Wednesday, February 15, 2017

This Day, February 16, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin


February 16

600: Pope Gregory the Great decrees that the phrase "God bless You" is an appropriate response to a sneeze. Gregory's policy in regard to the Jews is expressed in the following sentence, which was adopted by later popes as a fixed introductory formula to bulls in favor of the Jews: "Just as no freedom may be granted to the Jews in their communities to exceed the limits legally set for them, so they should in no way suffer through a violation of their rights" (As reported by the Jewish Encyclopedia)

1086: In response to a solar eclipse, citizens of Sicily burn torches and lamps during normal daylight hours. Jews would have been among those burning these lights. They had been living in Sicily since the end of the Great Revolt in 70 when they came to the island as slaves.  Jews lived at Palermo, Syracuse and Catania.  The community would survive until they were expelled as part of the Spanish Inquisition.

1249: Louis IX of France, also known as St. Louis, dispatched Andrew of Longjumeau as his ambassador to meet with Mongol Khagan of the Mongol Empire. Louis was in Egypt engaged in the first of his two Crusades aimed at regaining the Holy Land from the “Islamic infidels.”  Andrew’s mission was part of an attempt to forge an alliance with the Mongols against the Moslems.  Louis had financed his first crusade (known to history as The Seventh Crusade) in part by expelling all of the Jews engaged in usury and confiscating their property. Further acts of his pre-Crusade piety included the burning of some 12,000 manuscript copies of the Talmud and other Jewish books and an expansion of the Inquisition.  The alliance with the Mongols failed to materialize and the crusade was a total failure.

1349: The Jews were expelled from Burgsdorf Switzerland

1525: During the Great Peasants Revolt which will test the skills “Shtadlan: Josel (Yosel) of Rosheim, “25 villagers belonging to the city of Memingen rebelled” demanding an improvement in their economic conditions and change in the political environment that controlled their lives.

1565: In Mantua, Italy first printing of Menorat ha-Ma’or by Rabbi Isaac Aboab

1570: The Jews miraculously escaped the impact a violent earthquake in Italy.

1594: Astronomer Tycho Brahe arranged for The Maharal (Judah Lowe, the Chief Rabbi of Prague) to meet with Emperor Rudolph II.

1616: Elias Felice Montalto passed away.  Montalto had converted to Christianity but later returned to Judaism.  A physician and author who had lived in Venice, Montalto was living in Paris and serving as the private physician to Queen Maria de Medici at the time of his death.  The queen had him embalmed and sent to the Jewish cemetery at Ouderkerk near Amsterdam.

1780: Acher Ascher Lion ou Loew and Gitlé Loëw gave birth to Benjamin Wolf Loew.

1799: French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte occupied the Egyptian town of El Arresh after an eight day siege. The French Army then began a march towards Khan Younis and Gaza.

1829: Henrietta Samuel and Solomon Benedict de Worms who “owned large plantations in Ceylon and was made a hereditary baron of the Austrian Empire by Franz Joseph I gave birth to George de Worms, 2nd Baron de Worms the English official and banker whose sibling included Anthony Mayer de Worms, Ellen Henreitta de Worms and Henry de Worms.

1837: Birthdate of Asher Asher the native of Glasgow who was the first Jew in Scotland to become a doctor of medicine and the author of The Jewish Rite of Circumcision.

1840: Birthdate of Gotha native, Frederike Bognar who became a successful German singer and actress.

1845: Birthdate of explorer George Kennan who spent two years working in Russia which gave credibility to his comments in 1893 that the Russians were indeed issuing edits aimed to punish the Jews which were forcing them to leave and come to the United States.

1854: L'étoile du nord (The North Star) an opéra comique in three acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer was performed at the Salle Favart by the company of the Opéra-Comique, Paris, for the first time today. Meyerbeer whose birth named Jacbo Liebmann Beer, was the son of the German-Jewish financier Jacob Judah Herz Beer and Amalia Liebmann Meyer Wulff

1855(28th of Shevat): Jacob Raphael Furstenthal passed away in Breslau.  Born at Glogau in 1781, he is known for his German translations of and Hebrew commentaries to the Moreh Nebukim of Moses Maimonides and the Ḥobot ha-Lebabot of Baḥya ibn Paḳuda,

1857: "Strange Piece of Rascality and Shysterism" published today reported on an apparent attempt to defraud Samuel Goldberry who had been arrested on a charge of petty larceny last March and who was still waiting to stand trial.  According to the article "Heitman, a Jew," a police officer named Frank White, a man named Piser, a Jew named Rosenbaum and a Jew named Rosenberg, conspired to con Goldberry out of $165.00.  [Interestingly, the author only the Jews were identified by religion.]

1857: The National Deaf Mute College (later renamed Gallaudet University) is established in Washington, DC, becoming the first school for the advanced education of the deaf. In the course of fulfilling its educational mission Gallaudet has created a selected bibliography styled, “Deaf Persons in the Holocaust.” http://library.gallaudet.edu/dr/faq-holocaust.html.

1858: In Richmond, VA, Solomon H. Myers and his wife gave birth to track star Laurence Eugene “Lon” Myers.

1869: Birthdate of Julius Tandler native of Moravia who became a physician and political leader in Vienna.

1870: The Jews of Sweden were emancipated.

1871: The Executive Committee of the Hebrew Charity Fair presented Emanual B. Hart with an engraved silver dinner service tonight in recognition of the services he has rendered in making the latest fund raiser a successful event.  Mr. S.L. Cohen made the presentation speech and Mr. Hart responded with the appropriate words and toasts.

