1135: Coronation of Stephen I, king of England, who in 1141 burned down the house of Aaron f. Isaac in Oxford as a way to “induce” the Jews to providing him with funds to continue his war with Empress Matilda who had previously extorted funds from the same Jewish community.
1194: Birthdate of Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor who improved the conditions for the Jews of Palermo, Naples and Jerusalem.
1424: The city of Barcelona, Spain was granted the right to exclude Jews for all time.
1495: Savonarola expelled the Medici and the Jews from Florence. The Jews, who had previously served as the Medici's bankers, were replaced by a Monte di Pieta, a public loan bank.
1634: Religious freedom was granted to Jews and Catholics in Brazil. This was the period of time when Brazil was under the control of the Dutch. Things would change in 1654 when Portugal took Recife, Brazil and the Jews were forced to flee. One group of these refugees would arrive in New Amsterdam and the rest is history.
1751: Birthdate of Lord George Gordon who took the name Yisrael bar Avraham Gordon when he converted to Judaism in 1787
1776: In an act of daring-do Washington ferries his freezing, starving troops across the ice choked Delaware River and leads them to victory at the Battle of Trenton. There were certainly Jewish soldiers among those who joined in the Crossing of the Delaware two of whom may have been Abraham Levy and Phillip Russell. Since Washington’s Army was on the verge of destruction, defeat at Trenton would have meant the end of the American Revolution, a war which created a nation rightfully described as “the last best hope men” – an appellation with which the Jewish people would heartily agree. One of the most readable treatments of this turning point in American history is The Crossing by the Jewish author Howard Fast which was the source for a film by the same name.
1783: Áron Chorin, a Hungarian rabbi who sought to reform some Jewish practices, married today following which he had a short, unsuccessful career in business before making use of his Talmudic knowledge and rabbinic skills as the leader of the Jewish community of Arad.
1783: Isaac Baruh Lousada, a member of a family of prominent planters and merchants in Jamaica and his wife gave birth Emaneul Baruh Lousa, “a collateral ancestor of Moshe Baruh Louzada , a founder of the London Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue” who after moving to England lived at Sidmouth which he developed into a “popular resort.”
1799: American Jews who have been welcomed by The Father of our Country join their fellow citizens in mourning the passing of George Washington who was buried today. (Washington’s letter to the Jews of Newport set a tone of acceptance that has been the unique hallmark of the Jewish experience in the United States)
1801: A deed bearing today’s date conveys land owned by Charles Carroll to Levi Solomon and Solomon Etting which the Baltimore Jewish community will use as a cemetery.
1809: Anne Emilie Furtado, the daughter of Abraham Furtado the President of the Assemblee des Notables married Moise Aime Solar, the son of Aaron Felix Solar.
1823: As the struggle between Reform movement and traditionalists became more pronounced, a party of Orthodox Jews obtained a royal cabinet order that frustrated attempts “to adapt the old ritual to new forms” including sermons preached in German. This forced Isaac Noah Mannheimer, a rabbi who was a leader in the Reform movement to leave Berlin for a pulpit in Hamburg which led him to a position in Vienna where he was able to fully display his intellectual and oratorical gifts.
1825: Several Imperial Russia army officers lead force of approximately3000 soldiers on the Senate Square in the failed Decembrist uprising. Pavel Pestel, one of the leaders of the unsuccessful Decembrist revolt, proposed sending all Jews from Russia to some territory in Asia Minor, especially acquired for this purpose, where they would be able to establish independent state.
1834: Birthdate of Abraham Baer the cantor who was a native of Prussia and who moved to Gothenberg in 1857 at the age of 23 to pursue his career.
1838: Birthdate of Giueseppe Ottolenghi the native of Lombardy who rose to be a General in the Italian Army serving as the Commandant of the First Army Corps.
1843(24th of Kislev, 5595): In the evening, kindle the first light of Chanukah
1852: The Reverend Samuel Osgood delivered a talk at the Church of the Messiah in NYC entitled “The Enigma of History- A Discourse on the Jewish Race” which was based, in part, on information provided by Rabbi Morris Raphall with whom Osgood had carried on a correspondence.
1853(25th of Kislev, 5614): 1st day of Chanukah
1854: In Bavaria, Mendel Emanuel Schloss and Adelheid Baer Schloss gave birth to Leopold Schloss, the husband of Karoline Schloss.
1861: During the Civil War, in what was known as The Trent Affair, Confederate diplomatic envoys James M. Mason and John Slidell are freed by the United States government, thus heading off a possible war between the United States and Britain. Slidell, the Louisiana politician who had been a power in the Democrat Party, before the war, was a close ally of August Belmont who had married his niece. During the war, Slidell would serve in Paris where his daughter would marry a leading French-Jewish financier.
1862: The Union “Army of the Cumberland” including the 79th Indiana Regiment under the command of Colonel Frederick Knefler left Nashville to face the Rebel “Army of Tennessee” which was camped at Murfreesboro.
1866: Birthdate of Toby Cohn, the native of Breslau, who became a “German physician and medical author.”
1867: Birthdate of Julien Benda, the Paris born “philosopher and novelist” best-known for his short book, La Trahison des Clercs (The Betrayal of the Intellectuals).
1870(2nd of Tevet, 5631): 8th and final day of Chanukah
1870: Dr. Max Landsberg was chosen to serve as Rabbi at Berith Kodesh in Rochester, NY. He began serving in that capacity in March of 1871. Prior to his selection, the position had been vacant for 2 and a half years. Landsberg’s three predecessors were Marcus Tuska, Isaac Mayer and Aaron Ginbserg who completed his service in 1868.
1872: The London Daily Telegraph reported on a paper presented by George Smith on recent explorations of the Tigris and Euphrates river valley which should shed further light on the origins of the ancient Hebrews including the dates for the life of Abraham.
