380: Theodosius I made his” adventus,” or formal entry, into Constantinople. Eight years later, in 388, Theodosius attempted to intervene unsuccessfully on behalf of the Jews of his Empire. “The bishop of a town on the bank of the Euphrates was among those responsible for the burning of a synagogue by a Christian crowd” When the governor of the province refused to punish the bishop, Theodosius exercised his imperial power and ordered the offending bishop to build the Jews a new house of worship. However, Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan and a leader of the Christian Church, overruled the emperor and Theodosius folded like a cheap suit. This episode points to the worsening conditions of the Jews. If a powerful Emperor like Theodosius could not stand up to the Church, how could one expect a lesser ruler to challenge the growing power of the prelates?
1105: Rabbi Nathan ben Yehiel of Rome completes Talmudic dictionary. According to Heinrich Graetz, Ben Yehiel is the only Italian who made a contribution to Jewish literature during this period which was dominated by the Jews of Spain. He published his dictionary under the name Aruch. What this work lacks in originality it makes up for in thoroughness. It became a standard text for Jews studying the Talmud during the Middle Ages.
1190: Isabella of Jerusalem marries Conrad of Montferrat at Acre, making him de jure King. This took place during the period when the Crusaders controlled the City of David. Their “kingship” should not be confused with the reign of the Davidic Dynasty.
1631 (5 Kislev, 5392): Rabbi Samuel Eliezer Edels, also known by the acronym, “MaHarSha,” passed away. Born in 1555 in Krakow, he was one of the best known Talmudic commentators. His Chidushei Halachot is included in almost every publication of the Talmud. He believed that many of the Agadot (Talmudic legends) could be explained rationally and/or as parables. Edels also served as the chief rabbi in Lublin and Ostrog. As part of his commentary and explanation on the subject of guardian angel, Edels wrote, “In the way you wish to go in life, so you will be led by your Guardian Angels." According to the MaHarSha,” this passage explains that, in the way you wish to go in life, so you will be led by your guardian angels. In other words every action, word and thought that you do in this world creates an angel, so if you really want something good to happen in your life, create enough angelic good angels with kindness, loving thoughts and honest words . And then these angels you have attracted to you by your good thoughts, words and actions will indeed lead you to your goal.” As you can see from this commentary, all Rabbis living in Eastern Europe were not dry legalist. Those of you who think of them in that manner will get a chance to re-consider that concept if you study this period of Jewish History.
1632: Birthdate of Baruch Spinoza (known also as Benedict De Spinoza). The life and philosophy of Spinoza are too complex for this brief daily blurb and you are urged to read more about him on your own) In brief Spinoza was born in Amsterdam to Sephardic Jews who had fled from the Inquisition in Portugal, Spinoza received a rigorous Jewish education including the study of such “modern” commentators as Maimonides and Ibn Ezra. However his inquiring mind led to learn Latin and to study with so-called free-thinkers. He became a disciple of Descartes and his rationalist philosophic approach to life. Spinoza was a pantheist believing that God was within nature and not above nature with His own divine will. To paraphrase Telushkin, Spinoza did not believe that God created nature, but that God is Nature. In 1656, while still in his twenties, Spinoza was excommunicated (in Hebrew “kerem”) for denying the immortality of the soul and God’s authorship of the Torah. On this latter point, Spinoza was a forerunner of modern Biblical critics. He believed that the Torah had not been written by Moses, but by Ezra the Scribe. The ban from the Jewish community was total. Spinoza spent the rest of his life moving from place to place in Holland studying and developing his philosophical works. At one point he joined a Mennonite sect and changed his name to Benedictus or Benedict. By the time of his death in 1677, Spinoza had developed a philosophy of rational pantheism in which to “know” nature is to know God. Over the centuries, many Jews have expressed their displeasure over Spinoza’s excommunication. In the 1950’s no less a figure than David Ben Gurion tried unsuccessfully to have the ban lifted. From the writings of Spinoza: “As long as a man imagines a thing is impossible, so long will he be unable to do it.” “Men who are ruled by reason desire nothing for themselves which they would not wish for all humankind.” (Sounds like Hillel).
1799: In Prague, Judah Jeitteles and his wife gave birth to physician, poet and author Aaron Ludwig Joseph Jeittles
1843: Birthdate of David Zvi Hoffmann, a rabbi and Torah scholar who was active in the “Wissenschaft des Judentums” a German based movement that attempted to apply scientific methodology to all aspects of Judaism. His daughter Hannah married Alexander Marx who along with Max L. Margolis published “A History of the Jewish People” which was a classic work of the inter-war period. Rabbi Hoffiamn passed away in 1921.
1843: Birthdate of Tammany Hall political leader Richard Croker, Jr. who recognized the importance of the Jewish vote in the municipal elections of 1898 when he threatened to get rid of all the leaders who did not do enough to deliver it to the Democratic Party machine.
1848(28th of Cheshvan, 5609): Seventy-eight year old Joseph Mendelssohn the German Jewish banker who was the oldest son of Moses Mendelssohn and the uncle of Felix Mendelssohn passed away today.
1858: A schochet named Aaron Friedman appeared before New York Mayor Daniel F. Tiemann and accused Abraham Joseph Asch, Pesach Rosenthal and Moses Levi of selling lottery tickets which is against the law. Abraham Joseph Asch served as Rabbi at Beis Hamedrash Hagadol on Bayard Street. Founded in 1852, it was the first congregation founded by Russian Orthodox Jews. Pesach Rosenthal was the founder of the Downtown Talmud Torah, Yiddish speaking school also founded in 1852.
1858: In New York City, Sergeant Birney and 12 officers of the law, armed with a warrant to search and seize lottery tickets arrested Rabbi Abraham Joseph Asch, Reb Pesach Rosnethal and Moses Levi. Rabbi Asch was arrested while he was leading services at this synagogue. All three were taken before May Tiemann to answer the charges lodged against them.
