176: Emperor Marcus Aurelius grant his son Commodus the rank of Imperator and makes him Supreme Commander of the Roman legions. To the world at large Marcus Aurelius was “the philosopher-king” or “philosophical but impractical” ruler, but to the Jews he was just Roman emperor who held them in contempt describing them as “’Stinking and tumultuous!’” to his companions as he traveled through Judea. The dissolute nature of Commodus has become well known to all through the film “Gladiator.” Commodus showed his ineptitude in his failed attempt to defeat the Parthians, Rome’s eastern enemy whose empire reached to the borders of Palestine. Unable to defeat an armed enemy in the field, Commodus began fresh persecutions of the Jews living there denying them, among other things, the right to use their courts of justice.1095: First Crusade proclaimed by the Council of Clermont. By now everybody should be aware of the fact that the Crusades ushered in a period of death and destruction for the Jews of Europe and Eretz Israel.
1198(Kislev, 4959): Rabbeinu Abraham ben David known by the abbreviation RABaD (for Rabbeinu Abraham ben David) passed away. Born in Provence, France in 1125, he was a Provençal rabbi, a great commentator on the Talmud, Sefer Halachot of Rabbi Yitzhak Alfasi and Mishne Torah of Maimonides, and is regarded as a father of Kabbalah and one of the key and important links in the chain of Jewish mystics
1308: Henry VII who “was presented with a scroll of the Law by a delegation of Jews from Rome which had gone to meet him began” began his reign as King of the Romans
1614: In Frankfurt, Vincenz Fettmilch, the ringleader of the Fettmilch Rising during which the Judengasse was attacked looted, was arrested along with 38 of his followers and “charged for their persecution of the Jews.” (They would eventually be executed. The authorities really were not upset about his attack on the Jews. What got him into trouble was when he was perceived as a threat to the Emperor and the ruling order.
1688 (4th of Kislev): Rabbi Elijah Kovo of Salonika, author of Aderet Eliyahu, passed away
1710: Birthdate of Robert Lowth, the Bishop of the Church of England who 1754 was awarded a Doctorate in Divinity by Oxford University, for his treatise on Hebrew poetry entitled Praelectiones Academicae de Sacra Poesi Hebraeorum (On the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews) which derives from a series of lectures that were published by George Gregory in 1787 as "Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews".
1755: An English merchant named Joseph Salvador bought 10,000 acres near Fort Ninety-Six, in the southern part of the Carolina Colony. In 1773, Joseph Salvador would send his nephew Francis Salvador to South Carolina to develop the land as an indigo plantation. At the outbreak of the American Revolution the wealthy young aristocrat joined the fight for independence. He died of wounds in August of 1776 while fighting the Cherokee allies of the British. The following words were etched on his tombstone: Born an aristocrat he became a democrat, An Englishman he cast his lot with America; True to his ancient faith, he gave his life for new hopes of liberty and human understanding.”
1757: Birthdate of William Blake, English poet, painter and printmaker. Controversy surrounds Blake’s grasp of Jewish mysticism. It seems pretty clear that Blake’s art and writing invoke Kabbalah, but scholars debate how Blake accessed the Jewish mystical concepts he quoted. Some argue that the dozen or so Hebrew inscriptions in Blake’s etchings and watercolors show that Blake was fluent in Hebrew. But close analysis of the works, some of which are on exhibit at The Morgan Library & Museum, reveals that Blake had not even mastered the letter alef. Reading Kabbalah in Hebrew without knowing the first letter of the alef-bet would be as implausible as tackling “Finnegans Wake” with barely a grasp of the English alphabet. Arguments that Blake knew Hebrew date back to Frederick Tatham, who cared for Catherine after Blake’s death in 1827. In a letter to bookseller Frances Harvey, Tatham said that Blake’s library included “well thumbed” books in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and Italian, as well as works by Swedenborg and Christian mystic Jacob Boehme. “His knowledge was immense, his industry beyond parallel,” Tatham wrote. Modern scholars echo Tatham’s claim. Writing in the journal Modern Philology in 1951, David V. Erdman ascribed “some Hebrew” to Blake, particularly the knowledge that beth-lehem means “house of bread.” “We know that Blake knew a little Hebrew,” Anthony Blunt agreed, writing in the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes in 1943, “for he wrote to his brother in 1803 that he was learning the Hebrew alphabet, and his etching of the Laocoön [a copy of the sculpture “Laocoön and His Sons”] bears a few words in Hebrew script.” In his book “The New Apocalypse: The Radical Christian Vision of William Blake (The Davies Group, Publishers, 2000), Thomas J. J. Altizer suggests not only that Blake knew Hebrew, but also that he was self-taught.But the work that Blunt cites as proof of Blake’s proficiency in Hebrew, “Laocoön” — a circa 1820 print depicting snakes strangling the famous Trojan priest and his two sons — is one of the best pieces of evidence that Blake did not know Hebrew. Writing “malakh Jehovah,” which he translated as “The Angel of the Divine Presence,” Blake inadvertently rotated the alef 90 degrees on its y-axis. He spelled “Lilit” (Lilith) correctly, but he miswrote “Jeshua” (Jesus) with another rotated letter, this time an ayin (the 16th letter). “Laocoön” does not appear in the Morgan show, but an etching from Blake’s Job series does. In an etching from Blake’s Job series, the artist again wrote “The Angel of the Divine Presence,” but this time he wrote the Hebrew “melekh Jehovah,” which means King Jehovah, rather than malakh (with an alef), the Angel of Jehovah. In “William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job,” S. Foster Damon says that Blake intentionally removed the alef to show that Job was worshipping a false God — mistaking an angel for the king. But could Blake really have known enough Hebrew to distinguish between “melekh” and “malakh,” when he revealed in “Laocoön” that he didn’t even know how to form the letter properly? “Job’s Evil Dreams,” features a bearded figure with hooves encircled by a snake. The figure hovers above a reclining man and points with its right index finger to the Ten Commandments. Though Blake wrote out only two of the commandments in full, the inscriptions contain more than a dozen mistakes. One line contains a properly and an improperly formed alef, a further inconsistency suggesting that Blake was copying a language he did not understand. “Blake did study Hebrew with his one-time patron, William Hayley, but scholars are not agreed about his proficiency in the language,” explained Leslie Tannenbaum, associate professor of English at Ohio State University and author of “Biblical Tradition in William Blake’s Early Prophecies: The Great Code of Art” (Princeton University Press, 1982). According to Tannenbaum, the late Gerald Bentley, a Blake scholar who taught at Princeton University, implied in a biography that Blake was “fairly fluent” in Hebrew. But Tannenbaum also notes that Sheila A. Spector, whom he describes as “an extremely meticulous scholar and expert on Blake and the Kabbalah,” writes that Blake did not know the biblical language. In Blake’s preface to the chapter “To the Jews,” from the poem “Jerusalem,” Tannenbaum sees references to the kabbalistic concept of Adam Kadmon (the primordial man). Blake learned Kabbalah from Swedenborg’s writings on Boehme, who seems to have been influenced by Balthasar Walther, Tannenbaum adds, and Blake also identified with the Avignon Society, which sought science and reason “in such unlikely places as alchemical lore, cabbalistic numerology, mesmerist séances, Swedenborgian spiritualism, and (perhaps most surprising of all) the Scriptures.” In “Wonders Divine: The Development of Blake’s Kabbalistic Myth” (Bucknell University Press, 2001) Spector, an adjunct associate professor at New York University, agrees that Blake’s kabbalistic sources were Christian rather than Jewish, and English rather than Hebrew. Further, Blake was “unfortunately” influenced by his contemporary Anglo-Israelites, who thought that English derived from Hebrew “and that the language of the Jews was a spurious version in which the rabbis obscured the ‘true Christian’ message to be found in the Bible,” Spector said.“Under the circumstances, the question of whether or not Blake was fluent in Hebrew misses the point,” she added. “He rejected normative Hebrew in favor of the linguistic gymnastics that re-interpreted words to conform with some eccentric – to be charitable – interpretations that coordinated Hebrew and English, as well as Greek, etymologies to proffer a new interpretation of Scripture.” (As reported by Menachem Wecker)
1785(25th of Kislev, 5546): Channukah
1798 (19th of Kislev, 5559): Rabbi Shneur Zalman founder of Chabad Lubavitch was released from a St Petersburg jail. He had been arrested on charges of high treason for allegedly sending money to the Czar’s enemy, the Sultan of Turkey. In reality he was sending money to Jews living in Eretz Israel which was part of Turkey at the time. Shneur Zalman is the author of two works Tanya and Likkute Torah which describe the philosophy of the Chabad movement. Chabad is an acronym for the Hebrew words Chokhmah (wisdom), Binah (understanding) and Da’at (Wisdom). Lubavitch is the name of the town in which the Descendants of Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mezhirech, Shneur Zalman’s “teacher” settled. In 1798, November 27 corresponded to the 19th day of Kislev. Ever since then Chabad Lubavitchers mark YUD-TET KISLEV (19th of Kislev) as day of joy and celebration.
