Saturday, May 11, 2013

This Day, May 12, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

May 12 In History

1191: Richard I of England marries Berengaria of Navarre. This was an arranged marriage to the extreme.  Richard was already leading the Third Crusade in the Holy Land when it came to marry Berengaria.  Richard had to break off his fight and come to Cyprus to marry his queen.  Richard spent most of his reign outside of the British Isles which was unfortunate for the Jews because he was not given to the ant-Semitic behavior of his English counterparts.

1267: A large group of church leaders, including a most of the German churchmen, met in Vienna under the leadership of the papal legate Gudeo.  They confirmed every canonical law that Innocent III and his successors had pass for the branding of the Jews.  Jews were not allowed to have any Christian servants, were not admissible to any office of trust, and were not to associate with Christians in ale-houses or bars.  Christians were not permitted to accept any invitation from Jews or to enter into discussion with them. 

1267: A special session of the city council of Vienna decided to force all Jews to wear a cone-shaped headdress in addition to the badge. It was called the Pileum cornutum and was to become distinctive attire which is prevalent in many medieval woodcuts illustrating Jews.

1393: The Jews of Sicily were forbidden to display any funeral decorations in public.

1540: Paul III issued “Licet Judaei,” a papal bull “clearing the Jews Of the charge that they practiced blood rituals.”

1728(5488): The brothers Hayyim and Joshua Reizes of Lemberg, famous for their piety and scholarship, were tortured and executed on charges of influencing the apostate Jan Filipowicz to return to Judaism.

1800(Iyar 17): Rabbi Moses Hayyim Ephraim of Sadilkov, author of “Degel Mahaneh Ephraim” passed away

1805: Birthdate of German-Jewish orientalist Julius Furst who works included Cultural and Literary History of Jews in Asia.

1807: Rothschild’s “official” balance sheet shows that his assets on this day totaled 1,973,192 gulden. His assets had quadrupled since 1797.

1811: An article published in The Star described the dedication of a new synagogue. "On Friday last a new Synagogue was consecrated at Sheerness, which was very numerously attended, and the service performed by Messers Leos and Phillips, who went from London for that purpose. The music was composed by one of the Mes. Leos, and was perhaps as grand as has been witnessed, as Mr. Leo led the band in a most excellent manner. Several persons of distinction were admitted to see the ceremony performed."

1838: In London, Dinah Levy and Jacob Farjeon gave birth to British writer Benjamin Leopold Farjeon.

1842: Birthdate of Amos Kidder Fiske the author of The Great Epic of Israel: The Web of Myth, Legend, History, Law, Oracle, Wisdom and Poetry of the Ancient Hebrews and The Jewish Scriptures: The Books of the Old Testament in Light of their Origin and History

1850: Birthdate of Henry Cabot Lodge, United States Senator from Massachusetts. Lodge led the fight to defeat the Versailles Treaty and to keep the United States out of the League of Nations. The failure of the United States to join the League of Nations was one of the root causes of World War II, a war that destroyed European Jewry.  Lodge was more interested in wounding President Wilson than he was creating a new way for nations to solve their disputes peacefully. Lodge was the co-sponsor “of the 1922 joint Congressional resolution (known as the Lodge-Fish resolution) that endorsed the creation a Jewish national home.  The bill commended the ‘building up of new and beneficent life in Palestine’ as an act of ‘historic justice’ and ‘an undertaking which will do honor to Christendom and give to the House of Israel its long-denied opportunity to reestablish a fruitful Jewish life and culture in it ancient land.’”  Elihu D. Stone, the leading Zionist in Boston “persuaded Lodge to present the resolution to Congress on the eve of” Passover in 1922, since in Stone’s word “this too was to an act of freedom for the Jewish people…”  Lest anybody thing the Lodge had become an ardent had become an ardent Zionist at least one historian makes the strong case that the resolution, which was non-binding, was an attempt to mollify Jews who were upset with the Republican supported anti-immigration that had been passed the year before. (As described in The Jews of Boston edited by Jonathan D. Sarna, et al)

1859: In the United Kingdom due to nationwide scare over the possibility of war with France, today the War Office gave sanction for the formatting of volunteer corps out of concern for home defense to which Lazarus Simon Magnus responded. This would lead to the formation of the Kent Voluntary Artillery, a 19th century version of the Home Guard that would be formed to face Hitler in 1940.

1860: The Rhode Island Republican described the early development of Newport which benefited from the introduction of the first chandlery factory in America by Jewish immigrants from Portugal. 

