May 31 In Jewish History
1279 BCE: Ramses II (The Great) (19th dynasty) becomes pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. If you accept the contention that Moses lived from 1391–1271 BCE, Ramses would be the Pharaoh who came to power after the Exodus. During his reign he reasserted Egyptian power over the area that would have included Canaan during the period of the Judges. However, the Bible talks about the Canaanite tribes and Philistines as being the Israelites’ enemies and not the Egyptians.
70 C.E.: The Jewish defenders of Jerusalem surrendered the first wall of the city to the Romans.
942 (26 Iyar 4702): Sa'adia ben Joseph (Rav Saadia Gaon) passed away. Born in
1593: The Jews were barred from living in
1665: Sabbeti Zevi proclaimed himself Messiah. The most famous of all the False Messiahs, Sabbeti Zevi enthralled tens of thousands of Jews. His message was accepted across all social and economic classes. His followers were to be found throughout Jewish communities in
1666: One of the dates given for the death of Jacob Lumbrozo, the Portuguese born physician who became the first Jewish resident of Maryland when he moved there in 1656.
1740: Frederick William I passed away. As a result of his death, recently passed legislation that would have led to the end of the Jewish community in Berlin were not enforced.
1747 (26 Iyar 5507): Moses Hayyim Luzzatto passed away. Born in 1707 at
1776(13th of Sivan, 5536): At a wedding celebration on an upper floor of a building in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, 65 people, including the bride, were killed when the building collapsed under the strain of the celebration.
1776(13th of Sivan, 5536): Two weddings were held today in the same building in Mantua, Italy. During the celebration, the building collapsed killing 28 women, including one of the brides, and 3 men. The Jews of Mantua were not allowed to expand their housing beyond the ghetto walls. This forced them to build vertically, resulting in unstable buildings which led to deaths like these.
1800(7th of Sivan, 5560): Second Day of Shavuot
1862: In today's issue of The Israelite, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise responded to criticism by Reverend Moncure D. Conway that the Israelite had not spoken out on the importance of preserving the Union. Wise said that "he never preached on politics." He said that this would be "a misapplication of the Sabbath and the pulpit" and that there were plenty of other opportunities for patriotic speeches.
1865(6th of Sivan, 5625): Jews celebrate the first Shavuot since the end of the Civil War.
1872: An article entitled “Turkey” described the bloody anti-Jewish riots that have been taking place in Smyrna. The riots began after reports that a Greek child was lying in the morgue, having been killed by Jews who need its blood for their annual Passover sacrifice.
1873: The New York Times published an article appealing for money to be sent to the “Children’s Fund” which would be used to provide summer time excursions for poor Jewish youngsters living in New York City.
1874: According to reports published today a Jew from Chicago named Henry Greenbaum donated five hundred dollars to a Chicago church whose pastor is Professor Swing, the controversial Presbyterian minister who has been labeled as a heretic by his co-religionists
1880: It was reported today that in the last six months, the Board of Relief of the United Hebrew Charities has provided 1,235 pairs of shoes, 407 dresses, 425 pairs of stockings, 252 skirts, 123 coats and almost one thousand, five hundred tons of goals to those in need. In the past year, assistance has been provided to 1,481 families which is a decrease of 162 for the year ending with May, 1879. However, there was increase in the number needing assistance in April which may indicate that there will be an increase in demand.
1884(7th of Sivan, 5644): Second Day of Shavuot
1885: The 20th anniversary of the Hebrew Free School Association was celebrated this morning at the Lexington Avenue Opera House in New York City. The event was attended by 2,000 students and 500 adults including the association’s president, M.S. Isaacs and secretary, Henry S. May, and Rabbis, Jacobs, Kohut and Wise.
1889(1st of Sivan, 5649): Rosh Chodesh Sivan
1891: Birthdate of Erich Walter Sternberg the Berlin-born Israeli composer who was one of the founders of Israeli art music, Sternberg had a profound impact on the musical life of Palestine and Israel during the 1930s and 1940s. He passed away in 1974.
1896: Today, The New York Times published an excerpt from an article in a British publication, The Quarterly Review, which compared the accomplishments of Disraeli and Gladstone in the field of foreign affairs. The author is cautiously optimistic when describing Disraeli’s policy designed to thwart Russian attempts to expand at the expense of the Ottoman Empire. He gives Disraeli high marks for his performance during the conference held at Berlin and for his purchase of the shares in the Suez Canal. In the end, regardless of how things play out, “this much is certain…Disraeli upheld the traditions of his …country at a time when a foreign critic of our policy uttered the well-known sneer that the only persons left who cared for the honor of England were an old woman and a Jew.” The old woman is Queen Victoria. The Jew is Disraeli proving that the nature of his birth out-weighed the impact of his forced youthful trip to the baptismal font.
