732: Christian forces led by Charles Martel clash defeat the invading Moors at the Battle of Tours which is near Poitiers in modern day France. The victory at Tours ensured that Western Europe would be Christian. For Jews, it also meant that the Sephardic culture would flourish for several centuries to come.
1135: Louis VII, who “banished from the kingdom those Jews who had been converted to Christianity and had later returned to Judaism” was crowned “Junior King of France” today; following a Capetian custom of holding the coronation of the heir apparent while the current monarch was still alive.
1147: The armies of the Second Crusade (1147-49) were destroyed by the Saracens at Dorylaeum (in modern Turkey). The Crusaders went on with fruitless campaigns against Damascus, Syria. The Jews were bystanders during the Crusades. Unfortunately they fell victim to the wrath of the Islamic and Christian combatants at various times throughout this tumultuous period. Furthermore, one cannot understand what is happening in the part of the world best described as the “Islamic/Arab Arc” if one does not have a sense of the period of the Crusades.
1154: King Stephen of England died. Stephen was an inept monarch who reigned during a period of turmoil and civil war. The first blood libel took place in during his rule in 1144. Unlike the nobles and monarchs of France and Germany, Stephen protected his Jewish subjects from the kind of suffering that the Crusaders were inflicting on their European co-religionists. Stephen reportedly did burn the house of Jew living in Oxford but that was because the Jew refused to contribute to the maintenance of the monarch. While the act is inexcusable it is consistent with the greed of many of European nobles who were in constant need of money and saw the Jews as a cash-cow to be milked to death.
1187: Gregory VIII, the Pope who called for the disastrous Third Crusade, began his papacy. Each of the crusades was a disaster for the Jewish people in way or another. On top of everything else, the Third Crusade removed the protective hand of King Richard from England and left the Jews to suffer under the anti-Semitic Prince John.
1268: Jucef ibn Astrug Ravaya, a Jew, was appointed bailiff of Besala (modern day Spain). Jucef later became chief bailiff in Aragon and Valencia. Jucef and his brother were the chief administrators in the government of King Pedro III. Under Jucef's administration, he and his brother were able to raise funds from within the Jewish community to finance an invasion of Sicily.
1400: The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer passed away. Born in 1340, Chaucer is view as one of the great pre-Shakespearian writers. From a purely Jewish perspective, the author of The Canterbury Tales is slight bit on the flawed side. This is remarkable when you consider that the Jews had been expelled from England almost a century before Chaucer lived. In the “Prioress’s Tale” Chaucer tells of an eight year old hymn signing Christian boy who is murdered as he passes through the Jewish section of his town. The boy is seized by “this accursed Jew” who cuts “his throat and casts him into a pit.” In the end the Jewish community is wiped out as punishment for the crime. This version of the blood libel proves that you did need Jews around to preach anti-Semitism, that anti-Semitism was part of the fabric of Christian civilization and that Jews are not the cause of anti-Semitism.
1408: In Spain, The Council of Regency, under the inspiration of the apostate Paul de Santa Maria, reinstituted all previous anti-Jewish legislation of Alphonso the Wise of Castile (1252-1284).
1495: Manuel I the Portuguese monarch who released all the Jews imprisoned by his predecessor John II, began his reign today
1541: The Jews of Algeria escaped capture by the Spanish Army which gave rise to Purim Edom
1734: Rachel Pinto, the wife of Jacob Pinto, passed away today after which she was interred at Hunt’s Bay Cemetery in Port Royal, Jamaica.
1742: Birthdate of Giovanni Bernardo De Rossi, the Christian native of Parma who was a noted Hebraist. After being named Professor of Oriental Languages at the University of Parma, he delivered “His inaugural lecture on the causes of the neglect of Hebrew study.”
1760: King George II who had given royal assent to the Jewish Naturalization Act of 1753 which was repealed a year later by Parliament, passed away today.
1760: King George III assumes the throne of Great Britain. The Jews of the 13 colonies would adopt the view of their non-Jewish neighbors and see George as a modern day Pharaoh.
1765: A group of Philadelphia merchants gathered in the State House to sign the non-importation agreement to fight the hated Stamp Tax of the British government. The merchants and other citizens of Philadelphia agreed "not to have any goods shipped from Great Britain until after the repeal of the Stamp Act.” “The first man to step forward to sign his name was the president of Mikve Israel Congregation, Philadelphia's only synagogue, Mathias Bush.” Other Jewish signers included Benjamin Levy, David Franks, Samson Levy, Hyman Levy, Jr., Moses Mordecai, Michael Gratz, and Barnard Gratz.”
1786: In Philadelphia, PA, Joseph Mordecai in a Hebrew ceremony, married Esther "Hetty" Marache, daughter of Solomon Marache and Rebecca "Myers" Marache after which “they moved to Virginia and on to Charleston, SC, where they lived for many years” and had six children: Solomon Joseph, Rebecca [Hertz], Judith, Thomas Whitlock, Harriett and Esther "Hetty".
1796(23rd of Tishrei, 5557): Simchat Torah is celebrated for the last time during the Presidency of George Washington.
1800: Birthdate of British historian and Whig MP Thomas Babington Macaulay who advocated full civil rights for English Jews as can be seen by his support of Robert Grant’s bill for the “Removal of Jewish Disabilities.”
1822(10th of Cheshvan, 5583: Abraham Touro died today in Boston at the age of 48. Born in 1774, he was the “oldest son of Isaac Touro, Abraham was born in Newport, Rhode Island. After the death of his father in Jamaica, he lived with his mother and siblings in the home of his uncle Moses Michael Hays in Boston, Massachusetts. As an adult, Abraham lived in Medford, Massachusetts. He entered into the merchant trade and insurance business with his cousin, Judah Hays, taking over the family business when his uncle died. Like his brother Judah, Abraham was known for his philanthropy, contributing to, among others, the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Boston Female Asylum, and the Boston Asylum for Indigent Boys. It was his caring and concern for the synagogue and cemetery in Newport, however, that he truly is remembered. In addition to the maintenance of the synagogue, he also contributed funds and oversaw the erection of a fence around the cemetery, the sidewalk from the cemetery to the synagogue, and maintenance and repair of the street that would one day bear his family name.”
1836: Birthdate of Hannah Conquy Abecassis, the native of the Azores “whose forced her to marry her uncle Abraham Abecassis avoiding a marriage with a catholic man she liked.”
1837: This evening Rabbi Poznanski officiated at the wedding of Henry S. Cohen to Caroline Harris, the “daughter of the late Jacob Harris.”
1845: A fire broke out at Constantinople which had consumed the greater part of the Jewish quarter, and destroyed several Synagogues. "Distress, starvation, and misery of all kinds prevail among the unfortunate Jewish population."1848: In Galicia, Dr. and Mrs. Heinrich Franzos gave birth to author Karl Emil Franzos.
1848: In Aufhausen, Germany, Emmanuel Frank and Elise Reese, the sister of Michael Reese, gave birth to Babette Reese Mandel, the wife of Chicago businessman Emanuel Mandel, whose philanthropies and good works included the founding of the Maxwell Street Settlement and serving as “as vice president of the Local Board of the Council of Jewish Women.”1848: In Galicia, which at the time was part of the Austrian Empire, Heinrich Franzos, “a highly respected doctor” whose “family came from Sepharidi Jews who had fled the Inquisition” and his wife gave birth to author and journalist Karl Emil Franzos
1849: Rabbi Rosenfeld officiated at the marriage of L.J. Myers of Savannah, GA and Priscilla Tobias, the daughter of Charleston, SC resident Abraham Tobias.
1853: 23rd of Tishrei, 5614):Simchat Torah1853: The Five Academies comprising the Institute of France held their annual meeting today. Among the presenters was M. Holely of the Academy of Fine Arts, composer of the "Wandering Jew" who read "an interminable discourse on Frohberger, a German organist whom no ever heard of, and whom the writer himself acknowledge was snuffed out by Handel.
1858: In his role as President of the London Committee of Deputies for the Jews, Sir Moses Montefiore sends a letter to the leaders of the American Jewish community asking that they join “with the Jews in England, Holland and France” in seeking the support of their respective governments to take whatever action is possible to ensure the return of Eduardo Mortara to his parents after he had been seized by Catholic authorities so that he could be raised in their faith.
1858: Today Sir Moses Montefiore, the President of the London Committee of Deputies for the Jews wrote a letter the President of the Hebrew Congregation in the United States and others that urged the American Jewish community to join its co-religionists in England, Holland France in seeking the support of their government in having the Mortara child returned to his parents and to avoid any such future seizures. It summarized the threat that the seizure Edgardo Mortara posed to Jews and “every other denomination of faith” except the Roman Catholics. Montefiore reiterated that this was not just a matter of religious freedom. The behavior of the Catholic Church placed “in peril, personal liberty, social relations and the peace of families.”
