303: The first official Roman edict for the persecution of Christians was issued by Roman Emperor Galerius Valerius Maximianus. This was part a contest between Pagans and Christians for control of the Roman Empire. The Jews were not involved. But they would be the ultimate losers when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire and the Church unleashed the power of the state on all religious groups that opposed it, including the Jews.
1147: In Wurzburg, Germany, a rumor began that a Christian corpse was found in the river which could perform miracles. The Jews were accused to killing the person. In the ensuring riots, twenty two Jews were murdered including the rabbi, Isaac ben Elyukem. After the riot the survivors fled to a local Castle
1221: Alice de Montmorency, wife of Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester passed away. In 1217, Alice ordered the arrest of all of the Jews living in Toulouse. They could either convert or be killed. Children under the age of six were taken from their parents, baptized and raised Christians. Her actions violated the promise her husband had made to the Jews of Toulouse guaranteeing them their freedom and right to practice their religion.
1463: Birthdate of Pico De Mirandola, the Prince of Concordia, who studied Kabbalah with Johanan Aleman and was one of the first Italian nobles to collect Hebrew manuscripts.
1479: After four years of conflict and intrigue, Queen Isabella of Castile secured her throne. Isabella’s machinations to gain control of the kingdom show her as every bit as other female monarchs as Elizabeth of England or Catherine the Great of Russia. Later in the year, she would marry Ferdinand of Aragon, a move that would lead to the creation of the modern Spanish state. Contrary to popular misconception, she was the abler of the two monarchs. In fact, it was only because Ferdinand was a man in a male-dominated society that saved his reputation. Isabella’s accession to the throne was the first in a series of events that would end with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
1510: Pope Julius II excommunicated the Republic of Venice. Many remember Julius II as the Pope who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel. Julius II, like at least one of his predecessors, had a Jewish physician; in this case Samuel Sarfatti. From the Jewish point of view, Julius clashes such as the one that brought on the above mentioned excommunication and aesthetic projects meant that he did not have time to waste on persecuting his Jews. Out of sight out of mind or benign neglect placed Julius on the list of one of the “better Popes.”
1582: Pope Gregory XIII announced the Gregorian calendar. This replaced the Julian Calendar which explains why there is some confusion about various dates in history. Of course the Jews use their own calendar, but as a people who “live in time” it is useful to know when other parts of the Western world began changing the way they keep track of the years.
1590: An entire family of Marranos named de Carabaja “was forced to confess and abjure at a public auto-da-fé, celebrated” today. “Luis de Carabajal the younger, with his mother and four sisters, was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and his brother, Baltasar, who had fled upon the first warning of danger, was, along with his deceased father, Francisco Rodriguez de Matos, burnt in effigy.” (According to some accounts this happened in 1599)
1688(23rd of Adar): Portuguese poet and grammarian Moses Gideon Abudiente passed away.
1739: The army of Iranian ruler Nadir Shah defeats the forces of the Mughal emperor of India, Muhammad Shah at the Battle of Karnal. Nadir Shah’s rise to power marked an improvement in the lives of the Persian Jewish community. The last half of the 17th century had been a period of persecution for the Jews when many of them actually outwardly converted to Islam. Under Nadir, the Jews were once again free to practice their religion in public.
1765: David Tevele Schiff was named as the Rabbi to lead the Great Synagogue in London succeeding Hart Lyon in that position. Hart had actually been the rabbi for the Great Synagogue and the Hambro Synagogue. The two congregations were supposed to continue this practice. But they could not agree on a successor. Once the Great Synagogue had made its decision, the Hambro Synagogue chose Israel Meshullam Solomon to serve as their rabbi.
1831: Birthdate of Leo von Caprivi, who as Chancellor of Germany earned the enmity of the anti-Semites, who were a growing force, when he attacked their leaders in a speech before the Reichstag in 1893.
1835: Birthdate of Sir Julius Vogel, the eighth Premier of New Zealand and the first Jew to hold this position.
1842: Birthdate of German Egyptologist Émile Brugsch who in 1881 “discovered the tomb at Deir el Bahir” which included the mummy of Ramses II, the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
1848: Louis-Philippe, “King of the French,” abdicates the throne. Louis’s reign began with a revolution in 1830 and ended with a revolution in 1848. This monarch from the house of Orleans was a rather dull character when compared to the glory of the Bourbons and Bonaparte but it was his very dullness that got him to the throne. As is so often the case, Louis’ record in dealing with the Jews is a mixed bag. As Elliot Rosenberg points, by the time Louis came to the throne French Jews were well on their way to full emancipation. Under Louis, “rabbis joined other clerics paid from the state exchequer.” While English Jews were still denied entry to Oxford and Cambridge, the doors “opened widely” at French universities. “Jewish communities joined in praising” him as the monarch who “’had enlarged our liberties.’” In 1835, Louis defended the rights of French Jews in a diplomatic conflict with the Swiss. James de Rothschild, head of the French branch of the House of Rothschild was “a royal intimate” who according to his brother Salomon “goes to the palace whenever he wishes. James was not only a pillar of the French government, he was also the man who handled the “personal investment accounts” of the French monarch. All this good will was tainted by the Damascus Affair in which the French sided with those who supported the claim of the Blood Libel against Jews living in Syria. The French were trying to establish their sphere of influence in the Middle East and North Africa and if the price was that of a few Jews, so be it. Regardless, by the time of the abdication, Jewish emancipation in France was so ingrained that nothing would stem that tide. Of course, the Dreyfus Affair, fifty years later would demonstrate the illusory nature of that emancipation. Louis’s successor, Napoleon III would prove to be “bad for the French people” and therefore “bad for the Jews.”
1848: As the revolutionary forces took power, the Republicans named Adolphe Cremieux, a prominent lawyer, statesman and leader of the French Jewish community, to serve as the minister of justice. During his time in office, he “secured the decrees abolishing the death penalty for political offenses, and making the office of judge immovable.” “He was instrumental in declaring an end to slavery in all French Colonies, for which some have called him the French Abraham Lincoln.”
