Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This Day, February 29, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin


 February 29
1236: In Narbonne (France), an attack on the Jewish quarter occurred after a Jew accidentally killed a Gentile during an argument. The Governor of the city, Don Amyeric, forcibly reestablished order. The house and library of Rabbi Meir ben Isaac were pillaged, but no one was killed.

1644: Dutch explorer Abel Tasman began his second Pacific voyage which proved to be a disappointment to his backer – the Dutch East India Company in which Jews owned approximately a quarter of the shares.

1704: During Queen Anne’s War, French forces and their native allies staged a raid on Deerfield, MA which today is home to Schoen Books and the Jewish History Society of Western Massachusetts.

1720: Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden, in whose presence “two Jews of Stockholm, Israel Mandel and Moses Jacobs together with their families were baptized in 1681” abdicated in favor of her husband, who became King Frederick I

1820(14th of Adar, 5580): Purim

1832(28th of Adar I, 5582): Emanuel Baruh Lousada, the uncle and namesake of West Indies merchant Emanuel Baruch Lousada and the uncle of Abigail Lousada, who lived at Sidmouth and was a member of the Mahamad (Council of Elders) of the London Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue passed away today.

1836: Les Huguenots an opera composed by Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer premiered at the Paris Opéra

1856: Sir Saul Samuel completed his first term as a member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales.

1860: Samuel Levy, alias "Old Levy"; Morris M. Goldstein, alias Goldever; L. Truebart; Michael Roberts, alias "Big Roberts," and Henry Wcyman, “five Polish and Prussian Jews known to the authorities of New York as expert pickpockets and daring burglars left town this evening on what was described as a “Western Tour” meaning they were heading for Albany, Buffalo and parts unknown.

1868: Benjamin Disraeli completed his third and final term as Chancellor of the Exchequer

1868: Birthdate of Heinrich Class, the anti-Semitic German politician who supported the Putsch of 1923 and was a member of the Nazi Party who avoided punishment for his evil and passed away in 1953.

1872: Birthdate of bantamweight boxer Sigmund “Sig” Hart who managed three Heavyweight Champions including Jack Johnson.

1880: It was reported today that the Young Men’s Hebrew Association will hold a Purim celebration at the Lexington Avenue Opera House featuring performance by the Torriano Opera Troupe.
1888: Birthdate of Lucille Selig, the Atlanta native who married Leo Frank

1892: Sir Edgar Speyer, the American born chairman of Speyer Brothers, the British branch of his family’s financial empire, became a naturalized British citizen.

1892: Among the charities that were named at today’s meeting of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to receive contributions from the city’s theatrical  and concert license fund were the United Hebrew Charities of the City of New York, $1,500; the Montefiore Home, $1,000; Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews, $350; and Beth Israel Hospital, $100.
 
1892: Incorporation of St. Petersburg, Florida which has become the site for the Florida Holocaust Museum.

1892: Thirteen new cases of typhus were discovered today by sanitary authorities in New York City.  Seven of the new cases were Russian Jews who had arrived aboard the SS Massilia and had been quarantined at a facility provided by the United Hebrew Charities.  The other six were people who had come in contact with one of these seven.

1892: “Renan on the Prophets” published today provides an in depth review of History Of The People of Israel From the Time of Hezekiah Till The Return From Babylon by French author Ernest Renan
http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F10811F93D59107788DDA00A94DA405B8285F0D3

1912(11th of Adar, 5672) Ta’anit Esther is observed on Thursday to avoid conflict with Shabbat.

1916: In Winchester, Tennessee, “Russian-Jewish immigrant shopkeepers, Anna (née Stein) and Solomon Shore gave birth to Frances Rose Shore who gained fame as singer, actress and television variety show hostess, Dinah Shore.  She overcame a childhood bout of polio to become a successful dancer.  After graduating from Vanderbilt University, she found early fame and fortune as a singer with bandleader Xavier Cougat (Charo’s husband).  She took the name Dinah from the title of a popular song.  During the 1950’s she hosted a Sunday Night variety show which she always ended by giving America a big sweeping kiss before singing the theme “See the USA in your Chevrolet.”  Most Americans did not know that this all-American blond girl-next door was Jewish.
(Please note, NYT shows her birthdate as March 1 while all other sources show February 29.  I realize I disagree with the Times at my peril)

1916: Funeral Services are scheduled to be held this morning at the Uptown Talmud Torah for Henry Glass the husband of Fannie Glass and head of Henry Glass and Company where the mourners will include members of the Young Women’s Hebrew Association, the Jewish Centre and the Central Committee for the Relief of Jews Suffering Through the War.

1920: In New York, Gertrude and David Nemerov gave birth to Howard Nemerov the Pulitzer Prize winning poet who was the older brother of famed photographer Diane Arbus. 