1861: Three weeks after Rabbi David Einhorn, a leading abolitionist had escaped to Philadelphia, a delegation from Har Sinai asked him to return to Baltimore.  While they were sympathetic with his views, they said the request was conditional on his promise not to speak out on slavery, secession or the war.

1870: The Manitoba Act was given the Royal Assent, paving the way for Manitoba to become a province of Canada on July 15, 1870. According to a census taken the following year there were only 1,115 Jews living in Canada, most of whom were found in the major metropolitan areas in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Jewish settlement in western Canada began in earnest under the aegis of the Baron de Hirsch Foundation and the Jewish Colonial Association in 1890. The Association financed a series of agricultural settlements including those at New Hirsch and Narcisse in Manitoba.

1871: The American Christian Society for Promoting Christianity in the city of New York and elsewhere held their first anniversary meeting at Cooper Institute. The society has one branch – in Somerset, Iowa. According to the society there are 65,000 Jews living in New York and 250,000 in the whole United States.

1872: Birthdate of Eleanor Florence Rathbone an independent British Member of Parliament and long-term campaigner for women's rights. She was a member of the noted Rathbone family of Liverpool. In the House of Commons, the courageous Eleanor Rathbone attacked the British government for the defeatist attitudes expressed at the Bermuda Conference and noted that the Allies are responsible for the deaths of any Jews if they refuse to help.

1875: In Philadelphia, The Young Men's Hebrew Association was organized today with Mayer Sulzberger as president. This new organization replaced a predecessor, The Hebrew Association. The object of the association is "to promote a higher culture among young men".  The organization would grow to over 1,000 members, under the presidency of Adolph Eichholz.

1877: According to a column published today titled "Russian Interior" a revolt has broken out in the Crimea and the "Jews of Jassy have been warned that if they continue prayers in their synagogues for the success of the Turks they will be severely punished."

1878: An article published today entitled “Works of the Rabbis: The Talmud and other Jewish Books; A Supposed Dangerous Work and What Was Done to Suppress It – The Great Change it Wrought by Time - How The Talmud Originated and of What It Consists – The Ten Targums or Interpretations of Scripture – The Principal Commentaries on the Bible – The Masora and Cabala” provides a comparative lengthy and detailed history of Jewish writings and the various attempts to suppress or destroy them.

1884: France expanded its colonial empire in North Africa by forcing Tunisia to become a French protectorate.  The Jewish community of Tunisia dated back to Biblical times and by the middle of the 18th century, they made up about one sixth of the population and had access to 27 synagogues. (Jewish Virtual Library)

1884(17th of Iyar, 5644): Czechoslovakian composer Bedrich Friedrich Smetana passed away.  The melody for Hatikvah was written by Samuel Cohen who based his composition on a musical theme found in Smetana's "Moldau."  During the Mandate, when the British forbade the playing of Hatikvah, many Jews would play records of the piece by Smetana.  The words for Hatikvah which means Hope were written by Naphatali Herz Imber an English poet born in Bohemia

1885: Birthdate of Paltiel Daykan, a Russian born Israeli Jurist who was awarded the Israel Prize in 1957.

1886: Birthdate of Max Adler.  A native of Elgin, Illinois, this son of German-Jewish immigrants gave up a career as a concert violinist to become a vice president of Sears Roebuck & Co after he married Sophie Rosenwald, the sister of Julius Rosenwald.  Adler retired in 1928 to pursue a life of philanthropy that included the creations of the Adler Planetarium, the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere.  He passed away in 1952.

1889:  Birthdate of Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank.

1892: It was reported today that behavior of Polish strikers show “a blind hatred for all Jews and a brutal delight in murdering Jews…”  Anti-Semitism is so endemic to the general population that “if Russia were…under a constitutional Government, there is no reason to believe that the Jews would be any more decently treated than they are under the Government of the Czar.”  (Events in the 20th century would prove these words to be prophetic.)

1892: “Polish Rioters Punished” published today described the ongoing labor violence at Lodz “and the attendant Jew baiting.”

1892: Birthdate of Fritz Kortner. Born Fritz Nathan Kohn, in Vienna, the Austrian stage and film actor gained performing in Germany. He fled Germany in 1933 for the United States where his career.  He returned to Germany in 1949 where he gained additional fame for his directorial skills in the “legitimate theatre.”  He passed away in 1970.

