1282 BCE: (28 Nissan 2488): Traditional date marking the fall of the walls of Jericho.
443 BCE (7th of Iyar, 3317): Nehemiah dedicated the newly built walls that had been built around Jerusalem
996: Papacy of Gregory V began today making him a contemporary of Hananel Ben Hushiel, Samuel Ibn Nagrela and Jacob ben Yakar each of whom was born in 990.
1096 (8th Iyar): On his way to join the Crusade led by Peter the Hermit, Emico, the Count of Leiningen, attacked the synagogue at Speyers. The Jews defended themselves but were systematically slain. Until this time atrocities in Europe were sporadic. From this point on, they became organized and frequent. Jewish martyrdom began in earnest. It should be remembered that the atrocities committed by the rampaging crusaders were not always supported by the local burghers and bishops. Furthermore, in many countries, especially the Slavic states, the local Christian community suffered from pillages as well. John Bishop of Spires even called out his army after 11 Jews were killed in a riot, but he was an exception rather than the rule. Approximately 5,000 Jews were murdered in Germany in 1096.[Editor’s Note: Maggie Anton, the author of the acclaimed series about Rashsi’s Daughters, offers the following view of events. “Actually, the Crusader attacks on Speyer in 1096 left only 11 Jews dead - those who were still on the streets. Warned of the danger, the Jews prayed early and left the synagogue before the marauders arrived, barricading themselves at home. Bishop John's army routed the mob and cut off the hands of the worst instigators. It was later in the month that the worst massacres occurred in Worms, Mainz & Cologne.”]
1235: Pope Gregory issued a Bull that repeated and confirmed the constitution of Pope Innocent III. The Bull was issued in response to pleas from German Jews that the Church act to stop the marauding mobs that were attacking them.
1270: King Béla IV of Hungary passed away. Bela had welcomed Jewish immigrants to his kingdom and in 1251 gave them “legal rights.”
1407: Emperor Rupert issued a decree appointing Israel of Krems “chief rabbi of all the German communities ("Hochmeister über alle Rabbinen"), giving him a certificate declaring him to be a great Talmudic scholar and a good man.”
1455: As Christian forces advance, groups of Jews fled Spain, some of whom ended up in Kosovo others of whom settled in West African Jewish communities known as Bilad al-Sudan.
1469: Birthdate of Niccolò Machiavelli
1481: Mehmed II, Ottoman Sultan passed away. Known as “The Conqueror” (Faith), he reigned from 1444 to 1446 until his father took over on account of war. He came again to throne in 1451. He conquered Constantinople in 1453. The oppressed Jews were relieved to see him occupy the city. He allowed Jews from today's Greek Islands and Crete to settle in Istanbul. Fatih's declaration is as follows: "Listen sons of the Hebrew who live in my country...May all of you who desire come to Constantinople and may the rest of your people find here a shelter". The Bavarian King Ludwig the III, under the influence of the Italian Monk Jean de Capistrano expelled the Jews out and forced them to settle on the banks of the Danube River, Capistrano helped John Hunyadi in 1456 when the Ottomans besieged Belgrade. In 1410 Jean Huss was excommunicated and burned on order of the pope Alexander the V. The pope Nicholas the V, summoned Jean de Capistrano to go to Slovakia and fight the followers of Jean Huss. Of course Capistrano did not forget the Jews and as a result, by order of the Sultan, a regiment called "The sons of Moses" was formed. Since Capistrano also prepared a crusade against the Ottomans, the same regiment participated in the war which ensued. The doctors Isak Pasa Galeon and Ribbi Sonsino were also appointed to that regiment. Before being killed, Ribbi Sonsino chopped away the head of Jean de Capistrano and the church declared the latter a saint. After the war Mehmed II invited the Ashkenazi Jews of Transylvania and Slovakia to the Ottoman Empire. The synagogues Ahrida, Karaferya, Yanbol and Cuhadji which were damaged due to a fire have been repaired on the Sultan’s order. According to a votive foundation document dated 1451-1481, the doctors Moses Hamon, Isak Pas a Galeon, Hekim Yakup, Ephraim Sandji and Hekim Abraham were appointed as palace doctors.
1488: In Naples, Joseph Günzenhäuser published the first printed edition of the Pentateuch with a commentary by Abraham ibn Ezra.
1579: An auto-de-fe at Seville sentenced 38 people, some accused of Judaizing. In all, only one person was burned.
1583(11th of Iyar): Rabbi Isaac Mehling passed away in Prague.
1588: Council of Hanover in Germany ordered the severance of all business connections between Jews and Christians.
1616(16th of Iyar, 5376): Meir Lublin, the son of Gedaliah, the son-in-law of Isaac ha-Kohen Shapiro and the author of the Talmudic commentary Meir Einai Chachamim passed away today in Lublin.
1655(26th of Nisan, 5415): Abraham Nunez Bernal was burned at the stake by the Inquisition of Cordova making him yet another Sephardic martyr.
1655: Jacob Abendana delivered a famous memorial sermon on the Cordovan martyrs Marranos Nunez and Almeyda Bernal who had been burned at the stake. Abendana was the older of Isaac Abendana who taught at Magdalen College and served as hakam of the Spanish Portuguese Synagogue in London..
1667(9th of Iyar, 5427): Many Jews were killed in anti-Jewish riots in Lemberg. Lemberg is in the Ukraine. These killings took place during the wars between the Poles and the Cossacks. The fate of the Jews of Lemberg would grow even worse in 1668 when most of them would perish in a massacre.
1670: Birthdate of Nicholas Mavrocordatos, the Grand Dragoman whom Daniel de Fonseca served as a personal physician while actually working as a secret agent for the French and Turks to provide support for the Ottomans in their conflict with Austria.
1703(17th of Iyar, 5463): Seventy two year old Samuel Oppenheimer the Jewish banker who bankrolled Emperor Leopold I during the Great Turkish War, passed away today.
1733(22nd of Iyar,): Rabbi Zevi of Vilna, author of “Bet Lehem Yehudah” passed away
1764: The Maryland Gazette reported "certain" Jews were willing to settle in the American colonies to conduct agriculture and commerce. This was nothing new, as for almost 30 years prior the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in London had wanted to form a large settlement for Jews in Carolina.
1775: David Salisbury Franks, who would become an officer in the American Revolutionary Army, was arrested for speaking in a disrespectful manner about King George III.
1778(6th of Iyar, 5538): Eighty-eight year old Hirsch Auberach who had been serving as rabbi at Worms in 1763, the husband Dobresch Auberach and the father of Rabbi Abiezri Selig Auerbach, passed away today.
1791: Poland’s Jews are granted full emancipation under the new Polish Constitution proclaimed by the Sejm
1802: Washington, D.C. is incorporated as a city. Isaac Polock was reported to be D.C.’s first Jewish resident having moved to the area in 1795. Major Alfred Mordecai came to Washington in 1828 to serve as superintendent of the District of Columbia Arsenal. He is the second known Jewish resident of the nation’s capital. For more about the history of Jewry in the Washington metropolitan area see the website of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington http://www.jhsgw.org/
1844: Birthdate of Édouard Adolphe Drumont “a French journalist and writer” who “founded the Anti-Semitic League of France in 1889, and was the founder and editor of the newspaper La Libre Parole.”
“He was at first in government service, but later became a contributor to the press and was the author of a number of miscellaneous works, of which Mon vieux Paris (1879) was crowned by the Academy.
Drumont's 1886 book ‘La France Juive’ (Jewish France) attacked the role of Jews in France and argued for their exclusion from society. In 1892 Drumont founded the newspaper the La Libre Parole which became a platform for virulent anti-Semitism…He was sued for accusing a parliamentary deputy of having taken a bribe from the prominent Jewish banker Édouard Alphonse de Rothschild to pass a piece of legislation the banker wanted. Drumont attracted many supporters and was one of the primary sources of anti-Semitic ideas that would later be embraced by Nazism. He exploited the Panama Company Scandal and reached the peak of his notoriety during the Dreyfus Affair, in which he was the most strident of Alfred Dreyfus' accusers.” He died in 1917.
1847: Premiere of “Don John of Austria,” the first Australian opera at the Royal Victoria Theatre in Sydney. Isaac Nathan wrote the opera to a libretto by Jacob Levi Montefiore.
1849: The May Uprising in Dresden begins - the last of the German revolutions of 1848. These revolutions, in which many Jews played an active role, failed. This resulted in a major migration of liberal Germans, including a large number of German Jews, to the United States. This migration would have a major impact on the United States and the American Jewish community.