1858: Thanks to the efforts of Austrian born American-Jews impresario Max Maretzek, “Adelina Patti made her operatic debut in the title role of Donizetti’s “Luci de Lammermoor” in New York City.
1859: British naturalist Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, which explained his theory of evolution. Ironically, Hitler was greatly influence by Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution. Hitler believed that the German people were the most advanced race of people, and all others were inferior. For Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest to be true, all other inferior species had to die. Hitler was making sure the inferiors would die off rapidly, so his MASTER RACE would rule faster.
1862: Michel Levy publishes Gustave Flaubert’s "Salammbo." Levy (not Flaubert) was Jewish.
1869: Louis Moreau Gottschalk collapsed from having contracted malaria. Just before his collapse, he had finished playing his romantic piece Morte! (interpreted as "she is dead"), although the actual collapse occurred just as he started to play his celebrated piece Tremolo.
1863: During the Civil War, the 82nd Illinois Infantry under the command of Edward S. Solomon took part in the Union Army’s victory over the Rebels at the Battle of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. Joseph B. Greenhut, an Austrian born Jew, served as Captain of Company K during the Battle.
1864: Comte Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa and Adèle Tapié de Celeyran gave birth to artist Henri de Tolouse-Lautrec whose work included “Reine de joies.”
1869(20th of Kislev, 5630): Jonathan Alexandersohn, a German born Hungarian rabbi, passed away passed away in the Jewish hospital at Altofen.
1870: Rabbi S.M. Isaacs is scheduled to deliver the sermon at the Forty-Fourth Street Synagogue’s Thanksgiving Day services which will begin at 11 a.m. Children from Hebrew Orphan Asylum will attend the service after which they will be fed Thanksgiving Dinner paid for by the synagogues trustees.
1871: It was reported today that the Reorganization Committee meeting in St. Petersburg has been discussing whether or not to allow Jews to serve as officers in the Russian Army. The majority of the committee favor postponing a decision until enough time has elapsed to evaluate the recent decision to allow Jews to hold civil service positions in the Russian government.
1873: Birthdate of Julius Martov, the scion of Jewish family living in Constantinople who became a leader of the Mensheviks during the Russian Revolutions.
1874: It was reported today that Jacob Cohen has donated a printing press, Hebrew type, non-Hebrew type and other printing office furniture to the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York. [The printing operation would prove to be a beneficial source of training an income for the male orphans.]
1877(18th of Kislev, 5638): Eighty-three year old Rabbi Samuel Bondi of Mayence the son of Rabbi Jonas Moses Bondi and Bella Bondi and thus husband of Sophie Bondi passed away today.
1878: It was reported today that the Rothschilds in London have successfully gained the right to underwrite the “new Numidian loan” for which they will receive a premium commission.
1878: In New York Samuel Sachs and Louisa Goldman Sachs gave birth to Paul Joseph Sachs, the partner in Goldman Sachs and associate director of the Fogg Art Museum who enter American pop culture as one of the Monuments Men.
1878: It was reported today that Maggie de Rothschild has been receiving religious instruction from a Roman Catholic priest in Frankfort, Germany. Conversion to Christianity is a condition set by the family of her future husband, the Duc de Guiche for their approval of the marriage. The family has no objection to her Jewish money, just to her Jewish religion. If the trend of intermarriage continues, the more numerous Christian will eventually absorb the Jews. “That is one way getting rid of the Jews…but one which will take time.”
1879: It was reported that a confidence man identified a Hebrew from New York has swindled several French businessmen out of 6,000,000 francs.
1879: It was reported today that Lord Beaconsfield has only been able to gain promises of “moral support from Austria and Germany” in the current conflict involving the Russian and Ottoman empires.
1879: Albert Lavergne, alias Abraham Levy, an Alsatian Jew, went to the 29th Precinct in New York and confessed to having stolen $30,000 worth of diamonds in France in 1876.
1879: Birthdate of Yitzhak Gruenbaum the native of Warsaw who was a leader of Polish Jewry until he made Aliyah in 1933 and expanded his career to include a leadership role that caused the British to arrest him during their “leadership sweep” in 1946 and enabled him to become a signatory to the Declaration of Independence in 1948.
1880: “The German War on the Jews” published today noted that “the authorities are inclined to wink at, if not openly encourage, the movement for stemming the rising tide of Jewish power and influence and in the Empire.” While Chancellor Bismarck has modified his view that used to include opposition of “the admission of Jews into office” the anti-Semitic movement has plenty of power as can be seen from the leadership supplied by Reverend Stoecker, one of the Kaiser’s Chaplains.” (Editor’s note: The emergency of the anti-Semitic movement paralleled the emancipation of Jews in Germany and was in full flower long before a Bavarian Corporal came to power.
1880: At today’s meeting of the New York State Senate Committee on City Affairs, Judge P.J. Joachimsen defended the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society from remarks made by Elbrdige T. Gerry
1881: J.S. Moore responded to the anti-Semitic attacks by Goldwin Smith, a Professor at Oxford that appeared in the October issue of the Nineteenth Century.”
1884: Birthdate of Yitzchak Ben-Zvi, the second President of Israel. After the death of Chaim Weitzman, Ben-Zvi was elected in 1952. He served until his death in April of 1963.
1885: Henry M. Leipziger, the principal of the Hebrew Technical Institute presented a report at a meeting of the Industrial Education Association in New York today during which he described what his school had during the past 18 months to meet the needs of boys ages 12 to 14.
1886: At the Star Theatre in New York, in front of a packed house, Edwin Booth played Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice” part to which he brings a unique portrayal.
1887: “La Tosca” a five-act drama by the 19th-century French playwright Victorien Sardou “was first performed today at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris, with Sarah Bernhardt in the title role.