1872: It was reported today that of the 73 private charitable institutions in New York City controlled by religious denominations that received state aide in 1870, two of them were controlled by Jewish organizations.  They received $11, 453.72 out of a total allocation of $688,048.86. No final figures were available for 1871.

1872: “An Oriental Seeks Justice” published today described the legal difficulties of Rabbi Aarons, an octogenarian from Jerusalem who while preaching in a small uptown New York City synagogue “denounced certain wind-dealers who” he claims “pretended to sell wine especially prepared for Jewish religious observances” when it was in fact prepared by non-Jews which meant that it was ritually unfit.

1872: It was reported today that Mr. Rosenfeldt had committed suicide in Kingston, Jamaica. Mr. Rosenfeldt had converted to Christianity from Judaism.  Many of the Jews in Kingston thought that Rosenfeldt had changed his mind.  But in a suicide note written to the Bishop the deceased said he had killed himself because “others were conspiring against” and he wanted to leave part of his estate to those working to convert Jews. [Editor’s note – I can find no further reference to Mr. Rosenfeldt or his family who was living in Germany at the time of his death.]

1879: It was reported today that out of the 40,000 people living in Krakow, 12,000 of them are Jews most of whom are “Orthodox or Rabbincial.

1880: David Harfeld, the brother of Rabbi Eugene Harfeld failed to return the furnished room he was renting with his wife, the former Julia Harlan.  This desertion would lead to charges of bigamy in case that would be heard nine years later.

1880: Telegrams were received in Cleveland, Ohio from Evansville, Indiana, inquiring about the whereabouts of Bethold Landua, the Secretary of Kescher Sher Bassel. Landau, who has not been heard from in two weeks, has possession of nearly $40,000 of the society’s money.  The society is holding its annual national convention in Evansville.

1881: Birthdate of Hans Meiser, the pro-Nazi Nuremberg native who served as Bishop of the Bavarian Evangelical-Lutheran Church.  In 1938 he imposed the following loyalty oath: I swear to God the Almighty and Alknowing: I will be loyal and obedient to the Führer of the Reich and Volk, Adolf Hitler, I will obey the laws, and I will conscientiously fulfill all my official duties, so help me God."

1882: According to the Times of London, the British Foreign Office is about to issue a report based on information provided by its consular officials describing attacks on the Jews living in Russia.  While there are no proven “cases of the violation of women” there is clear evidence of “other serious outrages.” If the authorities had used the proper amount of force, “the outrages” might have been confined to a more limited area.  For obvious reason, the Jews still living in Russia have been reluctant to provide information to the British officials. [Editor’s Note – Use the term “outrages” to describe a Pogrom must be a classic example of the English penchant for understatement.]

1885(1st of Adar, 5645): Rosh Chodesh Adar

1886: In Hartford, CT, Jacob Wetheim and his wife, the former Hannah Frank of Hoboken NJ gave birth to investment bank Maurice Wertheim, founder of Wethheim and Co and the husband of Alma Morgenthau with whom he had three daughters, including the award winning historian and author Barbara W. Tuchman.
https://www.nypl.org/blog/2010/06/18/maurice-wertheim
 
1890: The 23 piece Hebrew Orphan Asylum Band played at this evening’s concert sponsored by the Seligman Solomon Society.

1890(26th of Shevat, 5650): Isaac Jacob, a Jewish peddler, ambushed Herman Rogozinski, a Washington Market poultry carrier and shot him with a 38 caliber “Blue Jacket” pistol fatally wounding him when the bullet struck Herman in the breast. He then committed suicide after a failed attempt to kill Mrs. Rogozinksi.

1890: “The Jew Question in France” published today described the attempts of the Boulangists to revive interest in the movement by exploiting “discontent in financial and social circles with” successful Jewish banks in general and the Rothschilds in particular. (The Boulangists were a right-wing militarist movement named for General Boulanger and was an example of the social unrest in the Third Republic that produced, among other things, the Dreyfus Affair)

1891: It was reported today that Lewis May and Jesse Seligman spoke at the memorial service held to honor the memory of Lazarus Rosenfeld.  They recounted “his efforts in the founding of Mount Sinai Hospital, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the Home for the Aged, the Montefiore Home and Temple Emanu-El.”

1891: It was reported today that the newly elected officers of the Jewish Alliance of America are: President – Simon Wolf of Philadelphia; Vice Presidents – Dr. H.W. Schneeberg of Baltimore, Dr. Charles D. Spivak of Philadelphia and Ferdinand Levy of New York; Secretary – Barnard Harris of Philadelphia; Treasurer – Simon Wolf of Washington, D.C. The goal of the alliance is to help teach the newly arriving immigrants from Russia “habits of self-support” with an emphasis on farming.

1892: As the outbreak of typhus fever continues to spread, The Health Department is scheduled to accept the offer of the Immigration Commissioners to use Ward’s Island as a quarantine site for those found to be suffering from typhus. The fever seems to be most prevalent among recently arriving immigrants including a large number of Jews from Russia.

1892: The Second Conference of the Russian American Hebrew Agricultural Fund Association will meet this evening at the Hebrew Institute on East Broadway.

1892: It was reported today that all of the 84 people quarantined on North Brother Island because of typhus fever are Jewish immigrants from Russia who arrived aboard the SS Massilia.

1893(OS): “Glouskine a clever young Jew who served in the Russian army with distinction, rising to be an under officer” and who “then became the manager of important iron works in the village of Kamieny” was ordered today “ to get out within eight days together with his family” as part of the forced Russian expulsion of Jews in Poland.

1896: “Synagogue Members In A Fight” published today described fight that broke between supporters of Solomon Bentowski and Heyman Solomon during the business meeting of synagogue that met at 112 Clinton Street in New York. The police were called but no arrests were made.

