are now defendants and since they could make bail they are awaiting trial in the city jail. [So all of our ancestors weren’t Kohanim or psalmists, so what?]
1870: The annual meeting of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites was held this evening at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. The report of the Executive Committee included a comprehensive look at conditions of Jews in a various communities. The committee reported that the Governor of Syria had agreed to allow the purchase of land for a Jewish agricultural school. Construction will begin as soon as the government at Constantinople gives its approval. Romanian Jews, including those living in Bucharest, Vacco and Salatz have been the victims of violent attacks. Jews continued to suffer in Russia and they continue to subject to laws prohibiting them from living near the frontier. Halevy has not begun his trip to China where he is to gain information on the condition of the Jews living there. At its recent meeting in Paris, the Universal Alliance reported that it had 12,000 members around the world. The committee urged that other states adopt laws similar to the one in New York that allows Jews who observe the Sabbath to work on Sunday, despite the existence of “Blue Laws.” The committee urged the Jewish population to support Maimonides College. The committee credited “the good sense of the American public” that organizations attempting to Christianitize the U.S. Constitution had meant with little success.
1873: Birthdate of Rabbi Leo Baeck. His most famous work was The Essence of Judaism. He believed in ethical monotheism as part of the core of Judaism. Unlike contemporary rationalists, he also acknowledged that the mystery of God was also essential to Jewish belief. He saw the need for the experiencing God at the emotional level. This experience would lead to the ethical behavior. Also, Baeck saw the need for ritual as an affirmation of the concept of people hood. Baeck chose not to leave
1875: “An Interesting Jewish Ceremony” published today described the conversion ceremony of Henrietta Held at which Rabbi Marx Cohn officiated.
1875: “Michel Levy: The Life of a Great French Publisher” published today described the shock in Paris at the death of this 54 year old literary leader and provided a detailed account of his life and accomplishments.
1877: In Paterson, NJ, Judge Barkalow will begin to hear evidence in divorce case involving Moses Fananholz (or Tananholz) originally from Chicago and his wife the former Rachel Blumenthal from Montreal. The wife claims that her husband only married her for her money; that she that the ceremony was only for a betrothal under Jewish custom and not a marriage ceremony; and that since she was under the age of 18 (the age of consent) when the ceremony was performed the marriage was illegal.
1879: An article published today entitled “Proposed Hebrew Convention” described the preparations that are being made for the upcoming meeting in New York of delegates representing the “various branches of he Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Agenda items will include a report on charitable activities and a report on the activities at the college the Union controls which trains young men to serve as rabbis. One major topic of discussion will be the proposed to change Jewish Sabbath services from Saturday to Sunday.
1879(1st of Sivan, 5639): Rosh Chodesh Sivan
1886: Birthdate of Moshe David Drabkin known as David Remez the native of Belarus who made Aliyah in 1913 with his wife Liba. At the end of his long, rich career he was one of those who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1948 and served as cabinet minister in Ben-Gurion’s first two governments.
1900: Birthdate of Franz Leopold Neumann “a German-Jewish left-wing political activist and labor lawyer, who …is considered to be among the founders of modern political science in the Federal Republic of Germany.”
1900: Herzl seeks support at a meeting with Ernest von Koerber, Austrian political leader who served as Prime Minister from 1900 to 1904.
1903: Following the Kishinev Pogrom Wenzel von Plehve, Russian Minister of the Interior “rebuffed a Jewish delegation that asked for a condemnation of the massacre and relaxation of anti-Jewish rules.”
1903: Herzl writes to Wenzel von Plehve, Russian Minister of the Interior and to Konstantin Pobiedonostzev asking them to arrange an audience with the Czar. Herzl also turned to Bertha von Suttner and asks for her assistance in this matter. Von Sutter was an Austrian writer, pacifist and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Peace.
1908: Birthdate of architect Max Abramovitz. Two of his most famous designs were
1909(3rd of Sivan, 5669): Elias Solomon, an Australian politician, passed away. Born in 1839, in London, England, he migrated to Australia as a child. He had no formal education, but in 1868 became a clerk and auctioneer in Fremantle in Western Australia. In 1877 he was elected to the Fremantle City Council. In 1892, he was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly as the member for South Fremantle, where he remained until 1901. In that year, he transferred to federal politics, winning the Australian House of Representatives seat of Fremantle for the Free Trade Party. He was defeated by Labor's William Carpenter in 1903.
