211: The reign of Septimius Servus, the Roman emperor who outlawed conversions to both Judaism and Christianity in an attempt to unify his crumbling empire, came to an end.
362: Roman Emperor Julian promulgates an edict that recognizes equal rights to all the religions in the Roman Empire. Known as Julian the Apostate, Julian effectively undid the edicts of Constantine that had made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire. He brought back the old religions of the Empire including those that were tied to Hellenism, the spiritual path that he favored. Julian was sympathetic to the Jewish people and was prepared to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, he was murdered by a Christian Arab soldier who may have been angered by Julian’s decision to deny state support to Christianity.
1194: Richard The Lion Hearted bought his freedom by paying his ransom to Leopold, an Austrian Duke. In collecting the ransom, the Jews were forced to pay 5,000 marks. They were taxed at three times the rate as that paid by their Christian countrymen.
1428(17th of Shevat): Purim of Sargosa
1594: Sussex’s Men, an Elizabethan acting company performed Marlow’s “The Jew of Malta” today.
1616(16th of Shevat 5376): Samuel Pallache, a Moroccan Jewish merchant passed away in The Hague while serving as the diplomatic representative of the sultan Zidan Abu Maali in negotiations with the Dutch Republic designed to establish an alliance to fight their common enemy – Spain. Born in Fez in 1550, he was the son of a rabbi from Cordoba whose family had fled Spain following the Reconquista.
1657: Oliver Cromwell granted the right of residence in England to a Jew, Antonio Fernandez Carvajal. According to some, this is the earliest official British act of tolerance in favor of the Jews.
1657: Thomas Burton, an MP who was a comrade of Cromwell and kept a diary on the proceedings of Parliament wrote today that "The Jews, those able and general intelligencers whose intercourse with the Continent Cromwell had before turned to profitable account, he now conciliated by a seasonable benefaction to their principal agent [Carvajal] resident in England."
1683: Birthdate Judah Monis, the son of Portuguese conversos born in Algeria who would become the first college Hebrew instructor in North America and the author of the first Hebrew textbook published in North America. The price of his position at Harvard would be conversion to Christianity; a price many others, such as James Schlesinger, would pay for academic advancement.
1689(14th of Shevat, 5449): Jerusalem chief rabbi Moses ben Jonathan Galante, the grandson of Moses Galante and the grandfather of Moses Hagis passed away today.
1738(14th of Shevat, 5498): Joseph Süß Oppenheimer, a noted banker and court Jew was led to the gallows. He had been falsely accused of a variety of crimes and only “confessed” after being tortured. Even as he faced death by hanging, he refused to convert to Christianity, a move that might have saved his life. “Hanging inside a human-size cage, surrounded by a huge crowd of spectators, his last words - while a rope was tied around his neck - were those of the central prayer of Judaism, ‘Shema Yisrael.’"
1770: Abraham ben Uri Shraga “an upright and proper man…all his days” was buried at the Alderney Road Cemetery.
1782: Jewish physicians in Galicia were granted permission to treat Christian patients.
1789: George Washington was unanimously elected first President of the United States. Because he was the first President, Washington’s actions set the tone for the new nation and for his predecessors. Washington offered assurances to American Jews that they would enjoy full rights as citizens of the new republic where every man will sit under his fig tree and “none shall make him afraid.”
1792: George Washington is unanimously elected to a second term as President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College. Washington’s treatment of the Jews set a national tone that would help make the Jewish experience in America a unique one.
1807: In France, The Great Sanhedrin, a creation of Napoleon Bonaparte, met at the Hotel de Ville in the City Hall of Paris.
1810(30th of Shevat): Rabbi Reuben Horowitz author of Dudaim ba-Sadeh passed away
1810: The Royal Navy seizes Guadeloupe. At this time there were no Jews living on the Island. Jews were first recorded living in Guadeloupe in the late 14th century. In 1391, in a surge of anti-Jewish riots that began in Spain, the most of the Jews were murdered. The community, however, began to revive during the mid-15th century. In 1485, the local inquisitor, Nuño de Arévalo, forbid all Jews from living in Guadeloupe. Prior to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal in 1492, the Jewish community sold the land of the old cemetery to the local bishop. Many Jews were forced into converting to Christianity; the Conversos in Guadeloupe lived together in a specified street in the former Jewish quarter. In 1489, two monks Diego de Marchena and García Capata, were burned at the stake for converting to Judaism. In 1654, three shiploads of Jewish refugees from Brazil settled in Guadeloupe. During that time, the Jews were welcomed by the French owner of the island. Even the capital of Guadalupe, Pointe-a-Pitre was named after a Brazilian Jew, called Pietre who started a fish processing plant in the city. The Jews established sugarcane plantations, which ultimately became the country’s leading export. In 1685, however, King Louis XIV issued “The Black Code” expelling all Jews from Guadeloupe. During the latter part of the 20th century, many Jews began to arrive from North Africa and France. In 1988, the Jewish community consecrated the first synagogue in Guadeloupe, Or Sameah. Later the congregation added a Talmud Torah, community center, kosher store, and Jewish cemetery. Today, approximately 50 Jews live in Guadeloupe.
1815(24th of Shevat, 5575): Seventy-one year old Italian poet Solomon Fiorentino, the father of Angiolo Fiorentino passed away today at Florence.
1816: In Trieste Isacco Morpugro and Regina Parente gave birth to the banker Giuseppe Morpurgo the husband of Elisa Morpurgo.
1835: In Charleston, SC, Dr. B.A. Rodrigues married Cecilia Solomon this evening.
1836: Dade County, Florida is formed. According to 2000 census data, Dade County, which includes Miami, had a Jewish population in excess of 125,000 souls. The vibrant Jewish community there has far too many institutions, organizations and cultural events to list here.
1838: Together with a dedicated group of Philadelphia Jewish women, Rebecca Gratz established the first Jewish Sunday School.