1860(1st of Adar, 5620): Rosh Chodesh Adar
1863: In Vienna, Austria, Rabbi Ignatz and Nettie (Rosenbaum) Grossman gave birth to Louis Grossman who graduated from Hebrew Union College and served as the rabbi at Detroit’s Temple Bethel and Congregation B’nai Yeshurun in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1864: During the Civil War, Joseph B. Greenhut, who had been fighting as a member of the Union Army since April of 1861, resigned his commission and returned to civilian life. Greenhut had fought at a series of famous battles including Fort Donelson, Gettysburg and Lookout Mountain.
1868(1st of Adar, 5628): Rosh Chodesh Adar
1868: Alphonse, Baron de Rothschild and his wife Leonora, the daughter of Baron Lionel de Rothschild of London gave birth to their only son Edouard who fought a duel during the Dreyfus case.
1874: Birthdate of Moshe Smilansky, the native of Telepino and brother of Meir and Anna Smilansky who first came to Palestine in 1890 as part of the First Aliyah, became an author who wrote in Hebrew and was a proponent of a bi-national state in the 1930’s.
1877: An agreement was reached today between the Ottoman rulers and the Serbian envoys led by Prince Milan. The Serbians agreed to all of the conditions set by the Turks except two, one of which was the requirement that the Jews of Serbia be granted the same rights as all other Serbs.
1878: “Is Disraeli A Jew” was published today.
1878: The Young Men’s Hebrew Association met tonight in New York to discuss the proposal made by Thomas Grady to abolish the Free College.
1879(1st of Adar, 5639) Rosh Chodesh Adar
1881: Seventeen year old Marion Calish, the Hebrew teacher at Professor Felix Adler’s kindergarten who has been missing since the 19th, was found just before midnight tonight by a traveling salesman who took her to the local police precinct.
1882: A man who claimed to be named Rothschild and is thought to be Jewish attempted to use a bogus check to pay for purchases at A & C Myer in New York City.
1882: Two of the Jewish refugees from Russia who arrived in Philadelphia, PA on the SS Illinois are the only ones who have been identified as being sick – that is two out over three hundred men, women and children.
1882: A cable sent to the Toronto Globe from London stated that at a meeting of the Committee on the Fund for the Relief of Russo-Jewish Refugees, Sir A.T. Galt suggested that two or three of the Jewish refugees should be allowed to go to Canada’s Northwest Territories to make arrangements for the arrival of their co-religionists.
1885: Birthdate of Joseph Sprinzak, first Speaker of Israeli Knesset. “Born in Moscow, Sprinzak's father was active in the Hovevei Zion. When Jews were expelled from Moscow in 1891, the family moved to Kishinev and then Warsaw. The home was a center for young Hebrew writers and Zionists. In the early 1900s, he was one of the organizers of HaTehiyah, a Zionist group led by Yitzhak Gruenbaum. During this period he worked in a Hebrew publishing house as well as on Hebrew and Yiddish newspapers in Warsaw. In 1905 he returned to Kishinev where he was active in Zionist affairs. In 1908 he spent several months in Constantinople where he was in contact with Zionist leaders, and then went to Beirut to study medicine. His studies were cut very short when, after just a few months, he was asked to become secretary of HaPoel HaZair. During World War I he was in Eretz Yisrael and after the war, was instrumental in founding Hitahdut, a world movement which joined HaPoel HaZair and Zeirei Zion. A delegate to the 11th and 12th Zionist Congresses, Sprinzak became the first representative of the yishuv's labor movement to be elected to the Zionist Executive. When independence was declared in 1948, he was elected to the Provisional State Council as well as the first three Knessets, serving as speaker for 10 years. Joseph Sprinzak was known as a Zionist leader who strongly identified with the rank-and-file, both in Israel and abroad. His conception of Zionism was based on socialism and the process of national rebirth. During his tenure as secretary of HaPoel HaZair, he was involved in the absorption of Jews from Yemen. During World War I, he helped organize the yishuv's Jewish workers. In the 1920s, as a member of the Zionist executive, he was head of the Labor and then the Aliyah Departments. He also helped found the Histadrut labor federation and was a member of the Tel Aviv municipality. In the 1930s, as a member of the Histadrut executive, Sprinzak was instrumental in the formation of Ben-Gurion's Mapai political party. In the 1940s he became a leading member of the Zionist General Council and eventually was general secretary of the Histadrut. As Knesset speaker during the body's first 10 years, Sprinzak had a major influence on the country's emerging democracy. He died in 1959.”
1889: Birthdate of Aleksei Denisovich Dikiy, the native of the Ukraine and brother of actress Maria Sukhodolska – Dikova who was a Soviet actor and director during the Stalin era.
1889: Birthdate of Jacques (Jacob) Presser “a Dutch historian, writer and poet best known for his book Ashes in the Wind: The destruction of the Dutch Jews which descried “the persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands during World War II.”.
1890: It was reported today that Sarah Bernhardt will be returning to the United States in October to perform at the Broadway Theatre in New York City.
1890: It was reported today that at the request of Elsie Leslie, 500 hundred children from the Industrial Schools of the Associated Hebrew Charities will attend one of her final matinee performances of “The Prince and the Pauper at the Broadway Theatre. (Elsie Leslie was a noted child actress of her time. Born in 1881, she passed away in 1966. I cannot find any reason why she singled out a school for Jewish students for this treat.)
1890: It was reported today that the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society is caring for nearly 600 children, 200 of whom were girls and 400 were boys.
1891: “Elevated Funeral Trains” published today described the decision of the Directors of the Union Elevated Railroad in Brooklyn to extend service to Cypress Cemetery and the “numerous Jewish cemeteries in the neighborhood and to establish funeral trains consisting of a car for the coffin and two or three cars for the funeral party. Most of the directors are Jewish and Edward Lauterbach who is counsel for the company is attempting to establish contracts with various synagogues to convey the funeral parties from the ferries or bridge to the cemetery.
1893: The American University, a private Methodist university in Washigton, D.C. is chartered by an act of the Congress of the United States of America. A.U. has over one thousand Jewish undergraduate students out of a total of almost 6,000. Out of an estimated 4,700 grad students, 1,000 are Jewish. The school offers a minor in Jewish Studies, a university program in Israel and the services of an authorized Hillel House.
