May 27 In Jewish History
1096 (3rd of Sivan): Count Emicho and the Crusaders entered
1679: The Pope suspended the Portuguese Inquisition due to its severe treatment of Marranos.
1328: Philip VI is crowned King of France. Phillip’s attempts to take back territory that
1529: Thirty Jews of Posing, Hungary, charged with blood-ritual, were burned at the stake.
1647: Peter Stuyvesant was inaugurated as Director-General of New Netherland. It was while serving in this position, that Stuyvesant would greet the first group of Jews to settle in what would become
1703: Tsar Peter the Great founds the city of Saint Petersburg. Given Peter’s stated views in 1698 that no Jew should live in Russia, one would assume that no Jews would live in his new capital. It is possible that two Jews named Meyer and Lups who “assisted the Tsar in his financial operations” may have at least visited Peter’s new city. By 1714, at least one Jew was known to be living in St. Petersburg. Jan da Costa “a versatile linguist descended from Portuguese Marranos” who had previously lived in Hamburg, arrived in St. Petersburg where he was appointed court Jester by Peter in 1714. Of course, by then Peter’s realm was no longer free Jews since his annexation of the Baltic territories and conquests in the Ukraine had had the unintended consequence of bring him untold number of Jewish subjects.
1724: Beginning of the papacy of Benedict XIII, the pope who issued Emanavit nuper, a Papal Bull, dealing with “the necessary conditions for imposing Baptism on a Jew.”
1759: Birthdate of Isaac Franks, the New York native who fought with the Continental Army from the 1776 until he was forced to resign due to ill health in 1782.
1808: The first Jewish day school in America opened.
1823: Birthdate of David Rosin, the German born theologian and teacher who became a professor at the Rabbinical Seminary in Breslau. He was a contemporary and friend of Rabbi Michael Sachs.
1842: The Voice of Jacob in
1849: Birthdate of Adolph Lewisohn, a German-Jewish immigrant born in Hamburg who became a New York City investment banker, mining magnate, and philanthropist.
1852: Lionel de Rothschild issued an address to the “independent electors of London” in which he thanked them for their support and for twice electing him to the House of Commons, even though he has been denied the right to assume his position. He went to thank them for supporting the effort to make it possible him to serve in Parliament and asking for their support in his third bid to be elcted to the House of Commons.
1853: The author of an article entitled “The Word ‘Selah’” which was published today sought to provide a meaning for the Hebrew word “Selah” which is used in its untranslated form throughout the Bible especially in the Book of Psalms. In searching for the meaning, he states that “the Targums and most of the Jewish commentators give the word, meaning eternally forever. Rabbi Kinchi regards it as a sign to elevate the voice.” He concludes by saying that “selah” may be an abridged version of Higgaion Selah. [Editor’s Note – what makes this amazing is that this learned article with all of these Jewish references appeared in the New York Times.]
1855: Reverend Joseph P. Thompson who has just returned from the Holy Land is scheduled to give a talk this afternoon based on his visit to Jerusalem.
1864: The 79th Indiana under the command of Colonel Frederick Knefler took part in the Battle of Pickett’s Mill, one of the Union victories that marked General Sherman’s campaign that led to the capture of Atlanta, GA. The campaign was a daring military action that was a key to Union victory over the Confederacy. Knefler, who would rise to the rank of General before the end of the war, was one of the highest ranking Jews to serve in the Union Army.
1866: The New York Times reported that one of the ancient aqueducts which supplies Jerusalem with water is formed of blocks of stone so keyed together as to form a perfect syphon.
1870: It was reported today that Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum has been designated by a recent act of the state legislature as one of the recipients of a pro rata share of $150,000
1877: The New York Times featured a review of "The Life, Work and Opinions of Henrich Heine" a two volume work written by William Stigand.
1878: It was reported today that John Bright, who ranks with Disraeli and Gladstone as a leading English statesman is reported to have Jewish ancestry. According to several publications including The Examiner, one of Bright’s Quaker forbearers married “a very pretty Jewess named Martha Jacobs…Mr. Bright’s brother, what has a seat in the House of Commons is called ‘Jacob’ after the ‘pretty Jewess.’” This report should not be construed as being informational or complimentary since it also includes the information that Jacob Bright “has a nose duly fitted to the Anglo-Jewish role.” (The hooked nose Jew was a classic staple of 19th century anti-Semitism.