1842: Birthdate of George Morris Cohen Brandes, influential Danish literary critic and historian. “Poor is the power of the lead that becomes bullets compared to the power of the hot metal that becomes type.”
1848(30th of Shevat, 5608): Rosh Chodesh Adar I
1852: Over eight hundred people attended the annual Ball of the Jew’s Hospital that was held this with the proceeds of the event providing funds to maintain this medical facility.
1854: It was today reported that the population of Cape Town, South Africa, totaled 30,000 of which 3,000 were either Jews or Moslems.
1855: Nahum J. Steiner, "a converted Jew who has been laboring for several years among the Jews" of New York City was scheduled to give an address tonight at the Stanton Street Baptist Church entitled "Israel's Return and The Future Glory of the Messiah." [Early attempts to convert Jews in America to Christianity were largely unsuccessful. For those who did not want to remain Jewish, it was easy enough in America's fluid environment to just being a Jew without taking any formal action.]
1855: Soldiers shot Jewish families in Coro, Venezuela.
1859: The Codex Sinaiticus is discovered in Egypt. The Codex was one of several ancient texts or resources discovered starting at the end of the 18th century and continuing into the 20th century including the Rosetta Stone, the Cairo Genizah and the Dead Sea Scrolls that shed light on ancient civilizations. They gave Jewish scholars a better understanding of the ancient Israelites and the Biblical text which are the cornerstone of Jewish faith and culture.
1863(15th of Shevat, 5623): Tu B’Shevat
1863: During the Civil War, three Jews went on trial before Judge Peabody in New Orleans, LA. They had been seized by Union authorities while crossing Lake Pontchatrain headed to Rebel held territory in a boat loaded with medicines and letters from several leading citizens in New Orleans. The Judge delayed passing sentence on the accused until the letter writers had been arrested per the order of General Nathanial Banks.
1864: Twenty-six year old Lyon Levy Emanuel, the native of Philadelphia and brother of Dr. Louis Manly Emanuel, began serving as a Captain with Company of the 88th Regiment.
1864: Union General Benjamin Butler, one of those chosen for his political clout and not his military acumen, replied to a complaint from N.S. Isaacs over the general’s use of the term “Jews” when describing the capture five people trying to smuggle supplies to the Rebels. The General said that he used the term without thinking and was merely dictating from the dispatches submitted by his subordinate. He used the term Jews as he would Germans, Italians or Irish men i.e. a term of nationality not religion. While appearing to defend himself of a charge of being an anti-Semite the General wrote, I “have always considered the Jews a nationality, although possessing no country. The closeness with which they cling together, the aid which they afford each other, on all proper, and sometimes improper occasions, the fact that nearly all of them pursue substantially the same employment, so far as I have, known them -- that of traders, merchants, and bankers -- the very general obedience to the prohibition against marriage with Gentiles, their faith, which looks forward to the time when they are to be gathered together in the former land of their nation, -- all serve to show a closer the of kindred and nation among the Hebrews, and a greater homogeneity than belongs to any other nation, although its people live in closer proximity. So that while I disclaim all indention of any reflection upon, their national religion, which was the foundation and typical of that of the Christian World, and, holding to the doctrines of Christianity with reverence for the Savior, no one can stigmatize all Jews -- yet one may be reasonably permitted in speaking of that nation, to suppose there may be in all the Jaws of the South, two of whom certainly are in the Confederate Cabinet, at least five, who might attempt to carry on a contraband trade. Because, it may be reverently remembered that when, the Savior, aided by Omniscience, undertook to choose twelve confidential friends from among that nation, he got one that "was a thief and had a devil."
1871: Eighty-five year old Hermann, Fürst von Pückler-Muskau who met Rabbi Moses Sachs in Tunis in 1835 and was so impressed with him and his plan to settle Jews in Palestine that he arranged for him to meet with Baron Salomon Mayer von Rothschild of Vienna passed away today.
1874(17th of Shevat, 5634): Yakir Gueron, the sixth member of his family to serve as the rabbi in Andrianpole who had resigned his position two years ago passed away today in Jerusalem.
1874: It was reported today that the Hebrew Young Ladies’ Charitable Union will sponsor a dramatic performance at the Lyceum Theatre in New York in order to raise funds for the Home of Aged Hebrews.
1875: The Downtown Hebrew Ladies’ Benevolent Society – Mothers of Israel – will sponsor its first annual festival ball this evening at Turner Hall in New York City.
1876: In Kings County, New York, the trial of P.N. Rubenstein who has been charged with murdering his cousin Sara Alexander heard testimony from several witnesses including the defendant’s brother, Louis.
1877: It was reported today that the in New York, the Purim Association will celebrate the festival this year with a Calico Masked Reception at Delmonico’s. The event is a fund raiser and attendance will be limited by the number of tickets available.
1877: It was reported today that the Ladies’ Bikur Cholim Society of the School of Industry will host an event on February 15th at Ferrero’s Assembly Rooms in New York. [Editor’s Note – Bikur cholim refers to the mitzvah of visiting the sick. Societies to further that goal have been a part of Jewish communal life since the Middle Ages.]
1877: “Compassionate Israel” published today described the manner in which the Jewish community cares for the less unfortunate including the creation of the Hebrew United Charities, the building of the Jew’s Hospital now known as Mt. Sinai and the opening of the Aged and Infirm Hebrews on the grounds of what used to be the Astor estate.
1879: William Henry Waddington, who had expressed his support “large-scale Jewish settlement in Palestine” in a letter to the Sultan began serving as French Prime Minister.
1879: It was reported today that among the private institutions caring for New York’s impoverished orphans that are receiving public funds as proscribed by law is the Hebrew Orphan Asylum which is scheduled to received $32,450 to help toward the care of 295 youngsters
1884: Leaders of the New York Jewish community met at the Nineteenth-Street Jewish Synagogue to discuss plans for commemorating the upcoming 100th birthday of Sir Moses Montefiore with a permanent monument. Projects under consideration including building housing for poor Jews, a reformatory and a mission designed to provide education for recent Russian immigrants.