1804: Birthdate of Sir Julius Benedict, the German born highly successful English composer and conductor who was knighted in 1871
1815: Birthdate of Simon Hock, the Prague born businessman who created a history of the Jews of Bohemia.
1819: Leopold Zuns and Eduard Gans founded the Verein fuer Cultur und Wissenschaft der Juden, (The Society for Culture and Science of Judaism). It delved into Jewish history, culture and literature using scientific methods of criticism and assessment. The Society lasted less than five years. Gans and many others converted to Christianity.
1830: Joseph Mérilhou, the French official who successfully got the Deputies to adopt legislation treating Judaism on equal footing with Christianity when it came to public financial support for synagogues and rabbis completed his term as Minister of Public Education.
1834: Birthdate of Michael Bernays, the Hamburg born lawyer who displayed an expertise in matters pertaining to Shakespeare and Beethoven and who unlike his brother Jakob, converted to Christianity.
1837: Birthdate of Ludwig Loewe, who began as manufacturer of sewing machines and then became major arms maker whose employees included Georg Luger, the inventor of the famous “Luger” pistol.
1839: In Charleston, SC, Rabbi Poznanski officiated at the marriage of Jacob Suares and Isabella Nathans.
1846: A wagon train owned and commanded by Albert Speyer, a Prussian born Jew, arrived at San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico, in time for the pre-Christmas fair where he sold his merchandize, “reloaded the wagons with Mexican goods – mainly silver curios and sugar – and returned to Chihuahua” Mexico.
1853: An editorial entitled “The Arrest of Rabbi Asche” published today questioned the methods used by the authorities when they arrested Rabbi Asche and two other Jews on charges of selling lottery tickets. The editorial supported the concept of law and order but thought the police could have used better judgment in exercising their authority.
1856: Proof of the role of Jews played in settling the American Frontier can be found in the letters Thomas Gladstone sent to the London Times excerpts of which were published today. In describing those traveling up the Missouri River Gladstone reports that his fellow passengers included “Border Ruffians, Abolitionists…Jews” and others who “completely” represent “the various classes of the population in Kansas.”
1858: It was reported today that two New York Rabbis have been arrested on charges of selling lottery tickets based on the charges brought by one of their co-religionists.
1860: In Paris, there are reports of a serious rift between Achille Fould, the Jewish financier who is a close advisor to Emperor Napoleon, and the Empress.
1861: Seventy-seven year old Jeanette Wohl the confidant of Ludwig Borne, the German Jewish writer who like so many of his contemporaries became a Lutheran but was not above characterizing his rival Heine as “a yeshiva student” whom he accused of “the Jewish trait of employing witticisms for their own sake,”
1863: At the Wooster-street Synagogue, Thanksgiving Day services were held at 3 o'clock, embracing the usual afternoon prayers, conducted by Rabbi S.M. Isaacs the Prayer for the Government and appropriate hymns, after which an address was delivered by Meyer S. Isaacs, the Rabbi’s son He commenced with a reference to the peculiar significance of the present day of thanksgiving, observed as it was by all Americans, wherever resident, in response to the recommendation of the Executive. It was a grand spectacle, an entire nation united in offering up incense on an altar of a religion all alike profess -- thanksgiving and praise to the Supreme Being. Divesting themselves of social, political and religious distinctions, superior to the division of sentiment engendered by sectional ideas and antagonistic theories, they assembled in their respective places of worship, to pour forth praises to Him enthroned on hish. Actuated by these considerations, his audience had gathered together in their house of God, that they too might join in the grand anthem swelling upward to celestial heights. Israelite and Christian grasped each other's hand in cordial confidence, working together, fighting together the battles of the Union, pouring their blood on the battle-field in friendly rivalry for country's sake. There was no trace of religious intolerance or sectional feeling in the proclamation of the day; we were called upon to observe it as Americans, acknowledging special obligations to Heaven for the providences so graciously displayed in the progress of our struggle for national existence, and not unmindful of His divine favor in the daily blessings unintermittingly showered upon us, whose value we often fail to diiscern until we are deprived of them. He then took his text from Psalm c., verses 4 and 5, discussing it from its various points of view, and earnestly directing attention to the necessity of sincerity in this observance of National Thanksgiving. The stake was too mighty a one to permit even the semblance of insincerity in the history we were making, in our protestations of patriotism. It is understood now, that our love of country is not purely romantic, but that we were in earnest in our expressions of determination to reestablish the national supremacy, to permit no armed assemblage, however formidable, however desperate, to maintain an eternal antagonism to the constituted authorities. Were we equally sincere in our observance of Thanksgiving, in our expressions of dependence upon God, of our own unworthiness and His eternal goodness and truth? This was to be the lesson of the day. He then illustrated his text by a reference to the peculiar benefits the Israelites of America enjoy in this land of thorough civil and religious liberty. We should enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise, "for here there was no distinction recognized between Jew and Gentile in the guaranty by the Constitution of protection in the enjoyment of the sacred rights of man. Returning to the broader view of the subject, as Americans, we should signalize the sincerity of this observance by an amendment in those respects where we acknowledge national faults. Although we have demonstrated a stauncher patriotism than we ourselves believed to be inherent in American character, there may be more sacrifices to make, more selfish considerations to combat, more errors of administration to deplore and divest of their apparent danger to the State by a confirmed determination to strengthen the hand of those we have chosen to preside over our national destinies. In conclusion, he spoke of the favorable prospect before us, as contrasted with the gloom, astonishment and despondency at the culmination of the preparation for the war upon our flag. The ship of state, madly tossed upon an unknown sea, exposed to the dangers of the warring elements, her pilots surrendered to the guilt of the hour or sadly inexperienced, was now sailing majestically into a safe harbor, a clear head and a steady hand at the helm; but God be thanked for this great salvation -- no human wisdom or power hath accomplished this. He closed with a fervent prayer for the continuance of Divine favor to the land, and its speedy restoration to peace and prosperity.
1868: The Philadelphia “Press” published an abstract of the Thanksgiving Day Sermon delivered by Rabbi Jastrow at Congregation Rodef Shalom.
1871: “A Tolerant City” published today quotes the Jewish Chronicle as saying that “Ireland is the only country where Jews were never persecuted.” As proof of Irish tolerance, the Chronicle cites the case of a young Jewess named Miss Samuel, who, when she was on her death bed was the object of prayers of recovery offered both in Jewish synagogues and Christian Chapels. Her funeral included thirty carriages that were filled with citizens of both faiths.
1871: In Philadelphia, Simon B. Fleisher and Cecelia Hofheimer gave birth to Samuel Stuart Fleisher the Wharton graduate, manufacturer of year and amateur artist whose works were displayed at American Art Society Exhibition in 1903 who also served Director of the Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Chautauqua Society.
1873: The Charity Committee of the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum has asked that an appeal be made during today’s Thanksgiving Day services for contributions of money, clothing and other items that can be used to aid Jews who are economically distressed due to the current depressed economy.