1873: Rabbi Aron Chorin gets married and leaves the rabbinate for the world of Commerce. The change will be short-lived and will become the Rabbi in Arad in 1789.
1875: It was reported today that “an ‘English Jew’ had recently written an essay modern Judaism in which he asserted that it was utterly impossible to convert a respectable Jew to Christianity. When it was pointed out to the author that the Prime Minister of England was a convert to Christianity from Judaism, the ‘English Jew’ claimed that the Disraeli’s father, Isaac, had a quarrel with the Synagogue about money and that he had left the Synagogue. While the Prime Minister had somehow become a churchgoer, he had “never been baptized as a Christian.” [Editor’s note – “The English Jew” was right about Isaac but wrong about Benjamin. The father had the children baptized after his falling out with the syngagouge.]
1877(20th of Tevet, 5638): Israel Jones, the younger brother of Solomon Jones, who became a leader of the Jewish community in Mobile, Alabama as well as serving on the City Council, passed away today.
1878(30th of Kislev, 5639): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
1878: “A Romance of Rascality” published today described the life and times of South Carolina’s Franklin J. Moses, “a Jew” who “held his head high among the planter aristocracy.”
1879(11th of Tevet, 5640): Sarah Reibeiro-Furtado, the daughter of Abraham Furtado, the President of the Assemblee des Notables passed away in Paris.
1880: “The annual meeting of the patrons and members of the Mount Sinai Hospital” is scheduled “to be held at the Standard Club” at eleven o’clock this morning.
1880: Tonight’s “driving snow-storm” did not keep a throng from filling the Plymouth Church this evening to hear Reverend Henry Ward Beech deliver his talked entitled “Persecution of the Jews in Germany.”
1880: It was reported today that the growth in attendance at the opera in New York City is attributable, in part, to the growth of the German-Jewish population in New York. After all, the members “of this ancient race were drawn to New York because of its rapid development in literature, in art and…in operatic music.”
1881: It was reported today that a riot broke out in Warsaw when a pickpocket who was allegedly a Jew was caught plying his trade during the recitation of high mass in the Church of the Holy Cross. During the violence four shops owned by Jews were destroyed and 30 people were injured.
1881: It was reported today that the Directors of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York have agreed to provide a doctor to work at the offices of the Society for the Aid of the Russian Hebrew Immigrants and Refugees.
1881: It was reported today that during the 3,182 patients were admitted to Mt. Sinai Hospital, of whom 1,566 were not charged for treatment.
1883: “Georgia In Early Times” published today provided a detailed review The History of Georgia by Charles C. Jones, Jr. which included a description of the arrival of the first Jews in 1733. Governor Oglethorpe championed their cause despite opposition from some of his English supporters because he saw that as being “peaceful,” “orderly” and industrious.
1885: It was reported today that the population of Sofia has grown from 15,000 to 25,000 since it became the capital of Bulgaria. Approximately half of the citizens are Jewish.
1885: Fifty four year old Austrian jurist Julius Anton Glaser who converted to Christianity passed away today.
1886: Paul Heyse, the German-Jewish writer, is one of the “eminent authors of the 19th century according to Dr. George Brandes, whose book Eminent authors of the nineteenth century: Literary portraits was reviewed in today’s New York Times. (Brandes is Georg Morris Cohen Brandes, a Danish born Jews who was a leading literary critic)
1886: “When To Go Long Or Short” published today traces the career and financial dealings of Solomon Mopus a Polish born Jew living in New York City.
1886: In “Mr. Tooker on Religion” published today, Joseph Tooker a leading New York merchant, writer and theatre managers provided his views on the celebration of Christmas. Among other things he believes that the Jewish merchants “are heart glad over every return of this jubilee season of their Christian fellow-citizens” since “they make so much money.” He also marveled at the fact that some Jewish children hang up stockings on Christmas eve which he sees as an example of “where ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise.”
1887: It was reported today the society providing financial support for Mt. Sinai Hospital had grown by 101 during the year and now totaled 3,564.
1888: Moriz Rosenthal, “the eminent pianist” will give a recital today at the Academy of the Music in New York.
1888: It was reported today that children under the care of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum will be among those New York youngsters who will attend upcoming performances of “Little Lord Fauntleroy.”
1889: It was reported today that the Hebrew Free School Association had assets of $58,682.37 which it uses to support three schools that are open daily from 3:30 in the afternoon until 6 in the evening.
1889: Birthdate of actor Vladimir Sokoloff, the Moscow native who went from the Moscow Art Theatre, to Berlin in 1923, Paris in 1932 to avoid the Nazis and finally to the United States in 1937 where he appeared on Broadway, television and films that included oddly enough his portrayal of a Filipino in John Wayne’s “Back to Bataan.”
1891(25th of Kislev, 5652): First day of Chanukah
1892: “Our Superstitious Lore” published today described quaint customs of different national groups including the Jews “who have a custom of breaking crystal at a wedding to scatter brightness upon the happy pair” and who like others, “throw rice…to bring” the newlyweds “good fortune.”
1892: It was reported today that of the more than one million people buried in and around Brooklyn an untold number are buried in Washington Cemetery in Gravessend which is only used by the Jews.
1894: Today, in France, “many journals urged that the degradation of Captain Dreyfus should be” done “as a public ceremony.” They say “he should be stripped of his military honors…on the Longchamps race course or the Vincennes rifle range, where thousands could witness his disgrace rather than in the privacy of the barracks.” (The term degradation refers to the formal stripping of ranking and branding of the convict military officer as a traitor before he his shipped off to Devils Island.)
1894: “A reception and ball was given by the Progressive Bowling Club at the Hebrew Young Men’s Hall on Plane Street” tonight.”
