DECEMBER 7 In History
43 BCE: The famous orator Marcus Tullius Cicero died. Cicero was a Patrician, member of the Senate and opponent of Julius Caesar. Following Caesar’s assassination, Mark Anthony and Octavian executed those whom they viewed as enemies of the state. Cicero fell into that category. Based on his public utterances, Cicero had no use for the Jews. "The Jews belong to a dark and repulsive force. One knows how numerous this clique is, how they stick together and what power they exercise through their unions. They are a nation of rascals and deceivers." While serving as defense counsel at the trial of Flaccus, a Roman pro-consul accused of diverting one hundred pounds of gold bound for the Temple in Jerusalem, Cicero described the Jews as a people born to slavery who had become far too intrusive in the affairs of Rome. Was Cicero an anti-Semite? Or was he merely a member of the old order who resented the changes in society (sort of a Roman version of Henry Adams or Gore Vidal); a person who demonized Jews because they were different? Regardless of the cause, the statements speak for themselves.
1158: Abraham Ibn Ezra, under the influence of an inspiration or vision he had on that Shabbat day, decided to defend the traditional reckoning of the Jewish holidays and Sabbaths against the trend to begin them only at day break rather than the previous night. Immediately after the Sabbath he began to write his Iggeret Shabbat ("Shabbat Letter") in which he used both religious and astronomical sources to defend his position. He wrote it while visiting England, making it one of the few Hebrew works composed there prior to the expulsion of the Jews in 1290.
1237(Kislev, 4998): Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon the son of Maimonides aka the Rambam who followed his father as the leader of the Egyptian Jewish community passed away.
1254: Pope Innocent IV passed away. During his papacy, Innocent “denounced the Blood Libels as unfounded.” In 1247, Innocent agreed to grant a request from the Jews by issuing a declaration stating “that the Talmud was an absolute necessity for the Jews, if Judaism were to continue to exist as a separate religion, and that the burnings of the Talmud were to cease.” These actions certainly make him stand out from many of those who served as the Vicar of Christ in Rome.
1279(O.S.): King Boleslaus V of Poland passed away. In 1264, Boleslaus V issued a charter that allowed for Jewish residence and protection, hoping that Jewish settlement would contribute to the development of the Polish economy. This charter was similar to one that had been granted to the Jews of Austria in 1244. While Jews were not granted the same degree of protection as other citizens and while Jews were excluded from privileges afforded Christian merchants and burghers, the charter did include recognition of legal testimony of Jews, fines for harming Jews or Jewish property, prohibition of blood libels, and equal commercial rights. Even though the charter was not always followed, it marked a major improvement over conditions that Jews were living under in other parts of Europe and helped encourage a major eastward migration of the Children of Israel.
1787: Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Delaware abolished religious tests for public office in 1792. For more about the history of the Jews of the “first state” see http://www.hsd.org/DHM_exhibit_Half_A_Chance.htm.
1841: Michael Solomon Alexander, a convert from Judaism was ordained as Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem at Lambeth Place. He would arrive in Jerusalem in the first month of the following year.
1842: The New York Philharmonic gave its first performance. Numerous Jewish musicians and conductors have been involved with the Philharmonic in its 163 year history. One of the most famous Jews connected with the Philharmonic was not a musician. In 1909, Minnie Utermyer, wife of prominent businessman and lawyer Samuel Untermey led a group of philanthropist in guaranteeing the future financial solvency of this great American musical institution.
1844: Ein Feldlager in Schlesien (a Singspiel in three acts by German-Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer was first performed today at the Hofoper, in Berlin.
1847: Birthdate of Solomon Schechter. “Solomon Schechter was born in Rumania in to a Chabad Chassidic family. His Chassidic upbringing did not satisfy him, however, and, in 1879 he went to study at the Berlin Hochschule fur die Wissenschaft des Judentums and at the University of Berlin. In 1882 Schechter was invited to be a tutor in Rabbinics in London. He quickly rose to prominence as a rabbinic scholar and spokesman for Jewish traditionalism. In 1890 he was appointed lecturer in Talmudics and in 1892 reader in Rabbinics at Cambridge University. In 1899 he also became professor of Hebrew at University College, London. He gained international fame as a scholar when he discovered and brought back to London more than 100,000 pages of rare manuscripts from the Cairo Geniza. Beyond sorting and filing the documents, Schechter wrote on the newly-found Ben Sirach materials, unknown until then. Schechter accepted the invitation to become president of the Jewish Theological Seminary and succeeded in attracting an outstanding group of scholars to teach. The Jewish Theological Seminary became a recognized center of Jewish learning. In 1913 Solomon Schechter was instrumental in founding the United Synagogue of America, the umbrella organization of all Conservative congregations. Though a staunch traditionalist, Schechter admitted that there could be change in modern Judaism. However, he felt that changes should not be introduced arbitrarily or deliberately. Rather, ‘the norm as well as the sanction of Judaism is the practice actually in vogue. Its consecration is the consecration of general use—or, in other words, of Catholic Israel.’ Although it may be apocryphal, my favorite quote from Solomon Schechter is, ‘Gentlemen, in order to be a success in the American rabbinate, you must be able to talk baseball.’"