1874: Birthdate of Zionist leader and Israel’s first President Chaim Weizmann. He first gained fame as the Russian-British chemist who used bacteria for the synthesis of organic chemicals. During WW I, a recent immigrant into Great Britain, he discovered a way to use a bacterium to synthesize acetone during the fermentation of grain. Acetone was important in the manufacture of cordite for explosives. Postwar, he modified the fermentation to produce butyl alcohol, suitable for uses such as lacquers. This was the forerunner of the deliberate use of microorganisms for a wide variety of syntheses. A generation later, penicillin and vitamin B12 were produced in this way.
1878: In Sumter, SC, Rabbi E.S. Levy officiated at the wedding of A. De Leon Moses of Burke Country, GA and Eliza Cohen, the daughter daughter of Max Cohen who used to live in Charleston, SC.
1879: Dr. Henry W. Bellows, a prominent Unitarian Minister, delivered the Thanksgiving Day Sermon at Temple Emanu-El, the New York Jewish house of worship led by Rabbi Gustav Gottheil
1880(24th of Kislev, 5641): In the evening kindle the first light of Chanukah.
1880: The New York Times reported today that “the celebration of the Jewish feast of ‘Chanuka’ will be commenced this evening by the Children of Israel throughout the world.” The Times goes on to provide an accurate description of the origins of the holiday and its modern observance including the fact that the events celebrated began “on the 25th day of the month of Kislev.” (This was written 15 years before the Ochs family acquired the paper)
1880: The Young Men’s Hebrew Association hosted its “fourth entertainment” of the season tonight at Lyric Hall.
1881: At Rostov-on –Don Isaiah and Feodosia Chatzman to their daughter Vera, the future wife of Chaim Wiezmann, who was a leading Zionist in her own right. (As reported by Esther Carmel-Hakim)
1881: A meeting was held this morning at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum to discuss additional measures to be taken to meet the growing influx of Jewish immigrants from Russia which is overwhelming the resources of the United Hebrew Charities. One solution is to establish “farming colonies” which will provide a livelihood for the impoverished new arrivals and avoid population congestion in a few east coast cities.
1882: A review of Natural Religion by Sir John Robert Seeley, the author of Ecce Homo, cites the author’s contention that “the Hebrew Scriptures express in poetic form and in language suited another age the spirit of modern science. Notably the Book of Job contrasts the conventional and, as it were, orthodox view of the universe with the view which those obtain who are prepared to face it awfulness directly.” (Editor’s note – this comes at a time when there was a clash between science and religion so it is intriguing that an English author would find a harmony between the two in the Jewish section of his Bible.)
1882(16th of Kislev, 5643): Sixty-two year old Moses Soave, Italian “Hebraist” who “supported himself as tutor for Venetian Jewish families” while writing biographies of several Italian Jews including Sara Copia Sullam, Amatus Lusitanus, Abraham de Balmes, Shabbethai Donnolo and Leon de Modena passed away today.
1883: “Hen” Rice, who had been a Deputy Sherriff is New York is being held on charges that he won $2,700 from Robert Solomon, an Anglo-Jewish diamond dealer, by cheating at card games they played while crossing from England to the United States aboard the SS Servia.
1883: “Russian-Hebrew Colony Broken Up” published today provided a brief history of an agricultural colony that had been established for Jewish immigrants from Russia in Middlesex County, Va. Despite the contribution of several thousands of dollars from the Jewish community in Baltimore, MD, the experiment failed. One family has asked to be sent back to Russia while the remaining men have been provide with jobs and several of the women are being taught to use sewing machines. The Torah used by the colonists will be returned to the Hebrew Hospital Association which had lent it the newcomers.
1883: It was reported today that Herr Haumann one of the lawyers who represented the Jews unfairly charged with the ritual murder of Christian girl in Hungary, fought a duel with Herr Vay, the Police Commissioner. The sword fight, during which Vay was “severely wounded in the chest,” resulted from the attorney’s accusation that the Police Commissioner had tortured the Jewish prisoners.
1885: “Judaism of the Future” published today provided a summary of Rabbi Kaufmann Kohler’s view of the principles adopted by Reform rabbis at their meeting in Pittsburgh. He described it as a “Jewish Declaration of Independence” which no longer looks to the memories of ancient Israel, rejects tradition “but recognizes in Christianity and Islamism valuable helpers and co-workers in the direction of the fruition of the kingdom of virtue and truth.” (Editor’s note – one cannot help but wonder what Rabbi Kohler would have to say about the Reform movement in the 21st century)
1888: Today marks the second day of the fair sponsored by the Hebrew Orphan Asylum which is an annual fundraiser for this Jewish organization.
1888: It was reported today that a new congregation “Zichron Osher” has been established on the west side of New York. Joseph Arthur Levy was the founder of the synagogue whose services will include congregational singing and the use of English for some of the prayers. Rabbi H. Veld will lead the new congregation assisted by Rabbi J.I. De Young.
1889: It was reported today the United Hebrew Charities will be hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner this week
1890: At 3 p.m. the boys of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum held their annual parade” today, marching through the streets of Harlem.
1891: In New York, Sarah Bernhardt appeared in the opening performance of “Pauline Blanchard” at the Standard Theatre.
1892: The Maccabeans, An Aggressive Club” published today described the formation of this club by London’s Jews in the wake of the Russian persecution of their co-religionists. “The meetings of the Maccabeans afford something quite novel to English Judaism – an arena in which all the social, ethical and theological questions which are bubbling so vehemently in the Jewish mind can be thrashed out freely and without prejudice.”
1892: The members of Shaary Zedek voted not to remove the bodies from the congregation’s old cemetery on 88th Street between Park and Madison and reinter them in the new Bay Side Cemetery on Long Island
1892: It was reported today that Herman Ahlwardt, who is in jail because he was convicted of libeling a Jewish gun-making firm and is such “a shameless rogue” that he has been publicly disowned by “the anti-Semitic Party won a seat in the Reichstag by-election running three thousand votes ahead of his nearest opponent with campaign cry of “Down with the Jews.!”
1893: Seventy-eight year old Sebastian Brunner, the Austrian Catholic writer who was part of a group 19th authors whose “anti-Jewish propaganda had no equal…either for quantity or virulence and who was part of the infamous libel charges brought against Ignaz Kuranda and Heinrich Graetz passed away today.
1894: In Paris, the Grand Rabbi preached a lengthy sermon at a well-attended service during which he “lauded Alexander III’s peace and exhorted all to pray for his soul as well as for his successor Czar Nicholas, his wife and all their relatives.”
1894: The bequests of the late Adolph Bernheimer published today included “$10,000 in 3 per cent bonds” to the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum and Mount Sinai Hospital.
1895: In St. Louis, Caroline and Joseph Lazarus Kranson gave birth to Julius Kranson
1895: In a change of policy it was reported today that “a recent Ministerial order in Russia, Jews living in the interior who have been members of a first-class guild for five years are permitted to retain a permanent domicile in the place of their present habitation and this privilege will extend to their children.”
1895 Alfred Nobel established Nobel Prize. “At least 167 Jews and persons of half-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2004, and constituting 37% of all US recipients during the same period. In the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Medicine, and Physics, the corresponding world and U.S. percentages are 26% and 39%, respectively. (Jews currently make up approximately 0.25% of the world's population and 2% of the US population.)
· Chemistry (28 prize winners, 19% of world total, 28% of US total)
· Economics (21 prize winners, 38% of world total, 53% of US total)
· Literature (12 prize winners, 12% of world total, 27% of US total)
· Physiology or Medicine (52 prize winners, 29% of world total, 42% of US total)
· Peace (9 prize winners, 10% of world total, 11% of US total)
· Physics (45 prize winners, 26% of world total, 38% of US total)
1896: Frank Rorschach who served aboard the Puritan during the Spanish American War was appointed from Kansas today.
1896(22nd of Kislev, 5657): Rav Israel Jaffe passed away today
1897: The Young Folks’ League of the Hebrew Infant Asylum will host a dance tonight at Terrace Garden.
1897: Following an anonymous tip, a Commissaire of Police “made of thorough search” at 3 Rue Yvon-Villareau in Paris where he was told to look for “interesting documents concerning the Dreyfus case. The apartments were occupied by Lt. Col. Picquart and what he found was not revealed to the public.