1897: The third monthly conference of representatives of New York City charities including N.S. Rosenau of the United Hebrew Charities is scheduled to take place today.

1898: It was reported that Judge Meyer S. Isaacs will speak at the next meeting of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.

1899(6th of Adar I, 5659): Track-star Laurence “Lon” Myers passed away today on his 41st birthday
http://www.usatf.org/HallOfFame/TF/showBio.asp?HOFIDs=118
http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/JSH/JSH1975/JSH0202/jsh0202b.pdf

1899: French President Félix Faure dies in office.  Faure was the “addressee” of one of the most famous letters in Jewish History. On January 13, 1898 The French newspaper L’Aurore published a letter written by Emile Zola entitled J’accuse addressed to Faure.  The letter exposed the conspiracy known as the Dreyfus Affair.

1902: In a letter to the Sultan, Herzl summarizes his negotiations. The Sultan's decision is unfavorable.

1903:  Birthdate of Liverpool native Louis Pollock whose family moved to the United States in 1916 where he eventually developed a career as screenwriter – a career that was ended when he was put on the Blacklist because the Witch Hunters confused him with another writer, Louis Pollack.  (What a difference an “a” makes.)
http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8f76fxq/entire_text/

1910: Colonel Claude Reignier Conder passed away. During his service with the Corps of Engineers, Concor took part in a survey of Western Palestine from 1872 to 1874 along with Lieutenant Horatio Kitchener, the future British military leader known as Lord Kitchener.  He also served two tours with the Palestine Exploration Fund Among his literary accounts of his work were  Tent Work in Palestine, Memories” The Survey of Western and Eastern Palestine, and The City of Jerusalem.

1912: A Turkish Jew, G. Valensin Bey, who was a member of the municipal council of Alexandria, was appointed Commander of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus by the King of Italy

1912(28th of Shevat, 5672): Eighty-five year old theatrical manager and writer Albert L Parkes passed away in New York City.

1913: “After an interregnum of eighteen months and a spirited contest between candidates, Dr. Joseph H. Hertz of New York was to-day elected Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire at a meeting of the Electoral College, presided over by Lord Rothschild, President of the United Synagogue.”

1913(9th of Adar I, 5673): Organist Samuel L. Hermann passed away today in Philadelphia, PA.

1913: In Rozwadow, Poland, Sara Jitka Birnbaum and Mamci Springer gave birth to Abraham Chaim Springer.

1913(9th of Adar I, 5673): Sig Livingstone, a banker from Tamaqua, PA passed away today in Havana, Cuba.

1915(2nd of Adar, 5675): French composer Emil Waldteufel passed away.

1915: The American Jewish Relief Committee issued a plea to every Jew in New York asking that they send at least one dollar to the office of Treasurer Felix Warburg so that the committee could take advantage of the offer of U.S Navy to ship 900 tons of food supplies “for the suffering and starving population of Palestine.”

1915: Birthdate of Leah Ray Hubbard, the Norfolk, VA born singer who became Leah Ray Hubbard Werblin when she met MCA executive and future owner of the New York Jets “Sonny” Werblin.

1915: “Order Jews to Rear” published today described the forced deportation of Jews from a large part of Poland by the Russian government.

1915: Jacob N. Chester took issue with claims by Russia that Jews were being forcibly being deported from Zyrardow because “of the discovery of a concrete base for heavy guns” at M. M. Dietrich’s factory where only Jews were employed before the war because “as a matter of fact not a single Jew was ever employed in this factory” which employed 20,000 Polish and German workers.

1916: Thanks to the efforts of Albert Lucas, representing the Central Relief Committee of New York the U.S. Collier Sterling is scheduled to leave today carrying “a cargo of medicine and matzos” to Palestine.

1917: After 425 years, dedication of the first synagogue to open in Madrid. We all know about 1492 when the Jews were expelled.  Now we know a little about their official readmission.

1917: While speaking tonight at Temple Israel in Harlem on “the possibility of the United States entering the war” Rabbi M.H. Harris said that Jews have “mixed sympathies” because they believed the Allied cause deserves the endorsement of America” but are bothered by the long history of Russian oppression of the Jews while feeling tied to Germany because of its place in the development of “modern Judaism.”

1918: Lithuania proclaimed its independence from Germany.  Lithuania would have to fight both the Germans and the Soviets for its right to be independent.  According to one source, at least 3,000 Jews fought in the armies defending Lithuanian independence.  This active role brought Jews and their institution a certain amount of early recognition in the early days of Lithuanian independence.  This acceptance would recede during the thirties.  Following the outbreak of World War II, over 90 per cent of the Jewish community would perish at the hands of the Soviets and the Nazis.

1919:  Louis Lipsky, Rabbi Ephraim, Judge Hugo Pam and Myer Arbrams are among some of the speakers scheduled to address the delegates attending the Zionist Convention in Chicago.

1926: In London, “Winifred Henrietta (née Regensburg) and Bernard Edward Schlesinger, a physician” gave birth to director John Schlesinger who won the Oscar for Best Director for his work on “Midnight Cowboy” which won the 1969 Oscar for Best Picture.

1926: In Frankfurt, Edith and Otto Frank gave birth to their first daughter Margot, the older sister of diarist Anne Frank

1927: In Suffolk, England, Louisa Ann (née Butler) and Henry William Melton Brown gave birth to British actress June Muriel Brown.

1930: On New York’s Lower East Side, Rabbi Yitzchak Mattisyahu Weinberg and his wife Hinda gave birth to Yisrael Noah Weinberg the Rosh Yeshiva at Aish HaTorah.

