Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This Day, March 15, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin


March 15

457 BCE (12th of Nisan, 3303): Ezra and his followers departed from the River Ahava on their way to Jerusalem.

44 BCE: Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Roman Senate. The Jews supported Caesar in his fight for power against Crassus and Pompey. Pompey had seized Jerusalem, violated the Holy of Holies and shipped thousands of Judeans off to the slave markets. Eight years later, Crassus came to Jerusalem and stole the Temple Treasury. As a reward for Jewish support, Caesar returned the port of Jaffa to Judean control. He instituted a more humane tax rate that took into account the Sabbatical Year. He allowed the walls of Jerusalem to be rebuilt and he allowed Jewish communities in the Italian peninsula, including Rome itself, to "organize and thrive."

351: Constantius II elevates his cousin Gallus to Caesar, and puts him in charge of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. During his rule, Gallus had to deal with a Jewish rebellion in Judea/Palestine. The rebellion, possibly started before Gallus' elevation to Caesar, was crushed by Gallus' general, Ursicinus, who ordered all the rebels slain.

1391: “A Jew hating monk” is responsible for starting anti-Jewish riots in Seville, Spain. These riots marked the start of a wave of violence throughout Spain and Portugal which claimed 50,000 lives within less than a year. Many Jews escaped death by converting to Christianity. This marked the emergence of Marranos who were said to number 200,000.

1545: Opening session of the Council of Trent. At the Council of Trent in the 16th century, the Roman Church stated as a theological principle that all men share the responsibility for the Passion—and that Christians bear a particular burden. "In this guilt [for the death of Jesus] are involved all those who fall frequently into sin..." read the catechism of the council.” This guilt seems more enormous in us than in the Jews since, if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory; while we, on the contrary, professing to know him, yet denying him by our actions, seem in some sort to lay violent hands on him."

1672: Charles II of England issues the Royal Declaration of Indulgence. This declaration was part of the jockeying for power between Roman Catholics, Anglicans and non-Anglican Protestants. Religious rights for Jews were not a part of this measure. Oliver Cromwell, the Protestant civil ruler who temporarily replaced the Stuarts allowed the Jews to re-enter England. Charles II continued his policy and actually expanded the rights and protection for the growing Jewish population. Charles II’s, his successor King James II and the last Catholic King of England further expanded the royal protection of the Jews. Both monarchs appreciated the financial support they received from Jewish bankers. By the time William and Mary had replaced James on the English throne, Jews were too well established in England to ever again be candidates for expulsion and exile.

1773: The South Carolina Gazette reported that Moses Lindo purchased a stone which he believed to be a topaz of immense size, and that he sent it to London by the Right Hon. Lord Charles Greville Montague to be presented to the Queen of England.” Lindo was a native of England who settled in South Carolina where he prospered in the trade of indigo.

1776: South Carolina becomes the first American colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and set up its own government. The Jews played an active role in the political affairs of South Carolina from its earliest days. As early as 1702 they were voting in the colony’s general elections. Francis Salvador began serving in the Provincial Congress in the year before the Palmetto State declared her independence

1795: Birthdate of Samuel Moses Marx, the son of a Jewish doctor in Halle who, when baptized in 1819, changed his name to Adolf Bernhard Marx who gained fame as a German composer and critic.

1800: Birthdate of Joseph Wetheimer, who joined his father’s business in 1821 and who was “the founder of Jewish Alliance in Vienna.

1801: Birthdate of Joseph Levin Saalschütz, the native of Konigsberg who was the first Jew to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Konigsberg.

1817: Birthdate of Samuel Naumbourg, the native of Bavaria who served as Chazzan at Besancon and choir director at a Strasburg synagogue before becoming the leader “of synagogue of the Rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth at Paris, where he became professor of liturgical music at the Séminaire Israélite” in 1845.

 

1820: Just a year after Rebecca Gratz established the country's first Female Hebrew Benevolent Society in Philadelphia, Richa Levy led a group of women that established a Female Hebrew Benevolent Society at New York's Shearith Israel congregation. At that time, Shearith Israel was the only synagogue in New York City.

1820: The King of Saxony granted “Jewish tradesman” Joseph Friedländer permission to remain at Bautzen.

