May 30 In Jewish History
70: During the Siege of Jerusalem, Titus and his Roman legions breach the Second Wall of Jerusalem. The Jewish defenders retreat to the First Wall. The Romans build a circumvallation, cutting down all trees within fifteen kilometers.
1096: In one of the few instances of individual courage, the local Bishop of Cologne and some of the local Burghers offered the Jews protection in their own houses. The Bishop later escorted them to towns under his protection. Crusaders reached Cologne and found the gate to the city closed by order of the bishop. Of all the Jewish communities in the path of the Crusaders, Cologne's Jews were the only ones to escape total destruction.
1096(6th of Sivan): In Cologne, Mar Isaac and Rebecca perish in an act of Kiddush Ha-Shem
1096(6th of Sivan: Isaac of Mayence committed suicide on Shavuot two days after he had he submitted to forced baptism to save the lives of his mother and children. According to legend, he set the synagogue on fire to keep it from being turned into a church. (As reported by Abraham Bloch)
1201: Birthdate of Theobold IV, Count of Champagne. When Louis VIII issued an ordinance that prohibited his officials from recording debts owed to Jews, Theobold was the only French baron who refused to accept the royal decree since this would interfere with extra income he gained by being able to tax Jewish financial transactions. The issue here really had nothing to do with either party caring about the Jews. The issue was money and who would have the real power; the monarch or his barons.
1252: Saint Ferdinand III, the King of Castile and King of Galicia and Leon passed away. The King must have been both courageous and practical. He stood up to the powerful Catholic Church when refused the Pope’s demand that Jews be forced to wear special badge and clothing. He was afraid that the requirement would force the Jews to leave for Muslim Granada which would had a disastrous effect on revenue collections for his kingdom.
1574: Henry III becomes King of France on the death of his brother, Charles IX. Henry had been serving as the King of Poland at the time of his brother’s death. He owed his selection as ruler Poland to a Jew named Solomon Ashkenazi who was an advisor to the Turkish Sultan.
1635: During what will be known as the Thirty Years War (it started in 1618 and ended in 1648) the Peace of Prague is signed marking the start of the end of hostilities. The war will finally end with the Peace of Westphalia. The war was between pitted Protestants against Catholics with Jews caught in the middle For example the Jews of Vienna suffered as a result of the occupation of the city by Imperial soldiers in 1624 when Emperor Ferdinand II confined the Jews to a ghetto. The fighting centered around Germany, Austria, France and the Netherlands and throughout many towns in Germany and Moravia, the Jewish population was expelled, which resulted in thousands of refugees fleeing to Cracow and other Polish cities. These Jews would get caught up in the uprisings that took place in Polish dominated Ukraine. The good news is that the end of the Thirty Years War would mark the rise of a flourishing Protestant Netherlands that would prove a home to European Jews.
1762: Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Emden, Prussia.
1778: Voltaire French philosopher and author passed away. Voltaire is generally regarded as a great thinker. However, as can be seen from his own words, he was a rabid anti-Semite. He described Jews as being “small, ignorant and crude people.” Voltaire did not base his anti-Semitism on the Jews adherence to their religion. Cure them of their religion, he wrote and there is still the problem of their in-born character.
1796: Birthdate of Philip Salomons, the eldest son of London financier and leader of the Jewish community, Levi Salomons.
1800(6th of Sivan, 5560): First Day of Shavuot
1806: Joseph David Sinzheim was among those attending the Jewish Assembly of Notables convened by Napoleon I.
1814: Signing of the First Treaty of Paris. The treaty officially returned the Bourbons to the French throne which marked the official beginning of a period of reaction which was not good for the Jews who had gained many rights during the Napoleonic Wars.
1839: Birthdate of. Hermann Adler, the Hanover born Rabbi who succeeded his father as Chief Rabbi of the British Empire a position he held from 1891 until his death in 1911.
