37: Birthdate of Nero Claudius Augustus Germanicus 5th emperor of Rome. While legend remembers him as the emperor who fiddled while Rome burned, Jews will remember him as the ruler who was emperor when the Great Revolt began in 66. Nero had appointed several of the incompetent governors who had helped create the conditions for the revolt. He also chose Vespasian as the general to put down the rebellion. Nero died in 68 during the rebellion. His untimely death bought the Jews some breathing space as Vespasian broke off the combat to take part in a coup that would put him on the throne. It was his son, Titus who actually destroyed the Temple when combat.
921(6th of Tevet, 4682): Rav Saadiah Gaon cautioned today cautioned the Jews of Egypt to reject the religious calendar adopted by Rabbi Aaron ben Meir, head of the Palestinian yeshiva in Ramleh
1467: Stephen III of Moldavia who “treated the Jews with consideration” and appointed Isaac ben Benjamin to successively more responsible positions defeated Matthias Corvinus of Hungary at the Battle of Baia.
1583(30th of Kislev, 5334: Fifty-year old Judah Abravanel, the grandson of Judah Abravanal and the brother of Jacob Abravanel passed away at Ferrara. (He is one of a long line of Sephardic Jews to have this name which is not unusual given the naming customs used by the Jewish people)
1640: Coronation of King John IV of Portugal. Don Fernando Mendes, a Marrano, was his court physician. He was also the court physician to Catrina, King John's daughter who married King Charles II of England. Don Fernando also served the English King making him one of the few physicians to ever serve three reigning monarchs.
1647(18th of Kislev, 5408): Isaac de Castro was put to death at an auto-de-fe by the Inquisition for the crime of teaching Judaism to conversos. De Castro had arrived in Bahia (then under Portuguese control) from Amsterdam through Dutch Brazil. After being ‘recognized as a Jew he was arrested by the Inquisition and sent to Lisbon.” On the day of his death he “was led, together with five fellow-sufferers, to the stake. In the midst of the flames he called out in startling tones, "Shema' Yisrael! [Hear, O Israel!] The Lord our God is One!" With the word "Echad" (One), he died.”
1734: Daniil Pavlovich Apostole who was the Hetman of the Cossacks on both sides of the Dnieper River passed away. When Catherine I expelled the Jews from the Ukraine in 1727, Apostol led a move to modify the law. He and the other Cossacks had learned the hard way that they needed Jewish merchants if their economy was to grow. Thanks to his efforts, the edict was modified so that the Jews could participate in the various fairs held in the area.
1751: Benedict XIV issued “Probe te memisse,” a papal bull establishing the rules for baptizing Jews. In case there was any doubt about this Pope’s attitude towards Jews, 4 years later he published “Beatus Andreas” which beatified Andreas von Rinn a child who was the alleged victim of a ritual murder committed by Jews in 1462. The allegation of ritual murder was the key requirement for this beatification,
1772 (19th of Kislev, 5533): Reb Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezeritch second leader of the Chassidic movement, successor to the Baal Shem Tov and spiritual mentor of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, known for his scholarship, piety, and asceticism passed away. There is no way that we can do justice to the contribution of this sage and urge you to spend time studying about him.
1779: While “serving as a volunteer in Captain Verdier's regiment under Count Pulaski during the siege of Savannah” Benjamin Nones, the native of Bordeaux who had moved to Philadelphia, “received a certificate for gallant conduct on the field of battle” today.
1787: The Bristol Journal reported that Lord George Gordon, the English noblemen who converted to Judaism with the name of Yisrael bar Avraham Gordon, has been living in Birmingham since 1786 where “unknown to every class of man but those of the Jewish religion, among whom he has passed his time in the greatest cordiality and friendship...he appears with a beard of extraordinary length, and the usual raiment of a Jew... his observance of the culinary preparation is remarkable.” Furthermore, “He was surrounded by a number of Jews, who affirmed that his Lordship was Moses risen from the dead in order to instruct them and enlighten the whole world...It appears that (he) has officiated as a chief of the Levitical Order..."
1791: The Bill of Rights, the first endments to the U.S. Constitution, took effect following ratification by Virginia. From a parochial point of view, the First Amendment with its statement on religion was the most important of the ten amendments to the Jews of the new nation. Unlike Europe, with its deeply rooted anti-Semitism, acceptance of Jews was a given from America’s earliest days. Jews have been very vigilant in using the First Amendment to ensure separation of church and state. Unfortunately, there are some shortsighted Jews who have been willing to blur the line for short term political or financial gains.
1806: Rothschild wrote to the Landgrave pledging his support to the German prince and offering to intercede on his behalf when Napoleon visits Frankfurt.
1812: In London, Helena Moses and Moses Levy gave birth to Joseph Moses Levy the editor and publisher who turned the failed Daily Telegraph & Courier into the famous and highly successful Daily Telegraph.
1816(25th of Kislev, 5577): Chanukah is celebrated in the United States for the last time under President James Madison as the country enters into “the era of good feelings.”
1819: Birthdate of Daniel Abramovich Chwolson the native of Vilna who became a noted Orientalist with a proficiency in Arabic. He also was a staunch defender of his co-religionists especially when it came to Blood Libel accusations at Saratov and Kutais which spurred several of his works including “On Several Medieval Accusations Against The Jews.”
1827: Birthdate of Joseph Halévy, the native of Adrianople who gained famed as a French Orientalist and traveler
1831: Seventy-six year old Hannah Adams, a Christina author who wrote History of the Jews in 1812, passed away in Brookline Mass.
1837: Wilhelm Wolfsohn began the study of medicine in Leipzig today.
1849: The third lodge of the Free Sons of Israel was formed under the name Ruben Lodge No. 3.
1857: The opera “Travatore” was performed tonight in New York with procedes for the evening going to the Hebrew Benevolent Society.
1858: During “The Mortara Affair,” the New York Times published a letter U.S. Secretary of State Cass had written to Mr. Hart in which he compared President Buchanan’s decision not to join with the nations of Europe to bring pressure on the Catholic Church to return the boy to his parents with the activisits behavior of the United States during “the persecution of the Jews of Damascus” in 1840.
1859: Birthdate of Dr.Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, the Russian born Jewish linguist who created Esperanto.
1861: President Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to Arnold Fischel of New York's Congregation Shearith Israel, saying “"I find there are several particulars in which the present law in regard to chaplains is supposed to be deficient, all which I now design presenting to the appropriate Committee of Congress. I shall try to have a new law broad enough to cover what is desired by you in behalf of the Israelites." Fischel had gone to Washington to get Lincoln’s support to change the law so that Jews could serve as Chaplains in the Union Army.1862: During the Civil War, Army of the Potomac commanded by Ambrose Burnside suffered one of its worst defeats at the Battle of Fredericksburg which came to an end today. Company C of the 82nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment which had been formed by a group of Jewish volunteer soldiers under the name of the Concordia Guards was one of the units engaged in the battle. The regiment would be commanded by Colonel Edward S. Salomon, a Jewish immigrant from Germany, who may have been Chicago’s first Jewish lawyer and was the alderman for the Sixth Ward when the war broke out. Among other Jews serving during the battle was Jacob Ezekiel Hyneman, a native of Richmond, who was a solider with the Union Army and was wounded at Fredericksburg.
1864: During the Civil War, the Battle of Nashville (TN) begins. Among the Union units are the 79th Indiana commanded by Colonel Frederick Knefler.
1867: Esther Hellman Wallenstein, the founding President of the Hebrew Infant Asylum in New York and Solomon Wallenstein gave birth to Max Wallenstein.
1869: Esther Hellman Wallenstein, the founding President of the Hebrew Infant Asylum in New York and Solomon Wallenstein gave birth to Joseph Solomon Wallenstein
1870: Sir Saul Samuel completed his first term as Treasurer of New South Wales.
1871(3rd of Tevet, 5632): 8th day of Chanukah
1872: Eighty-year old Mary Anne Disraeli, 1st Vicountess Beaconsfield, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconsfield passed away today.
1873: It was reported today that The Jewish Chronicle has expressed support for conferring peerages on Sir Moses Montefiore and Baron Lionel Rothschild
1874: Birthdate of Russian native Michael Sherbrook, the actor known as Michael Shewzik who came to England at the age of 12 and “made his debut as an actor in productions of the Elizabethan Stage Society in 1898” before marrying Alice Isaac the second daughter of H.P. Isaac in 1903.
1875: Birthdate of Kiev native Samuel Paley, the founder and long-time president of the Congress Cigar Company and the father of William S. Paley, the chairman of the board of C.B.S.
1876: It was reported today that a translation of the Greek New Testament into Hebrew is about to be published at Leipzig “for the use of the Orthodox Jews of Eastern Germany and Poland.” [No mention is made of why an Orthodox Jew would want a copy of the New Testament.]