1887: Birthdate of Morris Pozen, the native of Elizabethgrad who came to the United States where earned a BS and PhD from George Washington University after which he pursued a career in the fields of “brewing and food-chemistory.”
1890: The sale of boxes for the 29th annual ball sponsored by the Purim Association which will be held next month took place this evening at Temple Emanu-El in New York City.
1891: The trustees of the fund which was created with money donated by Baron de Hirsch met at the home of Jesse Seligman where they re-elected their old officers and finalized the method for gaining access to the Baron’s largesse which help Jewish immigrants to pursue occupations other than peddlers such as mechanics or farmers.
1892: During an address by American author and journalist Poultney Bigelow on the persecution of “Christian Jews” in which he described the Czar as “a kindly man” a Russian Jew named Copik rose from the audience and said “that the Czar was a savage and a tyrant” and went to provide several examples based on his personal experience.
1892: The will of the late Benjamin Russak was filed for probate in the Surrogate’s office in New York City. “The estate is valued at about a million dollars.”
1892: The Chamber of Commerce met today in New York City in an attempt to raise funds to alleviate the Russians who are suffering through a famine. Jewish members expressed their support for raising the money but expressed concern that raising such funds would express approval for the government of the Czar which was persecuting their Russian co-religionists.
1893: It was reported today that the late Simon Davidson has bequeathed $500 to Mount Sinai Hospital. He also “returned six buildings and the loan bonds for $1,000 which he held against” the Hebrew Benevolent Orphan Asylum to that institution.
1894(28th of Shevat): Louis Lewandowski, the first Jew to be admitted to the Berlin Academy of Arts passed away
1894: It was reported today, that after police drove 250 unemployed Jews from the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, they regrouped at Trafalgar Square, “where an impromptu meeting was held.”
1898: During the Dreyfus Affair, the French Army High Command brings an action of criminal libel against Emile Zola for his accusations of knowing collaboration on the part of the French general staff in convicting Dreyfus based on false information.
1899: In New York, the Shaaray Tefila Young People’s Association hosted an evening of entertainment in the lecture room of the congregation located on West 82nd Street.
1900(5th of Adar I, 5660): Rabbi Jacob Aron Mendes Chumaceiro of Amsterdam passes away at the age of 67.
1900(5th of Adar I, 5660): Rabbi Israel Benamozegh at Leghorn passed away at the age of 76.
1901(15th of Shevat, 5661): Tu Bishvat
1901(15th of Shevat, 5661): Jacob Plautt of Hamburg who passed away today in Nice “left 20,000 francs for the benefit of police officers” injured in the line of duty, 10,000 francs each to the Jewish Refuge at Plessis Piquet, the Alliance Israelite and the School Elisa Lemonnier and 5,000 francs to the Jewish Philantrhopic Union.
1902: Birthdate of Charles Lindbergh, the “Lone Eagle,” the first person to fly across the Atlantic from New York to Paris. Unfortunately, Lindbergh’s skill as an aviator surpassed his political aptitude. “As World War II began, Lindbergh became a prominent speaker in favor of non-intervention, going so far as to recommend that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Germany during his January 23, 1941 testimony before Congress. At an America First rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on September 11, 1941, he made a speech titled "Who Are the War Agitators?" in which he claimed that Americans had solidly opposed entering the war when it began, and that three groups had been "pressing this country toward war" -- the Roosevelt Administration, the British, and the Jews, and complained about what he insisted was the Jews' "large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government." He made clear however his opposition to anti-Semitism, stating that "All good men of conscience must condemn the treatment of the Jews in Germany", further advising "Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences. Tolerance is a virtue that depends upon peace and strength. History shows that it cannot survive war and devastation."
1902: Fifty-six year old Hermann Wolf passed away in Berlin
1903: Birthdate of famed mathematician Sir Alexander Oppenheimer. Interestingly enough, even though Oppenheimer was born in Salford, Lancashire it is reported that his first language was Yiddish. After graduating from Oxford in 1927, he earned PhD from the University of Chicago in 1930. After a year of lecturing at Edinburgh University, he accepted a professorship at the Raffles College, Singapore. During the war he was a prisoner at the Changi camp. After the war he returned to Raffles College, retiring in 1967. He then became a professor at Reading University (1966-68) and head of the mathematics departments of the University of Ghana (1968-73) and Benin, Nigeria (1973-77). He passed away in 1997.
1903: Birthdate of Alexander Imich “a Polish born American chemist, parapsychologist, and writer, who was the president of the Anomalous Phenomena Research Center in New York City
1906: Today, Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf, the founder and President of the National Farm School said, "Happiness is never a product of external treasure. It can only spring from within, from a clean heart, from a pure conscience."
1906: During his lecture on “Liberty” at Cooper Union, Rev. Dr. Thomas R. Slicer said “It is a foolish thing for Russian Jews in America and England to be should for freedom for their people at home when a rich Jew lends money to Russia for a war loan.”
1908: Birthdate of trumpeter Emmanuel "Manny" Klein.
1909: In Chicago, Alfred Samuel Alschuler, Sr. and his wife, the former Rose Haas gave birth to Marian Frances Despres
1912: In Vienna Ludwig Julius and Charlotte Loebl Leinsdorf gave birth to conudctor Erich Leinsdorf.
1913: The Executive Committee of New Jersey Conference of Charities and Correction to which Newark Rabbi, Solomon Foster had been re-elected to as a member came to a close today at Plainfield, NJ.
1913: Former Harvard football coach and U.S. Congressman Lucius Nathan Littauer “and his brother William were convicted of smuggling and conspiracy to defraud after he admitted to importing valuable jewels from Venice worth in excess of $40,000 without paying the necessary duty.”