1852: Reverend Edward Robinson, DD read a lengthy paper based on his recent visit to the Holy Land at the regular monthly meeting of the New York Historical Society. After Reverend Robinson finished his presentation Dr. Adams said that to some such a detailed report of such a distant place “was not the most appropriate for the New York State Historical Society. But on reflection every man should feel that Palestine was not a strange land to us. It was our home, ‘Jerusalem is the mother of us all.’ …They therefore felt thankful to the Doctor for his laborious research.” [This is an early manifestation of philo-Semitism that would be beneficial to the Zionist movement.]
1860: A column published today entitled “The Commercial Relations Between the North and South,” reviews the impact that Southern Secession would have on the business operations in what has been the United States of America using the ability of Jews and Christians to engage in commercial activities as its template:
“How, then, is New-York to lose its Southern trade? If at all, from political considerations alone; South Carolina says, "I do not like your political sentiments, and will have nothing to do with you." She is not as tolerant as the Jew who would buy and sell with the Christian, but not eat or drink with him. But will, or can she deliberately persist in any course in violation of her own interest? No! The thing is impossible. It has not an example in all history. If there be a law unerring in its action, and firmly engraved upon the popular mind, it is that "men will sell in the dearest market and buy in the cheapest," and will always take the shortest and most convenient method to accomplish their ends. South Carolina can no more stay away from us than matter can refuse to obey the laws of gravity, which is not a whit stronger in its way than is the law of self-interest with the individual.”
1871(24th of Kislev, 5632): Light the first Chanukah candle.
1875: It was reported today that the bodies of Abram and Aaron Dietz, William Meyers, Abram Kurtz and William Laser who died in the Brooklyn Theatre Fire which claimed the lives of 278 people were taken from the City Morgue by representatives of the Brooklyn Young Men’s Hebrew Benevolent Society and taken to Temple Israel. The bodies were so badly charred that identification of the victims has been so slow and difficult
1879: Based on information that originally appeared in an article entitled the “History of Money” by famed numismatist Sir John Lubbock, it was reported today that the ancient shekel is one of the most popular coins among collectors possibly because of its Biblical connection. However, it is the most frequently counterfeited ancient coin and “of so-called shekels found among collectors, over three-fourths of them are forgeries.
1879: “The Prussian Press and Bismarck” published today describes the government’s control of the content of newspapers in Germany which is under the direction of a Privy Councilor named Hahn, who is a convert from Judaism. (This will not be the last time that the Jews are accused of controlling the media in Germany or elsewhere)
1879: President Abraham Oettinger chaired the 15th annual meeting of the Hebrew Free School Association. The association operates 5 schools and is planning to open a sixth. The school employs twenty teachers, five of whom are women. The association serves 1,129 students. All of the students must attend public school during the day since the association’s schools are intended to supplement and not supplant public education offerings. Two of the association’s schools conduct Saturday morning services which draw approximately 600 worshippers.
1879: The formal incorporation of Or Chaim takes place in New York City with the adoption of its constitution and by-laws at its first meeting attended by two of its first members, Sigmund Arnstein and Marcus J. Cohen.
1880: “Modern Persecution of the Jews” published today described the outbreak of anti-Semitism sweeping across Germany. It is based on the premise that a million and half Jews are trying to control the lives of forty million Germans. German nationalist hate Jews because they do not engage in manual labor while the Socialists hate them because they are all millionaires. The outbreak of anti-Semitism coincided with the economic downturn that came after the bubble created the victory over France came to an end.
1880: It was reported today that German Jews do not serve in the army because they are prevented from rising above the rank of 2nd lieutenant.
1880: It was reported that German Jews do not serve in the navy or the merchant marine because they have no hope of ever serving as captain of a vessel. This based on “an old German superstition that a Jewish Captain would sink his vessel.”
1881: It was reported today when Chester A. Arthur sent his Presidential message to Congress he took note of the fact that the Senate resolutions expressing condolence at the time of the assassination of Czar Alexander II had been sent to the Russian government which he hoped would improve the treatment of American Jews visiting that empire. The Russians, Arthur wrote, had a tendency to treat American Jews in the same manner they did Jews living under the Czar
1882: During the Tiszaeszlár Affair, a Hungarian blood libel, the body found in Tisza was exhumed and reexamined by three professors of medicine from the University of Budapest. They would conclude that the original autopsy “had no scientific basis” and showed “grows ignorance” on the part of the examiners.
1888: In a case of Jew versus Jew, 19 year old Ernestine Nolfen sued Noach Soenfeld in Minneapolis, MN for “breach of promise.”
1888: It was reported today that Rabbi Wolf Berger of Anshe Chesed has sued the brothers of the late Mr. Kingsburgh who owned a stationary and tobacco store near the local post office for twenty five dollars. Berger claims he is owed the money for teaching the decedent’s sons the appropriate prayers for mourning their father and for composing the inscription on his tombstone.