1820: Maine becomes the 23rd state to join the Union. Today Maine has a small but active Jewish population. There are ten congregations in the state. There are Hillel chapters at the University of Maine, Colby, Bates and Bowdoin. Statewide organizations include the Jewish Community Council of Bangor, Main, the Holocaust Human Rights Center of Main, The Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine and the Maine Jewish Film Festival. The mission of the Maine Jewish Film Festival is to “provide a forum for the presentation of films to enrich, educate and entertain a diverse community about the Jewish experience.” Since 1998, we have fulfilled this mission by presenting over 145 films about all facets of Jewish life and culture to nearly 17,500 people. Our annual Festival takes place over nine days in mid-March, and each year we bring a rich selection of films to Maine that otherwise wouldn’t get seen by audiences anywhere else in the state or even Northern New England. The Festival serves filmgoers of all ages and backgrounds, both Jews and non-Jews alike. Maine is one of the smallest cities in the United States to host an independent Jewish film festival and each successive year we attract increasing numbers of attendees (over 3,000 in 2006).

1827: The University of Toronto is chartered. The first Jewish community did not develop in Toronto until the 1840’s. Today the Toronto University has 3,000 Jewish students among its 40,000 undergraduates and 500 Jewish students among its 10,000 graduate students. The University offers approximately 35 courses in Jewish Studies and a minor in Jewish studies. The Hillel chapter is located at the Wolfond Center for Jewish Life.

1830: Birthdate of Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse, the first Jew to win the Nobel Prize for Literature

1849: Birthdate of Emanuel Rich, who with his brother Morris, founded Rich’s Department Store.

1848: Birthdate of Ignace Ephrussi, the native of Odessa, who was a member of a family of famous Jewish bankers that included his brother Charles.  The family moved their operations from Odessa to Paris and Vienna.

1848: Birthdate of Toby Edward Rosenthal, the native of New Have CT, whose family moved to San Francisco in 1855 where he began his art studies which led him to pursue a career as painter whose worked include “Morning Prayers In Bach’s Family” which was purchased by the government of Saxony and hung at the museum in Leipzig.

1851: Birthdate of Hungarian attorney and Diet Member, Arthur Jellinek.

1855: Pauline Koch and Hermann Einstein gave birth the parents of Albert Einstein gave birth to their youngest child Friederike, nicknamed “Rika.”

1856: Following the creation of the Company Ports of Marseille, Franco-Jewish financier Jules Mires formed a partnership with Talabot Paulin to rebuild the docks of this major French Mediterranean port.

1859: Abramo Volterra, a cloth merchant, and Angelica Almagià, the parents of Italian mathematician and physicist, Vito Volterra were married today.

1860: Birthdate of Count Moïse de Camondo, a native of Constantinople whose Sephardic family owned one of the largest banks in the Ottoman Empire and who became a leading French banker and art collector.

1860: Birthdate of bacteriologist Waldemar Mordecai Wolff Haffkine, the native of Odessa who refused to convert to further his career choosing instead to immigrate to France where he continued his work that led to vaccines against cholera and the bubonic plague.

1862:  “Treason in Embryo: A Remarkable Document” published today contained excerpts from correspondence written by David Yulee in January of 1861. At the time, Yulee was a United States Senator representing Florida. The correspondence described the meetings of U.S. Senators from several southern states and the role they would be playing the secession movement and the establishment of the Confederate States of America.

1864(O.S.) Birthdate of Sergei Zubatov. “the head of the Czarist Secret Police in Moscow” who “convinced” the imprisoned Manya Shochat to form “tame” workers “organizations that would work for reform rather than the overthrow of the government” which would supposedly “help achieve rights for Jews” – a supposition which the policeman knew was false and which the Jewish leader came to see as a “pipe dream.”

