Sunday, May 5, 2013

This Day, May 6, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

May 6 In History

1313 BCE (1 Iyar 2448): According to tradition, this was the date of the first population survey of the Israelite people taken by Moses.

124 CE: A Roman centurion named Valens stationed in the military camp which bordered the date palm groves in En Gedi by the Dead Sea made an emergency short-term loan to a Jew named Judah at an interest rate of twelve per cent per annum.

 1255: The Vatican orders all copies of the Talmud to be destroyed by fire. Despite this edict, King Jaime (King James of Aragon) ordered that the Spanish Jews should remain unmolested. Unfortunately, the political pressure over successive years would prove to be too great, and on August 29, 1263 he announced Jews had three weeks to remove all blasphemy from their books.

1501: Birthdate of Pope Marcellus II who expelled the Jews from Rome.

1527: The Spanish-German army of Charles IV entered Rome marking the start of a three week long period of pillage and butchery.  Among the victims was the library of Elijah ben Asher Levita the volumes of which were used as fuels by the invaders.

1574: Birthdate Pope Innocent X, whom Graetz described as the first of the reactionary popes.  Among other things he opposed the Peace of Westphalia which recognized the independence of the Netherlands, the nation which provided a haven for Jews fleeing the Inquisition.

1649: The Massachusetts General Court ruled today that Solomon Franco was to be expelled from the colony, and granted him "six shillings per week out of the Treasury for ten weeks, for sustenance, till he can get his passage to Holland.  Franco, a Sephard, is “the second Jew known to have lived in North America. He settle in Boston where he was an “agent for Immanuel Perada, a Dutch merchant.” After Franco had delivered supplies from Perada “to Edward Gibbons, a major general in the Massachusetts militia” a dispute arose over who should pay the Jew for the merchandize – Gibbons or Parada. The solution of the court was to expel Franco.

1691: In Palma, Majorca, after one hundred and fifty years of freedom from the Inquisition, an investigation led to the conviction of two hundred and nineteen people. All agreed to be reconciled with the church. Thirty-seven were burned to death when they tried to flee the island since it was considered a relapse to heresy.

1747(5507): Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (RAMCHA"L), Kabbalist, poet, and author of Mesilat Yesharim passed away. Born in Padua, Italy, in 1707, R. Moshe Chaim had a thorough education in both religious and secular studies.  His interest in the Kabbalah and his influence on the youth of the community led to accusations that he was a Sabbatean.  In its day, this was as harsh an accusation as you could make against a person.  Luzzato left Italy and settled in Amsterdam. At the age of 33 he published Mesillat Yesharim (The Path of the Upright), a book about ethics that describes how Jews can climb the ladder of purification to reach a level of holiness.  In 1743, he moved to Eretz Israel where he died during a plague in 1746.  He is buried at Tiberias.  Throughout his life, Luzzato struggled between his desire to study the Talmud and his need to the Kabbalah.  He is considered one of the fathers of Modern Hebrew literature, with his greatest impact being in Hebrew poetry.  His teachings earned the admiration leaders from a variety of Jewish groups ranging the Vilna Gaon of Vilna to the Maggid of Mezeritch. 

1758:  Birthdate of future French Revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre.  During the Reign of Terror in 1793 and 1794, Robespierre did close synagogues and allow Jewish religious property to be vandalized.  However, this was not because he was an anti-Semite.  Robespierre sought to stamp out all religions and the churches were subjected to the same treatment as the shuls.  In the early days of the revolution Robespierre spoke eloquently on behalf of equal rights for the Jews.  If Jews behaved “badly” it was the fault of Christianity and the Christians who had treated them in a based manner for centuries.  The salvation of the Jews (as opposed to Judaism) lay in granting them the full rights of citizenship.

1787: At Prostějov, Moravia, Rabbi Moses Sofer married Sarah,] the daughter of the deceased rabbi of Prostějov, Rabbi Moses Jerwitz who had passed away in 1785. Sofer joined the Chevra Kadisha and served as head of the town’s yeshiva. 

1789: Levi Sheftall, leader of the Hebrew Congregation of Savannah, Georgia wrote to the newly elected President of the United States, George Washington expressing the fact that the members of the congregation were grateful for his “unexampled liberality and extensive philanthropy which have expelled that cloud of bigotry and superstition what has long, as a veil shaded religion.”  Furthermore the nation’s new constitution “enfranchised American Jewry with al the privileges and immunities of free citizens and initiated us into the grand mass of legislative mechanism.”  While many know of the famous letter to the Jews of Newport, the Savannah congregation was actually the first to write to Washington following his election to the Presidency.

1818: Mordecai Manuel Noah sent a copy of the Consecration Address he had delivered at Shearith Israel and a letter in which he described the impact of his having been removed from a diplomatic post because of his religion.

1825(18th of Iyar, 5585): Lag B'Omer

1830: Birthdate of Abraham Jacobi “a pioneer of pediatrics” who opened “the first children's clinic in the United States and was the first foreign born president of the American Medical Association.