1890(25th of Kislev, 5651): Chanukah
1894: Silver Dollar Smith, the Jewish Tammany politician and saloon keeper is scheduled to appear in court today where he must answer charges that he assaulted August J. Gloistein, the operator of another nearby saloon.
1905: Birthdate of Leonard Goldstein who would become President of the American Broadcasting Companies in 1968.
1907: In Chicago, Leon Oboler and Clara Oboler, Jewish immigrants from Riga, Latvia, gave birth to Arch Oboler an American actor, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer, and director who was active in radio, films, theater, and television.
1907: Birthdate of Fred Rose. Born Fred Rosenberg in Lithuania, Rose moved to Canada where he gained fame as a labor organizer and Canadian communist politician.
1907: The Trustees, Faculty, and students of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America gave a "surprise party" to Dr. Solomon Schechter, the President of that institution, in celebration of his sixtieth birthday. Dr. Schechter has only been in this country five years, having been summoned by the Trustees of the seminary from his position as Reader in the Rabbinic in Cambridge University, England, and Professor of Hebrew in the University of London.
1910: Birthdate of Richard Franko Goldman conductor, educator, author, music critic, and composer who was the son of Edwin Franko Godman. The son followed the father as conductor of the Goldman Band of New York City.
1914: The Federation of Oriental Jews organized the Oriental Jewish Community of New York. They plan to establish and maintain their own institutions, burial grounds, Talmud-Torahs, etc., and to care for the poor and sick Ladino speaking community.
1915: Abraham Shalom Yahuda of Madrid is appointed ordinary professor "Catedratico numberario" of rabbinic literature at the Central University. The appointment came despite the fact that there no synagogues in Spain and that there had not been one in the country since 1492.
1915: Birthdate of actor Eli Wallach. Of all his roles one of his best was as the Mexican outlaw leader in The Magnificent Seven.
1916: Birthdate of Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler, a psychiatrist who was a co-owner of the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, makers of the controversial painkiller OxyContin, and whose lavish gifts to the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Columbia University made him one of New York City’s most prominent benefactors. (As reported by Bruce Weber
1916: During World War I, David Lloyd George becomes Prime Minister and forms a new government. Lloyd George re-invigorated the British War effort and helped ensure the Allied victory over the Kaiser. Lloyd George was the Prime Minister when the Balfour Declaration was issued and continued to fight for the Zionist cause after the World War when other British leaders were determined to break their war-time commitment to the Jewish people.
1916: Herbert Louis Samuel (the Viscount Samuel) completed his first term as Home Secretary in the UK.
1917: A delegation of notables including the mayor of Jerusalem, the chief of police and several imams, rabbis and Christian clergy met with British forces just north of the city and surrendered the “keys of the city.”
1918: As Allied troops march into Germany and establish zones of occupation under the terms of the Armistice signed on November 11, German born Zionist Arthur Ruppin wrote in his diary, “Never indeed, in the history of the world has a people been confronted with such terrible armistice terms and admitted its complete defeat, although no enemy has yet set foot on its soil and on the contrary, its armies are still deep within the territories of its enemies. The simple man in the street cannot understand what has happened so suddenly and feels completely lost.”
1921: The graduation of the nursing class from Hadassah hospital, which had been postponed due to Arab attacks in November, took place. The graduation address was given by Dr. Eder, a distinguished British Jew and member of the Zionist Executive who spoke in English. Dr. Eliezer Ben Yehuda, one of the pioneering fathers’ of Modern Hebrew, walked out in protest.
1922: In Manhattan, Walter and Marion Pollak gave birth to Louis Heilprin Pollak, “a federal judge and former dean of two prestigious law schools who played a significant role in major civil rights cases before the Supreme Court, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case” (As reported by Dennis Hevesi)
1923: Birthdate of Professor Sir Abraham Goldberg who became Regius Professor of the Practice of Medicine at the University of Glasgow
1924: Birthdate of Ernest Martin Fleischmann, the Frankfort native who fled the Nazis and eventually became “imperious impresario who ran the Los Angeles Philharmonic for nearly three decades, helping to elevate its stature to that of an orchestra of the first rank.”
1933: Premier of the cinematic version Elmer Rice's play 'Counsellor-at-Law”' starring John Barrymore. Rice was Jewish. Barrymore was not.
1928: Birthdate of Noam Chomsky.
1941: A ship from Lisbon arrives at Ellis Island arrives carrying Wanda Landowska.
1941, Japanese warplanes attacked the home base of the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, an act that led to America's entry into World War II. Approximately 500,000 Jews served during World War II. This was about ten per cent of the Jewish Population in the United States, which would have made it higher than the average for other ethnic groups. The numbers put the lie to the anti-Semitic slur that Jews were nothing but black market profiteers. Approximately 52,000 of the Jewish service personnel were decorated during the war.
1941: Time Magazine correspondent Theodore White dropped slips of paper down twenty-nine floors to the street from Time offices at Rockefeller Center to inform a bewildered Christmas shoppers below that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor. This young Jewish Harvard graduate would go on to write The Making of the President 1960, a classic which would change the nature of political literature while helping to create the Kennedy Legend and the Concept of Camelot.
