Monday, August 15, 2016

This Day, August 16, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin


August 16

1027:  The King of Georgia, Giorgi I, passed away. Jews were among the subjects of this monarch who ruled over a country situated in the Caucuses, on the eastern edge of the Black Sea.  Leonti Mroveli, an eleventh century chronicler of Georgian history, offers various dates for the arrival of the Jews including the period after the destruction of the First Temple or after the destruction of the Second Temple.  Other sources claim that the first Jews arrived during the time of Alexander the Great or during the Sixth Century of the Common Era when they were fleeing persecution of the Byzantines.  No matter which source you choose to believe, The Jews were there when King George died and remain there to this day.

1284: A year before he began his reign as King of France, Philip IV, who expelled the Jews from his realm to avoid paying his debts began his reign as King of Navarre and Count of Champagne.

1486: Twenty men and five women were burned after being sentenced at an auto-de-fe in Toledo on the charge of Judaizing. Among them were Dr. Alonso Cota and many other notables of the town. They were marched through town being humiliated wearing the dreadful san benito, with their hands tied to their neck behind their backs.

1648(28th of Av, 5408): Rabbi Joshua Höschel ben Joseph passed away in Cracow.  Born at Vilnius in 1578, he studied both the Kabbalah and the Talmud.  He wrote Maginne Shelomoh and She'elot u-Teshubot Pene Yehoshua'

1532: John Frederick I began his reign as Elector of Saxony during which, four years later in August of 1536, in response to the teaching of Martin Luther “issued a mandate that prohibited Jews from inhabiting, engaging in business in, or passing through his realm.”

1599(25th of Av, 5359): Isaiah Menahem Ben Isaac passed away today while serving in the rabbinate in Cracow.

1664: Sixty-five year old Christian Hebrew language student and author Johannes Buxtorf the Younger who “employed Abraham Braunschweig to purchase Hebrew books for him and for many years corresponded with the scholarly Jacob Roman of Constantinople regarding the acquisition of Hebrew manuscripts and rare printed works” passed away today.

1648(28th of Av, 5408): Rabbi Joshua Höschel ben Joseph, a student of Rabbi Samuel ben Phoebus of Cracow and  Rabbi Joshua Falk whose students included Rav Shabbatai HaKohen, passed away today.

1675: Ukrainian leader Bogdan Chemlnicki (with the blood of over 300,000 Jews on his hands) died.

1724: In London, Bavarian immigrants Yehezkel (Ezekiel) and Judah Hirsh gave birth to their son Aaron Hart. The family changed their name from Hirsh to its English version, Hart.  Hart would go on to become a successful businessman and “is considered the father of Canadian Jewry.”

1772: Israel Abbady was appointed Chazan in Barbados – a position he held until 1794 when he was replaced by David Sarfaty De Pien

1776(1st of Elul, 5536): Rosh Chodesh Elul; for the first time the shofar is sounded in the newly independent United States of America.

1799(15th of Av, 5559): Tu B’Av

1799: “The Prague Jew Pzřibram bought a house in the village of Hanichen (Hanychov) from Joseph Porsche but was ordered by Count of Clam-Gallasto sell it within a year to a gentile.”

1807: During the “Gunboat Wars” which helped lead to the “complete emancipation of the Danish Jews, the British began the bombardment of Copenhagen.

1834: In Amsterdam, Joseph Barend Stokvis, Jr., a Jewish physician and obstetrician and his wife gave birth to Barend Joseph Stokvis a physician and professor of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Amsterdam who was the husband Julia Elisabeth Wertheim and a leader of the Dutch Jewish community.

1840: During the Damascus Affair, in a move supporting the Jewish prisoners, the British led European powers issued a stern warning to the Egyptian Khedive that he should move his forces away from the Turkish frontier.

1842: Birthdate of Jakob Rosanes, the native of Brody who gained fame as a mathematician and chess master.

1845: In Bonnevoie, Luxembourg, Miriam Rose (Lévy) and Isaïe Lippman, the manager of the family glove-making business gave birth to Gabriel Lippman, French physicist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1908.

1845: In what might have been the first mention of potato blight in the British Isles, today Gardeners' Chronicle and Horticultural Gazette reported "a blight of unusual character" in the Isle of Wight the home of the Isle of Wight Jewish Society

1849: Birthdate of Sibylle Riqueti de Mirabeau, the French anti-Semite and “anti-Dreyfusard” who wrote under the pseudonym of GYP.  While testifying in a court case she “gave her profession as ‘anti-Semite’ rather than ‘writer.’”

1851: In Buffalo, VA, Robert and Anna Harvey gave birth to William Hope "Coin" Harvey the populist leader who wrote the anti-Semitic Tale of Two Nations, “the story of a wealthy London banker, Baron Rothe, who engineers a plot to keep the United States from ever using a silver as currency.”

1852: In reporting on the clash between Sir Robert Peel and Benjamin Disraeli over the issue of Free Trade "Items of Foreign News" column published today quotes the following disparaging remarks that appeared in The Morning Chronicle. "When Mr. Disraeli attempts to trade on the policy of Sir Robert Peel, it will be difficult to refrain from challenging him in the words of the Hebrew prophet, 'Hast thou killed and also taken possession.'"  [Editor's Note: the quote is from 1 Kings 21:19]

1858: In Konigsberg, Prussia, Michaelis Spicker and Flora Rosenthal gave birth to Max Spicker

1859: In London, birthdate of “communal worker” Ernest Louis Franklin

1860: David Wemyss Jobson was found guilty of libeling the character of Sir James Furgurson in the London Central Criminal Court today.  Among the many prominent witnesses to appear was Benjamin Disraeli. When asked by the Defendant “Are you a Jew now or not?”  Mr. Disraeli repIied, “I am what I always was -- a Christian.” This is an interesting answer since Disraeli was actually born a Jew.  Was he being disengenous or was he taking poet license in writing his own biography.