1887: In a moment of honesty, Reverend Armitage delivered a sermon at the Fifth Avenue Baptist church in which he “compared the American Thanksgiving feast with joyous ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ of the ancient Jews. This Jewish feast continued eight days, and commemorated the gather of fruits. With the Jews, it was a joyous outpouring of religious feeling and in this quality of their religion they set an example which will be followed by Christians.”
1887: On Thanksgiving, “bountiful dinners” were provided those under the care of the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society.
1887: Thanksgiving Services were held at Temple Emanu-El in New York City
1889(1ST of Kislev, 5650): Rosh Chodesh Kislev
1889: “Jews of Bagdad” published today described the mistreatment of the Jews of Mesopotamia during the recent cholera epidemic.
1889: It was reported today that The Conference of the Civic, Commercial, Industrial and Educational Bodies will be presenting a “silk banner” to the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society.
1890(12th of Kislev, 5651): Seventy-six year old August Belmont, a Prussian Jew who “came to the U. S. in the diplomatic service, became a representative of the Rothschilds founded the banking house, August Belmont & Co., made a vast fortune and kept a racing stable passed” away today.
1892: The SS Weimar a large number of whose 1,906 passengers are Russian Jews is still detained at the Cape Charles Quarantine facility at Baltimore in accordance with President’s order this matter.
1892: On Thanksgiving Day Mrs. J. P. Jonchimsen will deliver the opening speech at the dedication of the new Orphan Asylum of the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society of New York will take place at 2 p.m.
1894: According to figures provided by Charles G. Wilson, the President of the Board Health published today “the lowest death rate…is in the tenement wards where the Hebrew population is densest.” Wilson attributed this fact to the observance of “the Mosaic laws regard cleanliness” and avoiding abuse of alcohol as well as the fact that Jews “observe certain religious rules and regulations requiring them to keep their apartments clean.”
1894: In London, premiere of “The Shop Girl” a musical comedy featuring "The Little Chinchilla" a popular song written by Paul Alfred Rubens.
1895: In St. Louis founding of the Prospect Club located at 2737 Locust which meets on the first and last Tuesday of the month.
1895: “Flora’s Beautiful Gifts” traces the role of flowers in various civilizations and cultures including the Hebrews who used the rose and the lily and whose King Solomon “was a botanist” as can be seen from his gardens “which are among the most ancient gardens of which we know.”
1895: Herzl expounds his plans at The Maccabeans Club, the first group to hear his ideas. (In his diary he wrote, "Abends bei den 'Makkabäern'. Mageres Dinner, aber guter Empfang." - In the evening with the 'Maccabaeans', skimpy dinner, but good reception.")
1896: As of today, it was reported that Mrs. Hannah Solomon is President of the National Board of the National Council of Jewish Women and Miss Laura Mordecai is President of the Philadelphia chapter of the organization.
1896: In Limirck, another of the sporadic attacks took place on the Jews of the city.
1897: In Chicago, Illinois, Leopold Godowsky and Frederica Saxe gave birth to silent film actress Dagmar Godowsky.
1897: “Thanksgiving Exercises for Orphans” published today described upcoming holiday plans for those at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum on Amsterdam Avenue.
1898 Simon Guggenheim and Olga Hirsch married today at the Waldorf Astoria; an event they celebration by providing 5,000 poor children with a Thanksgiving Dinner.
(Editor’s Note: The following four entries are examples of the Americanization of the Jewish Community in the best sense of the term. It provides an indication of why American Jews believe that their experience is different from that in Europe, North Africa or the Middle East)
1898: Rabbi Silverman will deliver a sermon on “American Progress” at Temple Emanu-El during Thanksgiving Services that start at 11 a.m.
1898: Rabbi Rudolph Grossman will deliver the sermon at Temple Rodeph Sholom during Thanksgiving Services that start at 10:30 a.m.
1898: Shaarai Tephilla and B’nai Jeshurun will hold a joint Thanksgiving Service at 10:30 a.m led by Rabbi Stephen G. Wise that will include “the reading of the of the President’s proclamation by Morris Wise, a speech by Washingtonian Simon Wolf and a performance by the brass band of the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society Orphan Asylum
1898: “The Young Men’s Hebrew Association” is scheduled to hold Thanksgiving Services at 861 Lexington this morning starting at 10:30.
1899: Jacob Furth, the Jewish President of the Puget Sound National Bank of Seattle, Washington, described economic conditions in the Northwest to a group meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria. The seven banks in the area have more than 13 million dollars in deposits most of which has been investing in Eastern commercial paper since there is so little demand for money in the Pacific Coast region. Manufacturing and farming have been so profitable that there has been little need for borrowing. Furth concluded his remarks by saying that he saw an automobile for the first time while traveling through Chicago on his way to New York. Furth is convinced that the Pacific Northwest is too hilly “for the successful operation of the horseless carriage.”
1903: In Vienna, Carl and Emilie Popper gave birth to Hans Popper, “the founding father of Hepatology” who was fortunate enough to escape arrest by the Nazis during the Anschluss by making his way to the United States aboard the SS New Amsterdam.
1905 (26th of Cheshvan): Nahum Meyer Shaikevich (Shomer) Yiddish novelist and playwright, passed away
1908: Birthdate of Harry Kemelman, the Boston native who created the Rabbi David Small mystery novels.
1910: On Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta, GA, Leo Frank, who would be lynched in the single worse episode of anti-Semitism in U.S. history, married Lucille Selig, the daughter of Emil Selig.
1911: The Damascus newspaper Muktebis attacked Jews, and in response readers wrote letters to the Grand Vizier to condemn the attitude of the paper. On the same day the editor of another newspaper, the Turkish Hikmet, insulted Jews in an 'open letter to the Sultan.' As a result of the letter the editor was banished from Constantinople.
1912: In Rochester, NY, David Kanin and Sadie Levine gave birth to screen writer and director Garson Kanin.