1849: At the tenth meeting of the Independent Order of Free Sons of Israel, a petition “asking for a charter for a second lodge of the order to be named Abraham Lodge No. 2” was granted.
1853: It was reported today that an un-named Jew had been arrested on a charge of receiving stolen goods. The goods were reportedly $25 dollars’ worth of women’s shoes that had been stolen by German lad named Herman who was working as an apprentice in a boot & shoe store.
1857: Birthdate of August Lederer the Austrian industrialist, art collector and patron of Gustav Klimt.
1859: Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky the Lithuanian Jew who went through a series of conversions in various Christian churches starting as a Baptist in 1855 was appointed to serve as a missionary to China by the Episcopal Church.
1860: In Ancona, Abramo Volterra, a cloth merchant, and Angelica Almagià gave birth to Samuel Giuseppe Vito Volterra
1863(14th of Iyar, 5623): Pesach Sheni
1863(14th of Iyar, 5623): Twenty-five year old Isaac Seldner of the 6th Virginia Infantry Regiment was killed today at the Battle of Chancellorsville during the Civil War.
1864(27th of Nisan, 5624): J. J. Benjamin passed away. Born in 1818 at Fălticeni, Romania he “was a Romanian-Jewish historian and traveler. His pen name was "Benjamin II", in allusion to Benjamin of Tudela. Married young, he engaged in the lumber business, but losing his modest fortune, he gave up commerce. Being of an adventurous disposition, he adopted the name of Benjamin of Tudela, the famous Jewish traveler of the twelfth century, and toward the end of 1844 set out to search for the Lost Ten Tribes. Using the name of Benjamin of Tudela, the famous twelfth century Jewish traveler, he set out in 1844 on a search for the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. This search took him from Vienna to Constantinople in 1845, with stops at several cities on the Mediterranean. He arrived in Alexandria in June, 1847, and proceeded via Cairo to the Levant. He then traveled through Syria, Babylonia, Kurdistan, Persia, the Indies, Kabul, and Afghanistan, returning June, 1851, to Constantinople, and then back to Vienna where he stayed briefly before heading to Italy. There he embarked for Algeria and Morocco. He made copious notes of his observations of the societies he visited. On arriving in France, after having traveled for eight years, he prepared in Hebrew his impressions of travel, and had the book translated into French. After suffering many tribulations in obtaining subscriptions for his book, he issued it in 1856, under the title ‘Cinq Années en Orient (1846-51).’ The same work, revised and enlarged, was subsequently published in German under the title ‘Acht Jahre in Asien und Afrika’ (Hanover, 1858), with a preface by Meyer Kayserling. An English version has also been published. As the veracity of his accounts and the genuineness of his travels were attacked by some critics, he amply defended himself by producing letters and other tokens proving his journey to the various Oriental countries named. Benjamin relates only what he has seen; and, although some of his remarks show insufficient scholarship and lack of scientific method, his truthful and simple narrative gained the approval of eminent scholars like Humboldt, Petermann, and Richter. In 1859 Benjamin undertook another journey, this time to America, where he stayed three years. The result of his observations there he published on his return, under the title Drei Jahre in Amerika (Hanover, 1863). The kings of Sweden and of Hanover now conferred distinctions upon him. Encouraged by the sympathy of several scientists, who drew up a plan and a series of suggestions for his guidance, he determined to go again to Asia and Africa, and went to London in order to raise funds for this journey — a journey which was not to be undertaken. Worn out by fatigues and privations, which had caused him to grow old before his time and gave him the appearance of age, he died poor in London; and his friends and admirers had to arrange a public subscription in order to save his wife and daughter from misery. In addition to the works mentioned above, Benjamin published Jawan Mezula, Schilderung des Polnisch-Kosakischen Krieges und der Leiden der Juden in Poland Während der Jahre 1648-53, Bericht eines Zeitgenossen nach einer von. L. Lelewel Durchgesehenen Französischen Uebersetzung, Herausgegeben von J. J. Benjamin II, Hanover, 1863, a German edition of Rabbi Nathan Nata Hanover's work on the insurrection of the Cossacks in the seventeenth century, with a preface by Kayserling. Upon his return to London in 1862, he drew another plan to return to Asia and Africa but fell ill and died early in 1863 before being able to undertake his next journey.
During his travels in Persia J. J. Benjamin wrote down some observations on the life of the Jews in Persia:
1. Throughout Persia the Jews are obliged to live in a part of the town separated from the other inhabitants; for they are considered as unclean creatures, who bring contamination with their intercourse and presence.
2. They have no right to carry on trade in stuff goods.
3. Even in the streets of their own quarter of the town they are not allowed to keep any open shop. They may only sell there spices and drugs, or carry on the trade of a jeweller, in which they have attained great perfection.
4. Under the pretext of their being unclean, they are treated with the greatest severity, and should they enter a street, inhabited by Mussulmans, they are pelted by the boys and mobs with stones and dirt.
5. For the same reason they are forbidden to go out when it rains; for it is said the rain would wash dirt off them, which would sully the feet of the Mussulmans.
6. If a Jew is recognised as such in the streets, he is subjected to the greatest insults. The passers-by spit in his face, and sometimes beat him so unmercifully, that he falls to the ground, and is obliged to be carried home.
7. If a Persian kills a Jew, and the family of the deceased can bring forward two Mussulmans as witnesses to the fact, the murderer is punished by a fine of 12 tumauns (600 piastres); but if two such witnesses cannot be produced, the crime remains unpunished, even though it has been publicly committed, and is well known.
8. The flesh of the animals slaughtered according to Hebrew custom, but declared as Trefe, must not be sold to any Mussulmans. The slaughterers are compelled to bury the meat, for even the Christians do not venture to buy it, fearing the mockery and insult of the Persians.
9. If a Jew enters a shop to buy anything, he is forbidden to inspect the goods, but must stand at a respectful distance and ask the price. Should his hand incautiously touch the goods, he must take them at any price the seller chooses to ask for them.
10. Sometimes the Persians intrude into the dwellings of the Jews and take possession of whatever pleases them. Should the owner make the least opposition in defence of his property, he incurs the danger of atoning for it with his life.
11. Upon the least dispute between a Jew and a Persian, the former is immediately dragged before the Achund [religious authority], and, if the complainant can bring forward two witnesses, the Jew is condemned to pay a heavy fine. If he is too poor to pay this penalty in money, he must pay it in his person. He is stripped to the waist, bound to a stake, and receives forty blows with a stick. Should the sufferer utter the least cry of pain during this proceeding, the blows already given are not counted, and the punishment is begun afresh.
12. In the same manner the Jewish children, when they get into a quarrel with those of the Mussulmans, are immediately led before the Achund, and punished with blows. (13. A Jew who travels in Persia is taxed in every inn and every caravanserai he enters. If he hesitates to satisfy any demands that may happen to be made on him, they fall upon him, and maltreat him until he yields to their terms.
14.If, as already mentioned, a Jew shows himself in the street during the three days of the Katel (feast of mourning for the death of the Persian founder of the religion of Ali) he is sure to be murdered.
15. Daily and hourly new suspicions are raised against the Jews, in order to obtain excuses for fresh extortions; the desire of gain is always the chief incitement to fanaticism.
From “The Jews of Islam” by Bernard Lewis)
1864: Jacob and Amalia Freud gave birth to Pauline “Pauli” Regine, the sister of Sigmund Freud.
1868: It was reported today that “many English papers have taken pleasure in describing Mr. Disraeli as an apostate Jew. In simple truth he is neither one nor the other, in a religious point of view. His father (Isaac Disraeli) and his mother were Hebrews both of Portuguese parentage. Benhamin was never instructed in Judaism, because of some quarrel his father had with his synagogue. When he was about six years old, Rogers, the banker and poset, came to visit Disraeli, the author and finding a bright boy, without religious instruction, too him by permission of his father to own church. He was therefore brought up in the English Church, and has a least as good a right to the name ‘Christian’ as most of his fellow M.P’s.”
1871: “Murder Will Out” published today described the events surrounding the retrial of Antoine Maurer who is accused of killing a German Jew named Joachim Feurter. Maurer’s first conviction had been over-turned on appeal. The motive for the murder may have been tied to money that the killer owed the deceased.
1871(12th of Iyar, 5631): Sixty-eight year old philologist Eduard Munk, the cousin of Salomon Munk, who was a disciple of August Böckh passed away today Gross Glogau.