1892: “Better Teachers Wanted” published today described the efforts to improve the quality of the Jewish Sunday Schools in New York.  According to Miss Julia Richmond of the Hebrew Free School Association and a leading public school educator, most of the teachers are “willing and intelligent” but lack the proper training.  Her solution is to create a two year program that would include course in Hebrew, Bible and ancient history mixed with actual classroom experience.  A committee composed of Rabbis Kohler, Kohut, Isaacs, Silverman, Harris and De Sola Mendes and Miss Richmond has been formed to pursue the matter.

1893: One thousand immigrants, most of whom were Russian Jews arrived at Ellis Island today aboard the steamship Dania.

1895: It was reported today during the last year, the expenses for operating Mt. Sinai Hospital exceeded all sources of income by $6,000.despite several sources of revenue including generous bequests by the late Sarah Burr, the last of which totaled $35,000.  The board headed by President Hyman Blum and Vice President Isaac is working to remedy the situation.

1895: “Through With Their Studies” published today described the season ending activities of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association which “will open it twenty-second season next fall with a membership of over 500.”  In addition to its other activities, the Association will continue to operate a school that offers courses in Jewish history and stenography.

1895: Zene Barkuskie and Vincent Oustra form Jersey City and Mr. and Mrs. Tony Stelitzka of Kingston, NY, all of whom are Polish Jews are waiting on Commissioner Shields to take action following their arrest yesteray on charges of counterfeiting.

1895: “Golden Wedding Tablets in a Temple” published today described the two tablets that Amalie and William S. Rayner donated to Congregation Har Sinai in Baltimore in honor of their golden wedding anniversary.  The two marble tablets which are six feet by 3 feet by 3 feet were created by William A. Gualt.  They are inscribed with two Hebrew statements and their English translations which are “Hear Israel! The Eternal is God; The Eternal is One” and “Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor as Thysef.”

1897: Herzl decides to create a Zionist paper. ("Mit allem war ich gleich im reinen, nur mit dem Titel nicht" - "I saw everything clearly right away - except for the name.")

1898: Hammerstein’s Lyric Theatre will host this afternoon benefit performance featuring members of the Professional Woman’s League.

1899: Roswell P. Flower, the Governor of New York who appointed Edward Jacobs, a member of the Buffalo, NY, Jewish community to serve as Loan Commissioner, passed away today.

1900:  Birthdate of German born actress Helene Weigel, wife of Bertholt Brecht. Her father was Jewish; her mother was not.  She died in East Berlin in 1971.

1900: In a letter to the New York Times, Jacob Schiff expresses his opposition to the “project of the Baron and Baroness de Hirsch Monument Association.  A long-time friend of the Baron, Schiff believes that he and his wife would not want a monument built in their honor preferring instead that their good works serve as their memorial.  Schiff did not question the good intentions of those wishing to build the monument but did challenge the project as being totally inappropriate.

1901: Birthdate of the talented musician, Hyam Greenbaum.  Greenbaum lived in Great Britain.  He was an accomplished violinist, film score arranger and conductor for several BBC orchestras.  He passed away in 1942.

1916: Date of death shown on the tombstone of Shalom Aleichem. Actually it said “12a). He died on May 13. But he suffered from triskaidekaphobia, which is a showboating way to say that he had a fear of the number 13. He used 12a in numbering the pages of his manuscripts. (As reported by Clyde Haberman)

1918: Birthdate of Julius Rosenberg.  Rosenberg and his wife would become the center piece in a spy ring that gave Atomic secrets to the Soviets.  The Rosenbergs were executed for treason in 1953.

1919: Thirty-eighth anniversary of the laying of a corner stone at the synagogue in Oran, Algeria. At its peak, the Jewish population was about 2,000.  After Algeria gained its independence in 1962, the Jewish community left for France and Israel.

1920: Charles Edward Sebag-Monteifiore and Muriel Alice Ruth de Pass gave birth to Hugh William Montefiore

1920: Birthdate of Vilém Flusser the Czech born Jewish philosopher and author who was a long time resident of Brazil before finally settling in France.

1922: Birthdate of Paul Milstein, the prominent businessman and philanthropist  who used profits from the family flooring business to build a real estate empire in New York City, distinguished by major projects begun in uncertain neighborhoods and totaling 50,000 apartments, 8,000 hotel rooms and 20 million square feet of office space.”