1877: Birthdate of Bernhard Maissner, the Russian born ancestor of Cantor Benjamin Maissner and his nephew Israel Alter who was also a Cantor.
1879(30th of Kislev, 5640): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
1879: It was reported today that the Young Men’s Hebrew Association will celebrate Chanukah with a reception at the Academy of Music.
1880: It was reported today that “the third reception” hosted by “the Young Men’s Hebrew Union will be held on Christmas evening.”
1880: Justice Kilbreth ordered Mrs. Lizzie Wenke to post a $200 bond to guarantee her good behavior or more specifically, that she would not attack Isaac Stern again.
1881: “A very large assemblage of ladies and gentlemen, representing the best class of the Hebrew population” of New York “gathered in the Academy of Music” this “evening at the annual ball commemorating the celebration of Chanukah” sponsored by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association who raised over $6,000 for their building fund.
1881: The Young Men’s Hebrew Association hosted its annual Chanukah Ball this evening at the Academy of Music. (The celebration was held today, a Thursday, because Chanukah in 1881 began on Friday night and you could not have a ball on Shabbat)
1882: Birthdate of Helena Rubinstein famed American cosmetic manufacturer.
1883: Birthdate of David Abel, the native of Amsterdam who was the husband of Eva “Chava” Rayevskyand who served as cinematographer for over 110 films for RKO Pictures.
1883: Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the President of the Hebrew Union College delivered a lecture tonight on the subject of intermarriage in which he said “such marriages are not forbidden Mosaic law.”
1883: In Rochester, NY, Sabbath morning services at Berith Kodesh will be conducted in English for the first time.
1883: In a note published today, Ignatz Fishcel, a 23 year old unemployed German Jewish immigrant blames his decision to commit suicide on his sister and her husband
1883: In Paris, French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero and his wife gave birth to Henri Paul Gaston Maspero the sinologist who died in Buchenwald.
1884: It was reported today that the Hebrew Free School Association is now serving 1,959 children as compared to the 520 that it served when it began in 1876.
1884: It was reported today that newly elected officers of the Hebrew Free School Association included President M.S. Isaacs, Vice President Uriah Herrmann and Secretary Henry S. May
1884: It was reported today that while speaking at event marking the 16th anniversary of the Presbyterian Hospital in New York, Reverend John Paxton said, “We are indebted to the Jews for many things, for human law and their teaching of the sacredness of life but not for hospitals. These are the sole creation of Christianity.” And then, in what can only be considered a bit of genteel anti-Semitism, he said that the “first hospital was founded…by the good Samaritan.”
1884: It was reported today that the officers of the newly formed Tenth Ward Society include: Joseph Blumenthal – President; Isaac Bernheimer and E.R.A. Seligman – Vice Presidents; Frederick Nathan – Treasurer; Lee Kohns – Secretary. The society will be conducting an audit of conditions of tenements in an area surrounded by Houston Street, Division Street, Norfolk Street and the Bowery. A report of the needed improvements and/or the failure to make them will be sent to the Board of Health and the Grand Jury. (This was part of an over-all attempt to improve conditions for immigrants. This particular ward had a large Jewish population which may have accounted for the makeup of the officers.)
1884: It was reported today that Ludovic Halevy, the son of Leon Halevy, has been elected as a member of the French Academy.
1885: The Ladies’ Fair, a fund-raiser designed to raise money for the Kindergarten and Industrial Schools of the Hebrew Free School Association opened this evening at the Metropolitan Opera House.
1887: Morris L. Kramer and Rcahel Elka Stikan gave birth to Sadie Kramer.
1887: It was reported today that in London a barber named Serne who is a Flemish Jew is on trial having been charged with setting fire to his shop on the Strand to collect on the insurance. Unfortunately, both of his sons died in the fire as well.
1888: “The model of the Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal which had been built by Vauix Carter, a Professor of Mechanics at the Hebrew Technological Institute” in Brooklyn has proven to be one of the most popular items on display at the annual fair sponsored by the American Institute
1889: “Musical Notes” described the upcoming performance of Halevy’s “La Juive” in New York as being “novelty of the week.”
1890: “Literary Notes” today described the upcoming publication of Memoirs of My Mayoralty, an illustrated work complete with photographs by Sir Henry Isaacs, the former Lord Mayor of London.
1890: Louis “Brandeis defined modern notions of the individual right to privacy in a path-breaking article he published with his partner, today in the Harvard Law Review on "The Right to Privacy."
1890: “Stringent orders have been sent to Russian Government officials in the Caucasus for the expulsion of all Jews who are not authorized to reside there.”
1891(14th of Kislev, 5652): Jacob Judelsohn who had served as Secretary of the Jewish Immigrant Protective Society passed away. Mr Judelsohn was born in Marionpol, Russia in July of 1855. He came to the United States in 1879 and settled in Phildelphia where he became a leader in the Jewish community taking an active role in meeting the needs of the newly arrived immigrants from Russia and Poland. He moved to New York City where he continued his work until his death.
1891: James Naismith introduces the first version of basketball, with thirteen rules, a peach basket nailed to either end of his school's gymnasium, and two teams of nine players. While Basketball may have had quintessential gentile origins it quickly became a part of Jewish life. According to Peter Levine, “Jewish involvement in basketball, especially between 1900 and 1950 was greater than in any other sport.” “By the late 1930’s...sportswriter identified it as the ‘Jewish’ game. According “Paul Gallico, the longtime sports editor the New York Daily News ... ‘Jews flock to basketball by the thousands’ because it placed ‘a premium on an alert, scheming mind… flashy trickiness, artful dodging and general smart alikeness’’ traits naturally appealing to the ‘Hebrew with his Oriental background.’”
1892(26th of Kislev, 5653): Second Day of Chanukah
1892(26th of Kislev, 5653): Sixty-one year old Boston clothing store owner Leopold Morse and Democratic Party leader who represented Massachusetts in the House of Representatives passed away today.
1892: A petition is being circulated to gain the endorsement of prominent businessmen and professionals for the candidacy of Jacob P. Solomon, editor of the Hebrew Standard, to fill “the vacancy left on the police bench by Police Justice Daniel O’Reilly.
1892: The American Jewish Historical Society is scheduled to meet in Philadelphia at which papers will be read by Professor Charles Gross of Harvard, Professor Cyrus Adler of the National Museum and Henrietta Szold from Baltimore.
1892: The Monetary Conference at Brussels which has considered a plan put forth by Austrian banker Albert de Rothschild is scheduled to come to an end without resolving any of the issue surrounding bimetallism.
1893: Plans for the upcoming meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society at Columbia University were published today.
1893(6th of Tevet, 5654): Thirty-three year old Gottlieb Adler who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna in 1882 and who served as a professor there while working on matters related to electricity and magnetism, passed away today.
1894: Register Ferdinand Levy, Justice Alfred Steckler and Emanuel Friend were among those who attended the 20th “annual reception and ball of the New York Hebrew Mutual Benefit Association at the Central Opera House on East 67th Street.
1894: Sir Julian Goldsmid a member of the House of Commons for the South Division of St. Pancras presided at a meeting of the Russo-Jewish Committee today where “private communications with relation to the condition of the Jews in Russia were presented.”
1894: A revival of “Quite an Adventure,” a one-act comic opera by Edward Solomon opened at the Savoy Theatre.
1895: “The Hebrew Mechanics Association” is reported to be the sponsor of tonight’s concert at the Thalia Theatre in the Bowery.
1895: “A crowd of indignant men and women lined the sidewalk and the street in front of the Thalia Theatre tonight” upset by the additional charges being added for the tickets they were holding to see “a grand popular concert” given by the Hebrew Mechanics Association under the management of Maxz Hirsch.
1895: Among those performing tonight at “the second of the season’s concerts of the Arion” was Louis Blumenberg “who played for his first solo Max Bruch’s transcription of ‘Kol Nidre’” which with “his breadth of tone and smooth legato brought out the full sentiment of this sacred composition.”
1895: Those working at the booths of Educational Charity Fair sponsored by leading members of the Jewish community will have the day off today because Madison Square Garden, the venue where the fair is taking place, will be closed for the day.
1895: Excise Commissioner Julius Harburger of New York and Colonel W. L. Strong spoke at the dedication of the newly erected Temple Ahavath Sholom Beth Aaron in Brooklyn
1895: Plans were published today for a fund raiser to be held later this week for the benefit of the Hebrew Technical Institute.
1895: Birthdate of Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho
1895: “Herter’s Heine Fountain” published today described the decision of the citizens of Dusseldorf and Mayence to reject a fountain in honor of the poet “because he was a Jew.”
1895: “Herr Ahlwardt Denounced” published today described the meeting at Allen Memorial Church where speakers including Methodist minister George Van Alystayne and Episcopal minister Frank M. North spoke out against the visiting German anti-Semite and defending the role of Jews as American citizens.
