548: This was the last year the Church in
Jerusalem observed the birth of
Jesus on this date. (Celebrating Christmas on December 25th began in the late
300s in the .) Western
1309: Henry VII, the future Holy Roman Emperor was crowned King of the Romans today in Aachen which had a Jewish community since the days of the Roman Empire which would mean it began sometime around the beginning of the second century of the common era.
1311: Henry VII, who was presented with a scroll of the law by a delegation of Jews in Rome, was crowned King of Italy today in Milan.
1387: John I begins his reign as King of Aragon. In 1375, the future king assigned Abraham Cresques and his son Yehuda “to make a set of nautical charts which would go beyond the normal geographic range of contemporary portolan charts to cover the "East and the West, and everything that, from the Strait (of Gibraltar) leads to the West". For this job, Cresques and Jehuda would be paid 150 Aragonese golden florins and 60 Mallorcan pounds, respectively…”
1432: The Jewish aldermen and the Jewish community in Pilsen bought from the Town Council a piece of land for which they paid “12 schock of Prague coppers” in the škvrner suburb on which to establish a cemetery.
1449: In an unusual move, Constantine XI is crowned Byzantine Emperor at Mistra instead of at Constantinople. His reign would be a short one. He would lose his throne in 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottomans under Mehmed II. Constantine was the last Emperor and the last Christian ruler of what was left of the Roman Empire. The Moslem Ottoman Empire would prove to be a haven for Jews fleeing from persecution in Christian Europe. Also, Mehmed worked to insure that a significant portion of the population of Istanbul (the new name for Constantinople) would be Jewish. Cresques was a 14th century Jewish cartographer “who is credit with the authorship of the Catalan Atlas.
during the Inquisition, the priests inaugurated the first auto-da-fe.
1497: Jews were expelled from
. Graz, Syria
1537: Cosimo I de’Medici took control of Tuscany when he became Duke of Florence today following which he sought to improve the economic conditions in his realm by “recruiting affluent Spanish and Portuguese Jews for resettlement in Florence and his chief port city of Pisa” which led “many displaced Italian Jews who were neither bankers nor wealthy merchants coming to Tuscany as well, particularly after the final expulsion of the Neapolitan community in 1540 and the creation of ghettos in the Papal cities of Rome and Ancona in 1555.”
1560: Giovanni Medici who had been elected Pope on Christmas Day 1559 was installed as Pope Pius IV. According to Gordon Thomas, author of The Pope’s Jews, “Pope Pius IV …relaxed a variety of restrictions on Jewish life that had been imposed by his predecessor, Paul IV, but… does not point out that the restrictions were restored by Pius V.”
1567: Birthdate of Richard Burbage the 16th century English actor noted for his portrayal of Shylock – no mean accomplishment considering the fact that he and most of those in his audiences had never met a Jew.
1663(5423): Italian rabbi Simeon (Simḥah) ben Isaac Luzzatto passed away in Venice.
1693: Mehmed IV, the Ottoman Sultan passed away. During his reign, Moses Beberi was appointed ambassador to Sweden. After his death in 1674 his son Yehuda was appointed to the position ambassador. When the Jews of the Ukraine were looking for a place of refuge during the Cossack Uprising Mehmet IV, allowed them to settle on the banks of the Danube in Morea, Kavala, Istanbul and Salonica. The second event happens in 1666. Rabbi Sabetay Sevi declares himself messiah and causes turmoil. Mehmed was also the sultan who had to deal with Sabbati Zevi, the famous false messiah.
1706: Birthdate of Benjamin Franklin, printer, publisher, scientist, statesmen and a man who was far greater than his parts. “
knew the Hebrew scriptures (what we call the Bible) very well. He had even
suggested that the Great Seal of America depict Moses standing on the shore of
the Red Sea, while Pharaoh drowns in his chariot in its midst. The motto at the
bottom of the seal would have read: ‘Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.’
You see Franklin was among those
Founding Fathers who saw in the American Revolution a replaying of the story of
the Jewish Exodus from Egypt. King
George III was the Pharaoh. George Washington was Moses. The Atlantic Ocean was the Red
Sea. And, it was as if God were saying to King George: ‘Let
my American people go!’ It is also important to point out that when the Jewish
community in Philadelphia built
their synagogue, which they named “Mikveh Israel,”
Franklin contributed to the
building fund himself. On , July
4, 1788 Franklin
was too sick and weak to get out of bed, but the Independence Day parade in Philadelphia marched right under his window. And,
as Franklin himself had directed, ‘the clergy of different Christian
denominations, with the rabbi of the Jews, walked arm in arm. And when he was
carried to his grave two years later, his casket was accompanied by all the
clergymen of the city, every one of them, of every faith.”
1753(1st of Shevat, 5513): As it had for the last 13 years, on the first of Shevat the Great Synagogue in London levied a tax of two shillings on each of its members “for the purpose of providing Unleavened Bread for the poor on Passover.”
1761: Jacob Henry of New York wrote a letter addressed to Barnard Gratz in which he discussed plans to build a synagogue in Philadelphia.
1785 (24th of Tevet, 5545): Haym Salomon passed away in Philadelphia at the age of 44. Born in
Poland in 1740,
Salomon came to the United States
before the outbreak of the American Revolution.
He was a friend of financier Robert Morris and helped several leaders of
the American Revolution. Among those
whom he lent money to was James Madison, author of the Federalist Papers and
President of the United States. Salomon died penniless having bankrupted
himself in support of the cause of American independence
1803: Birthdate of pianist and composer Henri Herz.
1811: Birthdate of Charles Sumner who served as U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. While serving as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sumner supported efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Jews of Romania.
1813: Wirt und Gast, the second opera by German-Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer was performed for the first time in Stuttgart, Germany. Unlike his first opera, Jephtas Gelübde, which was a Biblical drama, Wirt und Gast is “the colorful Arabian Nights tale of the man who becomes caliph for a day.”
1814(14th of Tevet, 5574): Jacob Abraham Rabbie who had taken the family name Rabbie in 1812 in response to a requirement that “all Dutch citizens had to take a surname’ passed away today in Amsterdam.
1814(14th of Tevet, 5574): Catherine Aaron, the daughter of A. Aaron of Russel Courts, passed away today after which she was buried in the Brady Street Jewish Cemetery.
1838: Birthdate of German composer, Max Bruch. Bruch was not Jewish. But he is most famous for his composition Kol Nidrei, written for cello and orchestra. It is based on the traditional chant associated with that most holy of Jewish holidays
1840: Sultan Abdul Mejid, under pressure from the Montefiore delegation, issued a Firman against blood libels. He also unconditionally released nine survivors of the
Damascus libels. Four Jews had
1846: Birthdate of Henriette Hertz, the native of Cologne, Germany, the noted philanthropist and art collect who converted to Protestantism in 1871.
1846(8th of Tevet, 5606): Lewis Goldsmith passed away in Paris. Born at Richmond,Surrey, he played an active, if marginal role, in the conflict between Napoleon and the British, Among other things, he “published The Crimes of Cabinets, or a Review of the Plans and Aggressions for Annihilating the Liberties of France and the Dismemberment of her Territories, an attack on the military policy of” William Pitt.
1850: Birthdate of Eduard Bernstein, a leading German social democrat whose “Jewish parents, who were active in the Reform Temple on the Johannistrasse where services were performed on Sunday.”
1853: Elias David Sassoon and his wife gave birth to Sir Edward Elias Sassoon, 2nd Baronet “who was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son Victor.”
1854: The will of Judah Touro dated this day appoints four executors, three of whom are to each receive $10,000. R.D. Shepperd, the fourth legatee is the residuary legatee. The will bequeathed nearly $450,000 to various public institutions for charitable purposes, including the following: $80,000 for the establishment of an Almshouse in New-Orleans; $5,000 to the Hebrew Congregation in Boston;
1854: Judah Touro signed his last will and testament.