1879: In New York, Judge Gildersleeve has ordered the sons of Fanny Solomon to pay $4.50 per week for her support. “Mrs. Fanny Solomon an aged and infirm Hebrew lady” had “instituted proceedings to compel her sons Leopold, Felix and Alfred to support her.” The Solomon brothers own a factory that manufactures paper-boxes. Mrs. Solomon contended that she destitute and that her sons had refused to provide with “the necessities of life” even though they were wealthy enough to have done so. The sons claimed that she was not destitute since she had savings of her own. They also said that she had refused their offers to come and live with them. Based on the decision, the Judge was not impressed by the brothers’ claims.
1880: Moses Bruhl set sail from New York aboard the steamship Gallia bound for Liverpool. Bruhl was a New York businessman and philanthropist who created The Betty Bruhl Prizes, awards for outstanding students at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum named in honor of his late wife.
1883: Alexander III crowned Czar of Russia. Alexander pursued some of the most anti-Semitic policies of all the Romanovs, which is saying something given their miserable track record.
1884: Birthdate of novelist Max Brod who is best known for his friendship with Franz Kafka.
1899: David Wolffsohn reports that the minimum funding for the Jewish Colonial Bank has been finally assured.
1911: Birthdate of Hubert Humphrey, reform mayor of
1911: Birthdate of Teddy Kollek, mayor of
1915: Birthdate of Herman Wouk. The famed novelist won a Pulitzer Prize for the Caine Mutiny. He has written several books using Jewish themes. His latest work entitled The Language God Talks was released just before his 90th birthday.
1915: Birthdate of Arieh Handler who was one of the founders of the Religious Zionist movement in the United Kingdom
1923: Birthdate of Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Is Henry Kissinger really Jewish? Some contend that since he does not practice Judaism and since he got married on Shabbat, he is not really Jewish. The fact of the matter is that his family left
1923: Birthdate of Sumner Redstone, Chairman and
1924: Jules Stein founds Music Corporation of
1927: National Jewish Book Week, which had the unanimous endorsement of the Chicago Rabbinical Association, is scheduled to come a close.
1928: In retaliation, for a vote of no confidence by Hadassah in its President, the Zionist National Executive Committee, threatened to discipline the women's organization
1930: Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Otto Meyerhoff is one of the department chairmen at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Medicine, a facility modeled after the Rockefeller Institute, which is opening today in Heidelberg, Germany.
1933(2nd of Sivan, 5693): Karl Lehburger, a Jewish businessman, was murdered in Dachau.
1933(2nd of Sivan, 5693): James Loeb, a Jewish-German-American banker and philanthropist, passed away. Born in New York in 1867, he “was the second born son of Solomon Loeb and Betty Loeb.James Loeb joined his father at Kuhn, Loeb & Co. in 1888 and was made partner in 1894, but he retired from the bank in 1901 due to severe illnesses. In memory of his former lecturer and friend Charles Eliot Norton, in 1907 Loeb created The Charles Eliot Norton Memorial Lectureship. In 1911 he founded and endowed the Loeb Classical Library, and founded the Institute of Musical Art, which later became part of the Juilliard School of Music.”
1935: In a land mark case, The Supreme Court of the United States declares the National Industrial Recovery Act to be unconstitutional in the case A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, (295 U.S. 495). The challenge to the National Industrial Recovery Act came from the most unlikely source, a Jewish chicken producer. Joseph Schechter operated Schechter Poultry Company, and Martin, Alex and Alan Schechter operated A.L.A. Schechter Company, both of which were slaughterhouses selling chickens to kosher markets in
1936(6th of Sivan, 5696): First Day of Shavuot
1936(6th of Sivan, 5696): On Shavuot, the British would not allow Jews to hold services at the Western Wall because of the on-going attacks by Arabs.
1938:The Palestine Post reported that a British constable was murdered near Ramat Hakovesh (formerly Juara) in the vicinity of the spot where two American pioneers, Ephraim Tiktin, 24, formerly of Detroit, Michigan, and Eliezer Korngold, formerly of Toronto (Ontario) were murdered on April 8, 1938. Supernumerary policemen successfully defended the Arab attack on Tel Adashim and wounded several attackers. Ze'ev Alianevsky, the driver of a Hamekasher bus in
1942: Three Jewish families living in the remote Ukrainian village of Chaplinka are killed.
1942: General Reinhard Heydrich was fatally shot in
1943: The Jews of Sokal,
1943: Three thousand Jews are killed at
1943: Birthdate of actor Bruce Weitz who played Sgt. Mick Belker on the NBC television police drama Hillstreet Blues.
