JUNE 26 In Jewish History
363: Roman Emperor Julian is killed during the retreat from the Sassanid Empire. General Jovian is proclaimed Emperor by the troops on the battlefield. According to various sources, Julian was a true Roman pagan who sought to roll back the inroads that Christianity had made among the ruling classes. He passed an edict of toleration. In the year of his death, he ordered the Temple to be rebuilt on its historic location in Jerusalem. The plan died with him and the exile continued.
1409: The Roman Catholic church is led into a double schism as Petros Philargos is crowned Pope Alexander V after the Council of Pisa, joining Pope Gregory XII in Rome and Pope Benedict XIII in Avignon. While these various claimants to Papal power were fighting amongst themeslves, they had time to bedevil the Jews. In 1409, Pope Alexander V ordered the Inquisitor of Avignon, Dauphiné, Provence and Comtat Venaissin to proceed against several categories of persons "including Jews who practiced magic, invokers of demons, and augurs" Benedict initiated the year-long Disputation of Tortosa in 1413, which became the most prominent Christian-Jewish disputation of the Middle Ages. Benedict was well known for his oppressive laws against the Jews
1523: The first printed edition of the Sefer ha-Chinuch (ספר החינוך) appeared. The printing of this comparatively obscure volume within seven decades of the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press demonstrates how quickly “the people of the book” took to the printing of books. Sefer ha-Chinuch was not the first book to be printed in Hebrew. That honor probably goes to Tractate Berakhot of the Babylonian Talmud which was printed by Joshua Solomon Soncino in 1483. . According to the Hillel Website, "Sefer HaChinuch is a unique work in many ways. It was published anonymously and scholars throughout the ages have not succeeded in unearthing the humble author. The book dates to 13th century
and is a comprehensive description of the 613 commandments, arranged according
to their appearance in the Pentateuch. The description of each commandment
includes (a) the concept of the Mitzvah and its Biblical source, (b) the
philosophical underpinnings of the commandment, and (c) a brief summary of the
laws governing its observance. An English translation of this important work is
1541 (23 Sivan 5301): Rabbi Jacob Pollack passed away. Born in
was the first important Polish-Jewish Rabbinic scholar. Prior to his
time, the great Talmudic centers had been found in Poland . He helped establish
the Talmudic method of study called "Pilpul". This complicated and
often hair-splitting method of explanation was originated in southern Germany . It is
called mental acrobatics by some, yet is also responsible for the development
of the sharp Talmudic mind. Pollack served as a Rabbi in Germany , moved to Eretz-Israel for a period of
time and returned to live in Cracow
where he passed away. Lublin
1629: Rabbi Yom Tov Lipmann Heller was imprisoned. Rabbi Yom Tov Lipmann Heller was born in 1579. He was the author of Tossafoth Yom Tov,a major commentary on the Mishna. While he was serving as a Rabbi in
, he was involved
with the distribution of tax money. He was wrongfully accused by some of
showing favoritism in his work. He ended up being taken to Prague in chains.
The Christian officials respected his integrity and released him.
Considering that this took place during the Thirty Years War, it is surprising
that Heller did not come to some barbarous end. He passed away in 1654,
the same year in which the American Jewish Community began. Vienna
1775(28th of Sivan, 5535): Aryeh Löb ben Mordecai Ha-Levi Epstein (Ba'al ha-Pardes)passed away. He was a Polish rabbi born in Grodno in 1708. At first he refused to become a rabbi, preferring to devote himself entirely to study, but in 1739 he was forced by poverty to accept the rabbinate of Brestovech, Lithuania, and in 1745 he became rabbi of Königsberg, where he remained until his death. He corresponded with Elijah, Gaon of Vilna, and with Jonathan Eybeschütz, with whom he sided in the quarrel about amulets (see Emden-Eybeschütz Controversy). He is the author of Or ha-Shanim, on the 613 commandments (Frankfort-on-the-Oder, 1754), Halakah Aḥaronah and Ḳunṭres ha-Ra'yot (ib. 1754; Königsberg, 1759), Sefer ha-Pardes, in three parts: (1) on the Shema and the observance of Sabbath, (2) sermons, (3) funeral orations (ib. 1759). Several other cabalistic and halakic works from his pen are mentioned in his own works or by his biographer. A prayer which he composed on the occasion of the dedication of a new synagogue in Königsberg (ib. 1756) is found in the Bodleian Library. Annotations by him and by his son Abraham Meïr Epstein are published in some of the later editions of the Babylonian Talmud. He is called "Levin Marcus" in Solowicz's Gesch. der Juden in Königsberg, Posen, 1857.
1819: “Emma di Resburgo,” an opera composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer, was performed for the first time in Venice.
1821: Birthdate of Adolf Jellinek an Austrian born scholar who served as the rabbi of The Leopoldstädter Tempel in Vienna.
1857: The first investiture of the Victoria Cross in Hyde Park, London. The Victoria Cross is the highest military award for valor granted within the British military. It is the English version of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Jewish recipients include Frank Alexander de Pass who received the award posthumously for requesting comrades trapped in No Man’s Land on the Western Front in 1914 during World War I; Captain Robert Gee who earned it for heroism on the Western Front in 1917; Corporal John Patrick Kenneally who it for heroism in Tunisia in 1943; Corporal Issy Smith, an Austrialian soldier who earned it during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915; Private Jack White who earned it in 1917 while saving the lives on fellow soldiers during fighting in Mesopotamia.