1914(8th of Shevat, 5674): Fifty-five year old Romanian born Yiddish comedian and actor Sigmund Mogulesko passed away today.
1915(20th of Shevat, 5675): Fifty year old David Blutreich, the Secretary of the 50,000 member Federation of Galician Jews in America who came to the United States ten years ago passed away from heart disease while at his office at 273 East Houston Street.
1915: Dr. Joseph Goldberger began his experiments on prison volunteers in Jackson, Mississippi in order to find the cause of the deadly disease pellagra. He proved that pellagra is caused by poor diet and launched the biological age of nutrition research which linked diseases with a lack of essential vitamins.
1915: Turkish troops attempt to cross the Suez Canal as part of plans to start an anti-British uprising in Egypt and close the vital waterway connecting India with the British Isles. The seriousness of the attack will lead to an aggressive campaign that will ultimately end with the British in control of Eretz Israel.
1915: “To Send Food to Palestine” published today described the work of The Provisional Executive Committee for General Affairs is doing to arrange for sending “a shipload of food to Palestine” after receiving a cable from the American Ambassador at Constantinople describing a report from the American Counsel at Jerusalem “that it is impossible to obtain coffee, tea, sugar, rice or flour at any price.”
1915: “Tells of Russian’s Murder of Jews” published today, provides information first appearing in The American Hebrew from “Dr. Arthur Levy, a rabbi serving with the German in the campaign against Russia who sets for in great detail a list of pogroms and murders, with many deeds of unmentionable outrage which, he says, were committed by the Russians against the Jewish population in recent weeks of war”
1916: Among the contributions reported today by the American Jewish Relief Committee were $100 from Congregation Beth Israel in Washington, DC; $100 from the Dubuque, Iowa, Hebrew Relief Assoication, $100 from the American Jewish Relief Committee in Chattanooga, TN and $240 from Hirsch Manischewitz of Cincinnati, Ohio.”
1916: Felix Warburg the Treasurer of the American Jewish Relief Committee “received a check for $835.50, the amount collected by Miss Esther Labold and Mrs. Shapiro of Portsmouth, Ohio” which was “entirely collected” from “non-Jews.”
1916: The People’s Relief Committee which “is raising funds for the relief of the millions of Jews made destitute through the war in Europe” “announced today that it would hold a bazaar and fair” next month.
1916: The committee raising funds for the Jewish war suffers announced today that the demand for seats at the upcoming mass meeting in Brooklyn has been so great “that the music hall of the Brooklyn Academy of Music has been engaged for an overflow meeting.”
1917: It was reported today that according to a report received from Abram I. Elkus, the American Ambassador at Constantinople, the Jewish Orphanage at Chichli has received £25 for shoes and clothing.
1917: The campaign of the Brooklyn Jewish Volunteer Relief Committee which has a goal of raising $200,000 for the relief of Jews in war-torn Europe is scheduled to come to an end tonight.
1917: J. Shreve Durham, the General Superintendent of the Home Visitation Committee expressed his approval of the cooperation shown by Catholics, Protestants and Jews who took part in today’s effort to compile figures for a religious census in New York City.
1918: The American Jewish Relief Committee announced today that it has received almost $15,000 in additional contributions for its $10,000,000 fund.
1918: Today the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith met for the final day of its annual convention during which it passed resolutions supporting the government’s war aims and calling upon all members to support the conservation measures that are part of the war effort.
1918: A Cincinnati firm that supplies about 65% per cent of the Jews in America with Matzah, today asked Food Administrator Herbert Hoover “to permit bakers of unleavened Passover bread to get sufficient flour to meet the requirements of the Jews.”
1918: The Palestine Restoration Fund announced that to date it has raised almost $700,000, including a $25,000 contribution of $25,000 from Albert H. Loeb of Chicago.
1920(15th of Shevat, 5680): Tu B’Shevat
1920: The funeral of Louis Seide, a member of the Knights of Pythias is scheduled to take place at the Rothschild’s Chapel on Lenox Avenue this morning.
1920: The funeral of Mae Reichman, the wife of Samuel Reichman is scheduled to take place this afternoon at the home of her parents Mr. and Mrs. Goldberger on East 165th Street.
1921: At a conference in Salonica, Greek Zionists adopt a resolution stating that Jewish education at the Alliance Israelite Universelle schools is not in tune with their national views and aspirations.
1921: It was reported today that “during the month of January, the papers on ‘Judaism and Our Youth’ by Mrs. Max L. Margolis of Philadelphia and on ‘Social Effort in America for Assimilation of the Immigrant’ by Mrs. W.D. Sporborg of New York were read the regular meeting of the Baltimore and San Francisco sections” of the Council of Jewish Women.
1921: Birthdate of Betty Naomi Goldstein, the Jewess from Peoria, Illinois, who would gain fame as BettyFriedan author of The Feminine Mystique.
1922: “Radio Operators Hear a Good Concert” published today in the Bridgeport (CT) Telegram described a recent radio broadcast that including songs sung by Eddie Cantor.
1923: Louis “Gruenberg conducted the American premiere of Pierrot Lunaire by Arnold Schoenberg as a member of the International Composers' Guild.”
1924: In the same year that he founded Sam Ash Music Corporation, 27 year old Sam Ash married 21 Rose Dinn
1925: In Brooklyn, Harry and Henriette Koeppel Karnow gave birth to Stanley Karnow, “the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist who produced acclaimed books and television documentaries about Vietnam and the Philippines…” (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)
1927: In Basel, Marcus Cohn, a leader of the Swiss Zionist movement and his wife gave birth to Oscar award winning movie producer Arthur Cohn, the grandson of Arthur Cohn, the chief rabbi of Basel.
1927: “The Jazz Singer,” the first talking motion picture, starring Al Jolson, was released.