1860: “Affairs in Syria,” published today reports that "The Anglo-American Committee, while it retains its original name, has now among its members leading men from the Greek, the Roman Catholic and the Jewish persuasions, and relief is extended to men of every creed irrespective of any peculiarity of faith…It will perhaps interest your readers to know that Dr. Nathan Marcus Adler the Chief Rabbi of the Jews, who resides in London, has issued an address to the Jews throughout Europe, calling upon them for liberal contributions for the poor in Syria, and that the Rothschilds and other eminent and wealthy Israelites are feeling much interest in the subject. Dr. Adler bases his appeal upon the ground that Syria and Palestine is the land of their fathers, and that as it is a land so full of holy associations connected with the past, and so replete with hope for the future, they must rally to the aid of their Christian brethren in the East, who are children of the same Almighty Father, and calls upon them to give liberally as they hope to be restored to the land to which their traditions, prophecies, and hopes, point as their future home."
1862(1st of Cheshvan, 5623): As Jews observed Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, General U.S. Grant assumed command of the 13th Army Corps and the Department of Tennessee, a move that would position him to lead the Union to victory at Vicksburg.
1862: A special correspondent traveling with the Army of the Potomac reported that the recent order relating to sutlers have, to a great extent, cleared out the "Jews" as well as "Gentiles," who had turned Bolivar Heights into a Chatham-street. Bolivar Heights was the site of the Union Army’s camp. Chatham-street was a reference to a street of that name in NYC which was the site of much of the second-hand clothing business; a business allegedly dominated by Jews who were rumored to always taking advantage of their Christian customers.
1863: A writer for the Richmond Examiner proposes a plan for stowing the population of the entire Confederacy in Richmond, and supplying them with food. While the article is allegedly a satire, the paragraphs about the Jews have the whiff of anti-Semitism. Now “we approach naturally enough the Jews, a class which includes not only the unworthy Israelites, but all who indulge the alleged Hebraic propensity for exacting the pound of Christian flesh and amassing riches at the expense of the life-blood of their fellow-citizens. Such are Yankee tradesmen of whatever denomination, restaurant keepers, confectionery and apple sellers, oyster-cellar men, proprietors of hotels and boarding-houses, and the like. All these come under the same head, and are to be disposed of in the same manner…I am told that the Jews, in addition to the shop in which they are now reduced to the unprofitable business of selling lead pencils at a dollar apiece, meerschaum pipes made out of plaster of Paris, empty pocket-books, and rotten shoe-strings, at similar rates, own a vast number of the best houses in the city, purchased by their honest gains, and now filled with flour, bacon, sugar, salt, coffee, tea, corn, meat, oats, hay, fodder, shucks and other necessaries of life. If this be true, not a moment is to be lost in ousting them, in order to save the army and the people from starvation. They are said to have packed away in their cellars and garrets enough clothing, made and unmade, to furnish every respectable man, woman and child in the Confederacy with two complete Winter suits, besides whisky, brandy and wine enough to keep the taro-banks, cannal-pockets, Congress and Governor Letcher supplied for nearly three months to come. These must be obtained without delay or regard to law or peril to life or limb. My neat and simple plan for effecting this with the required promptness, is to detail the provost-guard, city battalion, night watch, Col. Bronner's cavalry, and any other force that may be needed, to seize Jews, restaurant men and chattels, expose the same to sale -- not at Yankee auction, but at a ladies' fair, to be conducted exclusively by the poor women of the city, assisted by some honest hospital steward (if such can be found,) and in the meantime to lodge the said Jews, restaurant, confectionery, oyster, hotel and boarding-house men in the exceeding capacious and patriotic flour mills of the metropolis, which are now lying idle for lack of the wheat and confidence of our long-headed, good-memoried country gentlemen. If the several mills do not suffice to contain them all, plenty of room can be found in the various tobacco warehouses, which are to be emptied in pursuance of my plan, as will be shown further on. Having packed the Jews, foreign or native born, everyone in the mills and warehouses, it would be cruel to forget that they have been accustomed to active, industrious life, and to leave them a prey to idleness and their own villainous imaginations. I propose to be guilty of no such inhumanity, but to give them constant and laborious employment during the whole term of their incarceration. With this view I have consulted Adjt.-Gen. Richardson, and find that he has now in the Virginia Armory something above one thousand tons of old flints, which he has kindly placed at my disposal. These flints must be carefully skinned by the imprisoned Jews, and the hides thus obtained are to be sold to the Navy Department...”
1871: An article published today compared the methods of Irish men and Jews who are engaged in the second-hand clothing business. The Irish rely on a network of their fellow country men and women who work as servants in the homes of the wealthy. “The Jewish old-clothes man” works in the street relying on his ability to trade and barter as opposed to using cash for the purchase of items
1872(23rd of Tishrei, 5633): Simchat Torah
1875: William F. Kintzing, the defense attorney for the three man charge with the murder of a Hebrew peddler in the woods at Westchester (NY) opposed the district attorney’s motion to transfer the case from the Court of General Sessions to the Oyer and Terminer, the court with criminal jurisdiction. Judge Sutherland ruled that since this was a capital case, the transfer was proper and he approved the motion. The three would eventually be convicted of the immigrant Jewish peddler who was supporting his children still living in Europe.
1875: The New York World, a newspaper that supports Democrats published an attack on Jacob Hess, a Republican and leader in the Jewish community
1877: It was reported today that New Yorker Abraham S. Isaacs, an editor of the Jewish Messenger, plans to publish a work on Hebrew literature.
1877: It was reported today that a volume written by Helen Zimmern on the life and works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing will be published in London this fall. Lessing was the close friend of Moses Mendelssohn and wrote “Nathan the Wise.”
1879: The Yuma Arizona Sentinel reported today that “Pinafore Company” bound for Tucson that included Pauline Markham had stopped in Yuma, AZ.
1879: It was reported today the Senate in Bucharest has passed a bill that would revise the Romanian Constitution to allow for the emancipation of the Jews by a large majority.
1881: Birthdate of Pablo Picasso who befriended the Italian-Jewish painter Amedeo Modigliani. He posed for a portrait by Modigliani and tried to help him be a commercial success. According to a 2004 film featuring the relationship between these two artistic giants. Picasso painted a portrait of Modigliani. Picasso reportedly uttered Modigliani’s name on his death bed.
1882: “Mordecai Lyons,” a new play by Edward Harrigan is scheduled to open at the Theatre Comique in New York City. The three act plays includes scenes in a pawnbroker’s shop and a chop-house on Houston Street.
1882: In Vienna, along with Moses Schnirer, Ruben Bierer and Peretz Smolenskin, Nathan Birnbaum founded “Kadima” the Zionist student association whose future members would include Sigmund Freud, Isidor Schalit and Fritz Löhner-Beda.
1882: It was reported today that “Jew” Rosa was among the confederates of the “notorious counterfeiter” Van Rensselaer Abrams. (It has not been ascertained if Rosa’s appellation was indicative of his religious origins.)
1882: A review published today of “Mordecai Lyons” by Edward Harrigan decried it is a “another ‘Jew play’” which reminds us that “when the Jew is not honestly reproduced that he should not be reproduced at all.”
1883: “Celebrating A Fest Too Well” published today described a Simchat Torah celebration that a group of Polish Chassidim held in room above the crockery store owned by Bernard Levy. When Levy heard furniture and windows breaking, he attempted to control the group. But the abundance of liquor and beer prevented this and Levy was forced to call the police.
1884: The Young Men’s Hebrew Association will hold a Montefiore centenary celebration in Chickering Hall this evening starting at 8 o’clock.
1884: In New York City, Jess Seligman delivered the opening remarks at the Young Men’s Hebrew Association “Montefiore Centenary Celebration” which the Anglo-Jewish leader’s one hundredth birthday
1884: Baltimore’s Lloyd Street Synagogue was the scene of special ceremonies marking the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Sir Moses Montefiore.
1885: “The Strength of Ideas” published today contends that “No race has ever been affected by its wars as the Jews have been affected by the single idea that it was their duty to remain a separate people.”
1886: The Financial News which had been founded by Harry Marks in 1884 began running a series of articles that exposed corruption in local government many of which were written by Marks himself.
1886: It was reported today that Tommy Grady, who is running against Tim Campbell for in the 8th Congressional District gave an hour-long address to the Tenth Ward Hebrew Citizens’ Association during which he tried “to impress his listeners that he was a friend of the” Jews. (This “courting of the Jewish vote, is yet another example of what differentiated the Jewish American experience from life in Europe, Asia and/or Africa)
1889: It was reported today that Dr. Joseph Silverman and Judge Richard O’Gorman addressed the meeting of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association held at Chickering Hall. The speeches were followed by a musical event featuring soprano Isabelle Rockwell and tenor Hugo Distlehurst.