1920: Czechoslovakia’s National Assembly passed a constitution establishing a democratic republic.  At the time there were approximately 350,000 Jews living in the country making them about 2 to 3% of the total population. Jews of the newly created republic would flourish until the shameful Munich Agreement of 1938.

1920: In Hungary Admiral Miklos Horthy overthrew the government and becomes Regent, a position he will hold until 1944. Horthy was an avowed anti-Semite who promulgated a series of declarations and laws aimed limiting the participation of Jews in all facets of Hungarian society.  This played well with the populace since at this time, the Jews who were 5% of the population were 60% of the doctors, 51% of the lawyers, 25% of the university students, etc.  [Anti-Semitism goes hand in hand with Jewish success.  Yet, anti-Semites also attack Jews as a pariah when they are poor.]

1924: Birthdate of Cleveland third basemen Al Rosen. Rosen elected MVP of the American League in 1953.  He was the first player to be elected unanimously.  He led the Indians to the American League Pennant in 1954.  He left baseball after 1956, his all-star career shortened by injuries.

1928: Birthday of Laszlo Berkowits “a Hungarian-born American Reform rabbi. From 1944-1945, he was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. After his release in 1945, he studied briefly in Sweden before he moved to the United States, where he began studying to be a rabbi. He was ordained in 1962.” In 1963, he was hired by Temple Rodef Shalom as its first senior rabbi. He held this title for 35 years, prior to his retirement in July, 1998. In 1988, he received his Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He is currently the Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Rodef Shalom.

1932: A portrait of Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo was among those on display at an exhibition of American portraits by contemporary American artists that was held this afternoon at the American Art – Anderson Galleries for the purposed of raising funds to support the Free Milk Coffee Stations for the unemployed.

1932: “Benjamin Cardozo, the newly appointed Justice of the Supreme Court” had lunch with President Hoover today at the White House during which they “discussed legal affairs and his new duties on the highest tribunal.

1932: Twenty-four year old Jackie Fields (born Jacob Finkelstein) won a non-title bout with a 9th round knockout in Pittsburgh, PA.

1936: Twenty-two year old track star Milton Green who would boycott the Berlin Olympics, won the 45 high hurdles, the 50 yard spring and the broad jump in a competition today between Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Dartmouth.

1936(6th of Adar, 5696): Parashat Terumah

1936: Rabbi Israel Goldstein is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “What Is Success: How Much Is Worth?” at B’nai Jeshurun.

1936(6th of Adar I, 5696): Seventy-one year old Abraham “Abe” Ruef, who began as a reformer but became a political boss and Mayor of San Francisco who went to prison after being convicted of corruption related to the rebuilding of the city after the earthquake.

1936: Paul Baerwald, Chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee announced today that “New York City’s quota in the 1936 national $3,500,000 fund of the Joint Distribution Committee has been set at $1,500,000.

1936: Dr. Chaim Weizmann, is reported scheduled  to meet with those Jews who “are sponsors of a scheme to accelerate the evacuation of Jews from Germany “told the New York Times ‘I do not know the extent of the funds of the nature of the scheme contemplated by Herman Samuel’s mission, but I am ready to cooperate in the execution of any project promising to increase Jewish immigration to Palestine.’”

1936: In Berlin court today, when sentencing five communists to death and “five more to penal servitude for fourteen years each and six others to penal servitude ranging from three to twelve years” the presiding Judge said that in passing judgement he had “considered all the circumstances that had led to the incitement of the masses by Jewish-Marxist wirepullers.”

1936: In Lwow, Poland, “two Jewish students were seriously injured and other were slightly hurt in a clash” tonight “between Jewish and non-Jewish students at the Lwow University of Polytechnic and Commerce.

1936: Birthdate of Gene Golub, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and co-author of “Matrix Computations.”

1936: Baby Snooks, played by Jewish comedic actress Fanny Brice, debuts on the radio program The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air.

1936: During a concert at the Carnegie Hall, Bronislaw Huberman, switched the Stradivarius "Gibson" he owned for over 40 years with his newly acquired Guarnerius violin in his dressing room during the intermission and went on to the second half of the concert. When he was playing Cesar Franck's Violin Sonata in A Major, his secretary, Miss Ida Ibbiken, noticed that the "Gibson" disappeared from the dressing room. It was snatched by a young New York nightclub musician, Julian Altman, who kept the violin for the next half century. After being convicted of child molestation in 1985, Altman made a deathbed confession to his wife, Marcelle Hall, that he had stolen the violin. The insurance company, Lloyd's of London, paid Huberman $30,000 for the loss in 1936. Ironically, Julian Altman went on to become a violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. and performed for Presidents and politicians with the stolen Stradivarius for many years. After Altman's death in 1985, Ms. Hall consulted experts who confirmed that the violin was indeed the Gibson Stradivarius. Two years later, she returned it to Lloyd's and collected a finder's fee of $263,000. The instrument underwent a 9-month restoration by J&A Beare Ltd., in London. In 1988, Lloyd's sold it for $US1.2 million to British violinist Norbert Brainin. In October 2001, the American violinist, Joshua Bell, purchased it for $4,000,000. "Normally someone in my situation with my income could not afford to own a Strad like this, but I was very lucky in my purchases of violins", Bell said. "I kind of worked my way up and managed."