1862: The Chicago Tribune published a tribute to the Jews of Chicago.

1868(28th of Av, 5628): Fifty-five year old Ruben Joseph Wunderbar the author who succeeded Max Lilienthal as principal the Jewish school at Riga passed away today in his hometown of Mitau.

1873: Lipman “Lip” Pike, one of the first Jewish major league baseball players, “raced a fast trotting horse named Clarence in a 100-yard sprint at Baltimore's Newington Park, and won by four yards with a time of 10 seconds flat, earning $250 ($4,570 today).”

1873: It was reported today that the Governor of New York has offered a $500 reward for the apprehension of Emil Lowenstein who allegedly murder John Weston in Albany, NY.  Mrs. Weston has already been arrested for her role in the killing.  Lowenstein, a German Jewish barber’s assistant, is thought to be headed for an unnamed “Western city.”

1875: It was reported today that of the 57,200 children attending primary schools in Algeria, 5,646 “are native Jews.’

1875: In Prague, Moritz Moses Piesen and Rosalia Piesen gave birth to Hugo Peisen the husband of Annie Piesen.

1875: It was reported today that 40 year old Joseph Samuels and 15 year old Sallie Mossheim were arrested in New Jersey. This tangled tale of two Jews includes a married man (Samuels) and the daughter of a successful businessman, who fell in love and ran off together.  The case is complicated by the fact that Sallie’s father reported that $500 was missing from his safe and this same amount was found in his daughter’s possession.

1880: Sir Saul Samuel completed his second term as a Member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales

1880: “Hebrew Poetry” published today provided a detailed review of The Historical Poetry of the Ancient Hebrews, a two volume work by Michael Heilprin.

1880: Based on information that originally appeared the Journal de St. Petersburg it was reported today that Jews account for 0.22 of the illegitimate births in the European portion of the Russian Empire

1881: It was reported today that Count Kutisoff, who is investigating the causes of the anti-Jewish riots met with a deputation of Jews from Kharkoff.  The Jews told him that the causes were not just economic.  The count said that the government was determined to stop the violence.  He said that they needed “to regulate the abnormal conditions” in the Western provinces where “the Jews outnumber the Christians and monopolize trade.”  (The Western provinces included the Pale of Settlement and it is inconceivable that the Russian leader did not know that there were so many Jews there because that is where the government had confined them)

1882(1st of Elul, 5642): Rosh Chodesh Elul

1882: It was reported today that the speech by Congressman Cox on the persecution of Russian Jews that appears in the Congressional Record was in fact never given since Congress had already adjourned. Cox had apparently taken advantage of the time honored practice of entering remarks in the Record that has gone into the 20th century.

1885: Beth Hamedresh Hagadol, an Orthodox congregation formed by Polish Jews 30 years ago, dedicated its new sanctuary on Norfolk Street this afternoon. Rabbi Abraham Ash, the spiritual leader of the congregation, was the driving force behind the project.

1885: The Associate Members’ Literary Society of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association held a Grant-Montefiore Memorial Meeting this evening in New York City. G.A. Ettinger delivered a speech in which compared both of these saying that although one was a man of war and the other a man of peace, “they were alike in one respect, that both labored for the emancipation of the human race.”

1886: Based on information that first appeared in the Warsaw Courier two Polish peasants have been sentenced to six months in prison after having been found of disinterring  two Jewish corpses, cutting off their hands and then grinding them into “little morsels for…medicinal purposes.”

1886: “Last of the Roman Ghetto” published today reported that within the next couple of weeks the Jew’s quarter of Rome, “a picturesque piece of antiquity” will disappear.  The reporter of the Pall Mall Gazette (a British publication) described the ghetto as a place where “the Jews had made themselves…a sort of second fatherland” where they could observe “their habits and traditions…in a little town” they had all to themselves.

1887: Joseph Froehlich of Davenport, Iowa donated $4.00 to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

1887: The will of Jonas Heller which was filed for probate today gave $10,000 for the Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews on the condition that the Directors erect a prominently placed tablet saying “In Memory of Jonas Heller, Trustee, from______ to ______ Bequeathed Ten Thousand Dollars.”

1888: It was reported today that Levi Davis, a prominent Jewish citizen living in New Brunswick, NJ, has filed a suit seeking $10,000 in damages from Charles Scheede “for ruining his daughter Jennie.” Schweede, who is a partner in the clothing firm of Schweede Brothers denied the charge.

1888: It was reported today that Siegfried Porter, a native of Bohemia who is now an American citizen, testified before Congressman Ford’s Immigration Committee that he was now able to earn seven or eight dollars a week as a cigar maker because of the influx of Russian and Polish Jews.  According to the embittered witness the Jews were willing to work for four or five dollars a week and that they lived in such poor conditions that they were able to save three dollars of that.

1888: Birthdate of T.E. Lawrence, known to history as “Lawrence of Arabia.”  In the popular mind, Lawrence is remembered as a driving force behind Arab nationalism.  However, Lawrence was not anti-Zionist.  In “The Changing East” he wrote of the way in which the Zionist settlers would help improve the economic and social condition of the Arab population.  “In 1919 he drafted a letter for Emir Feisal for a meeting with Felix Frankfurter, a leader of American Zionists. In his letter Feisal wished ‘the Jews a hearty welcome home’ and asserted ‘our two movements complete one another.’ ‘There is room in Syria for both of us’ he concluded.”

1889: Birthdate of Maurice Copisarow, he Russian born Chemist who came to England in 1908 where he received his education and co-authored a paper with fellow chemist Chaim Weizmann.