1865: The activities surrounding “the fourth annual masquerade ball of the Purim Association” which was held last night was described in an article published today entitled “The Purim Ball--Grand Masquerade at the Academy of Music.” According to the article “The Purim Ball is held to commemorate one of the great epochs of Jewish history -- the deliverance of the chosen people from the machinations of Haman, Prime Minister to King Ahasuerus, of Persia. “The Purim Association raised approximately $9,000 for its charitable activities through the sale of 900 tickets at $10 each. The society also published the Purim Gazette, a paper which is printed at each recurrence of the Purim ball.1867: The Amusements Column, in an item styled "Last of Shylock" reported that this evening marked the next to the last performance of “The Merchant of Venice” at the Winter Garden Theatre. There would be one more Saturday matinee and then "farewell to the Jew for the Season. “The Merchant of Venice” featuring Shylock reportedly was the first Shakespearean play to have been performed in United States; a performance that took place in colonial Virginia.

1869: Prussia does away with the Oath More Judaico or Jewish Oath

1876: It was reported today that the Earl of Aylesford was in such dire financial straits that if he paid all of the money he owed to various English Jews, “he would have scarcely had a income to support himself.”

1877(1st of Nisan, 5637): Rosh Chodesh Nisan

1877(1st of Nisan, 5637): Albert Cohn, the Hungarian born French philanthropist and scholar passed away in Paris.

1880: It was reported today that Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen by Johann Karl Friedrich Zöllner “bristles with attacks on Jews.”

1881(14th of Adar II, 5641): Purim

1881: The Purim Masquerade Ball is scheduled to be held today at the Academy of Music in New York City.

1882(24th of Adar): Rabbi Eliezer Lipmann Silbermann founder of Ha Maggid, the first weekly Hebrew newspaper, passed away today.

1884(18th of Adar, 5644): Shabbat Parah

1884(18th of Adar, 5644): Seventy-nine year old Mary Moss, the daughter of Solomon and Rebecca Eve Levy and wife of Eleazer (Eugene) Moss passed away today in Philadelphia.

1884: In Podolia, Hana and Boksir Dov Sharfshtein gave birth to author and linguist Zvi Scharfstein who came to the United States in WW I where he continued his work.

1886: In New York, formation of the Jewish Immigrants’ Protective Society

1886: Yeshiva Etz Chaim was founded in New York. It was the first American yeshiva to include the study of Talmud.

1889: Simon Cook was promoted from Ensign to Lt. Jr. Grade in the USN.

1889: Birthdate assigned to Melech Epstein by his parents. The native of Belarus moved to the United States where he wrote Labor in U.S.A. and The Jew and Communism 

1891: General H.B. Carrington delivered four lectures today a Syracuse University including one entitled “Hebrew History.”

1891: “New York University” published today described the upcoming free lectures that would be offered by The School of Pedagogy including Rabbi Leight on speaking on “Old Hebrew Education.”

1892: Birthdate of Jacob Bartfield, “an Austrian-born Jew nicknamed "Soldier" because he served in the American army after emigrating to the USA” who “boxed as a welterweight and middleweight in the 1910s and 1920s” and who passed away in September of 1970.

1892: “Sunday Not Recognized By Jews” published today described the grounds on which John Besher dismissed the charges that had been lodged against two Jewish grocers for doing business on Sunday. Bsher accepted their position that “Sunday being recognized by their race as an ordinary week day, they were entitled to keep their stores open for business” but only if they observe Saturdays as their Sabbath.

1892: As the business operations of J.E. Guenzburg crumbled today in St. Petersburg, it was announced that the Jewish bankers had liabilities totaling six million rubles. It had been thought that the assets of his firm which dates back to the Crimean War were closer to ten million rubles.

1892: In Paris, the Bourse closed down based on reports of the failure of J.E. Guenzburg’s banking interests in St. Petersburg.

1892: Word of the failure of J.E. Guenzburg, a leading Russian banker had little effect on the financial markets in London

1892: In Berlin it is believed that the failure of Guenzburg was the result of governmental animosity. The Czar’s government objected to the power of a Jewish banker and his involvement with German bankers since Russia is now allying itself with France. Creditors have good reason to believe that Guenzburg will pay all of his creditors.

1893: Birthdate of Jules Salvador Moch, the French politician who was the grandson of Colonel Jules Moch and the son of Captain Gaston Moch who was born and died in the same year as Captain Alfred Dreyfus whose cause he supported.