1944: Two Jews escaped from Birkenau. Arnost Rosin of
1947: Ben Gurion drew up his first summary of the Yishuv’s military position. He wrote in his diary, “There is not sufficient training even in the brigade (Palmach). There is a shortage of commanders, and those we have are not adequate [in standard]. There is no attempt at action, the planning defective; the structure of the budget is not directed at the target. The most serious fault is that the experience and human military material [those demobilized from the British army] have not been utilized. The equipment has not been adapted. For many years, a central idea has been missing: What is the duty [of the Haganah organization]?
1948: The Israel Defense Army (Zahal) was established. Prior to the creation of the state there had been several armed groups including Haganah, Palmach, Irgun and the Stern Gang. Ben Gurion understood that there could only be one army and that that army had to be under the control of the national government. He acted decisively and overcame considerable opposition to achieve this goal.
1948: Vitka Kempner and Abba Kovner gave birth to their first son Michael. At the time of the boy’s birth, his father was fighting with the IDF during the War of Independence. Kempner had proven her martial mettle as a resistance fighter serving alongside her famous husband during WW II.
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Jordanian marauders carried out three simultaneous attacks on three new immigrant villages of Beit Naballa, Beit Arif and Beit Arif Bet, all of them near Beit Shemen. At Beit Naballa they threw a grenade into the house of David Namdar, killed his wife, Tamar, 30, and wounded two of his seven children. They also looted whatever was possible. At Beit Arif they detonated three kg. of
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the General Zionists had resigned from the Cabinet coalition. They resigned because the Labor majority turned down their request for the exclusive use of a National Flag and anthem in schools, to the exclusion of red flags, traditional to the Labor movement.
1964: Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru dies in office. Nehru opposed the creation of the state of Israel. Given India’s large Moslem population and the conflict with Pakistan at the time of India’s re-birth, this is not surprising. What was disappointing was the lengths that Nehru went to isolate the Jewish state after its creation. In recent years, India has turned its back on Nehru’s view of Israel.
1967: “The Israeli Cabinet met to decide whether or not to take military action against
1969: Terrorist fired a bazooka this morning at an Israeli patrol in the Beisan Valley near Kfar Ruppin,
1973: The IDF announced a state of emergency and reserve troops were called up in response to a movement of Egyptian troops. The state of emergency was cancelled when it became clear that this was only an exercise
1981: The premiere performance of “Halil” took place today at the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem with Jean-Pierre Rampal as the soloist and Leonard Bernstein conducting the Israel Philharmonic. “Halil is a work for flute and chamber orchestra composed by Leonard Bernstein composed in 1981. The work is sixteen minutes in length. Bernstein composed Halil in honor of a young Israeli flutist Yadin Tanenbaum who was killed at the Suez Canal in during the 1973 Yom Kippur war.”
1984: Seth Mydans reviewed “The Revolt of Job,” a film that tells the story of “one Jewish couple's attempt to defeat their family's extinction in the Holocaust by adopting a non-Jewish boy, a child who would survive to carry on their line.”
1985(7th of Sivan, 5745): Second Day of Shavuot
1987(28th of Iyar, 5747): Yom Yerushalayim
1987: Daniel Barenboim is scheduled to serve as conductor for the IPO at a concert which is part of its 50th anniversary celebration.
1993(7th of Sivan, 5753): Second Day of Shavuot
2000: At Brown University noted scholar and feminist Alice Shalvi speaks on the effects of feminism on Judaic life in Israel and the world beyond as part of the Stephen A. Ogden Jr. Memorial Lectureship.
2001: The New York Times featured books by Jewish writers and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Dying Animal by Philip Roth.
2003: The parents of Chandra Levy hold a private graveside for their daughter.
2004(7th of Sivan, 5764): Second Day of Shavuot
2005: The Washington Post reported that meetings had been held over the weekend at Yifat, Israel in which Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres announced that he would seek the top spot in Israel’s government. Despite the fact that he is now 81 and that he has failed to accomplish the goal in four previous attempts, Peres thinks that now is the time for him to finally reach his goal.
2005: The Washington Post reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared from Jerusalem, “that her meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders convinced her that both sides share a commitment to ensuring Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza takes place smoothly and peacefully.” At the end of the same article the Post reported that “Coinciding with Rice’s visit, Palestinians…attacked Israelis…in the southern Gaza Strip killing one Israeli and wounding two others…The attack was the second major assault on Israeli targets in recent days.” Islamic Jihad and a group affiliated with Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement took credit for the attack. As head of the
2005(18th of Iyar, 5765): Morris Cohen, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who helped to transform the field of metallurgy into the modern discipline of materials science and engineering, passed away at his home in Swampscott, Mass. He was 93.