1897: The Federation of American Zionist Societies of New York, (FAZ) was formed today with Richard Gottheil as President and Herman Rosenthal and Rabbi Joseph T. Bluestone as vice presidents. Most remarkable and fortunate for the nescient American Zionist movement was the choice of secretary for the FAZ. Gottheil had been advisor, sponsor and friend to a young Columbia student who energetically and dynamically became the first Zionist secretary. His name was Rabbi Stephen Wise. For the next 45 years, Wise would become one of the enshrined, respected leaders of the American Zionist and World Zionist movements.
1899: Birthdate of Harold Abrahams, English athlete and Olympic gold medalist. Abrahams passed away in 1978. Abrahams gained posthumous fame when his Olympic exploits were portrayed in the film hit “Chariots of Fire.”
1900: In Hungary, following yesterday’s preliminary vote, members of the lower chamber of the parliament cast the “definitive vote” denying Lazăr Șăineanu's naturalization even though he had converted to facilitate his bid for citizenship.
1902: Robert Georg Alexander von Mendelssohn and Giulietta von Mendelssohn gave birth to Angelica von Mendelssohn
1902(30th of Kislev, 5678): Parashat Miketz; Rosh Chodesh Tevet; Sixth Day of Chanukah
1902(30th of Kislev, 5678): Sixty-three year old Solomon Hirsh, “one of the founders of Fleischner, Mayer and Co., the largest wholesale dry goods company on the West Coast,” president of the Oregon State Senate and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Ottoman Empire who along with his wife Josephine were early leaders of the early Portland, Oregon Jewish community passed away today.
1903: Funeral services for Solomon Loeb who passed away on December 12th are scheduled to be held at his residence in New York at 9:30 this morning.
1904: In Brooklyn, Zemad and Annie Groden Bloomgarden gave birth to Kermit Bloomgarden, the CPA who became a successful producer.
1905: It was reported today that in Lodz, Cossacks dispersed the rioters who attacking Jewish shops and residences.
1905: As the violence against the Jews continues to escalate, a bomb was thrown at the postal telegraph offices at Radom, Poland.
1906: During the strike aimed at breaking the Beef Trust the butchers in Brownsville who have been on strike will continue to keep their shops closed today if the Williamsburg Retail Kosher Butchers and the New York and Harlem Retail Kosher Butchers have joined in the strike.
1907(10th of Tevet, 5668): Asara B'Tevet
1907: In Helsinki, Finland, future Russian Foreign Minister Nikolai Avksentev and his wife gave birth the artist Alexandra Pragel the wife of Alexander Pregel, an international dealer in radium and uranium and the sister-in-law of Boris Pregel.
1909: In New York City "Miss Julia Richman, Superintendent of Schools on the Lower East Side has sent out an appeal for clothing for school children." Miss Richman is concerned that children lack warm clothing which is contributing to poor health.
1912: In Philadelphia, found of Shaari Shamayim Synagogue.
1913: The Georgia Supreme Court heard Leo Frank’s appeal for a new trial.
1913: Birthdate of Muriel Rukeyser a challenging poet whose work mixed together radical politics and a spiritual quest. Rukeyser grew up in a middle-class home in New York City that for her was marked by silences and the absence of books. Rukeyser sought to experience the richness and messiness of life and to depict that richness and mess in her poetry. Her father's bankruptcy during the Great Depression cut short her college education, but in 1935, at the age of 21, she won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first book, Theory of Flight. Her poetry brought her much success and much criticism. Embracing left-wing politics, she covered the second Scottsboro Boys trial and the Spanish Civil War. She traveled to North Vietnam and Korea and was jailed for protesting the war in Vietnam. She confronted the red-baiting of the McCarthy era and the strictures of conventional sexuality. Her poem "Letter to the Front" (1944) presented the challenge of modern Jewish identity with these words:
To be a Jew in the twentieth century
Is to be offered a gift. If you refuse,
Wishing to be invisible, you choose
Death of the spirit, the stone insanity.
Accepting, take full life.
1914: It was reported today that “the Jewish Relief Committee’s Executive Committee has appropriated $100,000 for immediate transmission for war relief as follows: $50,000 for Russia, $25,000 for Galicia and $25,000 for Palestine.
1914: When a Russian cruiser appeared outside the port of Jaffa today all “non-Moslems were ordered” by the Turkish government “to stay in their dwellings under the pain of death.” (This order really applied to the Jews many of whom were of Russian origins and whom the Turks did not trust because they feared the Jews were a “fifth column” that would help their Czarist enemies.)
1914: Birthdate of Anatole Abragam, the Latvian born French-physicist who wrote The Principles of Nuclear Magneism and 1982 winner of the Lorentz Medal.
1914: “Entire Nation Behind Frank” published today quotes an opinion from the Houston Chronical that “there is in the heart of the American people an inherent love of justice and fair play, and they are stirred with indignation if they believe any citizen has not received a square deal in the courts” and “the case of Leo M. Frank strikingly illustrates the truth of this statement” since “it is essential to recognize the right of any man to a fair trial -- which Leo Frank assuredly did not get.”
1914: “Frank Can Appeal Again, Says Lawyer” published today provided the opinion of Hooper Alexander the United States District and “an authority on constitutional law” that “Leo M. Frank can take his case before the United States Supreme Court on a writ of error from the first decision” by the Georgia Supreme Court.
1915: A fund raising campaign headed by Jacob Schiff is scheduled to come to an end.
1916: Greeks call up all Jews ranging from age19 to 30 for military service. The response was overwhelming.
1916: The Senate passed an immigration bill today that did not contain the exemption for the victims of religious discrimination – Armenians and Jews from Russia and Rumania – which had been part of the bill passed by the House of Representatives.
1916: French troops defeated the Germans at the Battle of Verdun during World War I. In the 1930’s monuments were erected to Jewish and Christian soldiers who were killed at Verdun. In May of 2004 the memorial to Jewish soldiers who died in the Battle of Verdun was vandalized. Nazi slogans and symbols were scrawled on the memorial. In November 2004, a 22-year-old man was sentenced to a year in prison for perpetrating the attack. In June of 2006, a concert by the Ensemble Musique Oblique was held at the Verdun synagogue in memory of the Jewish soldiers of Verdun. French forces were commanded by General Petain. The victory at Verdun cemented his position in the pantheon of French military prowess. Petain would use this reputation to make peace with the Germans in World War II and to lead the government at Vichy which actively collaborated with the Nazis in bringing the Holocaust to France.
1916: Following a meeting of the Joint Distribution Committee it was reported today that all synagogues and temples would hear sermons on Shabbat calling for contributions for the fund to aid Jews suffering from the war.
1917: In New York City, Pauline “Paula” Munwies and David Ben Gurion “went before the clerk at City Hall… and were married in a brief, civil ceremony” which was not attended by any of their family or friends.
1917: Thanks to the half million dollars raised today which included a contribution of $41,421 from Jacob Schiff, “the campaign to raise $5,000,000 in New York for Jewish war relief and welfare work in the army and navy came to a triumphant close” today “when at the end of two weeks of labor, the five million was in hand with a slight margin over and more to come.”
1917: “According to a cablegram received” today in New York “by the Jewish Daily Forward from its Petrograd correspondent” that “Sholem Jacob Abramowitch, known to Jews all over the word as the ‘grandfather’ of modern Jewish literature, a title given to him by the late Sholem Aleichem” and who wrote under the the pen name of Mendele Moikher Seforim died last week in Odessa at the age of 81.
1917: Russia concluded an armistice with the Central Powers. Over 350,000 Jews served in the Russian army and an estimated 70,000 were killed during World War I. This armistice would take the new Communist Russian government out of the war. It would help ensure the Communist rule over Russia and all that that meant for Russian Jewry. At the same time, it enabled the Germans to move their troops to the Western Front where they made one last push to defeat the Allies. This effort failed which led to the defeat of Germany, the Versailles Treaty, the rise of Hitler and the Final Solution.
1917: “The successful close” today “of New York’s campaign for $5,000,000 for Jewish war relief and welfare work in the army and navy also bring to a successful conclusion the national campaign for $10,000,000 for war relief, to which total fourth of fifths of the money in New York is to be devoted.”
1918: In Brooklyn, Anna (née Herman) and Phillip Grossel gave birth to their only child Ira Gossel who gained fame as Jeff Chandler the classically handsome matinee idol played everything from the Indian chief Cochise Broken Arrow to the workaholic skipper in the World War II thriller Away All Boats. To paraphrase one critic, goyisha face on a yiddisha kup.
1918: First meeting of the American Jewish Congress. An advocacy group, the American Jewish Congress supports a variety of causes including civil rights for all minorities and women as well as causes one might normally associate with a Jewish organization.