1910: Birthdate of bandleader Artie Shaw. Born Arthur Jacob Arshawsky in
1911: Dedication ceremony of the New York Public Library. Over the next century, the library would provide countless generations of Jews a variety of cultural and educational opportunities. The library’s “Dorot Jewish Division is one of the great collections of Judaica in the world and the most accessible for both scholarly and personal use. While the collection offers commentary on all aspects of Jewish life it also includes Hebrew and Yiddish-language texts on general subjects.”
1912: Tonight, at a meeting of the American Immigration and Distribution League at the Hotel Manhattan, Montefiore G. Kahn, Acting Secretary of the organization, announced that he would give the league 13,000 acres of farming and clay lands in New Jersey, valued by the donor at more than $2,600,000. The land was to be parceled out free to deserving immigrants who desire to become farmers.
1914: Birthdate of actor and critic Leo Lerman, author and editor for style setting magazines including Mademoiselle, Vogue and Vanity Fair.
1922: Premier of "Abie's Irish Rose." This was the first of over 2,500 performances seen by an estimated fifty million attendees.
1925: Birthdate of Dr. Joshua Lederberg “an American molecular biologist who is known for his work in genetics, artificial intelligence, and space exploration. He was awarded half of the Nobel Prize in 1958 for his research in genetic structure and function in microorganisms. The other half of that year's prize was shared by Edward Lawrie Tatum and George Wells Beadle. In addition to his contributions to biology, Lederberg did extensive research in artificial intelligence. This included work in the NASA experimental programs seeking life on Mars and the chemistry expert system Dendral. Lederberg’s parents had moved to the United States from Palestine in 1924. His father was an Orthodox Rabbi. Fortunately for the world of science when Lederberg was Bar Mitzvahed in 1938 he received a copy of Bodansky's” Introduction to Physiological Chemistry,” a book that he said had a tremendous impact on his scientific development.
1926: Birthdate of Amos Degani, the Tel Aviv native whose political career included serving as an MK from 1957 to 1969.
1926: The United Jewish Campaign in New York is scheduled to come to an end today.
1929: In Palestine, the leaders of Ahdut HaAvoda and Hapoel HaTzair, the two major labor parties sign an agreement that will merge the two parties into one. The merger is slated to take place on July 25.
1934: The Palestine Jewish National Assembly orchestrated a general strike against the immigration ban that was scheduled to last from noon until 7 p.m. this evening. During the strike, fifty Jewish strikers in Tel Aviv were wounded in clashes with the police. Twenty of the wounded were described as being in serious condition.
1935:Joseph "Yosky" Toblinsky participated in the hijacking of a truck while driving through Sullivan County today escaping with $8,000 worth of pharmaceutical drugs. He also kidnapped the driver and his assistant. Born in 1879, Toblinsky “was a New York City racketeer who, as head of an independent gang on East Side Manhattan, was involved in extortion and poisoning horses with the Yiddish Black Hand during the early 1900s. He was… sent to Sing Sing Prison for cruelty to animals in 1902.”
1937: Birthdate of Jerome Rosenberg who would hold the dubious distinction of being the longest serving prisoner in New York State when he died.
1938: As Arab violence continued unabated, The Palestine Post reported that Yitzhak Yitzhaki, 55, was attacked and stabbed to death by two Arabs near the Beit Vegan quarter of Jerusalem. Ezekiel Muncik, 25, a supernumerary constable from Kfar Yona was shot and killed during one of the Arab attacks on Hanita. Another young settler, Abraham Katz was severely wounded only one hour later and it was impossible to Ctake him to hospital. A police sergeant, injured in an earlier attack, died of his wounds in the
1939: Following the adoption of the infamous MacDonald White Paper which all but put an end to Jewish immigration in Palestine, Winston Churchill, who was still a political outcast, spoke in favor of Jewish immigration telling the House of Commons, "So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population. Now are being asked to decree that all this is to come to an end. We are now asked to submit, and this what rankles most with me, to an agitation which fed with foreign money and ceaselessly inflamed by Nazi and by Fascist propaganda." (According to Martin Gilbert, Churchill was right. "Between 1922 and 1939 more Arabs had entered Palestine than Jews." Many of these immigrants were drawn to Palestine by the improving economic conditions which were often a product of Jewish settlement. Ironically, these Moslems who came from a variety of North African and Middle Eastern countries would be counted among the "Palestinian refugees" that are with us to this date.)