1940: "Gone with the Wind" won eight Oscars at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, including Best Picture of 1939. This American classic certainly had a Jewish touch.  It had a Jewish producer, theme music written by a Jew and of course a Jew, Leslie Howard, played one of the leading characters – the soulful Ashley Wilkes

1940: The screen version The House of the Seven Gables with a script by Lester Cole and directed by Joe May premiered in Chicago today.

1940: In response to the adoption of the Land Transfer Regulations, David Ben Gurion declared that “The effect of these regulations is that no Jew may acquire in Palestine a plot of land, a building or a triee, or ay right in water, except in town and a very small part of the country.  The regulations not only violate the terms of the Mandate but completely nullify its primary purpose.’

1942: In Tel Aviv Chava and Aharon Werba gave birth to Dorit Beinisch, the 9th president of the Supreme Court of Israel.

1948(19th of Adar I, 5708): Two Jews were killed and five other persons were wounded in a bomb explosion in Haifa today on the third floor of Barclays Bank building near the railway station in the harbor zone.

1948: The Stern Gang bombed the Cairo-Haifa train killing 27 British soldiers.

1952: Lawrence Demmy and his partner won “the ice dancing title at the World Figure Skating Championship in Paris.” (As reported by Bob Wechsler.

1956: President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower announced that he would seek a second term.  He would win in a landslide in November.  In the last weeks of the campaign (October, 1956) the Suez Crisis would flair up and Ike would have to deal with a major foreign policy challenge which would have special meaning for Jewish voters as they went to the polls.  

1960: The first Playboy Club opened in Chicago, Illinois. One of the most famous Playboy Bunnies was feminist activist Gloria Steinem.

1960: “The Play of the Week” broadcast the Moss Hart adaption of “The Climate of Eden” produced by David Susskind

1960: An earthquake in Agadir, Morocco killed 5000 people, including hundreds of Jews.

1972(14th of Adar, 5732): Purim

1976: Birthdate of Lior Mor, the native of Haifa who was Israel’s 2000 Davis cup team and coached Israeli players at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

1976: “Operation Daybreak” a “film based on the true story of Operation Anthropoid, the assassination of SS General Reinhard Heydrich in Prague” with a screenplay by Ronald Harwood was released in the United Kingdom, 3 months after having first been seen in the United States.

1980 (12th of Adar, 5740): Yigal Allon (יגאל אלון) passed away.  Born on a kibbutz in 1918, this sabra played an active role in the creation of the Kibbutz movement and the IDF.  He was a member of the Haganah and leader of the Palmach.  After the War for Independence he became a leading general in the IDF.  After leaving the army, Allon became active in politics and held several responsible government positions including acting prime minister between the death of Levi Eshkol and the installation of Golda Meir as head of the government.

1988: Nazi documents implicated former UN Secretary-General and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim in WWII deportations. Waldheim's claims that he was just an Austrian serving as an officer in the Nazi Army, proved to be false.  His war time behavior would make him persona non grata in many countries and he did not run for re-election as President of Austria. 

1996: Novelist Joan Collins, the daughter of a South African Jew, was awarded US $1 million from Random House for breach of contract.

2000: In “Its Children; Cultural Ties and Low Costs Lure Orthodox Couples to Lower East Side” published today, Tina Kelly described the phenomena of young Jews returning en masse to an area from which their immigrant forbearers sought to escape.

2004: Thirty-four year old “defenseman Mathieu Schneider” whose love of the game may have come his French-Canadian mother Aline, led the Detroit Red Wings to victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

2004: "Ten Years of Hope," a play by Elizabeth Swados about the experiences of women who fled El Salvador for new lives in New York City, opened.

2004: The New York Times features books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Five Men Who Broke My Heart by Susan Shapiro and the recently published paperback edition of Michael Pye’s novel World War II art theft The Pieces From Berlin. A woman in wartime Berlin accepts objets d'art for safekeeping from cultivated Jews, most of whom are sent to their deaths in Nazi camps. Sixty years later a Holocaust survivor recognizes a table in the window of her shop in Switzerland, forcing both characters to confront their long-submerged pasts.

2004(7th of Adar, 5764): Playwright Jerome Lawrence passed away.  Born Jerome Schwartz in Cleveland, Ohio, Lawrence is best known for the hits “Auntie Mame” and “Inherit the Wind” both of which became hit films.