1932(8th of Adar I, 5692): Sir Edgar Speyer, 1st Baronet passed away. He was an American-born financier and philanthropist who became a British subject in 1892 and was chairman of Speyer Brothers, the British branch of his family's international finance house, and a partner in the German and American branches. He was stripped of his honors as a British citizen following a smear campaign that accused him of being pro-German during World War I.

1932: Birthdate of Romanian born and Holocaust survivor Israeli novelist Aharon Appelfeld. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/appelfeld.html

1932: Birthday of Harry Goz who played Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway in 1966 and 1967.

1932: In the Bronx homemaker Sarah Greenberg and Samuel Greenberg, “a carpenter who worked as the foreman of shop in Queens that made upscale furniture” gave birth to Arnold Greenberg, the founder of the law firm of Greenberg and Tuchman who was the owner of the Completer Traveler, a truly unique bookstore.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/01/nyregion/arnold-greenberg-whose-manhattan-bookstore-fostered-wanderlust-dies-at-83.html?hpw&rref=obituaries&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=1

1932: The New York Times said of Benjamin Cardozo's appointment to the Supreme Court that "seldom, if ever, in the history of the Court has an appointment been so universally commended"

1932: It was reported today that before nominating Justice Cardoza, President Hoover “conferred with Senator Watson of Indiana, the Republican floor leader in the Senate who predicted a unanimous confirmation” Senator Borah of Idaho responded by saying that if there were two Virginians on the court and John Marshall was a candidate for the vacancy, I don’t think there would be any hesitation to confirm him.”

1932: It was reported today that when objection was raised to the nomination of Justice Cardoza because he would make the third New Yorker on the High Court (the other two being Justices Hughes and Stone)

1934: The Austrian Civil War, also known as the February Uprising which had begun on February 12 came to an end today. When the dust settled, the Socialists were in disarray and/or in exile while the right combined to form what their enemies called Austrofascism which did not share the anti-Semitism of German fascism.

1934: “The Lost Patrol” a talkie version of the British silent film with music by Max Steiner was released in the United States today.

1934: “The Knife of the Party” a comedy starring Shemp Howard and filmed by cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg was released in the United States today.

1935: Birthdate of Barbara Myerhoff, acclaimed anthropologist and documentary filmmaker.

1935: Birthdate of Gilbert de Botton, the financier who invented the open architecture model of asset management. A native of Alexandria Egypt, he was a descendant of a distinguished Sephardic family whose ancestors included Abraham de Boton.  His mother was Yolande Harmer, a Zionist who was imprisoned by the Egyptians on charges of spying for Israel. (As reported by The Telegraph)

1936: In honor of her 75th birthday, Henrietta Szold, American Zionist leader will be honored today by the Jews of Palestine with the title of “freewoman” which makes her an honorary citizen of Tel Aviv The title is the feminine form of “freeman” that has been confirmed on such leaders as the Earl of Balfour and former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.  The Jewish community is also collecting funds for a social welfare project to be named for Miss Szold.

1936: It was reported today that “Chancellor Hitler’s power and popularity are unchallenged at present and the Germans are becoming so used to National Socialism and all it implies that, according to the latest witticism, this year’s party congress will be held not under slogans like ‘Triumph of Will,’ or ‘Victory of Faith,’ but ‘Force of Habit.’”

1936: Birthdate of Jerusalem native Eliahu Inbal the Israeli conductor.

1936: In Beirut, Lebanon, Shneor Cheshin, who would become a Justice on the Israeli Supreme court and Ruth Chehsin, “the founding president of the Jerusalem gave birth to Michael Cheshin who served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Israel from 1992 to 2006.

1936: It was reported today that “during 1935 more than 61,000 Jews entered Palestine” and that “if normal conditions should prevail the Jewish National Home could receive at least another 500,000 Jews within the next ten years.”

1936: “Charging that Great Britain is failing to carry out the spirit of the Balfour Declaration creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine, Rabbi Meyer Berlin, its honorary world president, told the opening session of the Mizrachi Zionist Organization of America today that appeals would be taken to the League of Nations, the United States and to the ‘cultural world’ to show the injustice being done to Jews.”

1936: Funeral services are scheduled to be held today at Riverside Chape for forty-four year old Charles David Isaacson, the “writer on music, director of thousands of free concerts in the metropolitan New York Area, former opera impresario and radio director” who died yesterday in Bellevue Hospital.

1938: “Benito Mussolini issues an official declaration that there is no ‘Jewish Problem’ in Italy and the Fascist government isn't considering any special anti-Semitic measures. This will change in July, 1938, when Jews are stripped of their Italian citizenship and banned from many professions.”

1938: I.J. Singer, the author, is scheduled to address a membership tea being held by the Women’s American Ort as part of their drive to increase membership to better aid the suffering Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that two Jews were wounded when Arabs fired at a Jewish bus which was on its way to the Kastel quarries. Over a dozen of shooting incidents and attempts to sever communications were reported from all over the country.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that the total number of Jewish immigrants in 1937 was 12,475, compared to 31,671 a year earlier. Of these, 3,648 immigrants came from Poland, 3,601 from Germany and the rest from other countries. This painful and unjustified reduction was directly attributed to the new British and Palestine governments' immigration policy.

1938: Abraham Pais was awarded two Bachelor of Science degrees in physics and mathematics, with minors in chemistry and astronomy. [Pais was the Dutch born Physicist who survived the Holocaust and came to America to pursue his career. The Abraham Pais Prize for the History of Physics attests to the esteem in which he was held by his colleagues.]

1943: The White Rose, an anti-Nazi group posted a sign in Munich, Germany, reading “Out with Hitler!  Long live freedom!”  The members of White Rose were not Jewish, but they were a courageous group that did what it could to oppose Hitler.  Many of its members were caught and beheaded, a favorite form of death among the Nazis.