1858: Babette and Joseph Seligman give birth to George Seligman
1858: The Court of Common Pleas heard the case of Mark Isaacs vs The Beth Hamedrash Society which “grew out of a claim by the plaintiff for baking” Matzah “for this religious corporation. The matter was to be settled by arbitration but the plaintiff contended the arbitration was invalid because the arbiters met on Sunday which was a violation of state law. But the respondents contended that since they observed Saturday as a day of rest they were not bound by this restriction. While agreeing with respondents contention, the Court found their claim to be immaterial since the final document of arbitration was signed on Monday which meant that the issue of Sabbath observance was moot. Decision for the Respondent.
1859: Birthdate of Samuel Alexander, the Australian-born British philosopher who was the first Jewish fellow of an “Oxbridge” college.
1859: It was reported today that a journal printed in Hebrew called Cammagia (The Orator) which has just appeared in Lyk, a city in northern Prussia has been well received in Poland as well as in Prussia.
1861(24th of Tevet, 5621): Major General Albert Goldsmid passed away. Born in 1794, this son of Benjamin Goldsmid entered the British Army in 1811 and served at the Battle of Waterloo. Much of his career was spent in the cavalry where he earned several decorations for his service.
1863: The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that General Order 11 had been rescinded.
1863: General Grant sent several telegrams to General Halleck acknowledge the revocation of General Order 11. “By direction of the General in Chief of the Army at Washington¸ the General Order from these Head Quarters expelling Jews from this Department is hereby revoked.”
1871: Birthdate of Eugen Hirschburg, who gained fame as German movie actor Eugen Burg who found out the hard way that his conversion to Protestantism did not save him from being banished from the film industry when the Nazis came to power or to dying at Theresienstadt.
1871: U.S. Vice President Schyler Colfax sent a letter today expressing his regret at not being able to attend an upcoming celebration of the newly unified nation of Italy. Colfax expressed his hope that when Victor Emanuel said that Italy is free and one he meant that the newly united nation would follow the example of the United States of guaranteeing religious freedom to “Jew and Gentile” alike. Colfax saw this guarantee of religious freedom as critical to the current success of the American Republic and as a critical to the future success of the Italian Republic. [Declarations like this are another example of what separates the experience of the Jews in the United States from that in European, Asian or African political entity.]
1876: In Buffalo, NY, the clothing firm of Friedman & Co made an assignment to Henry Cone, a retired Jewish merchant to cover their liabilities of $5,000.
1878; It was reported today that “a thrilling tale of a brave young Jew” is going to appear in the Number 10 issued of the New York Weekly.
1878: It was reported today that “a Jewish paper” has called for a national meeting to revise Jewish ritual. The papers say that “there is much in the ritual to which many Jews no longer give assent.” Also, there are sections which an even larger number do not understand.
1879(11th of Tevet, 5639) Rabbi Benjamin Artom passed away today at 3 Marine Parade, Brighton,(UK).He was the Haham of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of Great Britain. Born in 1835 at Asti, Piedmont, Italy, he was the first person to hold the post of rabbi of Naples. In 1866 he accepted a call to become the spiritual leader, or Haham, of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews in Britain, and held the post until his death. He composed a prayer for boys on the occasion of their Bar Mitzvah that was at one time used in most orthodox synagogues in Britain, and is still used in the Spanish and Portuguese ones.
1890(14TH of Tevet, 5650): Former Judge Philip J. Joachimsen passed away today at 4 o’clock this afternoon at his home on 54th Street in New York City. The American jurist and communal worker was born in 1817 at Breslaue Germany. He emigrated to New York in 1827, and was admitted to the bar there in 1840. During the Civil war, he organized and commanded the Fifty-ninth New York Volunteer Regiment, and was injured at New Orleans. For his services he was made brigadier-general by brevet. After the war he practiced law until he was elected judge of the New York Marine Court in 1870. In 1877, he returned to private practice. In 1859, he was elected to serve as the first president of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. In 1879 he organized the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society for Children in New York. (As reported by Adler & Friedenberg and the NYT)
1892: It was reported today that thirty adult Russian Jews and 12 of their children are living at J. Syren’s Hotel on Madison Street where conditions are so unsanitary that officials are worried about an outbreak of smallpox.
1893: “The Outbreak of Typhus Fever” published today described the outbreak of the epidemic in New York City which had its greatest impact among the immigrant population.
1893: The Libre Parole sponsored “a great anti-Semitic meeting” at the Tivoli Vauxhall in Paris.
1894: Among the charities receiving funds from the Brooklyn Board of Estimate were the Hebrew Orphan Asylum Society - $294.88; Hebrew Benevolent Society, Eastern Division - $121.42; Hebrew Benevolent Society, Western Division - $72.32. This means that the Jewish charities received $488.62 of the $85,000 distributed by the Board.
1894: In Constantinople, Milbah Johnson and Charles Charnaud, “a director of the tobacco monopoly of the Ottoman Empire gave birth to Grace Stella Charnaud who at the age of 37 married 71 year old Rufus Isaacs, 1st Earl of Reading which made her Stella Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading, Baroness Swanborough who championed an increase role for women both before and during the WW II.
1895: For the first time since its founding in 1863, the Union League does not have any Jewish members because Edwin Einstien resigned from the club today. He resigned because the league had taken no action to remedy the effect of the blackballing of the son of Jesse Seligman which had taken place two years ago.
1895: “Will of Eugene Kelly” published today explained that “the famous banker” had not left money to Catholic and Jewish charities as an “expression in favor” in favor of either these religions but because “other denominations are wealthier and better able to care for their poor.”
1895: “The Late Czar” published today provided a review of Alexander III of Russia by Charles Lowe which included a description of Russian persecution of its Jewish population.
1896: Birthdate of Nathan Pritzker, the highly successful investor and real estate mogul best known for his ownership of the Hyatt Hotel chain. At one time or another he has also controlled the Hammond Organ Company and Continental Air Lines. According to one estimate his holdings were valued at 700 million dollars during the 1980’s.
1896: Mrs. Freda Silverman and her two daughters (Rachel,9 and Sarah, 3) were forced to leave their room at 185 Division Street tonight by their landlord because they could not pay the $6 in rent they owed him.
1897: “The twenty-third annual lecture course of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association opened tonight at the Musical Hall of the Carnegie Building with a recitation by Mrs. Aida Kaufman and a lecture on ‘Modern Popular Delusions’ by Simon Sterne.”
1898: State Supreme Court Judge William N. Cohen is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “The Profession of the Law and Its Demands” at Temple Emanu-El sponsored by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.
1898: Herzl travels to
convenes a conference of Berlin Jews. He also has two conversations with Ahmed
Tewfik, the Turkish ambassador.
1898: In a case of Jew versus Jew “representatives of the Auxiliary Relief Branch of the Russian and Polish Jewish Central Committee at Jerusalem… expressed indignation at the charges made of misuses of the money collected in the United States for the relief of poor American Jews in…Palestine” made by the President of the newly formed American Congregation, the Pride of Jerusalem.
1899: A list of the bequests left by the late David Marks published today includes instruction that $250 be given to each of the following: the Hebrew Technical School; the Montefiore Home, the Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews; Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum, Mount Sinai Hospital, Educational Alliance, Young Men’s Hebrew Association and $100 each to the Hebrew Free School and the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society. (This represents panoply of the institutions supported by New York Jewry at the turn of the century.)
1899: “The Honorable Lionel Walter Rothschild has been elected a member of Parliament for the Aylesburgy Division of Buckinghamshire without opposition, succeeding his uncle, the late Baron Ferdinand James De Rothschild, who died
” December 17, 1898
1902: Birthdate of Wilhelm Kraus a member of the anti-Nazi resistance group known as The Ehrenfeld or Steinbruck Group.