1890(30th of Av, 5650) Rosh Chodesh Elul

1890: Rabbi Gustave Gottheil is scheduled to deliver a sermon today entitled “Who Needs Converting?”

1890(30th of Av, 5650): On Shabbat, New York attorney Montague L. Marks passed away today.

1891: The funeral for Emilie J. Frank, the widow of Joseph Frank, is scheduled to be held at the home of her daughter Mrs. William Rosenberg at 40 West 95th Street.

1891: As local merchants expressed their indignation over the high-pressure tactics of sales person working for the “Jewish Times” the publishers said that the agent had sent in the ads but that they “were not aware of his making false representations” to obtain them.

1891: “Russian Jew Question” published today described the impact the articles that George Kenan has written on this subject have had including Prime Minister Gladstone urging Continental  to conduct “a full and fair” investigation of the issue.

1892: “Charges Against Edward Pollock” published today described events surrounding Meyer Reinherz’s an agent of the United Hebrew Charities, decision to file a complaint against Edward Pollock for allegedly attacking him while writing stories for Austro-Hungarian newspapers.”

1893: A circular was disturbed today setting forth the rights of the thousands of unemployed Jewish workers and the wrongs done to them and calling for a mass meeting tomorrow at the Walhalla Hall on Orchard Street.

1895: In Massachusetts, the Worcester Hebrew Benevolent Society which had been founded in 1891 received its charge today.

1895:  Birthdate of novelist Albert Cohen.  A native of Greece, Cohen worked for various international organizations located in Switzerland. He became a Swiss citizen after World War I and based some of his fiction on experiences with the League of Nations.  The Greek native, who was a Swiss citizen, wrote in French.

1896: “Heat and the Babes” published today described various steps being taken to beat the August heat including the decision of the Hebrew Institute to open a free roof garden on the top of its building.

1897: Birthdate of Sir Hersch Lauterpacht the Austro-Hungarian born British Jurist who served as a member of the United Nations Internal Law Commission and a Judge of the International Court of Justice.

1898: Children are being removed from the Hebrew Orphan Asylum at 138th Street and Amsterdam Avenue because of an epidemic of dysentery.

1898: “For Jewish Worshippers” published today described a letter J.E. Bloom, Assistant Adjutant General, Third Brigade, Second Division, Third Army Corps wrote to the President and Executive Committee of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association in New York suggesting that they raise funds to be used to “provide a large tent for holding religious services for Jewish soldiers” attending the re-union at the Chickamauga Battlefield this Fall.

1898: “Great Charity Enterprise” published today described plans for a fundraiser to be sponsored by the Young Men’s Hebrew Charity Association in Chicago.  Half of the funds will go to Michael Reese Hospital and the other half will go to the United Hebrew Charities.

1899: It was reported today that “the leading Jews of Europe are” planning on holding a meeting “in Switzerland in order to form an international association for their defense against the crusade of the anti-Semites and to protect the Jews in France after the Dreyfus court-martial is ended.”

1899: The New York Federation of Zionists met at Cooper Union tonight. “They adopted resolutions against anti-Semitism and for the rejuvenation of Zion.”

1899: “Jews Aid The Dewey Home Fund” published today described the “considerable interest” that the Jews have shown in raising money to buy a home for the Hero of Manila Bay.  “At least one-fourth of the names making up the list of contributors so far are Jews.”

1899: In South Africa, President Kruger “has issued a brochure supporting his proposal regarding the removal of religious disabilities” which would the discrimination against the Jews by the Protestant dominated government.

1899: Julius P. Witmark, J.W. Bratton, Sager Midgley, J. Leslie Gossing, J.J. Raffael, Miss Alic Magil, Smith O’Brien, Miss Grace L. Weir and Fred Rycroff proved the entertainment tonight at the Arverne Hotel Casino where a fund-raiser was held for the benefit of the Hebrew Infant Asylum.

1899(10th of Elul, 5659): Abraham Cohen Labatt, native of Charleston, SC who founded several Reform Congregations from South Carolina to Louisiana to California to Texas passed away in Galveston.

1900: The Fourth Zionist Congress comes to an end in London.

1902:  Several thousand persons greeted Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, at Mountain Lake Park, Maryland where he delivered an address before the Chautauqua Assembly on "Labor and Capital -- the Workman's Side of the Story."

1903: Herzl stopped in Vilna where a tremendous ovation is awaiting him. Old Reb Shleimele lifted his hands over Herzl and pronounces the Priestly Benediction. After one day of rest in Altaussee, Herzl left for Basle and the Sixth Congress.

1909 (29th Av): Rabbi Samuel “Shmuel” Salant Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of Jerusalem, who was a leading Talmudist and a friend of Moses Montefiore passed away and was buried on the Mount of Olives.

1913: In “Brest, a town called Brest-Litovsk, then part of the Russian Empire, but today Belarus” Zeev and Hassia Biegun” gave birth to Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.  The life of Menachem Begin is too colorful and controversial to be covered in this brief guide.  His life became one of many contradictions.  Consider that this political heir to Jabotinsky, the man who waged violent war against the British in the last years of the Mandate was the man who signed the peace accord with Sadat.

1915: It was reported today that Louis D. Brandeis and Nathan Straus will address the upcoming national meeting of Jews to be held at Cooper Union.

1915: Among those who were reported today to have addressed the mass meeting aimed at raising money for Jews in the war zone were Dr. M.S. Margolies, President of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of New York, Dr. Moses Hyamson the rabbi of Congregation Orach Cahim in New York and Rabbi Aaron Tietelbaum of Jerusalem.

1915: A lynch mob from Marietta, GA arrived at the prison in Milledgeville.  After cutting the telephone wire emptying the gas from the prison’s automobiles and handcuffing the warden, they seized Leo Frank and drove away from the prison.