1944(22nd of Shevat, 5704): Rabbi Gabriel Shusterman, author of Ben Moshe Yedaber passed away

1944(22nd of Shevat, 5704): Danish writer and director Henri Nathansen passed away. Born in 1868, he gave up his legal career to become an author and theatrical director. His Jewish background provided a major theme for some of his efforts.  “His best known work, ‘Inside the Walls,’ premiered in 1912 and centers around a wealthy, loving, but conservative Jewish family whose only daughter breaks away from tradition by attending lectures at the university and secretly becoming engaged to her teacher, a gentile.”  His 1932 novel Mendel Philipsen and Son, features “a Jewish woman who falls in love with a gentile painter but instead enters into a loveless marriage with her Jewish cousin…” In 1929, he wrote a biography of fellow Danish Jew, Georg Brandes. In October 1943, when the Nazis attempted to round up the Danish Jews, Nathansen fled to Sweden just four months before his death.

1945: “The premiere performance of” “Concerto for Trombone” by Nathaniel Shilkret with the famed Tommy Dorsey as the soloist “was broadcast over WNYC” today.

1947: Famed violinist Isaac Stern joins Jack Benny in a laughed filled appearance on the Jack Benny Program.

1947: Two months after premiering in New York City “The Bishop’s Wife” a romantic comedy directed by Henry Koster, produced by Samuel Goldwyn, with a script co-authored by Bill Wilder was released in the rest of the United States.

1947: Morton Gould's 3rd Symphony premiered.  In 1995 Gould won the Pulitzer Prize for “Stringfellow.”
 
1948: The Arabs began their first organized attack, on Tirat Tzvi.  Tirat Tzvi (Zevi's Castle) was a Kibbutz founded in 1937 near the Jordanian border. It was named in memory of Rabbi Zevi Hirsh Klaischer who urged his fellow Jews to form a national movement following the failed revolutions of 1848 in Europe.  In 1862, he published a book combining the themes of agriculture and spiritual re-awakening in what was then called Palestine.  He had hoped to move to Mikveh Israel but at the age of eighty felt himself too old and he died in Germany, one of the first religious champions of what was to become the Zionist dream.  The attack in 1948 took place between the vote to partition Palestine and the actual British departure from the Mandate Territory.  In other words, Arab military forces were on the attack determined to wipe out as many of the Jewish kibbutzim as possible thus destroying the Jewish state before it was even born.  The attack on Tirat Tzvi failed thanks to the bravery of the outnumbered defenders.

1948: The U.N. Palestine Commission which “was never permitted by the Arabs or the British to go to Palestine to implement the” U.N.’s resolution partitioning Palestine “reported to the Security Council” today that “Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberation effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein.”

1948: Two months after its premiere in New York City, “The Bishops Wife” the movie version of Robert Nathan’s novel by the same name directed by Henry Koster and produced by Samuel Goldwyn was released in the rest of the United States today.

1949: In Manhattan, Seymour and Anne Kornblum gave birth to Allan Mark Kornblum “whose love for poetry and printing led him to start Coffee House Press, an independent publisher widely respected for finding and nurturing new authors.” (As reported by William Yardley)
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/27/business/media/allan-kornblum-independent-publisher-dies-at-65-.html?hpw&rref=obituaries&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=1

1950: “If I Knew You Were Coming’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake” a popular song written by Al Hoffman was recorded today by Coral Records.

1951: “Vengeance Valley” the movie version of the cowboy novel by the same name with a screenplay by Irving Ravetch (the son of a New Jersey rabbi) was release in the United States today.

1952: Thirty-one year old “Henry Laskau won the one-mile walk at the AAU indoor track championships in New York City. (As reported by Bob Wechsler)

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that from the establishment of the state in May 1948 to the end of 1952, 707,576 immigrants arrived, including 124,225 from Iraq, 121,536 from Romania, 106,727 from Poland, 62,565 from North Africa and 48,447 from Yemen and Aden. The immigrants hailed from 69 countries.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel had sent anti-typhoid vaccine to flood victims in Holland.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that forty prominent American senators prepared a program of action to stop the excesses of the anti-Semitic propagandists in the Soviet Union and its satellite nations.

1961: In London, world premiere of “Jungle Fighters” produced by Michael Balcon, with a screenplay by Wolf Mankowitz, music by Stanley Black and starring Laurence Harvey

1963: The first of the articles that, in expanded form, would become Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt's most controversial work, was published in The New Yorker
https://jwa.org/thisweek/feb/16/1963/hannah-arendt

1964: Larry Blyden began playing the role of “Doc” in the Broadway production of “Foxy.”

1965: “After six previews, the Broadway production” of the musical “Baker Street” with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by Jerry Bock, directed by Hal Prince and co-starring Martin Gabel “opened at The Broadway Theatre where it ran for nine months.

1967: The original West End production of “Fiddler on the Roof” opened on at Her Majesty's Theatre and played for 2,030 performances. It starred Chaim Topol, as Tevye and Miriam Karlin as Golde.

1972(1st of Adar, 5732): Rosh Chodesh Adar

1974(24th of Shevat, 5734): German born, Harvard educated philosopher Horace Kallen passed away.
http://collections.americanjewisharchives.org/ms/ms0001/ms0001.html

1977: “The Princess Who Is Everywhere” published today provides a sketch of Diane von Furstenberg who has expanded from fashion guru to author.
http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=9E0CE1DA163EE23BA15755C1A9649C946690D6CF

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that two persons were killed and 46 injured when an Arab threw a bomb at a bus passing through Rehov Tzefania in Jerusalem.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that in Washington the US Administration threatened to withdraw its request for the sale of advanced F-15 and F-16 fighter planes to Israel if Congress blocked the sale of F-15s to Saudi Arabia and F-5Es to Egypt.