1897: Authorities searched for Madame de Boulancy, the cousin and former mistress of Ferdinand Esterhazy.
1898: In Charleston, SC, Rabbi B.A. Elzas officiated at the marriage of Louis Flanders and Jeannette Wetherhorn.
1898: In Chicago, $10,230 was raised during the auction of the boxes for the charity ball being held by the Young Men’s Hebrew Charity Association.
1898: Birthdate of Nathan Gregory Silvermaster, the native of Odessa who became an American economist and Soviet spy.
1898: “The Week At The Theatres” published today provided a detailed review “The Merchant of Venice” at Daly’s Theatre starring Sidney Herbert as Shylock and Ada Rehan as Portia which is described as being filled with “a few keen disappointments.”
1899(25th of Kislev, 5660): First day of Chanukah
1899: “Dr. Silverman On The Jew” published today provided the views of Rabbi Joseph Silverman on the survival of his co-religionist over the many centuries of mistreatment only to emerge triumphant in the 19th century where he “always feels himself a citizen of the in which he lives” but where “his religion is cosmopolitan.”
1901: In Charleston, SC, Rabbi B.A. Elzas officiated at the marriage of William Rosenbaum and Rosalie Levy.
1905: David Kosse, the President of the Temporary Odessa Societies Organization and Joseph Sanders were the marshals for today’s parade on the Lower East Side held in honor of the victims of the Odessa massacres which led by three men carrying flags – the American flag, the flag of Zion and a black flag edged in white.
1905: Samuel Simon wrote today, “I note with profound regret the fact that one of my co-religionists advances the theory that it would be wise to petition the Pope with a view toward his intervention with Russia in” behalf of the Jews “and with the idea of bringing to a cessation the terrible atrocities that have befallen our brethren that country” because he maintains “that it has already be demonstrated that our salvation lies in our own hands.”
1905: Simon Rasch presided over a mass meeting held by the First Odessa Benevolent Association at the Great Central Palace attended by over 2,000 people who raised “several hundreds of dollars” to fund to aid those suffering in Russia.
1905: At an executive meeting of the national committee collecting funds for the Russian Jews held in Jacob Schiff’s office it was “decided to use its utmost endeavors to inspire the country with the idea that there must be no let-up in contributions” since conditions are far worse now than they were when it was decided to raise $1,000,000.
1905: “Rabbi Adolph S. H. Radin of the People’s Synagogue, Congressman Henry M. Goldfogle and actor Jacob P. Adler” are scheduled to address a mass meeting on Clinton Street.
1905: A mass meeting is scheduled to be held tonight “in the open square made by the judge of Sheriff, Grand and East Broadway, in the vicinity of the Young Men’s Benevolent Association” to protest against the treatment of the Jews of Russia.
1905: As conditions of the Jews in Russia continued to worsen, it was reported that today that the United States Government is being urged “to enact a more liberal immigration law which would allow many of the Jewish people who are barred from entering this country at the present time to come to America where they could be protected by the Jewish people.”
1905: As of today it was reported that $878,511 has been raised by the national committee collecting funds to aid the suffering Jews of Russia.
1905: “According to a private telegram from an eminently trustworthy source” the violence in Sevastopol continues forcing the inhabitants, “especially the Jews” to flee the city.
1905: “Consular advices by cable received” in Washington report that fifteen Jews were killed at Rostoff during the recent riots in Russia.
1907: Sixty-four year old Cyril Flower, 1st Baron Battersea, the husband of Constance, the daughter of Sir Anthony de Rothschild passed away today.
1909: Birthdate of Alfred Lionel Piser, the native of Chicago and graduate of the University of Illinois who served in WW II and became a successful Ophthalmologist,
1912: In Chicago, Mrs. Hamburger will give German readings after which Mrs. G.B. Levi will lead the singing of German songs at this afternoon’s meeting of The Willing Workers.
1912: Professor Percy Homes Boynton of the University of Chicago is scheduled to deliver a lecture at the Chicago Hebrew Institute on “The Trend of American Fiction.”
1912: Birthdate of David Merrick. Born David Lee Margulois in St. Louis, Missouri, he graduated from Washington University then studied law. In 1940 he left his legal career behind in St. Louis to produce theatre. In a career that included a mixture of “brilliant successes and embarrassing flops,” Meririck is best remembered as the producer of “Hello Dolly.” He passed away in 2000.
1912: Leopold Godowsky’s piano recital at Carnegie Hall included a half dozen of Listz’s most difficult etudes.
1913: Anglo-Jewish featherweight/bantam weight Matt Wells defeated Owen Moran in Sydney, Australia
1914: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee was established by combining several separate organizations. Its original name was the Joint Distribution Committee of American Funds for the Relief of Jewish War Sufferers and was chaired by Felix M. Warburg. It campaigned and distributed funds wherever Jews were in need, especially in Eastern Europe. It is popularly known as the "Joint" or "JDC." During the First World War they spent almost 15,000,000 on relief efforts.
1914(9th of Kislev, 5675): Lt Frank Alexander de Pass of 34 Poona Horse, part of the Indian Expeditionary Force which arrived in France soon after the war began” and who first Jew to be awarded the Victoria Cross (posthumously) was killed today.
1914: In Brooklyn, Rabbi Alexander Lyons preached a sermon entitled “Prejudice in American Life” at Friday night services “in which he referred to the prejudice again Leo M. Frank that existed in Atlanta during the trial of Frank which resulted in a verdict convicting him of the murder of Mary Phagan.
1914: If the Supreme Court of the United States denies the application of Leo Frank for a writ of error, Georgia Governor John M Slaton told reporters at the Waldorf today that he will review all of the evidence and if Frank “is not guilty then he ought to be saved from the (death) penalty and shall not a victim of injustice because he is a Jew.” As to his feelings towards Jews, the governor pointed out that Mr. Philips, his law partner for nineteen years is a Jew and that Jews have been an integral part of Georgia since the days of the Crown when the Minis family settled in the colony.
1914: “Following the second reversal at the hands of a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States” Leo Franks has issued a public statement “calling attention to several phases” of his case including the fact that the members of their jury feared for their lives because of “the dangerous…crowd which surrounded the jail” and that the “Supreme Court has never reviewed the question of his guilt or innocence” but has only responded to questions of procedural technicalities related to his appeal.
1915: The American Embassy in Berlin is working with the German government to get permission for Isadore Hershfield to go to Poland where, among other things he will try to make contact with Jews whose families in America would like to send them financial assistance.
1915: On Shabbat, at Temple Israel on the corner of Lenox Avenue and 120th Street, Rabbi M.H. Harris delivered a sermon on “Thanksgiving in Tribulation” in which he made “an appeal to the Jews of America to give aid to their starving brethren in Galicia and Poland.”
1916: It was reported today that a Russian officer had made speech to the peasants the District of Lutsk in which “he said the Jews were enemies of the State and traitors and they must be expelled” and told them that they must come forward and testify as to how the Jews had welcomed and supported the Austrians.
1916: “Plain clothes men who arrest women on the streets were defended” tonight “by Justice Henry Herbert of Special Sessions at the annual meeting of the Sisterhood of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue – an organization which spends a considerable amount of time and money working among the “Jewish girls whom into the magistrate’s courts” with the intent of leading them away from criminal activity.
1916: It was pointed out at today’s session of the Reichstag that “the Jewish population of former Russian Poland amounts to 14 percent” of the work force and that this “large number of Jews in Poland might be profitably employed by” German manufacturers “to relieve the dearth of labor.”
1917: As revolution spreads across Ukraine and nationalist forces tried to take control of what had once been part of the Russian empire, it was reported today that that Jews in Skivira have been attacked in a pogrom.
1917: Turkish forces began four days of attacks against Allenby’s troops in futile attempt to keep the British forces from Jerusalem.
1917: Birthdate of Yhyah Qafih, the native of Sana’a Yemin who was the son of Rabbi David Qafiḥ and the grandson of Rabbi Yiḥyah Qafiḥ, making him the third generation of leaders of the Yemenite Jewish community, first in Yemen and then in Israel.