1918: Efforts to break the monolithic opposition to Zionism of Jerusalem’s Orthodox community met with success at the founding meeting of a group of senior rabbis, who in defiance of the ultra-Orthodox rabbis set up a Joint Sephardic - Ashkenazi Council which was the first breach in the Orthodox community’s strong and united opposition to Zionist institutions.
1918(12th of Tevet, 5679): After 21 years of marriage, Clara Engels the wife of German classical scholar Friedrich Münzer passed away during the Influenza Epidemic.
1918: Addressing the campaign workers for the $5,000,000 Jewish War Relief drive at the Hotel Biltmore, Felix M. Warburg, Chairman of the Campaign Committee, advocated that campaigns of a sectarian character be hereafter abolished and announced that the drive would be extended for two days.
1919: Birthdate of Max B. Yasgur, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants whose farm was the site of the famous Woodstock Happening in 1969.
1921(14th of Kislev, 5682): Just 19 days before his 39th birthday, Edward Isaac Ezra, “a wealthy Jewish businessman who was the first Chinese-born member of the Shanghai Municipal Council” passed away in Shanghai.
1922(25th of Kislev, 5683): Chanukah
1922: Birthdate of DJ Alan Freed, the man who claimed to have coined the term “rock-n-roll” and who lost out in the payola scandal of the 1950’s.
1922: Birthdate of Professor Phillip Rieff, author of Freud: The Mind of the Moralist and the father of author David Rieff.
1923: Birthdate of Gotthard Glass who would gain famed as Uziel “Uzi” Gal. The German-born Israeli gun designer best remembered as the designer and namesake of the Uzi submachine gun. Gal was born in Weimar, Germany. When the Nazis came to power in 1933 he moved first to England and later, in 1936, to Kibbutz Yagur in the British Mandate of Palestine. In 1943 he was arrested for illegally carrying a gun and sentenced to six years in prison. However he was pardoned and released in 1946, serving less than half of his sentence. Gal began designing the Uzi submachine gun in 1948, shortly after the Israel War of Independence. In 1951 it was officially adopted by the Israeli Defense Force and was called the Uzi after its creator. Gal did not want the weapon to be named after him but his request was ignored. In 1955 he was decorated with Tzalash HaRamatkal and in 1958, Gal was the first person to receive the Israel Security Award, presented to him by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion for his work on the Uzi. In 1975 Gal retired from the IDF, and the next year he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, so that his daughter Tamar, who had serious brain damage, could receive special medical attention. Gal continued his work as a firearms designer until his death from cancer in 2002.
1924: Birthdate of Polish-born British violinist Ida Haendel.
1925: “The Plastic Age” a silent film produced by B.P. Schulberg was released in the United States today.
1926: Sixty-seven year old Paul Haupt, the German born Professor of Semitic languages at Johns Hopkins University who “projected and edited the Polychrome Bible, a critical edition of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and a new English translation with notes. A unique feature of this edition is the use of different colors to distinguish the various sources and component parts in the Old Testament books” passed away today in Baltimore, MD
1927: The struggle for work turned violent during the citrus harvest in Petah Tikvah. Jewish workers, seeking employment, protest against the hiring of Arab labor by the farmers. Demonstrations and an attack on the Agricultural Committee lead to the intervention of the British police. Workers are beaten and injured. Some are arrested and sentenced to several weeks’ imprisonment.
1928: Birthdate of Ida Haendel, the native of Chelm who became a world-class violinist in Great Britain where she played for factory workers and military personnel
1928: In New York City, Anna and Irving Rosenthal gave birth to Stanley Herbert Ross, the producer-engineer who co-founded Hollywood's Gold Star Recording Studio, which has a storied place in rock history as the home of Phil Spector's innovative "Wall of Sound" technique.
1929: In Manhattan, Bernard K. Marcus, the President of Bank of the United States, a lower East Side financial institution and the former Libby Phillips gave birth to James S. Marcus the future chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Opera.
1930(25th of Kislev, 5691): As the Great Depression worsens, the first day of Chanukah
1930: Seventy-five year old Meier Dizengoff sought re-election as Mayor of Tel Aviv in contest that pits him against Laborite Joseph Aronwitz. Dizengoff was one of the original founders of the city in 1909 and is noted for donating his salary to municipal projects not funded by the city.
1932: Birthdate of composer Elaine Barkin.
1933:”The Tunnel” a “French-German science fiction film directed by Curtis Bernhardt” was released in Germany and France today.
1933: Five hundred people including Rabbi Joshua Trachtenberg of Easton, PA and Rabbi Harry Caplan of Allentown, PA attended the ceremonies marking the installation of Rabbi Samuel Perlman as the new spiritual leader of the Brith Sholom Community Center of Bethlehem, PA.”
1933: “I was a Spy” a British thriller produced by Michael Balcon was released in the United States today.
1934: “Murder in the Clouds” which “was notable as the screenplay and original story was written by Dore Schary” the future head of production at MGM and produced by Samuel Bischoff was released in the United States today by Warner Brothers.
1936(1st of Tevet, 5697): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
1936: “A conference of Christian leaders interested in finding a refuge in Palestine for Jews suffering persecution abroad” is scheduled to “take place in the Hotel Astor from 1:30 to 5 P.M. under the auspices of the Pro-Palestine Federation of America.”
1936: “The Pro-Palestine Federation of America, a Christian organization, criticized British policy” in Palestine “in a resolution adopted” today “at a luncheon conference on ‘the Jewish problem’ at the Hotel Astor.”
1936: “Zionist worries over one of the two dangers confronting the future development of the Jewish national home -- the proposed law restricting Jewish land purchases, a danger equal only to the suggested curtailment of Jewish immigration in Palestine -- loomed large at today's session of the British Royal Commission. Dr. Bernard Joseph…testified that he believed there was no justification for restricting the sale of land by small holders…He that in fifty years Jews had bought about 5 per cent of the total area of Palestine. At that rate…it will take 150 years to buy half the land in the country if Beersheba is excluded.”
1937: The Palestine Post reported that 13 Jews were wounded when Arab terrorists ambushed a bus between Haifa and Nahalal. Another bus was fired on near Castel. Arab terrorists tried to kill the mayor of Nablus, Suleiman Tukan.
1937: A Jewish guard, Haim Berger, was wounded in Tiberias, and Eliahu Gadi was shot and wounded near Kibbutz Ramat Rahel. Two Arabs were sentenced to death for the murder of Mendel Mintz on
. February 1, 1937
1938: The Dutch government closed its border to refugees which had an especially detrimental effect on Jews seeking to escape from Hitler’s Germany, its next door neighbor.
1939: Gauleiter Hans Frank launched an action aimed at shipping rural Jews to large Polish cities where they would be the tight control of the SS. Tens of thousands of Jews would be rounded up, transported or force-marched into specially designated urban ghettos.
1939: World premiere of "Gone with the Wind" in Atlanta, Georgia. This is another example of Jews creating a pop culture icon. Consider the following: David O. Selznick was he Producer. Leslie Howard played Ashley Wilkes. Ben Hecht helped to write the screenplay. And Max Steiner wrote the music. There may be more but this is all that I could find for sure. Leslie Howard was an English Jew born Leslie Howard Steiner who was reportedly involved in anti-Nazi activities including clandestine work for British intelligence that may have been the cause for his civilian aircraft being shot down by the Nazis over the Bay of Biscay. Hecht was a Zionist whose work to aid the suffering Jews of Europe included two notable efforts “We Will Never Die” and “A Flag is Born.” Such were his efforts that one of the ships smuggling supplies to pre-state Israel was the S.S. Ben Hecht.
1939: In his continued challenge of the White Paper, Churchill, who is now a member of the British War Cabinet, wrote to Malcolm MacDonald seeking to limit the “draconian restrictions on future Jewish land purchases” contained in the new Land Ordinance.
1939: The Jews are required to pay “an additional installment of 200,000,000 marks” to the Reich which will probably be paid, in part, in shares of stock.
1940: “Led by Inky Lautmean who scored 10 points, the Philadelphia Sphas defeated the New York Jews in American Basketball League game at the St. Nicholas Palace tonight.
1940: Birthdate of Gabriel Oliver Koppell the Bronx native and the son of refugees from Nazi Germany who served on the New York City Council and as New York State Attorney General.
1941(25th of Kislev, 5702): First Day of Chanukah; in the evening kindle the second candle
1941: After Germans and “local Ukrainian nationalists” had killed 1,000 intellectuals and professionals in August, and “10,000 more on the night of October 12,” the Germans established a ghetto today at Stanislawow which would lead to the extermination of a Jewish population that had lived “in the town since 1662.”