1831: Birthdate of Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky the Lithuanian born Jew who would eventually become the Anglican Bishop of Shanghai.

1835: James Gordon Bennett, Sr. published the first edition of the New York Herald which became the New York Herald Tribune in 1924. Ruth Gruber who dedicated herself to saving Jews from the Holocaust began her journalism career as a reporter with the Herald-Tribune in 1932. Two days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Herald Tribune warned of the dangers of the Nazis, stating “the Jews are merely the first to suffer under Hitlerism.”

1852: After a personal plea from Pope Pius IX, Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II abolishes his own statute of 1848 eliminating all discrimination against the Jews. At the beginning of his papacy, Pius had shown a positive disposition towards the Jews.  He abolished laws that forbade Jews to practice certain professions and that required Jews to listen to sermons of conversion four times a year. All of that changed following the Revolutions of 1848 when he became frightened by the rising tide of democracy, nationalism and secularism.

1853: In an article published today, The New York Times correspondent in London, wonders if the members of the House of Lords will be affected by the recent passage of the bill removing Jewish disabilities that was passed by the House of Commons. The correspondent thinks that when the bill comes before the Lords for “the dozenth time,” they will not be “converted” to “popular view as to the propriety of admitting Jews to the Legislature.”

1856: Birthdate of Dr. Sigmund Freud, father of psycho-analysis. Born Sigismund Schlomo Freud in Freiberg, in what is now part of the Czech Republic. He abbreviated his name from Sigismund Schlomo Freud to Sigmund Freud in1877.  Little is known about Freud's early life since he reportedly twice destroyed his personal papers.  This brief summary is no place to discuss his treatment of the mentally or the development of psychoanalysis.  In 1938 following the Anschluss of Austria, Freud escaped with his family to England where he died a year later. Freud was a smoker of Churchill-style cigars for most of his life; even after having his cancerous jaw removed, he continued to smoke until his death. It is said that he would smoke an entire box of cigars daily.

1858:According to published reports, the property of the late Rachel Felix, the Jewish actress and mistress of Alexandre Joseph Count Colonna-Walewski, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, has been put up for public sale.  The Count and Mademoiselle had a son whom the count publicly legitimatized which means that there is “Jewish blood” in the House of Bonaparte. 

1860: Society for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Jews, an organization dedicated to converting Jews held its annual meeting at a Dutch Reform Church in New York City during which the group reported that it had visited 1,382 (presumably Jewish) families.

1860: The New York Times reported today that a “a brisk argument has sprung up over the questions of whether Pious IX is or is not the descendant of a Jew.” The pope is a member of the Mastia family which got its title of nobility from a lady of “high rank” named Ferretti who had married a “baptized Jew named Mastai.  Supposedly “the Marquis Consolina published a genealogical pamphlet proving this” twenty four years ago.  The pamphlet was burned but the claims have never been refuted.

1861: Colonel Ripley, the U.S. Army Chief of Ordinance, forwarded Major Mordecai's letter of resignation to Adjutant General.

1861:Dr.David Camden De Leon known as the "Fighting Doctor," was appointed as first surgeon general of the Confederate Army.  Born in South Carolina in 1822, De Leon received his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania.  Following graduation, he joined the United States Army where he served with distinction during the Mexican War.  In 1861, he resigned his commission and joined the Confederates.  After the war, he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he practiced medicine until his death in 1872. His Union counterpart was Dr. Jonathan Horowitz. 

1863: The Battle of Chancellorsville comes to an end.  During the battle, Lt. Col. Edward Solomon led the forces of the 82nd Illinois which contained an all Jewish company from Chicago.  Solomon would become one of the highest ranking Jewish officers to serve with Union Army, ultimately rising to the rank of General. Sergeant Henry Hiller fought with such distinction during the battle that earned the Congressional Medal of Honr.  Jacob Ezekiel Hyneman and Captain Joseph B. Greenhut, who almost lost his arm as a result of wounds sustained at Fort Donelson, were among the Jewish soldiers who fought with distinction on that Virginia battlefield where the bravery of the Union troops was not matched by the brains of the Union generals.

1863: At the Battle of Chancellorsville, the 59th New York Volunteer Regiment which had recruited by Philip J. Joachimsen who served as a Lt. Colonel, supported General Sedgwick’s line at Mayre’s Hieghts.

1863: Bernhard Henry Gotthelf, the rabbi of Adath Israel Congregation of Louisville, received his appointment as a chaplain.

1864: During the Battle of the Wilderness, Sergeant-Major Abraham Cohn rallied and formed, under heavy fire, disorganized and fleeing troops of different regiments” thus enabling the Union Army to continue its advance.  This was one of the two heroic deeds which would win him the Congressional Medal of Honor.

1864: Leopold Karpeles Karpeles, a flag-bearer serving in the U.S. Army rallied retreating Union troops, inducing them to check the enemy's advance while under heavy during the Battle of the Wilderness. Born in Prague in 1838, Karpeles moved to Texas. When war broke out and Texas seceded, the young Jewish immigrant did not identify with the slave-holding Southerners and he joined the Union Army.  He received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Battle of the Wilderness, which was the first battle in an eleven month campaign which would result in the demise of the Confederacy.