1868: In London, famed actress, Adah Isaacs Menken, gives in her last theatrical performance. She would die three months later in Paris, possibly from tuberculosis and/or peritonitis. Little is definitively known about the private life and early history of actress Adah Isaacs Menken. She seems to have been born in Louisiana, either in New Orleans or in nearby Milneburg, in 1835, but other sources place her birth in Tennessee. She always claimed to have been born into a Jewish family, but some scholars contend that she was raised Catholic and converted to Judaism with her first marriage. If her early life is obscure, Menken made sure her later life was exactly the opposite. With four marriages in seven years, a flamboyant stage career, and a command of self-promotion, Menken rose quickly to notoriety. At a time when women were expected to be quiet, domestic, self-effacing, and out of the public spotlight, Menken smoked cigarettes, cropped her hair, and played provocative stage roles. Of all her exploits, it was Menken's role in the melodrama Mazeppa that brought her the most lasting fame. In this adaptation of a Lord Byron piece, which opened in Albany, New York, in 1861, Menken appeared in a flesh-colored body stocking which gave the illusion that she was nude. Moreover, she appeared strapped to the back of a horse, which galloped down a ramp in the direction of the audience. The fact that Menken was an accomplished equestrian and the horse a tame one did nothing to dispel the illusion of danger. She later performed the same role in London, and this and other roles in Paris, Vienna, and all over the U.S. Although she fed the cult of personality that grew up around her by, for example, placing photographs of herself in shop windows, Menken also aspired to recognition off the stage, primarily as a poet. Several of her poems were published in the Cincinnati-based Israelite when she lived in Ohio from 1857-59; later poems were published in the New York Sunday Mercury (1860-61). Walt Whitman encouraged her writing, and she developed friendships with Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She was rumored to be involved, at different times, in affairs with Alexandre Dumas and with Algernon Swinburne. A collection of her poems, Infelicia, was published in London within days of her death; a new edition, with some uncollected poems and essays, was published in a critical edition by Broadview Press in 2002. Menken gave her last stage performance, in London, on May 30, 1868. She fell ill shortly thereafter, and died in Paris on August 10, 1868. The cause of death was most likely peritonitis, tuberculosis, or the combined ravages of both. She was buried in the Jewish section of the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris.
1870: Jim Levy, an Irish Jew, survived his first gunfight in Pioche, Nevada. Levy shot it out with a local thug named Michael Casey. After an earlier gunfight, Levy contradicted Casey’s claim that he acted in self-defense. An angry Casey challenged the unarmed Levy to a gunfight. Levy had to borrow a gun before he could answer the challenge. Levy fired a single shot which mortally wounded Casey. Contrary to the popular image in Western Movies, the gunfight was not a one-on-one combat. Dave Neagle, a friend of Casey, fired a shot at Levy while he was facing Casey. The shot hit Levy in the jaw but did not prove to be life threatening. The episode changed Levy’s lifestyle as he went from peaceful miner to leading the life of a gambler and “professional regulator” – a polite term for a fast gun for hire.
1873: The Jewish Messenger published an appeal for funds to support a program of summer excursions for Jewish children in New York including those at the Orphan Asylum and those attending “Free Schools.”
1876: A week before his death, Ottoman sultan Abd-ul-Aziz is replaced by his nephew Murat V. As can be seen from the items below, Abd-ul-Aziz’s reign was a net plus for the Jewish people. Several Jews served in prominent governmental positions. Sultan Abdul Aziz allocated the "Alliance Israelite Universelle" 2600 dunams of land east of Jaffa for the establishment of a school of agriculture and also granted permission for importing all kinds of tools and machinery free of taxes and customs. As Ben Gurion, said: "I doubt that the Israeli dream would have been realized if the farm school of Mikveh Israel had not existed." Upon recurrence of blood libel accusations, Sultan Aziz issued a firman taking the Jews under his protection. Thanks to this firman the Greek Orthodox patriarchate had to issue encyclicals to all churches, forbidding such practices. Murat passed away three months after reaching the throne, leaving no legacy for the Jews or any of his other subjects.
1876: Judge McAdam is scheduled to render a decision today in a case involving a can-can dance named Katie Forest and her Jewish partner, a jewelry salesman named Solomon Care.
1876(7th of Sivan, 5636): Second Day of Shavuot
1877: Based on responses from 174 congregations and 125 charitable institutions to a questionnaire sent by the Board of Delegates of American Israelites it was reported these congregations have a total of 11,507 members, 11,341 in their religious schools and 597 teachers providing instruction. The total property value comes to an estimated six million dollars. There are five Jewish hospitals, six orphan asylums, 3 homes for the aged and infirmed, 15 newspapers and magazines and four Jewish fraternal orders, the large of which is the Order of the B’Nai Brith.
1878: It was reported today that over seven million dollars had been collected in New York City to provide relief for the Jews who suffering as a result of the war between Russia and Turkey.