1927: Twenty-four year old bantam weight Charley Phil Rosenberg won his 15 round championship bout today but lost the title because he was over the weight for his class.
1929: “The Man with the Frog” a silent film with much by Artur Guttman was released in Germany today.
1930: “People on Sunday,” a silent film “directed by Curt and Robert Siodmak with a screenplay by Billy Wilder and Robert Siodmak which was produced by Edgar G. Ulmer was released in Germany today.
1931: In Philadelphia, PA, David and Rose Feinstein gave birth to Barry Feinstein, “a photographer who chronicled the lives of seminal rock ’n’ roll stars of the 1960s, and who was perhaps best known for the stark portrait of Bob Dylan on the cover of the 1964 album “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” (As reported by Paul Vitello
1932: The 1932 Winter Olympics in which speed skater Irving Jaffee would win two gold medals, opened today in Lake Placid.
1932(27th of Shevat, 5692): Sixty-five year old Max Leopold Margolis passed away today.
1933: Eighty-seven year old Archibald Henry Sayce, the Professor of Assyriology at Oxford whose works included The Chronology of the Bible Connected with Contemporaneous Events in the History of Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians, Introduction to the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, The Life and Times of Isaiah, Patriarchal Palestine, The Egypt of the Hebrews and Herodotus, Early History of the Hebrews and Israel and the Surrounding Nations, passed away today.
1933: In Tel Aviv, Eliyahu Golomb, one of the early leaders of the Haganah and his wife gave birth to David Golomb, Israeli political leader and Knesset member.
1935(1st of Adar I, 5695): Rosh Chodesh Adar I
1935(1st of Adar I, 5695): Fifty-five year old, Nathan Mileikowsky, the Lithuanian born rabbi who made Aliyah in 1920 and was the patriarch of the Netanyahu clan that included his son historian Benzion and grandsons Benjamin and Yonatan of blessed memory, passed away today.
1936: In Philadelphia, PA, vaudevillian Louis Brenner and his wife gave birth to comedian David Brenner.
1936: Bronislaw Humberman, a prominent Polish violinist announced this afternoon that a symphony orchestra is being formed in Palestine that will be known as the Palestine Orchestra Association. Many of those in the orchestra will be residents or former residents of Germany who cannot work that Nazi nation. Huberman reported $25,000 has already been contributed to help the orchestra with its initial organizational activities.
1936: David Frankfurter, a Jewish Yugoslav medical student, killed the Swiss Nazi Gauleiter Wilhelm Gustoff. Though the German government demanded the death penalty, he was sentenced to eighteen years. Some historians believe that his action served as a model for Hershel Grynzpan whose assassination was used by the Nazi party for an all-out attack on Jewish property and synagogues known as Kristallnacht.
1937: “White Cargo” directed by Robert Siodmak, produced by Seymour Nebenzal and with music by Paul Dessau was released in France today.
1938: Tonight in Vienna, Nazis youths smashed windows in shops owned by Jews and “threw a burning gasoline container” into a synagogue while people were attending services.
1938: New income tax regulations issued by the German government today ended the income tax reduction for Jewish children while keeping the reduction for Aryan families.
1938: “The Goldwyn Follies” produced by Samuel Goldwyn, written by Ben Hecht, co-starring the Ritz Brothers, with music by George Gershwin was released in the United States today.
1938: “Everybody Sing” a musical comedy co-starring Fanny Brice, produced by Harry Rapf and photographed by cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg was released today in the United States.
1938: The Palestine Post reported that Mordechai Nahman, a Jewish guard at the Shell Bridge in Haifa, was stabbed and badly injured by two Arabs, who succeeded in escaping.
1938: The Palestine Post reported that Dr. Chaim Weizmann, upon his departure for England, stressed the Yishuv's and world Jewry need for unity, and said that some people "can only succeed in placing obstacles on our path, but they will never stop our work."
1939: Martha and Waitstill Sharp set sail for Europe today in the first step of their plan to help rescue Jews in Europe. The behavior of these two quintessential WASPS (he was a Unitarian minister who traced his lineage back to the original settlers of New England) defies logic and serve as a reminder of the good truly religious people can in the world. They have been honored as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
1939(15th of Shevat, 5699): Edward Sapir passed away. The son of a rabbi, Sapir gained fame as an anthropological linguist while teaching at the University of Chicago and Yale.
1941: As they made their way to Palestine, artist Marcel Janco who co-invented Dadaism and his family arrived Turkey having left Romania following the Bucharest Pogrom of January, 1941.
1941: In response to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide morale and recreation services to uniformed military personnel six civilian agencies including the National Jewish Welfare Board formed the United Service Organization popularly known as the USO.
1943(29th of Shevat, 5703): The Germans killed Eberson, Buber, Kimmelman, and Chigier four of the remaining 12 members of the Jewish Council of Lvov. Six others were sent to Janawska concentration camp.
1945: This afternoon, a British constable was seized by a shark while he was swimming in the Mediterranean off the coast of Tel Aviv. “A passing RAF pilot saw the commotion in the water beneath him and dipped down to investigate. The roar of the motors frightened the shark away and the constable swam to shore safely.”
1946: The Anglo-American Palestine Inquiry Commission is scheduled to leave for Germany today to begin a month’s study of the Jewish situation in Europe.
1946: Garson Kanin’s “Born Yesterday” starring Judy Holliday premiered on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre.
1947: “My Brother Talks to Horses” directed by Fred Zinneman and produced by Samuel Marx was released in the United States today.
1949: At a public meeting David Ben-Gurion stressed the need for a ‘partnership’ between the state of Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora.
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that a train was derailed north of Kalkilya, as the result of a carefully planned operation by Jordanian saboteurs who blew up a section of track opposite Tulama village. The line was later repaired and reopened, but only after military attaches of foreign embassies visited the site. Israel submitted another complaint on Jordanian infiltration to the Mixed Israeli-Jordanian Armistice Commission.