1870: It was reported today that the rumors about the possibility of Pope Pius IX being of Jewish descent have resurfaced. According to the report “many early Christians were themselves Jews and we should hardly supposed that His Holiness would be particularly annoyed if it were proved that he was of the same race as the Founder of Christianity.” A pamphlet published 24 years ago by the Marquis Consolini claims that Matasi family of which the Pope is a member gained its rank through marriage to a baptized Jew of that name.  The pamphlet was burned but it was never refuted.

1871: German born conductor Leopold Damrosch began his career in the United States with an appearance at Steinway Hall where he was both a featured violinist and orchestra conductor.

1875: In a ceremony that some would say was as much a merger as it was a marriage, Jacob Schiff married There Loeb, daughter of Solomon Loeb.  Ten years later, in 1885, Schiff became head of Kuhn, Loeb & Company.

1878: An article published today entitled “The Jews of Roumania” describes the plight of the Jews of that country based on information provided by the correspondent for the Pall Mall Gazette. Juries in Roumania “have acquitted the rioters who wrecked Jewish houses, who beats Jews and insulted their wives and daughters.  They have found a Rabbi and other innocent men guilty of stealing a pyx.” (Note – A pyx is a vessel that contains the Eucharist.  In other words, this has to do with charges related to Host Desecration.)  ‘ “The pyx was really stolen by” a man named “Silver, a converted Jew” who was a deserter from the Russian Army.  Silber provided three different versions of the theft.  First he claimed the Jewish tailor he worked for was his accomplice.  Then he claimed the “President of the Jewish Congregation” was his accomplice.  Finally, he exonerated the Jews and claimed that he had done it on his own.  The acquittal of the rioters is sure to provide encouragement to those who would repeat this behavior at the upcoming Passover and Easter seasons, which “have always been dangerous for the Jews in the uncivilized parts of Christendom.”

1888: Birthdate of Representative Emmanuel "Manny" Celler.  In an era when Jews are elected to both houses of Congress from both parties from all over the country, it is hard to remember that there was a time when Jewish Congressmen were a rare breed and a U.S. Senator could refer to one as "a Kike" on the floor of the Senate.  Born in Brooklyn, Celler was an orphan by the time he finished high school and began attending Columbia.  He worked his way through school and graduated from Columbia Law with honors in 1912. A large part of his early legal career was spent dealing with immigration issues, a topic which would become a life-long passion.  He was elected to the House of Representatives where he served for 49 years and ten months, the second longest record of service in history.  Cellar became Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee where he championed equitable immigration laws and the cause of Civil Rights.  He passed away in 1981.

1890: It was reported today that the Marquis de Mores, the rabid anti-Semite who blamed his business failures on a Jewish Plot, was one of the few colorful figures to surface in the current round of French elections.

1890(16th of Iyar, 5650): Sixty-nine year old Isidor Binswanger passed away.  A native of Bavaria, he moved to the United States where he enjoyed commercial success in the dry goods business.  He lived in several towns and cities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, including Richmond.  But he is most frequently identified with Philadelphia, where he played a leading role in developing Jewish educational, charitable and cultural institutions.

1894: The Young Men’s Hebrew Association will hold its annual election between 2 and 4 pm at 721 Lexington Avenue.

1894: “Jews and Christians” published today provides a review of A Fair Jewess by B. L. Farjeon

1894: “The Obituary Record” published today described the life of the late Leopold Sacher-Masoch who, among other things was the author of several works including Jews and Russians. “He faithfully described the manners of the Polish Jews, but he feared that his affection for them might the impression that he was an Israelite…”

1895: It was reported today that “Russia’s tender regard for those principles on which rests the concert of civilized nations and her agonized fear lest Japan by violating them should imperil the progress of civilization in the East, almost make one forget …her more recent treatment of the Jews.”

1899: A children’s service is scheduled to be held this afternoon at the Hebrew Institute in memory of the late Baroness Hirsch.

1902: Lionel Walter Rothschild, Member of Parliament, and eldest son of Lord Rothschild is reported to suffering from a serious bout of pneumonia.

1902: Birthdate of journalist and humor writer Harry Golden. In his day, Golden was that anomaly, a southern Jew. Golden was the editor of the “Carolina Israelite,” author of two best sellers, 2¢ Plain and Only in America.

1902: Birthdate of writer and director Max Ophüls.  Born Max Oppenheimer, he changed his last name when he went from being a journalist to a life as an actor and director.  He did not want to embarrass his father with his choice of professions.  Letters From an Unknown Woman” is one of his better known efforts.