1879: It was reported today that Benjamin Mayer has been sentenced to two and half years in the state penitentiary and ordered to pay a fine of six thousand dollars for his role in in defrauding thirty financial firms. During the sentencing statement, the Judge stated that Mayer had received a fair trial and that his religious background had no impact on the verdict or the sentence.
1880: H.S. Allen presided over the sixth annual meeting of the United Hebrew Charities which was held at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in Manhattan. The members re-elected Henry Rice to serve as President and Mr. Allen will continue serving as First Vice President.
1884(6th of Sivan, 5644): First Day of Shavuot
1886: During today’s exercises celebrating the accomplishments of the 500 youngsters at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, Mrs. Jacob Bookman is scheduled to present the Betty Bruhl prize which includes a one dollar award and Jesse Seligman, the President of the Asylum Society will present the Malcolm Atherton Strauss Prize.
1899: Birthdate of Irving Thalberg, American film producer.
1892: The Free School at Jefferson Street and East Broadway, which was funded by Baron de Hirsch, was the scene of a unique Memorial Day celebration. The school was awash with patriotic paraphernalia including little American flags and red, white and blue bunting. Visitors to the school were treated to four hundred recently arrived Jewish children from Russia singing “My Country Tis of Thee” in faultless English followed by a recitation of “Our Flag Shall Float” and climaxed by these same youngsters singing The Star Spangled Banner. This program is an example of the Americanization activities that are an integral part of the immigrant children’s education.
1900: The new home of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association was dedicated today. The facility includes a gymnasium, classrooms and a library with 9,000 volumes.
1901: Herzl meets Grossherzog Friedrich of Baden, who tries to get him an audience with the Czar.
1903: Herzl informs Zadoc Kahn and Lord Rothschild about the failure of the El-Arish Project.
1906(6th of Sivan, 5666): First Day of Shavuot
1908: Birthdate of Mel Blanc. The San Francisco native was the voice for a several cartoon characters including Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig.
1908: Birthdate of Dr. Abraham Stone Freedberg, a Harvard cardiologist who developed an early treatment for angina and whose pioneering work in identifying the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers was initially all but ignored. However, he was vindicated when two Australian physicians won a Nobel Prize for work based on his discovery.
1910: Birthdate of German actress Inge Meysel. Meysel’s mother was Danish and her father was Jewish. According to one source, she was banned from acting during the Nazi period. She resumed her career in the German city of Hamburg and continued working until her death in 2004.
1909: Reuben Siegel laid the cornerstone for the first home in Tel-Aviv
1909: Birthdate of Benny Goodman. Born in Chicago, Goodman gained fame as a clarinetist and bandleader. During the Big Band Era, he was known as the King of Swing
1910: Birthdate of Harry Louis Bernstein, author of The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers, his “painfully eloquent memoir about growing up Jewish and poor in a northern English mill town earned him belated literary fame on its publication in 2007, when he was 96…” (As reported by William Grimes)
1912: Birthdate of dramatist and playwright Joseph Stein. His most famous effort was Fiddler on the Roof
1912: Birthdate of American biochemist Julius Axelrod who won the Nobel Prize Physiology or Medicine in 1970.
1913: The Balkan war, which had started in October, 1912 officially came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of London. As a result of this Albania became an independent state. Jews had lived in Albania since Roman times. The false messiah, Shabbetai Zevi spent his final years in Albania and died there. At the time that Albania gained its independence from Turkey, there were probably only a couple of hundred Jews living in the country.
1919: A national Jewish association is founded in Constantinople under the auspices of the Jewish association Amicale, and with cooperation of the B'nai Brith Lodge. Among its many goals, are the establishment of an autonomous Jewish homeland in Palestine, and support for the communal administration of Jewish philanthropic groups in Turkey.
1919: Bernard and Mildred Asch gave birth to Sidney Howard Asch, “a New York judge with a Ph.D. in sociology who wrote scholarly works about civil liberties and made notable decisions about landlord-tenant law, employment of gay people and a man’s right to get his hair cut in a women’s beauty salon…” (As reported by Paul Vitello)
1920: “The 21st conference of the English Zionist Federation of London passed a resolution ‘expressing gratitude to the Supreme Council for incorporating the Balfour declaration in the treaty with Turkey and for granting the mandate for Palestine to Great Britain.’”
1925: Birthdate of John Henry Marks, the London born physician who served as Chariman of the British Medical Associate from 1984 to 1990.