1917: The State Department instructed Ira Nelson Morris, the American Minister to Sweden “to forward $25,000 for the continuation of soup kitchens and relief of Jews in Turkey.”

1917: In the East New York section of Brooklyn Benjamin and Bertha Taubman gave birth to “Dorothy Taubman, who developed a method to help pianists strengthen their techniques and avoid repetitive strain injuries.” (As reported by Vivien Schweitzer)

1918(8th of Elul, 5678): Sixty-eight year old Dr. Adolf Rosenzweig, the rabbi at the New Synagogue (Neue Synagoge) in Oranienburger Straße, Berlin passed away today and was buried under a gravestone on which was written "The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips" (Malachi 2:6).

1919: “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is distributed in Germany and the United States.

1920: Morris Abrams, “an from Russia who ran a successful company that produced machinery and factory tools” and the former Freda Sugarman gave birth to Dr. Herbert Leroy Abrams “a radiologist at Stanford and Harvard universities and a founder of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for its work in publicizing the health consequences of atomic warfare.” (As reported by William Grimes)

1922: Birthdate of Herbert Vogel, the New York born postal clerk, who, along with his wife, became “fabled art collectors. (As reported by Douglas Marin)

1922: “Theatrical release of ‘Up and at ‘Em’” a silent film which “marks the first Hollywood screenplay” by Lewis Mileston.”

1923: Rabbi Meir Shapiro “introduced his idea” of “a daily regimen” of studying the Babylonian Talmud “one day at a time in a cycle of seven and a half years” “at the First World Congress of the World Agudath Israel in Vienna” today.

1923: Birthdate of Shimon Peres, Zionist leader who would hold numerous positions including President of the Jewish state.  There are as many views of Peres as there are candles on his birthday cake.

1925: The Palestine Foundation Fund reported that it had spent $8,646,750 in the economic rebuilding of Palestine during its four years of existence, just concluded. More than 60 per cent of this sum has come from American Jews, according to the statement, the balance being collected from fifty-two other countries. $2,570,785 was expended on farming enterprises and $1,624,695 for Hebrew education. Samuel Untermeyer is President of the American branch of the fund.

1926: Sephardic and Oriental Jews at a Zionist conference in Vienna had their delegates gather for the purpose of furthering Zionist interests among their peoples. 

 1929: Although warned by the Zionist Executive that the Arabs were preparing to attack the Jews of Jerusalem in massive riots, High Commissioner Sir John Chancellor refused to cut his vacation short, declaring that relations between the sides were improving. After Friday prayers on the day after the ninth of Av, two thousand Arabs attacked Jews praying at the Western Wall. One Jewish youth was stabbed in the back. The British Government refused to condemn the attack leading the Arabs again to believe that the British supported their riots.

1930(22nd of Av, 5690): Gustave Frohman who along with his brothers Charles and Daniel worked together as theatrical producers and advanced men passed away.

1931: Birthdate of “piano prodigy” Michael “Mickey” Leonard the native of Rockville Center, NY who became a leading composer and arranger. (As reported by Daniel L. Slotnik)

1932: In Washington, DC, “Marceline Gray and George Jackson Eder, a lawyer and economist who for a time worked in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt” gave birth to Richard Gray Eder the New York Times foreign correspondent who “won a Pulitzer Prize for his book reviews in The Los Angeles Times.”

1933: Following a baseball game in Toronto, six hours of violence broke out between Harbord Playground, which was predominantly Jewish, and St. Peter's, a baseball team sponsored by a church at Bathurst and Bloor that became known as the Christie Pitts Riot.

1933: In New York, more than seventy thousand workers joined a strike called by the ILGWU under the leadership of David Dubinsky

1933: Three hundred Polish Jews including a group of 140 chalutzim leave for Palestine.

1933: Local authorities in East Prussia inform Jews that they must call for their mail because Nazi postmen will be humiliated in delivering mail to Jews.

1934: Birthdate of Dr. Daniel Norman Stern “a psychiatrist who increased the understanding of early human development by scrutinizing the most minute interactions between mothers and babies” (As reported by Douglas Martin)

1936: The 1936 Olympics came to an end in Berlin.  Calls for boycotting the Hitler Olympics fell on deaf ears.

1936: The New York Times published a lengthy review of Jewish Studies in Memory of George A. Kohut, 1874-1933, edited by Salo W. Baron and Alexander Marx.


1936(28th of Av, 5696): An eight year old Jewish boy “was killed and nineteen Jews were injured by the explosion of a bomb thrown by an Arab from a train window into one of the principal streets of Tel Aviv today as the train was passing the city en route to Jaffa.” In the last three days ten Jews – 7 adults and 3 children – have been killed in Safed, Haifa and on the highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  Authorities fear that this latest in a series of attacks that began four months ago will finally provoke the Jewish population into acts of violence aimed at their attackers. 

1936(28th of Av, 5696): “Julius Vagshall, an employee of the Palestine Electric Company was shot by assailants from the darkness near Mikveh Israel” and two others were wounded in what was the climax to a night of terror in which at least twenty people were wounded including British constable.

1936: “Saar Now Shares Reich Hardships” published today described the deteriorating conditions of the territory seized by the Germans 18 months ago including a scarcity of capital for investment that “has been greatly intensified by the emigration of approximately 5, 000 Jew…who under the Rome protocol were allowed to take all of their property with them…”

1936: In Cleveland, Ohio, between 25,000 and 30,000 followers of Father Charles E. Coughlin heard him this afternoon in Municipal Stadium describe “his disillusionment in President Roosevelt” and “challenge the Jews of America to accept the doctrine of Christian brotherhood…”

1936: According to the Palcor Agency, the Palestine Government “was accused of negligence in the protection of Jews from Arab violence.”