1865: Birthdate of Bernard Berenson, described by The New York Times as "an American art critic." In fact, he had been born in Lithuania in a small village known as Butrimants in Yiddish. His father’s name was Alter Valvrojenski, his mother’s Eudice (Michliszanski). Berenson given name was Bernhard. As he sought the safety of assimilation after coming to
, he had himself baptized as
an Episcopalian. Only after the Hitler period did he come to realize that
the world would always regard him as "a Jew." While he did not
renounce his baptism, he did allow for Jewish cultural activity in his private
life. Some say that he was the prototype for one of the characters in
Herman Wouk's Winds of War. He died in 1959. America
1870: The wedding ceremony joining Miss Elizabeth Abraham of Washington, DC and Mr. Solomon Caro of New York in the bonds of holy matrimony began this afternoon at a synagogue on 18th street in the Nation’s Capitol but it did not end there. The ceremony began with the entrance of the bridal party followed by a preliminary service and discourse by Rabbi Jacob S. Jacobson on the subject of marriage. But a commotion broke out when the Rabbi began to perform the ceremony. At that point, the groom’s father, Rabbi Caro of New York, began a heated discussion in Hebrew with his son. At first people thought he was objecting to the marriage. Actually, he was objecting to the lack of a chupah. The synagogue had recently become a Reform Congregation and had dispensed with many of the traditional customs and ceremonies. The President of the congregation had assured the bride that a wedding canopy would be provided, but had failed to follow through. Once the ceremony was stopped, the bridal party left the synagogue and went to the house of the bride’s father on D Street where refreshments were served. Once the Chupah had been put up the wedding went on with the groom’s father and Rabbi Bernard Illowy of Cincinnati performing the ceremony. The service, which was conducted in Hebrew and German, was followed by expressions of congratulations for the newlyweds and an ample repast for the guests. [Bernard Illowy was a distinguished 19th century Orthodox Rabbi who played a prominent role in the fight to maintain traditional Judaism. Ironically, his last pulpit was in Cincinnati, the home of Reform Judaism.]
1872: In New York, a Coroner’s Jury rendered a verdict of accidental death in the case of three year old Sarah Levy. She was with her father, Moses Levy, when she was “run over and killed by a Fourth Avenue care in the Bowery.” A civil suit has been filed against the transit company in which the plaintiff is seeking $30,000 in damages.
1875: Birthdate of Carl Jung, one of the founders of psychoanalysis who learned from and clashed with Freud. Jung was one of the few non-Jews to be involved with this new field of science. His relationship with Sabina Spielrein was the subject of popular film that highlighted the clash between the giants and Jung’s apparent “fascination” with Jewish women.
1878: Twenty-nine year old Adolph Lewisohn, a successful American businessman who had been born in Hamburg married Emma Cahn in Manhattan.
1881: It was reported today The British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Among the Jews condemned “the anti-Semitic agitation” that is currently taking place in Europe.
1882: The Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society stated today the funds promised to care for the 8,000 refugees who have arrived since January have not been forthcoming. A member of the society claimed that the London Committee that had collected seventeen thousand pounds which were to be used to assist in the settlement of the refugees, has not forwarded the money to New York.
1883: It was reported today that Rabbi George Brandenstein of Beth Elohim Synagogue was the first to speak at an event honoring Henry Ward Beecher. After saying a few words in praise of his services “to men of all races,” he presented Beecher with a silver pitcher on behalf of the members of his synagogue.
1883: “The Alleged Passover Murder” published today recounted events surrounding accusations that Moritz Scharf had murdered Esther Salomossy, a Christian girl in Nyreghhaza, Hungary. Jewish witnesses claimed they had been threatened before giving testimony and Moritz had been threatened with life imprisonment if he did not confess that the murder had been committed in the synagogue. As the blood libel charges unraveled it was discovered that the young girl had quarreled with her mistress before her disappearance and some of her friends thought she had committed suicide. [Looking at the date, you can see how strongly entrenched the Blood Libel was in gentile minds.]
1883: Cornerstone laying ceremonies for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of Brooklyn will begin at 2 pm today.
1887: “Minister Straus Safe in Turkey” published today described the first month of Oscar Straus service as U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Straus who arrived in May has already had his first audience with the Sultan. He has taken up temporary resident in a hotel at Therapia until he can find a house for more permanent quarters. He has recieved a document of greeting written in Hebrew from the Grand Rabbi and the leaders of the various Jewish communities throughout the empire as well as letters of greetings from the America Baptist Society and the missionaries of western Turkey who are meeting in Constantinople.
1887: Birthdate of Anthony G de Rothschild British philanthropist
1887: “Judaic Romance” published today reviews The Yoke of the Torah by Sidney Luska
But according to Josh Lambert Luska did not exist. He was the creation of a young non-Jewish author named Henry Harland.
1891: Benjamin Cardozo was admitted to the New York State Bar.
1901: Bicentennial of the Bevis Marks Synagogue, the oldest in England. Sephardic Jews founded Bevis Marks in 1701. The congregation is known as the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation.
1902: Birthdate of Gracie Allen, the wife and comedic partner of George Burns.