1893: Arthur Reichow, a representative of the committee connected with the Baron Hirsch Fund, returned to New York City tonight after having spent the day investigating conditions at the Jewish colony at Chesterfield, eight miles from New London, CT. “Instead of starvation” Reichow said “he found a comparatively contented people with only six families of the thirty two” at the colony were “really in need of assistance” and two of the families refused to accept any help unless it was in the form of loan.

1893: It was reported today that a Jewish peddler named Morantz has been fencing stolen goods for several gangs in the Kansas City area.  Morantz has a daughter named Mollie who takes the goods from the thieves when her father leaves the city “to sell the plunder.”

1893: Citing information that has appeared in German newspapers, “Andrew D. White, the United States Minister to Russia” has written to the State Department warning “that it is the intention of the promoters of the Baron Hirsch fund…to renew the immigration of Russian” Jews “to the Argentine Republic.”  “Only the better class of” Jews “will be sent to the South American republic and that those of an undesirable class will be sifted out and sent to the United States.”  White did not comment on the credibility of the reports saying only that U.S. immigration officials should vigilant about the appearance of such undesirable immigrants.

1895: Alfred Dreyfus arrived at the Iles de Sault, “a small archipelago situated twenty-seven miles (43 km) off Cayenne, opposite the mouth of the River Kuru” best known for Devil’s Island where the disgraced officer was to be imprisoned.

1896: Seventy-eight Jewish veterans of the Union Army met in New York City's Lexington Opera House to form the Hebrew Union Veterans, the precursor group to the Jewish War Veterans of the USA. The veterans gathered in an attempt to refute claims in Harper’s Weekly and the North American Review that Jews had not fought in the war. (As reported by Seymour “Sy” Brody) The same charge was also made by Mark Twain which would prove to be unusual on two counts. Twain’s brief flirtation with the war had come on the Rebel side and his daughter would end up marrying a Jews.

1896: In Knyszyn, Poland “Reb Eli Novodvorsky, a Jewish scholar, and Chaya Tserel Novodvorsky, a small goods store owner” gave birth to Shimeon Novodvorsky, better known as Jim Novy,  the Austin, TX businessman and leader of the Jewish community who worked to save Jews from the Holocaust and was close friend of Lyndon Johnson.

1896:”Russia and Religious Liberty” published today described the treatment of non-Orthodox treatment in the Czar’s empire including his five or six million Jewish subjects who are subject to “Jew baiting” in which the government has “appealed to what is worst in human nature.  “The harrying of the Jews is generally admitted to be one of the cause of the growth of poverty” among the Russian people.  “After the expulsion of the Jews from Moscow, the rate of interest in private pawnshops rose from 25 to 200 per cent per annum. (So much for the myth of the avaricious Jewish moneylender)

1897: It was reported today that a performance of “My Uncle’s Will” by the students of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts was the main entertainment provided at an event hosted by the Hebrew Institute.

1897: Eighty-two year old English Mathematician James Joseph Sylvester, the son of Abraham Joseph who was awarded the Copley Award, the highest honor of the Royal Society passed away today.

1897: “Eulogies of Mr. Goodhart” published today described the speeches made by Dr. Emil G. Hirsch of Chicago, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Dr. F. de Solo Mendes and Dr. Hermann Phillips the religious director at the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society all of which spoke movingly of the contribution of the late Morris Goodhart.

1897: The Hebrew Education Society of Philadelphia, whose “annual report showed that it had an income of $9,114 last year” celebrated its 49th anniversary today.

1897: “Ephraim Lederer” has volunteered to continue giving “weekly lectures on the Constitution of the United States and the requirements for the proper performance of the duties of a citizen” in Philadelphia.

1897: “Catholic Praises of Jewess” published today described the praise Reverend Sylvester Malone, State Regent and Pastor of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Brooklyn had for “Mrs. Nannette Marks, a Jewish lady who has become famous throughout Brooklyn for her benevolent acts, irrespective of creed and who walked to the altar rail and presented a bouquet of flowers” to Reverend Maurice Ryan, the Paulist missionary.

1899: Today the General Conference of American Rabbis discussed a paper entitled “The National Idea in Judaism with Especial Reference to the Zionistic Movement” presented by Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch of Chicago, Illinois.

1899: Three hundred forty-five guests attended the celebration of the 80th birthday of Rabbi Isaac M. Wise which included a dinner at the Phoenix Club in Cincinnati, Ohio hosted by the General Conference of American Rabbis.