1872: “”A War of Sects” an article published today described a riot that had taken place in Smyrna between Greeks and Jews. The fighting began after it had been reported that the Jews “had sacrificed an infant” as part of “their religious ceremonies.” According to these reports several people had been killed and wounded. While the riot had stopped for the time being, troops had been ordered to the city to prevent a renewal of the violence.
1873: Theodor Herzl’s Bar Mitzvah (No, I do not know who catered the Kiddush)
1873: An article entitled “An Appeal for Hebrew Children” published today sought contributions from New Yorkers to provide Jewish orphans and students at the Hebrew free schools with an opportunity “to have a few holidays and enjoy recreation by the sea-side” during the upcoming summer months.
1874: Isaac S. Isaacs, Adolph L. Singer and Oscar S. Straus were among those elected to the Board of Directors of the newly formed Young Men’s Hebrew Association. Lewis May was chosen as the first president.
1874: YMHA constitution was approved today.
1877: In Bremen, Germany, Ida and Nathan Abraham gave birth to Karl Abraham, the German psychoanalyst who worked with Sigmund Freud.
1877: “The Hebrews in Roumania” published today described attempts by the Board of Delegates of American Israelites to have the President intercede on behalf of Jews of Bucharest and parts of the realm of Prince Charles who have been subjected to a series of unthinkable “barbarities.”
1878(30th of Nisan, 5638) Rosh Chodesh Iyar
1882: The Czar gave his approval to series of anti-Semitic regulations proposed by Count Ignatiev known collectively as the “May Laws.
1885: Forty-five year Sally Sanford Mordecai passed away. Sally was the daughter of Brigadier General William Murray and Sally "Eveleth" Maynadier. She married General Alfred Mordecai, II. They were the parents of five children. Her father-in-law was a ranking solider in the U.S. Army prior to the Civil War who resigned rather than take up arms against his Southern family members or the country that he had sworn to protect. Her husband had no such qualms and served with distinction during the Civil War.
1886: The National Rabbinical Convention, an organization of Reform clergyman, is scheduled to meet today in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1891: “Russian Jews” published today opens with the statement that “Every American will be glad to see the announcement of a scheme to colonize the Jews who are expelled from the Czar’s dominions on an immense tract” of land in Argentina. The project is being underwritten by Baron Hirsch. According to the article, the United States already has too many Jewish immigrants from Russia. The Russian Jews are described as impoverished, ignorant, a burden on society and a mass who will never assimilate into American life. The article ends by stating that “it is noteworthy that all other civilized countries share our dislike to entertaining the victims of the Czar’s cruelty…”
1891: It was reported today that Russian Jewish immigrants are arriving in the United Kingdom at the rate of nearly 18.000 per year.
1892: The cornerstone for a new facility to house the youngsters in the care of Hebrew Brooklyn Orphan asylum was laid today
1894: Council No.5 of the National Council Jewish Women was formed in Newark, NJ, with a membership of 91 led by President Gratta and Secretary Maybaum.
1894: “Mourners’ Prayers will be delivered” tonight at the home of the family of Jesse Seligman, the banker, philanthropist and lead of the Jewish community who died unexpectedly and whose funeral was which was attended by over 2,000 people was held yesterday at Temple Emanuel where Cantor Sparger and Rabbis Silberman and Gottheil officiated at the service.
1895: In New York, Governor Morton gave executive approval to a proposal by Assembly Steinberg “authorizing the sale of certain lands to the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York City which the city of New York has heretofore conditionally transferred to that institution.”
1895: In Vienna, Lili Mueller and Dr. Herman Carl Mark who converted to Lutheranism when he got married gave birth to Herman Francis Mark “the American chemist known for his contributions to the development of polymer science.
1898(11th of Iyar, 5658): Birthdate of Golda Meir. Her life reads like one of those grand literary sagas of which television mini-series are made. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, she experienced Pogroms before coming to America with her family. As an act of teenage rebellion she fled from her home in Milwaukee to join her sister in Denver. She moved back to Milwaukee to become a school teacher. After hearing the recruiting pitch for the Jewish Legion, Ms. Meirson (she Hebraized her name to Meir after the creation of the state of Israel in response to pressure from David Ben Gurion) decided to join the settlers in Palestine. She was an ardent Zionist as well as socialist which, from an ideological point of view, made her an ideal candidate for life on a kibbutz. Mrs. Meir, whose name was Meyerson at the time, became increasingly active in the leadership of the Yishuv. She had a leading role in raising funds from American Jews to buy arms for the underground Jewish military units before 1948. Disguised as Bedouin, she met with the King of Jordan in an attempt to avert hostilities in 1948. Her story of Simchat Torah in Moscow after the creation of the state of Israel is an inspirational classic. She was Foreign Minister and finally became the “fourth Prime Minister of Israel. She served from 1969 through 1974, a period that included the Yom Kippur War. She passed away in 1978, having lived to see Sadat's historic trip to Jerusalem. They met, not as former adversaries, but as grandparents. Golda, as she was known to all, had a gift for Sadat's grandchild.
1898: Following the start of the Spanish-American War, The Cleveland (Ohio) Leader reported that “the Jews of the United States through the active efforts of those in Ohio may contribute a sum sufficient to purchase a warship for the United States Government.
1898: “Russian Jews to the Front” published today described efforts to have at least 5,000 mostly recent immigrants enlist in the U.S. Army led by Nathan Straus who “said that heroism and devotion to duty marked the course of Jewish history.”
1899: Governor Theodore Roosevelt signed into law a bill “providing for the consolidation of the Educational Alliance and the Hebrew Free School Association of New York City.
1900: Herzl has a meeting with Austrian Prime Minister Ernest von Koerber. At the request of the Prime Minister, Herzl drafts Koerber's "Language Bill" speech. Herzl agreed to draft the speech as part of his campaign to get the Austrian Prime Minister to help arrange an audience with the Sultan of Turkey.
1900: The week-long convention of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith which had been meeting at the Auditorium Hotel in Chicago came to a close tonight. The convention voted to create a new position of Chancellor which “will have supervision of lodges” in Europe and Asia. The President and the Board of Directors will continue to control the lodges in Canada and the United States. Leon Levy of New York was elected President and Julius Bien of New York was elected Chancellor. The next convention will take place in New Orleans in 1905.
1902: Herzl writes to the Sultan of Turkey appealing for the establishment of a Jewish university in Palestine. “The idea of a Jewish university, and all that such a university implied, quickly became an integral part of Zionist thinking.
1903: Birthdate of “French philosopher and Marxist theoretician” Georges Politzer.
1904: A cable dispatch to the Times of London from Vienna dated today says, “According to Jewish journal published in Lemberg, Galicia, anti-Jewish excesses took place” on Saturday, April 30 “at Bender, in Bessarabia while the most of the Jews were attending Shabbat Services. Five people were killed and many were wounded as the mobs attacked shops and homes because they believed the war with Japan was somehow part of an Anglo-American and Jewish act to avenge the pogrom at Kishinev.
1909: Fire destroys part of the Haskoy, the Constantinople Jewish quarter. Five hundred Jews are left homeless.
1909: David Woolf Marks, the first Rabbi of London’s Reform Synagogue passed away.
1910: In Boston, MA, Sam Corwin and his wife gave birth to Norman Lewis Corwin
1911: Dr. Solomon Schechter, the President of the Jewish Theological Institute, who has just returned from an eleven months' vacation, said tonight that he had been spending most of the time resting. His mind has been active, however, if his pen has not, and he has already thought of a subject for another book which is to deal with the Jew in Northern Africa.
1912: Vittoli Effendi Fradji of Constantinople, Ezekiel Effendi Sassoon of Baghdad, Nissim Effendi Mazliach of Smyrna and Emanuel Effendi Karasa of Salonica are all re-elected to the Turkish parliament.
1913: In Vienna, Felix and Else Kohut gave birth to Heinz Kohut an Austrian-born American psychoanalyst best known for his development of Self psychology, an influential school of thought within psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theory which helped transform the modern practice of analytic and dynamic treatment approaches. (For more see, Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst by Charles Strozier)
1913: In what might be viewed as an early celebration of his 70th birthday, Dr. Kaufmann Kohler who served as Rabbi of Temple Beth-El for 24 years and is now Rabbi Emeritus was honored by more than 500 friends and congregants at this morning’s Shabbat services.