1918: Birthdate of New Yorker Elliott Pershing Stitzel who gained fame as actor Stephen Elliott.
1918: Birthdate of Victor Elmaleh, the native of Mogador, who imported the first Volkswagens to the United States and “developed $7 billion worth of real estate.” (As reported by Douglas Martin)
1919: Following the end of WW I, Bulgaria signed The Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine which included guarantees of the rights of that country’s Jewish population.
1922: It was reported today that “a committee on local arrangements, composed of the presidents of important synagogues in New York and Brooklyn under the chairmanship of Daniel P. Hays” is already making preparations for the meeting of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations which will be held on January 20, 1923.
1922: It was reported today that last week during the dedication of a memorial tabled to the men of Harlem who died in the World War, President Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia and Congressman Isaac Siegel spoke out against the Ku Klux Klan – an organization which a large section of the population of New York led by the Catholics and Jews has declared “open warfare against.”
1922: It was reported today that President Harding has not yet appointed Congressman Isaac Siegel who did not seek re-election to the House of Representatives “to one of the vacant judgeships in the local United States District Court.”
1924: In the New York City the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was held. Macey’s was not founded by Jews, but it was two Jews, Isidor and Nathan Straus, who took control of the store in 1896 who turned into what was then “biggest department store in the world.”
1925: Birthdate of English comedian Ernie Wise (OBE). Born Ernest Wiseman, he changed his named to further his career as an actor and singer in English music halls. He was best known as one half of the comedy duo Morecambe and Wise, which became an institution on British television, especially for their Christmas specials. He passed away in 1999. Just as in American, English entertainers changed their names to get ahead and like Irving Berlin helped add luster to the Christian’s Christmas.
1925: Birthdate of Claude Lanzemann, the French filmmaker who became “chief editor of the journal Les Temps Modernes, which was founded by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. A native of Paris, he joined the Resistance at the age of 18 and fought the Nazis. ” Lanzmann's most renowned work is the nine-and-a-half hour documentary film Shoah (1985), which is an oral history of the Holocaust, and is broadly considered to be the foremost film on the subject.”
1926: “The Miraculous Mandarin” “a one act pantomime ballet…based on the story by Melchior Lengyel” premiered today in Cologne, Germany where “it caused a scandal and was subsequently banned on moral grounds,”
1933: Birthdate of William G. Dever, the native of Louisville, KY who became “an archaeologist specializing in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times” whose works included What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?
1933: As Hitler moves to consolidate his control over German society Kraft durch Freude (KdF; Strength through Joy) is established to tie leisure activities of the German Volk (people) to the aims of the Nazi Party.
1933: A transfer company was established today in Tel Aviv to facilitate the immigration of German Jews along with whatever property they are able to bring with them. (Jewish Virtual Library)
1936: Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels declares that film criticism is henceforth banned, freeing the Nazi-controlled German film industry to pursue its own agenda, which includes blatantly anti-Semitic films. During the same period in the United States, Hollywood is self-censored in that it fears dealing with Jewish issues because of the high level of anti-Semitism existing at the time in the United States.
1936: “Born to Dance,” a musical with a script co-authored by Sid Silvers who also played the role of “Gunny” Sacks was released in the United States today.
1936: In a letter-to-the editor published today, Hendrik Willem Van Loon expressed his appreciation to the New York Times for printing a previous letter in which he “suggested that we do a little cosmic pinch-hitting and erect a statue of Felix Mendelssohn and keep it here until our German friends shall be able to once more to listen to his charming music without getting Aryan jitters. (This was a reference to the Nazi ban on the music of Mendelssohn whose Jewish origins did not spare him from a posthumous form of anti-Semitism)
1937: Opening performance of "Pins & Needles" a pro-labor musical revue produced by ILGWU
1939: In New York, at the Hotel Astor, Dr. Kurt Blumenfeld, president of the German-Jewish Settlers Association in Palestine, Dr. Georg Landauer, head of the Central Bureau for the Settlement of German Jews in Palestine, Louis Lipsky, chairman of the Palestine Foundation Fund, Charles Ress and Dr. Ludwig Lewisohn addressed tonight’s meeting of the Palestine Foundation, the fiscal arm of the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
1939: It was reported today that the rise in the price of stocks in Berlin is due “partly to the continued sales of stocks formerly owned by Jews for the Reich’s accounts” which “were taken in payment from former holders at prices considerably below their present values” and partly in anticipation of the next payment of 200,000,000 marks which the Jews must make in December.
1939: As of today, the new national officers of Junior Hadassah were President Nell Ziff, Vice Presidents Goldie Brenner of Newport News, VA; Sylvia Brody of Akron, Ohio; Claire Gottfried Jacobson of New York; Esther Brody, Brooklyn, NY; Secretary Ernestine Kirschner of New York and Treasurer Dorothy Hines of New York.
1939: George Z Medalie was reported to have “announced that during the upcoming week twenty-seven luncheons, dinners and group meetings” would be held as “part of the program to enlist support for” the 1939 Appeal of the New York and Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities.
1939(15th of Kislev, 5700): Seventy-six year old Alexander Harkavy, Jewish lexicographer, author and publisher of newspapers in Montreal and Baltimore passed away today at the Broadway Central Hotel in New York City.
1939: It was reported today “that the German plan for the deportation of all Jews within the confines of the Greater Reich foresees the transportation of 150,000 Jews from the Protectorate, 60,000 from Austria, 30,000 from the conquered provinces of Posen and Western Prussia and approximately 200,000 from the old Reich territory to Eastern Poland.”
1941: The Jews were deported from Wuerzburg, Germany.
1941: Friedrich Jeckeln met with the leaders of Protective Police, “a branch of the German Order Police” who would be participating in the upcoming massacre of the Jews in Riga.
1941: The first of 19 trains leaves Germany to resettle thousands of Jews in Riga and Kovno. Yet, 1000 newly resettled German Jews were taken and killed at the same time.
1941: “The Palestine Symphony Orchestra has just announced the results of a competition open to composers in Palestine and the neighboring countries.” Because of the volume and quality of the entries, four “winners” instead of just one were announced including, a Divertimento for Orchestra by Joseph Huttel, director of European Music at the Egyptian State Broadcasting, Cairo, Overture to a cantata by A. Daus of Tel Aviv, a Symphony of Variations for Soloists and Orchestra by Peter Gradenwitz of Tel Aviv and Fatum, a symphonic poem by J. Wohl of Haifa.
1942: From this date through August 1943 more than 110,000 Poles are expelled from their homes in the fertile Zamosc province so that the area can be resettled by ethnic Germans, SS troops, and Ukrainians. More than 300 villages are affected. Thousands of Polish children are deported from the area to Belzec and other death camps.
1942: Birthdate of poet Marilyn Hacker
1942: On Friday night delivered a sermon entitled Rabbi Harold Saperstein “What We Jews to Be Thankful For?”
1943: U.S. premiere of “Old Acquaintance” a comedy-drama directed by Vincent Sherman with music by Franz Waxman.
1944: In the weekly internal report of the War Refugee Board, it reported that the United States embassy had received from the Spanish Foreign Office: "Official confirmation that appropriate instructions have been sent to the Spanish Legation in Bern to seek the collaboration of the Swiss government in the efforts of the Spanish Embassy in Berlin to obtain the release and transfer to Swiss territory of the group of 155 Sephardic Jews at Camp Bergen Belson."
1944: "The Trial and Punishment of European War Criminals," a report by U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Secretary of State Cordell Hull, is submitted to President Franklin Roosevelt.
1944(11th of Kislev, 5705): Leonid Isaakovich Mandelshtam, Russian physicist, passed away.
1944(11th of Kislev, 5705): Albert Isaac Myers, “the proprietor of Myers & Co.” a bookstore specializing in “rare books, fine prints and choice early maps” who was described by Harold Laski as being “one of the most learned and helpful of booksellers” and whose activities in the Jewish community included serving on the Board of Management of the Dalston Synagogue and the committees for the Jewish Free Reading Room and the Home for Jewish Incurables.