1894: Oscar S. Straus presided at the third annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society which began this morning at the Arlington Hotel in Washington, D.C.
1894: According to reports published today the newly elected officers of the Hebrew Free School Association are President Albert F. Hochstadter, Vice President Henry Budge and Honorary Secretary Edmund E. Wise
1894: “Loyal Hebrew Children” published today described the Americanization of Jewish immigrant children from Russia and Romania that takes place at classes financed by the Baron de Hirsch Fund at the Hebrew Institute which also include basic academics with an emphasis on English.
1894: In New Orleans, LA, Rabbi Maximilian Heller and Ida Annie Heller gave birth to Max Heller
1895: The objective of those attending the Hebrew Anarchist “was to devise ways and means for” promoting Anarchist principles” and their newspaper Die Freie Gesellschaft (The Free Society)
1895: Toledo native Edward Nathan Calisch and Hebrew Union College graduate who became rabbi of Congregation Beth Ahabah in Richmond, Virginia in 1891 officiated at a service attended by members of the Travelers Protective Association which he said the “first instance in which any organization, not composed of Jewish members, had attended service in a body that house of worship.”
1896: In San Francisco, La Loie Fuller “declined to either confirm or deny that the report” that she was engaged to New York State Seator Jacob A. Canot whom she described as “a dear friend.”
1897: The American Jewish Historical Association held its seventh annual meeting in Philadelphia. The meeting was chaired by First Vice President Simon W. Rosendale who read a letter of resignation from the association’s President, Oscar S. Straus who can no longer fulfill his duties because he is serving as United States Minister at Constantinople
1897: Founding of the Hebrew Hospital and Asylum Musical Association which gave concerts at the Hebrew Hospital and the Hebrew Orphan Asylum and whose members included Dr. Joseph Blum, Mrs. J.J. Seldner and Miss Hennie Van Leer.
1898: President Albert F. Hochstadter presided over the annual meeting of the Hebrew Free School Association which was held today at Temple Emanu-El in New York City. With but one dissenting vote, the association voted to decide on a plan that would lead to a merger with the Educational Alliance. The Association had ended the year with a shortfall of $5,000 and it is believed that the merger might allow the two groups to meet their goals in a more economic manner. Uriah Hermann volunteered to pay for the new prayerbooks needed for the People’s Synagogue
1898: Birthdate of Ernst Fraenkel, German born political scientist, lawyer and university lecturer who fled Nazi Germany but returned to Germany after the war and resumed his career.
1899:In New York City Clara and David Mannes gave birth to Leopold Mannes, the “American musician” who played a leading role in creating “the first practical color transparency film, Kodachrome.”
1900: Birthdate of Samuel Cashwan, the Russian born American sculptor whose works include “Aquarius,” “Musicians” and the “Lincoln Memorial Statue at the Lincoln Consolidated Training School in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
1901: The Fifth Zionist Congress convenes in Basel. The Jewish National Fund is established. The Jewish Colonial Trust, the monetary arm or bank of the World Zionist Organization, finally raises sufficient sums to be established. By the end of the year, 250.000 English Pounds have been collected.
1902: Birthdate of Anatoli Lvovich Kaplan, the Russian painter whose work often reflect his Jewish origins.
1902: Final publication of the American Hebrew which would merge with The Jewish Messenger and resume publication in 1903 as The American Hebrew & Jewish Messenger
1905: Winston Churchill was approached by a leading Jewish constituent, Dr. Joseph Dulberg of Manchester, who was seeking British support for a Jewish national home.
1905: “Jewish Refugees in London” published today described the arrival “in the last few weeks of hundreds of Russian Jews victims of the recent onslaughts in South Russia” in the British capital most of whom have “only a few shillings in their pockets” or are completely penniless and if they are “fortunate, find work with sweating tailors” that earns them five or six shillings a week “which enables them to share a night’s lodging…where eight or ten men sleep on sacks on the floor” and to buy “black bread, a bit of pickled herring and a cup of bad tea.
1906: Charles Frohman moved “The Beauty of Bath” a musical with songs by Jerome Kern to the Hicks Theatre where “it ran for a total of 287 performances.”
1907: Months of organizing work by sixteen-year-old Pauline Newman culminated in the start of the largest rent strike New York City had ever seen. One reason for the strike's success was Newman's enlistment of neighborhood housewives. While working-class activists like Newman had to work during the day, the impassioned housewives that they organized could go from tenement to tenement to convince others to strike. Thus, the success of the strike depended on shop floor networks of teenaged girls and on networks of neighborhood housewives and mothers. The strike, involving 10,000 families in lower Manhattan, lasted only until January 9, but about 2,000 families succeeded in having their rents reduced. More importantly, the strike attracted the attention of leading figures in the settlement house movement who suggested capping rents at 30% of a family's income. Though their suggestion was not implemented, it introduced the idea of rent control into New York politics. The idea stayed alive into the 1930s, when rent control was finally implemented in New York City. Newman's leadership of the strike began a lifetime of activism. It brought her to the attention of the Socialist party, which ran her for secretary of state of New York the following year (despite the fact that women did not yet have the vote in New York). She used the opportunity to call for woman's suffrage. Newman also began organizing female garment workers and was a key organizer in the 1909 Uprising of the 20,000.
1909: Dr. Felix Kornfeld and the former Paula Mandle gave birth to their first child, Peter Kornfeld, the older brother of Ulrich Kornfeld and brother-in-law of the former Lorie Granitsch.
1909: In London, Hans Leopold Hoff, a “German Jewish merchant” and his German Lutheran wife gave birth to Australian scholar Ursula Hoff.
1910(25th of Kislev, 5671): Chanukah
1913: In Camden, NJ, the Hebrew Ladies’ Aid Society are making plans to host their tenth annual reception at Turner Hall in January, 1914.