1926: A rodeo featuring a troop of 120 Don Cossacks who recently arrived in the United States from Russia is scheduled to take place tonight at Madison Garden. The proceeds of the event will go the United Jewish Campaign of New York
1930: At a meeting in Tel Aviv, the Vaad Leumi, the Jewish National Council called for a national strike to begin next week to protest the British government’s order suspending Jewish immigration pending an inquiry into land and immigration problems by Sir John Simpson.
1933(5th of Sivan, 5693): Erev Shavuot
1933: The League of Nations held the first of two days of debate about the persecution of the Jews in Germany.
1934: Birthdate of Moshe Shahal, the native of Baghdad who made Aliyah in 1950 and became a leader in the Labor Party serving in the Knesset and in several cabinet posits.
1936: The Palestine (British) Government today warned all mukhtars (chieftains) that their villages would be subject to collective punitive measures unless the cutting of telephone wires, bomb explosions, attempts to demolish railway lines and other acts of brigandage ceased.
1938: The Palestine Post published the full text of the letter, written by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, addressed to the High Commissioner for Palestine. The letter was accompanied by the Annual Jewish Agency's memorandum prepared for the League of Nations Mandates Commission. The Agency accused the Palestine Government that 1937 was a year of an artificially limited immigration and a "chequered development". The Jewish economic structure had shown strength and resilience in the face of the Arab terror. Exports increased, but there was insufficient Government aid for industry and control of imports.
1941: Germany seizes the Greek island of Crete. The Germans would leave the Jews of Crete alone until 1944. In 1944, the Germans loaded the Jews of Crete on to a ship called the Tanais along with a mixed bag of Greek and Italian prisoners. The ship was sunk as it headed for the mainland. It is unclear whether a German U-boat or a British submarine sank the Tanais.
1941: At ten o'clock in morning, Yunis al-Sabawi, the newly self-appointed pro-Nazi Military Governor of Baghdad "summoned the Chief Rabbi, Sasson Hedouri to his office and ordered him to instruct the Jews to go to their homes and stay there until noon. He was also supposed to tell them to pack a suitcase for each family member because they were being taken to detention camps 'for their own safety." In the mean time, Sabwai "instructed the broadcasting station to issue a call to the Baghdad public to massacre the Jews." The broadcast was to be made at noon. (In Ishmael's House by Martin Gilbert.
1941: At meeting with the Mayor of Baghdad, Arshad al-Umari, The Chief Rabbi, Sasson Khedouri asked him to thwart the plans of Yunis Al-Sabawi for the destruction of the city's Jewish population.
1941: Yunis Al-Sabawi, the pro-Nazi governor of Baghdad, took refuge in Persia when the Mayor of Baghdad, Arshad al-Umari, took control of the city and ended the threatened massacre of the Jewish population.
1942: After 467, “Lady in the Dark” closed at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. It could be called “a Jewish musical” since Kurt Weill wrote the music, Ira Gershwin did the lyrics and Moss Hart supplied the book and the direction.
1946: In a play that anticipates a scene in The Natural by Brooklyn-native Bernard Malamud, the Braves' Bama Rowell smashes a double in the 7-run 2nd inning of the second game of a doubleheader at Ebbets Field. The ball shatters the Bulova clock high atop the right-field scoreboard at 4:25 P.M., showering glass down on the Dodgers' Right Fielder Dixie Walker. An hour later the clock stops.
1948: At dawn this morning forces of the Irgun captures Ras el Ein near Petah Tikva the source of Jerusalem’s water supply. By nightfall, the Jewish troops had to give up their hard won victory because of counterattacks from a larger force of Iraqi soldiers.
1948: In the skies above Israel, Arab aircraft were on the attack striking at Jewish forces in several locations including Zirin, a village near Jenin, Kinereth near Timeria, Rebovoth, near Ramleh, Merchavia and Afula which was the target for incendiary bombs. The newly-minted Israeli air force struck at Tel el Kasser on the Trans Jordan border and at an area near Isdud where Egyptian forces were assembling to move on Jaffa. The Israelis lost one plane in the attack.
1948: “Israel’s last remaining dissident organization, the Stern Group, announced tonight that it had been incorporated into the regular Israeli army.” (Ed. Note: This was part of Ben Gurion’s determined effort to create a modern state with only military. This was not a popular effort and it meant with resistance from a wide spectrum of political opinion. If Ben Gurion had not pushed forward with his plan the Jewish community of the day would have looked Gaza in the 21st century.)