1912: In Antwerp Paul (Pinchas) Gluck-Friedman and Henia Shipper gave birth to Antoinette Gluk who would marry a young Swiss-born French rabbi named David Feuerwerker and who would become famous as a decorated hero of the Resistance and as a jurist in post-war France.
1912: In the presence of an audience of 600 persons, including all of the members of the Straus family, a memorial tablet in honor of Ida Straus was unveiled this afternoon at the Home of the Daughters of Jacob, an institution for aged men and women at 301 and 303 East Broadway. Impressive services marked the official dedication of the tablet, which has been mounted upon the wall of the large auditorium to the right of the main entrance. The large bronze casting bears the raised profile of Mrs. Straus upon the center, directly under the inscription; “The Ida Straus Memorial of the Home of the Daughters of Jacob.” On one side are the words “Her life was beautiful” and the date in the Hebrew calendar of Mrs. Straus’s birth, “Shebat 14, 5609.” On the other side is the inscription “Her death was glorious,” and the date of the Titanic disaster, “Nisan 28, 5672.” Below the profile are the words: To the everlasting memory of Mrs. Ida Straus, one of the noble and heroic daughters in Israel, the hospital wards of this home are dedicated. She perished on the high seas in the Titanic disaster, together with her husband, Isidor Straus, statesman, philanthropist, and merchant, persistently [sic] refusing to be saved that she might remain to cheer the last moments of her life’s companion. Beneath is this quotation from the Book of Ruth: Where thou Diest Will I Die, and There Will I Be Buried. Dr. Nathan Abramson opened the dedication services with a hymn, in which he led a selected chorus of sixteen voices. The Rev. H. Pereira Mendes delivered the opening prayer, in which he expressed the hope that the example of the heroic and devoted wife in whose memory the tablet was erected and to whose lasting fame the wards of the hospital were dedicated might be forever an inspiration to the women of her race and ancient creed. Dr. Henry Fleischman, President of the Educational Alliance, made the principal address. He lauded the modest charity and kindliness of Mrs. Straus and the great unselfish works of her husband in the public service. Other speakers were Joseph Barondes of the Board of Education, the Rev. Dr. Schulman, pastor of the Congregation of Beth-El; the Rev. H. Masliansky of the People’s Synagogue, and Gustavus A. Rogers, who acted as Chairman.The most impressive incident of the dedication occurred when the 186 inmates of the home, led by Supt. Albert Kruger, filed slowly into the auditorium and took their seats in the front rows. The oldest of the feeble and decrepit men and women was said to be almost 108, and the youngest in the procession more than 70 years old. Just before the close of the exercises they arose and with quavering voices chanted aloud in unison a prayer for the eternal happiness of their departed benefactress. Among those seated on the platform were Mr. and Mrs. Percy Straus, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar S. Straus, Mrs. Nathan Straus, Herbert Straus, Jesse I. Straus, Mrs. Weil, Mr. and Mrs. Lazarus Kohns, and Mr. Lee Kohns. At the close of the exercises the members of the Straus family group, together with a few intimate friends, made a tour of inspection of the new hospital wards of the home
1913: A mass meeting was held in New York under the auspices of the Federation of Oriental Jews that reside $58,000 for the relief of Balkan Jewry.
1914: Today’s contributions to the Central Committee for the Relief of Jews suffering through the war amounted to $944.74 bring the total collected to day to $25,010.
1914: Today, Herman Bernstein, editor of The Day, a Jewish daily newspaper published in New York “made public telegraphic correspondence” between him and Sir Cecil Arthur Spring-Rice, the British Ambassador in Washington, D.C. in which the editor asks if England will give protection to German and Galician Jews living in Jaffa now that the British reportedly occupy the city formerly controlled by the Ottomans. Spring-Rice responded ‘Jews of all nationalities who may come under British control can of course count on the same protection and liberal treatment which England has always extended to them. I have, however, no information that Jaffe is in the hands of England.” (The reality is that the Turks expelled the Jewish population and the British did not take the city until 1917).
1914: “Let Jews Become Turks” published today described the decision of the Ottoman government to grant citizenship to Russian Jews living in the empire – a decision that would mean a great deal to many of the Jewish settlers in Palestine because they came from Russia.
1914: It was reported to that “two members of the Serbian Legation who remained at Constantinople to assist Henry Morgenthau,” the Jewish philanthropist serving as the American Ambassador, “were ordered to leave the city within 48 hours.”
1914: On the Western Front during WW I, Lieutenant F.A. De Pass, a Jewish officer from London “led two of his Indian soldiers into the sap of a German trench that had been pushed out to within ten yards of the Indian line” and destroyed the sap after which de Pass carried a wounded comrade to safety – an action that led him to being the first Jewish officer to receive the Victoria Cross.
1915: As of today, “the contributions to the fund for the relief of the sufferes from the Russian massacres reached a total of $734,494.
1915: Birthdate of Aleksandr Yakovlevich Novakovsky, the native of St. Petersburg who gained fame as Alexander Nov, “a Professor of Economics at the University of Glasgow and a noted authority on Russian and Soviet economic history.”
1915: Jacob Bosniak, presided over a meeting of students at the Jewish Theological Seminary where “resolutions expressing their grief were adopted.”
1915: The faculty of JTS met today for the first time since the death of Solomon Schechter.
1915: In Manhattan, an exhibit sponsored by Bezalel that included rugs, silver filigree work, copper inlaid articles, Torah Bells and Meghilloths came to a close.
1916: At Temple Israel, Dr. M.H. Harris delivered a sermon on “The Fate of the Jew After the War’ in which he talked about the fate of 1,500,000 Jews in Poland and said he did not put any trust in Germany’s recent promise to create an independent Kingdom of Poland.
1916: The Greek government considers calling on Jews to serve in military; prior to this date they were exempt from service.