1899: It was reported today that the next musicale and tea sponsored by the Woman’s Committee of the Hebrew Technical Institute will take place next month at Sherry’s

1900: Parts of the body of Ernst Winter, a student who had disappeared in Konitz, West Prussia were discovered in a nearby lake and an arm was found in a cemetery.

1900: Following the death of a student in Konitz, Poland, local Jews are faced with another “blood libel” episode. While Count Plucker promoted riots against the Jews, Wolf Israelski was accused and arrested. After Israelski was proven innocent, two other Jews, Moritz Lewy and Rosenthal, were arrested on the same charge. Rosenthal and Lewy were acquitted, yet Lewy was sentenced to four years for denying he knew the victim. All the evidence was based on the testimony of a petty thief named Masloff who later received only one year for perjury.

1905: Birthdate of Nat Perrin, the lawyer turned gag writer whose career spanned Marx Brothers Movies to “The Addams Family” – a 1960’s sitcom.

1905(8th of Adar II, 5665): Seventy-seven year old Meyer Guggenheim, the native of Switzerland, who came to the United States in 1847 where he made his fortune in mining and smelting and became the patriarch of the Guggenheim clan consisting of his wife Barbara and ten children, passed away today.

1906: While delivering a speech at Chesham on the question of the excluding aliens from settling in the British Isles, The Honorable Lionel Walter Rothschild, Member of Parliament for the Aylesbury Division of Buckinghamshire, “referred to the number of poor Russian refugees excluded from Great Britain in the last few months.” Based on what he considered to be “irrefutable evidence,” Mr. Rothschild, the son of Lord Rothschild, reported that those Russians who were forced to return to their native land were shot at the border without being given any kind of trial.

1907: The Jewish Chronicle reported that, a departure from Jewish burial customs, “at the cemetery of the United London Synagogue” a minister officiated at the burial of ashes.

1908: With Passover a month away, the baking of Matzoth has become a full time operation in New York with large moving vans having to be used to take the boxes of unleavened bread from the bakeries to the various distribution centers around town. A bakery on 33rd Street between Second and Third Avenues is actually having to work around the clock to keep up with the worldwide demand for Matzoth.

1912: The Turkish Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Jerusalem issued a decree permitting the Jews to place benches and light candles in front of the Western Wall.

1913: The Annual Conference on Child Labor to which Leon Schwarz of Mobile, Alabama had been appointed as a delegate continued for a third day Jacksonville, Florida.

1915: Birthdate of Joe E. Ross, borscht belt comedian and star of such television sitcoms as “Car 54 Where Are You?”

1915: Birthdate of broadcast journalist David Schoenbrun. He was CBS broadcast bureau chief in Washington DC and Paris France.

1915: It was reported today that the “relief cargo” being carried by U.S. collier Vulcan, “represents an expenditure of $150,000 by the American Jewish Relief Committee” and the flour is the primary staple in the shipment.

1915:Birthdate of Dr. David Wilfred Abse, the native of Cardiff ,Wales  and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia from 1962 until 2000 whose siblings included poet Dannie Abse and Welsh Labor Member of Parliament Leopold “Leo” Abse.

1915: It was reported today that L. H. Levine and E.W. L. Epstein of New York will direct the distribution of relief supplies once they arrive at Jaffa.

1915: It was reported today that the membership in the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society had grown from 15,357 in 1913 to 46,023 in 1914 and that the society had raised $112, 988 last year and spent $110,869.

1915: It was reported today that Jewish immigration had fallen form 130,237 in 1913 to 66,557 in 1914.

1916: It was reported today that in Philadelphia, the newly formed Maccabean Regiment has “unanimously elected Jacob D. Lit, one the owners of Lit Brothers department store which had been founded as dress and millinery shop by his sister Rachel, as Colonel” and “Isidore Stern, a prominent attorney as Chairman.”

1916: An expeditionary force under the command of General Pershing crossed into Mexico in an attempt to capture Pancho Villa – a military action that would include enough Jews that Rabbis were sent to the Mexican border by the Army and Navy Committee and the Central Conference of American Rabbis to conduct services for the High Holidays and Sukkoth.