1903(26th of Tammuz, 5663): Rosh Chodesh Tammuz
1904: Birthdate of actor Peter Lorre. A refugee from Hitler’s
Lorre gained fame in American films as what was called "a character
actor." Two of his more memorable appearances came in The Maltese Falcon
both of which starred Humphrey Bogart. One of Lorre’s few starring roles came
when he played the lead in the Mr. Moto movies. Mr. Moto was a clever detective
of undetermined European origins, sort of an urbane Columbo. Casablanca
1905: The 20,000 Jewish residents of
a cultural center for Jews in Lodz ,
flee in the face of Pogroms and what are in effect, the Czar’s attacks on his
own citizens. Poland
1911(30th of Sivan, 5671): Rosh Chodesh Tammuz
1911: Joseph L. Seligman, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Newton Seligman of New York, hosted his bachelor party tonight. The fifty guests celebrated his upcoming marriage to Josephine Knowles.
1911: Birthdate of Edward Levi, professor of law, President of the
and Attorney General during the
Ford Administration. The son and grandson of Rabbis,
Levi's grandfather was one of the original faculty members of the University of Chicago . Levi was a total product
of the institution graduating from its lab school, undergraduate college and
school of law. When Levi was named President of the University of Chicago in 1968, he was the first Jew to
hold such a post at a major American university. In terms of
measuring progress, today such appointments are almost not worth
mentioning. When he died in 2000, at the age of 88, Levi was eulogized
for a long and distinguished career in the law and academia. University of Chicago
1912: The Board of Education paid tribute to the late District Superintendent Miss Julia Richman, the energetic reform minded educator who passed away while vacationing in France.
1913: The American Zionists’ convention continues its meetings in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1918: During World War I, Allied Forces including units of the AEF under General John J. Pershing defeated units of the German Army under the command of Crown Prince Wilhelm. Among the Americans who fought in this critical battle was a Jewish Marine from Buffalo New York named Lester Bergman. Born in 1889, “Bergman was the first person from Buffalo, NY, to enlist in the Marine Corps during World War I. He was wounded during extremely heavy fighting at the battle of Belleau Wood in France, where he participated in the capture of a Maxim gun, 23 machine guns and 170 German soldiers. Bergman was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre.” He passed away in 1958.
1919: The first national conference of the Religious Zionist Organization, Mizrachi, closes.
1925: “The Gold Rush,” starring Charlie Chaplin premiered in
. Los Angeles
1928: When the Democratic National Committee convened, Belle Moskowitz was the only woman at the table, but she was as influential as any man there. The networks she had created in
helped to secure the Presidential nomination for Al Smith, the first major
Catholic candidate for U.S. President. After his nomination, she directed
national campaign publicity. When Smith lost to Herbert Hoover, Moskowitz
stayed on as his press agent, and coordinated his campaign for the 1932
nomination, which Smith lost to Franklin Roosevelt. New York
1933: “The Akademie für Deutsches Recht (Academy for German Law) is founded to rewrite the entire body of German law to NSDAP specifications” The NSDAP is the Nazi Party.
1934: The New York Times reported that the Tel Aviv “has issued notices to holders of its external twenty-year sinking fund six and a half percent public improvement sterling bonds…have been drawn for redemption at par, on the current rate of exchange for sterling on the day of presentation”
1936: In the aftermath of the The Przytyk Pogrom, the worst anti-Semitic violence that occurred in pre-war Poland, the trial of those charged with taking part in the violence came to an end. There were 43 Polish defendants and 14 Jewish defendants. The Jews claimed that they had acted in self-defense. But the court sentenced eleven of the Jews to prison terms ranging from 6 months to 8 years for demonstrating “aggressive behavior toward Polish peasants.” Thirty-nine of the Poles received sentences ranging from 6 to 12 months.
1936: The Palestine Post reported that circulars urging Arab villagers to put an end to disorders were dropped by British Army planes. The leaflets promised that the king would send a Royal Commission to inquire into the Arab grievances, but only when a complete order was restored. Some 50 well-armed Arabs attacked a convoy made up of 10 buses and accompanied by two armored cars close to
One British soldier and six Arabs were killed before the convoy was able to
continue. The Post published the full text of the House of Commons debate on Nablus (11 pages) and
continued a series of articles by Maurice Samuel which explored the
possibilities of an Arab-Jewish reconciliation. A Jew was badly wounded by an
Arab who had asked for a drink in an orange grove near Petah Tikva. A similar
incident happened a week earlier. Palestine
1937: Laurence A. Steinhardt completed his service as U.S. Ambassador to Sweden
1938: Five more bombs exploded today in the quarter between Jaffa and Tel Aviv wounding fifteen Arabs. Soon after the first bomb exploded in the morning a mob of Arabs raided a Jew's shop and stabbed the proprietor.
1939: “Five hundred people attended a session of the convention of the National Council of Young Israel which was held today in the Temple of Religion at the World’s Fair. ‘The event was chaired by Henry G. Fromberg. Cantor Aaron Caplow and the Oscar Julius Choir provided the music for the event.