1904: Birthdate of the multi-talented Moshe Feldenkrais, founder of the Feldenkrais method. He was an Israeli physicist and judo practitioner of Eastern European descent. Among his many published books was Awareness Through Movement where he presented a view that good health is a matter of positive functioning. Although many don't consider this a radical idea, it is in opposition to the standard medical definition of health that states good health is an absence of illness. Feldenkrais asserted his method of bodywork exploration resulted in better functioning bodies and minds and created healthier people. He was more interested in the goal of holistic functioning rather than merely physical treatmentThe Feldenkrais Method is an educational system intended to give individuals a greater functional awareness of the self. The method uses body movement as the primary vehicle for learning in the human organism. It is perhaps due to this focus on body movements that the Feldenkrais Method is often classified as a complementary and alternative medicine. People interested in the Feldenkrais Method are predominantly individuals who either want to improve their movement repertoire (as dancers, musicians, artists), individuals who want to reduce their pain or limitations in movement, or individuals who want to use the method as a way to improve their well-being and personal development. Advocates claim the Feldenkrais Method is a very successful approach in cases of movement related pain (e.g. pain in backs, knees, hips, shoulders), and learning better functioning in cases of stroke or cerebral palsy. A central tenet of the method is that improving ability to move can improve one's overall well-being; and practitioners of the Method generally refrain from referring to conceptions of illness, diagnosis or therapy.”

1904: Herzl writes to David Wolffsohn. His letter ends with the words: "Don't do anything foolish while I am dead" - "Machet keine Dummheiten, während ich tot bin." "Die Welt" informs the public that Herzl has to take a longer holiday for health reasons.

1905: Birthdate of New York restaurateur and saloon-keeper to the stars, Bernard “Toots” Shor.

1910: Birthdate of Jeremy Noah Morris “a British epidemiologist whose comparison of heart-attack rates among double-decker bus drivers and conductors in London in the late 1940s and early ’50s laid the scientific groundwork for the modern aerobics movement.” He was born in Liverpool into a family of Jewish immigrants who had fled pogroms in eastern Poland. His father, Nathan, was a Hebrew scholar. After arriving in England, the family took the last name of the captain of the ship that had brought them to Liverpool. Jeremy was born within weeks of the arrival. The family then moved to Glasgow. Jeremy began to exercise early in childhood. His father would take him on four-mile walks, then reward him with ice cream.”

1910: George V becomes King of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII. English Jews were probably very sad to hear of the death of Edward since he had made numerous Jewish friends when he was Prince of Wales, including Nathaniel Rothschild.  He maintained these friendships once he came to the throne. King George was the reigning monarch when Lord Balfour sent his famous letter known as the Balfour Declaration. King George Street רחוב המלך ג'ורג) is a street in central Jerusalem, Israel was named for King George V.  The naming was done to mark the anniversary of the issuing of the Balfour Declaration.

1913: Abram Elkus was appointed to serve as a delegate to the convention of the International Association of Factory Inspectors to be held in Chicago, Illinois.

1914: Birthdate of Irving J. Shulman, the Russian Jewish immigrant “who founded the Daffy’s clothing store chain and brought discount fashion to Fifth Avenue through quirky marketing and a promise of “clothing bargains for millionaires..” (As reported by Christine Hauser)

1915: Birthdate of Theodore H. White.  White attended Harvard where he discovered the language and culture of China.  This led to an exciting stint as the Time-Life correspondent in China during World War II.  White lost his job because Henry Luce, the publisher supported the Nationalist forces and White insisted on reporting the facts i.e. the strength of the Communists and the corruption of the Nationalists.  White became a best-selling author with the publication of the Pulitzer Prize winning political science tome, Making of the President.   The book provided a unique, behind the scenes look at the Presidential campaign of 1960.  It was the first in a series of these books that White wrote every four years.  It also established a whole new genre of political writing.  "Teddy" White, as he was known, passed away in May, 1986

1918: It was announced today that Felix Warburg had resigned as a member of the Advisory Board of the United States Junior Naval Reserve, an organization which advertises itself as an organization dedicated to the training of American boys for sea service.

1921: In Palestine, riots that began on May 1 come to an end according to official reports.  Outbreaks of Arab riots had taken place in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and various Jewish settlements. Writer Yosef Chaim Brenner was among the victims in Jaffa. A total of 47 Jews (45 alone in a hostel for new immigrants in Jaffa) and 48 Arabs were killed in the disturbances. The wounded numbered 146 Jews and 73 Arabs. The government appointed a commission of inquiry, headed by Chief Justice of Palestine Sir W. Haycraft to investigate the causes of the riots.

1928: The 92nd Street Y.M.H.A. soccer team defeated the Hebrew Americans 4 to 1 in the final game of the third division of the Empire State League at Starlight Park.

1930: Birthdate of Mordechai "Motta" Gur the Jerusalem native who rose to the rank of Lt. General in the IDF and became the 10th Chief of Staff of the IDF

1935: Twelve year old Yehudit Ya’avetz, who had left Germany for Palestine 18 months ago wrote a letter to the British Monarch, King George V.

1936: In France, the second of two rounds of elections produced a solid triumph for the Populist Front which meant that Leon Blum would become France’s first “authentically Socialist prime minister” and the first Jewish Prime Minister as well.  This would lead to the fusing of “anti-Semitism with paramilitary fascism” which would see its final fruits in the quick fall of France to the Germans and the rise of Vichy.