1945: The American League for a Free Palestine, chaired by former Iowa Senator Guy Gillette, sent a telegram to President Harry Truman protesting recent beatings of Jewish displaced persons housed at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by British military police. According to the League, an unnamed German had told the British that the Jews planned to protest Ernest Bevin’s recent hostile comments about Palestine. British forces arrested the leader of the Jewish “prisoners’ and reportedly beat several of the women.
1945: In London, former U.S. Senator Guy Gillette, head of the American League for a Free Palestine, held a press conference after meeting with Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin in which he declared “that the United States was ‘thoroughly worked up’ over Palestine” and regarded the situational there as a testing ground for all the principles of Atlantic Charter.
1945: The American League for a Free Palestine submitted a memorandum to the British government calling for action by the Big Five Powers to deal with any violence that the British claim will occur if 100,000 Jews are allowed to immigrate to Palestine.
1946(4th of Kislev, 5707): Seventy –two year old Rabbi Solly Baron, who escaped to Germany in 1939 and arrived in Halifax in 1945 passed away today in St. Louis.
1947: In Prague, Czechoslovakia Franci and Kurt Epstein gave birth to American author Helen Epstein.
1950: A rummage sale sponsored by the Jordan Metropolis Chapter of the B’nai B’rith is scheduled to begin today in New York City.
1950: Mrs. Jack Kesselman is scheduled to address today’s meeting of the Jersey City, NJ chapter of Hadassah at the Jersey City Jewish Community Center.
1950: Films of Europe and Israel are scheduled to be shown at tonight’s meeting of the Kinnereth Business and Professional Group of Hadassah meeting at the Henry Hudson Hotel.
1953(20th of Kislev, 5714): Seventy-seven year old French playwright Henri-Léon-Gustave-Charles Bernstein the victim of an anti-Semitic riot in 1911 whose play “Dreaming Lips” was made into a movie in 1932 and who spent WW II living at the Waldorf-Astoria passed away today after which he was buried in the Cimetière de Passy in Paris.
1956: Senator John F. Kennedy addresses the Annual Banquet of Histadrut Zionist Organization, Baltimore, Maryland.
1956: In Amsterdam, Queen Juliana attended the opening performance of Goodrich and Hackett's “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
1956(18th of Kislev, 5654): Seventy-seven year old muralist Hugo Ballin whose works included a mural at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple that “encircles the main Sanctuary” that tell the story of the Jewish people from Bereshit until the time of its commissioning in 1929.
1956: The Jerusalem Post reported that Jews arriving by plane in Paris 'confirmed that expulsion orders were being issued to Jews in Egypt by the thousands.'
1956: Golda Meir, the Israeli Foreign Minister, "wrote the first of two letters to the UN Secretary General, protesting the 'action taken by the Egyptian Government against the Jewish Community in Egypt.'"
1957: “The Sad Sack” a comedy produced by Hal B. Wallis, starring Jerry Lewis and featuring Peter Lorre was released today in the United States.
1958: Polish born conductor Artur Rodziński passed away. Rodzinski was not Jewish but under the law of unintended consequences, he had major impact on the career of a Jew who was one of the musical icons of the 20th century, Leonard Bernstein. “Rodzinski said that God told him to hire 24 year old Leonard Bernstein, to be his assistant conductor. In the fall of 1943 Rodzinski decided to take a vacation, spend a little time with his goats, and called in Bruno Walter to conduct seven concerts in ten days. Only hours before one of those concerts (in the program, works by Schumann, Rosza, Strauss and Wagner) Walter fell ill. Rodzinski was only four hours away, in his farm. But he declined to come back to Carnegie Hall: "Call Bernstein. That's why we hired him." The concert was broadcast over radio and a review appeared on page 1 of The New York Times the next day: "Young Aide Leads Philharmonic; Steps in When Bruno Walter is Ill’" And the rest, as they say, is history.
1958(15th of Kislev, 5719): Seventy-five year old “artist, critic, author” and college professor Walter Pach passed away today at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.
1958: In Tel Aviv, “theatre actor Shmulik Atzmon” and his wife gave birth to actress and singer Anat Atzmon.
1962(30th of Cheshvan, 5723): Rosh Chodesh Kislev
1962(30th of Cheshvan 5723): Fifty-one year old photographer Florence Meyer Homolka, the daughter of Eugene Meyer and actor Oskar Homolka, passed away today.
1963: Birthdate of three-time Ophir Award winner Ronit Elkabetz.
1964: In Montreal, Dr. Gina Shochat-Rakoff and Dr. Vivian Rakooff gave birth to “prize-winning humorist” David Benjamin Rakoff (As reported by Margalit Fox)
1964: Birthdate of Ophir award winning Israeli actress and filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz, the native of Beersheba who oldest four children born “to a religious Moroccan Jewish family originally from Esaaouira.
1965: “Gamera: The Giant Monster” a horror film featuring Alan Oppenheimer as “Dr. Ctonrare” was released today in Japan.
1967: At news conference today President Charles de Gaulle called Jews “elite people, sure of itself and domineering.”
1968: In Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine, France, “Eddie Vartan, a Bulgarian-born musician, and Doris (née Pucher) Vartan, a painter and artist gave birth to Franco-American actor Michael Vartan, the nephew of singer Sylvie Vartan.
1969(17th of Kislev, 5730): In Athens, one Greek child was killed and 13 others were wounded when two Jordanian terrorists attacked the El Al offices with hand grenades.
1972: Release of Free to Be You and Me, the album of non-sexist stories and songs that helped shape the self-understanding and worldview of a generation of children. Letty Cottin Pogrebin was the editorial project consultant for the album as well as the book and television special associated with the project.
1973: Neil Simon's "Good Doctor," premieres in New York City.
1976: Release date for “Network” the Paddy Chayefsky written classic directed by Sidney Lumet. Lumet was nominated for an Oscar and Chayefsky won one for his screenplay.
1978(27th of Cheshvan, 5739): In San Francisco, California, city mayor George Moscone and openly gay city supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated by former supervisor Dan White. Milk was Jewish. Moscone was succeeded by Jewish the head of the Board of Supervisors, Diane Feinstein. Feinstein would go on to be elected to the U.S. Senate where she and fellow Californian Barbara Boxer would become the first Jewish female duo to represent a state in the nation’s Upper Chamber.
1987(6th of Kislev, 5748): In Israel, two “internal security agents” were killed today.
1991: The New York Times published a review of Benevolence and Betrayal Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism by Alexander Stille.
1993(13th of Kislev, 5754): Marvin H. Bernstein, a businessman and philanthropist in New York for many years passed away today at the Miami Heart Institute. He was 66 and lived in Miami. Mr. Bernstein was the founder and for 34 years the president of the Variety Knit Corporation of Manhattan, which makes women's clothing and T-shirts. He also founded the Marvin Bernstein Oil Company, a petroleum exploration company with headquarters in Miami. Mr. Bernstein was a fund-raiser for and a contributor to the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the Simon Weisenthal Center, Israel Bonds, the Weitzman Institute of Science, Tel Aviv University and other medical and religious groups.
1994(24th of Kislev, 5755): In the evening, kindle the first Chanukah light1995: Salah Tarif begins serving as the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs
1995: Uri Or began serving as the Deputy Minister of Defense.
1998: “The Slums of Beverly Hills” a comedy about “a teenage girl struggling to grow up in the late 1970s in a lower-middle-class nomadic Jewish family that moves every few months” starring Natasha Lyonne and Alan Arkin and featuring Carl Reiner and Eli Marienthal was released in the United Kingdom today, three months after premiering in the United States.
1999: The left-wing Labour Party takes control of the New Zealand government with leader Helen Clark becoming the first elected female Prime Minister in New Zealand's history. In 2005, she opposed a visit by Israeli President Moshe Ktsav because of a dispute surrounding alleged Mossad agents and the issuing of fraudulent passports.