1949: Birthdate of Charles Samuel Shapiro “an American diplomat and a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela. He went on to become Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department from 2007 to 2009, and now heads its free trade agreement task force. Some supporters of president Hugo Chavez accuse Shapiro of having supported the 2002 coup d'état, including a meeting with interim president Pedro Carmona Estanga one day after the coup. Shapiro and other US sources have denied this and claim that he urged Carmona to reinstitute the dissolved national assembly. Shapiro has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgia State University, and served in the United States Coast Guard.
1951: Birthdate of Dallas native Stephen Tobolowsky, character actor whose most famous role might be that of Ned Reyerson, the obnoxious insurance salesman in Groundhog Day.
1951: Austrian born author Hermann Broch passed away. Broch was imprisoned in a concentration camp after the Anschluss. During his imprisonment he began writing the most important of his three major works, The Death of Virgil. Broch’s influential friends including James Joyce obtained his release and got him into the United States. He converted to Roman Catholicism prior to his death in 1951.
1958: Sarah Churchill writes to her father describing the ceremony opening the Churchill Auditoriums at the Technion. “They love you very much and the auditorium was designed to honor your achievements…”
1960(4th of Sivan, 5720): Boris Pasternak, author of Dr. Zhivago passed away
1961: Prime Minister David Ben Gurion met with President John F. Kennedy in the Presidential suite at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The meeting lasted for an hour and a half. The two leaders discussed the sale of HAWK missiles to Israel, the reactor at Dimona and need to make some sort of conciliatory gesture concerning the Palestinian refugees.
1961(15th of Sivan, 5721): Binyamin Mintz passed away. An Israeli politician who served as Minister of Postal Services from July 1960 until his death. Born in Łódź in the Russian Empire (today in Poland), Mintz studied in a Hasidic Ger school and was a member of Young Agudat Israel. He made aliyah to Mandate Palestine in 1925, and worked in construction and as a printer. In 1933 he joined Agudat Israel Workers, and was later a member of the Provisional State Council. In 1949 he was elected to the first Knesset on the list of the United Religious Front (an alliance of the four main religious parties). Re-elected in 1951, 1955 and 1959, he was appointed Minister of Postal Services by David Ben-Gurion in 1960. The village of Yad Binyamin, established in 1962, was named in his honor.
1963(7th of Sivan, 5723): Second Day of Shavuot
1964(19th of Sivan, 5724): Famed nuclear physicist Leo Szilard passed away. Born in Hungry, Szilard sounded the early warning about Nazi plans to build an atomic bomb and the need for the Western Powers to do it first. His efforts led to the famous letter from Einstein, the Manhattan Project and the successful building of the Atomic Bomb Hungarians/US nuclear physicist
1965: Moshe Carmel began serving as Minister of of Transport, National Infrastructure and Road Safety
1966: Birthdate of Stephen Malkmus indie-rock musician who played with a band called Silver Jews.
1967: King Hussein of Jordan visited Cairo. “At the meeting Nasser produced a file containing the Syrian-Egyptian defense pact” King Hussein was, in his own words “so anxious to reach agreement” that told Nasser to give him another copy of the agreement, “replace the word Syrian with the word Jordan” so that he could join the alliance without delay. Apparently, Hussein was not the reluctant participant he would later claim to have been. This was part of Arab efforts to create a united military front in what would become the Six Day War which would begin a week later. When the war broke out, the Israelis sent word to the Jordanians asking them to stay out of the fight. The Israelis assured the Jordanians that they had not intention of attacking them. The Jordanian response was to starting shelling Israel. It was this action by the Jordanians which led the Israelis to the Green Line and drive the Jordanians out of east Jerusalem.
1967: As “the Arab noose” seems to be tightening around the Israeli neck, Meir Amit was sent to Washington to check the American response if Israel launched pre-emptive strikes at Egypt. He told the defense secretary Robert MacNamara: "All we want is three things: One, that you refill our arsenal after the war. Two, that you will help us in the UN. Three, that you will isolate the Russians from the arena." MacNamara said to Amit: "I read you loud and clear."
1968: Martin Noth, German Old Testament scholar, passed away. Noth was the first authority to note that “First and Second Kings” contained virtually no mention of the classic prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos and Hosea.
1969: Palestinian terrorists blew up the oil pipeline which passes through the Golan Heights. Thousands of tons of crude oil polluted the river-beds, but were blocked before they could reach Lake Kinneret.