2005(18th of Iyar, 5765): Celebration of Lag B’Omer, Thirty-Third Day of the Omer.
2005(18th of Iyyar, 5765): Observance of the Yahrzeit Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Born in 100 C.E., Shimon studied with the great Rabbi Akiva and was one of only two scholars ordained by Akiva. Shimon is quoted in the Palestinian Talmud as saying “To honor one’s parents is more important than honoring God.” This belief did keep him from openly disagreeing with his considering the Rebellion against
2007: Tony Eprile, novelist and faculty member at the
2007: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including A Tranquil Star: Unpublished Stories by Primo Levi, translated by Ann Goldstein and Alessandra Bastagli, City of Oranges: An Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa, by Adam LeBor, My Holocaust by Tova Reich and The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Freres & Co. by William D. Cohan.
2007 (10 Sivan 5767): Oshri Oz a 35-year-old, resident of Hod Hasharon, was killed when a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the car in which he was driving in the western Negev town of Sderot.
2008: In Chicago, as a prelude to the CSO's production of Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater, Spertus is proud to host Chicago music critic Andrew Patner in a discussion with Michael Tilson Thomas, who will vividly illustrate through projected images his grandparent's fascinating history, their starring roles in the American Yiddish Theater, and its enormous contribution to the American cultural life. Michael Tilson Thomas became the eleventh Music Director of the acclaimed San Francisco Symphony in September 1995. He is also Artistic Director of the New World Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky immigrated to the
2009: Center for Jewish History and Untitled Theater Company #61 present: Golem Stories, A staged reading retelling the legend of a clay man in 16th century Prague created by Rabbi Loew to defend the Jews.
2009 (4 Sivan): On the Jewish calendar, 2nd Yahrzeit for Shir-El Friedman the thirty five year old woman who was killed by a Hamas rocket fired into Sderot.
2009: William Lanouette, the author of Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb (written with Bela Silard) and Martin J. Sherwin, the author (with Kai Bird) of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer take part in a discussion entitled, Building the Bomb, Fearing Its Use: Nuclear Scientists, Social Responsibility and Arms Control, 1946-1996, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
2009: As part of the Tel Aviv Centennial Celebration a statue of Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv, riding his horse will be placed in front of his home at 16 Rothschild Boulevard. The address has become one of the most important landmarks in Israeli history: in his will, Dizengoff designated his house to be the home of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (the museum later moved to its current address on Shaul Hamelech Boulevard). On May 14th 1948, it was the site in which David Ben Gurion and the Provisional National Council declared Israel's independence.
2009: Thousands of Israelis from far and wide flocked to Rothschild Boulevard in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, as the city held its annual "White Night" event, with parties, music and street theater lasting until the wee hours. Continuing the celebrations for Tel Aviv's 100th birthday, actors clad in white period costumes strolled the boulevard, chatting to members of the crowd and serenading passers-by. A massive screen erected in the center of Rothschild displayed portraits sent in by Tel Aviv residents to make up a composite photograph of the original families who settled the city in 1909. The entertainment runs through the night at venues around the city, including a concert by soft rocker Yehudit Ravitz on North Tzuk Beach at 1:00 A.M. Other highlights on offer included a "white" walking tour at midnight from Rothschild Boulevard to Shenkin Street, a musical walk for song lovers and music festival at Jaffa port, featuring Jewish and Arab musicians performing classical Arab music, western classical music, Flamenco, jazz, and rock.
2010: Professor Menahem Milson a professor of Arabic Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a co-founder of The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “Arabic and Islamic Anti-Semitism Today” at the Historic 6th & I Synagogue in Washington, D.C.