1923: In Poland, Jewish physicians issued a protest against the memorandum published by the Medical Faculty of the Krakau University justifying the demand for a percentage norm against the Jewish medical students on the ground that the Jewish physicians have "low moral standards". The Jewish doctors demanded a retrataction. (As reported by JTA)

1923: The Joint Distribution Committee announced that it has decided to continue its support for Hebrew Schools operated by the Tarbut Organization. “Tarbut was a Zionist network of Hebrew-language educational institutions founded in 1922, when the first Tarbut conference was held in Warsaw.

1923: "Kaufman Kohler Sabbath" was observed by Reform Synagogues throughout the United States today in celebration of the eightieth birthday last Thursday of Dr. Kaufman Kohler. The 80 year old Rabbi expressed his concern that “idealism has given way to materialism and opportunism.”  He believes that “the world is passing from a disturbed phase of thought to a higher plane” and that he sees women as playing a vital role in the spread of religious values.

1926: JTA reported that in Great Britain many public functions of Jewish bodies and societies will have to be postponed if the general strike does not come to an end this week including the scheduled monthly meeting of the Board Jewish Deputies.

1926: It was reported today that Lord Allenby's unveiling of the Jewish World Memorial at the synagogue in Stepney, has been postponed as result of the General Strike that is gripping the United Kingdom.

1926: The role of Sir Herbert Samuel, former High Commissioner of Palestine and chairman of the British Royal Coal Commission, in the settlement of the general strike, the first event of that nature in western Europe, was disclosed today in the official statement issued by the Trades Union Congress. It appears that Sir Herbert played the main part as the mediator between the strikers and the government. Immediately upon his return to London from a vacation, Sir Herbert made efforts toward mediation, as chairman of the Royal Commission, with a view toward settlement. He obtained the memorandum of the Trade Unions which was accepted by the government. (As reported by JTA)

1926: "No attempt toward the economic reconstruction of European Jewries will succeed unless we stem the anti-Semitic wave," declared Dr. William Filderman, president of the Union of Roumanian Jews, on the eve of his departure for Europe on the Berengaria today. "There is no use educating Jewish artisans if anti-Semitic prejudice deprives them of any market for their products," he explained.

1928: Birthdate of Burt Bacharach Jewish-American pianist and composer.

1930: During this evening’s annual meeting of the American Jewish Physicians' Committee, Dr. Nathan Ratnoff, president of the organization announced, that “$100,000 would be raised this year for an administration building for the proposed medical college at the Hebrew University of Palestine.  The medical school will be erected on land bought by the committee in 1922 located on Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem.

1935: Polish dictator Jozef Pilsudski dies. From here on Jews will experience more anti-Semitism in Poland. The government and most Polish political parties will call for discrimination, economic boycott, expulsion, and physical violence against Jews. The Polish Catholic Church, most priests, the Catholic press, and schools will sanction discrimination and/or violence against the Jews.

1938: The Palestine Post reported the Jewish Labor declaration that the Arab terror will merely strengthen the determination of the Jewish people in their development of uninhabited areas and other up building tasks.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that an armed Arab gang robbed and burned the tents of the Ghazzabiya Bedouin tribe near Beit Shean after its demands failed to be met. Bodies of Arabs kidnapped from the neighboring villages by Arab terrorist gangs were found near Safed.

1940: On this day the German blitzkrieg (lightning war) breached the French defenses. At the time Sousa Mendes was the General Consul of Portugal to Bordeaux, France. Thanks to Mendes' actions it is believed that around 30.000 refugees were saved, among them 10.000 Jews avoided death in the Reich’s death camps. It was said Mendes was descendant from Jewish family.

1942(25th of Iyar, 5702): Four days after the Ghetto at Radun was sealed off, 3,400 Jews were marched to the outskirts of town and shot, row-by-row, into ditches dug by other Jews.

1942(25th of Iyar, 5702): One thousand, five hundred Jews from Sosnowiec are gassed in Auschwitz. Another 2,750 Jews from Turobin, joining several other thousands of Jews were crammed into railway box cars and deported to Sobibor to meet their extermination

1943: The remains of the Warsaw Ghetto go up in flames.

1943 (7th of Iyar, 5703): Seventeen-year-old Frania Beatus, active in the Warsaw Ghetto underground, commits suicide rather than surrender to the Nazis.

1943 (7th of Iyar, 5703): Another round up of Jews who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto during the uprising were caught and executed.