1903: Birthdate of composer and conductor Maurice Abravanel. Abravanel was born in Saloniki Greece when it was still part of the Ottoman Empire. A descendant of Isaac Abravanel, he came from an illustrious Sephardic Jewish family, which was expelled from Spain in 1492. Abravanel's ancestors settled in Saloniki in 1517, and his parents were both born there. In 1909, they moved to Switzerland, where his father Edouard de Abravanel was a very successful pharmacist.
In 1934, anti-German sentiment forced Abravanel to leave Europe. After enjoying a triumph in Austraalia, Abravanel came to the United States to conduct at the Metropolitan Opera. He became the long-time conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra (1947-1979, building it from a part-time community orchestra into a well-respected, professional ensemble with recording contracts with Vanguard, Vox, Angel, and CBS. He lobbied for years for a permanent home for the orchestra, which then performed in the Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square. He saw his dream come true when Symphony Hall was built, but not until the season after he retired. It has now been renamed Abravanel Hall in his honour. Only in America could the a major musical venue in the heart of “Mormon Country” be named for a Sephardic Jew from Salonika. Abravanel passed away at the age of 90 in Salt Lake City.
1903(7th of Tevet, 5663): Henry de Worms, 1st Baron Pirbright, the third son of Solomon Benedict de Worms and leading Conservative politician passed away today.1903: Herzl begins a trip that would take him to Paris and London.
1904(18th of Tevet, 5664): Michael Levi Rodkinson, the “son of Alexander Sender Frumkin and half-brother of Israel Dov Bär Frumkin, the editor of The Havatzeleth newspaper in Jerusalem, Arieh Tzvi Hirsch Frumkin and Guishe Frumkin-Navon, the American publisher who was produced the first English translation of the Babylonian Talmud, passed away.
1906: It was reported today that our of the 90,000 Jews who have left Russia since the massacres began, only 7,325 arrived in the United States in November of 1905 which is the last month for which figures are available.
1906: It was reported today that Senators Kuzminksy and Taurau who investigated the massacres at Odessa and Kiev have issued “almost identical statements” saying that “the authorities were guilty of gross negligence and could easily have prevented the bloodshed, but that the charge they deliberately planned the massacres is not substantiated by the evidence.”
1906: It was reported today that Count Sergei Witte, the Chairman of the council of Ministers of the Russian Empire “has expressed compete confidence” in the Russo-Jewish Relief Committee” over which Baron Gunzberg presides and has asked him to convey to Lord Rothschild thanks for the help he and his colleagues have rendered for the relief of the sufferers in Russia.”
1906: “Charities Report On Jewish Immigration” published today provides highlights of the “soon to be distributed” “thirty-first annual report of the United Hebrews Charities of the City of New York” which “point out that owed to the rigid immigration laws, the Jewish immigrants are of a high class and that many good citizens have to the United States owing to the war between Russian and Japan and the outrages in Russia.”
1908: Following its premiere in Vienna, an English language version of Oscar Straus’ operetta “A Waltz Dream” premiered in Philadelphia at the Chestnut Street Opera House.
1908: Birthdate of composer Menahem Avidom. Born in
Avidom moved to Eretz Israel after
World War I. He studied music and
graduated from the in American
University Beirut. He
gained fame in Israel and
throughout the world for his musical accomplishments before he died in 1995.
1911: Birthdate of comedian, actor and columnist, Joey Adams
Mexico becomes the 47th state to enter the Union. The
historical record is too limited to do more than speculate on New Mexico Jewish life prior to 1848. The New
Standard Jewish Encyclopedia suggests that prior to 1850; there may have
been isolated conversos in New Mexico.
From then until New Mexico's
statehood, Jews played an active role in New Mexico's
social, economic and political life. The first religious services were held in
1860 Sante Fe and a B'nai B'rith lodge was formed in 1882 in Albuquerque. New Mexico's
first synagogue was built in Las Vegas
in 1886. Other Jews were active in municipal and territorial/state politics.
The experiences of New Mexico's
Jewish pioneers speak clearly to their resilience and dedication.
In 1990, the 6,400 Jews living in
New Mexico were found mostly in the Albuquerque area.
Between 1750 and 1850, many German Jews came to
America to escape economic hardship and religious
persecution. In the 1840s and 1850s, the first Jewish immigrants to New Mexico established themselves as merchants,
sending for relatives as soon as they were able. They married local women or
traveled to Europe or cities in
the United States to find Jewish
brides. By 1860, half the Jewish population of the territory was related.
During the Civil War, Jews served the Union cause as soldiers and
suppliers. After the war, they expanded into new occupations - banking,
politics, law, mining, and ranching. The railroad arrived in New Mexico in 1879, and a new wave of Jewish
immigrants reflected their conservative Eastern European origins. After New Mexico became the 47th state in 1912, most of
these families returned to urban centers to educate and marry off their
children, and the pioneer era came to a close.
1913: The Jewish National Workers Alliance (Farband) received its official charter, licensing it to sell various insurance and medical plans, from the State of New York (Jewish Virtual Library)
1913: It was reported today that Joel Blau a native of Hungary and a graduate of Hebrew Union College who has served as the rabbi at several smaller congregations in Brooklyn has been chosen to succeed Dr. L. Leon Magnes as the rabbi at B’nai Jeshurum.
1914: Birthdate of Heinz Berggruen, collector and gallery owner. One of the world’s most important patrons and collectors of 20th century masters, Heinz Berggruen’s life was something of a work of art in itself. He escaped from the Third Reich, studied in France, emigrated to San Francisco, became the lover of the painter Frida Kahlo, amassed an unparalleled collection of the works of Picasso and other modern artists and finally effected an act of reconciliation with the Germany that had persecuted him and his family, bringing home his collection of “degenerate” art to the former capital of the Third Reich once and for all. Heinz Berggruen was born in the prosperous Berlin borough of Wilmersdorf in 1914. Both his father, Ludwig, and his mother, Antonie, née Zadek, were from West Prussia. They had a stationery shop on the Olivaerplatz, just off the Kurförstendamm and Heinz grew up in the world of assimilated Berlin Jewry. He attended the Goethe-Gymnasium in Wilmersdorf and graduated to the Friedrich-Wilhelms (now Humboldt) University in 1932 where he read literature and art history. After 1933 he continued his studies at the universities of Grenoble and Toulouse, returning briefly to Germany to work as a journalist, even if his articles could not appear under his name, which was seen as being too provocative to the National Socialists. He emigrated to the US in 1936 and studied briefly at Ber-keley before becoming an assistant curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He married three years later while he was working as an art critic on the San Francisco Chronicle. It was at this time that he had a brief but stormy affair with the painter Frida Kahlo. In 1940 he bought his first picture for $100. It was a watercolour by Paul Klee. In 1942 he persuaded his parents to come to New York. They had in May 1939 been on the liner Saint Louisfrom Hamburg, which was not allowed to land its Jewish refugees in America. As their names began with “B” they were allowed to disembark in England, on the ship’s return to Europe. Others were not so lucky and perished in the camps in the East. Berggruen returned to Europe in American uniform in 1945 and worked briefly with the novelist Erich Kästner on an American-sponsored paper in Munich. He moved on to Unesco before starting his art gallery in the rue de l’Univer-sité in Paris in 1947. The gallery brought him into contact with Picasso, who became his friend and the core of his collection.