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that a Farm Settlement Bill passed its first reading in the Knesset.
1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that The High Court upheld the Interior Ministry's order closing the Communist daily Kol Ha'am for 10 days for endangering the public peace by publication of articles justifying the current Soviet anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda, lies and fabrications.
1956: Birthdate of Kati Marton “an American author and journalist." Her career has included reporting for ABC News as a foreign correspondent and National Public Radio, where she started as a production assistant 1971 in her 20s, as well as print journalism and writing a number of books.She is the former chairwoman of the International Women's Health Coalition, and a director (former chairwoman) of the Committee to Protect Journalists and other bodies including the International Rescue Committee, Human Rights Watch and the New America Foundation. She has received several honors for her reporting, including the 2001 Rebekah Kohut Humanitarian Award by the National Council of Jewish Women, the 2002 Matrix Award for Women Who Change the World, the George Foster Peabody Award (presented to WCAU-TV, Philadelphia in 1973) and the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary—the country's highest civilian honor. Marton is also a recipient of The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence. Marton was born in Hungary, the daughter of UPI reporter Ilona Marton and award-winning AP reporter Endre Marton. Her parents survived the Holocaust of World War II but never spoke about it. Her parents served nearly two years in prison on false charges of espionage for the U.S. and Kati and her older sister were placed in the care of strangers. Raised a Roman Catholic, she only learned late in life and by accident from a third party that her grandparents were Jews who were murdered at Auschwitz concentration camp. Among the many honors her parents received for their reporting on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was the George Polk Award. The family ultimately fled Hungary following the revolution and settled in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where Marton attended Bethesda Chevy Chase High School.
1956: Sixty-eight year old Savielly Tartakower the Polish and French chess grandmaster whose parent were killed in a pogrom in Rostov-on-Dov despite having convert Christianity, passed away today.
1957: Reinhold Niebuhr expressed his views on the Jewish state in “Our Stake in the State of Israel” which was published today.
1959: For the first times since ancient times, Israel began exporting copper ore from the King Solomon mines.
1959: “Black Orchard” a love story directed by Martin Ritt was released in the United States today.
1960: Birthdate of Los Angeles native Jenette Elise Goldstein, the actress best known for her role in the sci-fi thriller “Aliens.”
1962: Birthdate of Ethan Berkowitz, a leader of the Democratic Party in Alaska.
1962: Eighty-nine year old French historian Daniel Halévy, the son Ludovic Halevy who had converted to Christianity and who went from being a supporter of Dreyfus to a supporter of Petain’s pro-Nazi Vichy government passed away today.
1966: In Tel Aviv, the offices of Zim Shipping Company on Rothschild Boulevard “burned down in of the biggest fires in Israeli history.”
1967(24th of Shevat, 5727): Czech born Stephen Roth Jewish cartoonist passed away
1968: At sundown, Israeli forces ended their search for the INS Dakar.
1968(5th of Shevat, 5728): Eighty-nine year old Judge Jacob Panken passed away today.
1969: Birthdate of Leah Gloldstein, the native of Vancouver who moved to Israel where she spent 9 years in the Israeli commandos and secret police, won the 1989 World Bantamweight Kickboxing Championship, and was Israel's Duathlon champion.
1969: Yasser Arafat takes over as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Arafat was committed to a Palestinian state from the “River to the Sea.” Despite all of the grins and handshakes associated with the Oslo Agreements, Arafat’s behavior at and after the Camp David Peace Talks sponsored by President Clinton proved that he really never deviated from this goal.
1970: “Start the Revolution Without Me” a comedy set in the French Revolution directed and produced by Bud York and starring Gene Wilder was released in the United States today.
1973: Israel unveiled the Reshef, its newest missile boat.
1976: U.S. premiere of “Next Stop Greenwich Village,” a film about “a young Jewish boy from Brooklyn who has dreams of stardom” written, directed and produced by Paul Mazursky, co-starring Shelly Winters and Ellen Greene and featuring Jeff Goldblum/
1986: Israeli fighters intercepted a Libyan passenger plane.
1971: In Los Angeles, former D.A. Gil Garcetti and Sukey Roth, daughter of Harry Roth, a Jewish immigrant from Russia who founded the clothing brand Louis Roth& amp; Co gave birth to Eric Garcetti, the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles.
1979: Birthdate of Topeka, Kansas native and MacArthur Fellow Benjamin “Ben” Lerner, the poet and English professor at Brooklyn College.
1983: “The Entity” a horror film starring Barbara Hershey was released today in the United States.
1987: Marcel Marceau performs before a crowd of 2,074 fans in Iowa City, IA.
1988: Jozef Gierowski, the scholar, who heads the Research Center of Jewish History at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, said at a dinner tonight that Poland will soon acknowledge ''political error'' in 1967-68, when thousands of Jews were purged from the Communist Party.
1988: A four-day conference, sponsored by the Hebrew University Center for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews attended by 300 scholars including more than 80 Polish scholars came to an end. The 150 presentations given during the conference encompassed the entire history of the Polish Jews, covering subjects ranging from Jewish literature and philosophy to relations with the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish political organizations. The main presentation was about ethical problems concerning the Holocaust and Poland.
1989: After 644 performances, the curtain came down on the West End production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
1989: France won the doubles and took an unbeatable 3-0 lead over Israel today in Davis Cup play. Guy Forget and Yannick Noah defeated Amos Mansdorf and Shahar Perkis, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 6-3, 13-11, in a match that lasted three and a half hours. Forget and Noah staved off three match points in the fifth set, which lasted 1 hour 20 minutes.
1990: Ten Israeli tourists were murdered near Cairo. Israeli military officials speculated this evening that the attackers of an Israeli tourist bus near Cairo were members of a guerrilla organization that sent assassins across the Egyptian border into Israel in December.