1889: In New York City, The American Hebrew reports that Dr. Abraham Neumark "...will hold regular discourses on the Talmud and lectures in German every Saturday afternoon." at Orach Chaim.
1891(23rd of Tishrei, 5652): Simchat Torah
1891: “Russia’s Grim Outlook” published today described the impact of the famine in the Czar’s domains where it is predicted there will be increasing violence aimed at the Jews
1891: Birthdate of Charles Coughlin. He was an American Roman Catholic priest in Detroit and a vicious anti-Semite. In October, 1938 he began his weekly anti-Semitic broadcasts over national radio. The program was very popular, to say the least. He also formed the Christian Front in New York City which carried out anti-Semitic street meetings and boycotted Jewish businesses. Those who are critical of Roosevelt’s policies regarding European Jewry and the apparent passivity of American Jews in response to the menace Hitler posed to the Jews, would do well to read about American during the 1930’s when anti-Semitism was both public and acceptable.
1894: In New York, The Board of Estimate and Apportionment acted today on the provisional estimates for 1985 for charitable institutions which included $80,000 for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum and $85,000 for the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society of New York Orphan Asylum.
1894: In Newark, NJ, A mob of angry Polish and Russian Jewish unemployed hat-makers “surrounded the non-union hat factor of J.L. Kreidel threatening death to Kreidel and his nephew” if they did not join the union within the next 24 hours.
1894: In a move to attract Jewish support, the Woman’s Municipal Purity Auxiliary which is part of the anti-Tammany movement, is scheduled to hold its meeting this afternoon at the Hebrew Institute on East Broadway.
1895: Birthdate of Brooklyn native Emanuel “Manny” Victor Littauer who after leading Columbia’s football team to an undefeated season in 1915 gave up the game because of his parent’s fears and joined the school’s basketball team the following year.1895: Birthdate of Levi Eshkol. Everybody knows the names of the glamorous Israeli leaders – Ben Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, Menachem Begin, etc. But few know the name of Levi Eshkol. This little known Israeli political leader succeeded Ben Gurion as Prime Minister of Israel in 1963. He was a compromise candidate of whom little was expected. Yet he was the Prime Minister in 1967 when Israel won its great victory over the Arab states and Jerusalem was re-united. Born in Kiev, Eshkol moved to Palestine in 1914. He served in the Jewish Legion during World War I was active in the Labor Zionist movement during the inter-war period. His major accomplishment was the establishment of what would become Israel’s water authority. In a parched land, this was work of major importance. Eshkol joined the Haganah serving as a recruiter and later as the “chief supply officer” for it and its successor, the IDF. As should be obvious, Eshkol’s biggest accomplishment was to serve successfully in a variety of unglamorous positions that were vital to the establishment and growth of Israel. He died of heart attack in 1969.
1896: Rabbi Beisnmar is scheduled to officiate at the funeral of Brooklyn dry goods merchant Joseph Wechsler followed by burial in Salem Fields, Cypress Hills Cemetery.
1896(25th of Cheshvan, 5657): Retired real estate broker Moses kind who “was a member of Stchelberg & Co (cigar makers) and who was a Director of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum and Mount Sinai Hospital passed away today.
1896: The funeral for New York businessman Adolphus H. Maas who began his career in Savannah, GA before manufacturing chemicals in Newark, will be held today at 9:30 this morning.
1897: In Bradford, PA, founding of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association whose members included M.A. Nusbaum, A.D. Cohn, L.J. Kreinson and E. H. Werthman.
1903: In Debrecen, Hungary, Yosef Weissmandl, a shochet and his wife gave birth to Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl, the rabbi and community leader “best known for his efforts to save the Jews of Slovakia from extermination during the Shoah.”
1904: Birthdate of Andrew “Andy” Howard Cohen the brother of Syd Cohen and “the New York Giant second baseman who, in 1928, inspired the poem "Cohen At the Bat."
1905: British Major-General Sir Charles Wilson passed away at Tunbridge Wells (UK). Born in 1836, Wilson received his first commission in the Royal Engineers in 1855. In 1864, at the instigation of George Grove, Baroness Angela Burdett Coutts helped finance the Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem. Volunteers were called for from the Royal Engineers to carry out the work and Wilson who had just been promoted to the rank of Captain was selected. The aim of the work was to lay the basis for the improvement of the water supply of Jerusalem, which at the time was severely polluted. In addition to producing a topographical map of the city and its immediate environs, in 1865 the survey party carried out a series of levels from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, which established the relative levels of the two bodies for the first time. While Wilson was still in Palestine engaged on the Survey, the Palestine Exploration Fund was founded. On Wilson’s return to England, the PEF Committee engaged him to carry out a 'feasibility study' for proposed Survey of Western Palestine and to identify suitable sites for future exploration. In November 1865, Wilson and his party landed in Beirut and surveyed their way south to Palestine, planning the Great Mosque of Damascus along the way. From January to April 1866, Wilson carried out reconnaissance and survey work in Palestine, paying particular attention to the archaeology and ancient synagogues of the region. In the same year, Wilson was appointed to the Ordnance Survey of Scotland and, in 1867, acted as Assistant Commissioner on the Borough Boundary Commission. In this year, also, he became a member of the Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. In 1868, he volunteered to take part in the Ordnance Survey of Sinai, along with Capt. H.S. Palmer. The report of their work contains Wilson’s chapters on the route of the Israelites and the prehistoric and Byzantine archaeology of the region. In recognition of Wilson’s work in Jerusalem, he was awarded the Diploma of the International Geographical Congress in 1871. Throughout his military career Wilson remained in touch with the Palestine Exploration Fund, serving as its Chairman during the period from 1901 to 1906. (As reported by the Palestine Exploration Fund)
1906: Major General Georges Picquart, who risked his career when he identified Ferdinand Esterhazy as the author of the bordereau that had been wrongly attributed to Dreyfus was named Minister of War.
1906: Birthdate of Reuven Borstein, the native of Taurage who made Aliyah in 1926, after which he gained fame as Reuven Barkat.
1909: “Jacob H. Schiff created a Trust Fund of $50,000 to establish Teachers’ Institute” at Hebrew Union College.
1910(22nd of Tishrei, 5671: Shemini Atzeret
1906: Installation of Rabbi Jacob Meir as Hahambashi of Palestine. Six months later In April he was deposed by the Sultan of Turkey, and Eliahu M. Panigel was put in the position instead to oversee the orthodox community. Jacob Meir went on to become Chief Rabbi of Salonica.
1913: Birthdate of Avraham Yoffee, the native of Yavne’el who served as a general during the Six Day War and as a member of the Knesset.
1914: The first meeting of a special committee formed to alleviate the suffering of the Jews in war-torn Europe chaired by Jacob H. Schiff is scheduled to take place today at Temple Emanu-El.
1914: As part of the campaign to raise $100,000 to alleviate the suffering the Jews in Palestine Louis Brandeis, Chairman of the Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs, addressed the Free Synagogue in Carnegie Hall.
1915: “Honor Jewish Heroes” published today described a memorial service conducted by Rabbi Tinter at Mount Zion Temple which “eighty-four German Jewish veterans of European wars attended in their uniforms” that paid homage to those Jewish soldiers who have died during the last year in WW I.
1915: “No Houses Left In Sochaczew” published today described the destruction of the Russian city where “a few bearded, ringleted Jews clad in long black cassocks shuffle through the market place and a few Jewish women come to the big iron town pump for water” making it seem “as though the ancient people had one more taken up their dwelling on the ravished slopes of Jerusalem and were shouldering again the age-long burden of their people.”
1915: It was reported today that the sanctuary being built by “Sinai Temple in Stebbins Avenue near East 163rd Street in the Bronx” “will cost about $95,000” and should be ready for occupancy next summer.
1916: According to reports by New York Times correspondent Cyril Brown who is traveling with General Von Falkenhayn’s German forces in Romania, published today, the “large number of Romanian Jews among the prisoners” captured by the Germans indicates “that a considerable percentage of the Romanian Army was composed of persecuted Jews who do not enjoy equal rights of citizenship” and who, as one of the captives said ‘We have no vote but are compelled to fight.’”