2010: The first-ever Jewish America Heritage Month celebration was held today at the White House. It underscored the Obama administration's determination not to be locked into Washington's conventional notions of Jewish leadership. President Obama did not exactly snub the usual suspects who have peopled similar events for decades. There was Lee Rosenberg, the president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and there was Alan Solow, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Both also happen to have been major fund-raisers for Obama's campaign, as were several others among the 250 or so in attendance. But the image that the White House sought to convey was one of Jewish America not necessarily bound to the alphabet soup of the Jewish organizational world and of pro-Israelism. Instead, Obama presented an array of Jewish heroes and celebrities who pronouncedly defied Jewish stereotypes. In addition to the major givers, the entrepreneurs and the communal leaders, there were also sports heroes -- including Sandy Koufax -- veterans, non-profit innovators, journalists, actors and organizers. The reception was in the works for months, and planning predated the tensions between Israel and the United States precipitated in early March when Israel announced a major housing start in eastern Jerusalem during an official visit there by Vice President Joe Biden, who also was at Thursday's reception. Still, the White House's message was timely: Obama would not be second-guessed by his pro-Israel critics on his friendship to the Jewish community and to Israel. The reception included a traditional reference to the "unbreakable" Israel-U.S. alliance dating back to within minutes of Israel's establishment. Obama also made it clear, however, that he sees the alliance as part of a America's strategy of outreach to the world."My administration is renewing American leadership around the world -- strengthening old alliances and forging new ones, defending universal values while ensuring that we uphold our values here at home," he said. "In fact, it's our common values that leads us to stand with allies and friends, including the State of Israel."The dual message -- closeness to Israel coupled with global outreach -- has characterized the recent "charm offensive" launched by the White House in the wake of the recent tensions with Israel. Obama is hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next Tuesday, and the signs are that it will be a higher-profile reception than the thief-in-the-night encounter the two had when tensions were at their highest in March.
2011: The National Museum of American Jewish Military History, the Jewish War Veterans, and the Sixth & I Synagogue are scheduled to host the first annual national service honoring the Jewish fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan. The service, which is scheduled to be conducted by Cantor Larry Paul and musician Robyn Helzner, will open with remarks by NMAJH President David Magidson and will feature the reading of the names of the more than 40 Fallen Heroes in solemn remembrance and prayer.
2011: In Cincinnati, Ohio, Rockdale Temple is scheduled honor Jewish American Heritage Month with a Rock Shabbat service highlighting American-composed liturgical music.
2011: The annual conference of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations (CSJO) is scheduled to open at Humber College in Toronto, Canada.
2011: Limmud Colorado’s Fourth Annual Conference is scheduled to begin at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, CO.
2011: Group of Eight leaders had to soften a statement urging Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations because Canada objected to a specific mention of 1967 borders, diplomats said today.
Canada's right-leaning Conservative government has adopted a staunchly pro-Israel position in international negotiations since coming to power in 2006, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying Canada will back Israel whatever the cost. Diplomats involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit said Ottawa had insisted that no mention of Israel's pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders' final communique, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention. "The Canadians were really very adamant, even though Obama expressly referred to 1967 borders in his speech last week," one European diplomat said. A spokesman for Harper would not comment on the line Canada had taken, saying only that the final communique would make positions clear. In the final communique, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, the leaders call for the immediate resumption of peace talks but do not mention 1967, the year Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt during the Six-Day War. "Negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict," the communique said. "The framework for these negotiations is well known. We urge both parties to return to substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues. "To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011." In his speech last week, Obama said pre-1967 borders should be a basis of talks to achieve a negotiated settlement, although he also acknowledged any agreement would ultimately involve land swaps on either side of the border. That position was rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel would be indefensible if it returned entirely to the borders that existed before 1967. Canada's strong backing for Israel was cited by diplomats last year as one reason why Ottawa failed to win a rotating two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council. Harper has made is position on Israel very clear, saying last year: "When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand."
2011: US President Barack Obama today travelled to Poland where he honored the memories of those killed in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising during the Holocaust. He was heard telling a Holocaust survivor that the US would be there for Israel. During a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw Obama told one elderly man that the memorial was a "reminder of the nightmare" of the Holocaust in which millions of Jews were killed, The Associated Press reported.
2011: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of two Jewish women serving on the High Court, says she received nearly $1.2 million to write a memoir of her rise from a South Bronx housing project to the nation’s highest court. Sotomayor reported the payment for the as-yet untitled book from Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in an annual report of personal finances, released Friday for the justice and her eight colleagues. Knopf revealed last July that Sotomayor had agreed to write the memoir, but the size of the advance had not been public. The book will come out simultaneously in English and in Spanish, but no release date has been set. Sotomayor is the court’s first Hispanic justice. Her parents moved from Puerto Rico to New York after World War II.
2012(6th of Sivan, 5772): First Day of Shavuot
2012: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including the recently released paperback editions of The Arrogant Years: One Girl’s Search for Her Lost Youth, From Cairo to Brooklyn by Lucette Lagnado and Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman.
2012: The Paul Feig Tikkun Leil Shavuot at The JCC in Manhattan which began last night is scheduled to end at 5 am.
2012: The Cedar Lake Ballet’s two week engagement at the Venue which has included the New York premiere of “Violet Kid,” by Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter is scheduled to come to a close.
Copyright; May, 2012; Mitchell A. Levin