1901: Herzl travels to
1901: Bella Weretnikow, who became the first Jewish woman lawyer in Washington State, graduated from the University of Washington Law School.
1906(7th of Sivan, 5666): Second Day of Shavuot
1911: Birthdate of multi-talented Ruth Hagy Brod. Born in
1912: Birthdate of Senator Henry M "Scoop" Jackson.
1915: Leo Frank, who had been sentenced to hang, appealed to the Georgia State Prison Commission that his sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.
1915: The American Jewish, Central and Peoples' Relief Committees gave $190,282 to Jews living in Palestine, $4,000 to Jews living in Alexandria and $59,500 to Jews living in Greece and Turkey.
1916: Birthdate of Bernard Lewis, the English born American Orientalist. There is no way that this blog can do justice to this intellectual giant.
1919: The partly decomposed corpse of Rosa Luxemburg was found in one of the locks of Berlin’s Landwehr Canal.
1921: Churchill explains to the members of the Cabinet that he “had decided to suspend the development of representative institutions in Palestine ‘owing to the fact that any elected body would undoubtedly prohibit further immigration of the Jews.’”
1925: In Washington Heights, Mabel Lucille (née Blum), a teacher, and Irving Beck, a businessman gave birth to “American actor, director, poet, and painter” Julian Beck
1926: The entire Jewish Sejm delegation voted for Josef Pilsudski for President of Poland.
1928: Official birthdate of Jacob Lateiner, “a Cuban/US pianist. He was actually born on March 31, 1928, but his father did not get around to registering his birth until May 31 the same year. He is the brother of violinist Isidor Lateiner.”
1933(6th of Sivan, 5693): First Day of Shavuot
1935 Jews are banned from the German Armed Forces.
1936: The New York Times reported that the proceeds of the upcoming annual “Give or Get Luncheon” sponsored by the Mizrachi Women’s Organization will be used to provide for the needs of young girls in Palestine, including both the native-born and refugees from Europe.
1938: German legislation outlaws "decadent art." All decadent artists weren’t Jewish but all Jewish artists were decadent.
1938: Birthdate of Peter Yarrow, “The Peter” in Peter, Paul and Mary
1939: As violence aimed at Arabs in response to the White Paper, increased, British authorities in Palestine began arresting Revisionists including Dr. Bukshpan, chairman of the Revisionist Palestine Executive Committee. At the same, at least one Jewish newspaper in Palestine published a report from Warsaw, Poland “that Dr. Vladimir Jabotinsky, head of the Revisionist party was openly opposed to any Jewish rebellion on the ground that in the present state of international affairs the Jews must and cannot fight against Britain when all democracies are grouping themselves” for a fight with Nazi Germany.
1939: Even though it placed strict limitations on Jewish immigration, Arab leaders rejected the White Paper today because it allowed for Jewish immigration and for the possibility of a Jewish home in Palestine. The Arab High Committee rejected any role for Jews in Palestine and asserted that the creation of an Arab state is the solution to the problem.
1942: In the Warsaw Ghetto, 3,650 Jews had died of starvation since the first of May. The Germans opened a new death camp on the outskirts of Minsk, in the village of Maly Trostenets. Spring brought on soft ground which meant it was easy to dig massive graves again.
1943: At a Meeting of the General Government ministers in Cracow, Lieutenant General Kruger noted that "on the Fuhrer's orders it is necessary for the (slaughter of the Jews) from the standpoint of European interests."
1943 A Nazi prison administrator in
1943(26th of Iyyar, 5703): Today, the Nazis murdered Berta and Munio Kremnitzer, the parents of Rama Reis-Kremnitzer and the grandparents of Brig. Gen. Itai Reis, the commander of Palmahim air force.
1944 (9th of Sivan, 5704): The Jewish community of Khonia, Crete, which traced its history back to Roman times, came to an end when the ship Danai, into which all the Jews had been herded, was towed out to sea and sunk
1944: A Hungarian deportation train stops near the German border so 42 corpses could removed.
1944: At the Auschwitz rail junction, German soldiers who encounter a sealed deportation train carrying Hungarian Jews to the Birkenau death camp defy threats of SS guards and give water and food to pleading prisoners. (Could this be a reference to scene in the film “Schinlder’s List” where Schindler provides water for a group of Jews trapped in box cars?)
1944: An SS man and a Jewish girl with whom he has fallen in love are executed. The German has hidden the girl for months, keeping her from the gas chambers.