1916: As part of the ceremonies marking the dedication of “the new Temple of Sinai Congregation of the Bronx” the Sinai Auxiliary Societies are scheduled to host a reception tonight complete with music and speakers.

1917: “Herman Bernstein, the editor of the American Hebrew…predicted” tonight “that equal rights for the Jews would be one the important results of the Reactionary Party.”

1917: Czar Nicholas II abdicated bringing an end to the Romanov dynasty which had caused so much suffering for the Jewish people.

1918: In Lemberg, the police searched the “headquarters of the Paolie-Zionists and Union Jewish Workmen and arrested several leaders.”

1918: In Frankfort, a “conference of Orthodox Jewish organizations resolved that the support of a Jewish settlement in Palestine is the religious duty of all Jewry and pledged itself to work for the emancipation of Jews everywhere.”

1919(13th of Adar II, 5697): Parashat Vayikra; Shabbat Zachor; Erev Purim

1919(13th of Adar II, 5679): Albert, (Avraham) Harkavy passed away. Born in Belarus in 1835, Harkavy led an unusual life for a Russian Jew. After getting a Yeshiva education he received two degrees from the University of St. Petersburg before gaining a doctorate while studying abroad. In a country wracked by anti-Semitism, he was appointed head of the Oriental Division in the Imperial Public Library, a position he held until his death.

1919: This evening, Drs. David Philipson of Cincinnati, Samuel Schulman, Joseph Silverman and Ambassador Abram I. Elkus were among the speakers at Temple Emanu-El where the campaign to raise funds for organizations created by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise as a way of “commemorating the centenary of his birth” was formally begun.

1919: In Connecticut, Michael and Rose Abitz gave birth to Irving Abitz, who served with Patton’s Third Army during WW II and who was the husband of Ruth Abitz.

1919: “Ex-Ambassador Henry Morgenthau” sailed for Europe today where “he will assist in Red Cross work…and help to arrange the international convention” of the Red Cross” which will be held in Geneva after the peace treaty ending the World War has “been promulgated.”

1919: The New York office of the Jewish Correspondence Bureau opened today as a New York Corporation with a total capitalization of $26, 650.

1921: Birthdate of John Patrick Kenneally, the illegitimate son of a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer, who won the Victoria Cross for his bravery on April 29 and April 30, 1943, while fighting in Tunisia.

1922: After Egypt gains nominal independence from the United Kingdom, Fuad I becomes King of Egypt. This is the same King Faud I who declared in 1917, when he was the Guest of Honor at the opening of the Zionist Movement in Cairo and Alexandria that: "You Jews of Egypt, will always be protected by us, until you go back to your land, the Land of Israel"

1923: Birthdate of Rostam Bastuni, an Arab Christian who was the “the first Arab citizen of Israel to represent a Zionist party in the Knesset.”

1923: “Old Heidelberg” a silent film starring Eugen Burg and directed by Hans Behrendt who was murdered at Auschwitz in 1942.

1924: Birthdate of Michael Harsegor an Israeli historian and a professor for history at the Tel Aviv University who specialized in the history of Europe in the late Middle Ages.

1924: Birthdate of Richard Topus, who gained fame as pigeon trainer during World War II. Born in Brooklyn, Topus was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. Growing up in Flatbush, he fell in love with the pigeons his neighbors kept on their rooftops in spacious coops known as lofts. His parents would not let him have a loft of his own — they feared it would interfere with schoolwork, Andrew Topus said — but he befriended several local men who taught him to handle their birds. Two of them had been pigeoneers in World War I, when the United States Army Pigeon Service was formally established.