It was said that as a gallery owner, Berggruen was his own best customer: he did not like to let the best pieces go. He once swapped Van Gogh’s Le Jardin Publiquefor eight Matisses. In 1980 he gave up the gallery to concentrate on his own collection. The main theme was Picasso, but there was more besides: Matisse, Braque, Klee, Giacometti and Cézanne. He was an early champion of Matisse’s late collages. He was generous to a fault. He sold part of his collection to the National Gallery in London, but the sale contained a large bequest. He made similar donations to the Metropolitan Museum in New York. In 1991 he met Wolf-Dieter Dube, the director of the Berlin museums. Dube persuaded him to make a visit to Berlin. It was the beginning of the process that would bring Berggruen home, together with 113 canvases from his collection which Dube installed in a classical building by Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s pupil August Stöler opposite the royal palace in Charlottenburg. This was to be the Berggruen Museum. In 2000 the collection of 165 works (including 85 Picassos) was sold to the museum at about a quarter of its value. This was Berggruen’s famous “gesture of reconciliation”: the Nazis had impoverished Germany by their attitude to nonfigurative Modern art. Berggruen had decided to reverse the process. Paris, he said, was already rich enough in such works.
He was granted a flat “above the shop” and said he felt entirely at home. He also encouraged his friends to donate to the museum, adding a further five Cézannes and two Van Goghs. He talked his fellow Berliner Helmut Newton into giving his photographic collection to the city. At the end of his life he was proud that Berlin had finally become a place of pilgrimage for 20th-century art lovers. Berggruen’s ability to forgive the Germans came as a surprise to many. He always said that he felt at home in Berlin, although it did not look much like the city he had left 60 years before. He said he was a European and hoped with time that many more people would feel the same. He had two homes: one near the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris and the other above the museum that bore his name in Charlottenburg. He liked to be close to his collection and was happy to show people round. In 2004 he was given the freedom of the city of Berlin.
He married first Lillian Zeller-bach, the daughter of a paper manufacturer in San Francisco, and had a son and a daughter by her. In 1959 he married Betti-na, the daughter of the actor Alexander Moissi and had two further sons. He died in Neuil-ly-sur-Seine in 2007 at the age of 93. At his own wish he is buried in the forest cemetery in Dahlem, in Berlin.
1915: It was determined at a conference between Georgia State Attorney General and Warren Grice and Solicitor Dorsey who prosecuted the Leo Frank case that Grice and not Dorsey will make “the formal motion in behalf of the State before the United States Supreme Court in Washington for the advancement of the Leo M. Frank case on the docket for an early hearing.”
1915: “Facts Never Appealed” published today included the view of Tom Lovless the editor the Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle who believes that Leo Frank “committed the crime, but says “We do not know it. We are not absolutely certain of it. There is in our own mind as there is in the minds of thousands of others that shadow of a doubt which would not permit us to see Leo Frank or any other man go to his death as long as that doubt exists.”
1916: President Woodrow Wilson responded to Simon Wolf’s request that the State Department help facilitate the shipment of wheat for making matzah to the war zone in Europe by saying that he “would be very pleased to take up the matter…with the State Department to ascertain if it is possible to do anything”
1916: It was reported today that “the Bath Beach division of the Brooklyn Jewish Volunteer Committee has announced that it had collected $1,343 which sum is already on its way” to Europe to aide those suffering from the World War.
1916: In Vienna, Else Reis and economist Hans Simon gave birth to Hedwig Magdalena Simon whose father had her baptized to avoid anti-Semitism caused by the misery of World War I and who gained fame as Hedi Stadlen.
1916: New Jersey’s “Senator Martine’s resolution asking the President to set aside a day as Jewish relief for Jewish war sufferers was adopted today after Chairman Stone of the Foreign Relations Committee had said that while he approved such a course in relation to the Poles and the Jews, who he said were without a Government of their own, he hoped it would not extend to any of the organized nations.”
1918: “Dr. John Haynes Holmes, pastor of the Church of the Messiah was applauded” today “by the congregation of the Free Synagogue in Carnegie Hall…when he declared that the orthodox Christian theology was based on a ‘momentous superstition’ and that these doctrines were the invention of ‘Paul, a converted Jew,’ who brought the ‘exclusiveness’ of old Jewish orthodoxy with him and planted it in the Christian religion.”
1918: “At a frugal fish supper at the Hotel Biltmore,” Felix M. Warburg provided “the tactical plans for the campaign to obtain from $4,500,000 to $5,000,000 for the support of the ninety federated philanthropic societies of New York City” to “the twenty colonels and the two hundred captains who are to lead the soliciting forces.”
1918: Tonight, at the Free Synagogue Dr. Richard Gottheil, a professor of Semitic languages at Columbia University delivered a speech on “The English in Palestine” in which he “discussed some of the principal features of the aims and hopes of leaders of the Zionist movement for the establishment and development of Jewish national life in Palestine.”
1918(22nd of Tevet, 5678): Georg Cantor passed away. Born in 1845, Georg Ferdinand Ludwig Philipp Cantor was a mathematician who was born in
Russia and lived in Germany
for most of his life. He is best known as the creator of modern set theory. He
is recognized by mathematicians for having extended set theory to the concept
of transfinite numbers, including the cardinal and ordinal number classes.
Cantor is also known for his work on the set of uniqueness, a generalization of
Fourier series. Cantor’s father was a Jewish Dane. His mother was a Protestant. Under Halachah,
Cantor would not be considered Jewish.
Under the racial laws that would go into in Germany 15 years after his
death, he would have been a candidate for the Final Solution.
1918(22nd of Tevet, 5678): Eighty-year old Adolf Wolf the former mayor of Silverton, Oregon passed away today.
1919: Theodore Roosevelt 26th President of the United States passed away. While President, Roosevelt intervened with the governments of Rumania and Russia on behalf of their Jewish populations. This was an unusual event for Jews and earned Roosevelt and the Republicans support among Jewish voters. T.R.’s finest moment, from a Jewish point of view, may have come in 1895 when he was serving as New York City Police Commissioner. Pastor Hermann Ahlwardt, a noted German anti-Semite came to New York to give a speech. In an attempt to gain publicity for himself and his cause, he demanded police protection from what he was sure would be hostile demonstration by New York Jews. Roosevelt gave him his police protection. All of his protectors were Jewish policemen.
1919(5th of Shevat, 5679): Chicagoan, J/410061 AB Isaac Shadbrisky who served with Royal Navy passed away today.
1919: As 100,000 German Marxists gathered in
Rosa Luxemberg urged them not to seize power until they had popular
support. They did not listen to
her. They began their unsuccessful revolt
during which Rosa Luxemberg and Karl Liebknecht, the Jewish Communist leaders
1919(5th of Shevat, 5679): Isaac Shadbrisky, a native of Chicago who served with Royal Navy under the name of Kelly passed away today.
1920: “Figures of the Night” a silent horror film directed, produced and written by Richard Oswald was released in the United States.
1922(6th of Tevet, 5682): Eighty-year old Jakob Rosanes the native of Brody who became a leading German mathematician and chess master.
1923: Birthdate of Argentine born writer and social protestor Jacobo Timerman. After his release from an Argentine prison he moved to Israel. He died in 1999.
1925(10th of Tevet, 5685): Asara B'Tevet
1925: Birthdate of Austrian born Israeli journalist and writer who went from being a 13 year old rescued by the Kindertransport to joining Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin as a member of David Ben-Gurion’s inner circle.
1925: Birthdate of Israel Shenker, the Philadelphia native who served as “a reported on the metropolitan staff of the New York Times” from 1968 to 1979. (As reported by Margalit Fox)
1926: Birthdate of Monroe “Mon” Levinson “who used plexiglass and other nontraditional materials in becoming a prominent Op Art sculptor, creating work that actively affects the viewer’s perception.” (As reported by Roberta Smith)
1927: Birthdate of Jesse Leonard Steinfeld, “the son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary” who as surgeon general in the Nixon administration spoke out against cigarette smoking, bringing new attention to the risks it posed to women and to people exposed to secondhand smoke.” (As reported by William Yardley)
1927: A mass meeting is held tonight at Cooper Union to honor the memory of Asher Ginsberg (Ahad Ha’am). Speakers at the event include, Dr. Chaim Weismann, Louis Lipsky (President of the World Zionist Organization), Carl Sherman (President of the Zionist Organization of America), Abraham Goldberg (President of the American Hebrew Federation), Professor Selig Brodetzky and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise.