1941: SS and Latvian firing squads began a slaughter of the Jews of Riga. Between December 7 and December 9, 1941, 25,000 Riga Jews were put to death by firing squads. Combined with previous actions by the SS and their Latvian allies, only 20% of original Jewish population in Riga now remained. This ghetto was now ready to house German Jew deportees. Among the victims is a preeminent Jewish historian, 81-year-old Simon Dubnow.
1941: The attack at Pearl Harbor brings the U.S. into WW II during which approximately 200 Jews from Utah would serve in the various branches of the Armed forces.
1941: The Nazis begin gas-van extermination operations at the Chelmno, Poland, death camp.
1942( 28th of Kislev, 5703): Hannah Greenebaum Solomon passed away, Born on January 14, 1858 in Chicago, Il, she “was the celebrated founder of the National Council of Jewish Women, the first national association of Jewish women and also an important force for reform in Chicago around the turn of the twentieth century. A superb organizer, Solomon emphasized unity, and orchestrated agreements among Jewish, gentile, and government groups on local, national, and international levels. Solomon the fourth of ten siblings, to Michael and Sarah Greenebaum. Her father, Michael Greenebaum, was part of the earliest group of Jews to settle in the frontier city of Chicago. Solomon’s parents set an example of strong civic involvement; her mother organized Chicago's first Jewish Ladies Sewing Society, where they made clothes for the needy, and her father founded the Zion Literary Society, was a volunteer fireman, and also helped found Chicago's first Reform synagogue. In 1876, Hannah and her older sister Henriette were the first Jewish women ever to be elected to the elite Chicago Women's Club. Many of Solomon's ideas for the National Council of Jewish Women stemmed from her experiences with the Chicago Woman's Club, which emphasized philanthropy and education. Solomon became involved in an attempt to build a national association for Jewish women out of an evident lack of associations for Jewish women and a desire to propagate change. After years of planning and organizing, the Jewish Women’s Congress met in 1893, culminating in a vote to form the National Council of Jewish Women. At that same meeting, Solomon was elected president in a unanimous show of approval. By the Council's first Triennial convention in 1896, NCJW was an organization of fifty sections and over 3300 members. Solomon resigned as President in 1905, citing health reasons and the need to rest. Solomon was indefatigable in her active civic involvement. Her many positions included serving as President of the Illinois Industrial School for Girls. Solomon also worked to institute Chicago's first Juvenile Court, and to improve the city's laws concerning children. Throughout her time as an organizer, Solomon relied on her family to support her and her efforts. Her husband, Henry Solomon, often accompanied her on business trips, and the whole family travelled to Berlin for the International Council of Women Convention in 1904. In her later years, as well as after her death, Solomon was celebrated again and again for her trailblazing work. The National Council of Jewish Women still evokes her words as an inspiration to "improve the quality of life for women, children and families and... ensure individual rights and freedoms for all." An elementary school named in her honor was opened on Chicago's North Side in 1957.” (See Jewish Women’s Archives)
1942: German troops enter the Polish village of Bialka and murder 96 villagers suspected of shielding Jews fleeing the anti-Jewish Aktion in the nearby Parczew Forest.
1942: United States State Department official G. Robert Borden Reams, an "expert" on the Jews in the Division of European Affairs, advises that the United States government remain silent concerning details of the Holocaust.
1942: British official John Cecil Sterndale Bennett is upset because Bulgarian Jewish children may be allowed into Palestine.
1944 (21st of Kislev, 5705): Satmar Rebbe Joel Teitelbaum rescued. The Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum (1887-1979), was rescued from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, along with 1,368 other Jews, through the efforts of Rudulf Kastner, head of the Zionist rescue operation in Hungary (an earlier transport of 1,686 Jews had been rescued on Av 29). The Satmar community celebrates the 21st of Kislev as a day of thanksgiving.
1945: Irvine Robbins opened his first ice cream store -- called Snowbird because he couldn't think of anything else – on the day after his 28th birthday. Robbins used $2,000 he saved and cashed a $4,000 insurance policy his father had given him at his bar mitzvah at Seattle's Temple DeHirsch Sinai to finance the venture. Robbins had 21 flavors then, and his cousin bought $39 of the first day's $53 total ice cream sales.
1946: U.S. Secretary of state James “Jimmy” F. Byrnes said endorsed the creation of a Jewish state when he said that partition was the best solution to the Palestine Problem.
1947: During a meeting of the Jewish World Congress, it was charged that anti-Jewish is taking place in Iran
1947: Sir Alan Cunningham, the British High Commissioner asked David Ben Gurion to meet with so that he could tell him that the British "had decided to evacuation Palestine as soon as possible."
1947(24th of Kislev, 5708): In the evening, kindle the first Chanukah light
1947(24th of Kislev, 5708): Pessia Lev, a nineteen year old student nurse was killed by Arab snipers when the eight bus convoy she was riding in was attacked as it made its way to Jerusalem. Lev was going home to celebrate Chanukah with her family.