1946(1st of Sivan, 5706): Rosh Chodesh Sivan
1948: Birthdate of Rhea Perlman. The
1948: Representatives of the Protestant and Catholic faiths joined more than 500 Reform Jewish leaders from a score of States at a testimonial dinner at the Netherlands Plaza Hotel in honor or Dr. Julian Morgenstern, who is retiring as president of
1948: “In further moves to relieve pressures on the coastal strip and to ward off disaster two columns of Israeli armored cars were advancing to on Jenin.” One column was advancing from Afula while the other was coming from Megiddo which was the scene of a counter-attack by Trans-Jordan’s Arab Legion. In the south, the Arab Legion was reported to have massed two hundred armored vehicles at Rameleh which will be used in the fight to keep the road from Jerusalem to the Coast Plain from being opened to Jewish convoys. At the same time the Egyptians have amassed 500 armored vehicles twenty miles south of Jaffa as part of a what appears to be another move against Tel Aviv.
1948: An Order of the Day, signed by David Ben Gurion, which included the following statement, was issued.
“On the establishment of the State of Israel, the Haganah has emerged from the underground and has become a regular army…Without the Haganah’s experience, plan, skill in operation and command, its devotion and valor, the Yishuv could not have held it ground on the dreadful trial of arms it had to face during these six months and we would not have attained the State of Israel.”
1957: Playwright Arthur Miller is convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to denounce writers with alleged Communist views to the House Un-American Activities Committee
1957: Anshe Chesed’s new facility known as Fairmount Temple was dedicated today in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. The building was designed by Percival Goodman and cemented the reform congregation’s move to suburbia.
1962: Adolf Eichmann, head of the Jewish department of the Gestapo, the first Nazi to be condemned by the Jewish state, was hanged.
1963: Birthdate of Canadian comedian Jeremy Hotz.
1964: Birthdate of Canadian lawyer and media magnate, Leonard Asper, Brandeis U. alum and son of the late Isadore Asper.
1967: With the announcement of the alliance between
1967: Contingents of the Iraqi Army arrived in
1967: The government of
1974: The involvement of the Golani forces in the war of attrition against Syria came to an end with the signing of the disengagement agreement.
1974: After Henry Kissinger conducted a feverish round of shuttle diplomacy between Damascus and Jerusalem, the separation of forces agreement between Israel and Syria was signed in Geneva. This marked the formal end the hostilities known as the Yom Kippur War.
1983: In “200 Singers in Jewish Festival” Edward Rothstein provides a summary of the recently completed American Jewish Choral Festival.
1990(7th of Sivan, 5750): Second Day of Shavuot
1993: Marshall Brickman's "Who's Who in the Cast," a parody of a Playbill cast list, which was published in the July 26, 1976, issue of The New Yorker, drew so much attention that it was republished in today’s special theatre issue.
1994(21st of Sivan, 5754): Trumpeter Emmanuel "Manny" Klein passed away.
1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Commissioners: Baseball's Midlife Crisis by Jerome Holtzman and Two Lucky People: Memoirs by Milton Friedman and Rose D. Friedman
1998(6th of Sivan, 5758): First Day of Shavuot
2000: U.S. President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak met at
's Clinton hotel in the
latest effort to jump-start the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Lisbon
2001: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon comes under increasing pressure to end a unilateral cease-fire with the Palestinians, as violence continues in the
2002: Israeli troops enter the
West Bank city of , while the
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is reported to have signed a law reform
package which is a framework for a Palestinian constitution. Nablus
2003: While visiting Auschwitz today, President Bush said, ““This site is a sobering reminder that when we find anti-Semitism, whether it be in Europe or anywhere else, mankind must come together to fight such dark impulses. And this site is also a strong reminder that the civilized world must never forget what took place on this site. May God bless the victims and the families of the victims, and may we always remember.”
2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Sontag & Kael by Craig Seligman, Teammates by David Halberstam and Amerika (The Man Who Disappeared), by Franz Kafka; translated by Michael Hofmann, a new translation of Kafka's novel about a young man's humiliations after being banished for his part in a scandal strives to stay close to the author's rough drafts.
2005: Israeli TV Channel 2 starts broadcasting "Yoman Masa" - "Diary of a Journey" ("Land of the Settlers") filmed by Channel 1 news anchor man Chaim Yavin.
2005: Mikhail Khodorkovsky was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to nine years in prison. The sentence was later reduced to 8 years.
2006: In Jerusalem, closing session of Biomed 2006.
of Manhattan presents “Tizmoret’s Spring Sing.” Tizmoret is the Queens College Hillel chapter’s Professional A
2008 (5768): Begin Book of Numbers.
2009: In New York City, the annual Salute to Israel Parade swings down famed 5th Avenue. The main theme of this year's parade is "Past, Present, Future – Tel Aviv Celebrates 100 Years." http://salutetoisrael.com/parade/
2009: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Bottom of the Ninth: Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, and the Daring Scheme to Save Baseball From Itself by Michael Shapiro and the recently released paperback edition of Dictation by Cynthia Ozick.