1940: A split takes place among the leaders of Etzel, also known as the Irgun. They cannot decide whether or not to cease attacks against the British for the duration of the war. Abraham Stern, believing that the timing was ripe to pressure the British by any means to allow full immigration sets up the LEHI (Lohamei Herut Yisrael) Freedom Fighters of Israel. The group was also known as the Stern Gang. This splinter terrorist group will eventually kill a UN peace envoy during the War for
– an act that will be condemned by the Jewish leadership. Independence
1940: United States Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long determines to obstruct the granting of visas to Jews seeking entry into the
. He seeks indefinitely to "delay
and effectively stop" such immigration by ordering American consuls
"to put every obstacle in the way [to] postpone and postpone and postpone
the granting of visas." His goal will be realized over the next four
years. Breckinridge Long represents what
is called “genteel anti-Semitism,” a disease which lingered after the war among
what Harry Truman called the striped pants boys at Sate. United
1941(1st of Tamuz, 5701: Hundreds of Jews from Kovno, Lithuania, are executed at the fortified Ninth Fort on the city's outskirts.
1941: Lithuanian fascists massacred 2300 Jews in Kovno. The sad fact of the matter is that the Nazis had many willing helpers among the population of various European countries.
1941: The invading Nazis seized hundreds of Jews in
and murdered them. Kovno, USSR
1941: The Germans reached
home of the bialy. Another large Jewish population center would now fall victim
to the SS Killing Squads. Bialystok
, a local priest convinces
the Poles who had begun attacking their fellow citizens who were Jewish, to
halt their pogrom. He assures them that
the Germans would take care of the Jews.
However, the Poles refused to sell food to the Jews in the town amid
rumors that the Germans “would be issuing orders that all Jews be destroyed. Jedwabne, Poland
1942: For the first time British radio carried reports about the fate of the Polish Jews. It said that 700,000 Jews had been killed in
to date. This would have
meant that over two million of Poland ’s
reported three million Jews were still alive and could have been saved. Poland
1943: Dr.Karl Landsteiner the Austrian born American physician who the 1930 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on differentiating the blood groups passed away in New York. He had converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism when he was twenty one years old.
1943: On Shabbat, special prayers were offered for the nation's leadership asking them to lead us toward "a peace of righteousness and permanence" at a service in Temple Emanu-El. The service was held today in conjunction with the annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, who represent the Reform Rabbinate in the United States
1945: The United Nations Charter is signed in
. At a time when there was multi-faceted
opposition to the creation of a Jewish state, the United Nations would provide
the legal framework for the creation of the modern state of Israel. San
1949: Jewish golfer Herman Barron, the 1948 Goodall and 1947 Tam O’Shanter champion teamed with William J. Cobb to win the annual pro-member tournatment at the Bonnie Briar Country Club in Larchmont, NY.
1950: “Admiral Sir John Edelsten, Commander in Chief of the British Mediterranean Fleet arrived in Israel today” when HMS Surprise, his flagship, docked at Haifa. It was the first such visit since the British left the country two years ago.
1951: The Jerusalem Post reported that contracts had been signed for the widening of the
outlet near Kishon River ,
building of a bridge over it and the construction of a port and dry dock there. Haifa
1952: An Israeli army spokesman said that fourteen Arabs had been killed during the last two weeks during operations designed to keep infiltrators from crossing into the Jewish state. Two more were arrested and two were wounded.
1956: Under President Nasser, Egypt seized control of the Suez Canal.
1960(1st of Tammuz, 5720): Rosh Chodesh Tammuz
1963: Birthdate of Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky one of
wealthiest oligarchs who lost his business empire and his freedom when
President Putin felt threatened by him. “Because Khodorkovsky's father is
Jewish, some concerns have been raised that his persecution is motivated by
anti-Semitism, and that it is only one of many steps to clearing Russian
economy from Jews.” Russia
granted Jews and Protestants the right of public worship for the first time
since Ferdinand and Isabella proclaimed Catholicism as Spain 's only
1968(30th of Sivan, 5728): Rosh Chodesh Tamuz
1968: Birthdate of Rich Eisen anchor on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
1974(6th of Tammuz, 5734): Eighty-seven year old Ernest Gruening, the long-time liberal Democrat who served as Governor of Alaska before being elected Senator passed away. Gruening had been trained as a doctor at Harvard and Harvard Medical School although he never practice medicine. He is best remembered as only one of two Senators who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, a move that cost him his Senate seat. (As reported by John T. McQuiston)
1974; Today, at 8:01 a.m., “a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum slid down a conveyor belt and past an optical scanner. The scanner beeped, and the cash register understood, faithfully ringing up 67 cents. That purchase, at a Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, was the first anywhere to be rung up using a bar code. A Jew did not invent the now ubiquitous bar code, but Alan Haberman, of blessed memory, “led the industry committee that chose the bar code over other contenders — circles, bull’s-eyes and seemingly random agglomerations of dots — in 1973. By all accounts, he spent years afterward cajoling manufacturers, retailers and the public to accept the strange new symbol, which resembles a highly if irregularly compacted zebra. His efforts helped cement the marriage between the age-old practice of commerce and the new world of information technology. led the industry committee that chose the bar code over other contenders — circles, bull’s-eyes and seemingly random agglomerations of dots — in 1973. By all accounts, he spent years afterward cajoling manufacturers, retailers and the public to accept the strange new symbol, which resembles a highly if irregularly compacted zebra. His efforts helped cement the marriage between the age-old practice of commerce and the new world of information technology.” (As reported by Margalit Fox)
1976: Maxwell Raab, a Wall Street lawyer who played a prominent role in the Eisenhower presidency was inducted as a fellow of Brandeis University.