1948: President Truman announced that he would ask Congress for money for the Palestinian refugees. This would appear to be at odds with the British who want to furnish supplies and money for the refugees from UN working capital funds
1948: The Transjordan cabinet gives its consent to crowning of King Abdullah as king of united Palestine and Transjordan. [In other words, having crossed the Jordan River, seized what is called the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem, the Jordanians were staking their claim to the land as opposed to turning it over to the Palestinians for a state of their own.]
1948: On the third and final day of Operation Assaf, the Egyptians prepared to counter-attack and drive the Israelis back. “However, Israeli Air Force reconnaissance revealed the Egyptian preparations in the morning. The Israeli assault battalion was sent to the Egyptian's north (left) flank and stormed their forces southwards, then chased the retreating Egyptians westward, eventually stopping in face of strong anti-tank Egyptian positions.” With the end of Operation Assaf, the Israelis cleared the area of mine’s and built defensive lines in case the Egyptians came back, before being withdrawn to take part in Operation Horev.
1952: Yigael Yadin resigned today, over disagreements with prime minister and defense minister David Ben-Gurion about cuts to the military budget, which he argued should be at least one third of the national budget
1952: Mordechai Maklef became the I.D.F.’s Chief of Staff
1953: To the amazement of the Israeli public, Ben-Gurion resigned as Prime Minister and retired to the small farming community of Sde Boker in the Negev.
1970(9th of Kislev, 5731): Cartoonist Rube Goldberg passed away. The winner of the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for cartooning made his name synonymous with complicated ways to perform simple tasks.
1977(27th of Kislev, 5738): Peter Goldmark passed away. Born in Hungary in 1906, Goldmark was an engineer who played a major role in the development of the long-playing record and the first commercial color television.
1981: Philip C. Habib, President Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East, is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir in Jerusalem today.
1984: In his review of the new four hour made for televison film version of “The Sun Also Rises” John J. O’Connor reminds us that “the anti-Semitism in Hemingway’s work clearly remains a problem” as can be seen by the depiction of the fictional “Robert Cohn.” He is “the New York Jew who is never quite swell enough to be fully accepted into…the special inner circle of” Jake Barnes and who “emerges as an obnoxious whiner with a pronounced streak of nastiness.” (Hemingway is but one of a series of noted American writers whom critics felt dabbled in anti-Semitism, something that was not mentioned when Pappa was busy “fighting fascism” during the Spanish Civil War.)
1986: Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land by David K. Shipler is among the twelve books chosen by the New York Times Book Review as the best books published in the country during the preceding year.
1987: About 10,000 Israelis held a rally today to demand that the Kremlin open the gates for Soviet Jews to emigrate. ''We say to the Soviet leader, free my people,'' Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told the crowd. ''We want him to know we will not forget our brethren in the Soviet Union.'' ''No more gestures, no more tokens,'' President Chaim Herzog said. ''For us, the outcome of the discussion of human rights will be the litmus test for the success of this summit.
1988: President-elect George Bush announced the appointment of Thomas B. Pickering who has served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel since 1985 to be the next United States representative to the United Nations. Mr. Pickering has condemned what he considered violations of human rights, particularly since widespread unrest by Palestinians began almost a year ago in the occupied terrritories of the West Bank and Gaza.,A member of the political inner circle of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has called Mr. Pickering ''a hostile ambassador of a friendly state.'' Mr. Pickering's greatest frustration in Israel has been the refusal of Mr. Shamir to cooperate in a peace initiative by Secretary of State George P. Shultz that would involve an international conference on the Israeli-Arab conflict.
1988: Yasser Arafat recognizes the right of Israel to exist. Given what transpired afterwards including the Second Intifada, he must have had his fingers crossed.
1990: In a column entitled “Abroad at Home; A Broken Dream” Anthony Lewis described the anguish of Yuval Neria, a decorated war hero and poet who became a clinical a psychologist and author the semi-auto-biographical bestselling novel entitled “Fire.”
1992(12th of Kislev, 5753: Hamas murders three Israeli soldiers and proclaims the killings to be acts of heroism.
1993(23rd of Kislev, 5754): Palestinian gunmen killed a Jewish settler and his son today and wounded three other sons near the West Bank town of Hebron, apparently in revenge for the weekend killing of an Arab by settlers. The attack was the latest explosion in steadily increasing violence between Arabs and Jews in Hebron, and it drew a strong condemnation from Secretary of State Warren Christopher as he returned to Israel after stops in Syria and Jordan to push forward Middle East peace efforts. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that despite the violence, he would press ahead with efforts to carry out an agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization on Palestinian self-rule, starting in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho.