1941: Members of a Latvian SD guard platoon, units of the 21st Latvian police battalion, and members of the Schutzpolizei-Dienstabteilung (German security police) under the command of the local SS and Police Leader Fritz Dietrich began a two day killing spree during which they murdered almost 3,000 Jews at Skede, Latvia. (As recorded at Yad Vashem)
1941: In Latvia, “the largest of the Liepāja massacres” began today.
1941: On this first day of Chanukah, 15 Jews are shot to death in the courtyard of the Warsaw Ghetto prison.
1941: Forty Polish Jews were shot by the Nazis on Chanukah in Paris.
1942: Faked, upbeat postcard messages arrive at Jewish homes in Holland from friends and relatives interned at Auschwitz and the Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, camp/ghetto.
1944: The Keys of the Kingdom, the movie version of the novel by the same name directed by John Stahl and produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz who also co-authored the script and with music by Alfred Newman was released today in New York.
1944: In a speech given on the floor of the United States Senate, Guy M. Gillette of Iowa urged that all possible steps be taken to rescue the approximately 1,500,000 Jews whom he said were still living in territory held by the Axis. Senator Gillette also urged that the Allies adopt a resolution making crimes against Jews in Europe punishable as war crimes
1945: Birthdate of Fiamma Nirenstein, Italian born journalist who, although a resident of Gilo would be elected to the Italian Parliament in 2008.
1945: Robert Merrill (born Moishe Miller) made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Germont” today.
1945: At approximately , about 20 fighters of the Haganah - the pre-state underground Jewish militia - seized a British truck south of Acre. The men, armed but wearing civilian clothing, confiscated about half a ton of documents, packed into eight sealed steel containers and 12 sacks of diplomatic mail. The documents had been sent from the British legation in Beirut to Haifa Port, from which they were to be transported to Britain. The truck was taken to an unknown location. The driver and armed guards were later found in an abandoned building near Kiryat Ata. The British tried to minimize the importance of the captured documents, claiming that most of them concerned economic matters of the British Mission in Beirut, headed during World War II by General Edward Spears. But the reaction of the British, the French and the Haganah itself to the event clearly suggests that the papers removed from the truck were, in fact, of far greater consequence. Immediately after the incident, the French consul in Jerusalem came to Tel Aviv. The French were given classified documents from the truck that were of great operational importance to them. The British Mandate authorities censored reports of the event, prohibiting Hebrew or British newspapers from publishing any details about the Haganah operation. The documents were eventually returned to the British, but about one percent of them remained in the hands of the Haganah. The French considered the remaining so documents to be so valuable that they entered into with the Yishuv to get more of them. The British were so determined to get their hands on the remaining documents that they attempted to seize them through clandestine military action in May and June of 1948
1946(22nd of Kislev, 5707): Maud Nathan passed away. Born in 1862, she was an American social worker, labor activist and suffragist for women's right to vote. “She came from a prominent New York family, descended from Gershom Mendes Seixas, minister of New York's Congregation Sherith Israel during the Revolutionary War. Her sister was the author and education activist Annie Nathan Meyer and her cousins the poet Emma Lazarus and Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo. Her nephew was the author and poet Robert Nathan.”
1946: The World Zionist Congress suspends six members of Zionist Revisionist Union of America for unauthorized request to UN for discussion of Palestinian problem.
1947: Nearly 25,000 children, the number brought to Palestine through the Hadassah Youth Aliyah immigration movement since its inception thirteen years ago, will enter Palestine in the coming year, Dr. Vera Weizmann, wife of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, scientist and Zionist leader, said today
1948: A flight of Spitfires took off from Czechoslovakia as part of a clandestine operation to bring modern aircraft to Israel.
1948: Israel breaks off negotiation for local truce agreements and demands future peace talks for all of Palestine.
1949: The UN Trusteeship Council proposes to censure Israel for moving its government. It also asks Israel to help UN draft charter for city.
1950: Birthdate of Jeffrey Katzenberg, former Disney executive who help found DreamWorks.
1952: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli army headquarters compiled a list of all US citizens serving in the IDF who would lose their US citizenship on
, in accordance with the McCarran Act. The army
announced that all such reservists would be released and all other cases would
be judged on their merits. Many soldiers applied to the US Consulate for
guidance and were supplied with letters endorsing their plea for an immediate
1952: The Jerusalem Post reported that Dov Shilansky was sentenced to 21 months' imprisonment for trying to bomb the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Jerusalem in protest against the acceptance of German reparations.
1952: “Two’s Company” a revue “directed by Jules Dassin and choreographed by Jerome Robbins” opened at the Alvin Theatre where it ran for 90 performances.
1954: “The Country Girl” the movie version of Clifford Odets play produced by William Pearlberg had its world premiere tonight at the Criterion Theatre in New York City.
1955: A torch commemorating the victory of the Maccabees over their Syrian oppressors was kindled at a special Hanukkah festival at Madison Square Garden.
1955: “The Man with the Golden Arm” the movie version of the Nelson Algren’s award novel of the same name directed and produced by Otto Preminger, with music by Elmer Bernstein and co-starring Arnold Stang was released in the United States today.
1958(4th of Tevet, 5719): Wolfgang Pauli passed away. Born in 1900, Pauli was an Austrian-born American winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1945 for his discovery in 1925 of the Pauli Exclusion Principle, which states that in an atom no two electrons can occupy the same quantum state simultaneously. This principle clearly relates the quantum theory to the observed properties of atoms.
1960: Release date for the film “Exodus.”
1960: In a testament to the popularity the products produced by Isaac Heller and his company Remco, it was reported today that ‘while the snow fell this morning paralyzing New York City, a little boy climbed in Santa’s lap and piped ‘I wanted Fighting Lady battleship by Remco.’”
1961: United Artists released “One, Two, Three” a comedy written by I.A.L. Diamond and Billy Wilder and directed and produced by Wilder.
1961: Former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death by an Israeli court. Eichmann had been convicted of crimes against humanity and would be the only person sentenced to by Israel to date.
1963: Birthdate of actress Helen Slater. Born Helen Schlacter she is best known for her work in Supergirl.
1964: U.S. premiere of “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte” the successful horror film with a script co-authored by Lukas Heller.
1964: “I Had a Ball” a Jack Lawrence and Jerome Chodorov musical starring Buddy Hackett “opened on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre.”
1965: “The Flight of the Phoenix” a movie version of the novel of the same name with a screenplay by Lukas Heller was released in the United States today by 20th Century Fox.
1968(25th of Kislev, 5729): As the country awaits the transition from Lyndon Johnson to the newly elected Richard Nixon, first day of Chanukah
1969: NBC broadcast the 15th episode of “My World and Welcome to It” a sitcom created by Melville Shavelson.
1969: Shlomo Hillel replaced Eliyahu as Minster of Public Security.
1969: Ze'ev Sherf succeeded Mordechai Bentov and Minster of Housing and Construction.
1969: Yosef Goldschmidt became an MK as a replacement for Yosef Burg.
1970: Joseph B. Levin represented the petitioner National Assn. of Securities Dealers, Inc before the Supreme Court today.
1970: “There’s a Girl in My Soup” co-starring Goldie Hawn and Peter Sellers, a descendant of Daniel Mendoza was released in the United States today.
1970: Sylva Zalmanson and Eduard Kuznetzov were among those who went on trial today in the Soviet Union because they wanted to hijack a plane so they could fly to Israel and live “freely as Jews.”
1971(27th of Kislev, 5732): Paul Pierre Lévy passed away. Born in 1886, he was a French mining engineer and mathematician. He contributed to probability, functional analysis, partial differential equations and series. He also studied geometry. In 1926 he extended Laplace transforms to broader function classes. He undertook a large-scale work on generalized differential equations in functional derivatives.
1973: Under the leadership of newly elected president Dr. Alfred M. Freedman, the board of trustees the American Psychiatric Association voted 13 to 0, with two abstentions, in favor of the resolution, which stated that “by itself, homosexuality does not meet the criteria for being a psychiatric disorder.” This was a landmark step on the path to declaring that homosexuality was not a mental illness.
1974(1st of Tevet, 5735): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
1974(1st of Tevet, 5735): Cartoonist Harry Hershfield, the native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa who was called “the Jewish Will Rogers” passed away at the age of 89.
1974: U.S. premiere of “Young Frankenstein” directed by Mel Brooks, written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, and starring Gene Wilder, Mary Feldman and Madeline Kahn.
1974(1st of Tevet, 5735): Erich Walter Sternberg German-born Israeli composer passed away in Tel Aviv at the age of 83. The Berlin native was one of the early contributors to what would become the Israeli musical world having begun his work in the pre-state days of the 1930’s and 1940’s.
1975: Dr. Immanuel Jakobovitz, the Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, began a nine day visit to the Soviet Union.
1974(1st of Tevet, 5735): Seventy-two year old Anatole Litvak, Ukrainian-born, American filmmaker passed away. “Anastasias” – a film based on the myth that one of the Czar’s daughter survived starring Yul Brynner, Ingrid Bergman and Helen Hayes – was one of his more lasting cinematic efforts.