2004: In “A Frenchman Or a Jew?” published today Fernanda Eberstadt uses a sketch of the life of a French Jewess named Brigitte Stora as a vehicle for describing the changing status of the Jews of France especially in light of the growing Moslem population in metropolitan France. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B07EEDE173CF93AA15751C0A9629C8B63

2008: At Temple Judah, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the second in a series of special Musical Shabbats.

2008: The original motion picture soundtrack of “The First Basket,” a “documentary film on professional basketball’s influence on Jewish culture was released today.

2008: Two weeks after its premiere at the Berlin International Festival, “The Other Boleyn Girl” starring Natalie Portman and featuring Andrew Garfield was released today in the United States.

2008: A Belgian writer has admitted that she made up her bestselling "memoir" depicting how, as a Jewish child, she lived with a pack of wolves in the woods during the Holocaust, her lawyers said. Misha Defonseca's 1997 book, Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France, according the Associated Press.Her two Brussels-based lawyers, siblings Nathalie and Marc Uyttendaele, said the author acknowledged her story was not autobiographical and that she did not trek 1,900 miles as a child across Europe with a pack of wolves in search of her deported parents during World War II, the AP reported. Nor is she Jewish.

2008: Israel began Operation Hot Winter, also called Operation Warm Winter a “military campaign in the Gaza Strip, launched in response to Qassam rockets fired from the Strip by Hamas. Two days prior to the IDF mission, “Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad carried out a rocket barrage, in which they fired for the first time 6 Grad missiles at the industrial city of Ashkelon.”

2012: “New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza” is scheduled to open at Theatre J in Washington, DC.

2012: A petition that had been presented to Parliament by Isabel Ferreira Lopes, granddaughter of Barros Basto and Vice President of the Jewish Community of Porto that stated Barros Basto’s dismissal from the army was a matter of political and religious segregation on account of being Jewish, the name of Artur Carlos de Barros Basto was officially “rehabilitated” today.

2012: The annual Latke-Hamentasch Debate is scheduled to take place at Adas Israel in Washington, DC.

2012: Violinist Yehonatan Berick and cellist Rachel Mercer are scheduled to perform a series of duets at the Jerusalem Music Center.

2012: A number of people were injured, traffic was disrupted and electricity was cut today due to winds that reached up to 110 kilometers per hour as a late-February winter storm swept across the country. In Tel Aviv, a large tree was toppled on the city's central King George Street, taking down an electricity line with it. The street was closed to traffic as crews worked to clear the tree and restore electricity. A number of other trees were uprooted in Tel Aviv, causing damage to cars. In Herzliya, Netanya, Ramat Hasharon, municipal crews were working to clear fallen trees from city streets. In Netanya, a driver was trapped when a tree fell on his car. Emergency crews freed the uninjured driver from his vehicle. In Netanya, a 70-year-old man was lightly injured by flying glass from a shattered store door. Magen David Adom crews treated the man on the scene and evacuated him to a hospital. In the North, a major road in Hatzor Haglilit was closed to traffic due to a number of uprooted trees strewn across the road. Police were allowing traffic accessing the city from the direction of Safed. The Israel Electric Company said its crews were working to restore electricity in a number of locations. It asked the public to stay away from downed power lines and to report such dangerous instances to its hotline, *103. In the North, snow fell this morning on the Hermon Mountain in the Golan Heights, leading police to close access to the area. Schools in the Golan Heights closed early Wednesday and sent children home due to the snow. By the afternoon snow flurries spread to the south over the Golan, prompting authorities to close Route 91 between the Hasharyon and Wasat junctions leading to the Golan settlement Ein Zivan.  Snow was expected to reach other mountain areas in the North later tonight and it was possible snow would reach mountains in the Center of the country later tonight. (As reported by the JPost)

2012: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posthumously baptized slain Jewish reporter Daniel Pearl last year, the Boston Globe reported today.
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/mormons-posthumously-baptize-slain-jewish-reporter-daniel-pearl-1.415552

2012(6th of Adar, 5772): Ninety-one year old “Sheldon Moldoff, who drew some of the most recognizable superheroes of comic books’ golden age without receiving recognition in his own right until decades later” passed away today.  (As reported by Daniel Slotnik)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/books/sheldon-moldoff-batman-comic-book-artist-dies-at-91.html?_r=1&hpw

2016: Shulem Deen, the author of All Who Go Do Not Return, his story of growing up among the Skverers, one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the US is scheduled to lecture on “Telling Your Story: The Art and Craft of Memoir Writing” at the Skirball Center.
2016: “Sands and Seasons” and “Carvalho’s Journey” are scheduled to be shown at the 26th annual Washington Jewish Film Festival
2016: “Graciela Mochkofsky, a leading Argentine journalist and former Prins Foundation Fellow at the Center for Jewish History” is scheduled to lecture on “The Rise of a New Judaism in Latin America.”

 

 

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