1979(1st of Tammuz, 5739): Rosh Chodesh Tammuz
1980: Birthdate of actor Jason Schwartzman
1982(5th of Tamuz, 5742): André Tchaikowsky, a Polish born composer and pianist who as a small child survived the Warsaw Ghetto, passed away.
1982(5th of Tamuz, 5742): Chaim Grade, a Yiddish poet and novelist whose work gained wide attention because of its passion and intensity in dealing with Jewish life in Eastern Europe and with the trauma of the Holocaust, died of a heart attack today in Montefiore Hospital. He was 72 years old. Mr. Grade, whose writings have been increasingly available in English translation only in recent years, wrote searing poems of the loss of the Yiddish civilization he grew up with in his native Vilna, a city often called ''the Jerusalem of Lithuania'' by reason of its pious and intellectual Jewish life. In 1967, Elie Wiesel, the author whose own contemplations of the extermination of the Jews at Nazi hands have brought him fame, wrote in reviewing ''The Aguna,'' a Grade novel, ''The work of Chaim Grade, by its vision and scope, establishes him at the age of 64 as one of the great - if not the greatest - of Yiddish novelists. Surely, he is the most authentic.'' Did Not Seek Translation Mr. Grade, short and hypnotically articulate in word and gesture, had been reluctant to have his work translated for fear that in English his words would not resonate with the particular sense of East European Jewishness that he had dedicated himself to recording. In the late 1970's, a two-volume novel, ''The Yeshiva,'' was published in English and told the story of a religious man torn between adherence to an unrelenting, even unkind faith and to his ties with his own feelings and other people. ''Rabbis and Wives,'' three novellas, is scheduled for publication in November by Alfred A. Knopf Inc., which also plans to publish Mr. Grade's ''My Mother's Sabbath Days'' at a later date. Mr. Grade's poetry, which has also appeared in some English translation, possessed a poignancy and power that singled him out as a leading poet of the Holocaust, a poet who looked for meaning in an evil human event that destroyed his people. A Sample of His Verse He could be prophetically elegiac, as in the lines of a poem he had written at age 70, a poem that observed his funeral would not be at the Old Synagogue of Vilna and concluded: ''And only in the world of spirits great will be the grief,/ Because the last memorial light for the old Vilna has burned out.'' In an interview, Mr. Grade once said: ''For me, when I look at these poems I have written, it is like looking at a strange thing. The writer knows some things about his poetry better than anyone else does - but some things he will never know.'' Mr. Grade received an Orthodox upbringing in Vilna, but in the early 1930's he turned to the secular life and to writing. When the Nazis invaded in 1941, Mr. Grade left his mother and first wife, at their insistence, and fled to Soviet regions. He returned to Vilna after the war to find both of them dead along with his ancestral civilization. At that point, the secular, questioning viewpoint he had embraced gave way to the urgency of keeping alive the memory of what was gone. He emigrated to France and in 1948 to the United States, where he settled with his second wife in the Bronx and continued writing voluminously in Yiddish for Yiddish newspapers, ultimately for The Jewish Daily Forward.
1984: Barbra Streisand records "Here We Are at Last"
1989(23rd of Sivan, 5749): Trude Weiss-Rosmarin passed away. Born in 1908, she was a German Jewish writer, editor, scholar, and feminist activist. With her husband, she co-founded the School of the Jewish Woman in New York in 1933, and in 1939 founded the Jewish Spectator, a quarterly magazine, which she edited for 50 years. She was the author of 12 books, including Judaism and Christianity: The differences (1943), Toward Jewish-Muslim Dialogue (1967), and Freedom and Jewish Women (1977).
1994(17th of Tamuz, 5754): Tzom Tammuz
2001: President Bush welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the White House.
2004(7th of Tamuz, 5764): Israel's renowned composer and songwriter Naomi Shemer passed away at the age of 74. Shemer is known to many as the composer of the famous song “Y'rushalayim Shel Zahav" or in English, "Jerusalem of Gold." For those of you who saw "Shindler's List" this was the song played at the end of the movie when the film turned from black and white to color as the survivors were shown visiting the Shindler's grave. The song was written at the request of Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kolek in 1967 several weeks before the outbreak of the Six Day War. The song expresses the longing of a person for
who has to view the Jerusalem from the opposite side of the Green
Line. In one of those ironic twists of history, "the song
became the war's anthem. The famous chorus of the song is follows: Old City
"Y'rushalayim shel zahav, v'shel n'choshet v'shel or; Halo l'chold shi-rayich ani kinor
2005: Igo Feldblum writes a letter to historian Martin Gilbert describing how young Jews in Palestine responded positively to the war time slogan ‘Win We Will.’ ‘Confident in this prophecy, many enlisted in the Jewish Brigade and fought alongside the Allies.’ “Thirty thousand Palestinian Jews fought in the British forces…and more than seven hundred were killed in action.”
2005: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including King of the Jews by Nick Tosches and The Woman From Hamburg by Hanna Krall.