1893(8th of Adar): Benjamin Henry Ascher, Hebrew scholar and author passed away
1893: “At the second session of the 52nd Congress…a bill was presented to the House ordering that a gold medal be struck off in recognition of the services rendered by Haym Solomon during the Revoluionary War, in consider of which the Salomon heirs waived their claims upon the United States for indemnity.” The full House never took action on the resolution.
1894: It was reported that Kuhn, Loeb & Co is among the contributors to the Citizens’ Relief Committee which has raised $94, 065.50 for those suffering from the effects of the economic depression.
1894: It was reported today that Jacob H. Schiff, Solomon Loeb and Abraham Wolff are among the prominent citizens who have joined a movement led by Cornelius Vanderbilt “to establish a pawn broking establishment” in New York modeled on “public pawn broking establishing that have been of great help to the poor in several large European cities.
1895: “A Most Noble Charity” published today described the work of the Montefiore Home for Incurables which “was originally intended as home where incurable patients should be received and made comfortable during their lives” has not taken on the additional role of providing treatment for chronic invalids” many of whom “were hopelessly stricken by disease” but have left the facility “in the full possession of health.
1896: “Religion In Large Cities” published today described the conditions of religious institutions in New York City including the fact that there “51 Hebrew organizations” in the city.
1896: According to Emily Crawford of the Associated Press, Prince Henry of Orleans is hoping to capitalize on the anti-Dreyfus spirit as a way of bringing about the downfall of the Republic which he no doubt hopes will be replaced with a Monarchy.
1898: Birthdate of Romanian born American political scientist and Fabian Socialist Herman Finer the University of Chicago professor and author who is the brother of Samuel Finer.
1898: “Prison and Fine For Zola” published today described the scene in the courtroom when Emile Zola was convicted. The verdict was handed down at seven in the evening but the jury had agreed on its decision days ago in response, in part to threats from the mob that surrounded the court during the trial. In response to the sentence which stemmed from his defense of Captain Dreyfus the defamed Jewish officer Zola compared himself to Christ saying that he too was “a victim of mob violence office cowardice and a grand miscarriage of justice.” (Considering that the Catholic Churc were one of the groups arrayed against him, this was a bold, fitting, comparison.)
1899(14th of Adar, 5659): Last Purim celebration of the 19th century.
1902: In Berlin, the ninth meeting of the Union of Judæo-German Congregations came to end.
1904: Herzl writes, "Yesterday I had a most curious visitor: Ali Nuri Bey ... His proposal ... comes to this: Sail into the Bosporus with two cruisers, bombard Yildiz, let the Sultan flee or capture him, put in another Sultan (Murad or Reshad), but first form a provisional government - which is to give us the Charter for Palestine...."
1906: Birthdate of Yosef Serline, the native of Bialystok who served as personal secretary Nahum Sokolow before making Aliyah in 1930 following he which he served as an MK in the first seven Knessets.
1906: Birthdate of Yosef Serlin, the native of Bialystok who made Aliyah in 1933 and worked as lawyer in Tel Aviv while pursuing a political career that included serving as member of the First Knesset.
1906: “Their Stores to Close Saturdays” published today described the decision of the East Side Dry Goods Merchants’ Association to give their employees the day off on Saturday because they did little or no business because the vast majority of customers were Jews.
1907(10th of Adar, 5667): Composer Otto Goldschmidt passed away at the age of 87.
1908: Muller v. Oregon in which Louis Brandeis “as additional counsel for the state of Oregon” filed the first of its kind of brief now known as the “Brandeis Brief” which relied “more on a compilation of scientific information and social science than on legal citations” was decided today by the Supreme Court in favor of the state of Oregon
1908(22nd of Adar): Rabbi Jehiel Michal Epstein of Novogrdok, Russia author of Arukh ha-Shulhan passed away
1909: Birthdate of Max Black. Born in Azerbaijan, raised and educated in England, Black became a U.S. citizen in 1948. It is hard to classify him because his interests were so varied. “Black was famed for his contributions to the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mathematics and science, the philosophy of art, conceptual analysis, and his studies of the work of several major philosophers. Black was a prolific author and lists of his publications contain over 200 items. He passed away in 1988.
1910: Birthdate of Fred Sington, the native of Birmingham, Alabama, who as an all-America tackle at the University of Alabama, led the Crimson Tide to the national championship in 1930 before going on to a major league baseball career with the Washington Senators and Brooklyn Dodgers.
1912: “The Sunshine Girl” a musical comedy “with a book by Paul A. Rubens” opened at the Gaiety Theatre in London.
1912: “At a meeting at Temple Emanu-El in New York City today, Henrietta Szold together with other Zionist women, proposed to the Daughters of Zion study circle that they expand their purpose and embrace proactive work to help meet the health needs of Palestine's people” which resulted in the birth of Hadassah, the largest women's organization in America.
1914: Birthdate of Esta Saltzman the native of Boston, MA who gained fame as Yiddish actress Esta Saltzman Lubin
1915: It was reported today that Jews were among the hundreds of thousands who were suffering and has lost everything because they lived along the borders of between Russia and Germany where much of the fighting was taking place on the Eastern Front and were now fleeing to avoid the advancing and retreating armies.
1916: Representatives from the National Jewish Workmen’s Committee on Jewish Rights are scheduled to attend “a public hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations of the House of Representatives called for the purposed of considering a resolution…urging that all legal disabilities of the Jews be removed in the countries now at war.”
1916: In Congress, “the Committee on Foreign Relations” is scheduled to hold a public hearing on a joint resolution offered by Representative London and Senator Lane supporting the cause of peace and “the removal of discriminations against Jews wherever they exist.”