1916: “The charges that Jews were being discriminated against when they sought enlistment in the New York National Guard were not sustained in a report” compiled “by General Louis F. Stonesbury, Adjutant General to Governor Whitman which was made public today” despite “the evidence that two Sergeants who had direct relation with the enlistment of recruits had admitted to a distinct bias against Jewish applicants…”
1917: Leon Trotsky told Julius Martov and other party members who had expressed their disgust at the way in which the Bolsheviks had seized political power, "You are pitiful isolated individuals; you are bankrupts; your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on — into the dustbin of history!" To this Martov replied in a moment of rage, "Then we'll leave!", and then walked in silence away without looking back. He paused at the exit seeing a young Bolshevik worker wearing a black shirt with a broad leather belt, standing in the shadow of the portico. The young man turned on Martov with unconcealed bitterness: 'And we amongst ourselves had thought, Martov would at least remain with us.' Martov stopped and with a characteristic movement tossed up his head to emphasize his reply: 'One day you will understand the crime in which you are taking part.' Waving his hand wearily he left the hall.”
1917: On the Julian calendar a revolt St. Petersburg marks the start of the October Revolution which will topple the Provisional Government and bring the Bolsheviks to power. This corresponds to November 7 on the Gregorian calendar but it explains why the “October Revolution” took place in November.
1918: Birthdate of actor Milton Selzer.
1918: In Brooklyn, Julius and Esther Leipzig gave birth of Isidore Leipzig who gained game as photographer Arthur Leipzig.
1918: In Emsworth, Hampshire, Air Commodore P.J. Wiseman and his wife gave birth to archaeologist and biblical scholar Donald J. Wiseman who served as vice president of the British Academy under Sir Isaiah Berlin who among other things established the date of Nebuchadnezzar's first capture of Jerusalem as 15/16 March 597 BCE after extensively examining the Babylonian texts.
1918: The funeral of Julius M Guinzburg, of blessed memory, the brother of Edwin, Adolph, Fernando, Eleanor and Flora Buchbinder is scheduled to take place at the West End Synagogue in New York City.
1919: Winston Churchill “wrote a memorandum for the Cabinet proposing that the Ottoman Empire should not be divided among the victorious powers, but preserved intact, and placed under the authority of the League of Nations. Such a plan would bring an end to the concept of a British Mandate in Palestine, and would have led to the abandonment of the Balfour Declaration pledge of a Jewish National Home.”
1921(23rd of Tishrei, 5682): Simchat Torah is celebrated for the first time during the Presidency of Warren Harding and for the second time under the strictures of the Volstead Act.
1923: In Vienna, Leo Sirota and Augustine Horenstein gave birth to Beate Sirota who gained fame as Beate Sirota Gorden, “who at 22 almost single-handedly wrote women’s rights into the Constitution of modern Japan” (As reported by Margalit Fox)
1924: The Zinoviev Letter is published in the Daily Mail, wrecking the British Labour Party's hopes of re-election. This document, which was a forgery, called for increased Communist agitation in Great Britain. Zinoviev was Grigory Zinoviev, the son of Jewish dairy farmers, who was head of the Comintern.
1925: “The Guardsman, an Austrian silent comedy film directed and written by Robert Wiene and co-starring Maria Corda who rescued her husband Alexander Korda from the clutches of Miklos Horthy, the first of Europe’s fascist anti-Semitic dictators.
1925: In Sosnowiec, Poland, chocolate salesman Issachar Feiner and his wife Rivka Herzberg gave birth to Haim Feiner who gained fame as Israeli entertainer Haim Hefer.
1928: After having premiered in Denmark six months ago, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” a silent French movie filmed by Rudolph Maté was released today in France
1929: Arthur Ruppin wrote in his diary describing the devastation the Arabs had wrought on the settlement of Hulda in Palestine. In 1930, Hulda was resettled as a Kibbutz by a group of young Zionist pioneers known as the Gordonia, followers of A.D. (Aaron David) Gordon.
1930: Birthdate of American Jewish author Harold Brodkey.
1930(3rd of Cheshvan, 5691): Seventy year old Russian-Jewish bacteriologist Waldemar Mordecai Wolff Haffkine passed away.
1930: Several thousand people gathered in Tel Aviv to protest the “British government’s new…policy on Palestine.” The demonstration turned violent when the protestors marched passed the city’s main synagogue which was surrounded by a guard of mounted officers. Several of the people in the group who were identified as being Orthodox resorted to violence over what they considered was a desecration of the Sabbath by having the Jewish guards mounted on horses, a violation of halachah. At the same time a picture of Lord Passfield was ripped to shreds by the mob.
1935: A Zionist Committee in Locarno signed a contract with a steamship company that would provide transportation to Palestine during 1936 for 80,000 Jews who will be settling in Tel Aviv.
1936: In London, Peter and Miriam Gilbert give birth to their son, Martin, the grandson of Eastern European immigrants who gained fame as Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill. As the author of over 80 volumes, he is one of the most prolific historians of our time. As anybody who has read his works knows, he is also one of the most reliable authorities who turns works of history into works of literature. Yet as busy as he was, he always had time to answer questions from his readers in the most patient and understanding of manner.
1936: The Berlin-Rome Axis was formed. This was the alliance between Hitler and Mussolini that helped paved the way to World War II and the Holocaust.
1936: Birthdate of Rochester, NY native Michael Gedaliah Kammen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. (As reported by Margalit Fox)
1936: “Palestine Editor Predicts An Accord” published today described the belief of Gershon Agronksy, the founder and editor of The Palestine Post of Jerusalem that “Arabs definitely hope for severe limitation of Jewish immigration and all it stands for” while “Jews hope that nothing will be done to restrict their settlement of country” and the British are looking “for a settlement which would make a repetition of the recent Arab outbreak impossible.”
1936: A review of Anti-Semitism, Historically and Critically Examined by Swedish professor A. G. Chater was published today.
I936: In Philadelphia, B’nai B’rith sponsored a celebration commemorating the 300th anniversary of Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, banishment from the colony of Massachusetts which was attended by 5,000 Protestants, Catholics and Jews before his statue in Fairmont Park.
1936: Rabbi Henry A. Schorr the leader of Temple Adath Israel and the Jewish chaplain at Bellevue Hospital paid tribute to his fellow Rotarian Reverend William H. Kephart, the pastor of the North New York Congregational Church who is observing the 40th anniversary of his ministry.
1936: “Jewish leaders of the United States and Canada meeting” in Chicago “ today as the Plan and Scope Committee for the 1936 National Campaign of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee were informed that $2,374,062, more than double the funds collected during 1935, has been raised so far.”
1936: At Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox, “a successful penalty kick by Gauol Machlis…enabled the touring Maccabee soccer team from Tel Aviv to defeat the Illinois All Stars 1 to 0…” in front of a crowd of 20,000 ran soaked fans. The receipts from the game will be shared by various Chicago charities.
1936: It was reported today that “when King Edward opens the new session of Parliament on November 3,” his address from the throne which is really a statement of the government’s proposals will include the measures “the Baldwin government plans to take to ride the country of the nuisance caused by Sir Oswald Mosley’s Fascisits.
1937: “Babes in Arms is a musical comedy with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and book by Rodgers and Hart” which had opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre “transferred to the Majestic Theatre” today.
1938: Look magazine “printed a series of André Kertész’s photographs, entitled ‘A Fireman Goes to School’ but credited them erroneously to his former boss Ernie Prince” which so infuriated the Hungarian born photographer so much that “he considered never working with a photo magazine again.”
1939: In a letter dated today, “Harry A. Jung, honorary general manager of the American Vigilant Intelligence Federation” complained to Representative Martin Dies, Chairman of the House Committee on un-American Activities” about the release of letters that connected his federation with “Nazi organizations.”
1939: Mayor La Guardia praised the Youth Aliyah Fund which is providing financial support to send Jewish children to Palestine. At the same time, New York’s mayor warned the members that they must be vigilant in guarding the rights of all minorities.
1939: In Highland Park, Illinois, Mrs. Babette Mandel, the widow of Emanuel Mandel who was one of the founders of the Mandel Brothers store, will celebrate her 91st birthday with her son Edwin, “her son-in-law Albert S. Lauer, two grandson, Albert E.M. Lauer and Frank Mandel and three great-grandchildren
1940(23rd of Tishrei, 5701): Simchat Torah
1940: “Seven Sinners” produced by Joe Pasternak, featuring Mischa Auer and filmed by cinematographer Rudolph Maté was released in the United States today.
1940: General Government (the Nazi government of Poland) ended the granting of any more visas to Polish Jews.
1940: As part of Operation Wagner-Bürckel it was decided to evacuate the Jews from Baden (between 6,500 and 7,500) as well as 895 Jews from Karlsruhe,to Gurs where they were locked up under French, not German, administration.
1941: In Melbourne, Stella Campbell and David “Max” Reddy gave birth to Australian-American singer and actress Helen Reddy.