1939: During a debate on the Peel Commission’s White Paper, Winston Churchill defends the Balfour Declaration and criticizes Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for betraying the Zionists and turning his back on a document he had so ardently supported twenty years before. “They (the Jewish settlers) have fulfilled his (Chamberlain) hopes. How can he find it in his heart to strike them this mortal blow?” Upon hearing of the speech, Weizmann telegraphed Churchill” “Your magnificent speech may yet destroy this policy. Words fail me to express thanks.”
1939: In Palestine, on the eve of the Shavuot holiday, seven new settlements are established simultaneously. In all, twelve new settlements are established in May, expressing the faith that even in the grim new circumstances of the White Paper, settlement was one of the essential means of fighting for the Zionist aim.
1940: As French forces flee from the attacking German Army, Margaret and Hans Rey returned to Paris from Normandy.
1940: Frustrated by "illegal" immigration into
1940: Lord Lloyd, the Secretary of State for Colonies express his opposition to Prime Minister Churchill’s plan to arm the Jews of Palestine so that he could bring the 20,000 British troops stationed in Palestine home to defend against a possible German invasion. Lloyd feared the reaction of the Arabs to what Churchill saw as a way of providing for self-defense while meeting the Nazi menace.
1941: Birthdate of Zalman King Lefkowitz who as Zalman King gained fame as “a filmmaker who mixed artistic aspiration, a professed empathy for female sexuality and gauzy photography to bring soft-core pornography to cable television — particularly with his Showtime series “Red Shoe Diaries” in the 1990s…´(As reported by Douglas Martin)
1942(7th of Sivan, 5702): Second Day of Shavuot
1943: Nazi Aktionen kill thousands of Ukrainian Jews at Przemyslany and
1944(1st of Sivan, 5704): Rosh Chodesh Sivan
1944: In New York, Rabbi Samuel Belkin was inaugurated as President of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Yeshiva College. An honorary degree of Doctor of Law was conferred upon Supreme Court Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone and an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on Rabbi Isaac Rubinstein, former Chief Rabi of Vilna and a twenty six year member of the Sejm (the Polish Senate.)
1945: Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler committed suicide.
1945: Two weeks after the German surrender, Chaim Weizmann writes to Prime Minister Winston Churchill appealing for an end to the White Paper and restrictions on Jewish immigration to Eretz
1946: A mob of rioting Poles attacked Zypora Frank and her family today which was Zypora’s birthday. According to Mrs. Frank, ''They threw stones, they were yelling, 'You take our coal and give us the Jews,' and somebody threw a grenade.'' Two people were killed, one right next to the 11-year-old girl, spattering her birthday dress with blood. Following another pogrom in July, Mrs. Frank’s parents would decide to send their children to Palestine. They were sure that the Poles would finish what the Germans had begun.
1947: The British intercepted a three-masted Italian schooner today off the shore of Palestine containing 1,457 Jews who were trying to enter the country. The Jews, most of whom were Polish, Russian or Hungarian, had been on the ship for over two weeks. They had named the vessel Mordei Hagetaoth (Ghetto Fighters) and placed a sign on the deck, written in English proclaiming “From the ruins of the ghetto to our own country – our only refuge – Open the gates.
1948: The only advance of the Arab Legion beyond the
1948: The settlement of Allonei Abba was established by Holocaust survivors from
1948: Egyptian forces began its attack on the Jewish settlement of Negba with an artillery barrage. The Egyptian force consisted of 2,000 well armed troops as well as support from the Egyptians Air Force. The Jewish force at Negba consisted of 70 soldiers from the Haganah and 75 members of the settlement. They lacked artillery, air cover and pretty much anything else that a modern might need. Negba had to be held to keep the Egyptians from reaching Tel Aviv. The fight would last for nine days.