1929: “Several speakers at the quarterly meeting of the national executive committee of the Zionist Organization of America…expressed disapproval of the action of Dr. Stephen S. Wise of the Free Synagogue in opposing participation of non-Zionists in the activities of the Jewish Agency. The Jewish Agency is the term now applied to the World Zionist Organization.” Non-Zionists who will work with the Zionists in the Jewish Agency include Louis Marshall, Felix M. Warburg, Dr. Lee K. Frankel, Herbert H. Lehman and Judge Irving Lehman.
1929: The New York Times featured a review of How Propaganda Works by Edward L. Bernays, “father of modern public relations and nephew of Sigmund Freud.
1931: Birthdate of author E. L. Doctorow.
1932(27th of Tevet, 5692): Julius Rosenwald who is best known for turning Sears and Roebuck into a retail giant passed away today. He was also a great philanthropist whose efforts included everything from being the patron of chess champion Samuel Reshevsky to endowing Tuskegee Institute to the creation of the Rosenwald Fund which was established “for the well-being of mankind.” This brief entry cannot do justice to the accomplishments of a man, mighty in his times, who has been forgotten by most.
1932: It was announced today that “an unlimited quota of athletes will be permitted by the Palestine government to enter the country to take part in the Maccabee Games” to be held this spring in Tel Aviv.
1933: Henryk Szeryng “made his solo debut” today “playing Brahms Violin Concerto with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.”
1937: Birthdate of Lou Holtz who as an assistant football coach recruited Scott Cowen to play for the University of Connecticut where he earned his first degree on an academic road that led to his Presidency of Tulane University. (Cowen was Jewish – Holtz was not)
1937: “A denial by Henry Ford that he had any connection with the anti-Jewish book, The International Jew published in Germany was made public” in New York today by Samuel Untermyer, the president of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League
1943: “The Big Shakedown,” a melodrama produced by Samuel Bishoff was released in the United States today.
1934: Hadassah announced that “the lowest infant mortality rate achieved in a Palestine health district was in Tel Aviv. “The rate was 68.03 among children under 1 year for every 1,000 live births and represented an improvement over 1931 when the rate was 72.52.” Jerusalem “had a rate of 117.30 in 1932 and 104.28 in 1931. Bethlehem…had a rate of 341.91 in 1932, the highest health district rate in the country. The infant death rate for the whole country was 153 in 1932, against 170 in 1931.”
1936: Cartoon character Porky Pig makes his debut. For most of his career the traif animal got his voice from the Jewish Mel Blanc.
1937: The Palestine Post reported that a quarry worker, Haim Katz, 29, and a policeman, Jacob Klinger, 34, were murdered in an ambush at Givat Shaul.
1937: Birthdate of Lou Holtz, who, while serving as assistant coach recruited Scott Cowen, the future President of Tulane University, to play football at the University of Connecticut where he earned a B.S. in 1968.
1938: William Dodd, who had resigned as U.S. Ambassador to Germany in December, arrived in New York City where he said that he "doubted if an American envoy who held his ideals of democracy could represent his country successfully among the Germans at the present time." Dodd was the first U.S. Ambassador appointed after the rise of Hitler. In time he came to see the Nazi threat and tried to do what he could to warn America about the danger.
1938(4th of Sh'vat, 5698): Pinchas Friedman one of the earliest Zionist settlers and a founder of Tel Aviv passed away today. Born in Russia, he made Aliyah in 1890.
1939: In “Interests of Britain, Jews and Arabs Are in Clash,” published today Anne O’Hare McCormick describes conditions in Palestine which is currently in the grip of an armed Arab uprising. She describes meetings with two different groups of Arabs. The first group, “composed of fervent nationalists complained” that the Jews of Palestine “prevented Palestinians from attaining an independent status like that granted to Iraq.” They vowed that they “would never cease fighting” and “insisted that they spoke for every Arab in the land.” The second group of Arabs was found “sharing a meal in a communal dining room” on a kibbutz. These Arabs said “they wanted peace and complained that the British neither punished the handful off rebels stirring up their village” nor providing arms to responsible Arab leaders so they could stand against those creating the violence.
1940: Shivering Jews in
are forced to burn Jewish books for fuel. Warsaw, Poland
1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his State of the Union address which became known as the Four Freedoms Speech because FDR listed them as:
- Freedom of speech and expression including the right to dissent
- Freedom of every person to worship God in his own way
- Freedom from want
- Freedom from fear
The first two are recognizable as being part of the Bill of Rights. Freedom #2 spoke directly to the needs and concerns of the Jewish people and would prove strikingly ironic considering the events surrounding the Holocaust.
1942: Jacob Moshe Toledano who was born in Tiberias was installed as Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and
1926 Toledano served as the head of the religious court at Tangiers, and later
similar posts in Cairo and Alexandria. Toledano was escorted from Tiberias to
Tel Aviv by a grand delegation.
1942: Victor Klemper was arrested and interrogated at the Gestapo headquarters in
1942: Gussie Schwebel, “the Knish Queen wrote to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt:
My Dear Mrs. Roosevelt: I take the liberty of sending you a newspaper clipping dealing with my humble self. The purpose of this letter is two-fold. First: It is my most sincere hope that I may be permitted to send you a sample of my dish, the knish, which, believe me, my dear Mrs. Roosevelt, is really worth tasting. Also, I wonder if I may not be able to be of service to my beloved land, by way of introducing the knish, which is very wholesome and not costly to produce, into the diet of our armed forces. I shall be most happy to devote all of my time and my energy to this end. Again, I pray that you may accept a boxful of knishes from me and will let me know when and where I can send them, I am Your most respectful servant, Mrs. Gussie Schwebel
1943: Eighty six year old Abbot Lawrence Lowell, the former President of Harvard, passed away. He was praised by some for being a leader in educational reforms. But many of his policies were homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic.
1943: The Jews of Lubaczow,
killed at the Belzec death camp
1943: Jews hiding in
murdered by Germans after being coaxed out of hiding with a promise of rail
transport to a neutral country. Five
hundred "Jews with relatives in Opoczno,
came out of hiding to register. All 500 were sent to Treblinka and were gassed.
1944: Birthdate of Bonnie Franklin, American actress. She once said that because of her red hair and freckles, fans have a hard time believing that she is Jewish.
1944: Anne Frank wrote in her diary that “her image of” Peter Schiff “was so vivid that she didn’t need a photograph” of him.
1945 (21st of Tevet, 5705): On Shabbat, Roza Robota and three other Jewish women implicated in the smuggling of explosives used in the
October 7, 1944,
uprising at Auschwitz are hanged in
front of the entire women's camp at Birkenau.
The three women had been previously tortured in connection with the
revolt at Birkenau but gave away no one. Robota’s final words were, "that
vengeance would come."
1945: Hungarian authorities accede to Raoul Wallenberg's request that 5000 Jews be transferred to Swiss-sponsored safe homes in
1945(21st of Tevet, 5705): Anne Frank's mother, Edith, dies at
instigators encouraged the local population to attack the Jewish community. Of
the 150 local Jews half were murdered. The rioting spread to a number of small
towns near Zanzur,
Libya Tripoli leaving a death
toll of approximately 180 Jews and 9 synagogues destroyed. The local police and
Arab soldiers often joined in the destruction and murder. This outbreak of Arab anti-Semitic violence
took place two years before the creation of the state of Israel. This
should put an end to claims that only source of friction between Jews and Arabs
was the creation of the Jewish state.
1947(14th of Tevet, 5707): Fifty seven year old Dr. Harry Plotz, the native of Patterson, NJ and graduate of Columbia who became an “international authority on typhus fever.”