1913: “Atlantis” a Danish film featuring future award winning director Michael Curitz in one of his early acting appearances was released today.
1914: “Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy, took immediate steps today to obtain verification of reports that the USS North Carolina, which was on its way to deliver aid to the Jews of Jaffa had threatened to bombard Tripoli when “a mob attempted to prevent the departure of an American merchant vessel” carrying refugees.
1915: In St. Louis, Rabbi Max Heller of New Orleans was the principal speaker at today’s session of 24th annual assembly of the Jewish Chautauqua Society.
1915: In an attempt to “weaken Russia internally, the authorities in Berlin handed Russian Jewish Bolshevik, Alexander Helphand, a million rubles to spread anti-war propaganda through Russia.
1915: Having fallen too ill to be treated at Alexandria, Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson arrived in London today leaving Joseph Trumpeldor, the Jewish veteran of the Russian army, in command of the Zion Mule Corps.
1915: A list those who have contributed to “the American Jewish Relief Committee which is raising $5,000,000 for the Jewish suffers of the war” and plan on contributing more is scheduled to be prepared today.
1915: While speaking at Temple Beth-El in New York, Rabbi Schulman “advocated the plan of the League to Enforce Peace as the only suggestion yet put forward which promised peace-loving nations a method of escape from the necessity of arming themselves to avoid conquest by aggressive nations.”
1915: The second annual conference of Young Judeans which had been opened by Rabbi David De Sola Pool opened yesterday with a speech “on the subject of Judaism in America and the patriotism of the Jews” continued for a second day.
1915: It was reported today that after the Russian forces retreated from Brest-Litovsk ending the destructive battle around the city, the refugees who had been hiding in the swamps, most of whom were Jews sick with “malignant diseases” “began to straggle back into the city.”
1915: “Henry Fisher, Chairman of the Brooklyn Jewish Volunteer Relief Committee…announced” tonight “at the headquarters at 16 Manhattan Avenue that the street collections of the day amounted to $5,000.”
1915: “The Bath Beach division of the Brooklyn Jewish Volunteer Relief Committee for War Sufferers obtained contributions amount to $1,034 in a house to house canvass” today.
1915: Dr. J. L. Magnes said tonight that “the most recent report from Russia was that the 3,500,000 Jews” many of whom were being driven from place to place without food and shelter “were in need of assistance.
1916(1st of Tevet, 5677): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
1916: It was reported today that the movement to hold a congress to demand the removal of civil and political disabilities imposed on Jews has been one of the most widely debated movements in the history of the Jews” of the United States and developed divisions of opinion with Louis Marshal, Jacob H. Schiff and Oscar S. Straus and “others in the American Jewish Committee opposed to idea of such a congress” and another group led by Justice Louis Brandeis, Judge Hugo Pam and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise” favoring the convening of such a congress in the United States.
1916: In a protest against the high cost of kosher beef, nearly 3,000 shops refused to receive or sell kosher meat today. “Many kosher butchers closed theirs shops and put up signs in their windows reading ‘Because of the high prices on kosher-killed products, this shop will be closed until further notice.’”
1916: Inspectors working for Joseph Hartigan, New York City’s Commissioner of Weights and Measures, reported to him tonight that the people had virtually all stopped buying kosher meat.
1917: Orthodox rabbis in Jerusalem establish the Ashkenazi Community Council to oppose the Zionist dominated City Council of Jerusalem Jews.
1917: The Menorah Quintennial Convention, a gathering of the leaders of the Intercollegiate Menorah Association, which Israel Zangwill said he could not attend, was scheduled to open today in New York.
1917: Fresh Turkish troops attack the British hoping to take back Jerusalem. After eight hours of fierce nighttime combat, the British beat them back.
1917(11th of Tevet, 5678): Ninety-two year old Henry Sonneborn a “manufacturer” passed away in Baltimore, MD.
1917: Twenty-two year old Cleveland born featherweight Danny Frush fought and won his fifth bout leaving him with a record of four wins and one loss.
1918: Following the British elections, Churchill wrote Prime Minister Lloyd George cautioning him against appointing three Jews to a cabinet that had only seven openings. This was not based on any anti-Semitic feelings on Churchill’s part. He was merely expressing concerns for the reality of British politics at a time when Lloyd George needed to build a broadly supported government that could “win the peace” now that the World War had been won. In the end, Lloyd George appointed only one Jew to the first post-war cabinet.
1919: Sir John Monash, Australia’s ranking General on the Western Front in World War I, who served with great distinction, returned home to a hero’s welcome. Monash was the son of a German-Jewish couple who had arrived in Australia two years before Monash’s birth.
1919: Birthdate of Sam Aaronovitch, the native Londoner who became a leading economist and a “senior member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
1919: Harry Frazee, owner of the Boston Red Sox, sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Boston fans never forgave Frazee for the sale of the Bambino which was the start of the Yankee dynasty. On top of everything else Frazee was one of those gentiles who had the dubious distinction of being smeared for being Jewish. “The Dearborn Independent, a newspaper published by one of this nation’s most infamous anti-Semites, automobile pioneer Henry Ford, published an article titled “The Jewish Degradation of Baseball”, which insisted that Frazee was a Jew, that he was out to “get” Ban Johnson and that he was part of a grand Jewish conspiracy designed to place Organized Baseball under Jewish control. Frazee was in fact Presbyterian and a Mason and, though he was not Jewish, being a Freemason branded him guilty by association. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery originating in Russia that detailed a Jewish plot to dominate the world, claimed that Jews and Freemasons were acting in concert. Judaism and Freemasonry were so intertwined in Europe, even as far back as the 1860s, that the Nazis eventually adopted the slogan “All Masons Jews—All Jews Masons,” and Hitler abolished Freemasonry in Germany in 1935. But, as evidenced by Ford and his newspaper, bigotry wasn’t just endemic of Europe, and Organized Baseball certainly was no stranger to it.”