1985: The founding of Hezbollah, another Arab/Moslem terror group dedicated, in part, to the destruction of the state of Israel. 

1986(7th of Adar I. 5746): Actor Howard Da Silva passed away at the age of 76.  Da Silva had a long career as a character actor.  His work in Hollywood was temporarily interrupted because he was named to the Hollywood Blacklist.

1987:Following the refusenik protests, Iosif Begun's release from prison was announced today, by Georgy Arbatov, a member of the Central Committee, in a Face the Nation interview on CBS.”

1987: The Demjanjuk trial opened in Jerusalem. Ivan Demjanjuk, a former Ukrainian SS volunteer, was accused of overseeing the gas chambers in Treblinka. His cruelty had earned him the name "Ivan the Terrible." Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel in 1986, was found guilty and condemned to death. The verdict was appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court. After 3 years of deliberation they ruled that there wasn't enough sufficient proof that Demjanjuk and Ivan the Terrible were one and the same person. This was mainly due to the lack of first person witnesses and the length of time that had elapsed made definite identification impossible. In September 1993 he was released and returned to the United States.  He was later stripped of his citizenship for falsifying his documents when he entered the United States.

1988: Refuseniks met with the British Foreign Minister today.

1989: Larry Bloch opened “Eco-Saloon,” in a former Chinese-food warehouse just south of the Holland Tunnel some of the profits which were used to fund a not-for-profit Center for Social and Environmental Justice.

1990: Elyakim Rubenstein, the Cabinet secretary, called Ariel Sharon here at his ranch today, just to be sure he was serious about his intention to resign.

1991: After 73 performances the curtain came down on the “Off-Broadway” production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins.”

1991: At Shabbat synagogue services, congregants were mindful of the deaths of Iraqi civilians, but they were also reminded that Israel had been subjected to indiscriminate Iraqi missile attacks for more than a month and that fighting was the price of peace. Worshippers at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan expressed regret over the killing of Iraqi civilians and said they were disturbed by the television images of broken bodies. But most said their support for the war was undimmed. "War is a terrible thing," said Billy Sussis. But he added that the deaths of the civilians had not shaken his support for the allied effort. "If you're going to fight a war, terrible things like this are going to happen." Rabbi Helene Ferris, however, expressed hope that the incident would "wake up the world's conscience" and disrupt wide impressions of a bloodless conflict. "War is about killing," she declared. "It's about mothers bleeding, fathers bleeding. If we lose sight of that, we may stop trying to find a better way." At the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens, Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik, just back from a visit to Israel, gave his congregation graphic impressions of life in a war zone: an old woman standing beside the ruins of her home in Tel Aviv, an infant in a gas-mask crib, wailing sirens in the night, the sight of his own parents donning gas masks and the vibration of windows as the missiles exploded nearby. "It's not just that the air raids are terrifying, though certainly they are," Rabbi Skolnik said. "It's more that the entire rhythm of the country has been thrown out of kilter."

1992: An Israeli helicopter strike killed the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Abbas al-Musawi.  According to western officials, al-Musawi was responsible for numerous terrorist attacks including the 1983 terror attack in Beirut that killed 300 U.S. and French soldiers.  Musawi may be dead, but Hezbollah and its murderous ways live on.

1996: Youssef Majed al-Molqi who had been sentenced to 30 years for murdering 69 year old wheelchair bound Leon Klinghoffer “left the Rebibbia prison in Rome today, on a 12-day furlough and fled to Spain.

1997: The first Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy opens in New York City leadingto the founding of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance

1997: The New York Times includes a review of The Boy Who Went Away, “Eli Gottlieb’s touching coming-of-age novel…”

1998: The funeral of Abraham Bloch, a graduate of Yeshiva Yitzchak Elchanan who served as the Rabbi of Congregation Petach Tikvah, is scheduled to take place in Brooklyn, NY today.

1998(20th of Shevat, 5758):  Martha Gellhorn, whose father was Jewish, passed away at the age of 89.  Gellhorn gained fame for her reporting during the Spanish Civil War and as one of the many wives of Ernest Hemingway.

1999 (30th of Shevat, 5759): Rosh Chodesh Adar

1999: Today, the police “questioned for 11 hours Avigdor Ben Gal, a former army general who testified in an unsuccessful libel trial Ariel Sharon had brought against Ha’aretz.

1999: The United States Third Court of Appeals ruled on the constitutionality of holiday displays in ACLU versus Schundler.

2000: In an address before the Knesset, German President Johannes Rau asked forgiveness for Germany’s murderous treatment of Europe’s Jews during World War II.

2000: U.S. premiere of “Hanging Up” written by Delia Ephron and Nora Ephron, who also co-produced the comedy which co-starred Lisa Kudrow and Walter Matthau “in his final film appearance.

2001: “Sweet November” produced by Elliot Kastner and Erwin Stoff and featuring Jason Isaacs and Michael Rosenbaum was released in the United States today.

2002(4th of Adar, 5762): Three teenagers from Ginot Shomron – Rachel Thaler, Keren Shatsky and Nehemia Amar – were murdered by terrorist from the PFLP in front of a pizza parlor at the Karnei Shomron Mall on a Saturday night.

2003: “The Unsettlers” published today provides one version of life for Jews living near Nablus.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/16/magazine/the-unsettlers.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

2005: By a vote of 59 to 40 with 5 abstentions, the Knesset “finalized and approved” Sharon’s plan for withdrawal from Gaza after having rejected “a proposed amendment to submit the plan to a referendum.”