1994: In a sign of Washington's mounting frustration with Yasir Arafat and his Palestinian Authority, Secretary of State Warren Christopher said today that Israel cannot be expected to withdraw its army from the occupied West Bank until Palestinian attacks on Israelis come to an end. Attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians by members of Palestinian radical groups opposed to Mr. Arafat have outraged Israelis and fueled dissatisfaction with the Government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. That, in turn, has threatened the core of the peace agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinians on the White House lawn 14 months ago: the withdrawal of Israel's troops from Arab towns and villages. Until now, the Clinton Administration had routinely called on both parties to carry out their agreement as soon as possible. But amid signs that Israel is rethinking its own commitment to spreading Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories, Mr. Christopher made clear today that the United States would not press Israel to act. Asked at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport whether Israel should have to withdraw its army from the West Bank, as scheduled, Mr. Christopher said: "Unless there is security, it is clear that other commitments cannot be met. It is something that will have to be discussed between the parties." He called the security pledges by both sides "absolutely fundamental to the process going forward."
1997: Inbal Segev, a world-renowned female cellist who grew up in Israel, made her Carnegie Hall debut today where she performed the Carnegie Hall premiere of Trois strophes sur le nom de Sacher for solo cello by Henri Dutilleux
1997: The New York Times list of the Best Books of 1997 contains the following works about Jewish related subjects or by Jewish authors including American Pastoral by Phillip Roth and The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick.
1998(18th of Kislev, 5759): Dr Martin Rodbell an American biochemist who was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine passed away.
2003: The New York Times book section featured books by Jewish authors and/or about subjects of Jewish interest including The Complete Lyrics of Frank Loesser Edited by Robert Kimball and Steve Nelson
2004: In his talk, "The Royal Court Preacher and the Hebrew Book: Early Enlightenment and Hebrew Publishing in Prussia, 1700-1750," Menachem Schmelzer examined the role of an influential figure in the Prussian court, the Christian theologian and scholar D.E. Jablonski, who founded the Hebrew press in Berlin in 1690. Schmelzer discussed Jablonski's life, work and his activities as the publisher of Hebrew books in order to shed light on the spread of secular culture and the ideals of Enlightenment and religious tolerance among the Jews of the time. Menachem Schmelzer is Senior Distinguished Scholar at the Library's John W. Kluge Center. Schmelzer has published books, articles and reviews in the fields of medieval Hebrew literature and Jewish bibliography and was the editor of Aron Freimann's "Union Catalog of Hebrew Manuscripts and Their Location," Alexander Marx's "Bibliographical Studies and Notes on Rare Books and Manuscripts in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America" and the poems of Isaac ben Abraham Ibn Ezra.
2005: Two days after the murder of five Israelis at a shopping mall, an IAF helicopter destroyed the car carrying a PRC leader. The PRC is part of Hamas. The attack is part of a targeted response designed to destroy the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank.
2006: Zachor? Who will remember that today is the 65th anniversary of “The Day that Will Live Infamy”?
2006: The House of Representatives gave final passage to a bill aimed at forcing the Palestinians' ruling Hamas government to accept Israel and join negotiations toward a Palestinian state in formerly Israeli-occupied territory. "This bipartisan legislation gives incentives to the Palestinian Authority to take another step toward joining the community of peaceful nations and a step away from the abyss of supporting terrorism," Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican chief sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
2007(27 Kislev, 5768): Harvey David Luber, 71, son of Nathan and Anne Luber, passed away today. Born July 20, 1936 in Chicago, IL, he shared 52 years of marriage with his beloved wife, Elaine Roberta Barg, and was blessed with 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, son and daughter-in-law, Philip and Jackie Luber; daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Mark Mackey; daughter and son-in-law, Gayle and Steve Mink; and son, preceded in death, Sheldon Luber. While Harvey was justifiably proud of being graduate of Northwestern University with a double major in Chemistry and Biology with a minor in Humanities and he was even prouder of having earned MSJS (Master of Science in Judaic Studies) from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago, Illinois. As a member of Temple B’Nai Israel and previously Congregation Agudith Achim, Harvey devoted 40 years of his life to educating young people and serving in many board positions within the community. He also served as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Arkansas for many years. He believed in education as a way to understand one another, speaking to schools about the Holocaust and church groups about comparative religion. He shared his love and knowledge of photography and Judaism by teaching at the Arkansas Art Center and UALR. He was an outstanding teacher, role model and friend and touched many people’s lives of all ages. He was my friend, a chever in the truest sense of the term. As long as a camera shutter clicks, his students open books or one of us chuckles over the memory of unique “Harvey moment” he will always live amongst us.
2007: As a testament to the strength and creativity of small town Judaism in the 21st century, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Temple Judah hosts a Shabbat Chanukah potluck complete with latkes and apple sauce.
2007: On Friday, the fourth day of Chanukah, four Jewish subway riders were approached by a group of ten people who offered holiday greetings. When the Jews responded with greetings of Happy Chanukah, they were pelted with anti-Semitic remarks before being beaten.
2008: The First Annual Goldstein Lecture in memory of Jonathan Goldstein is presented by David Schoenbaum on Sunday afternoon at Agudas Achim. Schoenbaum’s topic is "Fiddlers on the Roof: How They Got Up There, and How They Got Down.” Professor Jonathan Goldstein was a long time member of Agudas Achim and had a joint appointment in the UI History Dept and Classics Dept. He was an ordained rabbi and his research was in Jewish Studies. He was considered the expert on the Hasmonean period.