1943 (7th of Iyar, 5703): In London, Shmuel Zygielbogm committed suicide. He was one of two Jewish representatives of the Polish-Government-In-Exile in London. His final letter was a cry of agony and despair.  He was crushed that the world would do nothing to save the Jews.  His wife and son perished in the Ghetto.  He felt his life had been a failure and hoped that his death might shock the world into action.  At one point he wrote that he could not live ‘when the remnant of the Jewish people in Poland . . . is being steadily annihilated.'

1943: The first Aliyah to the Negev began with the establishment of Kibbutz Gevulot. The first three settlements, Gevulot, Revivim, and Bet Eshel, were experimentally established in 1943 to determine the feasibility of permanent settlements in the Negev. As a result of the information gathered in the experimental stage, eleven new settlements were established in the Negev in 1946, and an additional seven in 1947. These settlements served also as strong-points to defend the Yishuv from attack by an enemy advancing from the south. The Egyptian army suffered its first defeat at Nirim, one of the settlements established in 1946, on the anniversary of the first Aliyah to the Negev.

1948: Bet-Shean was captured by the Haganah; specifically the 13th Battalion of the Golani Brigade.  Bet-Shean is one of the oldest cities in the world having been first built in the fifth century B.C.E.  The bodies of King Saul and Jonathan were hung from its walls after their defeat at Mt. Gilboa.  Bet-Shean is in the eastern portion of Israel, in the Jezreel Valley.  After the war thousands of Moroccan Jews settled there.  It has been the site of a great deal of archeological discovery. One of the battalions was commanded by Avraham Yoffe

1948: U.S. Secretary George Marshall “appealed to Ben-Gurion to hold off a decision for independence.  Courteously, but firmly the appeal was refused.” Marshall told Moshe Sharett head of the Jewish agency’s U.N. delegation to ignore the the assurance of Jewish military leaders that they can win out against the Arabs.  He advised him to put off the declaration of independence and accept a UN trusteeship.  This marked the high point in the clash between Marshall and Truman over the recognition of the Jewish state.  Marshall had even threatened to resign over the matter.  Marshall’s opposition was based on what he considered the realities of the geo-political situation in the Middle East.  Fortunately for all concerned, Marshall remained at his post and the team of Truman and Marshall continued to work together as America dealt with challenges of Soviet Imperialism.

1948: Yigael Yadin, the Haganah's chief of operations, put the odds of the nascent Jewish state surviving the onslaught by the Arab armies at 50-50

1948: David Ben-Gurion convened an emergency meeting of the Provisional Council, the governing body of the unborn Jewish state. The issue at hand was a proposal that there should be a delay in declaring statehood.  According to one report as much as half of the council wanted to postpone the declaration and accept some sort of cease-fire with the Arab forces already fighting the Jews.  The news the council was not good.  Mrs. Meir reported on the failure of the talks with the Jordanians.  She later reported that she was relieved to see that her report did not dissuade Ben-Gurion from deciding that the Jewish state would be born when the British mandate ended in forty-eight hours.  The Council also heard from Yigal Yadin, the military leader who brought the negative reports about the pending destruction of the Etzion Bloc of settlements.  Ben-Gurion closed the debate by outlining all of the risks.  In the end, the Council voted by six to four to reject the offer of a cease fire and push forward with the declaration of statehood. 

1948(3rd of Iyar, 5708): Pianist and composer Isidor Achron passed away. Born in Warsaw in 1892, Achron came from a musical family.  His older brother Joseph was a famed violinist.  Achron's early musical career was interrupted by a three year stint in the Czar's Army during World War I.  After the war, he came to the United States where he served as the principal accompanist for Heifitz for ten years.  During the 1930's and 1940's he created his own compositions while pursuing a career as a soloist at such venues as Carnegie Hall. He passed away suddenly at the age of 55.

1950: As of today, doctors in Israel are “exhausting supplies of the drug Aureomycin in an attempt to curb the worst polio epidemic in” the history of the Jewish state.

1950: The Government of Israel said today that farmers in the Hebron area had "extended the cultivation of lands" within Israel, but denied that this had been done under the guns of heavily armed troops.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel agreed to review the acute border infiltration problem in high level talks with Jordan.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that The Special Commission which studied the problems of the Jerusalem Municipality severely criticized the staff, and recommended that the Mayor should be deprived of all executive and fiscal powers, which should be rendered to an appointed City Manager.

1957(11th of Iyar, 5717): Erich von Stroheim passed away.  As a director, von Stroheim ranks up there with D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille.  As an actor he was noted for playing Germanic characters.  His most famous role was that of the loyal servant Max von Mayerling, in Billie Wilder’s cinema noir classic Sunset Boulevard.