1948: Film noire classic “The Treasure of Sierra Madre” with music by Max Steiner was released today in the United States.
1949: During Operation Horev, the Israeli Air Force shot down five RAF Spitfires on patrol in the area, killing two pilots and taking two prisoners. It is not clear if the Spitfires were being flown by Egyptian or British pilots.
1949: The British moved forces into the Jordanian port of Akaba.
1949: After three days of fighting around Rafah in which its forces failed to defeat the IDF, the Egyptian government announced, that it was willing to enter armistice negotiations.
1951: After almost three years, Larry Blyden finished his performance on Broadway in “Mr. Roberts” where he played a Shore Patrol Officer and then Ensign Frank Pulver.
1952: Following the rape and murder of Leah Feistinger, Israeli forces reportedly raided Beit Jalla.
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that according to the new and improved rationing schedule each Israeli was now able to purchase four eggs a week. A mere fifty years ago, the Israelis were living barely above the subsistence level. With no natural resources and faced by enemies on all of its borders, the Jews created a modern, vibrant country. A huge forest, named after Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was planted on Mount Carmel. Only five years after the founding of the state of Israel, the Jewish state created a living monument to a Moslem leader who was not afraid to embrace the modern world.
1954: Moshe Sharett succeeded David Ben-Gurion as Prime Minister of Israel. Ben Gurion had been Prime Minister since the creation of the state in 1948. Sharett had been Foreign Minister, a post he kept in the new government. Golda Meir remained as Labor Minister and Pinchas Lavon became Minister of Defense. The change was in leadership; the Labor Zionist still maintained control of the government.
1956: Birthdate of Gonen Segev, the native of Kiryat Motzkin who has served as an MK and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure.
1955: In Boston, publication of the tercentenary issue of the Jewish Advocate.
1956: In Seattle, Washington, a Friday night services is held at the U of W Hillel House attended by 170 people who want to form a Reform congregation that will become Temple Beth Am.
1956: Birthdate of Justin Welby, “the first ‘Jewish’ Archbishop of Canterbury.”
1957: Yeshiva Kol Ya'ackov opened in Moscow Russia.
1959: “The Captain’s Table” a comedy produced by Joseph Janni was released today in the United Kingdom.
1960: In Wandsworth, London Vanessa (née Salmon) “the heiress to the J.Lyons and Co. fortune: and Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby gave birth to “English journalist, broadcaster, television personality, gourmet, and food writer” Nigella Lawson.
1964: Pope Paul VI completed his first visit to the “Holy Land” where he visited sites in Jordan and Israel and began his return flight to Rome.
1967: Jewish pianist Jacob Lateiner, accompanied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, performed at the premier of Elliot Carter’s piano concerto and the third piano sonata of Roger Sessions.
1967: "Milton Berle Show" aired for the last time on
1968: It was reported today that during a New Year’s conversation French President Charles de Gaulle had assured Jacob Kaplan, the Grand Rabbi of France “that it was far from his intention to insult the Jews when he called them an ‘elite people, sure of itself and domineering’ during a news conference in November of 1967. Speaking at a time when France was repositioning itself following the Six Days War de Gaulle also said “that while the Jews though the centuries had ‘provoked, more precisely aroused’ antagonism in various countries, they had received great sympathy from Christians because of their sufferings.” (Editor’s Note – these words have a hollow sound coming from the land of Drancy. They also show that French anti-Semitism in the 21st century is not just a produce of Moslem radicals)
1969: “The Fig Leaves Are Falling” a musical with script and lyrics by Allan Sherman closed after only 4 performances
1969: In his review of “The Birthday Party,” film based on an unpublished screenplay by Harold Pinter, published in The Nation, “critic Harold Clurman described the film as "a fantasia of fear and prosecution,"
1976: “Principal photography for “Rocky” produced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler began today.
1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that
Egypt agreed to
reduce by one -third its forces in Sinai, once Israel
evacuated the whole area. The US Embassy in Tel Aviv asked the Israeli
government to clarify its intentions regarding the setting up of new
settlements on the West Bank and
1981(1st of Shevat, 5741): Rosh Chodesh Shevat
1981(1st of Shevat, 5741): Fifty-six year old Marion Ruth Abitz, the wife of Irving Abitz passed away after which she was buried at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in Chesterfield, MO.
1981: Harold H. Saunders completed his service as the 12th Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs today.
1987: A.M. Rosenthal’s “On My Mind” column appeared for the first time on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times.
1987(5 Tevet 5747): U.S. Federal Court issued a decision in favor of Agudas Chassidei Chabad ("Union of Chabad Chassidim") regarding the ownership of the priceless library of the 6th Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn. The ruling was based on the idea that a Rebbe is not a private individual but a communal figure synonymous with the body of Chassidim. The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak's son-in-law and successor) urged that the occasion be marked with time devoted to study from Torah books ("sefarim") as well as the acquisition of new Torah books.
1987: A roadside bomb killed four members of an Israeli-backed militia in southern Lebanon today.
1987: Yitzhak Shamir replaced Yitzhak Peretz as Internal Affairs Minister.
1991: Following a speech today, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Iraqi Army, in which Sadam Hussein said he was preparing the nation for a great battle to liberate Palestine and defeat American "tyranny" in the Middle East the United States once again rejected efforts to tie the gulf crisis to the Palestinian question.
1994: “Homicide: Life on the Street” began its second season with a show written by David Simon and co-starring Yaphet Frederick Kotto Baltimore Police “Lieutenant Al Giardell.”
1995(5th of Shevat, 5755): Sixty-eight year old Joe Slovo (born Yossel Mashel Slovo) a leading opponent of Apartheid who served as Minister of Housing under President Nelson Mandela passed away today.
2002: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish author and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including newly released paperback versions of Amy Wilentz’s Martyrs' Crossing, the first novel by a former Israel correspondent for The New Yorker and Bob Woodward’s Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom, an admiring portrait of the Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan.
2002: Sheila Finestone completed her service as Senator for Montarville, Quebec, when she reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.
2003: Police said tonight that that they suspected the suicide bombers who struck in Tel Aviv on Sunday used backpacks containing more than 20kg of explosives instead of suicide belts.
2005: : Edgar Ray Killen is arrested as a suspect for the 1964 murders of three Civil Rights workers James Chaney, a 21-year-old black man from Meridian, Mississippi and two Jewish voting rights organizers from New York, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.
2005: The First World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace begins in Brussels, Belgium. “The Permanent Committee for Jewish-Muslim Dialogue was created after the First World Congress as an institution which would reflect and act in domains and on problematic issues in which Islam and Judaism are implicated. The committee is composed on nine founder members, four international Jewish personalities, four international Muslim personalities and a neutral president.”
2006: “Jackie Hoffman: Chanukah At Joe’s Pub” and “Walking in Memphis: The Life of A Southern Jew,” a semi-autobiographical piece by Jonathan Ross are now playing “Off, Off Broadway” in New York City.
2006: “Fateless” a movie based on the novel by the same name written by Imre Kertesz opens at the Film Forum in New York. Fateless was a biographical novel for which Kertesz won the Nobel Prize in 2002.
2006: Ariel “Sharon underwent a five-hour operation to halt bleeding in his brain, following which Sharon was returned to the neurological intensive care unit.”
2007: As part of its “Jewish Season” The Theater for a New Audience in New York City presents The Merchant of Venice.
2008: An exhibition entitled Morris Louis Now: An American Master Revisited at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. comes to a close.