1936: Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, the High Commissioner, left for a three day visit to the Sinai which he cut short so that he could return to Jerusalem to deal with the on-going Arab rebellion.

1937(25th of Iyyar, 5697): Mrs. Effie Wise Ochs, widow of Adolph S. Ochs, late publisher of The New York Times, died shortly after 9 o'clock this morning at her home, "Hillandale," on North Street, White Plains. Her death followed a heart attack.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that the British Army started a widespread search for Arab terrorists, their arms and ammunition in the so-called "Triangle of the Arab Terror," including Kalkilya, Taibe, Tulkarm, Azzun, Umm el Fahm and Jenin.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that n Jerusalem a bomb was thrown at a Jewish bus near Lifta and there was an exchange of fire at Beit Hakerem.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that A wide prominence was given to the proposed alterations in the original Palestine Partition plan, as suggested and accompanied by extensive explanations by James A. Macdonald, British member of the Parliament.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that Charles Weiss, an anti-Nazi journalist, was badly beaten and injured by Nazis in his New York office.

1940: Birthdate of Murray Sidlin.  The Baltimore, Maryland native was the conductor the National Symphony Orchestra from 1973 to 1977.

1941: "Armed Iraqi rioters attacked one of the main Jewish hospitals in Baghdad, the Meir Elias Hospital.  The building was looted; the pharmacist shot dead, the hospital accountant gravely wounded and the doctors and administrative staff taken to prison.  After the President of the Jewish community, Chief Rabbi Sasson Khedouri, intervened, the Inspector-General of Police ordered the Jews released and the rioters arrested." (In Ishmael's House by Martin Gilbert)

1942: Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright surrendered forces under his command at Corregidor in the Philippines. Among those who surrendered was Second Lieutenant Samuel Abraham Goldblith, the MIT graduate who survived the cruelty of Japanese imprisonment and went on to became a famous food scientist.

1943(1st of Iyyar, 5703): Chaim Zhitlowsk, author, socialist, Jewish nationalist and advocate for Yiddish & Yiddish culture, passed away.

1943:  Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead was published.

1943: Hajj Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem, suggested to the Bulgarian foreign minister that Bulgarian-Jewish children should be sent to Poland rather than to Palestine. The Grand Mufti spent much of World War II in Berlin as a guest of the Nazis.

1945: A death march from Schwarzheide, Germany, to Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, that began on April 18 halts at Leitmeritz, Czechoslovakia.

1947: David Ben-Gurion completes a five week round of meeting with dozens of Jewish military commanders which will later be described as a “systematic investigation” of the Yishuv’s ability to withstand the military onslaught it could expect from the surrounding Arab nations if the British decided to leave.

1947: David Ben Gurion meets with Professor Yochana Ratner of the Technion in an attempt to further evaluate the readiness of the Haganah and the Palmach to fight a conventional war against invading Arab armies.

1947: In New York City Betty Warren and George Craven gave birth to philosopher Martha Nussbaum. Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics. She received her B.A. (1969) from NYU and her M.A. (1971) and Ph.D. (1975) from Harvard. She has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities.

1947: Sixteen year old Alexander Rubowitz, a member of Lehi was arrested by members of the British counter-terrorism unit while he was in the process of distributing Lehi flyers in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood. Roy Farran, a member of the British unit, reportedly beat the Jewish youth to death with a rock as he was being driven towards Jericho. Farran was court-martialed but acquitted and always denied killing the boy.

1948: An emergency meeting was convened to deal with reports of a typhoid epidemic in Acre

1948: The 12th Battalion of the Golani Brigade captured the village of Shajara.

1948: Modi Alon left Sde Dov, the airport that was home to the fledgling IAF, for Czechoslovakian where he learned to fly the Avia, a Czech version of the ME-109, the pride of the Luftwaffe. 

1948: The main Palmach assault to secure the town of Safed began. The Arab Liberation Army responded by bringing up artillery pieces (the Jews had none) with which they shelled the ancient Jewish quarter of the town.  The British offered to negotiate a truce that would have allowed the Jewish women and children to leave and effectively paved the way for Arab victory.  The Jews rejected the offer and the fighting would begin again in four days.

1952: Abba Khoushy, Mayor of Haifa was greeted at New York’s Idlewild Airport by New York City official Grover Whalen.  Khoushy is beginning a five-week long speaking tour designed to raise $500,000,000 in Bonds for Israel. 

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Treasury introduced a new system of granting eighty per cent export premiums for some industries.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the U.S. President Eisenhower's Administration announced that while $194m. were earmarked for the economic help to the Middle East, the aid depended on the peace in the area. Israel was promised "off the record" to receive a fair share of this allocation.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the North African Immigrants' Association accused the Jewish Agency of preventing over one million and a half of North African Jews from reaching Israel.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel and Argentina had raised their missions to the rank of Embassies and exchanged Ambassadors.

1953: At today’s meeting HUAC, Lionel Stander "pretended that he was going to cooperate, but mocked the witch hunters instead."