2009: The Washington Post featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Alger Hiss and the Battle For History by Susan Jacoby
2009: A five-day civil defense exercise, simulating an attack on the country, started today. Named Turning Point 3, the drills will be the most extensive ever held and practice new measures to safeguard civilians.
2009(8th of Sivan, 5769): Eighty-three year old Samuel M. Ehrenhalt, the “grand old man” of labor statistics passed away. (As reported by Margalit Fox)
2010: An exhibition entitled “One Foot in America: The Jewish Emigrants of the Red Star Line and Eugeen Van Mieghem” at the YIVO Institute is scheduled to come to a close. This exhibit tells the story of the Red Star shipping line, focusing on the lives of emigrants--the reasons they fled, their arrival in Antwerp and their experience with the city's Jewish community, their living conditions onboard the ships, and their hopes and dreams. The exhibit also features the Flemish artist and Antwerp native Eugeen Van Mieghem (1875-1930), whose work depicts the emigrants and the life of the port.
2011: Final day of Jewish American heritage Month
2011: At a time when some are calling for an artistic boycott of Israel, Marty Friedman, who played guitar with Megadeth is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv today
2011: The 2011 award ceremony for the Sami Rohr Prize in fiction for Jewish Literature is scheduled to be held in New York City today.
2011; World Policy Journal Editor David A. Andelman is scheduled to moderate a town-meeting style conversation entitled “Beyond the Stage: On Henry Kissinger” at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
2011: The Israel Defense Forces will ask the state to increase its defense budget significantly to contend with the growing terror threats in the region, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said today. "The spectrum of threats in light of the changes in the Middle East is growing," Gantz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "These threats range from knife to nuclear – from the knife used in a single terror attack to a nuclear Iran.""The threats of the past are still in force, but new threats are developing that require the ability to operate in a number of different theaters with strength and determination," Gantz said, adding that this "new spectrum of threats requires a new and broader budget framework for the defense establishment."
2011: The Finance and Health ministries petitioned the Tel Aviv Labor Court today asking for injunctions to be issued against the Israel Medical Association, demanding the end to the doctors' strike which has been ongoing for over two months. The petition, handed to the court by the State Prosecution and attorney Doron Yeffet, from the Tel Aviv district prosecution, asked the court to order the Israel Medical Association to put an immediate stop to the ongoing strike, and to halt any future obstructions planned. The Association, whose 17,000 doctors began launching sanctions over two months ago, is demanding a 50 percent raise per hour. Yeffet is handling the petition which offers the doctors two alternatives to the current situation: entering intensive daily negotiations, or turning to an arbitration process acceptable on both sides or as instructed by the court. The appeal stated that "thousands of patients are being held hostage by the association," adding that "as it is a force that harms both the population at large and the population of patients who need medical care that is not of a life-saving nature." The Israel Medical Association was surprised to hear about the appeal, despite the Finance Ministry's announcement yesterday that it intended to appeal to court to put an end to the strike. Negotiations between the doctors and the treasury remain deadlocked since the strikes began.
2011: The Jewish Book Council is scheduled to host its annual award ceremony today in NYC.
2011: Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert began testifying today at the Jerusalem District Court, opening the defense phase of the ongoing corruption trial against him.
2011(27th of Iyar, 5771): Eighty-nine year old Broadway producer Philip Rose whose works included “A Raisin in the Sun” passed away today. (As produced by Bruce Weber)
2011(27th of Iyar, 5771): Dutch holocaust survivor, author and psychoanalyst Hans Keilson passed away today at the age of 101. (As reported by the Eulogizer/JTA and William Grimes)
2012: “City Sounds,” an exhibit of Jewish musicians and Jewish venues in Columbus Ohio, is scheduled to come to an end at the Bexley Public Library in Bexley, Ohio.
2012: Dr. Nir Cohen is scheduled to lecture on “Love and Surveillance: Politicised Romance in Peter Kosminsky’s The Promise” at the Weiner Library in London.
2012: “The Jewish Woman In America: 1654-2012” a course covering the vital contributions that Jewish women have made to American Jewish life, from the time of the first Sephardic arrivals to New Amsterdam in 1654, down to the present sponsored by the Board of Jewish Education of Atlantic and Cape May (NJ) Counties is scheduled to come to an end.
2012: International Ladino singer Sarah Aroeste and music collaborator and producer Shai Bachar are scheduled to come to Joe’s Pub to celebrate the release of Aroeste’s third album, Gracia.
Copyright; May, 2012; Mitchell A. Levin email@example.com