1958: Birthdate of Yitzhak Vaknin a member of Shas who has been an MK since 1996.

1959: For its time, a celebrity bombshell was dropped as two Jewish entertainers, Liz Taylor and Eddie Fisher were married -she for the fourth time and he for the second time after ending his all-American marriage to Debbie Reynolds.

1959 4th of Iyar, 5719): Yom HaZikaron

1960: The Yossele Shumacher affair makes headlines when the child's ultra-Orthodox grandfather, Nahman Shtarks, is arrested on suspicion of abducting him from his parents.

1963(18th of Iyar, 5723): Lag B'Omer

1963: Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman, walked off the Ed Sullivan (television variety) Show.

1964: Barbra Streisand won the Grammy for Best Female Vocalist for “The Barbra Streisand Album.”

1965:  Israel and West Germany exchange letters beginning diplomatic relations.  For Jews in general, and Holocaust survivors in Israel, this was and is a sensitive topic.  The issue of whether or not to trade with Germany, to enter into arms agreements and/or accept reparation payments for the Holocaust touched off major political debates in Israel

1966: In Seattle, Washington, Temple Beth Am published Statement of Principles that declared “...let our congregation be religious, democratic, creative, relevant and learned...”

1967: Oded Kotler wins the Best Actor Award in the Cannes Film Festival for his leading role in the Israeli film: "Three Days and a Child

1967: In Moscow, an Egyptian parliamentary delegation including Anwar Sadat was told to expect “an Israeli invasion of Syria immediately after Independence Day, with the aim of overthrowing the Damascus regime.”

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that on the occasion of Israel's 30th anniversary, the Chief of Staff, Rafael Eytan, declared that Zahal will be unable to defend Israel without the West Bank, and urged both his soldiers and civilians to "stop being naive about the subject." He was thus countering the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's declaration made at the same time in New York, which demanded that Israel returns the Gaza Strip to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan.

1980: Birthdate of award winning Israeli actress Maya Maron.

1985: In “Garden Where Biblical Plants Come To Life,” Matthew Nesvisky describes Israel's Neot Kedumim Biblical Landscape Reserve.

1985: Amy Eilberg is ordained in New York as the first female Conservative Rabbi.

1987: James Angleton, a senior officer with the CIA from its earliest days in 1947 passed away today at the age of 69.  Angleton was best known for his counter-intelligence work but Angleton also “handled one of the agency's most sensitive relationships with an allied intelligence service, its ties to the Israelis. Mr. Angleton handled ''the Israeli account'' as it was termed in C.I.A. argot, for more than a decade. Indeed, Mr. Colby, the agency director who forced his resignation, earlier insisted that Mr. Angleton relinquish his control over Israeli matters.” (As reported by Stephen Engelberg)

1995: While visiting the Ukraine, President and Mrs. Clinton go to Babi Yar.  Escorted by a Chasidic Rabbi, they pay homage to the 30,000 Jews of Kiev who were massacred by the Nazis with the help of the local populace in 1941.

1995(12th of Iyar, 5755)Movie director Arthur Lubin passed away.  Lubin was an actor during the 1920's, moving behind the camera in the 1930's when he started working with Abbot and Costello.  His re-make of Phantom of the Opera with Claude Raines is considered a classic.  Lubin is credited for two of the most famous talking animals.  He directed the Francis the Talking Mule films and then moved over to television with Mr. Ed.  Lubin passed away at the age of 95.

1999(26th of Iyar, 5759): Saul Steinberg Romanian born cartoonist and illustrator whose work graced numerous issues of The New Yorker passed away at the age of 85. After coming to the United States in 1942, he did 85 covers and 642 illustrations for what was, in its day, the nation’s most sophisticated weekly.

2001: “Sing America” which was co-written by Dr. Sherwin Kaufman the son of Sholom Aleichem  was played at the Ellis Island Medals of Honor Awards Gala,. As an invited guest at this black-tie event, he “heard the song played at the beginning of festivities and then as a musical background during a video of the ceremony.”

2002: The New York Times featured books by Jewish writers and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including 'Hester Among the Ruins” by Binnie Kirshenbaum and “Somebody's Gotta Tell It'' by Jack Newfeld

2002:  “The Golem” “…a new English version of the Yiddish classic” based on the legend surrounding a 17th century Rabbi living in Prague was performed for the last time today.