1955: President Eisenhower attends the dedication of the Washington Hebrew Congregation.  (Ike was late for the ceremony.)

1963: The Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Barbara Tuchman for The Guns of August, a history of the event surrounding the summer of 1914 and the start of World War I.  Briskly written and well-researched, Ms. Tuchman provided an insight into how Europe stumbled into catastrophe.  At the height of the Cold War, President Kennedy insisted that his advisors read this volume.  He saw it as a cautionary tale whose lessons could help America from stumbling into World War III.  Tuchman was born in New York in 1912.  She was the granddaughter of Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Woodrow Wilson's Ambassador to Turkey.  Educated at Radcliffe College, Tuchman began writing as a magazine correspondent for the Nation, a publication owned by her father.  Tuchman's skills as a historian led her to a second Pulitzer Prize when she wrote about General Stillwell and the American Experience in China

1965: The Homestead Independent reported that Jewish “financier Arthur Courshon had joined hands with Juanita Castro, Fidel Castro's sister, in the formation of the Marta Abreu Foundation, designed to aid Cuban refugees and particularly Cuban refugee children. Courshon, chairman of the Board of the Washington Federal Savings and Loan Association, will be a director of the Foundation.” Courson is better known as the Jewish developer who conceived the concept of condominium apartments in Florida.

1980(20th of Iyar, 5740: Seventy nine year old Arthur Levitt, passed away. He was the New York State comptroller from 1955 to 1978, whose nonpartisan dedication, thrift with public funds and relentless criticism of fiscal chicanery endeared him to voters, who returned him to office five times with huge majorities; in New York City. A Brooklyn lawyer and nominal Democrat, Levitt served under four Governors, tightening the state's auditing procedures, including "performance audits" of state agencies, and eventually giving his office prestige and power virtually beyond politics.:,9171,924120,00.html#ixzz2SNp5SgKm

1983: Pitcher Bob Tufts, who had originally been drafted by the San Francisco Giants, played his last major league baseball game as a member of the Kansas Royals. He converted to Judaism while playing baseball.

1983: The Hitler diaries are revealed as a hoax after examination by experts.

1983: “The Sandglass,” based on the story ''The Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass,'' opened at the Thalia in New York City.

1984: In describing Chablis, France, “the land beyond the label,” Frank Lewis and Paul Prial remind us the Jewish connection with this part of France and the making of fine wines. “The well-preserved medieval wine merchants' houses on the Rue des Juifs, just before the towers of the Porte No"el, show how widely spread the Jewish community was in those days. And the 11th-century Talmudic scholar Rashi lived only 20 miles away at Troyes.”

1986(27th of Nisan, 5746): Yom HaShoah

1987: In “Jerusalem Journal: A Reverent Monument or a Monumental Error,” Thomas Friedman described the controversy surrounding a Holocaust memorial that has been built on top of a yeshiva next to the Wailing Wall under the direction of former Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren.

1994(25th of Iyar, 5754):Rabbi Moshe David Rosen Romania's chief rabbi passed away.  Born in 1912, Rosen became a rabbi in 1939 and was named Chief Rabbi in 1948.  He served in the Romanian Parliament and was the undisputed leader of the Jewish community.  He worked diligently to enable the Jews of Romania to immigrate to Israel while also making considerable effort to improve their lot under the Communist government.  It should be remember, that Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country that did not break relations with Israel after the Six Day War.  Rabbi Rosen was 81 when he passed away.

2001: Bruce Fleisher won the Home Depot Invitational for the second time in two years.

2001: Dr. Robert Levy calls D.C. police from his home in Modesto, California, to report that his daughter Chandra has not been heard from in five days.

2001: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism by Daniel Schorr and Displaced Persons: Growing Up American After the Holocaust by Joseph Berger

2003: US soldiers from the Army’s Mobile Exploration Team Alpha, along with members of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), descended into the flooded basement of the bombed-out Department of General Intelligence in Baghdad. Although the team’s job was to search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, that day the soldiers were acting on a tip provided to the INC by a former Iraqi intelligence official that an old Jewish Talmud lay deep within the building. The Americans decided that finding such a valuable cultural artifact merited diverting the army team from its normal task. Although they did not find the Talmud, they did discover something else: a Torah scroll along with thousands of manuscripts, documents and books dealing with Iraq’s Jewish community. What they had found were the archives of two offices within the General Intelligence Department: the Israel-Palestine and Jewish Sections.The waterlogged documents consisted largely of items that were confiscated from synagogues and libraries after the mass exodus of the Iraqi Jewish community in the 1950s.

2004: The body of twenty-year old Marine Corporal Dustin Schrage was found today after the soldier disappeared with his team May 3 while swimming across the Euphrates River in the Al Anbar province. (As reported by Jane Eisner)

2004(15th of Iyar, 5764): Barney Kessel, be-bop guitarist passed away at the age of 60.

2004: In the following article entitled “Meanwhile: The Jewish Ghosts of Salonika” Ari L. Goldman examines modern Greek attitudes towards Jews and Israel against a backdrop of this once thriving Jewish community that disappeared in the Holocaust.