2008: Barbara Streisand is among those honored by the Kennedy Center for her contribution to Arts in America.
2008: In The Washington Post, critic Jonathan Yardley’s list of the fifteen best books he reviewed in 2008 include For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb and the Murder That Shocked Chicago, by Simon Baatz and The Spies of Warsaw by Jewish author Alan Furst.
2009(22nd of Kislev, 5770): Roy Solomonoff, a pioneer, in Artificial Intelligence, passed away today. As a child Ray Solomonoff developed what would become a lifelong passion for mathematical theorems, and as a teenager he became captivated with the idea of creating machines that could learn and ultimately think. In 1952 he met Marvin Minsky, a cognitive scientist who was also exploring the idea of machine learning, and John McCarthy, a young mathematician. And within four years, they and seven other scientists, as part of the original Dartmouth Summer Research Project, had founded a new field and given it a name: artificial intelligence. The conference proved to be a watershed both for the field of artificial intelligence (Dr. McCarthy, a Dartmouth College mathematician at the time, coined the term) and for modern computing. It laid out a proposal for a program of study, stating, “The study is to proceed on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” The next summer Allen Newell, J.C. Shaw and Herbert Simon, researchers at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), devised a program to discover proofs of logical theorems. Simulated by hand in 1955, the program, called “Logic Theorist,” was demonstrated at the Dartmouth conference and is considered to be the first effort to create an artificial intelligence program. Mr. Solomonoff, who died today in Boston at the age of 83 but whose death was not widely reported, plunged further into the field in 1960, when he developed the idea of algorithmic probability. The notion emerged from his effort to grapple with a problem of induction: Given a long sequence of symbols describing real-world events, how can you extrapolate the sequence? The idea gave rise to a new approach to probability theory. Mr. Solomonoff went on to pioneer the application of probability theory to solving artificial intelligence problems. But in the 1960s and 1970s he was ahead of his time, and the approach initially had little impact on the field. More recently, probability theory has caught on among artificial intelligence researchers and is now the dominant approach. “Ray did early work on the theoretical foundations of learning systems, focused on understanding how to generate and assign probabilities to sequences of symbols, which could be mapped to the challenge of predicting what comes next, given what you’ve seen so far,” said Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft computer scientist and a former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. “Beyond his core technical work,” Mr. Horvitz, added, Mr. Solomonoff was a “passionate proponent of the probabilistic approach to A.I., on the promise of building intelligent computing systems that could learn and reason under uncertainty.” His work in the early 1960s predated the work of the Russian mathematician Andrei Kolmogorov, who also did pioneering research in information theory and later acknowledged Mr. Solomonoff’s earlier contributions. Mr. Solomonoff later turned his attention to the consequences of artificial intelligence. In 1985 he wrote a paper that speculated on the cost and the time it would take to develop a machine with many times the intelligence of a group of humans. He called this the “infinity point.” The idea predated the prediction of the computer scientist Vernor Vinge, who in 1993 speculated on a similar evolution in machine intelligence, which he called “the singularity.” Born in Cleveland on July 25, 1926, Mr. Solomonoff was the son of immigrants from Russia, Julius and Sarah Solomonoff. He studied physics at the University of Chicago and graduated with a master’s degree in 1951. Fiercely independent, he would remain self-employed for much of his life, taking a variety of visiting scholar positions. In 2001 he was a visiting professor at the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Lugano, Switzerland; more recently he was a visiting professor at the Computer Learning Research Center at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is survived by his wife, Grace, who said the cause of death was a ruptured brain aneurysm. He lived in Cambridge, Mass., and also had a home in New Ipswich, N.H., which he built himself, heating it with two rows of light bulbs in the ceiling, a feat made possible by thick insulation and inserts to cover the windows.(As reported by John Markoff)
2009: Poets and writers from Israel and all over the world come together in Jerusalem at Beit Avi Chai and Mishkenot Sha'ananim, for the opening session of the third annual Kisufim Conference, which aims to "encourages encounters between Israeli creativity - in Hebrew and other languages - and world Jewish creativity that is both multilingual and multicultural," according to the organizers. Some of the issues to be tackled in the meetings include the writer's identity, the meaning of exile today, the identity of text and place and the function of translation in a literary work with a Jewish identity. "It is no coincidence that the Hebrew acronym for this gathering is Kisufim (yearnings). Jerusalem has been the heart of yearning in Jewish literature for many generations," the organizers said. This year's participants include Miriam Anisimov (France), Jonathan Rosen (USA), Dara Horn (USA), Rodger Kamenetz (USA), Linda Grant (UK), Marcelo Birmajer (Argentina), Ilan Stavans (Mexico/USA), Emmanuel Moses (France) Robert Schindel (Austria), Esther Bendahan (Spain), Lucette Lagnado (Egypt/USA), Lisa Ginzburg (Italy), Geza Rohrig (Hungary/USA), Angel Wagenstein (Bulgaria), Alessandro Piperno (Italy) and Norman Manea (USA).