1921(25th of Kislev, 5682): First Chanukah celebrated during the Presidency of Warren Harding.
1924: Birthdate of Israeli spy Eli Cohen. Since we cannot do justice to this heroic figure you might want to go to http://www.elicohen.org/ for more information about his contribution to the survival of the Jewish state.
1925: “Lady Windermere’s Fan” a silent film version of the stage play by the same name directed, produced and edited by Ernst Lubitsch was released today.
1927: Birthdate of Alan King who was equally adept as a comedic actor and as monologist. One of his most famous lines was, “It is not how long you live, but how well you live” that counts. After uttering that bon mot, he would take a deep, long pull on his signature cigar and give you that knowing smile. His philanthropic commitments included founding the Alan King Diagnostic Medical Center in Jerusalem, establishing a scholarship fund for American students at Hebrew University, and establishing a Dramatic Arts Chair at Brandeis University. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He passed away in 2004.
1931: U.S. premiere of “Arrowsmith” the film version of the novel by the same name produced by Samuel Goldwyn with music by Alred Newman.
1931: George and Ira Gershwin's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical play "Of Thee I Sing" premieres on Broadway
1931: “Mata Haria” a movie about the WW I spy produced by Irving Thalberg with a script by Leo Birinsky and Benjamin Glazer was released in the United States today.1933: U.S. premiere of “Queen Christina” a film treatment of the life of Queen Christina of Sweden produced by Walter Wanger with a script by S.N. Behrman and Ben Hecht.
1932: The NBC Blue Network broadcast episode five of “Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel” starring Chico and Groucho Marx.
1934: Anna Birshtein married Louis Geffen. Anna’s uncle was a rabbi and Louis was the son of Tobias Geffen had been who had been an orthodox rabbi in Atlanta, GA, since 1910. Geffen and his brother Samuel formed the Atlanta law firm of Geffen and Geffen, a firm founded out of the need for the brothers to be able to practice law while remaining observant Jews.
1936(12th of Tevet, 5697): Parashat Vayechi
1936: A delegation of American Jewish labor leaders including Joseph Schlossberg, Max Zaritzky, Isador Nagler, Reuben Guskin, Samuel Perlmutter and Joseph Brislaw is scheduled to set sail for Europe today where members are going “to confer with experts in France, England, and Poland on the Jewish labor movement in Palestine.”
1936: Founding of the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra, now known as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the leadership of Bronislaw Huberman. “The orchestra, first conducted by Arturo Toscanini, debuted after a struggle that also involved Albert Einstein, Chaim Weizmann and a characteristically defiant David Ben-Gurion. Huberman’s epic quest is the subject of the new documentary “Orchestra of Exiles,” a real-life tale of Jewish musicians in need of a home, and a nascent country in need of an orchestra.
1936: In Tel Aviv, Arturo Toscanini, who had fled Mussolini’s Italy, conducted the first performance of the Palestine Philharmonic. At the end of the concert Bronislaw Huberman, declared that “Nothing could describe this concert except the word divine."
1936: It was announced today that ten thousand dollars had been pledged to ORT by the American Committee Appeal for the Jews in Poland at a dinner hosted by Samuel Lamport who had pledged five hundred dollars in his own right.
1936: Birthdate of Kitty Dukakis the Jewish wife of U.S. Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.
1937: The Palestine Post reported that over 1,000 British troops, police and troopers of the Transjordan police force, spent Christmas under pouring rain in a raging battle in the Wadi Hamud area, north-west of Tiberias, where nearly forty Arab terrorists were killed. The troops and police suffered five wounded.
1937: The Palestine Post reported that Taleb Nanini, a local notable, was killed by an Arab terrorist in his village of Akraba. Yehuda Mintz and his two sons, Isaac, 35, and Eliahu, 27, watchmen of the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives were wounded on their way to work. In Haifa, Private Mott, a British soldier of the Essex Regiment, picked up a bomb with a burning fuse and threw it off the pavement, saving by his bold action lives of numerous passersby.
1938: In Montreal, Sarah and Jack Lev gave birth to Judy Feld Carr, the “Canadian woman” who “would rescue more than three thousand five hundred Syrian Jews between 1975 and 2000.” (As reported by Jewish Women’s Archives)
1940(26th of Kislev, 5701): On the second day of Chanukah, 89 year old Daniel Frohman, the “Jewish American theatrical producer and manager and early film producer’ passed away today.
1940: U.S. premiere of “The Philadelphia Story” a romantic comedy directed by George Cukor, produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, filmed by cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg with music by Franz Waxman.
1940: The British government suspended the quota for legal immigration for three months, thus halting all immigration until March, 1941.
1940: The Broadway production lf “My Sister Eileen” written by Joseph A. Field and Jerome Chodorov and directed by George S. Kaufman opened at the Biltmore Theatre today.
1940: Birthdate of record producer Phil Spector.
1942: “Marine in the Making” an Oscar nominated documentary filmed by cinematographer Richard Freyer (born Morris Kolsky) was released today.
1945: The Jewish Agency charges that Palestinian government has stopped issuing immigration certificates despite British foreign minister Ernest Bevin's declaration that monthly quota would be permitted.
1946: Diamond factories in Natanya and Tel Aviv are raided, reportedly by Jews who would have been using the proceeds of the raid to finance the fight against the British.
1946: Peter H. Bergson, Hebrew Committee of National Liberation, formed exile government for Hebrew Republic of Palestine in France. In the wake of British intransigence, he promises a revolt.
1946: Zero Mostel opened in tonight’s Broadway premier of “Beggar’s Holiday” a musical which Dale Wasserman would update and present with the Marin Theatre company in 2004.