1916: Writing in The Jewish Chronicle, Dr. Joseph Kruk described his first meeting with Alexander Protopopov, the Minister of the Interior, “on whom depends the course of the policy towards the Jews of Russia” who said he believes “in equal rights for the Jews” but believes that the lack of a commercial treaty will be a hindrance towards his government reaching that goal.
1917: In London, Harry Rowson and his wife gave birth to Sefton Wilfred David Rowson who gained fame as Israeli diplomat and Professor of International Law, Shabtai Rosenne.
1917: “A mass meeting” designed “to enroll men and women in the International Zionist Organization” is scheduled to “held at the Morris High School” at eight o’clock this evening.
1917: “The Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America announced today that Samuel Mason, as special representative of the organization, has started for Japan to investigate condions among the Jewish emigrants stranded in that country.”
1918: Felix Warburg outlines plans for a December campaign designed to raise funds for Jewish war suffers at a meeting of the People’s Relief Committee which represents the working class of New York Jewry.
1919: In London, a poor Russian immigrant tailor, Louis Kossoff and his wife gave birth to actor David Kossof
1922: Seventy-five year old Italian politician and Prime Minister Sidney Costantino Sonnino, the son of Isacco Saul Sonnino – a Jewish born son of a banker – who converted to Anglicanism passed away today.(Ironically, one of his big claims to fame is that he was regarded as unique because he was a Protestant in country almost completely dominated by Roman Catholic political leaders,)
1922: Birthdate of Claus Adolf Moser, the native of Berlin who was brought to England in 1936 where his contributions to the world of statistics led to his being made a Life peer with the title Baron Moser>
1922: In Akron, Ohio, Benjamin and Bertha Munitz Ovshinsky gave birth to Stanford R. Ovshinsky, the inventor of the nickel-metal hydride battery. (As reported by Barnaby J. Feder)
1924: In New York, Barbara Stettheimer and “Maj. Gen. Julius Ochs Adler, who was the president and publisher of The Chattanooga Times and the general manager of The New York Times from 1935 until his death in 1955” gave birth to Julius Ochs Adler, Jr “a business executive and public relations consultant who ran a popular independent bookstore in Manhattan for 16 years.” (As reported by Robert D. McFadden and Eric Pace)
1928(11th of Kislev, 5689): Semei Kakungulu who founded the Abayudaya (Luganda: Jews) community in Uganda in 1917 passed away today.
1929: Georges Clemenceau, Premier of France during the final years of World War I passed away. He provided the stamina that helped France stay the course and defeat the forces of the Kaiser. For Jews, he will be remembered as a French politician who risked his career to support Emile Zola as he worked to gain justice for Colonel Dreyfus.
1932: A call to orthodox Jewry to unite to finish rebuilding Palestine as a Jewish homeland was sounded today by Rabbi Wolf Gold of Brooklyn, president of the Mizrachi Organization of America, at the opening session of the annual convention of that body held in Buffalo, NY. “Detailing the Mizrahi’s program for Palestine which calls for a rebuilding along strict orthodox line, Rabbi “Gold held that the organization was the only one in the world which could accomplish the task of taking back to the homeland the ancient principles of Judaism.” On a more practical note, “Rabbi Gold reported that…$40,000,000 has been invested in more than 63,000 acres of orange groves in Palestine. Raising oranges is one of the chief industries of the homeland he said.” Despite problems in the world economy, he reported that orange exports have “increased tremendously” over the last year.
1933: The German Law Against Dangerous and Habitual Criminals adopted today allows for compulsory castration of “hereditary” criminals.
1934: Lillian Hellman's drama “The Children's Hour” premiered on Broadway today for the first of 691 performances
1934: In “Engels in the Volga German Republic of the Russian SFSR”, Frankfurt born journalist and translator Harry Viktorovich Schnittke and Maria Iosifovna Schnittke (née Vogel) gave birth to composer Alfred Schnittke, the grandson of philologist and translator Tea Abramovna.
1934: Birthdate of New Yorker Martin Charnin, “best-known work is as conceiver, director and lyricist of the musical Annie.”
1936: According to testimony given today before the royal commission of inquiry by officials of the Palestine government including B.G. Harris, irrigation adviser to the development department; B.G. Harris, irrigation adviser to the development department, F.G. Salman, Commissioner of Land and Surveys and N.C. Bennett, assistant director of land surveys, “nothing has been done by the mandatory government to fulfill Article VI of the Palestine Mandate, calling for the facilitation of the settlement of Jews on government land.
1936: “About 600 University of Warsaw students, a third of them girls, locked themselves in the college building today and announced they would refuse to leave until the university agreed to segregate the Jews.”
1936: The Jerusalem Arab daily newspaper al-Liwa demanded the Peel commission should reach only one conclusion: ‘a National Arab Government’ throughout Palestine.
1937: The Reich is about to assume permanent control of the property of the Jewish shipping operator, Arnold Bernstein, without awaiting his conviction on "economic treason" charges. His trial before the Hamburg Emergency Court has been going on for ten days
1938: Winston Churchill condemned the British stewardship of Palestine in speech in the House of Commons.
1938: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Chicago native Sylvia Polisky, the daughter of Samuel and Sarah Braverman Polisky became Sylvia Padzensky today when she married Edward Padzensky in what became a “love affair that lasted for more than fifty years.”
1939: “Catholic Welfare Council Helped Jews and Others in Reich” published today described the organization’s efforts to refugees from “Germany and countries under the sway of the German Reich” which has included raising $285,486 to help those of Jewish extractions as well as “a large number of Catholics classified as ‘non-Aryans’”
1939: “Links Zionist Aims to Democratic Way” published today described Rabbi Stephen S. Wise’s belief that those “who really believed in democracy had no choice but to support the establishment of a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine.”