2000: Illusionist Dave Blaine began a stunt called “Frozen In Time” at New York’s Times Square
2001(12th of Kislev, 5762): Etty Fahima, 45, of Netzer Hazani was killed three others were injured when a Palestinian terrorist threw grenades and opened fire at a convoy on the road between the Kissufim crossing and Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
2001(12th of Kislev, 5762): Noam Gozovsky, 23, of Moshav Ramat Zvi, and Michal Mor, 25, of Afula were killed when two Palestinian terrorists from the Jenin area opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles on a crowd of people near the central bus station in Afula. Police officers and a reserve soldier confronted them, killing the terrorists in the ensuing firefight. Another 50 people were injured, 10 of them moderately to seriously. Fatah and the Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility.
2002(22nd of Kislev, 5763): Eighty-nine year old Stanley Black, the conductor and composer born Solomon Schwartz passed away today in London
2005: In the topsy-turvy world of Israeli politics, Shimon Peres is seriously considering leaving the Labor Party and joining Ariel Sharon’s new Kadima Party. This would mean the old lion of labor and the old lion of Likud could end their careers under a common political banner. In yet an even stranger twist of fate, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak injected himself into the upcoming electoral campaign by declaring that Ariel Sharon was the only Israeli leader capable of making peace with the Palestinians.
2005: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or about topics of Jewish interest including Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine by Harold Bloom and The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam.2006: The Times of London reported Alexander Litvinenko, the poisoned former KGB agent had just returned from a trip to Israel. A dossier drawn up by Alexander Litvinenko on the Kremlin’s takeover of Yukos, the world’s richest energy giant was turned over to Scotland Yard as police investigate the former KGB spy’s secret dealings with some of Russia’s richest men. It emerged yesterday that Mr. Litvinenko traveled to Israel just weeks before he died to hand over evidence to a Russian billionaire of how agents working for President Putin dealt with his enemies running the Yukos oil company. He passed this information to Leonid Nevzlin, the former second-in-command of Yukos, who fled to Tel Aviv in fear for his life after the Kremlin seized and then sold off the $40 billion (£21 billion) company. Mr. Nevzlin told The Times that it was his “duty” to pass on the file. “Alexander had information on crimes committed with the Russian Government’s direct participation,” he said. There has been more than a whiff of anti-Semitism in Putin’s drive to gain control of Russia.
2006: In New Zealand, John Key became the parliamentary leader of the National Party
2006: Seth Rudetsky starred in “Off-Off-Broadway production of “Torch Song Trilogy” which opened today.
2007: Batsheva Dance choreographer Ohad Naharin premiers his latest work, “Kamuyot” in Stockholm. The premier will be followed by 100 performances before 20,000 students all over Sweden. “Kamuyot” can be translated as “numbers of” or “characteristics.”
2007: The scheduled U.S. sponsored meeting of Israelis and Arabs at Annapolis, MD, comes to an end.
2007: YIVO Institute presents The Klezmatics: Up Close in downtown Manhattan. The Klezmatics perform music drawn from their 2007 Grammy award-winning CD Wonder Wheel – Lyrics by Woody Guthrie, YIVO’s Max and Frieda Weinstein Sound Archives and their vast repertoire.
2007: "Operation: Last Chance” will be formally launched at a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Simon Wiesenthal Center's "Operation: Last Chance" is targeted to find and bring to justice at least some of the thousands of Nazis still hiding in South America 62 years after the end of World War II. It will probably be the final major effort to locate and bring to justice Nazis in hiding scattered around the world. "Operation: Last Chance" offers money in exchange for information that helps find and prosecute former Nazis. It was first launched in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in July 2002, and spread to countries throughout Europe, including Germany, Poland, Hungary and Croatia. It has brought forth some 488 suspected Nazi war criminals, of which 99 names were submitted to local law enforcement in the countries where the suspects resided. The result so far has been three arrest warrants, two extradition requests and dozens of continuing investigations. The final number may not sound like much, "but it's actually a lot [considering] the late date and bureaucratic obstacles," says the center's chief Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff. "The problem is not finding these people, but getting them into a courtroom. Political will is turning out to be more difficult than finding information and catching the [suspects]." While "the atmosphere is different now, and there is less willingness [than in the past] to give shelter to exposed Nazi war criminals" on the part of South America's center-left governments, "most have not been willing to undertake comprehensive investigations to find Nazis," Zuroff complains. Even so, "if we find the Nazis, today they will extradite them."
2007: At the end of the Annapolis Conference, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke of the relevance to any future Israeli-Palestinian agreement of the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries after 1948.
2008: As the Thanksgiving weekend begins, Secrets directed by Avi Nesher premiers theatrically in commercial movie theatres. In the 'Secrets', director Avi Nesher skillfully presents the quandaries facing Naomi (Ania Bukstein) the studious, devoutly religious daughter of prominent rabbi, who convinces her father to postpone her marriage for a year so that she might study at a Jewish seminary for women in the ancient Kabalistic seat of Safed. Naomi's quest for individuality takes a defiant turn when she befriends Michelle, a free spirited and equally headstrong fellow student.
2008: During the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks, Indian army reported that it had secured the Jewish outreach center at Nariman House and liberated 60 people in the building.
2008: Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar are calling for a mass prayer rally today in the hope that heavenly intervention will stem the global financial crisis.
2008: Final showing at the Jacob Burns Film Center of “One Day You’ll Understand” a film that portrays the reaction of French businessman’s reaction to the televised trial of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie in 1987.
2008: Israeli sculptor Gideon Gechtman, a native of Alexandria, whose family made Aliyah in 1945, passed away today.
2008: Idina Menzel performed "I Stand" on the M&M Candies float as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
2009: A man accused of murdering Dutch civilians as a member of a Waffen SS hit squad said at his trial today that he was proud about being chosen to fight for the Nazis. Heinrich Boere, 88, made his first comments to the Aachen state court since his trial opened at the end of October. As part of that SS unit, he is charged with killing a bicycle-shop owner, a pharmacist and another civilian. He faces a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted. Boere said he remembered his mother waking him up the night in 1940 that Germany invaded his hometown in the Netherlands and seeing Stuka dive-bombers overhead. Instead of fearing the German bombs, Boere, whose father was Dutch and mother German, said his family was elated as the attack unfolded. "[My mother] said 'they're coming' now things will be better," he told the court, speaking animatedly to the panel of judges. "It was better," he added later. Boere was born in Eschweiler, Germany, on the outskirts of Aachen where he lives today, but moved to the Netherlands when he was an infant. After the Germans had overrun his hometown of Maastricht and the rest of the Netherlands, he remembers as an 18-year-old seeing a recruiting poster for the Waffen SS, signed by Heinrich Himmler. It offered German citizenship after two years of service and the possibility of becoming a policeman after that. He showed up with 100 other Dutchmen at the recruitment office and was one of 15 chosen. "I was very proud," Boere told the court in a statement read by his attorney before he answered questions from the presiding judge. After fighting on the Russian front, Boere ended up back in the Netherlands as part of "Silbertanne" - a unit of largely of Dutch SS volunteers responsible for reprisal killings of their countrymen for resistance attacks on collaborators. Boere admitted the three killings to Dutch authorities when he was in captivity after the war but managed to escape from his POW camp and eventually return to Germany. He was sentenced to death in the Netherlands in 1949 - later commuted to life imprisonment - but Boere has managed to avoid jail so far. Still, Boere told the court he was aware of the possibility he would be pursued by authorities, so much so that he never married. "I always had to consider that my past might catch up with me, and I didn't want to inflict that upon a woman," he said in his statement.
2009: A Palestinian terrorist was killed this morning when the IAF struck a Gaza terror cell preparing to fire rockets into Israel, according to the IDF.
2009: The Israeli Black Panthers host a special tour of the Musara neighbored in Jerusalem. The Israeli Black Panthers “is a popular movement of Arab Jews “first established during the 1970’s. The historic ‘Seam Line’ neighborhood was right on the Israeli-Jordanian border” until the war in June, 1967 resulted in the reunification of the city. The purpose of the tour is to acquaint visitors with “the place, its peoples and the relevance of its history and struggle in the Israeli-Arab conflict.