1915: It was reported today that Louis D. Brandeis has publicly declared that “Disabilities are imposed upon the Jews in Russia where they are denied the freedom to move about, the right to own land the rights fundamental to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness” and that “to win these rights is the only solution for the Jewish problem for any other solution involves suicide and death to Jewish aspirations.”
1915: It was reported today that under the auspices of Baron de Hirsch Fund, “Jews have been sent to 1,700 different communities in the United States and Canada where working conditions were more suited to them than was the case in the congregated districts like New York City” and that “in 15 years 70,000 Jews have been sent West.”
1915: Solomon Rabinowitz, who writes under the name of Sholom Aleichem, was the guest of honor at tonight’s annual meeting of the Educational Alliance where the keynote addressed was given by Jacob H. Schiff.
1915: In Chicago, following the formation of a Leo M. Frank Committee it was announced that a mass meeting will be held at the Powers Theatre to protest against the execution of Leo M. Frank.
1915: Acting on behalf of the state of Georgia, “Solicitor General Dorsey applied today to Judge Hill for a writ of habeas corpus directing the immediate presence of Leo M. Frank in court for resentence to death as the slayer of Mary Phagan” and Judge Hill announced, in response, “that he would take no action on the petition before the mandate of the United States Supreme Court is handed down.”
1915: President Ralph A. Newman was the toastmaster at the seventh annual dinner of the Harvard Menorah Society which was attended by approximately 200 men at the Hotel Lenox in Boston, MA.
1916: In Hot Springs, AR, dedication of the Leo N. Levi Memorial Hospital
1916: In a marriage of two labor activists in the garment industry, Bessie Abramowitz married Sidney Hillman. She became Bessie Abramowitz Hillman.
1916: In the conflict between the owners of the renovated Rialto Theatre which included Felix Kahn of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., and Oscar Hammerstein, “the theatre said that the rooms desired by Mr. Hammerstein were to be used by the press department and that the agreement that Hammerstein was to occupy the rooms was drawn by himself and was unsigned.”
1916: In responding to a proposal made by the Reform Rabbis to remove “The Merchant of Venice” from the New York City Sir Hebert Tree was reported to have said today that “The Jews today are perhaps the most potent race on the earth. Surely they can afford not to be too sensitive of criticism.” “To banish Shylock from the stage would be to banish one of the most important characters of Shakespeare’s Genius” especially since “he gave Shylock the domestic virtues and vices of his race, those vices which had been called forth by the oppression of the Middle Ages.”
1917: In Russia, “the Jews of Constanigrad have signed $5,000,000 rubles for the liberty loan.
1917: “Samuel Untermyer, speaking tonight at Cooper Union to 3,000 member of the Jewish League of American Patriots deplored he selection of Elihu Root as the head of the proposed American commission to Russia on the ground that Mr. Root was not in sympathy with and no understanding of Jewish aspirations and problems” and that while “he did not advocate his removal…he suggested that the President might was to appoint some representative Jew to its membership.
1918: In Vienna, “The Christian Socialist deputies in the Reichsrath introduced an interpellation demand the establishment of a percentage limitation for Jewish students in all higher educational institutions” while other deputies are calling for limiting the number of Jewish students to three per cent.
1918: In Camden, NJ, the ten teams working to add additional members to the Young Women’s Hebrew Association and the Young Men’s Hebrew Association showed renewed vigor tonight when they found out that work will soon be starting on the construction of a new home for the two organizations.
1918: In Greece, a newly enacted law which had a negative impact on the owners of property that had been destroyed led to many Jews leaving for the United States, France, Italy and Egypt. Many of these Jews had lost their property in the great fire of August 17, 1917
1919: As the German government sought to bring down the Bavarian Soviet Republic, the army “assisted by the Freikorps” retook Munich where they killed and arrested many of the revolutionaries including Eugen Leviné
1919: Birthdate of Irish gynecologist and family planning pioneer Dr. Michael Solomons.
1919: In Manhattan, musicologist Charles Seeger and concert violinist Constance de Clyver Edson Seeger gave birth to folk singer and social activist Peter “Pete” Seeger.
1923: In Palestine, filming of “Palestine Awakening” written by American Zionist William Topkis (As reported by David Geffen)
1924: Aleph Zadik Aleph, popularly known as AZA is formed in Omaha, Nebraska by Sam Beber.
1924: Birthdate of Ludewig Pfeuffer, the native of Wurzberg whose family moved to Petah Tivkva when he was eleven and who gained fame as prize winning poet Yehuda Amichai.
1925: President Calvin Coolidge helped dedicate the cornerstone of the Washington, D.C. Jewish Community center.
1926: Birthdate of dramatist Herbert Blau
1926: In the same year it was released in the United States, “She” a fantasy film directed and produced by G.B. Samuelson with music by Louis Levy was released in Finland today.
1926(13th of Iyar, 5686): Seventy five year old Oscar Solomon Straus who became the first Jewish Cabinet Secretary when he served as Secretary of Commerce and Labor under Teddy Roosevelt, passed away today.
1927: “A Night in Spain” a review with music by Side Silvers opened at the 44th Street Theatre today.
1928: “Show Boat,” the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II musical based on the novel by Edna Ferber premiered for the first time in London at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
1928: According to reports published today, the employment picture is improving after an 18 month slowdown. Among the causes for the improvement are the growth of the orange industry, improving conditions in businesses located in Tel Aviv including textiles, chocolate and box making and the construction work on the Rutenberg hydroelectric concession on the Jordan River near the Sea of Galilee.
1928(13th of Iyar, 5688): Isabel Caroline Steinfeld, the daughter of Martha Levy and Maurice Steinfeld passed away today in Madison, Wisconsin.1929: Jews praying at the Western Wall are attacked by Arabs.1933: Birthdate of Steven Weinberg, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1979, supporter of Israel who expressed his views in “an essay title ‘Zionism and Cultural Adversaries’” and husband of U.T. law professor Louise Weinberg.http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1979/weinberg-bio.html
1934: In Alexandria, Egypt Sarah and Nessim Mustacchi gave birth to singer/songwriter Georges Moustaki
1934: “A three-day celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of Tel-Aviv…culminated today with a tribute to the veteran 72 year old founder and present Mayor, Meyer Dizengoff. More than 10,000 school children marched through the streets to the municipal building carrying baskets of flowers, where were presented to the Mayor. Two new streets were named for him and his late wife, despite his protests that he was unworthy of such an honor.”
1934: The trial of Abba Ahimeir, Abraham Stavsky and Ze'evi Rosenblatt the three men accused of murdering Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff, Jewish Labor party leader, at Tel-Aviv last June, reopened today with the court ruling against the request of Horace Samuel, counsel for the defense, to strike out evidence resulting from police line-ups in which the three accused were identified. Samuel contended that the police had “guided Mrs. Arlosoroff” in identifying the accused.
1935: Birthdate of businessman Ron Popeil who gained fame and fortune with Ginsu knives and “Mr. Microphone.”
1935: For the second day in a row, temperatures in Palestine reach 104 degrees “in the shade.” The coastal settlements and cities, including Tel Aviv were most affected by the unusual heat wave. Temperatures in Palestine average 65 in May and 74 during July and August. In modern times, the temperature record belongs to a day in August 1881 when the thermometer reached 112.
1936: This morning “junior member of the religious school of Congregation Emanu-El” in New York, presented a pageant “The Ten Commandments” in commemoration of the upcoming celebration of the festival of Shavuot which “marks the giving of the commandments to Moses.”
1936: Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. made his first appearance at public dinner in New York in three years when he joined 750 other people in paying tribute to Judge Lehman at dinner tonight at the Hotel Astor where his sixtieth birthday celebration was combing with honoring his 15 years of service as President of the Jewish Welfare Board.
1936: Today, as the Arab strike enters into its 12th day, the stoppage is holding firm everywhere except in Haifa “and the Jews who are most pessimistic over the outcome of this unrest” “are keeping out of the Arab quarters” while “going about their normal business.”
1936: While speaking at a meeting of the B’nai B’rith at Atlantic City, NJ, “Representative Samuel Dickstein of New York, the chairman of the House Immigration, Naturalization and Deportation Committee declared that while the Hitler government refused to meet its obligations to American bondholder, it spent almost $32,000,000 to spread propaganda against the Jews in the United States.”