1939: It was reported today that Junior Hadassah has raised “about $100,000 for its undertakings in Palestine” and that it will be a hospital for the children’s Village at Meier Shfeyah to be named for Miss Alice Seligsberger” who “was in charge of the Zionist medical unit which went to Palestine in the World War and established a network of hospitals and similar institutions.
1939: Due in part “to the continued sales of stocks formerly owned by Jews for the Reich’s account” in Berlin, “the share index advanced slightly to 102.07. (Anti-Semitism is good for business)
1940: Slovakia becomes a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers. Regardless of the impact of Slovakian troops on the fighting on the Eastern Front, this move helped lay the groundwork for the Jewish community which saw 65,000 of its 77,000 shipped to the camps and their death by 1945.
1940: The Atlantic, with 1,783 illegal Jewish refugees on board was escorted into the harbor at Haifa. How determined were the British to keeps Jews out Palestine? Consider the following; at this time in 1940, Britain stood alone against the Nazis. France had surrendered the previous June. The Soviet Union was still an ally of Hitler and would not enter the fray until June of 1941. The United States would not enter the fight for another year. The U-boat wolf-packs were sinking British ships in the North Atlantic. Yet at a time when British merchant vessels need all the protection they could get. British warships were cruising the Mediterranean so they could keep a few thousand Jews out Palestine.
1941: A ghetto was set up at Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia in the old barracks and then in the walled town itself. All the 3,700 local inhabitants were moved out. Although Theresienstadt was set up as a "model settlement," its death rate reached 50% in 1942 through starvation and epidemics. During an investigation by the Red Cross in June 1943 the Germans changed the external appearance of the town and deported many so that there would be less overcrowding. All the interviews were carefully orchestrated and immediately after the visit most of the "actors" were then deported. In all 140,937 Jews were sent to Theresienstadt, of whom 33,529 died in the ghetto and 88,196 were deported to death camps. There were 17,247 persons left in the ghetto when it was liberated.
1941: "Life Certificates" were distributed to some Jews of the Vilna Ghetto. By now most of the Jews of Vilna had been slaughtered. Only about 15,000 Jews held “yellow certificates” and these would do them little good. By the end of the war, 96% of the Jews of Vilna would be dead.
1941: Karel Švenk “was one of the first artists to be deported to Terezín today, and was among the 342 young Jewish men sent to prepare the previously non-Jewish camp for the Jewish artist inmates to follow.”
1942: American born Zionist leader Rechaviah Lewin Epstein was buried in Rehoboth today.
1942: Dr. Stephen S. Wise presided over a memorial service for the late Rechaviah Lewin Epstein in the New York Offices of the American Emergency Committee for Zionist Affairs
1942: Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a founder and president of the World Jewish Congress, announces at a press conference that the United States State Department has confirmed that Europe's Jews are being slaughtered by the Nazis. Wise estimates that the Germans have already murdered two million Jews, which is an understatement;
1942: Birthdate of Earl Leslie Krugel, the West Coast coordinator of the Jewish Defense League.
1942: “Blood and Banquets: A Berlin Social Diary” by Bella Fromm is scheduled to be published today. Fromm is a German Jewish reporter who left Germany just before the outbreak of World War II. The book is based on her first-hand observations of the Nazi leaders in Berlin.
1943: Mordechai "Modi" Alon who had enlisted in the RAF in 1940 finally began his flight training today in Rhodesia. Alon would one of the IAF’s first pilots and hero of the War for Independence.
1943: “Easy Aces” starring Goodman Ace and his wife Jane, two Jews from Kansas City, became a one-half-hour-per-week broadcast at 7:30 PM on CBS radio.
1944: Birthdate of former congressman and Agriculture Secretary, Dan Glickman.
1946(1st of Kislev, 5707): Rosh Chodesh Kislev
1946: “The formal installation of Joseph Smith as the new rabbi of Temple B’nai Israel in Burlington, NJ is scheduled to take place this evening at 8 p.m. in the social hall.
1946: The Philadelphia Sphas led by Inky Lautman, Sol Schwartz and Bernie Opper are scheduled to play the Brooklyn Gothams tonight in American Basketball League game at the Broadway Brooklyn Arena.
1946: Birthdate of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, the New York born Sephardic Jew who became the director of New York University's Alexander Hamilton Center for Political Economy
1946: “Report on the Sanitary and Medical Organization of the Monowitz Concentration Camp For Jews (Auschwitz-Upper Silesia)” by Dr. Leonardo De Benedetti, Physician and Surgeon and Dr. Primo Levi, Chemist was published in the Turin-based medical journal Minerva Medica. The material will be republished in 2007 as Auschwitz Report by Primo Levi.
1947: The Jewish Agency (part of the de facto Jewish government in Palestine) began registering “Jewish youths to work for and defend” the as yet undeclared and unrecognized Jewish state.
1947: Birthdate of Eli Ben-Menachem, the native of Bombay who made Aliyah in 1949 and has served as an MK and as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset.
1947: A group of writers, producers and directors, known later as the Hollywood 10, was cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer a committee’s questions about alleged communist influence in the film industry. This was viewed as part of right wing America’s war against “Jewish Hollywood.” This was actually part of the first round of what would later come to be called the Culture Wars which have always had a taint of anti-Semitism to them.
1947: The House of Representatives overwhelming vote to approve citations for contempt of Congress citations against the Hollywood Ten for the “defiance” of the mis-named House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). “Of the Hollywood Ten, six - John Howard Lawson, Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Albert Maltz and Samuel Ornitz — were Jews.”
1948: The UN Truce Mission announces “a provisional…truce line” between Arab and Israeli forces.
1949: “Israel and Egypt signed an armistice whereby the Nitzana region, situated in Israel, was declared a demilitarized zone. The armistice agreement also stipulated that on the Egyptian side of the border "no Egyptian defensive positions shall be closer to El Auja than El Qouseima and Abou Aoueigila
1950: Guys and Dolls opened at the 46th Street Theatre and enjoyed a run of 1,200 performances.