1916: The Zionist Council of New York held a mass meeting at Cooper Union tonight. Louis Lipsky, who presided over the meeting, attacked the critics of the Zionist movement, including fellow Jews who had called it a “partisan issue.” He said that “Zionism is the essential ingredient of any policy the Jewish people may adopt at this time time for the protection of Jewish interests.” Wolf Gluskin, who has only arrived in the United States from Palestine where he had helped to establish one of first Zionist settlements, told the assembly about the suffering being experienced by 35,000 Palestinian Jews as a result of the World War. The wine industry, which the Jewish settlers had worked so hard to develop, was on the verge of destruction. The New York Zionists also heard from Dr. Ben Zion Mossinsohn, a teacher living in Jaffa and Dr. Schmaraya Levin of the International Zionist Committee.
1917: H. Pereira Mendes celebrates his 40th anniversary as rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel of New York City.
1917: Dr. Samuel Schulman is scheduled to leader Saturday morning services at Temple Beth-El in Manhattan.
1917: Dr. Enelow is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “How Can We Gain the Benefits of Religion” at Temple Emanu-El.
1917: At Temple Israel of Harlem, Dr. M.H. Harris is scheduled to deliver a Sabbath sermon on “The Temple and Israel.”
1917: The Judeo-Spanish newspaper El Emigrante was established in New Jersey.
1917: The Russian Revolution begins in earnest when troops of the Czar fire on the citizens of St. Petersburg. This is the first, non-Bolshevik Russian Revolution. Jews played an active role in the various upheavals that would bring an end to the reign of the Czars. The Jews did not realize that anti-Semitism was such an integral part of the Russian psyche that it would survive and flourish under the next wave of autocrats – the Communists who replaced the Czars.
1917: The German plan to bring Mexico into World War on the German side is exposed. The incident is referred to as the “Zimmerman telegram.” Zimmerman was the German foreign minister. This bit of arrogance and ignorance was one of the causes of the United States entering the war in April of 1917. The Jewish author Barbara Tuchman wrote a very readable and informative book on this subject.
1918: Einstein wrote “to an academic correspondent who had rebuked him for his dislike of war, ‘Your ostentatious Teutonic muscle-flexing runs rather against my grain. I prefer to string along with my compatriot Jesus Christ, whose doctrines you and your kind consider to be obsolete. Suffering is indeed more acceptable to me than resort to violence.’”
1918: It was reported today that the Joint Distribution Committee has appropriated an additional $100,000 to help pay for “the medical unit being formed by Hadassah” which is to be sent to Palestine.
1918: It was reported today that Joint Distribution Committee has allocated $500,000 “for the general relief” of Jews living “in the occupied parts of Russia, including Poland, Lithuania and Lublin” and $800,000 to help “the wives and children of American Jews stranded in Harbin to join their husbands” in the United States.
1920: The Nazi party held it first major meeting in Munich, Germany.
1921: In New York City, two Jewish immigrants from Russia – Samuel Vigoda and the former Lena Moses gave birth to actor Abraham “Abe” Charles Vigoda known to many as “Tessio” the mobster who betrayed Michael Corleone in the “The Godfather” and Detective Fish in the comedy cop show “Barney Miller.” https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/arts/television/abe-vigoda-actor-of-godfather-fame-dies-at-94.html?hpw&rref=obituaries&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0
1921: In Cincinnati, Ohio, the Board of Governors announced that Dr. Kaufman Kohler, President of the Hebrew Union College, will retire at the end of the current academic year. Dr. Kohler has been serving as President since February, 1903.
1921: As head of the Colonial Office, Winston Churchill makes his first commitment to practical Zionist enterprise by approving Pinchas Rutenberg’s plan to harness the waters of the Jordan and Yarkon rivers for electrical power enabling the Jews to begin to make further plans for substantial urban and rural development.1922: Birthdate of actor Steven Hill. Born Solomon Krakovsky in Seattle Washington, he is best known for his role as Adam Schiff on the television series “Law and Order.
1922: Birthdate of Seattle, Washington, native Solomon Krkovsky, who gained fame as actor Steven Hill who was the “original team leader” on “Mission: Impossible” and the long-serving New York District Attorney Adam Schiff on “Law and Order.”
1922(26th of Shevat, 5682): Sir Ellis Kadoorie passed away today and was buried in keeping with Jewish ritual was buried on the same day at the Jewish Cemetery in Hong Kong. Born in 1865, he was part of prominent Jewish family from Baghdad that moved to Bombay and eventually made their fortune in a variety of enterprises many of which were located in China and Hong Kong.
1923: In New York Hungarian born composer George Steiner and his wife gave birth Frederick
“Fred” Steiner whose most famous musical accomplishments may be creating the theme song for the ironic cartoon comedy show featuring Rocky and Bullwinkle and CBS’s popular series “Perry Mason.”
1925(30th of Shevat): Rabbi Isaac Jeroham Diskin passed away
1926: In Washington, DC, President Calvin Coolidge received a delegation from “Agudath Israel, the world organization of Orthodox Jewry, who extended the felicitations of the organization.”
1928: Birthdate of Ezat Delijani, a 1979 refugee from Iran’s Islamic Revolution who became a prominent Los Angeles businessman (As reported by Dennis McLellan)
1929(14th of Adar I, 5689): Purim Katan
1929(14th of Adar I) 5689): Twenty-nine year old Sophie Josephine Franks, the daughter of Louis and Emma Sachs and the wife of Siegfried Frank passed away today in Winschoten.
1932: Senator George Norris, the Republican from Nebraska who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee was reported today to have said that he did not know of any plans for speeches being given in the Senate expressing opposition to the confirmation of Benjamin Cardozo as a Supreme Court Justice.
1932: Benjamin N. Cardozo was confirmed by a unanimous voice vote in the Senate to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Compare the ease with which Cardozo’s name sailed through the approval process with the contentious combat that surrounded the confirmation of Justice Brandeis.
1932: The Maccabee Association of the United States hosts a benefits concert at Carnegie Hall to raise funds for an athletic stadium in Tel Aviv.
1936: “Henrietta Szold…replied today to Palestine Jewry’s greetings on her seventy-fifth birthday, stating that without their assistance she could have achieved nothing.”
1936: In Jaffa, Arabs picketing construction sites where schools were being built “stoned Jewish laborers and policemen, dangerously wounding one British constable and seriously damaging” at least one building.