1970 "Minnie's Boys" a play about the Marx Brothers closed at Imperial Theater in New York City closed after 80 performances
1972: Final exams are scheduled to be held today at The Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of New York. The exams had originally been scheduled to given on May 19 which coincided with the celebration of Shavuot. The date of the exams was changed following protests led by Hillel, the Anti-Defamation League and individual students.
1972: In Tel Aviv, members of the Japanese Red Army carry out the Lod Airport Massacre, killing 24 people and injuring 78 others.
1973(28th of Iyar, 5733): Yom Yerushalayim
1976: Birthdate of child star Omri Katz
1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that in his inaugural Knesset address the new, fifth President of Israel, Yitzhak Navon, called upon Egypt to renew peace negotiations and urged other Arab leaders to follow suit. Knesset members were so pleased with Navon's appearance that they broke a cardinal rule and spontaneously burst into applause. The Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, looking pale after several days of fever, turned up despite reports that his health might preclude his appearance.
1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Tadiran gave a sneak preview of its miniature, remotely-controlled pilotless reconnaissance aircraft, the Mastiff.
1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that according to Yigal Hurwitz, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, only huge budget cuts of some four to five billion pounds, accompanied by a drastic reduction of manpower in the service sector, could save Israel from the fast growing inflation.
1983: As part of the American Jewish Choral Festival workshops were scheduled to take place today “on the tradition of Jewish choral music, on the choral music of Israel and on the significance of texts in Jewish choral music, led by Hugo Weisgall, Joshua Jacobson and the director of the festival, Matthew Lazar.”
1990(6th of Sivan, 5750): First Day of Shavuot
1990: Good luck as much as any other factor helped foil a potentially disastrous attack by heavily armed seaborne terrorists on Israeli civilians today. Air, ground and naval forces engaged the intruders, killing four and capturing 12 before they could cause casualties or damage. Meanwhile, a full-scale inquiry has been opened at Israel Defense Force General Headquarters, in order to seek answers to many questions being asked by officers, politicians and the public at large over the defensive operation conducted by the IDF. Chief of Staff Gen. Dan Shomron and his senior officers admitted they took a calculated risk by not clearing the beaches as soon as the attackers were detected. An important consideration was not to create panic, they said. They also withheld fire until it was certain the approaching boatloads of men were enemies. Two apparently well-planned and coordinated assaults were attempted by Palestinian terrorists traveling in fast fiberglass motorboats from a "mother ship" cruising more than 100 miles off the Israeli coast. In addition, more numerous landing attempts were aborted by mechanical difficulties. Responsibility for the operation, believed to have been launched from Libya, is being claimed by the Palestine Liberation Front. The PLF, headed by Mohammed (Abul) Abbas, is the group responsible for the 1985 attack on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and the subsequent killing of Leon Klinghoffer. Initial targets were beaches north and south of Tel Aviv, where the assailants knew thousands of Israelis would be spending the Shavuot holiday sunbathing and swimming. Maps and documents found on the terrorists made clear their targets also included hotels and the center of Tel Aviv, which could be expected to be crowded with civilians. The armaments carried by the terrorists included cannons, heavy machine guns, assault rifles, side arms, grenades and explosives. The attempted landings were at Ga'ash, a beach north of Tel Aviv, and Nitzanim, a beach between Ashkelon and Ashdod to the south. More than three hours separated the two assaults. Military and civilian leaders agreed that the timing of the Shavuot attack had nothing to do with the slaying of seven Palestinians by a reputedly deranged Israeli gunman near Rishon le-Zion on May 20, though the PLF claimed it was in revenge. Experts pointed out that the attack, which included a mother ship and 16 armed men riding six speedboats, must have been planned weeks or months in advance. Israelis also admit the element of chance did much to prevent a massacre. The engine of one boat would not start when it was put into the water. Three others, including one used as a refueling tanker, broke down shortly afterwards. If all six assault boats had reached beaches or deserted areas on the coast, the outcome might have been different. In addition to the Ga'ash and Nitzanim beaches, targets circles on the terrorists' maps included Tel Aviv's beachfront hotels, the Migdal Shalom Tower, Israel's tallest office building; and Malchei Yisrael Square outside Tel Aviv City Hall. A mystery surrounds the mother ship, which was 124 miles off the Israeli coast when it dropped the speedboats. According to the IDF, it sailed from Benghazi, Libya, on Sunday and headed for Port Said, Egypt, after the attack. The Egyptian authorities were alerted but the vessel has not been found. The police anti-terrorist unit, under IDF command, took an active part in the operation, but despite official praise for IDF-police cooperation, Police Commissioner Ya'acov Terner stated publicly that he learned of the Nitzanim landing from a private citizen who telephoned him. According to news reports, the first warning of trouble was received at 6:45 a.m. local time when navy radar picked up the blips of speedboats about 26 miles off shore heading toward Ga'ash. A Dabour-class gunboat on routine patrol off Tel Aviv was sent to investigate. It intercepted the speedboat and ordered its five occupants to jump into the sea without their weapons. They were promptly captured and taken ashore. Air force spotter planes, attack helicopters and other naval vessels were immediately put on alert. But it was not until 10 a.m. local time that a second suspicious-looking speedboat was seen making for shore near Nitzanim. A Dabour gunboat gave chase but was outrun. Seven gunmen were put ashore and took cover under bushes on the sand dunes. Cobra attack helicopters rushed to the scene but had to make sure the invaders were indeed terrorists and not IDF soldiers or civilians before they opened fire. In the event, four terrorists were fatally shot by helicopter gunners or soldiers of the Givati Brigade sent to the scene Former Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin told Israel Radio that intelligence reports received about five months ago indicated that Abbas was in Libya planning a seaborne assault on Israel.