1949: The Federal Republic of Germany (also known as
1950(7th of Sivan, 5710): Second Day of Shavuot
1958: Birthdate of Mitch Albom who gained fame as the author of Tuesdays with Morrie and as the sports columnists who invented the facts for one of his columns. Since Albom is still writing his column, he is proof that there is journalism and then there is sports journalism.
1960(26th of Iyar): Rabbi Joshua Chaim Kasovsky, editor of “Mishnah Concordance” passed away.
1960: Prime Minister David Ben Gurion announces in the Knesset that Adolf Eichmann, an Nazi SS officer, was abducted from Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Israeli agents and flown to Israel to stand trial for crimes against the Jewish people.
1967: Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran and blockades the port of Eilat at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, laying the foundations for the Six Day War. A blockade like this is an act of war under international law. In addition to which, it was a violation of the U.N. agreements that had ended the Suez Crisis in 1956-57. After the Six Day War, there was a lot of nit-picking about whose planes attacked first i.e. who fired the first shot. The fact of the matter is that this blockade was an act of war and anything the Israelis did afterwards was an act of self-defense.
1969(6th of Sivan, 5729): First Day of Shavuot
1969: As Israelis were celebrating Shavuot, Israeli security forces arrested numerous terrorists as they foiled attacks in on both sides of what had been the Green Line.
1970: Birthdate of Yigal Amir, the coward who murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
1977(6th of Sivan, 5737): First Day of Shavuot
1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Army Ombudsman, Rav-Aluf (Res.) Haim Laskov, complained that the cruel harassment of recruits by their non-commissioned officers and officers was still a recurrent phenomenon in Israel Defense Forces.
1979: Joseph Brodsky Russian born Jewish poet and essayist who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and would be chosen Poet Laureate of the
1981(19th of Iyar, 5741): Entertainer George Jessel passed away.
1981(19th of Iyar, 5741): Russian-born Canadian lawyer and political leader David Lewis passed away. His son is an official with the UN dealing with AIDS in
1981: Syria claimed that it had shot two Israeli drones while Israel admitted the loss of only one pilotless plane. The aircraft which were flying a recon mission over eastern Lebanon fell victim to Syrian missile batteries stationed in the Syrian occupied portion of that country.
1981: U.S. Presidential envoy Philip Habib arrived in Beirut on a mission designed to keep the situation on the Syrian-Lebanon –Israel border from exploding into war.
1981: Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel, senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El officiated at the wedding of Sheryl E. Israel and Barry J. Spiegel. The bride’s father is Kenneth M. Israel, president of Cinema Shares International Television Ltd., and chairman and chief executive officer of the Excel Video International Corporation,
1982(1st of Sivan, 5742): Rosh Chodesh Sivan
1982: The New York Times featured a review of
1987: As part of the IPO’s 50th anniversary celebration, James Levine conducts the orchestra for a second time.
1988(7th of Sivan, 5748): Second Day of Shavuot; Yizkor
1990(28th of Iyar, 5750): Yom Yerushalayim
1996(5th of Sivan, 5756): Erev Shavuot
1999: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Another Life: A Memoir of Other People by Michael Korda.
2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including ''Still Life With Bombers: Israel in the Age of Terrorism'' by David Horovitz and ''How Israel Lost: The Four Questions” by Richard Ben Cramer.
2006: In an article entitled “In
2007(6th of Sivan, 5767): First Day of Shavuot.
2007: The two day Tel Aviv Poetry Festival comes to an end.
2008: Norman Finkelstein was denied entry to Israel today “because, according to unnamed Israeli security officials, of suspicions that ‘he had contact with elements 'hostile' to Israel" including’ a top Hezbollah commander in Lebanon.” Finkelstein “visited south Lebanon and met with Lebanese families during the 2006 Lebanon War.” While ther he said: “Hizbullah represents the hope. They are fighting to defend their homeland, they are fighting to defend the independence of their country, they are defending themselves against foreign marauders, vandals and murderers and I consider it to be genuinely to be an honor to be in their presence.”
2008(18th of Iyar, 5768): Lag B’Omer.