1940: Stop Me If You've Heard This One was a comedy radio series hosted by Milton Berle and featuring Harry Hershfield (the Jewish Will Rogers) as a panelist was broadcast for the last time.
1940: Winston Churchill shared a telegram with the War Cabinet in which Chaim Weizmann described the “deplorable” effect that adoption of the Land Transfer Regulations would have. The War Cabinet was unmoved by the plea.
1941: Following a two-long pogrom in Amsterdam, “an open air meeting was held on the Noordermarkt to organize a strike to protest against the pogrom as well as the forced labor in Germany.
1942: The Struma was torpedoed and sunk by the Soviet submarine SC 213. Approximately 769 illegal Jewish immigrants aboard the Struma perished on their way to Palestine. The Struma was one of a series of ships filled with Jews that attempted to run the British blockade. The blockade was part of the British commitment to the Arabs to keep Jews out of Palestine in violation of the Balfour Declaration and the terms of the Mandate. The British slavishly enforced the blockade during and after World War II. The Struma traversed the Black Sea and attempted to stop at Istanbul. But the British told the Turks that the Jews would not be allowed to land in Palestine so they turned the ship back in the Black Sea. It was there that the ship was sunk, reportedly torpedoed by a Nazi submarine. Exodus by Leon Uris is based on another blockade running episode that took place in 1947.
1942: In Stamford, CT, liquor store owner Henry Lieberman and Marcia (nee Manger) Lieberman gave birth to Joseph Isadore “Joe” Lieberman the U.S. Senator from Connecticut and the first Jew to run for Vice President of the United States on the ticket of a major political party.
1943: Hitler sent Nazi members a message on the anniversary of the establishment of the Nazi Party, "The struggle will end . . . with the liquidation of Jewry in Europe."
1944: At Birkenau, 200 of the 800 prisoners in the Sonderkommando were sent to Majdanek where they were shot.
1944: Birthdate of Bucharest native Dan Manor (Menes) who perished when the Dakar was lost in 1968/
1944: Max Jacob a French artist, who was born Jewish but converted to Catholicism, was arrested by the Gestapo and put into Orléans prison. He was then transferred to a holding camp in Drancy for transport to a concentration camp in Germany.
1946: In Tel Aviv, a throng of more than 50,000 Jews attended the funeral of four men killed during an attack on several RAF airfields. For more than six hours, this “all-Jewish” city was truly in control of the Jewish people as there were no signs of any British police or soldiers. Jewish newspapers published black-bordered obituaries for each of the deceased. During the funeral, the Haganah distributed leaflets, giving further proof that the airfield attacks were not the work of the Irgun, but were the work of a broader-based Jewish resistance movement. The attack and the public outpouring of grief seemed to indicate a change in mood among the Jewish population who were now apparently willing to support more aggressive tactics designed to secure their national home in light of what they have come to view of as the British betrayal of the Zionist cause and their support for the Arabs.
1946: Birthdate of Michael Radford the New Delhi born son of an Austrian Jewish mother who became a successful director and screenwriter who directed the 2004 film version of the Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino as Shylock.
1947: Birthdate of Lawrence Bailey Bogdanow an architect whose love for natural materials and fine craftsmanship brought a sense of warmth and ease to the interiors of dozens of Manhattan’s most popular restaurants, including Union Square Café, Savoy and the Cub Room (As reported by William Grimes)
1947: Birthdate of Juval Aviv, the native of kibbutz Kfar Menachem who is known as an Israeli-American security consultant and writer.
1949: "Under the auspices of the United Nations Mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche, an armistice was signed between Egypt and Israel." This marked, more or less, the end of Israel's War for Independence. "It was the first such agreement between Israel and any of its warring neighbors. The aim of the armistice was not merely to end the fighting but, as its terms stated to 'facilitate the transition...to permanent peace'. The phrase was taken from the United Nations Security Council resolution of November 16." Unfortunately, the Egyptians and the other Arab nations only viewed this as a cease fire. Over the next several decades they would violate the spirit and the agreement as they sought to destroy the state of Israel. For the Israelis the armistice was a great victory won against seemingly impossible odds. When asked to explain the reason for this victory which sealed the creation of the Jewish state, Yigal Yadin replied, "If we are to condense all the various factors, and they are many, which brought about victory, I would not hesitate to credit the extraordinary qualities of Israel's youth, during the War of Independence, with that victory." In other words, it was the spirit of the people that provided the will to hold out in the early dark days and then to take advantage of later breakthroughs to turn toward victory. As we study Jewish History, it will be interesting to see the similarity between the causes of Jewish victories in ancient and modern times.
1949: President Weizmann entrusted David Ben-Gurion with the task of forming Israel’s first government.
1950: Ada Maimon, a member of the Knesset, is spearheading the drive to tighten Israel’s marriage laws. She is seeking to raise the minimum age of consent from 15 to 18 and tighten up on rules concerning the exceptions. Current law, which is left over from the British mandate allows girls to marry at the age of 15 but allows for marriage at a younger age with parental consent. Miss Maimon would limit exceptions to girls at the age of 17. Miss Maimon, who is a member of the Knessett, is most concerned about ending what she considers the abuse of this “loophole” that has girls as young as 12 getting married. Primary opposition is coming from Jews of Oriental orign who are offended by Miss Maimon’s characterization of Oriental mothers as “breeding delinquents.” The fifty-seven year old Miss Maimon is the sister of Rabbi Judah L. Maimon Israel’s Minister for Religious Affairs and is in charge of the agricultural training farm at Ayanot that was founded in 1930.
1952: Birthdate of Simon Weinstock, British businessman and racehorse owner.
1953: Birthdate of March Feinstein the native of Mitchell, South Dakota who has served as the Representative from the 14th District in the South Dakota House of Repesentatives.
1954: Birthdate of Dutch author Leon de Winter whose works include the novels Kaplan and Hoffman’s Hunger.
1956: “Churchill received the Israeli Ambassador, Eliahu Elath, who presented him with a portfolio of woodcuts depicting ancient Jerusalem as an eightieth birthday gift from the Prime Minister and Government of Israel.