1946: Bronislaw Huberman the Polish born violinist who was President and founder of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra returned as a soloist performing in Tel Aviv on the tenth anniversary of Arturo Toscanini’s first appearance as conductor of the orchestra.
1947: The second radio broadcast series of The Thin Man, this sponsored by General Foods, produced by Himan Brown came to an end today.
1947: “Good News” a musical with a screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green was released in the United States today.
1947(13th of Tevet, 5708): Hans Beyth, a central figure in welcoming newly arrived immigrant children to Eretz Israel, was one of seven Jews killed by Arab snipers as they traveled in convey coming from the coast up to Jerusalem. Beyth had just completed arrangements for the care of 20,000 young survivors of the Holocaust and other youngsters from Europe.
1947: Golda Meyerson, acting head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department escaped injury today when the convoy in which she was traveling came under attack by Arabs.
1947: One Jew was killed and two were wounded today when Arabs attacked a Jewish patrol at Imara in the Negev.
1947: A four year old Jewish girl, whose name has not been made public was killed today a bullet in Tel Aviv. The assailant has not been identified.
1947: Lazar Kaganovich completed his second term as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine.
1947: In Jerusalem, an Arab Legion truck that had illegally entered the city, was fired on by Jews manning a Haganah outpost. No casualties were reported by either side.
1948: Despite defending itself against a war of annihilation, immigrants keep coming as can be seen by the fact that today; Israel greeted the arrival of its 100,000th immigrant since its declaration of statehood in May.
1948: The International Ladies' Garment Workers, Union (of American Federation of Labor) donates $250,000 and lends an $500,000 to Israel.
1948: A six plane formation of Spitfires arrived in Israel from Czechoslovakia.
1948(24th of Kislev, 5709): In the evening, the Chanukah light is kindled for the first time in almost 2,000 years in an independent Jewish state.
1948: The Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, which had been meeting in Tel Aviv moves to Jerusalem.
1948: King Abdullah of Jordan attended a Palestinian conference in Ramallah that “declared its support for the Jericho Conference resolution, calling for unification of the two banks of the Jordan under the Hashemite crown.” (And that is what happened. The West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem were annexed by Transjordan which changes its name to Jordan. No state of Palestine was created or contemplated by a large swath of the Arab leadership.)
1952: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Mapam Council voted, by 232 to 49, to support a very carefully worded "protest" against the Czech anti-Zionist trials and activities while identifying itself completely with "the world's revolution." The Sneh-Riftin bloc justified the trials and advocated a complete acceptance of the accusations.
1953: Monnett B. Davis passed away while serving as the second U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
1953(20th of Tevet, 5714): Dr. Alexander Marx, the director libraries and Jacob H. Schiff Professor of History at the Jewish Theological Seminary passed away today at the age of 75. A native of Germany, Marx served in the Prussian Army and earned his Ph.D. in 1903 following which he came to the United States where he took up his position with JTS. When he arrived, the library contained 5,000 volumes. At the time of his death, the collection had grown to 144,000 books and 8,000 manuscripts making it one of the finest collections of Judaica in the world.
1954: ABC broadcast the final episode of “What’s Going On” a gameshow created and produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman.
1955: “Storm over the Nile” based on “The Four Feathers” directed and produced by Zoltan Korda, with music by Benjamin Frankel and co-starring Laurence Harvey was released today in the United Kingdom.
1956: Birthdate of Yehudit Ravitz, the native of Beersheba and member of “Sheshet” who is a successful singer-songwriter, composer and music producer.
1956: Los Angeles premiere of “This is Baby Doll” a dark comedy starring Carroll Baker and Eli Wallach and filmed by cinematographer Boris Kaufamn.
1959(25th of Kislev, 5720): Chanukah
1960: “Do Re Mi” a musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with a cast that included Phil Silvers and Al Lewis “opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre” today.
1962: “David and Lisa” the movie based on Jordi, Lisa and David by Theodore Isaac Rubin starring Janet Margolin and Howard Da Silva was released in the United States.
1963(10th of Tevet, 5724): Asara B’Tevet
1963(10th of Tevet, 5724): A year after the death of his son John, 83 year old, Jacob J. Shubert, the Lithuanian born son of David Schubart and Katrina Helwitz and the last of the three Shubert Brothers who created a mini theatrical empire passed away today.
1964: The Buffalo Bills defeated Sid Gillman’s San Diego Chargers in the American Football League Championship Game.
1965: Despite having the home field advantage, Sid Gillman’s San Diego Charges lost to the Buffalo Bills in the American League Championship Game.
1965: "Funny Girl" with Barbra Streisand closes on Broadway. The Broadway hit had a Jewish diva portraying Fanny Brice, the Jewish comedic star of the Follies and radio-fame.
1968(5th of Tevet, 5729): Arthur Fellig, known by his pseudonym Weegee passed away.
1968(5th of Tevet, 5729): Fifty-year old Leon Shirdan, a marine biologist from Haifa was murdered today when two Palestinian terrorists attacked El Al Flight 253 when it stopped in Athens on its way to New York.
1969: Operation Rooster 53 was launched at 9 p.m. as A-4 Skyhawks and F-4 Phantoms began attacking Egyptian forces along the western bank of the Suez Canal and Red Sea which provided cover for three Aérospatiale Super Frelons, carrying Israeli paratroopers, made their way west towards their the communication network which was their ultimate target.
1971: In New York the 22nd national convention of the Farband, which “finally brought about the merger of Farband, Poalei Zion, and the American Habonim Association” came to an end.