1936: “The World Jewish Congress decided tonight to incorporate as a permanent organization in Switzerland” with offices in Geneva, Paris and New York that should be financed by the $75,000 that will be raised in 1937.

1936: “A Yiddish Novel” published today provided a review of Noah Pandre written by Salman Schneour and translated by Joseph Leftwich.

1936: “Studies in Memory of George Kohut” published today provided a review of Jewish Studies in Memory of George A. Kohut edited by Salo W. Baron and Alexander Marx

1936: It was reported today that “all efforts of Emir Abdullah to mediate between the Palestine Government and the Arabs have been futile” because “none of the older Arab leaders dare accept the British Government’s proposal of a royal commission in the fact of the militant Nationalist youths” who have been attacking Arabs who oppose them.

1936: It was reported today that “a reign of terror is prevailing throughout Palestine” where “Arab leaders, especially Arab police officer are just as exposed to the bullets” of Arab terrorists “as Britons and Jews.”

1936: In “Habimah in Emek,” published today Arthur Settel describes a recent performance of “Jew Suss” in Ain Taun a village in the Valley Of Jezrel on the northern plain of Palestine.

1937: “Hammer Icons” published today tells the story of Armand and Victor Hammer, “two of the most startling characters in the U.S. art world.

1937: The 20th World Zionist Congress comes to an end with a resounding vote of support for Dr. Chaim Weizmann who was re-elected as President with only 8 delegates voting against him

1937: Talks are proceeding between Americans of Jewish and of Arab origin with a view to-exploring the possibilities of bringing peace between their peoples in Palestine by applying the American federal principle, it was revealed by Adil Arslan, one of the Arab High Committee's two delegates here.

1938: Andrej Hlinka, a Catholic Priest, a leader of the Slovak National Party and “a symbol of Slovak fascism” passed away.  He opposed the democratic principles of Czechoslovakia and was an admirer of Hitler and Mussolini.  Although he died before the war, he was considered to be the spiritual “godfather” of Slovak nationalism that sent 70,000 Jews to the concentration camps, most of whom perished.

1939: More than 600 Zionists from all parts of the world attend the twenty-first World Zionist Congress, which opens in Geneva today. The congress will last thirteen days.

1939: Birthdate of American banjo player Eric Weissberg best known for “Dueling Banjos” which provided the musical background for “Deliverance.”

1939(1st of Elul, 5699): Rosh Chodesh Elul

1940: “Foreign Correspondent” a spy film produced by Walter Wanger, with music by Alfred Newman and filmed by cinematographer Rudolph Maté was released in the United States today.

1940: The Vichy (France) government prohibited aliens from practicing as physicians, dentists or pharmacists.  This destroyed the livelihood for numerous Jews who had fled to France before the war and/or were not living in Vichy at the time of the French surrender to the Nazis.  The Jews living in Vichy France would learn that anti-Semitism was part and parcel of the Petain government.

1940: Today the building at 770 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York was purchased by Agudas Chassidei Chabad (the Chabad-Lubavitch community) to house the living quarters, study and office, Yeshivah, and synagogue of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn who had arrived in New York (following his rescue from Nazi-occupied Warsaw) five months earlier [It would later serve as the headquarters of his son-in-law and successor, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, and become the vortex of Chabad-Lubavitch's global network of institutions of Jewish education and outreach.]

1941: Birthdate of Brooklyn native Vivian Hoffman who gained famed as Vivian Stromberg a champion of women’s rights around the world and founder of Madre.

1942: In the Warsaw Ghetto at today’s selection only two members of Władysław Szpilman’s family “were passed as fit to work” while “the rest of the family was taken to the Umschlagplatz.

1942: Tonight, all the members of Władysław Szpilman’s family were shipped from Warsaw to Treblinka where they were murdered.

 1943:  Nazi troops enter the Jewish ghetto at Bialystok, Poland and over the next four days destroy the more than 30,000 Jews inside. Hundreds of Resistance fighters, led by Mordechai Tenenbaum-Tamaroff and Daniel Moszkowicz--who battle back with small arms, axes, and bayonets--are annihilated. Those who survive are transported to death camps, where 25,000 are killed

1943: Inmates revolt at the slave-labor camp at Krychów, Poland.

1943: During World War II, the keel for the SS Oscar Strauss was laid today.

1943: Maurice H. Rindskopf was among the officers serving on ehe USS Drum, an American submarine as she left Brisbane on her seventh war patrol

1943: The Spanish government stated that they would allow more repatriated Jews to come to Spain, "only if those in Spain already left." The obvious lack of sentiment on the part of Spain was apparent to the Joint Distribution Committee, which went ahead and placed a "priority" on emigration of "these so-called Sephardics." The Jews who did make it to Spain were not in any way treated like citizens.

 1944: A train arrived at Birkenau from Athens with 1,651 Jews from Rhodes and 94 from Kos. Upon arrival and then separation, Sidney Fahn would see his wife and young child for the last time. Only 151 of these Jews would survive.

1945: In Chicago, Illinois, Eleanor (née Pottasch) and Elmer Balaban, who owned several movie theatres and later was a pioneer in cable television gave birth to Robert Elmer “Bob” Balaban the “actor, author, producer and director who gave one of his most memorable roles in “The Monuments Men” as Private Preston Savitz.

1945: Today, “President Truman called…for the free and open settlement of Palestine by Jews to the point consistent with the maintenance of civil peace.”  For the first time he revealed that that U.S. government has informed the British who are attending the Big Three’s Berlin Conference. (The Big Three were the U.S., U.K. and U.S.S.R.)