2006: Britain's most senior Jewish leader has condemned the Church of England for voting this month to review its investments in companies whose products are used by Israel in the occupied territories. Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said the Anglican vote on whether to pull money from "companies profiting from the illegal occupation" was ill-judged and would inflame relations between the two religions. At a meeting of the Anglican Church’s  governing body, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the world's 77 million Anglicans, sparked anger by supporting the vote. The vote angered many within the Anglican Church and drew criticism from Jewish groups around the world. Williams' predecessor as Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, said the vote made him "ashamed to be an Anglican." In a letter to the Times newspaper, Carey said it was a "one-eyed strategy to rebuke one side and forget the traumas of ordinary Israelis who live in fear of suicide bombers and those whose policy it is to destroy all Jews.”

2006: A revival of Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” opened at the Cort Theatre

2007: Sheik Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch gave a sermon in Jersualem’s Wadi Joz neighborhood in which he “urged supporters to start a third intifada in order to save Al-Aksa Mosque, free Jerusalem and end the end occupation.”  Salah, who denies any Jewish historical claim to Jerusalem or the existence of a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount included these words, “We are not those who ate bread dipped in children’s blood.”  (The Blood Libel is alive and well.)

2007: The Sabbath Queen gets a royal welcome at Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as Rick Recht returns with “Shabbat Alive” Part II. 2007(28th of Shevat, 5767): Mordkhe Schaechter, a leading Yiddish linguist who spent a lifetime studying, standardizing and teaching the language passed away at the age of 79. As reported by Wolfgang Saxon)http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/16/obituaries/16schaechter.html

2008: The Jerusalem Cinematheque features a showing of the internationally acclaimed “The Band’s Visit” 

2009: In New Orleans, “The Expanse of Russia in Israel,” an international conference sponsored by Tulane University’s Jewish Studies Program under the Chairmanship of Dr. Brian Horowitz, enters its second day.  “The conference is devoted to a long-awaited investigation of Zionism and the influence of secular Russian culture on Israeli life.”

2009: France's top judicial body formally recognized the nation's role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during the Holocaust - but effectively ruled out any more reparations for the deportees or their families..

2009:  Wilm Hosenfeld, the German officer made famous in Roman Polanski's 2002 film The Pianist for sheltering two Jews who escaped from the Nazis during the Holocaust has been posthumously recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Memorial.

 2010: Yeshiva University Museum, Center for Jewish History, University of Pennsylvania in cooperation with Centro Primo Levi are scheduled to present “Between Sacred and Profane: Jews and the Modern City: Three Snapshots” part of “a series of talks by fellows at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (U of Penn) who are engaged in a critical analysis of the notions of the "secular" and "religious" as they affect all aspects of Jewish life over the past three centuries.

2010: Israel will erect a memorial commemorating the Red Army’s crucial role in the victory over the Nazis, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a photo opportunity before their meeting today.

2010: Four hundred cadets graduated from the IDF Infantry Officers Training Course today and will be awarded the rank of second lieutenant. 7% of them are young women, 25% are religious, 5% are from kibbutzim, 61% are from cities. For the first time, three of the infantry officer graduates are women who completed the grueling combat course. The highest number of awards for excellence went to the Golani Brigade.

2011: “Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s City,” a lecture by Laura Cohen Apelbaum the Executive Director of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington,  is scheduled to take place at Adas Israel in Washington, D.C.

2011: “Precious Life,” an “acclaimed documentary that explores the paradoxes of a Palestinian infant being treated for a rare immune disorder at an Israeli hospital” during a period when the IDF was fighting to halt rocket attacks from Gaza, is scheduled to be shown at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

2011: The Jewish community of Tunisia filed an official complaint with Tunisian Interior Minister Fahrat Rajhi after several of its members were harassed by protesters outside a synagogue in the capital, Tunis.

2011: Human rights lawyers are attempting to challenge a government decision designating the planned city of Harish as a haredi-only town.

2011: The Iron Dome missile intercept system will be declared operational within a number of weeks, after the Israel Air Force – who will be responsible for operating the system – conducted successful test-runs for the first time yesterday and today.

2011(11th of Adar I, 5771): Len Lesser, a veteran character actor best known for his recurring role in the 1990s as Uncle Leo on the hit NBC-TV comedy "Seinfeld," passed away today at the age of 88 8n Burbank, CA ( As reported by Bruce Weber)
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/arts/television/18lesser.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Len+Lesser&st=nyt

2011: Today in celebration of Black History month Knicks legend and Assistant General Manager Allan Houston received the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Award in front of players and fans at Madison Square Garden. Mr. Houston received the award from Ido Aharoni, Acting Consul General of Israel in New York, in honor of his efforts in spreading compassion and uniting communities of all backgrounds. The Martin Luther King Jr. Award has been presented by the Consulate General of Israel in New York for the past 20 years to individuals and organizations promoting ethnic and cultural understanding. This annual tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. honors the dream of peaceful coexistence between people of diverse religions, cultures, and ethnicities. To commemorate this great visionary, each year the State of Israel, together with the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, honor those whose work keeps alive Dr. King’s legacy of hope and peace.

2012: “Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber” is scheduled to be shown at the Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale in New York.

2012: Yasmin Levy is scheduled to weave her Ladino musical magic at Pace University’s Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts

2012: Mossad chief Tamir Pardo visited New Delhi just days before an attack on Israeli officials in the Indian capital this week, Indian media reported today, highlighting the extent to which Israeli intelligence was in the dark regarding possibility of a terror attack taking place in the country.