A century ago this beautiful port city on the Aegean Sea was bristling with Jewish life. There were synagogues, Jewish social clubs, a vibrant Hebrew language press and institutions of Jewish learning. The city was a world center of Sephardic Jewry. Half the city was Jewish and for many years the port was even closed to commerce on Saturdays in observance of the Jewish Sabbath. But that rich Jewish life came to an abrupt end when Nazi Germany rolled into Salonika in 1943 and carried 50,000 Jews away to death camps. Ninety-seven percent were killed. Barely a word of protest was heard from fellow Greek citizens. I thought of the ghosts of that decimated community while visiting Greece on a lecture tour. I came to talk about the subjects I know best — religion and journalism — but the subject of Jews kept coming up. As an American Jewish academic traveling in Europe, I expected that I would get angry questions about U.S. foreign policy, especially the war in Iraq and President George W. Bush's support for the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon. But I didn't expect the anger would be directed toward Jews. "Don't you think that American Jews have too much power?" one well-dressed man challenged me at a university-sponsored dinner in Athens. "They control everything. They control Bush. They control America. It's got to be stopped." The next night I spoke at the University of Athens. One professor grilled me on what he called the "strange" alliance between Jews and Evangelical Christians in support of Israel. The following day here in Salonika, another professor called the Christian Zionists hypocrites for their support of Israeli policies. "How can they profess a religion of love and at the same time support 'targeted killings' of Palestinians?" he asked. "There is also Jewish love," I told the professor. "But this isn't about love or hate, it's about survival." The Jewish Museum of Salonika tells the story of a community that did not survive. It is a small but impressive place. On the first floor there are the remnants of the Jewish cemetery, complete with headstones with Hebrew writing and photographs of Jewish women visiting the graves. On the second level a timeline shows that the community's roots goes back to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Jews found refuge in this city by the sea. Over the next 400 years they thrived here. Most of the museum is dedicated to the glory that was Jewish Salonika. There are photographs and religious artifacts. The humiliation and destruction of the Jews is limited to one room, which includes documents of expulsion, the uniform of the death camp inmates and objects of everyday life taken from the dead: shoes, combs and glasses. At the museum entrance there is an armed guard, a steel gate and a buzzer system. The museum director said the museum gets few visitors these days, especially after the bomb attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul in 2003 in which 20 people were killed. "People are afraid," she said. What a pity. After all the hatred I've heard from European academics, I would love to bring a few here to Salonika to show them what Jews without political power look like.

2005(27th of Nisan, 5765): Yom Hashoah

2006: The body of 20 year old Cpl. Dustin H. Schrage’s was found today.  He had disappeared three days earlier while swimming across the Euphrates River in Iraq’s Al Anbar Provine. “Dustin Schrage was so funny, he could have been a standup comic, his mother told The Associated Press. Schrage, a native of Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., loved to play video games and listen to punk rock music, and was always making everyone laugh. “He was the comedian of the family. He was a ham. He was very well respected and well liked,” Nina Schrage said, describing her son. “Dustin always seems to be able to squeeze laugh out of his teachers and his parents,” Rabbi Zvi Konikov told AP reporters. “His laughter and confidence made him a leader.” Schrage joined the Marines after graduating from Satellite High School, a step toward his ultimate career goal of becoming a police SWAT member. (As reported in Forward)

2006: Israeli pilots and planes participate in The Volcanex 2006 exercise which is held in cooperation with the European Air Group as part of the Italian Air Force exercise Spring Flag begins in Decimomannu, Italy. The EAG was established to further develop the collaboration between British and French air forces in the first Gulf War. It now has seven member nations.  Sweden had withdrawn from the event to protest the participation of the Israelis.

2007 (18th of Iyar, 5767): Lag B’Omer

2007: At the Jewish Museum of Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland an exhibition styled The Mikvah Project opens. The Mikvah Project documents the resurgence and expanded practice of the ancient and private Jewish ritual bath.

2007: “Howard Katz” Patrick Marber’s “tense new drama” about a failed secular Jewish showbiz agent closes its run at the Laura Pels Theatre in New York.

2007: The Sunday Washington Post book section featured a review of The Americanist, a memoir by Harvard professor Daniel Aaron.

2007: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry From Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 translated, edited and introduced by Peter Cole and the recently released paperback edition of Everyman by Philip Roth.

2007:  Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, sponsors the annual Big Dinner, a major fund raising and gastronomic event for the entire community.

2007 (18th of Iyar, 5767): Theodore Maiman, the physicist who built the first working laser in the United States passed away at the age of 79.

2008(1st of Iyar, 5768: Rosh Chodesh Iyar

2008: In Washington, D.C., Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tony Horwitz discusses and signs his new book, A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World.