2005: Observance of Yom Ha'atzma'ut (יום העצמאות yom -‘amā’ū), Israeli Independence Day, which commemorates the declaration of independence of Israel in 1948. Yom Ha'atzma'ut falls on the 5th day of Iyar ( ה' באייר) on the Hebrew calendar. When the 5th of Iyar falls on a Friday or Saturday, as in 2005, the official celebration may be moved to the preceding Thursday. The Gregorian date for the day in which Israel independence was proclaimed is May 14th 1948 when David ben Gurion publicly read the Proclamation of the establishment of the State of Israel.  However, when the fifth of Iyar falls on Friday or Saturday as it does in 2005, Israeli Independence Day is celebrated on the preceding Thursday to avoid any possible violation of the Sabbath.

2006: In Israel, events begin marking the start of the 15th annual Historic Site Preservation Week, an initiative of the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites (SPIHS)

2006: Harvey Sheldon launched for the first time in the world, WORLD JEWISH NETWORK on the internet. The format will be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of nothing but popular Jewish and Israeli music, that you can listen to and dance.

2007: In Detroit, Michigan, Ayal Mendelsohn, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Mendelsohn, is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah.

2007: In an article styled “Women add to Torah Dialogue,” the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports on a Torah commentary written by female rabbis and female Jewish scholars that will be published in the autumn of 2007.

2007: The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports on labor troubles at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa.  Agriprocessors is controlled by the Rubashkin family and is the largest kosher slaughtering operation in the United States.

2008: The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies presents A Short History of Anti-Semitism,” the second of four lunchtime session taught by historian Dr. Dean Bell that covers anti-Judaism in the classical world, the Crusades and expulsions in the Middle Ages, tolerance and restrictions in the early modern period, and racial anti-Semitism in both the nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

2008: In article entitled “Wage the Warrior: David Mamet tackles mixed martial arts,” Sports Illustrated reviews “Redbelt,” Mamet’s latest cinematic effort.  “Redbelt” is set in the world of mixed martial art which seems a far cry from the world of the man who wrote The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-hatred and the Jews. On the other hand, the sixty year old man of letters and motion pictures is “a serious jiu-jitsu practitioner.”

2008: The prestigious Turin Book Fair comes to an end. The Turin Fair is honoring Israel on the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state's creation. Prominent Israeli authors Abraham B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Amos Oz, Aaron Appelfeld and Meir Shalev were among those featured at the fair. Turin's chief rabbi, Alberto Moshe Somekh, said that the city had shown "great courage" in deciding to honor Israel despite protests from various pro-Arab and anti-Israel activists. At a special service in the city's main synagogue, he said the tribute marked also marked "4,000 years of our presence on the world stage as 'People of the Book.'"

2008: More than 300 people here have already been arrested at Postville, Iowa, in what is being called the largest operation of its kind in Iowa, federal officials said this afternoon.

 2008: In a front page article entitled “Time To Go” appearing in The Cedar Rapids Gazette Kathy Goldstein, the Musical Voice of Temple Judah and a Clinton supporter expresses her views on Hillary Clinton’s exit strategy. “The race is over, and I think she should go out in grace and style,” said Katherine Goldstein of Cedar Rapids. “If she does it now, she looks like a queen. If she keeps fighting, she’ll look like a fool.” Once she makes that decision, it may take a while for Clinton’s backers to accept her decision, said Goldstein, a retired teacher. “But once they do, they’ll understand this is the only thing she can do.” Goldstein expects Clinton to put the party first and support Obama, and “we’ll all take our cue from her.” Clinton’s partisans are divided as to whether Obama will — or should — offer her the vice presidency. “It would look very nice, even though she represents the old and he represents the new,” Goldstein said. “The fact she is a woman would trump their differences.”

2008(7th of Iyar, 5768): An elderly woman was killed by a Kassam rocket that scored a direct hit on a western Negev community, hours after Israeli leaders said they were leaning toward accepting an Egyptian cease-fire deal with Hamas. Shlomit Katz, 75 of Kibbutz Gvar'am, was killed while visiting Moshav Yesha in the Eshkol Regional Council. The deadly attack came four days after a mortar shell barrage killed Jimmy Kedoshim, 48, a father of four, as he stood in the yard of his house in Kibbutz Kfar Aza in the Negev.