1953(17th of Kislev, 5714): Sixty-year old Abraham Krotoshinsky who earned a Distinguished Service Cross for his role in rescuing the “Lost Battalion” during WW I passed away today.
1956: After 1,063 the curtain comes down on the original Broadway production of Richard Adler and Jerry Ross’ musical hit “The Pajama Game.”
1958: Yisrael Barzilai began serving as Minister of Postal Services in Israel.
1963: Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy. Yes, Jack Ruby was Jewish, a fact that conspiracy theorists have loved to play with over the past forty-five years.
1969: NBC broadcast the 1th episode of “My World and Welcome to it” created by Melville Shavelson, produced by Sheldon Leonard and Danny Arnold.
1973: “Scream, Pretty Peggy” featuring Allan Arbus as “Dr. Eugene Saks” and Tovah Feldshuh as “Agnes Thornton” was broadcast for the first time on ABC’s Movie of the Week.
1974: American nuclear physicist and “ufologist” Stanton Friedman married Stella M. Kimball today in Los Angeles
1974: Birthdate of Sam Kellerman, one of the four Kellerman brothers that included sportscaster Max Kellerman, an aspiring playwright who wrote “The Man Who Hated Shakespeare.”
1983: The PLO exchanged 6 Israeli prisoners for 4,500 Arabs held by the government of Israel. This would not be the last of such numerically disproportionate trades in which the Israelis would engage.
1985(11th of Kislev, 5746): Ninety-five year old Maurice Podoloff, the native of Elzabethgrad, Russia who graduated from Yale Law School and was the first Commissioner of the NBA passed away today in West Haven, CT.
1986: The original production of “Smile” “a musical with music by Marvin Hamlisch and book and lyrics by Howard Ashman opened on Broadway today at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
1986: Susan Sontag’s short story “The Way We Live Now” which “remains a significant text on the AIDS epidemic” was “published today in The New Yorker.
1993: “Josh and S.A.M.” a comedy produced by Martin Brest in which Noah Fleiss made his film debut was released in the United States today.
1994(21st of Kislev, 5755): Fifty-one year old David Patton Garfield who “became a successful cameraman and film editor” after he decided not to follow in the acting footsteps of his father John Garfield passed away today in Los Angeles.
1995(1st of Kislev, 5756): Rosh Chodesh KIslev
1995(1st of Kislev, 5756): Ninety-five year old Dr. Moses Paulson, professor emeritus of gastroenterology at the Johns Hopkins medical school and an expert on digestive diseases, passed away today.
1997: As part of the process in which Zypora Frank, a Polish Jewess, learned that her family had owned part of the land on which the Auschwitz death camp stood, and where most of her mother's family perished she went to visit Auschwitz today. And there, in the records of the village that the Poles called Oswiecim, she found her grandfather's property -- now hers and her brother's. Fifteen square miles of what became the Auschwitz death camp had been his tile factory.
1999(15th of Kislev, 5760): David Kessler, the man most responsible for making the Jewish Chronicle the most respected Jewish weekly in the world passed away. He achieved this by dint of his unwavering desire for fairness, his belief that all sections of a community must be given a fair hearing, his insistence on total independence, accuracy, economic stability and the need for accepting modern progress. As chairman and managing director for 50 years of the newspaper, in which he and his family held the majority of shares, Kessler was able to ensure, at times after a struggle, that it followed his principles.
1999: American-Jewish economist Joseph E. Stiglitz announced that he would resign as the World Bank's chief economist after using the position for nearly three years to raise pointed questions about the effectiveness of conventional approaches to helping poor countries".
2000(25th of Chehsvan, 5761): Maj. Sharon Arameh, 25, of Ashkelon was killed by Palestinian sniper fire in fighting near Neve Dekalim in the Gaza Strip.
2000(25th of Cheshvan, 5761): Ariel Jeraffi, 40, of Petah Tikva, a civilian employed by the IDF, was killed by Palestinian fire as he travelled near Otzarin in the West Bank
2000(25th of Cheshvan, 5761): Ariel Jeraffi, 40, of Petah Tikva, a civilian employed by the IDF, was killed by Palestinian fire as he travelled near Otzarin in the West Bank.
2001(9th of Kislev, 5762): Eighty-three year old Jacob Landau, the Philadelphia native whose works can be found in in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery past away today.
2002: The New York Times book section features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or on topics of special Jewish interest including A Moral Reckoning The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, The Punch by John Feinstein, Take on the Street: What Wall Street and Corporate America Don't Want You to Know: What You Can Do to Fight Back by Arthur Levitt, Rising to the Light: A Portrait of Bruno Bettelheim by Theron Raines and The Pity of It All: A History of Jews in Germany, 1743-1933 by Amos Elon.
2002: The government adopts Resolution 2793 which provides the criteria for The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Old Acre Development Company, in cooperation with the Israel Lands Administration, to begin a rehabilitation and conservation project in Old Acre. The area where the work is to be done is called Block 10 and is located in the northwestern part of the city and represents the first of its kind effort in Acre since the creation of the modern state of Israel.
2003(29th of Cheshvan, 5764): Rabbi Abraham Karp, a pulpit rabbi in Rochester, N.Y., and prominent scholar in American Jewish history, passed away today at the age of 82. Rabbi Karp, who served as spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in Rochester from 1956 to 1972, was a professor of history and religion at the University of Rochester until he retired in 1991 and was named professor emeritus of Jewish studies. He moved that year to New York, becoming adjunct professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary of
2005: The Israeli bobsled team, a.k.a. the “Frozen Chosen” has chosen to defrost this year away from the slopes. In just two full seasons of competition, they had catapulted themselves into the elite ranks of the sport, and have already taken part in two World Championships. Teams members expressed extreme disappointed at not being able to represent Israel at the upcoming Winter Olympics. The decision was based on a number of factors, including the realization that no support would be forthcoming from the Israeli Olympic committee and changes in the family situations of most of the team members. The team has already prepared complete four year plan, in order to begin preparing the Israel Bobsled Federation for the 2010 Winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver, Canada. The development of winter sports may seem a little strange for a country that of as arid with a Mediterranean climate. However, the Israeli bobsled team takes its place alongside the Israeli hockey team as proof of the broadening cultural scope of Israel and its citizens.