2012: Today, the Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for Israelis in Thailand. The warning said that in the wake of the attacks on Israelis in India and Georgia earlier this week, Israelis should “act with caution” when traveling in Thailand. Similar warnings were released Thursday for travelers to Italy, Norway, and Taiwan. 

2012(23rd of Shevat, 5772): At the age of 101, Ethel Stark who in 1940 established the Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra, the first all-female Canadian symphony orchestra which first performed “on the top of Mont Royal” and was “the first Canadian orchestra to play at Carnegie Hall” passed away today.
http://www.jewishpubliclibrary.org/blog/?p=1630

2012: Yair Lapid warned today that Israel might "bring on its own demise" and demanded a change in the system of government.

2013: Cirque du Purim, the YLD”s annual Purim Party is scheduled to take place in Irvine, CA this evening.

2013: “Off White Lies” is scheduled to be shown at the Denver Jewish Film Festival

2013: The IDF evacuated seven Syrian nationals injured in Syria's civil war to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed today. An army spokeswoman said the men had arrived with injuries at the Syrian - Israeli border fence, and received first aid from IDF soldiers on the scene. They were then rushed to hospital for medical care. One of the Syrians suffered serious injuries, four were moderately injured and two suffered light injuries.

2013: The incarceration of “Prisoner X”, the high-security prisoner who committed suicide in Ayalon Prison in 2010, was made necessary by Israel’s “unique” security situation, Vice Premier and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said today

2013: The Justice Ministry is mulling the release of the file concerning the death of Ben Zygier, who committed suicide in prison two years ago, Israeli media reported tonight.

2014: B’nai B’rith Unit # 182 is scheduled to continue a 35-year-long tradition this morning, bringing music and Mardi Gras throws to patients at Touro Infirmary and the residents of Malta Park assisted living facility.

2014: Merna Lyn, author of The Ten Second Diet is scheduled to speak at Congregation Beth Israel in Metairie. LA (As reported by Alan Samson in the Crescent City Jewish News)

2014: In White Plains, NY, “Focus on the Family” sponsored by Frum Divorce is scheduled to come to an end.

2014: The 24th annual Jewish Film Festival in San Diego is scheduled to come to a close.

2014: “Ruth Gruber: Photojournalist,” an exhibition that “celebrates the remarkable life of this photojournalist” is scheduled to open at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.

2014: “Israeli rights groups asked the High Court of Justice today to overturn a law that bans Israelis from calling for a boycott of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”

2014: A memorial service is scheduled to be held today for “Mary Gordon, devoted wife of author Max Shulman for 24 years who passed away at the age of 95 on January, 22, 2014.

2014: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Mad As Hell: The Making of “Network” and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies by Dave Itzkoff, Arik: The Life of Ariel Sharon by David Landau, Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence by Shai Held and Our Mathematical Universe by Max Tegmark, the son of Professor Harold S. Shapiro.

2014: “After blast ripped through tourist bus – killing four – Israeli rescue forces lined up along border crossing in bid to aid rescue operations, transfer wounded to Israeli hospitals – but Egypt refused.” (As reported by Roi Kais)

2015: Ukrainian born Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman is scheduled to perform with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players.

2015(27th of Shevat, 5775): Sixty-eight year old singer Lesley Gore (Lesley Sue Goldstein) passed away today.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/arts/music/lesley-gore-teenage-voice-of-heartbreak-dies-at-68.html?_r=0

2015(27th of Shevat, 5775): Fifty-four year old Pensioner Affairs Minster Uri Orbach passed away today.
http://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-jewish-home-minister-uri-orbach-dies-at-54/

2015: “French prosecutors said” today “they had taken five teenagers into custody suspected of vandalizing hundreds of Jewish graves” “at the Jewish cemetery of Sarre-Union in northeastern France.”

2015: At the Jewish Museum Of London is scheduled to host a talk by curator Elizabeth Selby on the exhibition “For Richer For Poorer: Weddings Unveiled.”

2015: “Tens of thousands of Danes gathered for a torch-lit vigil in central Copenhagen” this evening “to commemorate the victims of two weekend shootings that have shocked the nation and heightened fears of a new surge in anti-Semitic violence.”

2015: Bar-Illan Professor Tova Cohen is scheduled to deliver a lecture on “How Has the Changing Role of Women In Israel Affected Jewish Orthodox Society?” was FIU.

2016” The American Jewish Historical Society and the American Sephardi Federation are scheduled to host a screening of “Flory’s Flame” – a “one-hour documentary about the life and music of renowned 90-year old Sephardic composer and performer Flory Jagoda


2016: The Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center, America-Israel Cultural Foundation and Golden Land Concerts & Connections are scheduled to present a concert by Israeli singer/song writer Noa (Achinoam Nini) and her “longtime collaborator/virtuoso guitarist Gil Dor.

2017: Professor Steve Feller is scheduled to lead the Coe College Thursday Forum in “The Conflicted Jewish World of Chaim Potok” – an examination of the conflicts within Judaism mirrored in the author’s novels.

2017:  The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to host Rina Wolfson speaking on “From the Family to the House of Learning” in which she examines “how Biblical and Rabbinic texts deal with a student's shift from the family home to the house of learning.”

2017: “The Wounded Land” and “The Mezuzah” are scheduled to be shown at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

2017: The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center is scheduled to present “Astrologers, Spies, Merchants and Travelers” which examines the “crucial roles” the Jews played “in Italian courtly life.”


2017: David Friedman, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Israel is scheduled to apologize for “derogatory remarks he made about liberal Jews” including calling them “worse than Kapos” during his confirmation hearings today. (Editor’s note – apparently his mornings prayers do not begin with injunction “I hereby accept upon myself the positive commandment to love my fellow Jew.)
 
 

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