1991: Christopher Lehmann-Haupt reviewed On the Third Day by Piers Paul Read that begins with a discovery by an Israeli counterintelligence unit that leads to the conclusion that Jesus did not survive the crucifixion and that he did not rise on the third day
1998(5th of Sivan, 5758): Sam Aaronvitch, British economist, academic, working class intellectual and senior member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, passed away
1998: Tonight, Erev of Shavuot, Jonathan Eisenthal and as many as 150 other members of Mt. Zion Hebrew Congregation will be studying Exodus 19, the biblical passage in which God first approaches the Israelites to become partners in a divine covenant, and, through Moses, gives them the Torah. Traditionally observant Jews stay up the whole first night of Shavuot studying texts related to revelation, the giving of the Torah and the Book of Ruth. But among Reform Jews like Eisenthal, staying up the whole night, or even part of it, to study is a relatively new practice. Eisenthal is doing just what the head of the Reform movement, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, hopes to inspire among more of his constituents.
Last November, in his first speech as president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the umbrella organization for Reform synagogues, Yoffie declared that "Torah is at the center" of his movement. Hebrew literacy, and a knowledge of core Jewish texts, was, he said, to be the focus of a new campaign.
2000: Yitzhak Mordechai completed his term as Minister of Transport, National Infrastructure and Road Safety
2001: President Bush welcomes Israeli President Moshe Katsav to the White House for a working dinner with Jewish leaders and senior Administration officials.
2001: A car bomb explodes outside a school in Netanya. Eight people are injured.
2003: (28th of Iyar, 5763) Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Reunification Day
2005: Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar decides to recognize the members of India's Bnei Menashe community as descendants of the ancient Israelites. Amar also decides to dispatch a team of rabbinical judges to India to convert the community members to Orthodox Jews. Such a conversion will enable their immigration to Israel under the Law of Return, without requiring the Interior Ministry's authorization.
2005: President Moshe Katsav arrives in Germany to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations during a three-day visit in which he is to address the German parliament.
2007: An exhibition, ''Sisters by Color'' comes to a close at the Hebrew University. The exhibition, featuring works of art by sisters Rachel Ziv and Gila Elyashar Stolisky, opened on April, 12, 2007, in the presence of the Lithuanian Ambassador to Israel Asta Skaisgiryte Liauskiene.
2007: As the missile attacks continue, a Qassam rocket hit a high-voltage electricity pole and landed on a building in the western Negev city of Sderot this evening. The house sustained some damage, but the residents of the home had been secured inside a protected room and remained unharmed.
2008: On Friday night, Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, Iowa celebrates the third and final Special Musical Sabbaths for this year.
2008: Outfielder Brian Horwitz appeared in his first major league baseball game as a member of the San Francisco Giants.
2008: In article entitled “A Class For All Traditions,” the Chicago Tribune reports on The Chicago Jewish Day School on its fifth anniversary.http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/content/education/chi-relig_jewishschoolmay30,0,6624247,print.story
2009(7th of Sivan, 5769: Second Day Shavuot – Yizkor
2009: Stephan M. Silverman, a clinical and school psychologist and Jacqueline S. Iseman, a clinical psychologist specializing in children and adolescents lead a discussion of “School Success for Kids With ADHD” at Borders Books in Rockville, MD.