2008: Irena Sendler - a Polish social worker who helped save some 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto and giving them false identities - has died today at the age of  98. (As reported by Dennis Hevesi)

2009 (18 Iyar): Lag B’Omer – 33rd Day of the Omer

2009: As part of its Centennial Celebration, Tel Aviv hosts a special conference on education attended by prominent educators, academics and researchers who will address the key educational and pedagogic issues facing the city's future generations, as well as educational policy and curriculum unique to Tel Aviv-Yafo.

2009: Today U.S. President Barack Obama declared May Jewish American Heritage Month, saying that the "United States would not be the country we know without the achievements of Jewish Americans."Obama called on all Americans to "commemorate the proud heritage of Jewish Americans with appropriate ceremonies and activities." "Unyielding in the face of hardship and tenacious in following their dreams, Jewish Americans have surmounted the challenges that every immigrant group faces, and have made unparalleled contributions," Obama said. He added, "Jewish American leaders have been essential to all branches and levels of government. Still more Jewish Americans have made selfless sacrifices in our Armed Forces." Obama said that Jewish American community has set an example for all Americans. "They have demonstrated that Americans can choose to maintain cultural traditions while honoring the principles and beliefs that bind them together as American," said Obama. "Jewish American history demonstrates how America's diversity enriches and strengthens us all."

2009: Today the Freie Universitat in Berlin launched a project that will give high school students across Germany access to more than 50,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. "The goal of our efforts is to sustainably integrate working with the biographical accounts into classroom teachings about National Socialism," said Dr. Ursula Lehmkuhl, Vice President of Freie Universitat. "Nothing may document an era or a historic event more strikingly than personal narrations of the lived history."

2010(28th of Iyar, 5770) Yom Yerushalayim

2010: The story of Russ & Daughters is scheduled to be featured in the premiere episode of New York Originals, a documentary series profiling “classic one-of-a-kind shops and mom-and-pop businesses that have stood the test of time.”

2011: An Israeli delegation of religious leaders is going to present Syrian opposition members to Chief Rabbi of Holon Avraham Yosef, the son of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and a member of the rabbinate’s council, will be one of the more high-profile religious leaders in the group that took off from Israel yesterday – one week after the original delegation was with a list of sites in Syria holy to Judaism, to be safeguarded if Bashar Assad’s regime collapses.

2011: The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present The 2011 Spring Concert as part of the Sidney Krum Young Artists Concert Series.

2011: The National Museum of American Jewish History is scheduled to present a screening of “Jewish Soldiers in Blue & Gray” “a …documentary that reveals the little-known struggles that faced Jewish-Americans both in battle and on the home front during the Civil War” including the 7,000 who fought for the Union, the 3000 who fought with the Rebels and the “five Union Jewish soldiers received the Congressional Medal of Honor.”

2011(8th of Iyar, 5771): Seventy-nine year old Jay D. Fischer, the attorney “who negotiated a monetary settlement with the Palestine Liberation Organization on behalf of the family of Leon Klinghoffer after his murder during a 1985 hijacking” passed away today.

2011(8th of Iyar, 5771): Seventy-six year old Jack Keil Wolf, an engineer and computer theorist whose mathematical reasoning about how best to transmit and store information helped shape the digital innards of computers and other devices that power modern society passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

2012: Jan Kasoff is scheduled to deliver a talk based on his 36 years as an NBC cameraman entitled Behind the Scenes at SNL and NBC!! at the JCC of Northern Virginia

2012: Those living in the Washington Metropolitan area have a chance to party to a unique mix of Israeli hip-hop, bhangra, baile funk, radio remixes, 80s freestyle and a live performance by Israeli-American emcee and rapper Kosha Dillz as part of the Washington Jewish Music Festival.

2012: Jazzrael - A Festival of Israeli Jazz & World Music: Israeli Jazz/World Music Concert is scheduled to take place at Temple Israel in NYC.

2012: Mendy Cahan, founder of Yung Yiddish in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is scheduled to lead an interactive workshop about the craft of presenting Yiddish song for contemporary audiences at the Workman’s Circle in New York City. 

2012: Thousands rallied in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square this evening, and in cities around the country, in the largest “social justice” protest held since last summer’s wave of cost-of-living demonstrations. (As reported by Ben Hartman and Melanie Lidman)

2013: The Maccabeats are scheduled to perform at the Jewish Federation of Princeton in Princeton, NJ.

2013: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Business of Baby by Jennifer Margulis, Tirza by Arnon Grunberg and the recently released paperback edition of Thinking, Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman.



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