1972: Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States passed away in Kansas City, Mo. Truman’s activist, anti-Communist policy and his progressive domestic program earned Truman the support of Jewish voters. But his greatest moment, from a strictly Jewish perspective, came when he decided that the U.S. would support the creation of the state of Israel and single-handedly ensured that the U.S. was the first nation to recognize the new Jewish state
1974(12th of Tevet, 5735): Comedian Jack Benny passed away at age 80
1977: The Jerusalem Post reported from Ismailia that Prime Minister Menachem Begin, after a meeting with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, saw "peace in a few months." Begin had also expressed his anger and disappointment with Knesset members who leaked details of his peace plan before he could hand it over to Sadat. The Egyptian president described the meeting as "one of the happiest days of his life" and added that he was now ready for full ties and normalization with Israel.
1978: Birthdate of Alan Senitt, a British political activist and volunteer in the campaign of Virginia’s Mark Warner. Senitt was stabbed to death in Washington, D.C. defending his female campaign co-worker from street thugs.
1981: “The Prince and the Aviator” directed by Jerry Adler and featuring Ellen Greene opened at the Alvin Theatre.
1982: The New York Times published a review of Leon Blum by Jean Lacouture.
1984: “Mrs. Soffel” a prison moved produced by Scott Rudin and featuring Maury Chaykin was released today in the United States.
1985: It was reported today that “Moscow may restore diplomatic ties with Israel and dramatically increase the number of Jews permitted to immigrate to Israel, according to reports of a conversation between a representative of an American Jewish group and a Soviet diplomat. The Jewish representative met a few days ago with an unidentified Soviet official who predicted the restoration of full Soviet-Israeli diplomatic relations and an increase in emigration to Israel.
1985: One person was injured in terrorist bombing that took placed out of a restaurant in Tel Aviv.
1988: Benjamin Netanyahu began serving as Deputy Foreign Minister
1990: Tele 5, a Spanish television station, is scheduled to broadcast an interview with President Hussein that had been taped on December 22nd in Baghdad during which the Iraqi leaders says Tel Aviv will be Iraq's first target if war breaks out in the Persian Gulf.
1991: Robert S. Strauss began serving as the United States Ambassador to Russia during the Presidency of George H.W. Bush
1992: New York Jet announcer Marty Glickman retires at 75
1992: The standoff between Lebanon and Israel over the fate of 415 Palestinian deportees trapped in a snow-covered valley in southern Lebanon, continued today as both sides again rejected appeals to allow relief agencies to deliver food or medicine.
1993: Comedian Rodney Dangerfield weds Joan Child.
1994: The French now suffer the fate of the Israelis at Entebbe when an Air France Flight is hijacked by four members of the Armed Islamic Group.
1999: The New York Times book section includes a review of My First 79 Years by Isaac Stern with Chaim Potok.
2000(29th of Kislev, 5761): Eighty-seven years old Felicia Shpritzer who was the first woman to earn “sergeant’s stripes” in the NYPD passed away today.
2001: In Moscow, a monument honoring Shalom Aleichem was unveiled at a public ceremony attended by Nathan Meron, the Israeli Ambassador. The Moscow newspapers reporting the event described Solomon Rabinovich as “the great Russian Jew” and “a sagacious writer.”
2001: Benyamin Ben-Eliezer won the Labor primaries that were held today.
2002: “The Hours” a film version of a novel by the same name produced by Scott Rudin was released today in the United States.
2002: In “The Cultural Spoils of War,” Ronald Lauder the chairman of the Commission for Art Recovery and co-chairman of the Research Project on Art and Archive described attempts to reclaim and return cultural treasures stolen during the Holocaust.
2003(1st of Tevet, 5764): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
2003: “The Company” a ballet movie with a screenplay by Barbara Turner was released in the United States today.
2004: Sir Martin Gilbert “argues that Bush and Blair may one day be seen as akin to Roosevelt and Churchill.
2004(14th of Tevet, 5765): Ninety-five year old Simon “Si” Gerson a leading member of the Communist Party USA whose political activism spanned 7 decades passed away today.
2005: “Builders Reveal Hidden Synagogue and Dark Era of Portugal's Past” published today described the fate of Medieval Jewish Community of Porto.
2006: Two boys, both 14, were injured about 9 p.m. when a Qassam rocket landed in the street near where they were walking. Both were treated by Magen David Adom paramedics and taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. A total of eight Qassams were fired at Israel during the day, the most in a single day since the cease-fire was declared about a month ago. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing the missiles from the Gaza Strip at the western Negev town. One of the Qassams fired at Israel Tuesday landed in the industrial area in south Ashkelon, close to a strategic infrastructure installation.
2006: About Alice by Calvin Trillin, “a slightly expanded version of the essay Alice, Off the Page” was published today.
2007 (17 Tevet): Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Aaron Zelig Ben Joel Feivush, author of Toldot Aaron and Rabbi Yaakov Wolf Krantz, Maggid of Dubna
2008: HaTzofe (The Observer) printed its last edition today.
2008: Closing session of the Hazon Jewish food conference in Pacific Grove, California.
2008: The New York Times publishes a review of Searching for Schindler by Thomas Keneally
2008: “Waltz With Bashir” opens in selected movie theatres across the United States.
2008: The final decision to launch Operation Cast Lead was made on this morning, when Barak met with Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the Shin Bet Security Service Yuval Diskin and the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Amos Yadlin. Barak sat down with Olmert and Livni several hours later for a final meeting, in which the trio gave the air force its orders. Opposition leaders and prominent political figures were informed about the impending strike, including Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, Yisrael Beuiteinu's Avigdor Liebermen, Haim Oron from Meretz and President Shimon Peres, along with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.
2008: In “Author Defends Disputed Memoir,” Dave Itzkoff describes the controversy surrounding the soon to be published Angel at the Fence by Herman Rosenblat.
2009: The Gilad Barkan Band, led by Israeli native Gilad Barkan, appears at the Café Vivaldi in New York City. Barkan's band includes Israeli flutist Amir Milstein, co-leader of Bustan Abraham, who bestows the music with a mesmerizing and soulful new dimension.