2005 (19th of Sivan, 5765): Louis J. Sigel, a Teaneck, N.J., rabbi who was a prominent voice for integration of the township's public schools in the early 1960's, passed away today at his home in Hackensack, N.J. He was 81. Teaneck became the first town in America to vote to integrate its schools voluntarily. Rabbi Sigel was the spiritual leader of Temple Emeth there from 1960 to 1992, and when he arrived, after nine years at Temple Tifereth Israel in Malden, Mass., Teaneck was embroiled in heated discussions over a growing racial imbalance in the schools. In "Triumph in a White Suburb" a book about the integration of Teaneck, the author, Reginald G. Damerell, wrote that Rabbi Sigel - a Torah and Talmud scholar who primarily considered himself a teacher - calmed a fractious community meeting. A law professor who was a member of Temple Emeth stood and asked why the whole community had to be "disturbed" by a problem that he said black residents had created themselves by moving into one end of town. "The temple's rabbi, Louis J. Sigel, rose," Mr. Damerell wrote. "His rich voice carried throughout the auditorium" as he narrated a story from the Talmud about a man who sees a fire in another part of town and asks, "What have I to do with the needs of the community?" "Sigel's voice rose in emphasis, 'Such a man destroys the world!' " Mr. Damerell wrote. "Applause exploded through the auditorium." That set the stage for a resolution from the floor commending the Board of Education "for studying possible ways to prevent de-facto segregation," the author said. It passed, thus providing the integration side with a victory in its first skirmish. Because of his pro-integration stand, some temple members wanted to oust him, his family later acknowledged, but a large majority supported him. Born in Derby, Conn., the son of an Orthodox rabbi, he chose Reform Judaism instead and attended Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where he was ordained in 1951. He also held bachelor's and master's degrees from Yale. He and a Catholic priest and a Protestant minister founded the Teaneck Clergy Council in 1972. He served as its first president until 1974.
2005: Wild Desert, a horse owned by several businesspeople including former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, gave Robert J. Frankel his first victory in the $1 million Queen's Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at Woodbine Racetrack.
2005: The Rubashkin Education Center in Postville is scheduled to hold its grand opening this afternoon
2006: Twenty-four hours after attacking an IDF checkpoint Palestinians fire Kassam Rockets into Israel.
2007: At the Skirball Cultural Center in
, an exhibition inspired by the
ancient flood story of Noah’ Los Angeles
2007: The General Assembly of the European Jewish Congress elects a new president for the EJC for a two year term.
2007: The President of Poland and Jewish leaders break ground for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews on a site next to Warsaw’s monument to Jews who resisted the Nazis during the 1943 ghetto uprising.
2007(10th of Tamuz, 5767): Belgian born American fashion designer, Liz Claiborne passed away at the age of 78.
the Gallery at the New York City presents, “A Taste
of Appetizing” featuring Mark Russ Federman, representing the third of the four
generations of famed Russ & Daughters who guides participants on a tasting
of his extraordinary wares. From humble Herring to luscious Lox, Mark will be
explain all—accompanied by a generous side order of the stories behind this Astor
landmark, judged by the Smithsonian Institute as “part of New York ’s cultural heritage.” Joining Mark
will be Russ & Daughters’ long-time manager, Herman “The Artistic Slicer”
Vargas. New York
2008: A rocket fired from
hit the Sderot
industrial area this afternoon, exploding near a gas station and shattering the
truce for a fourth time this week. While neither Prime Minister Ehud Olmert nor
Defense Minister Ehud Barak released statements following the rocket attack on
Sderot on Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni issued an uncharacteristically sharp
demand for an immediate military response. Gaza
2009(4th of Tammuz, 5769): Jo Amar, a Moroccan-born Jewish singer whose melding of Andalusian and Israeli musical influences made him a star in Israel and a popular performer in Jewish communities around the world, died today at the home of his son Ouri in Woodmere, N.Y. He was 79 and lived in Jerusalem. The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, his son David said. Mr. Amar had been in failing health for several months, and he came to the United States in February to be with his children and grandchildren, all of whom live in the New York metropolitan area. Mr. Amar’s music was a hybrid, fusing Sephardic and North African-Arab songs, Jewish liturgical vocal styles and even Western-style harmonies into a kind of Middle Eastern pop. He sang in a bright, engaging tenor, recording about 20 albums, and with his crowd-pleasing manner, he performed not only in large performance halls with full orchestras but also in cabarets and at weddings and other private functions. He was often asked to be the guest cantor on Jewish High Holy Days, invitations he accepted selectively, in cities including Paris and Casablanca. A composer of songs as well, he performed for Jewish audiences throughout the diaspora, in places like Brazil and South Africa; in 1963 he even toured in Iran, performing before mixed Jewish and Muslim audiences and appearing on Iranian television. Yosef Amar, who was known as Jo from an early age, was born on June 1, 1930, in Settat, Morocco, where his grandfather had been the chief rabbi. He studied at a yeshiva in Meknes, Morocco, and planned to become a Hebrew language teacher, but his affinity for music directed his life. During a visit to Israel, before moving there in 1956, he persuaded a radio station to listen to his music by gathering an impromptu choir on the street outside to perform one of his songs. He became popular in Israel, especially among immigrants from northern Africa and the Middle East, his hybrid music helping to open European Jewish ears to new, exotic sounds. Mr. Amar came to the United States in 1965 to perform at Carnegie Hall, in a well-received concert that eventually persuaded him to move to New York with his family in 1970. “In a variety of Oriental-flavored popular songs he displayed a broad range of feeling, a penetrating projection, regionally nasalized intonation and strong rhythmic sense that communicated warmly with the audience,” the music critic Robert Shelton wrote in The New York Times. In the late 1980s Mr. Amar returned to Israel with his wife, Raymonde. She died in 1997. “Jo Amar’s greatness was in his ability to perform such a wide range of musical styles — from North African and Sephardic to Mediterranean, Eastern European and even Hasidic tunes,” said Amy Horowitz, who teaches in the international studies program at Ohio State University and is the author of “Mediterranean Israeli Music and the Politics of the Aesthetic,” to be published by Wayne State University Press. “He was an inspiration for a new generation of North African and Middle Eastern Israeli musicians, who developed a pan-ethnic popular music genre in the 1970s.”