2009: Performance of “Lost in Yonkers” at the DC JCC.
2009: Paul “Godfrey was announced as the chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation” today,
2009: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa Noah Thalblum helps to lead Friday Night services as part of his Bar Mitzvah weekend.
2009: Abe Pollin’s funeral service is held at Washington Hebrew Congregation.
2010(20th of Kislev, 5771) Irvin Kershner - who directed the Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back, the James Bond film Never Say Never Again and Robocop 2 – passed away at the age of 87.
2010(20th of Kislev, 5752): Vilém Flusser a Czech-born Brazilian Jewish philosopher, writer and journalist passed away.
2010: In Michigan, the Young Adult Division of Jewish Federation is scheduled to sponsor the sixth annual Latke Vodka donor thank you event.
2010: A rock was thrown through the back window of the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center, which is located on campus, today. Earlier in the week, a rock was thrown through the back window of the Chabad Jewish student center located just outside the campus. Bloomington city police and campus police are investigating whether the attacks are related. Glass from the broken window of the Chabad house did damage to the building’s worship center, the group’s president, Alex Groysman, told the Indiana Daily Student newspaper. “We believe it was an act of anti-Semitism because the window shattered was less than a yard away from a sign that says Jewish Student Center,” Groysman told the paper. “After everything the center does to build understanding and friendly relations in the community, there are people out there that just want to destroy. By throwing that stone, that person was sending a message that they do not want us here, and that is something that is not OK.”Chabad plans to display a 12-foot menorah for Chanukah, according to the report.
2011: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “Something Urgent I Have to Say to You: The Life and Works of William Carlos Williams” by Herbert Leibowitz
2011: Ministerial Committee on Legislation decided on today not to back a bill that would limit public access to High Court petitions, sponsored by MKs Danny Danon and Yariv Levin from the Likud. All of the ministers voted against the bill. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier today that he would defend Israel's courts but that there were certain distortions that need to be fixed.
2011: Prominent Israeli singer Margalit Tzan'ani pleaded guilty on today to extorting her manager, and is expected to be sentenced to several months of community service.
2011: The New York Times list of 100 Notable Books of 2011 includes the following books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers: “The Free World” in which David Bezmozgis overturns clichéd expectations of immigrant idealism in his first novel, which follows a Soviet Jewish family awaiting visas in Rome in 1978; “The Grief of Others” by Leah Hager Cohen; “Say Her Name” by Francisco Goldman, “Scenes From Village Life” by Amos Oz; “The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World” by Haifa-born physicist David Deutsch; “Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India” by Joseph Lelyveld; “In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family Hitler’s Berlin,” Erik Larson’s account of the experiences of William Dodd, F.D.R.’s first ambassador in Nazi Germany; “Jerusalem: The Biography” by Simon Sebag Montefiore; “The Memory Chalet” by Tony Judt; “Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War” by Tony Horwitz; “Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark” by Brian Kellow; “The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World” by Jewish Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Yergin; “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Greenblatt; “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Israeli born Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman; “A Train Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France” by Caroline Moorehead
2011(1st of Kislev, 5772): Rosh Chodesh Kislev
2012: In Rmallah, the tomb of Yasser Arafat is schedule to be opened as the first step in process intended to determine if he was poisoned.
2012: The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present a program that will examine ”the Rothschild Baba Kama, an ornate and richly decorated manuscript written in 1721-22 by Anshel Moses Rothschild, the founder of the Rothschild dynasty.”
2012: The JCC of Northern Virginia is scheduled to present a program that will “explore how the image of a typical Israeli has been depicted in Israeli films from the 1960’s until today.
2012: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, members of the Jewish community are scheduled to meet to discuss ways to further the cause of Israel in the Hawkeye State.
2012: “The National Library of Israel signed contract with Pri-Or to preserve its archive of more than one million images.
2012(13th of Kislev, 5773): Fifty-eight year old French journalist Érik Izraelewicz “who was the director and editorial executive of Le Monde” passed away today.
2012(13th of Kislev, 5773): Ninety-five year old “Marvin Miller, an economist and labor leader who became one of the most important figures in baseball history by building the major league players union into a force that revolutionized the game, died on Tuesday at his home in Manhattan.” (As reported by Richard Goldstein)
2012: The Taub Center released its annual State of the Nation Report for 2011-2012 this morning, which according to the organization, paints “a troubling picture of the way Israeli governments have thus far dealt with Israel’s primary socioeconomic problems.”
2013: In the evening, kindle the first Chanukah candle.
2013: Chabad of Talbiya is scheduled to host its third annual Chanukah Menorah Lighting Festival at the entrance to the Mamilla Mall.
2013: The City of Tel Aviv-Jaffa in collaboration with Heritage Fund for Israel in Tel Aviv are scheduled to host two candle lighting ceremonies – at Culture Square and Rabin Square.
2013: Former State Department official and ambassador Elliott Abrams argued in his Council for Foreign Relations blog today that the language used by the White House to discuss the Iran interim deal was largely “aspirational,” suggesting that much of the touted P5+1 deal with Iran had yet to be hammered out, a contention that appeared to be born out the statements of State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. (As reported by Rebecca Shimoni Stoil)
2013: Five teenagers from the Arab neighborhood of Issawiya in East Jerusalem were brought before the Jerusalem District Court today and charged with throwing Molotov cocktails at an IDF base in the capital. (As reported by Stuart Winer)
2013: The Israel Antiquities Authority and the Netivei Israel Company “invited the public to visit the excavation site Eshtaol” which “includes a six-millennia-old cultic temple and a 10,000 year old house” today.
2013: “In Israel, a Push to Screen for Cancer Gene Leaves Many Conflicted”
2014: In England, the chaplains (rabbis) of the Oxford University Jewish Society are scheduled to host “a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner” at their home for which there is a minimal £3 charge.
2014: In Melbourne, “Night Will Fall” and “Above and Beyond” are scheduled to be shown at the Jewish International Festival.
2014: In an address marking the anniversary of the death of David Ben-Gurion, former President Shimon Peres bitterly criticized the “Jewish state” bill today, arguing that the legislation is designed for political gain and damages Israel’s democratic principles (As reported by Marissa Newman)
2014: An IDF fired back at Palestian gunmen inside the Gaza Strip who had opened fire on an IDF patrol operating on the Israeli side of the border fence. (As reported by Stuart Winer)
2014: “Members of a Hamas terror ring in the West Bank, run from the organization’s headquarters in Turkey, sought to carry out an array of major attacks, including on Jerusalem’s main soccer stadium and its light rail line, the Shin Bet security service said today.”
2014(5th of Kislev, 5775): Ninety-four year old Newsweek editor and NBC television executive Lester Bernstein passed away today.
2015: In Atlanta, the Breman Museum offers exhibitions on The Story of Jewish Atlanta, “featuring a collection of 18 carefully selected objects, the Holocaust styled “Absence of Humanity” and for the children “Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak In His Own Words & Pictures.”
2015: According to reports published today Israeli diplomate Rami Hatan is preparing to leave for Abu Dhabi where he will open Israel’s first diplomatic mission to the Arab country which will be part of IRENA, the UN’s International Renewable Energy Agency.
2015: The Eden-Tamir Music Center is scheduled to host another concert in its “Excellence of the Future Generation Series.”
2015(15th of Kislev): On the Jewish calendar, Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi (135 - ca. 220 CE), also known as Rabbi Judah the Prince.
2016: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Where Memory Leads: My Life by Saul Friedländer, An Iron Wind: Europe Under Hitler by Peter Fritzsche, The Hostage’s Daughter: A Story of Family, Madness and the Middle East by Sulome Anderson and the recently release paperback edition of As Close To Us As Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner as well as an interview with Amos Oz “whose most recent novel is Judas” and Calvin Trillin “on the Scariest Word” in the English language.
2016: “Alone in Berlin” is scheduled to be shown in Canberra as part of the Jewish International Film Festival.
2016: In Venice, the Biennale Architettura which has featured an Israeli pavilion since 1952 is scheduled to come to an end today.