1945: Former Iowa Senator Guy Gillette who is President of the American League for a Free Palestine expressed his “disappointment at the inconclusive nature of the American position” about Jewish settlement “as outlined by” President Truman today.  According to Gillette, millions of displaced persons have been returned to their homes.  Yet, the Jews, who suffered the most, have been denied a clear solution to their plight.  The League of Nations had already had already designated that Palestine should be a free and independent nation.  According to Gillette, Palestine “is the historic national territory of the Hebrew people and their right to enter it should no longer be challenged.

1945: “Dr. Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, Ohio and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York were elected member of the executive board of the Jewish Agency for Palestine by the general council of the World Zion Conference today in London, UK.”

1948: Birthdate of Patrick Balkany, the native of Neuilly-sur-Seine, who is a member of the National Assembly of France

1948(11th of Av, 5708):  Fifty-five year old Harry Dexter White passed away today after having answered accusations before HUAC that he was a communist and a traitor.

1948: Three months after the establishment of the State of Israel, an agreement was signed between the Bank Leumi and the temporary Government. The official charter appointing the Bank as the Government's financial agent was signed by Hoofien and the Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. On that very day, the official bank notes of the new state, bearing the name of the Anglo-Palestine Bank and the signatures of Hoofien and Barth, were distributed. The Israeli pound becomes legal tender.

1949: Herzl's remains are transferred to Jerusalem and reburied on Mount Herzl.

1949: Netiv HaLamed-Heh ( נְתִיב הַל"ה‎‎,  Path of the 35) a kibbutz in central Israel located in the Valley of Elah, was established today by demobilized members of the Daled Company of the Palmach's Harel Brigade. It was initially named Peled (an acronym for Plugot Daled, lit. Daled Company) It was later renamed after the 35 Haganah soldiers killed in a convoy to resupply the Gush Etzion kibbutzim during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine (Lamed-Heh is 35 in Hebrew numerals).

1950: “No Way Out” a film noir directed by Joseph L. Mankeiwicz with music by Alfred Newman was released in the United States today by 20th Century Fox.

1951: “The Guy Who Came Back” featuring Zero Mostel was released in the United States today by 20th Century Fox.

1956(9th of Elul, 5716): A squad of Fedayeen attacked Egged Bus 391 traveling from Tel-Aviv to Eilat murdering three soldiers and a female civilian passenger and wounding an additional three civilian passengers. (Editor’s Note – Fedayeen was the 1950’s name for the terrorists.  The names have changed over the decades but the deadly attacks remain the same.)

1959(12th of Av, 5719): Harpsichordist and composer Wanda Landowska, who was credited with the 20th-century revival of harpsichord music passed away.

1960: Cyprus gains its independence from the United Kingdom (Great Britain).  Jews have lived on the island of Cyprus since the days of the ancient Greeks.  In modern times, Cyprus provided a haven for Jews trying to escape from Hitler’s Europe.  After the war, the British set up internment camps on the island where they detained Jews trying to run the blockade and reach pre-Israel Palestine.  Israel established diplomatic relations with Cyprus and the Israeli embassy served as focal point for the small Cypriot Jewish community. 

1961: Frank Robinson hit a homer off of Larry Sherry as the Jewish pitcher and the Dodgers came out on the short end of game with the Reds losing 6 to 0.

1972: “Two British girls, unaware that the gramophone given them by 2 Arab acquaintances in Rome was booby trapped” carried it on board an El Al Flight bound for Lod” where it exploded in the luggage compartment causing “slight damage.” (Jewish Virtual Library)

1973(18th of Av, 5733): Selman Waksman, Ukrainian-born American biochemist and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine passed away.

1976: In Washington, the national convention of Hadassah continued for a second day.

1978: Pitcher Ross Baumgarten makes his major league debut with the White Sox.

1978: In Moscow, the government continued its “anti-Zionist trials” today with Alexander Podrabinek as the prisoner in the dock.

1984: Hadassah leader Bernice S. Tannenbaum brought “a five-member delegation” to the White House where they “met with President Ronald Reagan for 40 minutes over tea, coffee and cookies, to lobby against the resolution linking Zionism and racism.” Reagan agreed “to publicly repudiate” “the United Nations resolution defining Zionism as a ‘form of racism and racial discrimination’” and “that the U.S. delegation would walk out of” the U.N. Conference at Nairobi “if the Zionism-equals-racism resolution was included in the final conference declaration.”

1985: Birthdate of Bensiyon Songavkar, the Indian born Jewish professional cricketer.

1988(3rd of Elul, 5748): Auckland City Councillor Harold Goodman, the husband of Dame Barbara Goodman, passed away.

 1988: Ed Koch, the Jewish Mayor of New York City says he plans to wipe out street-corner windshield washers

1988: The New York Times included reviews of Confessions of a Good Arab by Yoram Kaniuk, translated by Dalya Bilu and The Road to Ein Harod by Amos Kenan, translated by Anselm Hollo.

1993: The two men who kidnapped Harvey Weinstein, a formalwear manufacturer and chairman of Lord West Formal Wear are arrested in New York when the go to pick up the ransom.  Weinstein survives and lives to the ripe old age of 82.

1993(29th of Av, 5753): Eighty-eight year old grand prix driver Rene Dreyfus passed away today.

1994: The first ever Papal Nuncio to Israel presented his credentials in Jerusalem

1995(20th Av, 5755): Sixty-six year old newspaper executive Stanley Asimov, the brother of Isaac Asimov passed away today.

1996(1st of Elul, 5756): Rosh Chodesh Elul

1996(1st of Elul, 5676): Forty-seven year old composer Miles Goodman passed away today.

1996: “The Fan” a film that takes a dark look at celebrity produced by Wendy Fineman, with music by Hans Zimmer and co-starring Ellen Barkin was released in the United States today by TriStar Pictures.