1936: The New York Times described the work that has gone into building the soon-to-be opened modern water system that will finally give Jerusalem a reliable supply of water. This is the culmination of a ten year effort, the last two of which have resulted in the construction of four pumping stations at Ra-el Ain, Latrun, Bab El Wad and Romna. Each of the pumping stations is at a successively higher elevation. The work was made all the more difficult by the topography of the Judean Hills and the layers of hard work through which the workers had to dig.
1936: Joseph C. Hyman Secretary of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee was reported to have issued a reassurance that although the Joint will continue providing financial assistance and travel funds for those seeking to leave Europe for Palestine, it will not be able to allocate additional funds because of other demands with which it is dealing.
1938: The Flossenburg Concentration Camp became operational. The camp was located in Germany and would be liberated by the Americans in April, 1945. Several of the conspirators who sought to kill Hitler in June, 1944, were executed at Flossenburg. These included the famous Admiral Canaris whose diary has provided a treasure trove about German activities during this period.
1939: Hoping to establish rapprochement with Nazi Germany, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin replaces his Jewish commissar for foreign affairs, Maksim Litvinov, with the less British-oriented Viacheslav Molotov. The result of all this would be a non-aggression pact between the two dictators in August of 1939 that would shock the world. At the same time it would give Hitler the green light to invade Poland from the east. The Soviets later invaded from the west and the two totalitarian butchers shared in the spoils of Poland.
1939: Just months before Hitler and Stalin signed the non-aggression pact that made possible the start of WW II in Europe Stalin removed his Jewish Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Maxim Litvinov, which facilitated the negotiations with the Nazis.
1939: Ravensbruck, a concentration camp for women, was established.
1939: The Budapest "Jewish Law" prohibits any Hungarian Jew from becoming a judge, a lawyer a schoolteacher or a member of the Hungarian parliament.
1941: Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring came to the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris1941: Time magazine published an article titled “Germany: Problem in Subtraction” reported that The arithmetic that Hitler has taught to Jews in the Third Reich has been the misery of subtraction. From all of them he has taken something: privileges, property, homes, life. Simplest subtraction has been the decrease of the Reich's Jewish population by emigration, deportation and death.
In Germany—500,000 Jews minus 310,000 equals 190,000.
In Austria—180,000 Jews minus 135,000 equals 45,000.
In Czecho-Slovakia—185,000 Jews minus 25,000 equals 160,000.
Within the last fortnight two sardine-packed trains left Vienna, as the Nazis applied themselves again to this problem. Aboard each were more than 1,000 Jews bound for limbo—the new barbed-wire ghetto near Lublin in Poland. Elsewhere sealed trains crossed the border with more Jews (mostly very old and very young) for the starved concentration camps of unoccupied France. From Vienna alone the Nazis promised to dump five to twelve more trainloads a month. Hitler's final solution to his problem in subtraction is zero—to be reached, according to the most sanguine reports from Germany, in just six more weeks.http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,851072,00.html#ixzz1L8yfn3rT
1942: Nazis required Dutch Jews to wear a Jewish star
1943(28th of Nisan, 5703): German troops in the "Aryan" section of Warsaw arrest and kill 21 women who are Jewish or suspected of being Jewish.
1943(28th of Nisan, 5703): A Jewish man named Rakowski, an underground leader at the Treblinka death camp, is shot when currency intended to bribe Ukrainians to help him and a few others escape is discovered in his barrack.
1944: The first of a number of new factories at Auschwitz opened up in preparation to receive laborers from the deportation of Hungarian Jews. New labor camps opened in Myslowice, Bobrek, and Sosnoweic in preparation for the same action.
1944: At Gleiwitz, Poland, near Auschwitz, Germans open a slave-labor plant for production of "black smoke" for use in smoke screens.
1944(10th of Iyar): Poet Isaac Katzenelson murdered at Auschwitz
1945: Fifty-eight year old Herbert Farjeon, a major figure in the world of British theatre who was the son of Benjamin Leopold Farjeon passed away today.
1945: In the U.S. premiere of “The Valley of Decision” based on a novel by Marcia Davenport who co-authored the script with Sonya Levien and filmed by cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg.
1945: At Mauthausan Concentration Camp, the task of guarding the camp was handed to a police unit from Vienna.
1945(20th of Iyar, 5705): Approximately 9400 Jewish prisoners who had been evacuated from Neuengamme and marched to Lübeck, Germany, are loaded by their overseers onto two ships, the Thielbeck and the Cap Arcona, apparently for no other purpose but a Nazi hope that the Jews would die while on board. British planes, unaware that the ships are not hostile, attack. Both ships sink in the Lübeck harbor within 15 minutes. Survivors who attempt to swim to shore are fired upon by waiting members of the Hitler Youth, Volkstrum, and the SS. Of the 9400 prisoners, only about 2400 survive
1945(20th of Iyar, 5705): In the worst friendly-fire incident in history - Britain's Royal Air Force killed more than 7,000 survivors of Nazi concentration camps who were crowded onto ships in Lubeck harbor, Germany. The ragged masses that had survived the Holocaust stood no chance against the guns of their liberators. This tragic mistake occurred one day before the British accepted the surrender of all German forces in the region. Reports of the incident were quickly hushed up - as a jubilant world prepared to celebrate the Allied victory in Europe. Despite the bitter irony of dying in hellish fires on sinking ships just hours before liberation, the tragedy was quickly forgotten or resolutely ignored. The anniversary of this dark day will soon pass by again - largely unnoticed or unmentioned. By early May 1945, the rumors of Hitler's suicide had rekindled hope for beleaguered prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. The Red Army had just conquered Berlin; the British held Hamburg and Americans were in Munich and Vienna. After surviving unspeakable horrors and deprivations for years, the battered prisoners could finally dare to hope that their day of deliverance was at hand. In the closing weeks of World War II, thousands of prisoners from the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg, the Mittelbau-Dora camp at Nordhausen and the Stutthof camp near Danzig were marched to the German Baltic coast. Most of the inmates were Jews and Russian POWs, but they also included communist sympathizers, pacifists, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, prostitutes, Gypsies and other perceived enemies of the Third Reich. At the port of L beck almost 10,000 camp survivors were crowded onto three ships: Cap Arcona, Thielbeck and Athen. No one knew what the Nazis were planning to do, or what plans the Allies had already set into motion. Although the final surrender was imminent, British Operational Order No. 73 for May 3 was to "destroy the concentration of enemy shipping in L beck Bay." While thousands of camp prisoners were being ferried out to the once-elegant Hamburg-Sud Amerika liner Cap Arcona, the RAF's 263rd, 197th, 198th and 184th squadrons were arming their Hawker Typhoon fighter-bombers with ammunition, bombs and rockets. At 2:30 p.m. on May 3, at least 4,500 prisoners were aboard the Cap Arcona as the first attack began. Sixty-four rockets and 15 bombs hit the liner in two separate attacks. As the British strafed the stricken ship from the air, Nazi guards on shore fired on those who made it into the water. Only 350 prisoners survived. The Thielbeck - which had been flying a white flag - and the poorly marked hospital ship Deutschland were attacked next. Although Thielbeck was just a freighter in need of repairs, it was packed with 2,800 prisoners. The overcrowded freighter sank in just 20 minutes, killing all but 50 of the prisoners. In less than two hours, more than 7,000 concentration camp refugees were dead from the friendly fire. Two thousand more would have died if the captain of the Athen had not refused to take on additional prisoners in the morning before the attack. Most who were familiar with the Cap Arcona disaster believed that the Nazis intended to sink the ships at sea to kill everyone on board. Hundreds of prisoners had already been killed on the forced marches from the camps. In this case, however, RAF Fighter Command did their killing for them. In the Cap Arcona/Thielbeck/Athen disaster, the tragic deaths of so many who had suffered so much for so long were quickly forgotten. After years of unprecedented bloodletting and destruction, the nations involved were in shambles, their populations numbed by suffering and death. The unfortunate victims who perished at the close of history's worst conflagration were quickly lost in the fleeting euphoria of peace. In 1945, at the close of the war in Europe, the victorious British and their American allies did not want a media disaster overshadowing their V-E Day celebrations. When the extent of the friendly-fire incident became known at Westminster, the British government and Allied Command effectively prevented most news of the disaster from spreading from Germany. Beyond war-weariness and postwar jubilation, other factors conspired to ensure that the valiant prisoners who died at the threshold of freedom would not be given much attention in the world press. In a war in which the British had paid so high a price to defeat the Nazis, to even criticize their forces was tantamount to siding with the devil. Then postwar Germany quickly became one of the "good guys" as an important frontline ally in the Cold War against communism. As such, most Germans preferred not to draw attention to their own war