2009: The 20th Washington Jewish Film Festival includes a screening of “Human Failure,” a film that “documents the bizarre competition that developed between bureaucrats as to how to organize the robbery of the German Jews before they were ever expelled or sent to their deaths.”
2009: The 24th Annual New York Israeli Film Festival includes a screening of “The Voice of Jerusalem,” a documentary that examines the city’s “glorious feature” and “bleak future.”
2009: Galilee police arrested two additional suspects in an attempt to extort millions of shekels from McDonald's Israel. The suspects, both 22-year-old residents of Tira, are believed to have filmed a short video that they claimed showed extremely poor food safety standards at a McDonald's chain. The two were brought before the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court today, where their remand was extended by three days. Police said neither man had a criminal record and that they and the central suspect could face charges of conspiracy and aggravated extortion.
2009: A four day conference entitled "A Century of Yiddish: 1908-2008" opened in Jerusalem
2009. The third annual Kisufim Conference opened at Beit Avi Chai and at Mishkenot.
2009: Ambassador Michael Oren addressed a breakfast session at the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism's biennial convention during which he "bashed" J Street as being "out of the mainstream."
2010: Dozens of Israel's municipal chief rabbis have signed on to a religious ruling that forbids renting homes to gentiles, and more specifically to Arabs. The ruling, which became public today, comes less than two months after leading rabbis in the northern Israeli city of Safed signed on to a letter drafted by the city's chief rabbi calling on Jews not to rent to non-Jews in the northern Israeli city, as well as a month after rabbis in the haredi Orthodox Israeli city of Bnei Brak issued a religious ruling forbidding residents to rent apartments to African refugees, echoing a similar ruling for southern Tel Aviv. .
2010: The East Coast Premier of Jews In Space is scheduled to take place at the 21st Washington Jewish Film Festival. “On the eve of Passover, a large, somewhat eccentric Jewish family in Buenos Aires tries to overcome years of separation and fighting to put together the perfect seder, the special holiday dinner. Cousins Luciana and Santiago, childhood crushes who are still attracted to each other despite being related, lead the crusade for family reunification while their battling mothers aren’t so eager to call a truce. Making this meal happen means juggling a suicidal grandfather, feuding mothers, the art of Jewish cooking and a drunken family friend”
2010: The Jewish Study Center is scheduled to present a program entitled The Military Siddur — and Soldiers’ Prayers in which Michael Bloom will look at the special prayerbook for Jewish members of the Armed Services and the unique prayer for and about military personnel and our national security.
2010(30th Kislev, 5711): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
2010(30th Kislev, 5711): Eighty-six year old “Arnold Hans Weiss, who fled to the United States from Nazi Germany as a 13-year-old and returned as an American soldier during World War II, becoming a principal in the investigation that led to the discovery of Hitler’s last will and political testament, died today in Rockville, Md. (As reported by Bruce Weber)
2010: A farewell ceremony was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem today for the international firefighting forces that assisted Israel in putting out the recent fire in the Carmel Forest region. Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon spoke at the ceremony and gave each delegation a certificate that a tree was planted on their behalf by the Deputy Foreign Minister.
2010: Former European Union Commissioner Frits Bolkenstein said that Jews have no future in the Netherlands and recommended that they emigrate to the US or Israel, Dutch magazine Elsevier reported today. According to a book on Dutch Judaism, released this week, Bolkestein, former leader of the right-wing VVD party, said that due to anti-Semitism amongst young Moroccans Jews who look like Jews - those who wear kippahs or payot - should leave Holland for their own safety.
2011: The Israeli documentary “I Shot My Love” is scheduled to be shown tonight at the 22nd Annual Jewish Film Festival in Washington, DC.
2011: The Northern Virginia Legislative Reception complete with “light kosher buffet” is scheduled to take placed at the JCC of Northern Virginia in Fairfax, VA.
2011: Seventieth Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. How many will remember “the day that will live in infamy”?
2011: Israel's Yav Vashem Holocaust memorial said today it has received its largest private donation ever - a $25 million gift from U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.
2011: Today, a representative body of medical residents voted in favor of a draft deal with the Finance Ministry to end a months-long labor dispute. Representatives said they would respect the rule of the majority, and will "stand as one behind the understandings that were reached" with the Treasury, according to Israel Radio.
2011: Moshe “Katsav arrived at Maasiyahu Prison in Ramla to begin serving his seven-year sentence.”
2012: The JCC of Northern Virginia is scheduled to sponsor “First Friday Book Group.”
2012: In Fairfax, VA, Gesher Jewish Day School is scheduled to sponsor a Sheldon Low Concert
2012: “Human Rights Shabbat” is scheduled to start this evening at Adat Reyim in Springfield, VA.
2012: Jewish Book Month comes to an end.
2012: Roei Fridman, Elyasaf Bashari, Netanel Lesser, Yishai Ben Yaaov and Yishai Tsarfaty are scheduled to perform “Hamshushalym” at the Eden-Tamir Music Center.
2012: 71st anniversary of “The Day of Infamy.”