1991: Mayor David N. Dinkins is scheduled to return to New York today after having made “a lightning visit to” Israel. Dinkins had said that the visit served “to reaffirm our historic solidarity with the State of Israel, our concern for the safety of the people of the Middle East who are caught up in this conflict, and of course, our support for the men and women in uniform who are risking their lives for freedom."
1992(30th of Sh'vat, 5752): Rosh Chodesh Adar I
1992: Israel's Ambassador, Zalman Shoval, returned to Washington today with what Israeli officials described as pragmatic counterproposals to an American position stated by Secretary of State James A. Baker 3d on January 24 concerning $10 billion in loan guarantees The Bush Administration had told Israel that it would consider its request for $10 billion in loan guarantees that are to be used for the construction of housing in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
1994: “Romeo Is Bleeding” a crime film directed by Hungarian-born British director Medak was released in the United States today.
1995: In the following article David Gonzalez describes the growing involvement of Orthodox Jewish women in advanced graduate level Jewish Studies which could be a harbinger of further change in the role that Orthodox women play in communal life.
1997: En route to Lebanon, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 troop-transport helicopters collide in mid-air over northern Galilee, Israel killing 73.
1997: Secretary of State Madeline Albright announced she had just discovered that her grandparents were Jewish.
2001: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Bible Unearthed Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World? 3000 BC-AD 1603 by Simon Schama and Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy by Susan Zuccotti
2002: Ann F. Lewis was appointed National Chair of the Democratic Party's Women's Vote Center.
2004: Mark Zuckerberg “launched Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room.”
2006 (6th of Shevat, 5766): Betty Friedan passed away on her 85th birthday. (As reported by Margalit Fox)
2007: An exhibition entitled “The ‘Jewish’ Rembrandt” closes at Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum. The ‘Jewish’ Rembrandt is part of the key programs designed for the Rembrandt-400 celebrations, a national festival organized by museums and public bodies to celebrate the 400th birthday of the Dutch painter Rembrandt.
2007: A review of Matters of Honor by Louis Begley entitled “A Jew at Harvard” appeared in Sunday New York Times book section. In Begley’s seventh novel, the author describes the attempts of Henry White, a/k/a Henryk Weiss from Krakow, “to navigate in a culture where the term “Jew” is used “with restraint,” where it’s “an embarrassing word to utter in polite company. ... not unlike ‘homosexual.’ ”
2007(17 Shevat 5767): Kurt Schubert, the founder of Austria's first Jewish museum after 1945 passed away at the age of 83. .Schubert died after a long illness, according to a statement posted on the Web site of the Austrian Jewish Museum in Eisenstaedt that he founded in 1972.
2007: Roni Bar-On withdrew his candidacy for the position of Justice Minister
2008: (28th Shevat): On the 28th of Shevat, 134 BCE,, Antiochus V abandoned his siege of Jerusalem and his plans for the city's destruction. According to the “Megilat Taanit,” this day was observed as a holiday in Hasmonean times.
2008: At the Community Synagogue in New York, The New Yiddish Rep presents “The Essence,” an overview of Yiddish Theater from Abraham Goldfaden to the present day created by Allen Rickman, performed by Allen Rickman, Yelena Shmulenson and Steve Sterner. The narration is in English and the songs and scenes are in Yiddish with English supertitles.
2008: “The Knesset, including Arab MK Ahmed Tibi, agreed to consider the bill put forth by MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) proposing the evacuation of the Palestinian residents of Hebron in 2008.” (As reported by Shahar Ilan)
2008 (28th of Shevat, 5768): A Palestinian suicide bomber killed one woman and wounded 11 other people when he blew himself up in a crowded mall in the southern Israeli city of Dimona at 10:30 A.M. (8:30 A.M. GMT). A second suicide bomber was killed by a policeman before he could detonate his explosives belt. The woman killed in the attack was 74-year-old Razdolskya Lyobov, a Dimona resident from the former Soviet Union. One of the wounded, a man, was in "critical condition."
2009: The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism presents a lecture with Dr. Mordechai Kedar entitled "Islamism, Genocidal Anti-Semitism and the Place of the Other."
2009: At Columbia University, the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies presents a lecture entitled, "Statecraft in the Middle East," with Ambassador Dennis Ross
2009: Dutch Police on Wednesday found two bullet holes from a shooting aimed at a mental health clinic run by the Amsterdam Jewish community, in what may be a further escalation in anti-Semitic attacks in the Netherlands since Israel launched an operation in Gaza in December.
2009: The 9th Annual Herzliya Conference comes to a close.
2010: A staged concert version of Harold Rome’s musical “Fanny” opened at City Center.
2010: The 14th New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to open in New York City.
2010: Maggie Anton, author of the trilogy about Rashi’s Daughters is scheduled to speak at Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Cincinnati, Ohio.
2010: Heavy snow was falling on Mount Hermon and on the higher areas in the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights today, while rains, hailstorms and strong winds were felt from Israel's North to the Negev
2011: “Wandering Eyes” a documentary that tells the story of “Gabriel Belhassan …the next big thing in the rock music world, former Orthodox Jew and recently diagnosed manic depressive directed by Ofir Trainin is scheduled to be shown at the “REELABITLITIES FILM FESTIVAL” in New York City.
2011: Hadassah Attorneys Ladies who Lunch! Gather at Eli’s, a kosher restaurant in Washington, D.C.
2011(30th of Shevat, 5771): Rosh Chodesh Adar I
2011: Mass flash flooding triggered by Cyclone Yasi caused severe damage to Jewish community buildings in Melbourne. Wild floods stormed through several suburbs heavily populated by Melbourne’s 50,000-strong Jewish community this prompting the closure of the Sephardi Synagogue on Shabbat. At least two Jewish schools were also flooded, with Bialik College – one of the largest Jewish schools in the country – reportedly closing for two days this week due to damage. The offices of the Australian Jewish News were also partially flooded, according to Yossi Aron, the newspaper’s religious affairs editor.