atrocities. Millions of Jews, Russians, Serbs, Poles and others had already been killed by the Nazis. Tens of millions more were homeless refugees, with many near starvation. The memory of 7,000 or 8,000 concentration camp survivors killed by mistake would soon wash away in the tide of history in a violent age. Britain has never officially apologized for its tragic mistake at L beck Bay, nor has it honored the innocent victims with a proper memorial. The RAF records of the disaster are sealed until 2045, one century after the attack. No British government document has referred to the estimated 7,500 victims of its mistake. In May 1990, Germany opened a two-room museum dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Cap Arcona tragedy in the small port city of Neustadt-in-Holstein. A memorial monument was erected on the beach nearby at Pelzerhaken, where many of the bodies washed ashore and were buried. Other monuments were erected along L beck Bay and at the Neuengamme Camp Memorial southeast of Hamburg. Much has been written in German about the tragedy, but surprisingly little about the Cap Arcona has made it to the English press. On a recent visit to the memorial, a helpful resident of Neustadt said to me: "So your family is German?" I said, "No." "Oh, then you are Jewish?" Again I said, "No." My new acquaintance looked puzzled. Eventually he asked: "Well how could you possibly know about this?" I asked myself: "Why did it take me a half century to find out?" A Jewish dental student, Benjamin Jacobs, gives a firsthand account of the friendly fire attack in The Dentist of Auschwitz (University of Kentucky Press, 1995). Along with Eugene Pool, the Boston dentist also wrote The 100 Year Secret: Britain's Hidden World War II Massacre (Lyons Press, 2004). Documentaries on the subject, such as Lawrence Bond's Typhoons' Last Storm, have had only limited publicity. According to legend, Pheidippides was an Athenian herald who ran from the battlefield at Marathon to Athens 2,500 years ago. After announcing the Greek victory over the Persians, he allegedly died on the spot. The tale has been widely propagated by organizers of modern athletic events. Surviving the horrors of concentration camps - one day at a time - is in many respects like a marathon run. Mere survival under such brutal conditions surely tested the endurance of both body and spirit. And like the mythical runner, thousands of inmates made it all the way to the end of their agonizing journeys only to perish at the finish line. A half-century after the ill-fated air raid, we still know very little about the Jews, the Russians and other prisoners who survived so much before dying on the finish line in May 1945. By the time British records are unsealed in 2045, all children and most grandchildren of the victims will be gone. Historians will pore over the tragic details of the Cap Arcona disaster with the same level of detachment that we now feel for events such as the Franco-Prussian War or the siege of Sevastopol. There is no question that the friendly-fire fiasco was a tragic error made during a routine military operation. Despite the terrible consequences, few reasonable people would condemn the British for their ill-fated raid. Some Hitler apologists have even attempted to use such mistakes to blame the Allies for monstrous crimes committed by the Nazis. Yet the continued avoidance of criticizing friends does not justify shunning all mention of the innocent victims of the attack. Whether embarrassing or not, the 7,500 Cap Arcona victims deserve to be remembered.
1945: The Inspector General began an investigation in charges of “alleged mistreatment” of German Guards at Dachau by U.S. soldiers.
1948: The U.S. Supreme Court decides that deed covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate based on race or religion are legally unenforceable. This opened the doorway for Jews to move into many of what
had been “restricted” neighborhoods. In some places, effectively whole towns had been off-limits to Jews. Realtors and bigots would not go gently into the night and they found other creative ways to try and excluded Jews. One of the most elegant areas in Washington, D.C. was called Spring Valley, a restricted subdivision that was home to Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
1948: The Supreme Court issued a decision in United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.
1949: In New York, film executive David Raphel, the grandson of Baron David de Gunzburg and his wife gave birth to American author Monique Raphel High.
1950: The Indian League organized a meeting in memory of the late Harold Laski during which Indian Prime Minister Nehru said: “It is difficult to realize that Professor Harold Laski is no more. Lovers of freedom all over the world pay tribute to the magnificent work that he did. We in India are particularly grateful for his staunch advocacy of India's freedom, and the great part he played in bringing it about. At no time did he falter or compromise on the principles he held dear, and a large number of persons drew splendid inspiration from him. Those who knew him personally counted that association as a rare privilege, and his passing away has come as a great sorrow and a shock.”
1951: Birthdate of Pierre Lellouche, the Tunisian born Jew who has been active in French and European politics including serving as President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
1953(18th of Iyar, 5713): Lag B’Omer
1953: In Westbury, NY, Seymour and Joan Blecker gave birth to Irene Blecker the holder of multiple degrees from Cornell gained fame as Dr. Irene Blecker Rosenfeld, the CEO of Kraft Food and number 6 on “The Wall Street Journal’s 50 Women to Watch list.”
1954: In Oakland, CA, Walter S. and Jean Scheib gave birth to Walter Scheib III who grew up in Bethesda, MD to become the White House Chef for Presidents Clinton and Bush.
1957: Walter O'Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, agrees to move the team from Brooklyn, New York, to Los Angeles, California. Because of Brooklyn’s large Jewish population, the team had “tons” of Jewish fans. O’Malley was vilified for moving the team. Decades later, we found out that the O’Malley wanted to keep the team in Brooklyn. He was thwarted by Robert Moses who had his priorities for New York that included a baseball park outside of Brooklyn that would become known as Shea Stadium.
1958: Release date for “Stakeout on Dope Street’ which marked the directorial debut of Irvin Kershner.
1958: Sofia Cosma, the Jewish pianist who ended being imprisoned in Siberia when she was trying to escape the Nazis at the start of WW II, performed for the first time in Lasi.
1958: In Copenhagen, Claus Toksvig and his wife gave birth to Sandi Toksvig author of Hitler’s Canary, a novel set in Denmark during the German occupation which tells the story of a family involved in the resistance movement that helped to save the Danish Jews during WW II.
1959: Birthdate of Ben Elton, a London born comedian, author, playwright and television director whose father was “of German-Jewish descent” and whose mother was not.
1960: The Anne Frank House, a museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, opened in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
1960(6th of Iyar, 5720): Seventy-nine year old Alfred Whital Stern retired clothing executive and avid collector of Lincoln memorabilia passed away in Chicago.
1969(15th of Iyar. 5729): Seventy-nine year old cinematographer Karl W. Freund whose work included the 1927 classic Metropolis to the I Love Lucy television series.
1973: “Touch Me in the Morning” one of the top singles of 1973 conceived of by songwriter and producer by Michael Masser was released today.
1976: Thirty-three passers-by were injured when a booby-trapped motor scooter exploded at the corner of Ben Yehuda and Ben Hillel Streets. Among those injured were the Greek consul in Jerusalem and his wife. The following day, on the eve of Independence Day, the municipality organized an event at the site of the attack, under the slogan: "Nevertheless."
1976: Pulitzer Prize awarded to Saul Bellow for Humboldt's Gift. Born in Canada in 1915, Bellow moved to Chicago as a child in the 1920's. A graduate of Northwestern University, where he was told to forget about writing since no Jew could appreciate the English language. Before becoming a successful writer, Bellow taught college, worked for the board of the Encyclopedia Britannica and served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II. His first novel was the Dangling Man. Humboldt's Gift, which appeared in 1975, "was narrated in the first person. The protagonist, Charlie Citrine, is a writer, rich and successful. But in his heart he knows that he is a failure - he is under the thumb of a small-time Chicago gangster, ruined by a divorce and finally abandoned by his mistress. He admires his dead friend, Von Humboldt Fleischer, modeled on the poet Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966). Humboldt, a talent wasted, represents for him all that is important in culture. Citrine continues the series of Bellow's losers, from Herzog to Sammler, but like his other novels, it is not gloomy, and finds a comic side even in its protagonist's tragedy."
1978(26th of Nisan, 5738): Ninety-one year old Pinchas Rosen, Israel’s first Minister of Justice passed away today.
1979: Premiere of “Bent” a play by Martin Sherman that “revolves around the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.”
1981: It was reported that The Israel Festival has been canceled for this summer. The decision was made in order ''to spread festival events out over a greater period of time, rather than concentrating them within a span of six weeks,'' according to a government spokesman. Instead there will be two smaller festivals, the Spring in Jerusalem Festival and the Proms '81, both of which will take place in Jerusalem.1981: In New York, light from hundreds of candles flickered on polished mosaic tile as the sounds of the ghetto songs of decades ago echoed in Temple Emanu-El. As they have for 10 years, thousands of Jews and non-Jews gathered to recall the spirit of the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943
1981: Beginning of Jewish Heritage Week in the United States as proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan.