“In January 1942, barely a month after Pearl Harbor, the United States War Department sounded a call to enlist. It wasn’t men they wanted — not this time. The Army was looking for pigeons. To the thousands of American men and boys who raced homing pigeons, a popular sport in the early 20th century and afterward, the government’s message was clear: Uncle Sam Wants Your Birds. Richard Topus was one of those boys. He had no birds of his own to give, but he had another, unassailable asset: he was from Brooklyn, where pigeon racing had long held the status of a secular religion. His already vast experience with pigeons — long, ardent hours spent tending and racing them after school and on weekends — qualified him, when he was still a teenager, to train American spies and other military personnel in the swift, silent use of the birds in wartime. World War II saw the last wide-scale use of pigeons as agents of combat intelligence. Mr. Topus, just 18 when he enlisted in the Army, was among the last of the several thousand pigeoneers, as military handlers of the birds were known, who served the United States in the war. Pigeons have been used as wartime messengers at least since antiquity. Before the advent of radio communications, the birds were routinely used as airborne couriers, carrying messages in tiny capsules strapped to their legs. A homing pigeon can find its way back to its loft from nearly a thousand miles away. Over short distances, it can fly a mile a minute. It can go where human couriers often cannot, flying over rough terrain and behind enemy lines. By the early 20th century, advances in communications technology seemed to herald the end of combat pigeoneering. In 1903, a headline in The New York Times confidently declared, “No Further Need of Army Pigeons: They Have Been Superseded by the Adoption of Wireless Telegraph Systems.” But technology, the Army discovered, has its drawbacks. Radio transmissions can be intercepted. Triangulated, they can reveal the sender’s location. In World War I, pigeons proved their continued usefulness in times of enforced radio silence. After the United States entered World War II, the Army put out the call for birds to racing clubs nationwide. Tens of thousands were donated. In all, more than 50,000 pigeons served the United States in the war. Many were shot down. Others were set upon by falcons released by the Nazis to intercept them. (The British countered by releasing their own falcons to pursue German messenger pigeons. But since falcons found Allied and Axis birds equally delicious, their deployment as defensive weapons was soon abandoned by both sides.) But many American pigeons did reach their destinations safely, relaying vital messages from soldiers in the field to Allied commanders. The information they carried — including reports on troop movements and tiny hand-sketched maps — has been widely credited with saving thousands of lives during the war. Mr. Topus enlisted in early 1942 and was assigned to the Army Signal Corps, which included the Pigeon Service. He was eventually stationed at Camp Ritchie in Maryland, one of several installations around the country at which Army pigeons were raised and trained. There, he joined a small group of pigeoneers, not much bigger than a dozen men. Camp Ritchie specialized in intelligence training, and Mr. Topus and his colleagues schooled men and birds in the art of war. They taught the men to feed and care for the birds; to fasten on the tiny capsules containing messages written on lightweight paper; to drop pigeons from airplanes; and to jump out of airplanes themselves, with pigeons tucked against their chests. The Army had the Maidenform Brassiere Company make paratroopers’ vests with special pigeon pockets. The birds, for their part, were trained to fly back to lofts whose locations were changed constantly. This skill was crucial: once the pigeons were released by troops in Europe, the Pacific or another theater, they would need to fly back to mobile combat lofts in those places rather than light out for the United States. Mr. Topus and his colleagues also bred pigeons, seeking optimal combinations of speed and endurance. After the war, Mr. Topus earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from Hofstra University. While he was a student, he earned money selling eggs — chicken eggs — door to door and afterward started a wholesale egg business. In the late 1950s, Mr. Topus became the first salesman at Friendship Food Products, a dairy company then based in Maspeth, Queens; he retired as executive vice president for sales and marketing. (The company, today based in Jericho, N.Y. and a subsidiary of Dean Foods, is now known as Friendship Dairies.) In the 1960s and early ’70s, Mr. Topus taught marketing at Hofstra; the C. W. Post campus of Long Island University; and the State University of New York, Farmingdale, where he started a management-training program for supermarket professionals. In later years, after retiring to Scottsdale, he taught at Arizona State University and was also a securities arbitrator, hearing disputes between stockbrokers and their clients. Though the Army phased out pigeons in the late 1950s, Mr. Topus raced them avidly till nearly the end of his life. He left a covert, enduring legacy of his hobby at Friendship, for which he oversaw the design of the highly recognizable company logo, a graceful bird in flight, in the early 1960s. From that day to this, the bird has adorned cartons of the company’s cottage cheese, sour cream, buttermilk and other products. To legions of unsuspecting consumers, Andrew Topus said last week, the bird looks like a dove. But to anyone who really knew his father, it is a pigeon, plain as day. Mr. Topus passed away in December of 2008.