2008: Bradlee Birchansky leads Friday Night Services at
2008: In Plymouth (UK), police detained two men linked to the bombing of a Giraffe’s restaurant that had taken police yesterday. According to authorities, 22-year-old Nicky Reilly, a recent convert to Islam who police said had a history of mental illness, was wounded when a bomb went off in the Giraffe restaurant at a shopping center in Exeter, Devon. Giraffe, which has 25 restaurants around the
2008: In a story entitled “Public allowed rare chance to view Dead Scrolls,” The Columbia Dispatch reports on the public display of the 2,100 year old 24 foot scroll with the text of the bible’s book of Isaiah at the Israel Museum. Israel put the
2009(29th of Iyyar, 5769): On Shabbat, start reading the Bamidbar, Book of Numbers.
2009: Day 2 of “Conference 2009” hosted by the Philadelphia Kehilla For Jews at Aracadia University in Glenside, PA.
2009: A 24-year-old man was diagnosed with the swine flu on today, becoming the eighth person in the Jewish State to come down with the virus. He had recently returned from the United States and was presumed to have contracted the illness there. A second man had also been hospitalized due to concerns that he may have the virus as well.
2009: Franklin H. Littell, a father of Holocaust studies who traced his engagement with the subject to the revulsion he felt as a young Methodist minister while witnessing a big Nazi rally in Nuremberg in 1939, died today at his home in Merion Station, Pa., outside Philadelphia today at the age of 91. Dr. Littell also became an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, in part because he believed that its very existence refuted theologies that foresaw or favored the withering away of the Jewish people. He rejected the theology of some Christian backers of Israel that Jews must ultimately become Christian…” (NYT)
2010: “Dancing Alfonso” and “Ida’s Dance Club” are scheduled to be shown at the Israeli Film Night sponsored by Magen David Sephardic Congregation in Rockville, MD.
2010(10th of Sivan, 5770): Irwin Rosten, an award-winning documentary filmmaker perhaps best known for "The Incredible Machine," which took PBS viewers on a revolutionary voyage inside the human body in 1975, passed away today at the age of 85.,He was the writer, director and producer of "The Incredible Machine," an early National Geographic special that had "extraordinary impact," said Nicolas Noxon, a documentarian who was Rosten's longtime business partner.m"It was very, very popular and sort of opened people's eyes to what could be done with a documentary," Noxon said. "It was groundbreaking for its time." Medical researchers had been making inroads in taking pictures inside the human body — such as sending cameras into the digestive system or taking microphotographs of blood — but Rosten was perhaps the first "to collect all that data and put it together" for public viewing, Noxon said. "The Incredible Machine" remained the highest-rated show in the Public Broadcasting Service's history until 1982. It was nominated for an Academy Award, the second of two nominations that Rosten received. "The Wolf Men," a 1969 documentary that he produced about the hunting of timber wolves in North America, also had been nominated. Rosten would go on to create such programming as "Mysteries of the Mind," an Emmy-winning documentary for PBS about the human brain, and "Elephant," one of many projects that featured animals. The rising popularity of documentaries in the early 1960s "was simply a question of television catching up with the public," Rosten told The Times in 1963 as he cited the popularity of nonfiction books and magazines. In the 1960s, Rosten worked for David L. Wolper, a major independent producer of documentaries, and made a number of National Geographic specials. They included an early Jacques Cousteau documentary and another about the grizzly bear. When "Grizzly" was nominated for an Emmy, Rosten's friends and colleagues placed an ad in Variety that his family said included this disclaimer: "This space paid for by the admirers of Irwin Rosten, a modest man who cannot be trusted to blow his own horn." He was born in 1924 in Brooklyn to immigrants from Russia and Poland who owned a drugstore. After working for the DuMont Network in New York, Rosten moved to Los Angeles in 1954 and joined CBS affiliate KNXT. One of his highly regarded projects was "Thou Shalt Not Kill," a 1958 documentary that examined capital punishment. Writing in 1959, The Times' Cecil Smith described Rosten as a "young man with magic in his pen." Two years later, he moved to KTLA-TV Channel 5 to become a writer-producer of documentaries and special programs. One of his final documentaries for the station was 1963's "Split Image," which was about Camarillo State Hospital's patient-operated closed-circuit TV. While working for Wolper, Rosten met Noxon, and the pair eventually jumped to MGM and set up the studio's documentary unit. Their first venture was a 1968 documentary on Clark Gable. As early as 1963, The Times referred to Rosten and Noxon as "one of the finest young teams of documentary makers." Rosten was known for mentoring others and was a terrific cook — Chinese food was a specialty, said his son, Peter, a former movie and TV producer. The elder Rosten traveled the world in pursuit of his subjects, going to Japan to film parts of the 1970s National Geographic specials "Gold" or to Russia to record "The Volga" about the major European river. As was often the case, Rosten returned with a story that amused him. A Soviet news agency official had proposed arm-wrestling to decide whether a Soviet or American film crew would be used on "The Volga." Rosten's heftier National Geographic colleague took the challenge, but the match ended in a draw. Crews from each country were used. (From the NYT)