1941(4th of Cheshvan, 5702): Romanian soldiers massacred 26,000 Jews in Odessa, which was part of the Soviet Union. The Romanians were allies of the Germans and participated in their crimes.
1941: Jews at Tatarsk in Soviet Russia revolt against murderous peasants and SS killing squads. The rebellion is put down by regular German Army units, artillery, and air power. All Jews in Tatarsk are murdered.
1941: As of today according to an order issued by the Nazis, all Jews were to have relocated to the Moscow suburb of Riga. As a result, about 30,000 Jews were concentrated in the small area known as the Moscow Forshtat by the end of October 1941.
1941: Einsatzgruppen report to Berlin complains the local population of White Russia was not being helpful in the various actions. “Actions” was the expression for rounding up and murdering Jews. Therefore the Germans themselves would have to step up efforts.
1941: In what is described as “The Birth of the Gas Chamber,” in Germany Dr. Viktor Brack rolled out the new plan for mass execution with "the installation of the necessary buildings and gas plants." Eichmann approved of this method. Such a procedure would assure a systematic method of extinguishing the Jews and reduce incidents of public killings.
1941: U.S. premiere of “The Tell-Tale Heart” direct by Jules Dassin, co-starring Joseph Schildkraut with music by Sol Kaplan.
1942: Dutch resistance leader Jaap Nunes Vaz, founder of the underground paper Het Parool was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Sobibor.
1942: In Oszmiana, Lithuania the Nazis demand that the community give up 400 of its 1000 Jews. The selection of the victims is assigned to the Jewish police in the nearby city of Vilna. Vilna Ghetto leader Jacob Gens decides to hand over Oszmiana's elderly Jews in order to save the others.
1942: Birthdate Los Angeles native Gloria Katz, the award winning screen writer of the 1973 hit “American Graffiti.”
1942: Male Jews in Norway are arrested and sent by sea to Szczecin, Poland, then by railcar to Auschwitz;
1943(26th of Tishrei, 5704): In Birkenau, 2,500 girls from Salonica, Greece, held in Block 25 were all gassed. They sang Hatikvah as they were marched to the death chambers.
1943: The Germans begin the liquidation of the corpse-burning squad at the labor camp in Janówska, Ukraine.
1943: SS chief Heinrich Himmler orders the destruction of the collection of Jewish skulls and skeletons at the Reich Anatomical Institute at Strasbourg.
1944: Birthdate of Ronit Lentin, the Haifa born Associate Professor of Sociology at Dublin’s Trinity College whose works include Racism and anti-racism in Ireland and Israel and the Daughters of the Shoah: Reoccupying the Territories of Silence
1944: The Romanian Army liberates Carei, the last Romanian city under Axis Powers' occupation. During the 1920, Joel Teitelbaum had served as a rabbi in Carei. Teitelbaum would later be named Grand Rabbi and head of the Satmar. Liberation came too late for most of the Jews of Romania. Over 264,000 Jews perished in Nazi death camps during World War II. Most of the survivors fled postwar communism and emigrated to Israel or the United States. Only 14,000 Jews, most aged over 60, live in Romania today.
1945: Jews are attacked in Sosnowiec, Poland. Yes, the war and the Holocaust ended in May of 1945. But Polish anti-Semitism seems to have a life of its own.
1945: A Haifa military court sentenced 21 year old Joseph Morakh to five years in prison for possession of 23 hand grenades, 20 bombs and assorted other ammunition.
1945: Representative Andrew L. Somers, a Democrat from New York, challenged the British Ambassador to find out the “true facts” surrounding the sentencing of twenty “boys and girls” in Tel Aviv. Members of the group, who range between the ages of 15 to 20, will be sentenced tomorrow to a total of 118 ages on weapons possession and other charges despite the fact that, according to the Congressman, “twenty six prosecution witnesses had failed to establish the connection between the children and the arms.”
1945: Lee Krasner married Jackson Pollack. Krasner was Jewish – Pollack was not.
1946 Twenty-three former Nazi doctors are tried at Nuremberg on charges of conducting unethical experiments on camp inmates. The various experiments included the drinking of seawater, bone grafting, exposure to mustard gas, and other atrocities. This is the so-called "doctors' trial";
1947: The Irgun threatened to fight a “civil war” with Haganah following recent clashes between the two organizations.
1948(22nd of Tishrei, 5709): Shimini Atzeret
1948: A new road to S’dom was opened during the Israeli War for Independence. In November a military contingent made up of new immigrants would move through the Negev and break the six month long siege of S’dom. Yes, this is the same place as mentioned in Genesis.
1949: “Everybody Does It” a comedy featuring George Tobias with “original music by Alfred Newman” was released today in the United States.
1953:”Salute to Israel” published today described plans to honor Professor Benjamin Mazar and President Harry S. Truman at a dinner to be held next month at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
1955(9th of Cheshvan, 5716): Sixty-four year old Edward “Eddie” Jacobson, the Man from Missouri who helped convince that other Man from Missouri, Harry Truman, to support the creation of the state of Israel, passed away in Kansas City, Missouri.
1956: David O. Selznick” the scion of Jewish family from Pittsburgh contacted director John Huston at the Blue Haven Hotel in Tobago and enthusiastically welcomed him to the project – filming a re-make of Farewell to Arms with a script by Ben Hecht.
1956: In preparation for the Sinai Campaign, the Israeli government begins to mobilize its reserves and orders a battalion of paratroops to be ready to go into action within four days.
1959(23rd of Tishrei, 5720): Simchat Torah
1962: A month after opening in the United Kingdom, “The War Lover,” the film version of the novel by the same name with a screenplay by Howard Koch and featuring Al Waxman was released in the United States today.
1965(29th of Tishrei, 5726): Fifty-five year old Eduard Einstein, second son of Albert Einstein passed away at the age of 55.
1967(21st of Tishrei, 5728): Seventy-eight year old German born Austrian author and journalist who survived internment in Dachau and Buchenwald and resumed his career in the United States in 1939 passed away today.
1968: Birthdate of American sports announcer Josh Lewin.
1973: A second cease fire went into effect marking the end of the Yom Kippur War.
1973: After the official end of the Yom Kippur War, General Israel Tal, serving as commander of the southern front, received an order from Chief of Staff General David Elazar and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to attack Egyptian forces. Tal refused to follow the order, insisting that it was an unethical order and requesting authorization for the requested attack from the prime minister and the Supreme Court. Such authorization never came. Tal won the argument, but his refusal to follow the illegal order as a practical matter eliminated the chances of his being nominated for the position of Chief of Staff to succeed General Elaza (As reported by Haaretz)
1973: “Ismail Azmy's decision to detonate a bridge over the Sweetwater Canal on October 20 in order to stall an Israeli attack, in violation of direct orders not to do so, led to him being relieved of his command” today.
1974: An Arab summit at Rabat Morocco put an end to Jordanian involvement in the lands west of the Jordan River which it had seized in 1948 and held until 1967. The Arab governments agreed that the PLO, fresh from the murder of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, was designated as the “sole representative’ of the Palestinian people. This ascendancy of extremism in the Arab world fueled Israeli support for the expansion of settlements on the West Bank and gave impetus to Right Wing politicians seeking to unseat the Labor Zionists.
1974: “Moshe Leshem, the Israeli ambassador to Denmark, protested to the Danish Foreign Ministry against Soviet distribution of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel pamphlets in Copenhagen.”
1976: Most of the protestors, including Vladimir Slepak, Anatoly Sharansky, Yuli Kosharovsky, Yosef Beilin and Felix Kandel who were on their way to protest at the Central Committee were arrested at or near their homes and charged with “hooliganism.”
1978: Israeli Cabinet approved "in principle," a draft compromise peace. This was a necessary step on the road to peace between Israel and Egypt.
1980: Barbra Streisand's "Guilty," album goes #1 for 3 weeks and her single "Woman In Love," goes #1 for 3 weeks
1984: An off-Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures” opened today at the Promenade Theatre.
1986(22nd of Tishrei, 5747): Shemini Atzeret
1990: The XIV Dalai Lama and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi met during the historic Jewish-Buddhist dialogue in Dharamsala, India.
1991: Seymour Hersh was sued for libel today for material in The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy.
1991(17th of Cheshvan, 5752): Alfred Morris, the son of Polish Immigrants whose career in hairstyling began at the age of 20 led him to open “the Morris School of Hairdressing, followed by the Morris School of Beauty Culture in Portman Square which became the diploma awarding London Institute of Hairdressing.”
1992: After 245 performances Neil Simon’s Jake’s Women was performed for the last time at the Neil Simon Theatre.