1998: The New York Times featured a review of The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations by Larry Tye.  Bernays is the Austrian born Jew who was the nephew of Sigmund Freud.

2000(15th of Av, 5760): Tu B’Av observed for the first time in the 21st century.

2000: A documentary film entitled “The Ballad of Rambling Jack Elliot” about the life of Brooklyn native Elliott Adnopoz the son of a middle class Jewish doctor who transformed himself into a musical iconoclast opens at the Film Forum.  The film was written and directed by his daughter Aiyana Elliot.

2002: “The Adventures of Pluto Nash” a comedy produced by Martin Bregman released in the United States today.

2002(8th of Elul, 5762): Martin Deutsch the American physicist who studied positronium passed away. Positronium is a temporary state in the decay of the positron which is the antiparticle of the electron (and that is more than I really know about this.)

2003: Idid Amin, the former President of Uganda who had been trained as a paratrooper by the Israelis and who provided a safe haven for the Palestinian hijackers in 1976 passed away today.

2005: The evacuation of Gaza continued for a second day.

2005:  The Jerusalem Post reported that Britain had played a major role in Israel’s development of a nuclear capability in the late 1950’s.  According to the Post, the government of Prime Minister Harold McMillan sold 20 tons of heavy water (necessary for making weapons grade plutonium) in 1958.  The sale was done covertly masked as an arrangement between Norway and Israel.  Reportedly, the Americans were not told about the sale.  Although Israel does not comment about its nuclear capability, reportedly she has around two hundred nuclear devices.  This revelation is fascinating for those who lived through the 1950’s or are students of that period.  Harold McMillan had come to power when the government of Prime Minister Anthony Eden had fallen in 1957 after Britain’s Suez adventure that had included the French and the Israelis.  The Americans had sided with the Soviets in pressuring Israel and its two Western allies to turn the canal back to Egypt and hand victory to the Pan Arab dictator and Soviet client – Gamal Nasser. There were at least two unintended consequences from what the Europeans considered the American betrayal.  First, the French began to develop their nuclear capability which harmed the cause of nuclear non-proliferation and led to a rift between the French and Americans that bedevils the two nations to this day.  Second, as we have now found out, the British devised what some might view as a perfidious and deceptive way of dealing with the United States and the Middle East.  On the surface, the McMillan government played the role of faithful junior partner in the Anglo-American alliance.  Also, the British continued to play the role of staunch supporter of the Arabs in the regions.  But the British did not trust Nasser.  They saw him as a threat and they gave Israel the additional means to deal with that threat.  One of the fascinating things about the study of history is how it keeps re-writing itself.  Each time you think you have it nailed down; another secret revelation pops out and changes everything.  The philosopher said that he who does not know history is condemned to repeat it.  But the question is, “Who really knows the history?”

2006: As part of the cease-fire agreement, Israeli troops turn control of territory in Lebanon over to UNIFL.  At the same time, in one of those many ironies of history, the army of Lebanon returns to the southern part of the country for the first time since the 1970’s thanks to the attacks of the IDF on Hezbollah strongholds. 

2007: Israel and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the new American defense package for Israel. Under the new aid agreement, the U.S. will transfer $30 billion to Israel over 10 years, compared with $24 billion over the past decade. The aid deal signed at represents a 25 percent rise in U.S. military aid to Israel. Israel is slated to receive the first pay out in October 2008, amounting to $2.55 billion. That sum will grow each year by $150 million, until it reaches $3.1 billion in 2011.

2008: At Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Bar Mitzvah of Daniel Finn.

2008: Today, Itai Magidi will be the first Israeli to take part in the athletics competitions, running the 3000m Steeplechase qualifiers and all seven of Israel's sailors are scheduled to race at the Beijing Olympics.

2008, Martha Nussbaum—University of Chicago professor and Boston Review contributing editor—became a bat mitzvah.

2009: The Washington Post features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Rashi by Elie Wiesel.

2009: The Massachusetts secretary of state’s office has rejected a proposed settlement by an investment firm to repay nearly $6 million to state investors who lost money in Bernard L. Madoff’s fraudulent investment scheme. A spokesman for the office, Brian McNiff, said today that his agency was not accepting the offer, from the Fairfield Greenwich Group of New York, to make full refund to nearly a dozen investors in the state because officials were still trying to identify all the affected investors. Mr. Madoff, 71, is serving 150 years in prison for defrauding investors in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Fairfield Greenwich was one of the so-called feeder funds for Mr. Madoff.

2009: “Can Game Theory Predict When Iran Will Get the Bomb” published today describes Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s answer to this question.

2009: Led by his widow, Betty Levin, a true Ashish Chayil, the family and friends of Dr. Jacob Levin, of blessed memory, gather to dedicate a classroom named in his honor at North Suburban Beth El Synagogue.  Dr. Levin taught in this room for several years and his time as a Religious School teacher was but one example of his contributions to the Jewish community. He will always be missed.  He will always be remembered.

2010: KlezKanada is scheduled to open in Lantier, Quebec.

2010: An IDF soldier was lightly wounded today in clashes with Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip. The soldier, from the Armored Corps, was part of a force that intercepted two Palestinians who were trying to lay a bomb along the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip., Following the clashes, two rockets exploded in open land in the Eshkol area near the Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused. IDF Spokesperson said soldiers saw a group of men approach Israel's border fence with Gaza and launched an air strike against them.

2010: A bomb squad checked out two unattended suitcases outside the Israeli consulate, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Police cordoned off part of Wilshire Boulevard, where the consulate and other Jewish organizations are located, for several hours.Police declared the area safe shortly after noon Pacific time, according to reports. As videos of closed-off streets began surfacing on YouTube, police told several news agencies of the bomb threat. The city's Israeli Consulate has been the target of previous bomb threats. On Dec. 18, 2007, the entire building, which houses the consulate, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Young Judea and the Israeli Scouts, was evacuated due to a bomb threat that was later found to be a false alarm.