2010: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish of authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer and Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law by Gabriel Schoenfeld.
2011: Limmud Colorado’s Fourth Annual Conference is scheduled to come to an end.
2011: Israeli Homeland Security Minister Matan Vilna'i and his Russian counterpart Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu are scheduled to sign an agreement to increase Israeli-Russian cooperation in emergency situations during a ceremony at the Knesset today.
2011(26th of Iyar, 5771): Yahrzeit Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. Born in 1707 he “was a prominent Italian Jewish rabbi, kabbalist, and philosopher.” Known by the Hebrew acronym RaMCHaL (or RaMHaL, רמח"ל), he passed in 1746
2011: A group of squatters forcefully entered a building that houses a synagogue, in a move that anti-government observers say was religiously motivated. The squatters were peacefully dislodged this morning after negotiations with the police and community leaders. A group of 20 homeless people, including children, broke into the three-story building before sunrise today and occupied some of the vacant apartments on the second and third floors, saying they considered the building unused and would press for the building’s expropriation by the government so that it could be turned into apartments for the homeless. Representatives of the Jewish community said that there was no damage to Bet Abraham, a synagogue that was established over 10 years ago on the building’s first floor. The building has been undergoing renovations for the last two years, according to reports. “The action’s objective was not to disturb the normal activities of the synagogue and the protesters did not enter the religious grounds, nor did they act in a disrespectful manner,” said the Venezuelan Confederation of Israelite Associations in a statement. The confederation said the squatters left the building peacefully after the intervention of the district’s mayor Jorge Rodriguez, who is a member of President Hugo Chavez’s party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. While the confederation it does not believe the action was religiously motivated, anti-government observers pointed out that the squatter’s invasion attempt came a week after Catholic imagery was shot at in another provincial city. “These people know exactly what they are doing even if they might not know what a synagogue really is,” wrote one anti-government blogger. “But they have heard the anti-Jewish talk of the regime, the anti-Catholic [rhetoric] of Chavez, [and] the unacceptable recomedation [sic] of the 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' on the Venezuelan national state radio no less.” President Chavez has verbally sparred in the past with the Catholic hierarchy in Venezuela, which has been outspoken in denouncing what it describes as the erosion of democracy under Chavez.
2011: The head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Bernie Farber, announced he is running for public office. Farber, who worked for the CJC for 27 years and has been its CEO since 2005, announced he is taking a leave of absence to run as a Liberal candidate in October's provincial elections in Ontario. Farber is running in the heavily Jewish district of Thornhill, north of Toronto, where he will face the Progressive Conservative party's incumbent, Peter Shurman, a Jewish one-time broadcast executive. Farber already has been criticized for allying himself with the ruling Liberals, who are steadfastly against any public funding of private and religious schools in Ontario. Over the years, Farber and CJC have become synonymous with vigorous calls for funding of Jewish schools. The previous Conservative government provided a historic tax credit for parents of children in faith-based schools, which Ontario's current Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty cancelled upon coming to office. Funding is "probably something the premier and I don't agree on, but on virtually everything else we are in agreement," Farber said. "I will try to march on those issues where we are in full agreement and continue to advocate on those issues I still feel strongly about." Shurman told the Canadian Jewish News he thought Farber is "a good guy" and wished him luck, but said he wasn't concerned "in the slightest" by his rival's entry into politics.
2011: According to some of the findings in Identity a la Carte, a landmark study of post-Communist Jewish identity, affiliation and participation released today, “a generation after the fall of communism, Jews in Central Europe feel comfortable where they live but are concerned about anti-Semitism. They like to visit Israel but don't want to move there. And they feel that they don't have to be religious to be a "good Jew."
2011: Funeral services will be held today in Toronto for Milton Avruskin with internment at Interment at Pardes Shalom Cemetery, Temple Har Zion section.
2011(26th of Iyar, 5771): Eighty-nine year old Helen S. Yalow, the first woman to earn a Nobel Prize in Medicine, passed away today. (‘As reported by Denise Gellene)http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/02/us/02yalow.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
2012: Judaism and the American Legal Tradition taught by Dr. Daniel Rynhold is scheduled to hold its final course of the semester.
2012: Center for Jewish History and Leo Baeck Institute are scheduled to present a concert featuring Vassa Shevel and Inessa Zaretsky of the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble and guest pianist, Ellen Braslavsky
Copyright; May, 2012; Mitchell A. Levin email@example.com