2009: Jews in the Washington Metropolitan Area have a wide panoply of choices when it comes to welcoming the Sabbath Queen ranging from the Carlebach Minyan at Kesher Israel to Congregation Adat Reyim's unique folk service lead by their folk group that group uses musical instruments and a variety of melodies from Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman, and others to add a wonderful musical aspect to their Shabbat services
2009: Russia told a U.S. court today that American judges have no authority to tell the country how to handle sacred Jewish documents held in its state library, which had been seized by the Nazi and Soviet armies. The case is being handled by the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, Royce Lamberth, who in January ordered Russia to preserve the documents following Chabad's fears they are not being properly cared for and could be sold on the black market. Russia said in its filing Friday that even though it respects the U.S. court, it would not participate in the litigation in order to protect its sovereignty. According to the filing, "This [U.S.] court has no authority to enter orders with respect to the property owned by the Russian Federation and in its possession, and [we] will not consider any such orders to be binding." Lamberth agreed to hear the case because he said both the Nazi seizure and the Russian government's appropriation of the collection, which Chabad says totals 12,000 books and 50,000 rare documents, violated international law. The collection was formerly held by Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneersohn, a leader of Chabad-Lubavitch born in Russia but forced to leave in 1927. He took the documents to Latvia and later Poland, but left them behind when the Nazis invaded and he fled to the United States. The collection was seized and taken to Germany, then recovered by the Soviet Army in 1945. Attorneys representing Chabad at the firm Bingham McCutchen said after five years of litigation, Russia is now acting like a child who has lost a game and wants to start over on its home court. The plundering of religious texts during war is contrary to the Hague convention and the norms of any civilized society. The documents are at the center of a lawsuit brought by members of Chabad-Lubavitch, which follows the teachings of Eastern European rabbis. The group is suing Russia in an effort to recover manuscripts, prayers, lectures and philosophical discourses by leading rabbis dating back to the 18th century.
2010: Ginsberg Jewelers, a main stay of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, business community battles back from the Floods of 2008 and hosts an Open House in its new, location. Ginsberg Jewelers owned by Herman Ginsberg, a pillar of the Jewish community and a mensch of the first order.
2010: The Jewish community of Cedar Rapids is scheduled to gather this evening for “Havdalah Under The Stars.”
2010: Prize winning ice skater Loren Galler-Rabinowitz won the Miss Massachusetts title.
2011: Israel continued repositioning part of its contested barrier in the West Bank today, four years after a court ruled it should be re-routed to give Palestinians greater access to farmland. Israeli tractors tore down a section of the barrier, a metal fence, as a clutch of journalists watched. A new concrete barrier has been erected some 600 meters from the old route near the Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit. The Israeli military tore down a watchtower overlooking Bilin earlier in the week.
2011: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “The Druggist of Auschwitz: A Documentary Novela” by Dieter Schlesak. Translated by John Hargraves
2011: The Jewish Museum Milwaukee is scheduled to participate in a WWII Encampment Reenactment program being staged by the Milwaukee County Historical Society at Trimborn Farm. Local student and actor, Shane Skinner, is scheduled to present a dynamic portrayal of the lives of Jewish servicemen during the war, drawing on collections from the archives of the Jewish Museum Milwaukee.