1981(29th of Nisan, 5741): Seventy-nine year old tennis champion and winner of the bronze medal in the shot-put passed away today in New York.
1987: Saul P. Steinberg and Barbara Steinberg, both of New York, have announced the engagement of their daughter, Laura S. Steinberg, to Jonathan M. Tisch, president of Loews Hotels who is a son of Postmaster General Preston Robert Tisch and Mrs. Tisch of Washington and New York.
1987: Cardinal John O’Conner, Archbishop of New York “watched thousands march down Fifth Avenue protesting the oppression of Soviet Jews” later joining the protesters at a rally near the United Nations where told them, “As I stood on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral this morning and watched you stream by, I could only be proud of those who streamed out of Egypt several thousand years ago, winning freedom for themselves and for all of us. They are your ancestors, and they are mine… I am proud to be this day, with you, a Jew.” (What nobody knew that day, including O’Connor was that his mother Dorothy Gumple O’Connor, was born Jewish” and converted to Catholicism before she met and married his father.)
1987: Her Majesty Queen Beatrix officiated at the opening ceremony of the restored synagogues which house the Jewish Historical Museum
1990: NBC broadcast the final episode of season six of “The Cosby Show,” co-created by Ed Weinberger.
1991(19th of Iyar, 5751): Jerzy Kosinksi author of Being There passed away at the age of 50.
1992: In The Los Angeles Times, Charles Solomon reviewed Blood and Banquets: A Berlin Diary 1930-1938 by Bella Fromm, the”daughter of a prominent Jewish family, who was forced to begin working when her fortune disappeared in the runaway inflation that wracked Germany after World War I. As ‘Frau Bella,’ the society columnist for the highbrow Berlin newspaper Vossische Zeitung, she frequented the most exclusive circles” and it was this work that provided the information for her book which has appeared in a paperback edition.
1995(3rd of Iyar, 5755): Yom HaZikaron
1996: “The Pallbearer” a comedy produced by J.J. Abrams and co-starring David Schwimmer, Michael Rapaport and Barbara Hershey was released in the United States today.
1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Gertrude Stein: Writings 1903-1932 and Gertrude Stein: Writings 1932-1946.
1998: In “Garment District: Sheets, Towels and Prayers In One Stop”, Edward Levine describes life in and around the Millinery Center Synagogue
2000: When Lillie Steinhorn retired from the Social Security Administration today she was the longest-serving federal employee on record.
2001: President Bush meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in the Oval Office.
2001: In address to the American Jewish Committee, President Bush said “We will speak up for our principles and we will stand up for our friends in the world. And one of our most important friends is the State of Israel… [Israel] is a small country that has lived under threat throughout its existence. At the first meeting of my National Security Council, I told them a top foreign policy priority is the safety and security of Israel. My Administration will be steadfast in supporting Israel against terrorism and violence, and in seeking the peace for which all Israelis pray.”
2002(21st of Iyar, 5762): Sixty-five year old American lighting designer Martin Aronstein whose works included such Broadway hits as “Cactus Flower and ‘How Now, Dow Jones” passed away today.
2003: Jewish Jazz flautist Herbie Mann performed for the last the time at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
2003: “Letters from the Dead” premiered at the Brooklyn International Film Festival where the movie’s creator, Jewish-American filmmaker Ari Taub, was named Best New Director.
2004: Twenty year old Marine Corporal Dustin Schrage disappeared today with his team May 3 while swimming across the Euphrates River in the Al Anbar province with his team in Iraq.
2006(5th of Iyar, 5766): Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Israel Independence Day. In Israel, the celebration of the 58th birthday began in the evening of May 2 with a state torch-lighting ceremony on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl The ceremony also marked the end of Memorial Day.
2006: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Independence Day has become a worldwide celebration. “From Los Angeles to Budapest, Jews all over the world will be celebrating Israel's 58th anniversary. The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is proud to present their "From Israel With Love Gala Show," which will include several headline acts. Israel's Eyal Golan and Britain's own Vanessa Feltz will be performing for an expected 5,000 spectators, making it one of the biggest events in the UK Jewish calendar. There will also be two IDF bands, as well as Kidanza, a young dance troupe, the Inter School Choirs and the winners of the Yom Ha'atzmaut song contest. "We're very proud that the British Jewish community comes together in the strongest way for Israel," comments Alan Aziz, executive director of the Zionist Federation. "The Reform, Liberal, Masorti and Orthodox communities all come to celebrate together." In Paris, the Consistoire de France has organized a ceremony at the Grande Synagogue de la Victoire. The evening will include Israeli artists and singers with performances by Phil Barney, Francis Lalanne, Adama and Les Forbans. The event is expected to draw 1,500 participants. This year the Danish Zionist Federation has invited all the Jewish and non-Jewish friendship organizations of Denmark to partake in a big party in Copenhagen. "We outgrew the Jewish community center so now we have it in a Jewish primary school," says Inger Kramarz, spokesperson for the DZF. "Jens Rohde, a representative of the Danish Liberal Party, has been invited to speak on a topic of his choice, implementing our famous freedom of speech laws," she adds humorously. Yom Ha'atzmaut celebrations will be carried out in the three largest Jewish communities in Sweden. In Stockholm, the Israeli embassy will hold an invitation-only reception and afterwards there will be a party organized by the Stockholm Jewish Center. The Gothenburg Jewish community and the Malm Jewish community will also be hosting their own parties. In Budapest, festivities arranged by the Jewish Agency and its many partners will take place on May 21st, in the Millenaris Park in downtown Budapest. Throughout the day there will be programs for children organized by the Youth Movements (Bnei Akiva, Habonim Dror, Hashomer Hatzair), as well as Hora dancing with professional teachers, an Israel information tent, a talk-show about the Middle East and singers in the afternoon for adults. In the evening Hadag Nahash is scheduled to be on stage, preceded by the Klezmer-hip-hop fusion band Haseger. Last year there were 8,000 people in attendance with even more expected this year. Over the ocean in Canada, there will be major festivities held in Montreal and Toronto, among other Canadian cities. The motto for this year's celebration in Montreal is 'for the children by the children'. This year's events will be led by an enthusiastic group of Jewish day school students who have been working in close cooperation with Federation CJA. Their rethink of the annual event aims to get youth involved as much as possible in all aspects of the day. Israeli Consul-General Marc Attali will be speaking, along with Cote St. Luc City Mayor Anthony Housefather. Students from Jewish schools will be making presentations about Israel and many will also be performing. At least 1,500 students and adults are expected at Trudeau Park with high-spirited singing and dancing. A major party will be held in honor of Yom Ha'atzmaut at the Afterlife night club in downtown Toronto. The party, which is the biggest Yom Ha'atzmaut party in Canada, involves all the youth movements and federation groups in the city. The Toronto Jewish community will be having an all-day event behind the Bathurst JCC featuring a kosher BBQ, carnival games and live music including Toronto's own Bais Groove in addition to Israel's Moshav Band. South of the border in the United States, Yom Ha'atzmaut celebrations are taking place in just about every major city. This year the Tampa Jewish Community Center brings Israel to downtown Tampa for the first time. On Sunday May 7th the Independence Day events will officially begin with a solidarity walk for Israel, all-day activities including American, Israeli and Jewish cuisine, Israeli vendors and products and Israeli rock music by the Moshav Band. The United Jewish Community/Jewish Federation of Las Vegas plan to present the biggest and best Yom Ha'atzmaut festival in the city's history. On Sunday, May 21, the free community-wide event will welcome thousands of residents to the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino to celebrate Israel. In Los Angeles, a community-wide celebration for Israel's 58th Independence Day will be kicked off (also on May 7th) by the LA County Sheriff Department Golden Stars Skydiving Team as they skydive into the Woodley Park. Dignitaries participating in this year's official ceremony will include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congressman Howard Berman and Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Ehud Danoch. Several artists from Israel will perform on the main stage, including Israeli super star Dudu Fisher and the famous rock group Mashina. Other acts slated to perform are Balkan Beat Box, the Sam Glaser Band and Chutzpah, the Jewish hip hop phenomenon. There will also be a continuous fashion show featuring wares from famous LA boutiques. The festival is expected to draw crowds of up to 30,000 people.