2006: The Jewish Daily Forward featured an interview with Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gershowitz. The 26 year old Lubavitcher is the leader of the 5 Chabad Rabbis serving the needs of Kazakhstan’s 25,000 Jews. Rabbi Gershowitz stated that the treatment of the Jews of Kazakhstan bears no relationship to the images appearing in Sasha Cohen’s hit film “Borat.” “He is hoping that the movie never finds its way to Kazakhstan, as he fears it could hurt the warm relationship that the Kazakh president has with the Jewish community - and with Israel. ‘If he will think that the Jews are against him, and don’t like what he does, we will get the result,’ he said.”
2007: After two months, the first major UK production of “Parade,” a “musical that dramatizes the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank” came to a close today.
2007: Mark Dreyfus became a member of the Australian Parliament for the Division of Isaacs in the suburbs of Melbourne which was named after Sir Isaac Isaacs.
2007: In Jerusalem, as part of the International Oud Festival, Ladino singers Janet and Jak Esim close the musical event with a blend of Judeo-Spanish melodies and song.
2007: “David and Bat Sheba,” a new production of the COMPAS Dance Company premiers at Merkaz Habama, Ganei Tikva, Israel.
2008: The United States Department of Agriculture is now verifying and certifying “numerous” claims by livestock and poultry sellers for nonpayment, according to a court motion filed today by a U.S. attorney in New York.
2008: A human resources worker facing federal charges for allegedly helping illegal immigrants get jobs at Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville has pleaded not guilty. Karina Freund had already pleaded not guilty to a charge of harboring illegal immigrants after being arrested in September. A federal indictment also charged her with conspiracy to harbor undocumented immigrants.
2009: The British commission of inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilicot that was to examine the British role in the Iraq War which included Sir Martin Gilbert began its inquiry today,
2009: The oldest complete Spanish Torah scroll will be up for sale at Sotheby's Judaica auction today. The scroll, the only Spanish Torah to include the kabalistic traditions of curved letters, has an estimated worth of $300,000-$500,000. Yitzchok Reisman, a world-renowned sofer (scribe), discovered the 730-year-old scroll about 10 years ago, and was able to date it and identify its origin. Reisman has collected Torah scrolls from around the world for 50 years, and says this is one of the most significant scrolls he has ever encountered. The scroll is written in typical 13th-to-14th century Central Northern Spanish style Hebrew script. Reisman points specifically to the narrow "peh" and the left legs of the letters "kuf" and "hey," which touch the horizontal stroke. "There just aren't Torahs of that age to study," Reisman told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. Scholars are especially interested in unique tagin, or crowns, set in the Spanish scroll. These tagin have never been found in other scrolls. The Torah is complete and in a near-kosher state. "It's in rather good shape," Reisman said. "It was used not long ago, but I don't think it could stand regular synagogue handling." While Reisman does not have the facilities to take care of the valuable antique, he hopes the winning bidder will find a good home for the ancient scroll. "I hope it will go somewhere where it will be honored, and they will take care of it," he said.
2008: “The Jerusalem Foundation launched Jerusalem 2010, a campaign celebrating 150 years of British involvement in Jerusalem, at a special private event at London's Bevis Marks Synagogue. Sir Martin Gilbert, official biographer of Winston Churchill and author of the History of Jerusalem in the 19th Century, gave an address on 150 years of Britain and Jerusalem
2009: In a program entitled “Above and Beyond attendees at the Washington DCJCC Learn over Lunch examine “The Origin of Ethics and Piety Out of the Pages of the Jewish Legal Tradition.”
2009(7 Kislev, 5770): Eighty-five year old Abe Pollin “the owner of the N.B.A.’s Washington Wizards, who built the sports arena that revitalized downtown Washington and was known for his wide-ranging philanthropy, passed away. (As reported by Richard Goldstein)
2010: The Yeshiva Beth Yehudah Annual Dinner is scheduled to take place at the Detroit Renaissance in Detroit, Michigan.
2010(17th of Kislev, 5771): Joel Daner, a West Orange, NJ man who devoted his life to Jewish communal service, died today at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, a few days after his 72nd birthday. He had been suffering from cancer for several years.
2010: Jonah Lerner and his wife Sarah Liebowitz bought the Shulman House (built of for photographer Julius Schulman) for $2, 250,000.
2011: The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress is scheduled to meet today at the King David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem where it is to elect businessman Vadim Shulman to be its new president
2011: Family and friends gather to celebrate the birthday of Bill Gasway, husband, father, grandfather, recent Bar Mitzvah and pillar of the Cedar Rapids Jewish community.
2011: Congressmen Ted Deutsch (D-FLA) and Steve Israel (D-NY) have asked US Comptroller-General Gene Dodaro to investigate the Palestinian Authority’s use of American funding, three weeks after MK Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu) sent a letter informing the budget committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s policy to pay murderers released from Israeli prisons $5,000 and build them new homes.
2011: A group of Palestinians and Iranians protested today against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as he was speaking to members of the Jewish community at a synagogue in Bochum, Germany.
2012: Millinery Center Synagogue is scheduled to present “The Controversial, The Amazing, and The Mystical Ideas in Judaism"
2016: Wildfires which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attributed to “natural and unnatural” causes “raged through central and northern Israel for a third day today, devouring forests, damaging homes and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people.”
Editor's Note: From my personal perspective, the best day of the year. We get to celebrate by reading and eating. What could be better?