1992: Latvia adopts its first constitution in the post-Soviet period. There are approximately 11,000 Jews living among 2.5 million Latvians. Jews have lived in Latvia since the 17th century. There were approximately 90,000 Jews living in the Baltic republic at the outbreak of WW II. There were approximately 320 left on Latvian soil at the end of the war. The President of Latvia has publicly apologized for the role Latvians played in the decimation of the Jewish populace.
1995: In Washington, Prime Minister Rabin countered Arab slogans by declaring, “There are not ‘two Jerusalems.’ There is only one Jerusalem. For us, Jerusalem is not subject to compromise, and there is no peace without Jerusalem. Jerusalem, which was destroyed eight times, where for years we had no access to the remnants of our Temple, was ours, is ours and will be ours – forever.”
1996: The first community bar mitzvah is held in Beijing for Ari Lee, the son of community founders Elyse Silverberg and Michael Lee.
1997: In a letter sent today Holocaust denier David “Irving threatened to sue John Lukacs for libel if he published his book, The Hitler of History without removing certain passages highly critical of Irving’s work.”
1998: The New York Times included reviews of two books by Jewish authors: Too Good To Be Forgotten: Changing America in the '60s and '70s by David Obst and King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero by David Remnick.
2001(8th of Cheshvan, 5762): Seventy-five year old Harry Gerard Bissinger II, the husband of Eleanor Lebenthal Bissinger and brother of Eli Kaufman passed away today.
2002(19th of Cheshvan, 5763): Senator Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash in northern Minnesota along with his wife, daughter and five others, just 11 days before Election Day. The anniversary of Wellstone’s death should serve to remind us that by the end of the 20th century Jewish political leaders were no longer confined to major metropolitan areas with significant Jewish populations. In Minnesota, the heart of the American heartland, there were actually Jewish senators who came from both the Republican and the Democratic Party. This achievement is all the more remarkable when one remembers that a United States Senator could use the word “Kike” in a speech on the Senate Floor in the 1940’s and get away with it.
2002: “Roger Dodger” a comedy co-starring Jesse Eisenberg and featuring Ben Shenkman was release in the United States by Artisan Entertainment.
2002: In “Jews rank high among winners of Nobel, but why not Israelis?” published today, Shule Kopf examines reasons for Jewish over-representation among Nobel Laureates and the future of Jewish intellectualism.
2003(29th of Tishrei, 5764): Parashat Bereshit – the Torah cycle begins again
2003: Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested at Novosibirsk airport by the Russian prosecutor general's office on charges of fraud.
2004: Former ALP minister Barry Cohen describes his belief that the Australian Labor Party is becoming anti-Semitic in article appearing in The Age. Barry Cohen was arts minister in the Hawke government. The article is quoted in attempt to give American Jews a sense of the Jewish community “down under.”
It's a sepia-toned family portrait taken in the late 1930s of Mendel and Mindel Kozerwoder and their children Itzek, Charna, Malka, Mania, Yidel, Moishe and baby Faigele. There's nothing unusual about it but it is very precious to me, for they are all members of my family who, with one exception, perished in the crematoriums of Chelmno and Auschwitz. Clasped in the hands of my great-uncle is a photograph of my grandparents, Moishe and Zelda Kozerwoder. Itzek, the only survivor, gave me the photograph after I returned from a visit to Poland, during which I went to the villages of Pajcczno and Dzialoszyn, from which my grandparents departed in the late 1890s. Their travels took them to England, South Africa (where my father was born) and finally to Australia, just after the outbreak of World War I. The photo is the only image I have of the many members of my family who were murdered by the Nazis. When I look at it, my emotions range from gut-wrenching pain to seething rage. It has ensured that I belong to that school of Jewish resolve whose motto is "never again”. There is nothing special about what happened to me and my family. Many Jewish families suffered the same fate. I became aware of the Holocaust in 1944 as the Allied armies swept across Europe and liberated the death camps. I was only nine years old but I can still recall the pain I felt as I watched the newsreels of the emaciated survivors and the mountains of corpses. oon afterwards I was sent to boarding school to prepare for my bar mitzvah. There was a noticeable shortage of synagogues in the country town of Griffith, NSW, where I was born and where my father was the local dentist. My introduction to anti-Semitism commenced on my first day at school. The school sergeant refereed three fights between myself and classmates who called me "a dirty f---ing Jew". I was lucky. Bloody noses and black eyes were nothing compared to what happened to those members of my family who did not have the prescience to depart Europe as my grandparents had done. t didn't, however, make it easier to ignore the taunts and the occasional vicious remark that came at the most unexpected moments and from the most unexpected quarters. Like most Jews in a predominantly Christian society, I developed a defense mechanism to cope. Humor was one weapon. Knowing the history and roots of anti-Semitism was another. So, too, was the pride in seeing the survivors of the Holocaust recreating a Jewish nation for the first time in 2000 years. he survivors of the camps, a million Jews expelled from Arab countries and idealists from all over the Diaspora overcame the combined Arab military forces to ensure that not only did Jews have a haven, but one that was free and democratic. Israel has remained that way, in stark contrast to its Arab neighbors. Australia is probably the least anti-Semitic country in the world, but what happened to my family made a deep impression on me. I became obsessive about discrimination; be it fighting for civil rights in the US, or against apartheid or the appalling treatment of our indigenous people was, however, an armchair critic mouthing off endlessly about what the government should do. Then a friend hit a sensitive nerve. "What are you doing about it?" he asked. It wasn't difficult to decide. I knew the enemy was on the political right: Nazis, fascists, conservatives, whether from the extreme right that led to the Holocaust or the social exclusion practiced by the genteel middle class. In 1964 I joined the ALP. Not that the Labor Party of the early 1960s was a beacon of light, for there were many ALP members still steeped in the White Australia philosophy and indifferent to the suffering of Aborigines. But those who spoke up about such injustices were almost all from the ALP. By the time I arrived in Canberra in 1969 as the MP for Robertson I felt at home in the company of those led by Gough Whitlam, who forced the Labor Party to change. However, I can still recall the wry amusement my opposition to apartheid caused colleagues. I was accused of being obsessive on the question of racism and to that charge I plead guilty. I became deeply involved in the fight for Aboriginal rights and to this day one of the proudest moments of my life was to be one of a small group of "yesterday's heroes, looking frail and aged", who were brought on stage at the Reconciliation Conference in Melbourne in 1997 to be honored for our work in the 1967 referendum. I have often been asked if my being Jewish was ever an issue during my 20 years in Federal Parliament. Not to the best of my knowledge. I cannot recall a single anti-Semitic remark from either side of the House. That did not mean that everyone agreed with my views on Israel. Nor did I expect them to. However, while my views remain the same, the Labor Party's these days are very different. The Labor Party has always had Palestinian supporters but they used to have little influence on the party's policy. They were more than counter-balanced by the influence of then ACTU president Bob Hawke. In the immediate aftermath of the Yom Kippur War and before my first visit to Israel I attended a meeting he addressed in Sydney. I have not heard a more passionate, nor better informed, defense of Israel or more scathing indictment of its opponents. Convinced that MPs could understand Israel's problems better if they went there, I organized a series of delegations. By the time I retired in 1990 more than half the ALP caucus had visited Israel. But gradually, Labor's Left and more extremist elements, such as the Greens and Democrats, became increasingly shrill in their denunciation of Israel. I found out what Israel was up against when representing Australia at Inter-Parliamentary Union conferences from 1973 until 1981. Created to foster peace and democracy, the union was dominated by communist dictatorships, Third World "democracies" and the 22 Arab countries. Every IPU conference devoted a major part of its sessions to denouncing Israel. It was a mirror image of the UN, whose obsession with Israel was aptly illustrated by Israeli ambassador Abba Eban when he said: "If a resolution was put before the UN that the earth was flat and that Israel caused it, 145 would vote for it, five against with 45 abstentions." That trend has infected the ALP. The handful of pro-Palestinian supporters has grown steadily as the party has become dominated by the education mafia; former public servants and party union apparatchiks. Plenty will say: "Why shouldn't the Labor Party support the Palestinians?" No reason, providing the case they put is not based on the lies spouted by the Palestinian propaganda machine. Nowhere is Israel subjected to more criticism than in Israel. Demonstrations in excess of 100,000 are regularly held in Rabin Square. Supporters of the Peace Now movement have protested in support of Palestinians. In contrast, when Jews have been massacred by terrorists there have been wild celebrations in the Arab streets. How can any social democrat ignore such barbarism? There are Labor MPs who are vigorous supporters of Israel but their numbers are diminishing and they are being drowned out by the more vociferous members of Labor's hard Left. When Australian Jews respond to the grotesque exaggeration about Israel, we are accused of being part of the "Jewish lobby". Israel's opponents in Australia now include those who support the Palestinians not for ideological reasons but because of the increased number of Arab voters in their electorates. This trend reached a crescendo in the aftermath of September 11. For me September 11 was the clearest demarcation ever between good and evil. Yet many Australians could not contain their glee that at last "the Yanks had got their just deserts". I have never been able to fathom the vicious anti-Americanism that permeates so much of Western society. Despite all their faults, Americans have been the one constant bastion against totalitarianism of the right and left. Does anyone doubt that fascism and communism would have been defeated without the US? From the left's point of view, the triumph over communism has been America's greatest crime. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the revelation that matters were far worse than even the Americans had claimed, forced the left to face up to the fact that for decades their defense of tyrants such as Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro et al was inexcusable. There were no apologies, however. Being on the left means never having to say you're sorry or admit you're wrong. This goes a long way to explaining their attacks on George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard, while ignoring the monstrous crimes of the Assads, Saddams, Gaddafis and other Arab despots. The war on terrorism and the war on Iraq have given the left a new lease on life. But this time it has a new twist, a distinctly anti-Semitic one. It surfaced immediately after September 11 and was summed up in comments by Sydney Morning Herald columnist Alan Ramsey, who suggested that the cause of September 11 was America's Middle East policies and their failure to rein in the Israelis. This has been repeated ad nauseam by one left/liberal commentator after another. Israeli scientist Haim Harari nailed this nonsense in a speech earlier this year: "The millions who died in the Iraq-Iran war had nothing to do with Israel. The mass murder happening right now in Sudan, where the Arab Muslim regime is massacring its black Christian citizens, has nothing to do with Israel. The frequent reports from Algeria about the murders of hundreds of civilians in one village or another by other Algerians have nothing to do with Israel. Saddam did not invade Kuwait, endanger Saudi Arabia and butcher his own people because of Israel . . . The Taliban control of Afghanistan and the civil war there had nothing to do with Israel. I could go on and on." Anyone who believes that "reining in the Israelis" will bring peace and prosperity to the Middle East should change their medication. The ranting and raving, common among the extreme right, has been taken up with gusto by the left. When it started to infect the social democratic wing of the Labor Party I became extremely worried. There will be those in the ALP who will say "our policies support Israel's right to exist, so what are you complaining about?" That's not good enough. Not for me. I'm sick of the calumny heaped on Israel - most of which is a pack of lies. I'm sick of Labor leaders making all the right noises to Jewish audiences while an increasing number of backbenchers launch diatribes at Israel. When the likes of Labor MP Tanya Plibersek rise in the House of Representatives and call Ariel Sharon "a war criminal" and Israel a "rogue state", or Opposition whip Janice Crosio makes the absurd claim that Israeli forces had destroyed Bethlehem, Nablus and the Jenin refugee camp, I want to hear more than stony silence from those in the Labor Party who say they support Israel. Some do. Most don't. How long is it since any Labor leader gave the sort of passionate and accurate defence of Israel we used to hear from Hawke or Kim Beazley? I don't want even-handedness when it ought to be obvious to all but the blind that there is no moral equivalence between a country that seeks to defend its citizens from thousands of terrorist attacks, and the terrorists themselves. I want to hear Labor MPs stand up and be counted. I want to see an end to well-known Labor identities marching behind banners equating Israel with Nazism. Silence on these issues isn't good enough for me. If people want to criticize Israel, fine - plenty of Israelis do. But let it be reasoned criticism, and if they want even-handedness let them also berate the Arab world for its denial of basic human rights for any of its citizens. Let's hear the Labor feminists take the Arab nations to task for their abominable treatment of women. Let's hear those Labor supporters, who are so loud in their denunciation of homophobia, demand an end to the barbaric treatment of gays. Let's also hear civil rights activists bemoan the lack of basic freedoms available to most of the 300 million Arabs in the 22 Arab countries. There will be some who will argue that I am exaggerating; that the evidence is sparse; that this typical Jewish paranoia. Not at all. It came from the horses' mouths, and the head horses at that. Before the Iraq war one of the most senior NSW right-wing MPs told me: "I understand and support Israel's position, but in my group, I'm the only one. "Soon after I told a Labor legend: "Anti-Semitism is now rampant in the Labor Party." I expected a vigorous denial. His response confirmed my worst fear: "I know," he said. For better or worse my character and life were shaped by the anti-Semitism I experienced as a boy and a young man. I was proud to belong to a party that fought all forms of prejudice. Not any longer. The Australian Labor Party can choose any path it likes. So can I.
2005 (22 Tishrei, 5766): Shemini Atzeret.
2005: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish interest including "Team of Rivals," Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “look at Lincoln through his relationships with his former political rivals turned cabinet members…”
2006: Andy “Bachman, a graduate of University of Wisconsin–Madison with a 1996 rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College, became Beth Elohim's first new senior rabbi in 25 years” today.
2006 (3 Cheshvan 5767): Fifty four year old Robert Rosenberg, author, poet, Internet pioneer and journalist, died of cancer in Tel Aviv.
2006: One day before her 70th birthday Deborah Poritz, the first female Chief Just of the New Jersey Supreme Court, resigned her position.
2007: In New York the Center for Jewish History sponsors a showing of a Russian language film directed by Paul Loungin entitled “Roots” “This farcical comedy follows the exploits of a Jewish con-artist who turns a small town in provincial Ukraine into a fake site of heritage tourism for unsuspecting Americans.” Olga Gershenson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, leads a discussion of the film after the showing.
2007: New York’s Erez Safar celebrates the launch of his new website called Shemspeed (www.shemspeed.com) with parties at Hamaabada in Jerusalem and the Knitting Factory in New York.
2007: French President Nicolas Sarkozy honored Avner Shalev director of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial with a Legion of Honor award.
2007(13th of Cheshvan, 5768): Ninety-six year cellist Harvey Shapiro passed away today.
2008: The Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company presents a production “Chaim’s Love Song” by Martin Chernoff at the Hillcrest Center in Saint Paul, MN.
2008(26th of Tishrei, 5769): Ninety-four year old Estelle Reiner the mother comedic talent Carl Reiner and the mother of Rob Reiner passed away today.(As reported by Bruce Weber)
2009: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa the Hadassah Donor Dinner features Temple Judah’s own Murray Wolfe, an award-winning playwright, who will read from his just completed one-man autobiographical play, “My Name is Moses Volvovic.” Murray’s many interests and accomplishments mark him as the epitome of the term Renaissance Man. Of course Murray is fortunate to enjoy the support of his wife Charlene a culinary virtuoso and an Ashish Chayil in the truest sense of the term.
2009: A revival of Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” opened at the Nederlander Theatre.
2009(7th of Cheshvan, 5770): Ninety-three year old landscape architect Lawrence Halprin passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)
2009: Having missed the first ten games of the season, Mathieu Schneider “made his Canucks debut today in a 2-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers.
2009: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Book of Genesis by R. Crumb and the recently released paperback edition of The Journey by H. G. Adler; translated by Peter Filkins
2009: The Washington Post featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary by Bertrand M. Patenaude
2009: At The Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival Deborah Bodin Cohen reads from her new children's picture book, "Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim: A Passover Story" (illustrated by Jago),
2010: The Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation is scheduled to hosts its Hall of Fame Induction Dinner Gala in Southfield, Michigan, where they will honor the MJSF Hall of Fame Class of 2010, including George Cantor (of blessed memory), Richard "Hap" Foreman, Richard Goldberg, and Larry H. Sherman. The honors will continue with the Jewish News Athletes of the Year and Bill Hertz Scholarship winners, Alvin Foon Humanitarian and Book of Life awards.
2010: Capitalism and the Jews by Jerry Z. Muller is scheduled to be the featured volume at tonight’s sessions of The Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival.
2010: The New York Times featured a review of Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart who said, “These days, you can call me a Russian writer, American writer, Jewish writer, lefty writer. I don’t care. Anything is good, as long as it’s part of the big soup of literature.”
2010: Ehud Netzer “an Israeli architect, educator and archaeologist,” who was leaning against a railing at the dig at Herodium was seriously injured when the railing collapsed.
2010: Thirty-nine year old Joshua Frydenberg, a graduate of Bialik College in Melbourne who is Australia’s first Jewish lawmaker for the federal Liberal Party paid homage in his maiden speech to all of his family members who perished during the Holocaust and one who survived – his great-aunt Mary Frydenberg. (As reported by JTA)
2010: A report in the French daily Le Figaro late today revealed new information on the military wing of Hezbollah’s structural make-up, with details on the guerrilla group's 10,000 operatives and arsenal of some 40,000 rockets..