2008(28th of Tevet, 5768): Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum, a Talmudic scholar who for more than 50 years led a major Orthodox yeshiva in Brooklyn, known as the Mir Yeshiva, died today. He was 87. His death followed a long struggle with cancer, said Rabbi Pinchos Hecht, executive director of the yeshiva, also called the Mirrer Yeshiva Central Institute. The Mir Yeshiva is exclusively devoted to the study of the Torah: the Old Testament, commentaries upon it and the oral tradition known as the Talmud. It has 1,200 members. Another branch is in Jerusalem, with an estimated 4,000 students. Rabbi Berenbaum was born in 1920 in Poland and studied in a yeshiva in Mir before World War II. As the Nazis rolled across Eastern Europe, he and other yeshiva students fled to the Soviet Union and resettled in Shanghai. From there, they eventually emigrated to the United States. Steven Bayme, national director of contemporary Jewish life at the American Jewish Committee, said the yeshiva helped preserve “a world that was otherwise lost.” “The rescue of the institution during the Holocaust by going to Shanghai was an act of incredible daring,” Mr. Bayme said. “It took enormous courage and perseverance.” Jonathan Rosenblum, director of Am Echad, an advocacy group in Israel that works to build bridges between ultra-Orthodox Jews and others, said that while Rabbi Berenbaum had no public position in America, “he was the one who was consulted on anything connected to Torah learning in the Torah world,” adding, “He taught Torah for over 50 years, and he never repeated himself.” Leadership of the Brooklyn yeshiva will pass to Rabbi Berenbaum’s nephew, Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz. (As reported by AP)
2008: The Matzo Show on Rivington Street by Deborah Kolben
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/nyregion/thecity/06matz.html?sq=The Matzo Show on Rivington Street &st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=print
2008: The Washington Post featured a review of People of the Book a work of historic fiction by Geraldine Brooks. “The Book” in the title is the famous Sarajevo Haggadah, created in medieval
Spain. The Haggadah is “a famous rarity because it
was a lavishly illuminated Hebrew manuscript made at a time when Jewish belief
was firmly against illustrations of any kind.”
2008: The Sunday New York Times featured a review of, and excerpt from, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 by Matthias Küntzel and translated by Colin Meade, a review of, and an excerpt from, Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy by Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg and a review of Peace Be Upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian and Jewish Coexistence by Zacharcy Karabell.
2008 (28 Tevet 5768): Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum, the Rosh yeshiva of the Mir yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York City which includes an elementary school and a high school, as well as its post-graduate Talmudical Academy passed away. The original Mirrer yeshiva was founded in 1815, in Mir, Belarus, and remained in operation there until 1914. With the outbreak of World War I the yeshiva moved to Poltava, Ukraine, under the leadership of Rabbi Eliezer Yehudah Finkel, son of the legendary Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel (the Alter of Slabodka), and son-in-law of Rabbi Elya Boruch Kamai, his renowned predecessor. In 1921, the yeshiva moved back to its original facilities in Mir, where it remained until Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939 marking the beginning of the Holocaust. Although many of the foreign-born students left when the Soviet army invaded from the east, the yeshiva continued to operate, albeit on a reduced scale, until the approaching Nazi armies caused the leaders of the yeshiva to move the entire yeshiva community to Keidan, Lithuania. As the Nazi armies continued to push to the east, the yeshiva as a whole eventually fled across Siberia by train to the Far East, and finally reopened in Kobe, Japan in 1941. Several smaller yeshivos managed to escape alongside the Mir, and, despite the difficulties involved, the overseers of the Mirrer yeshiva undertook full responsibility for their support, distributing funds and securing quarters and food for all the students. A short time later, the yeshiva relocated again, to (Japanese-controlled) Shanghai, China, where they remained until the end of World War II. The heroism of the Japanese consul-general in Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara, who issued several thousand travel visas to Jews, permitting them to flee to the east, has been the subject of several books. Following the end of the war, the majority of the Jewish refugees from Shanghai ghetto left for Palestine and the United States. Among them were the survivors from the Mir yeshiva, who re-established the yeshiva, this time with two campuses, one in Jerusalem, Israel and this one in Brooklyn, New York.
2009: The National Jewish Democratic Council recognizes the Jewish Democratic Members of the 111th Congress at a reception at Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC
2009: Fast of the 10th of Tevet and Yahrzeit of Judy Rosenstein (nee Levin).
2009: Today, on the Christian observance known as the Feast of the Epiphany, the Ra'anana Symphonette (RS) conducted by Omer Wellber, will play Irena's Song - a Ray of Light through the Darkness by Kobi Oshrat. The composition and the performance were inspired by Irene Sendler, who along with her intrepid band of helpers from Zegota, the Polish underground, rescued 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto between 1942 and 1943. “Between these dates grows a story no less wonderful than the life, deeds and soul of a Polish Catholic social worker who risked her life that Jewish children might live. "Every child saved with my help, and the help of all the wonderful secret messengers… is the justification of my existence on earth, and not a title to glory," Sendler said to the Polish Senate when it honored her in 2007. In January 2008, RS general director Orit Fogel saw the portrait of a woman (pictured) in a
"whose goodness radiated, and when I asked 'who is that?', I was told the
story of Irena Sendler. I said 'we have to write a work in her honor.'"
Sendler died in Warsaw this past
May 12 at the age of 98, so she will never get to hear the song that Oshrat
calls "more than a professional challenge. It was a kind of mission, the
least that I, as a Jew, could do to honor this woman." The 20-minute work
is "a sort of collage of her life, ending with seven-year-old Menashe
Shalev, who sings like an angel, and symbolizes a better future." "'I
entered the room and saw an angel,' were the first words spoken by ten
different people who had met her on ten different occasions," says Fogel.
She buckled down to the research on Sendler by enlisting the mayor of Ra'anana
to get 2,500 junior high school students to write letters to Irena, after they'd
been told her story by some of her "children" who now live in Israel.
The Israel Philatelic Authority issued a limited edition of two stamps
(designed by renowned Polish artist Rafal Olbinski who volunteered his services
when he heard it was "for Irena") for the envelopes. And others
including artist Ilana Gur, echoed the sentiment of her angelic nature.
"The project was a huge privilege for me," says Fogel. "I threw
in a stone called Irena Sendler and the ripples spread and spread. People from
all over the world are coming to this concert." Sendler and her helpers
smuggled the children out of the ghetto in ambulances, coffins, burlap bags,
boxes - any way they could. They settled the children in convents, orphanages,
private homes, giving each false papers with a new name. Sendler wrote the
child's real name, new name, and that of his parents in code on thin sheets of
paper that she buried in jars beneath a neighbor's apple trees so she could
reunite the children with their parents after the madness was over. In 1943 she
was arrested by the Gestapo, horribly tortured and sentenced to death. Zegota
bribed a guard, and so rescued her. She resumed her activities under another
name until the end of the war. When she was little, her doctor father once said
to her "Irena, in this world there is good and evil. Always choose only
the good." And so she did.
2009: Barack Obama has nominated Elena Kagan to serve as his solicitor general. If the nomination is confirmed by the United States Senate, Kagan who is the dean of the
and is Jewish would be the first woman to hold this position. Harvard
2009 (10 Shevat 5769): St.-Sgt. Alexander Mashevizky, 21, a resident of Beersheba, was killed in a gun battle with Hamas operatives in northern
Mashevizky, a member of an elite Engineering Corps unit, led the joint force,
which was ambushed by Hamas gunmen while conducting ground sweeps. Gaza
2010: The Bronx House Jewish Community Center presents “Klezmer Party” with Matan Chapnizka (Saxophone), Daniel Ori (Bass) and Dan Pugach (Drums) as part of the 2010 Bronx House Concert Series.
2010: At around 1 a.m. this morning the Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in the Greek city of Hania on the island of Crete was set on fire by an unknown arsonist. The fire was started on wooden staircase that led to the second-story women's section of the main sanctuary in the small seaside complex.
The Etz-Hayyim Synagogue was restored in the late 1990s after years of neglect in the wake of the Second World War. The nearly 300 members of the Hania Jewish community were shipped out by the Nazi invaders in 1944, and died when their ship was sunk in transit by an Allied torpedo. It serves as a place for prayer, a museum and memorial, and a library recording the long and troubled history of Crete's Jews. The walls of the synagogue's main hall were covered in soot, but the fire did not reach the Torah scrolls or the library.