2011: “The Washington Haggadah: Medieval Jewish Art in Context” is scheduled to come to an end today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The Washington Haggadah, an illuminated medieval manuscript and, since 1916, a principal treasure in the Library of Congress, is spending Passover in New York City on a snug reading stand in a display case at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Haggadah, the collection of prayers and songs that tells the story of exodus that is the Passover Seder, lies open to the Dayenu (“If He had given us Shabbat and not led us to Mount Sinai, it would have been enough . . .”), a thousand-year-old song that’s unusually sprightly for its age, perhaps because it can function as a cue to cooks and celebrants that it’s nearly time to serve the meal. The scribe reinforces that cue with a drawing at the bottom of the page: A man, apparently a beggar invited to help with the feast, turns a rack of lamb while two women, well dressed in the Italian style, stir soup and offer him a cup.You could easily miss “The Washington Haggadah: Medieval Jewish Art in Context,” an exhibition that consists of just two vitrines and a wall display in a hallway in the Met’s department of medieval art. But the modest display fits the artifact — the mix of homey scenes and exquisite items was a trademark of the scribe and illustrator, Joel ben Simeon (approximately 1420-95), and suited the taste of his wealthy Ashkenazi clientele in Germany and Italy. Although this exhibition does not display the manuscript’s individual pages — as the Met did successfully last summer with the utterly bloodthirsty and not-safe-for-work exhibition of the Book of Hours of Jean de Berry — the museum’s medievalists have vividly conjured the world of medieval European Jewry, surrounding the small manuscript with luxurious objects similar to those in the drawings. A pale yellow glass with a decorative band is a close match for the one the woman offers the man turning the lamb. A brass ewer from Germany is practically identical to the one in the hands of the red-hatted man filling cups, who is beside instructions to pour the service’s second glass of wine. “The Washington Haggadah,” on view through June 26, is the first installment in a three-year series devoted to Hebrew manuscripts and their contemporary context, a clever strategy that pairs valuables from the Met’s stronger collections with loan items in one of its weakest areas (illuminated Hebrew manuscripts).“Our colleagues in the textile department are thrilled,” said curator Barbara Boehm, standing beside a silk-velvet swatch that looked like it could have been cut from the skirt of a fashionable woman who shows up later in the Haggadah. “I don’t think these have ever been shown. They’re not great big pieces, but they’re exquisite and such a nice match.” Scribes are typically anonymous artisans, but ben Simeon signed and dated this illuminated Haggadah. It was an unusual move, but some 20 years before, German publisher Johannes Gutenberg had printed his first Bible, and illuminators were scrambling to come up with marketing strategies to compete with the burgeoning book trade. Ben Simeon created this work not on commission but as a salable stock item that could appeal to the broadest possible tastes. He left the last few pages and many of the margins blank, in case the buyer, most likely a wealthy banker, doctor or merchant, had any special requests. Ben Simeon specialized in Haggadot, a sensible business plan for a Jewish scribe, but the exodus story at the heart of the service almost certainly had personal resonance, too. Soon after he was born in Cologne, Jews were expelled from that city. His family moved to Bonn, and 20 years later that city expelled the Jews. He seems to have adapted by spending most of his life in transit, moving back and forth across the Alps between Italy and Germany. As a result, he drew with a mixture of national styles: His figures are flat and stubby in the German woodcut style, but his faces are delicate and individual, and his representations modern and realistic, in the manner of the Italians — the wicked son is drawn like a knight (for an effect similar to drawing him in Nazi get-up today), and the beggar turning the lamb has goiter (a then-common affliction in landlocked areas such as the Alps). On the page with the Curse Upon the Gentiles — a prayer added to the Seder after the Crusades — ben Simeon seems to have captured a moment of changing traditions. A man stands at the door to his house, as was the habit, checking to see that there are no Gentiles within earshot during the recitation: “Pour out thy wrath upon the nations that do not know You,” as ben Simeon faithfully copied in a passage that begins in large gold-leaf letters and his most elaborate filigree. But he also depicted the tradition that has come down to Jews today: As the door is opened, Elijah appears, riding on an ass, accompanied by what appears to be his entire family. Near the tail end, a fashionable lass in a silk-velvet dress raises a wineglass. No one knows who first bought the Haggadah from ben Simeon — an Ashkenazi in Italy or Germany, judging by the handwriting on some of the blank pages. But the Haggadah, too, had its years of wandering: from Germany in the 1700s, over to Italy by the late 1800s and into the hands of the Provencali family of Mantua, where in 1879 one Ettore Finzi added a note in German (“Guten Appetit”) during a Passover celebration. Twenty-three years later, Ephraim Deinard — an American book dealer and a preeminent figure in the development of many great institutional collections of Judaica and Hebraica — bought the copy and persuaded New York financier Jacob Schiff to donate it, along with nearly 20,000 other books in Deinard’s collection, to the Library of Congress as part of a vast “gift to the Nation.”After 500 years, the Haggadah had found its permanent home
2011: Mordechay Lewy, the Israeli ambassador to the Vatican, “who caused a storm in the Jewish world by praising Pope Pius XII for saving Jews during World War Two backtracked today, saying his judgment was "historically premature." The comments made by, the Israeli ambassador to the Vatican, were some of the warmest ever made by a Jewish official about Pius but were very upsetting to Holocaust survivors and others who know the history of the man some call “Hitler’s Pope.”
2011(24th of Sivan, 5771): Ninety-one year old Sidney Radner, owner of one of the largest collections of material related to Harry Houdini passed away today. This was a case of one Jew carrying for the legacy of another Jew. (As reported by Paul Vitello)
2011(24th of Sivan, 5771): Seventy-seven year old Joseph Hochstein passed away today in Tel Aviv. In 1965, Hochstein and his father Phillip started the Jewish Week, a Washington, DC publication that was the successor the National Jewish Ledger. It was renamed The Washington Jewish Week after Hochstein sold the paper in 1980’s and made Aliyah.
2012: Eating and drinking must be on the minds of those at the 92nd Street Y which is scheduled to offer programs on “Wines of the Southern Hemisphere” and “Picnics Through the Ages.”
2012: As part of the Food for Thought program, Rabbi Yosef Edelstein is scheduled to lead “Digesting Ethics, Mysticism and Philosophy.”
2012: David Kilimnick, Razorback by birth and Israeli by choice, is scheduled to host another “Open Mic” night at Jerusalem’s Off The Wall Comedy Club on Ben Yehuda