2011: Theo Epstein was introduced today as the head of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs. Under Epstein’s leadership, the Boston Red Sox finally won a World Series for the first time since 1918. The Cubs hope that the Jewish baseball executive will end their draught which dates back to 1908. This is a miracle that even Moses might not be able to pull off.
2011: Theo Epstein was introduced today as the head of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs. Under Epstein’s leadership, the Boston Red Sox finally won a World Series for the first time since 1918. The Cubs hope that the Jewish baseball executive will end their draught which dates back to 1908. This is a miracle that even Moses might not be able to pull off.
2011: The Intimate Grammar, a cinematic adaptation of David Grossman's book of the same name, is scheduled to be shown at The Hyman S & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival in Washington, D.C.
2011: “Ben-Gurion: A Political Life” by Shimon Peres with David Landau is scheduled to go on sale in the United States.
2011: A day-long Symposium, “Jews in Britain: Medieval to Modern” is scheduled to take place at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA.
2011: The friends, family and fans of Sir Martin Gilbert celebrate the 75th birthday of this remarkable man. His career is a tribute to his drive, intellect and artistic skills. The grandson of Eastern European immigrants, he became the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill. He has found time to write over 80 volumes that are rock solid history written with the flair of a novelist while teaching and serving the public as a member of the Commission of Inquiry on the Iraq War. At the same time, he has not comprised his personal values describing himself “as a proud practicing Jew and a Zionist.”
2011: Today, Israeli police forces raided three buildings in Jerusalem allegedly being used by Palestinian militants for illegal activities.
2011: Today, Turkey finally accepted Israel's earthquake aid, two days after a devastating temblor hit eastern Turkey, and following a number of rebuffed Israeli government offers of assistance.
2012: The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall. This “one-night performance” will be under the baton of Zubin Mehta and will be followed by a “black –tie benefit supper at The Plaza.” (The IPO has come a long way since Leonard Bernstein conducted them in Tel Aviv as the artillery boomed during the War for Independence in 1948
2012: Over 100,000 worshippers are expected visit Rachel’ Tomb to mark the anniversary of her death. (The actual anniversary falls on Shabbat this year so the observance has been move to Thursday to avoid desecrating the Sabbath)
2012: Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to sponsor a lecture Dr. Jack Minker, “Saving Soviet Scientists during which he will discuss his new book , will discuss his new book, Scientific Freedom and Human Rights: Scientists of Conscience during the Cold War.
2012: As we celebrate the 76th birthday of Sir Martin Gilbert, his family, friends and multitude of admirers pray for his a refuah shlemah while standing in awe of the support being given to him by his loving wife during these trying times
2012: Despite a Gazan mortar shell exploding in an open field near the Eshkol Regional Council Area this morning, a tense quiet prevailed in the South as an informal cease-fire brokered by Egypt appeared to be holding. The cease-fire followed two days of intense violence which saw some eighty rockets and mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev.
2012: An earthquake and tsunami could cost Israel NIS 100 billion to NIS 150b., Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said today. Speaking at a meeting of economic officials convened as part of a five-day earthquake preparedness drill, Dichter said he was referring to a possible scenario in which thousands of Israeli would be killed.
2012: The NBA announced today that David Stern will be retiring as league commissioner in 2013. Adam Silver will be replacing him in the top job.
2012: Nicolas Rapold reviewed “Orchestra of Exiles” which “retraces the world-renowned violinist Bronislaw Huberman’s heroic feat of organizing an orchestra far from the genocidal scourge of the Nazis”
2013: “One Chance” an English biopic directed by David Frankel and produced by Simon Cowell which had first been seen at the Toronto International Film Festival was released in the UK today by The Weinstein Company headed by Bob and Harvey Weinstein.
2013: Guest artists Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor are scheduled to perform at Rutgers University
2013: At Rutgers University, Dr. Jeff Friedman is scheduled to facilitate a discussion “on reconstructing historical dance works with differently gendered casting.”
2013: The Edin-Tamar is scheduled to host “Excellence-The Future Generation” which will also be broadcast on Kol Israel.
2013: The Jewish National Fund Conference is scheduled to begin in Denver, CO.
2013: A supposed makeshift grenade was thrown at an Israeli bus transporting students to schools this morning
2013: The Republican Jewish Coalition called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) to advance a new sanctions bill against Iran through the Senate toward final approval. The coalition could not appeal to any Republican Jewish senators since there are none. (The House has one Jewish Republican member)
2013(21st of Cheshvan, 5774): Eighty-three year old Viennese native Paul Reichmann, the Canadian real estate mogul who made and lost a fortune passed away today. (As reported by Jonathan Kandell)
2014: In Fairfax, VA, Major General Jeff Jacobs is scheduled to be the speaker at Congregation Olam Tikvah’s fifth annual Military Shabbat.
2014: In conjunction with the Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat UK, the Central Synagogue in London is scheduled to host a special Shabbat service followed by “Just One Shabbos Communal Lunch”
2014: The JCC of Northern Virginia is scheduled to host “Fall Comedy,” an “evening of comedic storytelling with Annabelle Gurwitch, a Jewish mother, a passionate environmentalist and a reluctant atheist.”
2014: “Zero Motivation,”a “comedic portrait of everyday life for a unit of young, female Israeli Soldiers” is scheduled to be shown at the Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival.
2014: Jerusalem’s Japanese Cultural Festival is scheduled to come to an end today.
2014: The Coe College Concert Band & Jazz Band under the direction of William S. Carson is scheduled to perform tonight in Cedar Rapids.
2014: “Finance Minister Yair Lapid admitted today that Israel was experiencing a low point in its relationship with the US, saying “there is a crisis with the Americans and it must be dealt with like a crisis.” (As reported by Itamar Sharon)
2014: Regardless of your interest, celebrate the birthday of Sir Martin Gilbert’s birthday by reading any one of his marvelous books including Churchill and the Jews, In Ishmael’s House and the classic Israel: A History
2014(1st of Cheshvan, 5775): Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan – Noah
2014: When James Levine lifts his baton and gives the downbeat to begin Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” tonight at the Metropolitan Opera, it will be his 2,500th performance with the company — a conducting record unmatched, and never even approached, in the history of the Met. (As reported by Michael Cooper)
2015: Steven Nadler the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy and Evjue-Bascom Professor in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin- Madison whose books include Spinoza: A Life which won the Koret Jewish Book Award is scheduled to deliver a lecture on “Why Was Spinoza Excommunicated?” at Agudas Achim Congregation in Coralville, IA.
2015: The America-Israel Cultural Foundation is scheduled to honor the best of Israeli culture at its 76th Anniversary Celebration!
2015: “The grand mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the Muslim cleric in charge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque said in an Arabic interview with Israel’s Channel 2 “that there has never been a Jewish temple atop the Temple Mount and that the site has been home to a mosque since the creation of the world.” (As reported by Ilan Ben Zion)
2015(12th of Cheshvan, 5776): Fifty-eight year old historian David Cesarani passed away today. (As reported by Margalit Fox)
2015: In Jerusalem, the JDC Archives is scheduled to host “Matzo Wars: Jews, Communism and Ethnicity in 1946 Hungary.”
2015: Dr. Melvin Urofsky, the author of Louis D. Brandeis: A Life was the featured speaker at luncheon sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society “celebrating the Centennial of the appointment of the first Jewish Justice to the Supreme Court.”
2015: Rainstorms and thunderstorms struck most parts of Israel forcing the closure of Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv and resulting in at least one fatality when when a wall collapsed at construction site in Padres Hanna killing a 20 year old worker
2015: “The Jewish Thought of Emil L. Fackenheim: Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, Israel” is the topic for Beth Tikvah Conference scheduled to take place today in Toronto, Canada.
2015: The Center for Jewish History in partnership with the International Center of Photography; co-sponsored by American Jewish Historical Society, Leo Baeck Institute, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research are scheduled to host a symposium on the life and work of photographer Roman Visniac.
2015(12th of Cheshvan, 5776): Seventy-one year old British historian Lisa Anne Jardine passed away today.
2015: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry by Paul Goldberger, Doom To Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship From Truman to Obama by Dennis Ross, America’s Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve by Roger Lowenstein and The Courage To Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath by Ben S. Bernake
2016(23rd of Tishrei, 5777): Simchat Torah; for more see http://downhomedavartorah.blogspot.com/’
2016: Eightieth anniversary of the birth historian Sir Martin Gilbert Z"L whose memory is cherished by so many, but none so much as Lady Esther Gilbert.
2016: Five years to the day after Theo Epstein was introduced as the head of baseball operations of the Chicago Cubs, The World Series which was a creation of Barney Dreyfuss is scheduled to start in Cleveland.