2010: Israel inched a step closer to deploying a missile defense system along the border with the Gaza Strip today after the Iron Dome successfully intercepted a number of missile barrages in tests held in southern Israel
2010: American Jewish youth movement Young Judaea and its long-running sponsor, Hadassah Women's Organization, suffered another blow today following the resignation of key staff member, YJ/FZY Year Course Director Keith Berman.
2010: James von Brunn, who shot and killed museum guard Stephen Tyrone Johns on June 10 during an attempted raid on the U.S. Holocaust Museum, died in a prison hospital today. He was 88 and died of natural causes. Von Brunn was awaiting trial on possible death penalty charges in the federal prison in Butner, N.C., after recovering from being shot in the face by another guard. Von Brunn had a long history of white supremacist and anti-Semitic writings. The museum issued a statement memorializing Johns. "The Museum's thoughts and prayers continue to be with Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns' family at this time," the statement said. "Officer Johns died heroically defending the Museum, visitors and staff. This tragedy is a powerful reminder that our cause of fighting hatred remains more urgent than ever."
2011(1st of Shevat, 5771): Rosh Chodesh Shevat.
2011: The 92nd St Y is scheduled to present a program entitled “Democracy, Power Politics and the New Middle East” which will “delve into the shifting tectonic plates of Middle East politics, Iran's embattled regime and its nuclear ambitions, Iraq's fledgling democracy, new realities for Persian Gulf monarchies and the longer-term challenges facing Israelis and Palestinians.
2011: Aaron Hillel Swartz “was arrested near the Harvard campus by MIT police and a U.S. Secret Service agent” after which he “was arraigned in Cambridge District Court on two state charges of breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony.”
2011: The Red Sea Classical Festival is scheduled to open in Eilat.
2011: Birthday of Brian Cohen, shofar blower par excellence, and a man whose life is worthy of his patronymic.
2011: The High Court of Justice ruled today that public bus companies could continue the practice of gender segregation on dozens of lines serving the ultra-Orthodox sector, as long as there is no coercion or violence involved.
2011: Kenyan runner Stephen Chemlany won the 34th annual Tiberias Marathon today, making it across the finish line after 2:10:02. Frenchman Patrick Tambe Ngoie captured second place, finishing seven seconds behind the leader. Kenya’s Julius Muriuki Wahome finished in third place. Haile Satayin, Israel’s champion marathon runner, defended his title today, becoming the first Israeli to cross the finish line.
2012: In New Orleans, LA, Touro Synagogue is scheduled to host a Shabbat Family Dinner.
2012: Think Different – Original Israeli Rock is scheduled to take place at the Blaze Sports and Rock Bar on Rechov Hillel
2012: Excerpts from works by LeeSaar The Company Lior Shneior (Sea Songs), Michal Samama (Under the Skin), Neta Dance Company and Netta Yerushalmy are scheduled to be performed at the 92nd St Y in Manhattan.
2012: The Judges Selection Committee announced the nomination of four new Supreme Court judges today. The four are: Jerusalem District Court Judge Noam Sohlberg (50), Deputy President of the Jerusalem District Court Zvi Zylbertal (60), Tel Aviv District Court Judge Uri Shoham (64) and Professor Dafna Barak-Erez (47), who serves as Dean of Law at the Tel Aviv University.
2012: Gabriel Cadis, a senior figure in Jaffa’s Christian community was stabbed to death today evening, during festivities at the St George Church in Jaffa.
2012: A third file containing hacked credit card details of Israelis was posted on the internet today.
2013: The Klezmer Jam Session and Dance is scheduled to take place at The Talking Stick in Venice, CA.
2013: Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” is scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
2013: The New York Times features reviews of books written by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Love Song: The Lives of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya and the recently released paperback editions of Man Seeks God: My Flirtations With the Divine by Eric Weinter and The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman
2013: Family and friends of Brian Cohen, master latke maker and shofar blower par excellence, wish him the happiest of birthdays in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
2013: Public Television is scheduled to broadcast “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, featuring interviews and performance footage that provides insight as to why Broadway “is fertile territory for Jewish artists.”
2013: A report released by the State Comptroller today finds that former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi was not directly complicit in the production of a document aimed at discrediting Defense Minister Ehud Barak's choice to succeed him as army chief, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant.
2013: Flooded tracks brought train traffic between Tel Aviv and Haifa to a halt for a few hours on Sunday, as stuck automobiles caused traffic jams in many places across the country.
2013(24th of Tevet, 5733): 200th Yarhrzeit of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of the Chabad Lubavitch Movement. We cannot do justice to the career of this Jewish leader who “created” a form of Judaism that harmonized the need for spirituality, ecstasy and education.
2014: Professor Steven is scheduled to deliver a lecture “Leonard Bernstein: From Jewish Roots to Broadway” in Carlsbad, CA.
2014: Today, “it was announced that Julius Genachowski returned to the corporate world to take a post at The Carlyle Group” where “he will reportedly concentrate on global technology, media, and telecommunications investments.”
2014: “12 Years a Slave” is among the films scheduled to shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
2014: It was announced today that Julius Genachowski had joined The Carlyle Group
2014: In a case of Jew follows Jew, the United States voted today to confirm Janet Yellen as the next Chair of the Federal Reserve following Ben Bernake who completes his term at the end of this month.
2014: An unknown assailant lobbed a small pipe bomb into the Rachel’s Tomb complex near Bethlehem tonight, causing an explosion “lightly injuring” one passer-by. (As reported by Times of Israel Staff)
2014: Jane Yellin “was confirmed as Chai of the Federal Reserve” making her the first woman and the first Jewish woman to hold the post.
2014: “Amid mounting criticism from international organizations and protests by African migrants outside several Tel Aviv embassies, Israeli officials tonight tried to reframe the debate over the fate of the 50,000-60,000 migrants here by reiterating the official government position in a more conciliatory manner while emphasizing the unique challenges that Israel faces.” (As reported by Marissa Newman)
2015: In the UK, the University of Kent is scheduled to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by hosting a conference that “seeks to examine the significance of the topography of the Nazi concentration camps --- from historical, sociological and artistic perspectives.”
2015: Forty year ol Hussam Kawasme, “the mastermind behind the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June 2014 was sentenced today to three life terms in prison and order to pay the families of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel, and Gil-ad Shaar NIS 250,000 ($63,000) apiece in compensation for their murders.”
2015: Some supermarkets in Jerusalem “saw their supply of water and fresh meat run out today” as “Israel braced for a major winter storm.” (As reported by Lazar Berman)
2015: “Why Bess Myerson still matters” published today examines the significance of the first Jewish Miss America” who recently passed away at the age of 90.
2016(25th of Tevet, 5776): On the Jewish calendar Yahrzeit Rabbi Moses Levi Ehrenreich, the chief rabbi of Rome.
2016: “The first of the two-part annual exhibition Illustrators 58 is scheduled to be held at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators where a Gold Medal will awarded to Merav Salomon.
2016: “The remains of a 3,400-year-old Canaanite citadel, which were recently unearthed in the middle of the coastal city Nahariya, are to be preserved and incorporated in an apartment high-rise, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced today.”
2016: Three ultra-Orthodox Jews were attacked in London by a group of anti-Semites this evening, who threw gas cylinders at them and shouted "Hitler is on the way." (YNET)
2017: The City of Tiberias is scheduled to host the annual Sea of Galilee Marathon.
2017: In Memphis, TN, Temple Israel is scheduled to host a Shabbat dinner prepared by chef Marisa Baggett which is unique because attendees are encouraged to “leave the kids at home” for this “adult only activity.”