2006: Final episode of “The Perfect Home” starring Alain de Botton, a descendant of Abraham de Boton, was shown today
2007: The Center for Jewish History presents “The Mystery of the Kaddish” in which Presidential advisor and television personality Leon Charney discusses how the Kaddish became the most famous and familiar prayer in Jewish liturgy. He discusses his new book which charts the origins and development of the Mourner's Prayer against the full backdrop of Jewish history.
2007: The Central Committee of the National Religious Party votes on a proposal to open up the modern Orthodox party to Israeli’s who do not necessarily adhere to religious strictures. This represents an attempt to increase the party’s political power by tapping “into the large traditional, but not religious sector, which is described as primarily Sephardim…”
2008(28th of Nisan, 5768): Fifty-seven year old Hanon Reznikov, the co-founder of the Living Theatre passed away today.
2008: A screening of “Sonderkommando” \ זונדרקומנדו takes place at the Jerusalem Cinematheque.
2008: London's new mayor, Boris Johnson, a pro-Israel Conservative lawmaker, was sworn in after ousting the left-wing incumbent in a vote that capped the worst local election results for Prime Minister Gordon Brown's party in four decades. Johnson's record in support of Israel is clear. He backs a swift solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while understanding Israel's security dilemmas. Last year he opposed a call by the University College Union to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Writing on his blog, he said: "Where is the UCU denunciation of the Palestinians who have been detaining a BBC journalist for more than a month? I do not notice UCU voting to sever contacts with Iran, where students have recently been hanged for opposition to the regime. Come to that, I don't see any condemnation of the leftist tyrant Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who has just taken a hostile TV station off the air. What kind of point is UCU trying to make?" Johnson toured Israel in November 2004 with the Conservative Friends of Israel, and visited the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv hours after a suicide bomber killed three people and seriously wounded 13. He also went on a tour of the West Bank security barrier. Writing in The Spectator magazine, a popular weekly current affairs magazine of which he was editor, he wrote: "And who can deny that the Israeli government has a perfect right, a duty, to use such means to protect its citizens from the insanity of the suicide bombers?" Trying to make sense of the suicide attack, Johnson said: "What made him [the 16-year-old suicide bomber] leave the Askar refugee camp near Nablus, pass through the Hawara checkpoint, and kill himself and three blameless Israelis, including Leah Levine, 67, a Holocaust survivor? How could anyone persuade a child to do something like that?"
2009: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts presents “Jerusalem City of Heavenly and Earthly Peace” as part of the Jordi Savill Jerusalem series.
2009: Annual AIPAC Policy Conference opens in Washington, D.C.
2009: The Washington Post featured books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent into Depression” by Richard A. Posner.
2009: The New York Times featured books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including the recently released paperback editor of The German Bride by Joanna Hershon’s novel which “is set among the German-born Jewish merchants and traders who settled in the American West in the 19th century” featuring as the protagonist, the daughter of a Berlin banker who travels to Santa Fe to marry a man who owns a dry goods business.
2009: Daniel Mark Epstein discusses and signs Lincoln's Men: The President and His Private Secretaries at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, in Baltimore, Maryland.
2010: Gloria Mound, Director of the Casa Shalom-Institute for Anusim Studies in Israel is scheduled to present a lecture entitled “A Certain Identity: Crypto-Jews around the World” sponsored by the American Sephardi Federation.
2010: In Washington, D.C Liaison Specialist Jason Steinhauer of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project is scheduled to present a lecture and discussion on the contributions, impact and legacy of the more than 550, 000 American Jewish military personnel who served during World War II during which they received 52,000 decorations for gallantry
2010: President Obama renewed the Syrian sanctions.
2011: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to present “Search for Survivors” during which Scott Miller, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will describe “how two researchers meticulously traced what happened to the passengers of the St. Louis, a refugee-filled ship denied entry to the United States on the eve of the Holocaust.”
2011: Douglas Feith is scheduled to a lecture entitled “Jabotinsky: Enduring Insights at B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville, MD.
2011: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present “In Her Hands: The Education of Jewish Girls in Tsarist Russia.”
2011: Second and final episode of “Case Sensitive” based on Sophie Hannah’s novel The Point of Rescue was broadcast on ITV.
2011: The Consultation on Conscience, Reform Judaism's flagship social justice conference is scheduled to hold its closing session today.
2011: In Philadelphia, The Young Friends of the National Museum of American Jewish History is scheduled to present “U.S.-Israel Relations: Truman to Obama,” a program in recognition of Israel's Independence Day and Jewish American Heritage Month.
2012: In “Violin legend Zvi Zeitlin has died” published today Norman Lebrecht described what him “the great violinist and teacher.
2012: In London, the Wiener Library is scheduled to host “Death in Prague: Philip on Prague Fatale” part of a series of events tied to the 70th anniversary of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich.
2012: Dr. Jonathan Sarna is scheduled to discuss his marvelous new book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, at the William G. McGowan Theater in Washington, DC
2012: Miriam Ungar organized a protest on behalf of her husband Jacob Ostreicher opposite Bolivia’s United Nations mission. (As reported by Ben Sales)
2013: “No Place on Earth” is scheduled to open in several cities including Austin, Texas, Columbus, Ohio and Seattle, Washington.
2013: Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer on guitar, noted Kabbalist Jay McCrensky on accordion, and Karen Cole on bass are scheduled to lead a “gemach Carlebach” service at Bethesda Jewish Congregation as part of the Washington Jewish Music Festival.
2013: “In an interview with Entertainment Tonight ‘Judge Judy’ Sheindlin stated, "I have my walls full of Daytime Emmy Award nominations."
2013: Noam Schey, Sam Stalkfleet, Elise Goodvin, Molly Lipman and Cameron Braverman are scheduled to lead Confirmation Services which will be held for the first time in the new sanctuary of Agudas Achim located in Coralville, Iowa
2013(23rd of Iyar, 5773): Eighty-seven year old Herbert Blau the engineer turned dramatist passed away today on his birthday. (As reported by Douglas Martin)
2013: IDF Gaza Division commander Brig.-Gen. Micky Edelstein said today that there was "some degree of dialogue" between Israel and parties in Gaza to prevent rocket fire from the coastal territory into southern Israel.
2013: The Chinese government says it is willing to set up a meeting between the Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president when the two leaders visit Beijing next week, if the sides expressed interest in doing so. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said today at a regular briefing that China would be happy to facilitate a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas if they were willing to meet.
2014: “Cupcakes” is scheduled to be shown at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival.
2014: “Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story” is scheduled to be shown at the Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival.
2014(3rd of Iyar, 5774): Ninety-one year old radio executive Ben Hoberman passed away today
2014(3rd of Iyar, 5774): Eighty-three year old Nobel winning economist Gary Becker passed away today.
2014: Phoebe Chapnick-Sorkin is scheduled to Bat Mitzvahed at Agudas Achim in Coralville, Iowa.
2014: “Sturgeon Queens” is scheduled to be shown at the National Center for Jewish Film Festival.
2014: “The IDF deployed a Patriot missile battery in Eilat today and stationed it alongside the Iron Dome anti-missile battery in the southern city, ahead of the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays.
2014: “Former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit criticized the Israeli government’s handling of “price tag” attacks by Jewish extremists on Saturday, saying “Israel is a lawful country that does not enforce its laws.”
2015: YIVO Institute for Jewish History Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to celebrate its 90th anniversary with a daylong celebration.
2015: Final performance of “Do This One Thing For Me” is scheduled to take place today in NYC.
2015: Dr. Neil Gillman, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at JTS is scheduled to talk based on his most book Believe and Its Tensions: A Personal Conversation about God, Torah, Suffering and Death in Jewish Thought.
2015: The New York Times reviews books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915-1964 by Zachary Leader and Einstein’s Dice and Schrodinger’s Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics by Paul Halpern
2016: Dr. Stephen J. Gaies is scheduled to employ a multi-media approach to discussing the Jewish Holocaust on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Des Moines, Iowa, public Library.
2016: The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is scheduled to host “Breaking the Silence – Stories of Courage from our Edlers.”
2016: The Jewish Children’s Regional Service, an organization that truly helps those in need” is scheduled to host its “GiveNOLA Day.”
2016: The American Jewish Historical Society is scheduled to a presentation by Gili Getz entitled “A Forbidden Conversation: Speaking, the Unspoken, and the Conversations on Israel in America.”