2009: Itamar Jobani made his final appearance at the “Open Studios: Artist at Work program hosted by New York’s Museum of Art and Design.
2009: The Israeli military killed six Palestinians today, three in the West Bank whom it accused of killing a Jewish settler and three in Gaza who it said were crawling along the border wall planning an attack.
2010: The Gateways Winter retreat at Whippany, NJ came to an end.
2010: Klezcamp is scheduled to open today in the Catskills. Henry Sapoznik, a Ukrainian cantor’s son who founded KlezKamp in 1984, calls it a “Yiddish Brigadoon.”
2010: The Los Angeles Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Letters: Saul Bellow edited by Benjamin Taylor and When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry by Gal Beckerman
2010: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda
2010: IDF troops, with the help of a helicopter gunship, fired on insurgents who detonated an explosive device against a passing Israeli patrol near the border in the southern Gaza Strip today.
2010: Opening day of the Limmud Conference, the British Jewish community’s answer to the Edinburgh Festival, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this week at the University of Warwick in Coventry.
2010: Today, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by Israeli settlers requesting it postpone again a long-awaited order to evict an apartment building they constructed illegally in a predominantly Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
2011: For the first time ever, Jews in the I-380 corridor will have a chance to light a menorah made from bowling pins at the Chabad-Lubavitch Chanukah Bowl under the direction of Rabbi Avremel & Chaya Blesofsky
2011: The final performance of The Kinsey Sicks in Oy Vey in a Manger is scheduled to take place tonight in Washington, D.C.
2011: Singer, composer, guitarist, and living exponent of Sephardic music Gerard Edery is scheduled to perform at the 6th Street Synagogue Center for Jewish Arts and Literacy as part of Sephardic Music Festival in NYC
2011(30th of Kislev, 5772): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
2011: A police officer was wounded as clashes erupted between ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israel today in two separate neighborhoods in Beit Shemesh. Approximately 300 ultra-Orthodox Jews began chasing police officers, hurled rocks at them, and burned trashcans after police were called to remove a sign on a main street that orders the separation of men and women in the neighborhood.
2011: The Foreign Ministry warned that Israel's possible recognition of the Armenian genocide, which was discussed in a Knesset committee today, could lead to the serious deterioration of Israel's ties with Turkey.
2011: Thirty-nine year old Maya Amsellem is scheduled to marry 42 year old Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi. (As reported by Jada Yuan)
2012: Inebriated gondoliers vying for the throne of Barataria are scheduled to take over the Hirsch Theater at Jerusalem’s Beit Shmuel starting today, with the next Gilbert and Sullivan production from the Encore Educational Theater Company.(As reported by Jessica Steinberg
2012: “Zaytoun” a film about a downed Israeli pilot who escapes from Lebanon with a disaffected Palestinian will be released today exclusively at Curzon Renoir.
2012: “High Noon” the classic American western film starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly is scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
2012(13th of Tevet, 5773): Ninety year old Canadian poet Elizabeth Brewster passed away today.
2012: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a secret meeting in Jordan with King Abdullah II, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported yesterday. Senior Israeli officials speaking to Haaretz confirmed today that the meeting took place. According to the report, the meeting focused on the possibility that Syrian President Bashar Assad would use chemical weapons against rebels in the ongoing sectarian conflict raging in that country.
2012: A 2,750-year-old temple and a cache of sacred vessels from biblical times were discovered in an archaeological excavation near Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced today.
2012: Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz was named today to fill the US Senate seat left vacant by the death of fellow Democrat Daniel Inouye.
2013: A Kassam rocket was fired from Gaza this evening, the second in as many days. The rocket fell in open ground right near a community in the south, causing no injuries or damage.
2013: “Captain Phillips” starring Tom Hanks is scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
2013: “A total of 38 Indian citizens from the Bnei Menashe community made aliya today, the first cohort to arrive since the Knesset approved another wave of immigration for the group.” (As reported by Henry Rome and Sol Sokol)
2014: The Eden-Tamir Music Center is scheduled to host the next in its Future Generation Series of concerts.
2014: “Bullets holes were discovered at the entrance to a Paris publishing this morning” marking the third time this week that Jewish buildings have been fired upon the other two being at the Al Haeche Kosher Restaurant and the David Ben Ichay Synagogue. (As reported by Lazar Berman)
2014: As “worshippers were leaving the Temple Mount complex after morning prayers, two Border Police officers were stabled near the Lions Gates” (As reported by Lazar Berman)
2014: “The Zig Zag Story” and “The Farewell Party” are scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
2014: “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the $140 million Hollywood film about the biblical escape of the Jews from Egypt, will not be shown there because it asserts historical falsehoods and spreads a “Zionist view,” the Egyptian culture minister was quoted as saying today meaning that it will join Morocco as the second Arab country to ban the film. (As reported by Rick Gladstone)
2015(14th of Tevet, 5776): Shabbat Vayechi
2015: “Nightlife -- A festival of light and art, intent on illuminating the multicultural abundance and complexity of Tel Aviv's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood is scheduled to take place this evening
2016(26th of Kislev, 5777): Second Day of Chanukah; in the evening, kindle the third light
2016: In Little Rock, Lubavitch of Arkansas under the leadership of Rabbi Pinchas Ciment is scheduled to host a Family Chanukah Party complete with Latkes and a Smooth bar at the Chabad House.
2016: At the Town and Village Synagogue a variety of acoustic acts led by “Book of J – an amazing new Bay Area collaboration between singer/guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood (Sway Machinery) and singer Jewlia Eisenberg (Charming Hostess) making their New York debut” are scheduled to appear as part of YNY (Yiddish New York) Unplugged.