1956: Birthdate of television journalist, Paula Zahn.
1958: In London, Katherine Margaret McAdam and Lucian Freud gave birth Jane McAdam the “winner of the 2014 European Trebbia Award” who is the great-grand daughter of Sigmund Freud.
1959: Twenty-one year old “Roughhouse Rudy” LaRusso scored 29 points as Dartmouth defeated Holy Cross.
1967(13th of Adar I, 5727): German born, American composer Franz Waxman passed away. Waxman was nominated for 12 Oscars. In back to back victories he won for “Sunset Boulevard” and “A Place in the Sun.” These two films give us a sense of the breadth of Waxman’s skills since the first film was classic cinema noir and the second was a Western.
1972(9th of Adar, 5732): Ninety-year old Sidney Hollander, a 1902 graduate of the University of Maryland, President of the Maryland Pharmaceutical Company and the national president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds from 1939 to 1956 passed away today in Baltimore.
1973: First screening today of “A Brand New Life” starring Martin Balsam with music by Billy Goldenberg.
1976: Jules Feiffer's "Knock Knock" premiered in New York City.
1976: Birthdate of Kiryat Ata native Yuval Noah Harari, a professor of History at Hebrew University and the history of two major works: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
1977(6th of Adar, 5737): Fifty-five year old Milton “Milt” Kaimen who was a successful French horn player and occupied a French horn chair at the Metropolitan Opera” before pursuing his career as a comedic actor and standup comedian passed away today.
1981: Jean Harris was convicted of murdering Dr. Herman Tarnower, the Jewish author of the bestselling The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet. From “eat, eat my children eat” to a mania for weight watching; such is the Jewish experience in the last hundred years.
1981: Two bronze doors, weighing about 200 pounds, were stolen from a mausoleum at the Baron Hirsch Cemetery on Staten Island cemetery today. The police estimated the value of the doors at $600.
1983(11th of Adar, 5743): Ta’anit Esther
1987(24th of Shevat, 5747): Marian Gerber Greenberg, who worked closely with Henrietta Szold, the founder of the Hadassah, the Woman's Zionist Organization of America, and its Youth Aliyah to help rescue thousands of Jewish children from Nazi Germany, died of congestive heart failure at the Cooley-Dickenson Hospital, Northampton, Mass. She was 89 years old and lived in Amherst, Mass. Mrs. Greenberg was the first national chairman of Youth Aliyah, serving in the post from 1936 to 1941. A national board member of Hadassah since 1927, she was a national vice president and a Hadassah delegate to five world Zionist Congresses between 1931 and 1952. She was also national chairman of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Building Fund. She edited the Hadassah newsletter (now a magazine) and, from 1943 to 1946 was editor of the monthly bulletin of the Citizens' Housing and Planning Council of New York. A former resident of Manhattan, she retired to Amherst in 1976, where she taught courses in the Bible and modern Jewish thought, sponsored by the Judaic Studies department of the University of Massachusetts. She was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Cornell University in 1919. She was the widow of David Greenberg, a writer on wildlife and conservation, who died in 1968.
1988(6th of Adar, 5748): Sixty-one year old Seymour Siegel, the Rabbi who has been a major force in Conservative Judaism for the last four decades passed away today. (As reported by Ari L.Goldman
1989(19th of Adar I): Sergeant Binyamin Meisner, an Israeli paratrooper, was killed today when he was struck in the head by a concrete block thrown from a building in Nablus, in the West Bank, the army said. Meisner, a 24-year-old reserve sergeant, is the sixth Israeli soldier to die in the current Arab wave of violence.
1989: Premiere of “My Left Foot” starring Daniel Day-Lewis with music by Elmer Bernstein.
1991: The New York Times reviews To Know A Woman by Amos Oz.
1994(12th of Adar, 5754): Dinah Shore passed away. Born Francis Rose Shore in 1916, the Tennessee native gained fame as a singer and star of her own television variety show. (As reported by Stephen Holden)
1996: Andrew Beckerman-Rodau a Jewish professor at Suffolk University Law School flew from Detroit to Kiev. His visit to Kiev was at the invitation of the Ukrainian Supreme Court in cooperation with USAID, an agency of the United States government. USAID's mission is to assist this newly independent country in developing a democratic government.
1996: For the first time, HBO televised “The Late Shift” featuring Bab Balaban and Sandra Bernhard for the first time.
1997: Time published “Echoes of the Holocaust” that describes attempt for victims regain some of the wealth stolen from them be bankers during the Nazi domination of Europe.
1998(27th of Shevat, 5758): Comedian Henny Youngman passed away at the age of 92. Youngman was famous for his tagline “Take my wife please.” Youngman did not have a Bar Mitzvah as a child. When he was in his seventies, he finally had one much to his joy and delight. (As reported by Mervyn Rothstein)
1999(7th of Adar, 5759): David Daube, a world renowned Biblical law scholar who charmed generations of students while teaching at the University of California, Berkeley's law school passed away at the age of 90.
2001(18th of Adar I, 5760): Eight-four year old Bronx born Bernard Opper, the All SEC Guard for the pre-WWII University of Kentucky Wildcats who went on to play for nine years in the pros passed away today.
2001(1st of Adar, 5761): Rosh Chodesh Adar
2002: Bruce Fleisher won the RJR (Golf) Championship
2002(11th of Adar, 5762): Leo Orenstein, Russian born American composer and pianist passed away at the age of 89.
2002: “An exhibition of the work of colonial silversmith Mike Myers, one of the most accomplished craftsman working in pre-industrial America” is scheduled to open today at the Skirball Cultural Center.
2002: In Salt Lake City, the Winter Olympics where Sarah Hughes won a Gold Medal for Ladies’ Figure Skating came to a close today.
2002: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including A Life in Pieces: The Making and Unmaking of Binjamin Wilkomirski by Blake Eskin and Kindred Souls: The Friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and David Gurewitsch by Edna P. Gurewitsch. (Gurewitsch, the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia was “Eleanor Roosevelt's friend, confidant, personal physician, housemate, and traveling companion during her post-White House years.”)