1978: After having premiered five days ago in Washington, DC, “Superman” the movie that brought to the big screen the comic hero created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster and directed by Richard Donner (born Richard Donald Schwartzberg) was released throughout the United States today.
1979(25th of Kislev, 5740): Parashat Vayeshev First day of Chanukah
1979: Two Palestinians connected to the Munich Olympics Massacre, Ali Salem Ahmed and Ibrahim Abdul Aziz, were killed in Cyprus
1979: Birthdate of actor Adam Bordy whose film credits include “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “American Pie 2.”
1980: Through a Warranty Deed, James A. and Betty J. McClellen conveyed the Temple Israel property in Leadville, CO to Harvey/Martin Construction.
1983: In Tiberias, Israel, Brigadier General Richard Heaslip who was serving with UNIFL and his wife gave birth to Irish rugby player Jamie Heaslip.
1983(9th of Tevet, 5744): Sixty-one year old “Nat Shapiro, a writer, record producer and artist manager who was active in numerous aspects of the music and recording fields, died” of an apparent heart attack today. (As reported by John S. Wilson)
1983: “Gorky Park” film version of the book by the same name co-produced by Hawk Koch and Uri Harkham was released in the United States today.
1983: Wendy Wasserstein's "Isn't It Romantic" premiered in New York.
1983: Refusnik Vladimir Albert went on trial today.
1984(21st of Kislev, 5745): Eighty year old cantor turned operatic tenor Jan Peerce passed away today. (As reported by Harold C. Schonberg)
1989: “We’re No Angels” a comedy with a script written by David Mamet was released in the United States today.
1989(15th of Kislev, 5750): Seventy-nine year old scriptwriter and victim of the “blacklist” Ben Barzman passed away today.
1990: In “Candles In Saudi Arabia” Ari L. Goodman described the observance of Chanukah in the desert oil kingdom.
Tonight is the fifth night of Hanukkah and, in a few select spots in Saudi Arabia, American soldiers who are Jewish will be discreetly lighting candles on their menorahs to celebrate the holiday, as they have since Hanukkah began Tuesday night. In accordance with military policy, celebrations of Hanukah as well as Christmas will be muted in deference to the Muslim nation's beliefs. There are from 500 to 800 Jewish soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in the American force in Saudi Arabia, according to Rabbi David Lapp, director of the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council. He said there are currently two Jewish chaplains on the land and two at sea in the Persian Gulf area. Hundreds of menorahs, candles and Hanukkah gifts were sent by Jewish organizations, schools and individuals in advance of the holiday, although, again out of deference to the Saudis, some were careful not to ship products made in Israel. The Saudis have allowed the shipments. Margery Wise, the owner of the Jewish Quarter, a Judaica shop in White Plains, N.Y., that shipped 300 menorahs to members of the armed forces, said she got the idea after watching a news program about Christmas gift packages being prepared for shipment. "People don't think there are many Jews in the military, but there are a lot more than we think," she said. "And because the whole celebration is low key, we wanted to be sure they wouldn't get lost in the shuffle."
1990: Three Israelis were stabbed and killed in an aluminum factory in Jaffa today, the police said, and widespread anti-Arab rioting followed. The police set up roadblocks and closed off an area surrounding the factory in this city adjacent to Tel Aviv, saying they were looking for two Palestinian assailants from the occupied Gaza strip whom they refused to identify.
1991: In “The Man in The Glass Closet,” published today, Andrew Sarris reviewed a biography of the Hungarian born Jewish director George Cukor – George Cukor: A Double Life by Patrick McGilligan.
1992(20th of Kislev, 5753): Hamas terrorists kidnapped Nissim Toledano, an Israeli Army Sergeant.
1992(20th of Kislev, 5753): Ninety-six year old “Simon M. Jaglom, a New York businessman and financier, died today at New York University Medical Center.
1993: Rena Sofer appeared for the first time on “General Hospital” in the role of Lois Cerullo, a part she would play for almost three years.
1994: As part of free phone lines set up for the holidays by the Teleport Communications Group, 91 year old Ann Kaufmann was able to call friends in Israel today. Through her call, Olga Reichman learned that she had become a great aunt, her niece in Tel Aviv having given birth three weeks ago to a daughter, Noa.
1994: In Ireland, Mervyn Taylor began serving Minister for Equality and Law Reform.
1995: “Heat” a crime film directed, produced and written by Michael Mann was released in the United States by Warner Bros.
1996(5th of Tevet, 5757): Eighty-eight year old mystery writer Harry Kemelman creator “Rabbi David Small” passed away today. (As reported by Eric Pace)
1996(5th of Tevet, 5757): Ninety-five year old “Joseph Ades, a self-made businessman and investor who was a leading supporter of Sephardic Jewish life and philanthropy in Israel and the New York City area, passed away today at his home in Kings Point, L.I. (As reported by Wolfgang Saxon)
1997: Janet Rosenberg Jagan, the widow of Cheddi Jagan and the daughter of middle class Jewish parents from Chicago was elected President of Guyana
1998: “The Very Best of Carly Simon: Nobody Does It Better” “singer-songwriter Carly Simon's 23rd album” was released today.
1999: In a press release issued today, Eden Springs said that the agreement to sell up to 25 percent of the company to Aqua International Partners, a $300 million investment fund in San Francisco, happened to be made public on the day peace talks between Syria and Israel began in Washington was “a mere coincidence.” Eden Springs Israel's biggest water-bottling plant last and is located on the Golan Heights.
2000(18th of Kislev, 5761): W. (Bill) Birnbaum, Professor Emeritus of mathematics and statistics at the University of Washington passed away at his home in at the age of 97. He is survived by his wife, Hilde, their children, Ann and Richard, and their grandson, Eli. Zygmund William Birnbaum was born in Lwów, Austria-Hungary on October 18, 1903 to parents Isaac and Lina Birnbaum. He attended grade and high schools (gymnasium) in Lwów and Vienna, and then, in filial deference to his family's unanimous opinion that he pursue a 'practical' degree, he obtained a Master of Law degree from the University of Lwów in 1925. He practiced law for a year, but during that time he resumed his studies in mathematics. In 1926, he received a Teaching Certificate in mathematics and taught at a gymnasium in Lwów from 1925-29 while continuing his graduate studies in mathematics under Steinhaus and Banach among others. He received his Ph.D. in 1929, with Hugo Steinhaus as his major professor. Following his Ph. D., he went directly to Goettingen, Germany to continue his studies. Goettingen was central to world mathematics at that time, with such luminaries as D. Hilbert, E. Landau, R. Courant, E. Noether and F. Bernstein among others, and attracting many famous visitors including Kolmogorov, Alexandrov and von Mises during 1929-31 when Bill was there. It was during this time that political events began to indicate an uncertain future for Germany generally and for academic opportunities for Bill in particular. Thus it was that Bill, in addition to his mathematical pursuits and following advice from Landau, completed a program leading to an actuarial certificate from the University's Institute of Insurance Mathematics, then headed by the mathematician-cum-biometrician, Felix Bernstein. This permitted Bill in 1931 to obtain a position as a life insurance actuary for the Phoenix Life Insurance Co. in Vienna and a year later to return to Lwów as chief actuary at the company's Polish subsidiary. After the Phoenix company went bankrupt in 1936, due in great part to the worsening economic and political conditions in Germany, Bill decided to try to emigrate to the U. S. With quotas full for years to come, he was able to secure employment as a foreign correspondent for a major Polish newspaper, thereby enabling him to go to New York in June 1937 on a visitor's visa. Shortly after his arrival he met his former Goettingen professor, Bernstein, and accepted from him a research assistantship in biometrics at New York University. His statistical interests and knowledge, that had been kindled during his actuarial studies, grew rapidly under the influence of the leading statisticians at New York and Columbia Universities. In early 1939, Harold Hotelling of Columbia University, a Seattle native with a Master's degree in mathematics from the University of Washington, brought to Bill's attention a position there in the Department of Mathematics. Bill applied, and supported by letters of recommendation from Courant, Landau and Albert Einstein, his application was accepted. Thus began his long and distinguished career of over 60 years in the Seattle area, extending well beyond his university retirement in 1974. Shortly after his arrival in Seattle, Bill met Hilde Merzbach while both of them were involved in assisting Jewish refugees arriving from Europe. Their marriage on December 20, 1940 was the start of a lifetime of involvement together in numerous academic, health, social and political activities at local, national and international levels. During his long association with the University of Washington, Professor Birnbaum's exceptional academic contributions included teaching and service as well as his research in the theory and applications of mathematics and statistics. Upon his arrival in Seattle, upon discovering that there was exactly one statistics course being offered -- and that on descriptive statistics -- he began to design the theoretical courses that formed the basis for one of the first comprehensive undergraduate programs in mathematical statistics in the United States. By 1948 he had founded the Laboratory of Statistical Research which, through its long association with the Office of Naval Research, served to strengthen and expand the graduate and faculty components of these programs. He directed the Laboratory until his retirement. Bill's research contributions were exceptionally broad, not surprising in view of the breadth of his early training. His bibliography includes major advances in several areas of mathematics, statistics and computation, as well as pioneering studies in reliability and life testing, with important applications in metal fatigue and health statistics. He made significant contributions to complex and functional analysis (including Birnbaum-Orlicz spaces), probabilistic inequalities (e.g. multi-dimensional Chebychev and maximal inequalities), non-parametric and distribution-free statistics (exact, asymptotic and tabulated distributions), survey non-responses, reliability of complex systems, cumulative damage models, competing risks, survival distributions and mortality rates. Service to his university and professional colleagues, as well as to society at large, was always an important duty for Bill. His service to IMS in particular began early. He was chairman of the IMS Advisory Committee on Computation in 1954, and of the IMS Committee for Physical Facilities at Meetings during 1955. In the latter capacity he was responsible for carrying out the 1953 Kingston resolution that all IMS "meetings shall be held on a completely nonsegregated basis". Bill presented the resolution for permanency of this policy at the 1956 Annual IMS meeting held in Seattle. In recognition of his many contributions, Bill was made a Fellow of the IMS (since 1949) and of the American Statistical Association and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He was an editor since 1966 of the Academic Press monograph series in probability and statistics, was elected president of the IMS in 1964 and was editor of the Annals of Mathematical Statistics during 1967-70. He received both Fullbright and Guggenheim awards with visiting positions held in Stanford, Rome, Jerusalem and Paris. In 1984 he received the prestigious S. S. Wilks Medal of the ASA for "his theoretical research, wide applications, leadership, inspiration and teaching." Professor Birnbaum's contributions to the University of Washington also extended well beyond his teaching and research: In 1946 he used his legal and actuarial backgrounds to prepare the legislation that became the statutory basis for the University's retirement system; In 1955 he organized the referendum that resulted in the inclusion of faculty in the social security system; as a plaintiff during 1962-63 in the loyalty oath suit, he was the only witness whose testimony was cited in the U. S. Supreme Court's decision. He has also served during his career as a member of the University's Faculty Council and Faculty Senate.