2010(10th of Sivan, 5770): David Ginsburg, a liberal lawyer and longtime Washington insider who helped found the Americans for Democratic Action and led the presidential commission on race relations whose report, in 1968, warned that the United States was “moving toward two societies — one black, one white, separate and unequal,” died today at his home in Alexandria, VA at the age of 98. Mr. Ginsburg arrived in Washington in 1935 and quickly emerged as one of the brightest of the New Dealers. He helped draft laws on price controls during World War II and served as an adviser on reorganizing the German economy after the Allied victory. In 1967, as race riots engulfed Detroit and Milwaukee, after similar disturbances in Los Angeles, Newark and Chicago, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Mr. Ginsburg executive director of the National Commission on Civil Disorders. Known as the Kerner Commission, after its chairman, Gov. Otto Kerner of Illinois, the panel was charged with seeking out the causes of the riots and proposing solutions. In a report that became a surprise best seller when issued in paperback, the commission argued that the riots were a form of social protest by blacks against long-standing injustices and that white Americans, largely oblivious to the plight of black citizens, were complicit in creating a racist, economically oppressive society. In the 1970s, Mr. Ginsburg successfully represented Henry A. Kissinger in his long battle to keep private the transcripts of his telephone conversations while serving as secretary of state and national security adviser under President Richard M. Nixon. In 1980, the Supreme Court, reversing the decisions of two lower courts, ruled in Kissinger v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press that the transcripts did not fall under the Freedom of Information Act because they were outside the executive branch. Charles David Ginsburg was born in 1912, at Manhattan. After the family’s grocery store on the Lower East Side failed, the Ginsburgs started over in Huntington, W.Va, where prosperous relatives lived. Mr. Ginsburg graduated in 1932 from West Virginia University, where he studied economics and politics. Three years later, he earned a law degree at Harvard. With help from his mentor, Felix Frankfurter, soon to be a United States Supreme Court justice, Mr. Ginsburg found work with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington. There he joined an eager army of like-minded liberal idealists. “Everybody wanted to make a difference,” he told The Washington Post in 1997, “and they wanted your ideas if you had them.” He clerked for Justice William O. Douglas at the Supreme Court for a year but returned to the S.E.C. after war broke out in Europe. In April 1941 he became general counsel to the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply (called the Office of Price Administration after January 1942), whose aggressive anti-inflationary policies and proposals for close control of the economy earned the wrath of political conservatives. Like his boss, the economist Leon Henderson, and colleagues like John Kenneth Galbraith, Mr. Ginsburg became a political target. He resigned in 1943, saying he was “physically tired and a little dispirited.” Republican congressmen then accused him of trying to pull strings to secure an officer’s commission in the Army after having been deferred for more than a year as an “irreplaceable” government employee. President Franklin D. Roosevelt rose to his defense in a detailed letter to the new head of the Office of Price Administration. “I am sure that when the political storms blow over,” he wrote, “David’s patriotic, unselfish and distinguished service to his country will be duly recognized.” While at the O.P.A., Mr. Ginsburg hired a lawyer fresh out of Duke University’s law school, Richard M. Nixon. “He worked with us for about a year, and then went into the military, where he was sent overseas,” he told The Alexandria Times in 2008. “Nixon had a distinct personality that did not seek friendship, but he did a first-rate, responsible job.” Mr. Ginsburg enlisted in the Army as a private, driving trucks in a supply battalion, and rose to captain. After the war he served on the staff of Gen. Lucius D. Clay in Germany, where he attended the Potsdam Conference and the early Nuremberg war trials. In 1946 he founded the Washington law firm of Ginsburg & Leventhal, which later became Ginsburg, Feldman & Bress. It dissolved in 1998 and he joined Powell, Goldstein, from which he retired in 2007 at the age of 95. Mr. Ginsburg’s first two marriages ended in divorce. In addition to