2003(22nd of Adar I, 5736): Ninety-two year old 10-time Oscar nominated composer Walter Scharf passed away today.
2006: London Mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended from office for four weeks after being found guilty of bringing his office into disrepute by comparing a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard.
2006: “After the Wedding” directed by Susanne Bier was released today in Denmark.
2006: "Growing Up Jewish In Nogales: Memories Of a Bygone Era," by Renee Claire and "Tucson Was a Wonderful Place to Grow Up In the '40s and '50s," by Lori Olshansky Sobel err published today in the Arizona Jewish Post.
2007: Israel Non-Stop “seven days of cutting edge Israeli music, theatre, film, art, food and more” began in New York with the appearance of Israeli music phenomenon Mosh Ben-Ari. According to the playbill, “Mosh Ben-Ari combines ecstatic middle eastern rhythms, spirituality, and scents of reggae and African beats. Mosh Ben-Ari's joyous concerts around the world turn into high spirited celebrations for peace. His recently released album, Go Giving, has been praised by music critics and fans alike.”
2007: “West Bank Story” won the Academy Award for Short Film-Live Action. The 21 minute musical has a “West Side Story” motif. “In this case the confrontation is between competing West Bank Falafel stands, the Israeli Kosher King and the Palestinian Hummus Hut.
2008: Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Ulman was one of the main speakers at a major protest rally against the growing influence of nationalistic (Zionist) thought and philosophies in the Haredi world” Born in Hungary, Ulman is an expert on Jewish law pertaining to fiancé and property and he is a member of the Dushinksy Hasidic Movement founded by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky
2008: “Burnt Diary Yields Horror of Warsaw Ghetto” published today described the recovery of the writings of person known only as “Debora” who chronicled life in one of the most infamous places of Jewish captivity.
2008: In Australia at Parliament House, Rabbis Reisenberg, Rubinfeld and Gutnik are scheduled to officiate at the marriage of Federal Labor MP Michael Darby and Amanda Mendes Da Costa “in the first Jewish wedding to be held in the big house” with the bedecken taking place in the Marble Hall followed by the trip to the chuppah which was erected at the Queens Terrace. (As reported by Jehane Sharah)
2008: The Sunday New York Times book section featured a review of a biography about Jewish author and playwright David Mamet entitled David Mamet: A Life In The Theatre by Ira Nadel.
2008: An exhibition styled “CHIM: The Photography of David Seymour (1911 – 1956)” came to an end at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco.
2008: The Washington Post book section featured a review of Alfred Kazin: A Biography by Richard M. Cook and Staring At The Sun Overcoming the Terror of Death by Irvin D. Yalom, the award winning Jewish born psychiatrist and author.
2008: Israelis (and many others) wonder if Beaufort directed by Joseph Cedar will win the Oscar for best Foreign Language Film. This is the seventh time an Israeli film has been nominated in this category. Beaufort is set “in the days leading up to Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. The soldiers stationed at the mountaintop outpost of Beaufort live under a barrage of constant attacks. Frustrated by the knowledge that they are risking--and often losing--their lives in defense of a fortress that will soon be abandoned, the men struggle to do their duty while grieving for their dead comrades and preparing for the evacuation.” The movie is based on the novel Im Yesh Gan Eden (If There is a Paradise) by Ron Leshem, who co-wrote the screenplay with Cedar.
2009: Dalia Itzik completed her term as Speaker of the Knesset
2009: Paul Finkelman, a professor of law and public policy who had reviewed Eli Faber’s Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight and is the author of Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson, presents a lecture on abolitionist John Brown as part of the "Great Lives Lecture Series" at the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA.
2009: More than 300 rabbis gather at the 120th annual Central Conference American Rabbis convention opens in Jerusalem, Israel.
2009(1st of Adar, 5769): Rosh Chodesh Adar
2009(1st of Adar, 5769): Eighty-seven year old choreographer Pearl Lang, the founder of the Pearl Lang Dance Theatre passed away today. (As reported by Jack Anderson)
2009: More than three months after the 17th Knesset was dispersed, the 18th Knesset was sworn in this afternoon, in a ceremony that began with a moving speech by President Shimon Peres, during which he paid tribute to the IDF for the recent Gaza operation, hailed US President Barack Obama's election and called for a peace deal with the Palestinians during the next Knesset's term.
2009: The Jerusalem Post reported that an archive of over 10,000 works of modern Yiddish literature has gone on-line. The collection of full texts, comprising the National Yiddish Book Center's Steven Spielberg Digital Library, can be read, downloaded and printed free at
The project of putting 3 million pages on-line was undertaken by the Yiddish Book Center and the Internet Archive of San Francisco. "It's an historic moment for Yiddish culture," said Aaron Lansky, founder and president of the nonprofit Yiddish Book Center. "The magnificent record of a civilization the Nazis sought to destroy has been brought fully into the 21st century." The collection includes original novels, stories, poetry, drama and nonfiction titles published in Yiddish over the past 150 years. Most out-of-print Yiddish works are already in the public domain. Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, said, "This is the first time a full literature of a people has been available on-line. We hope others follow the Yiddish Book Center's pioneering example."
2010: The Israel Ballet, Israel's foremost classical ballet company which was founded in 1967 by Berta Yampolsky and Hillel Markman is scheduled to perform "Don Quixote" in Elmira, NY.
2010: Ted Leonsis, the AOL entrepreneur and the owner of the Washington Capitals as well as a partner in the Washington Wizards franchise, is scheduled to discuss his new book, "The Business of Happiness: 6 Secrets to Extraordinary Success in Life and Work," at the Sixth & Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C.
2010: A bill that allows civil marriage in Israel to couples who could not be married by the rabbinate failed by a large margin in its initial reading.
2010: Today, the Israel Flower Growers Association reported a 30-percent drop in exports for Valentine’s Day compared to last year.