2008: The Lauder School of Government at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya hosts a special roundtable entitled "The Energy Challenges of the 21st Century." The panel, which will convene on the IDC Herzliya campus, consists of top energy experts from Israel and the United States.
2008: Prior to Israel's 60th Independence Day, the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, in cooperation with the Remembering Organization, will conduct a symposium on the subject of "Bereavement, Terrorism and Decision Making in Israel."
2008: Israel pauses tonight to mourn its fallen soldiers, as the nation marks Remembrance Day and honors the memory of those who have lost their lives in defense of the state. 

2008: The Saul Steinberg: Illuminations travelling exhibition, which displays original Steinberg works at various museum and galleries around the world opens today at the Foundation Cartier-Bresson in Paris. Steinberg was a Romanian born cartoonists best known for his work in the New Yorker magazine.

2009: Heshey Friedman, the president of Montreal-based Polystar Plastics, Daniel Hirsch and Mitch Kirschner incorporated SHF, apparently for the sole purpose of buying Agrprocessors.

2009: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Hadassah Book Club meets to discuss People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

2009: The second annual Richard and Elizabeth Dubin Lecture, presented by the Joseph B. and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies features David Ignatius, journalist and Washington Post columnist in a discussion with Philip Merrill of the University of Maryland’s School Of Journalism entitled "The Middle East: Is Peace Imaginable?"

2009: Ayalet Waldman, author of the novel Daughter's Keeper as well as the “Mommy-Track mystery series,” discusses and signs her new memoir, Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

2009: Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said today that The Tourism Ministry will begin marketing the grave site of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai as a tourist attraction to the haredi community.

2009(12 of Iyar, 5769): Seventy-nine year old talent broker Sam Cohn passed away today (As reported by Bruce Weber)

2010: Rabbi Ben Mintz is scheduled to teach a course entitled “Women in the Apocrypha” featuring an Esther much different than the Esther we know from the Book of Esther; Hannah, mother of the seven martyred sons; Judith, seducer and slayer of Holofernes, enemy of the Jewish people; and Susanna, object of the gaze of the Elders at the Historic 6th & I Synagogue in Washington, D.C.

2010: Israeli singers, Pini Hadad & Nati Levi, are scheduled to perform at Club Passion in Brooklyn.

2010: Israel Police Inspector-General David Cohen and FBI Director Robert Mueller met today in Jerusalem. The two discussed joint efforts on fighting terrorism and organized crime.

2011: Hazon's 2nd Annual California Bike Ride which raises money for cutting-edge Jewish environmental projects in the U.S. and Israel is scheduled to begin at 2 pm today at Westminster Woods in California.

2011: The Jewish Historical Society is schedule to present “Historic Eastern Market of Detroit with a Jewish Twist” where attendees will learn about the Market’s Jewish past, listen to stories about the Purple Gang and sample some of the foods unique to this Detroit institution.

2011: It was announced today that Filmmaker Ethan Coen, who with his brother Joel is responsible for the films "No Country for Old Men," "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski," among others, will publish a book of poetry next year with Crown. The poetry collection, according to Publishers Weekly, will be called "The Day the World Ends."

2011: In keeping with Broadway tradition, the lights of the theatres on Broadway were dimmed for one minute tonight in memory of Arthur Laurents who passed away yesterday. The Tony Award winner’s body of work includes “West Side Story,”  “Gypsy,”  La Cage aux Folles” and “Hallelujah, Baby!”

2011: It was not clear when a fuel crisis that has disrupted flights at Ben-Gurion International Airport would end, the airport's chief official said today, adding, however, that takeoffs and landings are resuming thanks to an emergency supply of fuel. Commercial air traffic out of Israel was shut down yesterday after airplane fuel at Ben-Gurion International Airport was found to be contaminated.
2012: The Omri Mor Trio featuring Jerusalem-based jazz pianist Omri Mor is scheduled to perform at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

2012: Guitarist, singer and songwriter Bob Rank is scheduled to perform a solo concert exploring contributions of Jewish performers and songwriters who have influenced the great American musical traditions of blues, folk and rock at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, Ohio.

2012: Tulane Graduate and Brandies University Professor, Dr. Stephen Whitfield is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “Coming to America: The Jewish Impact & The Jewish Response” at the Jewish Museum of Florida.

2012: In Olney, Maryland, Shaare Tefilla Congregation is scheduled to sponsor “Plant the Seeds of Song: A Community-Wide Erev Shira in Celebration of Yom Ha’Atzmout.”

2012: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to sponsor a Walking Tour of the Jewish Sites in Arlington National Cemetery that will include visits to memorial by or for Jews and headstones on prominent Jewish leaders buried at the oldest cemetery of its kind in the United States.

2012; Ron Arons is scheduled to address The Genealogy of Society of Greater Washington at Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, MD

2012: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro and Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer by Susan Gubar who is part of the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University.

2013: The American Jewish Historical Society and Yeshiva University Museum are scheduled to  present “Jewish Women and the Civil War”

2013: “Defiant Requiem” is scheduled to be shown at the Washington DCJCC.

2013: The Canadian Friends of Hebrew University are scheduled to present the Key of Knowledge to actor Morgan Freemen “for his dedication to combating racism and ‘promoting knowledge and education worldwide.’”





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