his son Mark, of Paris, he is survived by his wife, Marianne Lais Ginsburg; another son, Jonathan, of Chantilly, Va.; a daughter, Susan, of Alexandria; and two grandchildren. In 1947, Mr. Ginsburg joined with former New Dealers to create the Americans for Democratic Action to counter Communist influence in the Democratic Party. Today, with chapters across the country, it is one of the nation’s leading liberal advocacy groups. As counsel to the Jewish Agency’s office in Washington, Mr. Ginsburg was part of an inner circle of advisers to the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann and helped smooth the way to the Truman administration’s recognition of the new state of Israel, with Mr. Weizmann as its first president, in 1948. While representing a long list of influential clients, Mr. Ginsburg intermittently returned to government service. Johnson appointed Mr. Ginsburg to serve on several presidential commissions and boards created to avert rail and air strikes and assess the state of the postal service. The Kerner Report, however, led to a breach. Mr. Ginsburg, one of its principal authors, used pungent language to paint a bleak picture of American race relations and black life in the ghettos. “What white Americans have never fully understood, but what the Negro can never forget, is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto,” he wrote. “White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it and white society condones it.” Without an ambitious legislative program to promote integration, remake the slums and generate jobs, he argued, the United States was in danger of slipping into a state of near-apartheid. Johnson was infuriated that the report failed to mention his contributions to civil rights. He rejected the commission’s findings and severed relations with Mr. Ginsburg. More than 20 years later, Mr. Ginsburg remained pessimistic about the problems addressed in the report. “The conditions now, in my view, are unquestionably worse in the inner cities,” he told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1992. “Education is worse. Housing is worse. Unemployment is worse. We now have a drug problem that we didn’t have in 1967 and 1968. There are millions of handguns. The cities have been essentially disregarded by the federal government.”
2010: Despite gray skies that threatened rain, tens of thousands of people turned out for a massive celebration of Israel today, at the annual Salute to Israel Parade on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. Marching bands, groups hoisting colorful signs and costumed marchers converged along the parade route, running up Fifth Avenue between 57th Street and 74th Street. Celebrities, elected officials and dignitaries were on hand, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been the parade’s grand marshal in the past. This year, parade organizers made a concerted effort to mobilize the Israeli community living in New York, said Michael Miller, executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which oversees the event.
2011: The Ellis Island Old World Folk Band is scheduled to perform at the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville, CA
2011: Phyllis Newman, who was married to Adolph Green for over four decades is scheduled to take part in program entitled “Carried Away: Being Comden and Green” that highlights the work of the team of Adloph Green and Betty Comden that created such hits as “On the Town,” “ Wonderful Town,” “ Bells are Ringing” and “Singin' in the Rain.”
2011: El Al flight 027 carrying 279 passengers landed safely at Ben Gurion Airport this morning after it was forced to make an emergency landing when a technical fault was found in one of its left wheels. The plane took off en route to New York late last night but was forced to turn back and perform an emergency landing when the pilots noticed that one of the left wheels had become jammed.
2012: Dr. Leo Hershkowitz, Adjunct Professor of History at New York University and CUNY Queens College (ret.) is scheduled to deliver a lecture about the early history of Jews in New York City at the NYC Department of Small Business Services
2012: In London, The Wiener Library is scheduled to host a screening of “SS-3: The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich,” a film about the British inspired plan to kill the ruthless ruler of Bohemia, person favorite of Hitler and a key planner of the Final Solution
2012: Film critic Aviva Kempner who was the founder of the Washington DC Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to deliver a lecture on a documentary film on which she is working that traces the life of Jules Rosenwald, the man who led Sears, Robebuck & Co during its glory days and was one of the nation’s leading philanthropists.
2012: Nancy Margulies, the daughter of Joan Thaler – the doyen of the Cedar Rapids Jewish Community- is scheduled to perform her one-woman show “Deaf Poets Society” at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her most recent book, a spook entitled Klassic Koalas: The Koala Museum of Modern Art Catalogue is on sale at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.
Copyright; May, 2012; Mitchell A. Levin firstname.lastname@example.org