2011: Gainsbourg, “the boldly imaginative and wildly entertaining biopic of Jewish French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, one of the most iconic and diversely talented music artists of the 20th Century” and Chariots of Fire are scheduled to be shown at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
2011: Ruth David, Professor Peter Davies (Edinburgh) and Dr Andrea Hammel (Aberystwyth) are scheduled to present a program entitled “Holocaust Texts and Translation” at The Wiener Library in London, UK.
2011: The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to continue its year round programming in Berkeley with an encore presentation of 2010 Festival sleeper hit Father’s Footsteps– a gripping coming of age drama about a Tunisian-Israeli family threatened by violence and crime.
2011: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present: "Integrale Yidishkeyt": Modern Yiddish Culture's Turn Inward in Response to the Holocaust.
2011: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present a discussion of Joseph Roth's Job
2011: IAF aircraft struck against a number of terrorists in the southern Gaza Strip today in a joint IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation following a rocket being fired into Beersheba.
2011: With Israeli Apartheid Week a week away, Israel seems to have found an unexpected champion in Michael Lucas, a popular gay columnist and porno producer with dual US-Israeli citizenship who told The Jerusalem Post by phone from New York today that “I defeated a group of anti- Semites” who sought to equate Israel with the former South African apartheid regime at an event slated to be held at the city’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Center.
2011(20th of Adar I, 5771): Jerrold (Yoram) Kessel passed away today.
2011: Judy Gross, the wife of Alan Gross “pleaded with the Cuban government to release her husband on humanitarian grounds. Gross' daughter, 26, has breast cancer, and his mother has been diagnosed with lung cancer.” (As reported by JTA)
2012(1st of Adar, 5772): Rosh Chodesh Adar
2012(1st of Adar, 5772): Ninety-two year old mathematician Benedict Freeman who co-authored the novel Mrs. Mike with his wife Nancy passed away today.
2012: In London, Claudia Roden is scheduled to talk about discoveries she made while researching her new book “The Food of Spain” as part of Jewish Book Week.
2012: As many as 100 college students who are part of the Kol HaOlam competition are scheduled to attend the Ruach Minyan at Adas Israel in Washington, DC.
2012: In New York City, Temple Emanu-El is scheduled to host a Friday night service that will include a commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of Hadassah attended by Marcie Natan, National President of Hadassah.
2012: Tensions continued to escalate in the South early this morning with the Israel Air Force making two separate forays into the Gaza Strip to bomb terror targets in response to the firing of Kassam rockets into Israeli communities.
2012: Security forces used force to disperse hundreds of Muslim worshipers at the Temple Mount today who rioted and threw stones following a tense week in the Old City. 2013: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel, City of Angels Or, the Overcoat of Dr. Freud by Christa Wolf and the recently released paperback edition of God’s Jury; The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World by Cullen Murphy
2013: Center for Jewish History, YIVO Institute and the International Center of Photography are scheduled to sponsor a screen of Eleanor Antin’s “Man Without a World.”
2013: Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is scheduled to celebrate Purim complete with a megillah reading and separate costume contests for children and adults.
2013: Dedication of the Jacobs Family Education Center is scheduled to take place at Agudas Achim in Iowa City, Iowa.
2013: The Maccaebeats are scheduled to perform at The Moriah School Purim Chagiga in Englewood, NJ
2013(14th of Adar, 5773): Purim
2013: Purim’s carnival atmosphere spread out across Israel today, with revelers of all types and ages soaking up the holiday cheer, many bedecked in bright, loud and extravagant costumes. 2014: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to begin a two day visit to Israel.
2014: At the Center for Jewish History, Henry L. Feingold is scheduled to speak on “American Jewish Political Culture and the Liberal Persuasion.”
2014: “Dancing Alfonso” is scheduled to be shown at the UK Jewish Film Festival
2014: Israel Apartheid Week, a week-long orgy of anti-Semitism hidden under the guise of anti-Israel lectures and workshops is scheduled to begin today.
2014(24th of Adar I, 5774): Sixty-nine year old comedy screenwriter Harold Remis passed away.
2014: Ian Heath Gershengorn, Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice, is scheduled to address the Hadassah Attorneys Council in Washington, DC.
2014: In New Orleans, the Jewish Studies Department of Tulane University is scheduled to present a lecture by Tome Beller entitled “J.D. Salinger’s Late Barmitzva.”
2014: According to a report today on the news site timenews.in.ua, the Giymat Rosa Synagogue in Zaporizhia located 250 miles southeast of Kiev was firebombed overnight.
2014: Israel is facing the driest winter since 1927, Ma'ariv reported today, leaving experts concerned. The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee)'s water level has dropped by four centimeters since the rainy season began, compared to a 1.97 meter rise over the same five-month period in 2013. (As reported by Tova Dvorin)
2015: The Tulane University Jewish Studies Department chaired by Professor Brian Horowitz is scheduled to host a lecture by Antony Polonsky entitled “Writing the History of the Jews of Poland and Russia.”
2015: Robin Renwick, former British Ambassador to South Africa is scheduled to discuss Helen Suzman’s extraordinary life and achievements with her daughter, art historian Frances Suzman Jowell and niece, actress and director Janet Suzman at the Jewish Museum in London during Jewish Book Week.
2015: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to present “Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way.”
2015(5th of Adar, 5775): One hundred and nine year old Wall Street investor Irving Kahn passed away today.
2016: Itzik Barak the executive chef from Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria is scheduled to prepare 150 plated dishes of the Seven Species for the panel of judges at the annual Tastes of Waldorf Astoria competition.
2016: “The Breman Museum is scheduled to sponsor "Fitting In: A Short History of Jewish Film in America" at The Temple in Atlanta, GA.
2016: “Baba Joon” “Israel’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award” is scheduled to be shown on the opening night of the 26th Annual Washington Jewish Film Festival.
2017: In London, JW3 is scheduled to host a pre-Shabbat celebration combining singing and challah baking.
2017: The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to host both Orthodox and Egalitarian Kabbalat Services, followed by Shabbat dinner and voting for next term’s president and vice president.
2017: At Agudas Achim, Professor Robert Cargill is scheduled to deliver a lecture in which he “unfolds biblical verses talking about the kind of life one ought to live and about the origin of the z’’l tradition.”