2000: “What Women Want” a romantic comedy directed and co-produced by Nancy Meyers and featuring Bette Midler, Mark Feuerstein, Lisa Edelstein, Logan Lerman and Eric Balfour was released in the United States today.
2000: “Quills” a biopic based on the life of the Marquis de Sade directed and co-produced by Philip Kaufman
2002: The New York Times book section featured books by Jewish authors and/or about subjects of Jewish interest including Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life by Lauren F. Winner and Jew In America: My Life and a People's Struggle for Identity by Arthur Hertzberg.
2003: Hamodia revolutionized the American community with its introduction of a daily edition.
2003: New York-based Bank Leumi USA, a subsidiary of Israel's Bank Leumi le-Israel, announced it opened an office in Los Angeles as part of its expansion. The new Los Angeles office, together with the bank's already existing operations in Beverly Hills and Encino, will aim to bring the bank's international, private and commercial banking services to the Los Angeles community, a bank statement said.
2004(3rd of Tevet, 5765): 8th and final day of Chanukah
2006(24th of Kislev, 5767): In the evening, Jews all of the world light the first candle marking the start of Chanukah.
2006: The owners of Bens De Luxe Delicatessen and Restaurant agreed to sell to SIDEV Realty Corporation and officially announced the closure, bringing the restaurant's long history to an end. Ben and Fanny Kravitz had opened what would become a Montreal landmark famous for its smoked meat sandwich in 1908.
2007: In Jerusalem, a screening of a documentary entitled “Sendler’s List” It tells the story Irina Sendler a compassionate Polish nurse who endangered her life to save 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII and the three American high school students who heard about Ms. Sandler’s heroic acts decide to travel to Poland in order to meet her.
2007: In Brooklyn, NY, at Congregation B'nai Avraham, a screening of “Yippee: A Journey to Jewish Joy.” Directed by award-winning American filmmaker, actor, and scriptwriter Paul Mazursky, “Yippee” chronicles the director’s whirlwind journey to Uman, a small Ukrainian town that is the site of a unique, annual gathering of Jewish men making pilgrimages to the burial place of Rabbi Nachman (1772-1810).
2007: In his Shabbat morning sermon at the San Diego Biennial Convention of the Reform Movement, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie calls for a return to more traditional observances in general while calling for a renewed commitment to attending Shabbat Moring Services.
2008 (18 Kislev): On the Hebrew Calendar, Yahrzeit of Rabbi Abraham Maimuni HaNagid who passed away on the 18th of Kislev of the Hebrew year, 4998, which corresponds to the secular year 1237. Called "Rabbi Avraham ben HaRambam" he was the only son of Maimonides. Born in 1185, he succeeded his father as the leader of the Jewish community in Fostat (old Cairo), Egypt, at the young age of 19. He wrote many responses and commentaries explaining and defending his father's writings and Halachic rulings.
2008: Time magazine reports that Linda Lingle, the first Jewish governor of Hawaii has endorsed plans for California based battery maker Better Place to build more than 70,000 recharging stations for electric vehicles by 2012. Better Place which is headed by Tel Aviv entrepreneur Shai Agassi, is seeking a similar deal with other countries including Israel where there is a real “drive” to became an electric car nation.
2008: President Bush recalled Harry Truman's legacy at a reception marking Hanukkah.
Bush's Hanukkah reception Monday night, his last, featured the hanukkiyah David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, gave to Truman in 1951, three years after the the then-U.S. president was the first world leader to recognize Israel. "A decade after President Truman received this gift, he visited Prime Minister Ben-Gurion for one of the last times," Bush said before the hanukkiyah was lit by Clifton Truman-Daniel and Yariv Ben-Eliezer, the grandsons of both leaders. "As they parted, Ben-Gurion told the President that as a foreigner he could not judge President Truman's place in American history, but the president's courageous decision to recognize the new state of Israel gave him an immortal place in Jewish history." Attending the event were Jewish Bush administration officials and Republican Jews whose loyalty to the president has been unflagging, including Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and major donor to the party and to Jewish causes.
2008: The Washington Post featured a review of Bones by Jonathan Kellerman (the latest in the Alex Delaware series)
2008: The IPO and counter tenor David De’or perform a special concert dedicated to the 70th anniversary celebration of Reuth a non-profit organization located in Tel Aviv that coordinates the activities of various medical centers
2009: The 1935 production of prominent Yiddish playwright Jacob Gordin’s 1892 play “The Yiddish King Lear” will be screened in Manhattan at CUNY’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Center today.
2009: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry would receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award in March 2010.
2009: Opening of “Letters of Conscience: Raphael Lemkin and the Quest to End Genocide” an exhibition organized jointly with the American Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Jewish History that “focuses on the activities and legacy of Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-American Jewish lawyer who coined the term genocide, working relentlessly and inventively to protect the rights and survival of specific groups targeted for destruction.” The exhibition presents a fascinating array of original correspondence and documents, serves as a stirring and important reminder of an individual's ability to better humanity and the future.
2009: A King County jury this morning found Naveed Haq guilty of eight counts, including aggravated first-degree murder, in the 2006 shootings at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. The murder verdict carries an automatic life sentence for Haq. The jury also found Haq, 34, guilty of five counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of unlawful imprisonment and one count of malicious harassment, the state's hate-crime law. Haq showed no reaction as the verdicts were read, but several people in the courtroom tearfully hugged.
2009: The Google logo was draped in a green flag today to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of L.L. Zamenoff.
2009(28th of Kislev, 5770): Ninety-five year old “Dr. Herbert Spiegel, a New York psychiatrist who treated pain, anxiety and addictions by putting people into a trance,” passed away today. (As reported by Benedict Carey)
2010: A memorial garden in honor of William Cooper of the Yorta tribe is scheduled to be unveiled at the national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem today. Cooper was an Aboriginal elder who protested the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis. Cooper was 77 years old when he led a small march to deliver a petition to the German consul general in Melbourne just weeks after Kristallnacht. Although Cooper and his Australian Aborigines League were denied entry to the consulate their protest did not go unnoticed, even though they were half a world away from Europe. He died in 1941 at the age of 80. He will become the first indigenous Australian to be honored by Yad Vashem.
2010: Israeli classical pianist, Ran Dank is scheduled to perform at the Morgan Museum and Library in New York City.
2010: The Women’s League Convention is scheduled to come to an end.