2011: Today is the release date for The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath by Senator Joe Lieberman

2011: The 2nd Avenue Deli reopened at its new location on 1st Avenue and 75th Street in the Upper East Side much to the joy of those who enjoy the best kosher meat knishes and tongue sandwiches imaginable.

2011: Wendy Turman, JHSGW Curator/Archivist is scheduled to deliver “an illustrated lecture tracing the history of the Jewish community in the Washington area from the arrival of the first Jewish Washingtonian in 1795 to today, when the region's Jewish community has grown to more than 215,000 people.

2011: Representatives from the National Union of Israeli Students and leaders of the tent city protest movement met this morning with former chief rabbi of Israel and current Head Rabbi of Tel Aviv Yisrael Lau, where they held a discussion on the ongoing social justice protests.

2011: Israel's parliament interrupted its summer recess today to debate popular protests against high living costs but there seemed to be little sense of urgency among the smattering of lawmakers, some of whom tapped away on mobile phones and iPads.

2012: The Knesset is scheduled to convene in a special session during its summer recess to approve Avi Dichter as Home Front Defense Minister (As reported by the Jerusalem Post.)

2012(28th of Av): Yarhtzeit of Larry Rosenstein – gone to soon but never forgotten

2012: Bulgarian police released a computer-generated image and a fake driver's license photo of a man believed to be an accomplice in the bombing of an Israeli tour bus in Burgas that killed six.  (As reported by JTA)

2012: “Shimon Peres, Israel’s president and elder statesman, spoke out against the prospect of a lone Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, a message that contradicts the hawkish, go-it-alone line emanating from the offices of Israel’s prime minister and defense minister.” (As reported by Isabel Kirshner)

2012: Police resumed searching for the remains of Grad rockets in the desert outside Eilat this morning, hours after two loud blasts rocked the resort town.

2013: In Montgomery, AL, the Capri Community Film Society is scheduled to show “Fill the Void,”  a cinematic treatment of the life of a Chasidic family from Tel Aviv.

2013: Amir Levy is scheduled to perform at the New York International Fringe Festival.

2013: In Herndon, VA, Congregation Beth Emeth is scheduled to host a special Shabbat Community BBQ where everybody can meet the new Rabbi – Michelle Goldsmith.

2013: In “Israel Keeps a Wary Eye on Turmoil in Egypt” published today, Isabel Kershner describes the Jewish state’s reaction to the violence going on within its neighbor with which it signed a peace treaty that has held for more than three decades.

2014: In Mandeville, LA, the Northshore Jewish Congregation (NJC) is scheduled to host “Havdalah on the River” to help welcome Rabbi Deborah Zecher who will be leading the congregation’s High Holiday Services.

2014: The Historic 6th & I Synagogue is scheduled to host #NoFilter featuring Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart

2014: “A Hamas official today threatened Israel with a prolonged war of attrition if the group’s terms for a permanent ceasefire agreement, currently being negotiated in indirect talks in Cairo, are not met.” (As reported by Times of Israel)

2014: Following a declaration by Fatah’s military wing to “increase its terror attacks against Israeli citizens” tonight Arab terrorists threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli car near Bethlehem inflicting first and second degree burns on the 40 year old driver who was also hit by stones.(As reported byUzi Baruch and Ari Yashar)

2014: “Over ten thousand people assembled in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square tonight for the largest pro-peace rally the country has seen since the start of the war in Gaza in early July.”

2014: By today, the 101st anniversary of the birth of Menachem Begin, the Israel State Archives, the Israel State Archives will have published “a collection of documents on the life the former Prime Minister best known as the leader of the Irgun and the signatory for the 1973 peace accords with Egypt.

2015(1st of Elul, 5775): Rosh Chodesh Elul

2015(1st of Elul, 5775): One hundred fourteen year old, “Goldie Steinberg, reportedly the world’s oldest Jew” passed away today.

2015: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Patricia Drucker’s Sophie and the Sibyl in which “a novelist imagines an incident that inspired George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda which portrayed the concepts of what would become Zionism in a positive light and Alice Hoffman’s The Marriage of Opposites, “a novel inspired by the painter Camille Pissarro’s parents.”

2015: UK Jewish Film which “aims to develop a culture where Jewish and Israeli film is recognised and enjoyed by the widest possible audience, and to bring Jewish related film to the heart of British culture” is scheduled to host a screening of “She’s Funny That Way.”

2015: In Kiryas Joel, the school year is scheduled to begin for the children whose parents have signed an affidavit stating “We the parents are confirming in writing that our cellphones/smartphones are in accordance to the rules of the community and yeshiva, according to the guidance of our holy grand rabbi and the judge. We also confirm that we do not possess in our home another cellphone/smartphone except for the ones mentioned above.” (A reported by Brian Shaefer)

2015: The Illinois Holocaust & Education Center is scheduled to present “Soviet Composers Discovering A Jewish Sound” featuring violinist David Lisker, pianist Ani Gogovo and cellist Richard Hirschl.

2015: The Jewish Museum of Maryland is scheduled to show “An American Tail,” the classic animation that “follows the story of Fievel a young Russian mouse, who while emigrating to the United States, gets separated from his family and must relocate them while trying to survive in a new country.”

2016: In Memphis, TN, Temple Israel is scheduled to host a session of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy! - The Spiritual Wisdom of Judaism in Reducing Stress.”

2016: “The Kind Words” a film by Shemi Zarhin which has been “nominated for 12 Ophir Awards” is scheduled to be shown in Tacoma, Washington.

 

 

 

 

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