2011: Deborah “Solomon stepped down from writing her weekly column” for the New York Times Magazine “to write in house and continue her biography of Norman Rockwell.”
2011: Alan Gross was charged by the government of Cuba today with "acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state," a charge that carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. The U.S. State Department identified Gross as a U.S. government contractor who was in Cuba to assist Cuban Jews in learning how to communicate with other Jewish communities using the Internet. (As reported by JTA)
2012: Professor James Kugel is scheduled to deliver two lectures at Shearith Israel – “Why Did Moses Do Wrong? The Mystery, and History, of Massah and Meribah” and “How Our Ancient Interpreters Understood the Song at the Sea”
2012: In Little Rock, the Jewish Federation of Arkansas is scheduled to present President Bill Clinton with the Tikkun Olam Lifetime Achievement Award at an event marking its 100th anniversary celebration dinner.
2012: Electile Dysfunction: The Kinsey Sicks For President!(Because Sometimes It's Hard Being a Republican) is scheduled to open at Theatre J in Washington, DC.
2012: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Temple Judah Traditional Minyan takes on a triple header – Super Bowl Shabbat, Shabbat Shirah and Four Chaplains Shabbat
2012: In Iowa City, Defunct Books is advertising a first ever for that college town – a poetry reading featuring Yiddish poetry. Well known Cedar Rapids poet and playwright Murray Wolfe will be reading some of his own original works as well as reciting from the works of Avrom Sutskever
2012: A shell from the British Mandate era was discovered this morning during construction work at Tel Aviv University.
2012: As reports about the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure continue to escalate, Iran's oil minister said the Islamic state would not retreat from its nuclear program even if its crude oil exports grind to a halt, the official IRNA news agency reported today. Israel’s reported plan for an air attack is based on these kinds of declarations of Iranian determination to develop a nuclear capability.
2013: In Rockville, MD, Magen David Congregation is scheduled to host a presentation by Professor Anat Berko entitled “A Smarter Bomb; Women and Children as Suicide Bombers.”
2013: The 16th Annual Miami Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to come a close.
2013: In Florida, “Nicky’s Family,” a film that “pays tribute to” Sir Nicholas Winton who has been dubbed “Britain’s Schindler” is scheduled to be shown at the 13th annual Broward County Jewish Film Festival
2013: Funeral services for the Ed Koch, the former Mayor of New York City are scheduled to be held at Temple Emanu-El in New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Israeli consul general are among those scheduled to speak at the funeral. Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to attend as the representative for President Barak Obama.
2013: New research published today found that “school textbooks in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority largely eliminate one another’s existence in maps, although the Israeli curriculum is more balanced and self-critical than the Palestinian.
2013: Israeli threats to strike Iran's nuclear program and send shock waves throughout the world are "unhelpful," and Jerusalem should lower its profile on the issue, director of the Institute for National Security Studies, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said today.
2013: The IDF has arrested a number of senior Hamas figures in the West Bank, Palestinian sources said today.
2013: Mark Dreyfus began serving as Attorney-General for Australia and Minister for Emergency Management.
2014: Graveside services for Jacob L. Horowitz, the son of Miriam Landsman and Steven Horowitz are scheduled to take place this afternoon at Agudas Achim Cemetery in Iowa City, IA.
2014: The JCC of Northern Virginia is scheduled to host an evening of Israeli Dance with instructor Ethan Halpern.
2014: Keren Katz is scheduled to discuss Israeli cartoonists as part of the New York Comics & Picture –story Symposium.
2014: Professor Ezra Zohar, the 92 year old physician who was one of the founders of the School of Medicine at Tel University and who passed away yesterday is scheduled to be laid to rest at Mt. of Olives Cemetery this afternoon.
2014: The funeral for Captain Tl Nahman who was accidently killed yesterday in a “friendly fire” episode is scheduled to be buried this afternoon at the cemetery in Nes Ziona.
2014: “The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) revamped their Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library today.” (As reported by Tova Dvorin)
2015: “The Encores! Staged a concert version of the George and Ira Gershwin musical ‘Lady, Be Good’”.
2015: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to present Kathleen D. Roe speaking on the importance of archives and “why ‘archives matters.’”
2015: Ari Shavit is scheduled to discuss his latest work, My Promised Land at Temple Emanu-el followed by a book signing.
2015(15th of Shevat, 5775): Tu B’Shevat
2016: “The Price of Sugar” is scheduled to be shown on the opening night of the 26th San Diego Jewish Film Festival.
2016: In Nice, a two day celebration of the life of Angelo Donati who worked to save Italian Jews living in France that “included the unveiling of a commemorative plaque on the Promenade des Anglais” came to an end.
2016: All decent people mourned as 19 year old Hadar Cohen was laid to rest today after having been murdered by terrorists in Jerusalem yesterday.
2016: The Skirball Center is scheduled to host “An Evening With Frédéric Brenner” the French photographer best known for his masterpiece Diaspora, a 25-year project spanning 40 countries resulting in a stunning visual record of the Jewish Diaspora.
2016: The Jewish Historical Society is scheduled host an evening with Lawrence Douglas, author of The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great War Crime
2017(8th of Shevat, 5777): Parashat Bo; for more see http://downhomedavartorah.blogspot.com/
2017: This evening in Chicago, Dr. Daniel Greene, a curator from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is scheduled to lead a “conversation on Americans and the Holocaust” – what did they know about it when it was happening?
2017: Shiva is scheduled to come to an end this evening for Gloria Mound “who devoted almost four decades of her life to researching the history, dispersion and fate of Jews exiled from Spain in 1492.”
2017: The Batsheva Dance Company is scheduled to perform “Last Work” for the final time at BAM.