2010: Center for Jewish History, Yeshiva University Museum and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research are scheduled to present: “Living Record: Prewar Poland Preserved on Film”2010: It was reported today that Time magazine had named Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg Person of the Year for 2010. Zuckerberg, 26, owns about a quarter of Facebook's shares and is, to quote Time, "a billionaire six times over." After pledging earlier this year to give $100 million to the Newark, N.J., school system, Zuckerberg last week joined the Giving Pledge--the effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to convince some of the country's richest to give away most of their wealth. Others that have joined the campaign include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, media titan Barry Diller, CNN founder Ted Turner and filmmaker George Lucas. Zuckerberg joins President Obama, Fed Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and "You" as those who have been named Time's Person of the Year. Today, on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg commented that "Being named as Time Person of the Year is a real honor and recognition of how our little team is building something that hundreds of millions of people want to use to make the world more open and connected. I'm happy to be a part of that."
2010: According to reports published today, "The stormy weather that hit Israel this week had an unexpected consequence when an ancient Roman statue was unearthed on an Ashkelon beach. A passer-by noticed the headless marble statue, thought to be at least 1700 years old, after the storm left it exposed in the sand. The white marble figure, which is 1.2 metres tall and weighs 200 kilograms, is wearing a toga but no longer has arms. A spokesman for the Israel Antiquities Authority said that what was thought to be part of a Roman bathhouse was also unearthed. The violent winds were believed to have caused some damage to the ancient Roman ruins further north in Israel at Caesarea.
2011(19th of Kislev, 5772): “Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism.” The 19th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev is celebrated as the "the New Year of Chassidus (Hasidism)." “It was on this date, in the year 1798 that the founder of Chabad Chassidism, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745–1812), was freed from his imprisonment in czarist Russia. More than a personal liberation, this was a watershed event in the history of Chassidism, heralding a new era in the revelation of the “inner soul” of Torah. The public dissemination of the teachings of Chassidism had in fact begun two generations earlier. The founder of the chassidic movement, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698–1760), revealed to his disciples gleanings from the mystical soul of Torah which had previously been the sole province of select kabbalists in each generation. This work was continued by the Baal Shem Tov’s disciple, Rabbi DovBer, the “Maggid of Mezeritch”—who is also deeply connected with the date of “19 Kislev”: on this day in 1772, 26 years before Rabbi Schneur Zalman’s release from prison, the Maggid returned his soul to his Maker. Before his passing, he said to his disciple, Rabbi Schneur Zalman: “This day is our yom tov (festival).” Rabbi Schneur Zalman went much farther than his predecessors, bringing these teachings to broader segments of the Jewish population of Eastern Europe. More significantly, Rabbi Schneur Zalman founded the “Chabad” approach—a philosophy and system of study, meditation, and character refinement that made these abstract concepts rationally comprehensible and practically applicable in daily life. In its formative years, the chassidic movement was the object of strong, and often venomous, opposition from establishment rabbis and laymen. Even within the chassidic community, a number of Rabbi Schneur Zalman’s contemporaries and colleagues felt that he had “gone too far” in tangibilizing and popularizing the hitherto hidden soul of Torah. In the fall of 1798, Rabbi Schneur Zalman was arrested on charges that his teachings and activities threatened the imperial authority of the czar, and was imprisoned in an island fortress in the Neva River in Petersburg. In his interrogations, he was compelled to present to the czar’s ministers the basic tenets of Judaism and explain various points of chassidic philosophy and practice. After 53 days, he was exonerated of all charges and released. Rabbi Schneur Zalman saw these events as a reflection of what was transpiring Above. He regarded his arrest as but the earthly echo of a Heavenly indictment against his revelation of the most intimate secrets of the Torah. And he saw his release as signifying his vindication in the Heavenly court. Following his liberation on 19 Kislev, he redoubled his efforts, disseminating his teachings on a far broader scale, and with more detailed and “down-to-earth” explanations, than before. The nineteenth of Kislev therefore marks the “birth” of Chassidism: the point at which it was allowed to emerge from the womb of “mysticism” into the light of day, to grow and develop as an integral part of Torah and Jewish life.”
2011(19th of Kislev, 5772): Yahrtzeit of Rebbe Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezritch, the successor to the Baal Shem Tov
2011: The third weekend of Hamshoushalayim is scheduled to begin today.
2011: Second day of the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial is scheduled to take place in suburban Maryland
2011: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice denounced the treatment Israel receives in the United Nations today, adding that American support of Israel's security was an "essential truth."
2011: The Israel Defense Forces is forming a command to supervise "depth" operations, actions undertaken by the military far from Israel's borders, the army announced today.
2011: Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed that Jewish extremists would not be allowed to spark a religious war, after a West Bank mosque was vandalized at dawn today. “We won’t let them [Jewish extremists] attack our soldiers, start a religious war, set fire to mosques [and] attack Jews or non-Jews,” the prime minister told a Likud central committee meeting in Tel Aviv tonight.
2012: “Not in Tel Aviv” is scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
2012: The Daniel Zamir Band led by Daniel Zamir “Israeli Jazz superstar and virtuoso saxophonist” is scheduled to perform in New York City.
2012: In New York, the New Shul is scheduled to sponsor “Let There Be Light!” a flashmob Chanukah celebration that will gather at “8 Points of Light” to bring the menorah glow to the Village.
2013: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Leonard Bernstein Letters edited by Nigel Simeone, My Mistake: A Memoir by Daniel Menaker and America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East by Hugh Wilford.
2013: YIVO is scheduled to sponsor “Music Treasures of the American Yiddish Theatre” part of the Sidney Young Artist Concert Series featuring the works of big four of Second Avenue:” Abraham Ellstein, Alexander Olshanetsky, Sholom Secunda and Joseph Rumshinsky
2013: The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is scheduled to show the Emmy Award winning film “Skokie: Invaded, But Not Conquered”
2013: Rabbi Alexis Berk is scheduled to officiate at the graveside services at Hebrew Rest Ceremony for Attorney Milton Cohen, a lifelong resident of New Orleans and Tulane alum. (As reported by Crescent City Jewish News)
2013: The Union for Reform Judaism Biennial is scheduled to come to an end today in San Diego, CA.
2013: Police finally fully reopened the main roads to and from Jerusalem this afternoon, after more than two-and-a-half days of closures because of heavy snow in one of Israel’s worst-ever storms.
2013(12th of Tevet, 5774): “A Lebanese army sniper killed an Israeli soldier at the border fence near Rosh Hanikra tonight.” (As reported by Yaakov Lappin)
2013: A new production of “Stars of David” which transforms interviews with Jewish figures like Gloria Steinem, Aaron Sorkin and Joan Rivers into songs” is scheduled to come to an end after opening on November 13.
2014: The Berman Jewish DataBank is scheduled to co-sponsor the first of two sessions on Jews and urbanism at the annual conference of the Association for Jewish Studies in collaboration with the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry.
2014: Funeral services Rabbi Yitzchok Meyer Abramson are scheduled to take place this at the Berger Memorial Chapel followed by burial at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in Chesterfield, MO.
2014(22nd of Kislev. 5775): Eighty-four year old political pitchman and consultant David Garth passed away today.
2014: “Itamar Zorman, winner of the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition and the 2010 Freiburg Violin Competition,” is scheduled to perform this evening at the Good Shepherd Church in New York.
2014: Shin Bet reported foiling a suicide bomber’s plot in Tel Aviv based on disguising the suicide bomber as a pregnant woman in need of medical help.
2014: “The Israel Antiquities Authority announced today that archaeologist have uncovered a farmhouse that is 2,800 years old consisting 23 rooms “in the area of modern day Rosh Ha’ayin. (As reported by Lazar Berman)
2015(3rd of Tevet, 5775): On the Jewish calendar, Yahrzeit of HaRav Avraham Brandwein of Stretyn who had succeeded his father as the rabbi of Stretyn, after his father’s death in 1854,
2015: A 39-year-old Palestinian construction worker stabbed a foreman and another worker at a construction site in the Israeli city of Modi'in today, marking the first attack of its kind in the city since the start of the Palestinian wave of terror. One of the victims was seriously wounded and the other sustained moderate injuries. They were rushed to a hospital.
2015(3rd of Tevet, 5775): On the Jewish calendar Yahrzeit of Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz , dean of the Mir Yeshiva for more than 40 years.
2015: The Association for Jewish Studies’ 47th Annual Conference is scheduled to come an end today in Boston, MA.
2016: In New Orleans, the Jewish Children’s Regional Service is scheduled to hold its “Latkes with a Twist” a “community-wide celebration” that will include a silent auction designed to raise funds for an organizations that really does the good that it promises.
2016: The Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the Center for Jewish History is scheduled to host a “presentation that will walk attendees through the history and legal basics of FOI laws, and will teach researchers how to file their own state FOI requests for any genealogical or archival records they may want to see returned to the public domain.”