1925(19th of Adar): Mordecai Spector passed away

1926: James N. Rosenberg of New York, the Vice Chairman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee conferred today in Washington with Secretary Herbert Hoover who “expressed great interest in the plans” of the committee to provide relief for the Jews in Russia and said “he would assist the committee as far as circumstances permitted.”

1926: David A. Brown, the national chairman of the national campaign to raise fifteen million dollars for the relief of Jews in “Russia, Poland, Palestine, Eastern and Southeastern Europe” is scheduled to address the first meeting of the Women’s Division of the New York campaign chaired by Mrs. Abram I. Elkus, the wife of the former ambassador and supported by Mrs. Jacob Schiff, the honorary chairman.

1927: In Vienna, violinist Max Rostal and his wife gave birth to psychologist Sybil Bianca Giuliett Eysenck the psychologist and editor of “Personality and Individual Differences” whose husband Hans was raised by a grandmother who, although a devout Lutheran, died in a concentration camp because “she ‘apparently’ was from a Jewish family.”

1926: Birthdate of Sheldon Jerome Segal, “who led the scientific team that developed Norplant, the first significant advance in birth control since the pill, and who also developed other long-acting contraceptives…”

1927: The libel suit that Aaron Sapiro brought against Henry Ford’s newspaper, the laughably named Dearborn Independent (it was published in Dearborn, but hardly independent since nothing was published in it that did not reflect the views of Ford) began today.

1929: Birthdate of Betty Asher, who as Betty (Mrs. Jacob) Levin would grow up to be a marvelous person, who raised four fine children, taught school, opened her heart and home to one and all and was a life-long partner to her husband of blessed memory.

1932: In an article datelined London, the Associate Press describes “the Jewish Olympiad at Tel Aviv, Palestine” as one the “four great athletic competitions of 1932” putting it in the same category as the world’s Tenth Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles. “More than mere physical contests, the Jewish games serve both body and soul. They recall the protest of ancient Maccabees against the Greek Olympiads which glorified Athenian physique.”

1933: In Brooklyn, Nathan and Celia (née Amster) Bader gave birth to their second daughter, Ruth Joan Bader who gained fame as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

1933: Three Jews were arrested by Storm troopers in Breslau were beaten and bloodied.

1934: “Romance of Ida” a film based on a book by the same name directed by Steve Sekely was released in Hungary today.

1935: Bernard S. Deutsch, New York’s President of the Board of Alderman, met with the team of Jewish athletes that will be representing the United States at the World Maccabiah Games

1935: According to a statement issued today by Dr. E.L. Sukenik, Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, twelve pieces of broken pottery found on the site of ancient Lachish destroy the very foundations of biblical "higher criticism."

1935: Birthdate of actor Judd Hirsch best known for his role in the hit sitcom, “Taxi.”

1936: The Joint Distribution held a memorial meeting at the Commodore Hotel where tribute was paid “to the memory of Paul Sandor, statesmen, member of the Hungarian Parliament and leader in the organization and legislation to preserve Hungarian Judaism.”

1936: In Tel Aviv, shops were closed “as a sign of grief for the plight of the Jews of Poland said to be the victims of renewed pogroms.” The economic protests “coincided with a mass meeting called by the Jewish National Council of Palestine.” According to published reports, Polish Jewry is facing a threatened prohibition of kosher slaughtering in the Polish republic.

1936: “The Ages-Old Battleground of Conflicting Faiths” published today provides a detailed review of The Battleground: Syria and Palestine by Hilaire Belloc. (Eighty years later to the day, sounds like this book was published to match today’s headlines.)

1936: In London, Doctor Chaim Weizmann is scheduled to address a meeting that will mark the start of an appeal “to British Jewry to raise one million English pounds for the expatriation of Jews from Germany.”

1936: “Mass Lesson In Charity” published today described plans for the upcoming pageant at the Roxy Theatre that “will portray historical episodes illustrating the evolution of the tradition of Jewish charity from Old Testament times to the present.”
 
1936: Birthdate of Howard “Howie” Greenfield, the Brooklyn native who formed a successful songwriting partnership with Neil Sedaka with whom he co-wrote four songs performed his Sephardic Jewish friend that reached first place on Billbaord.

1937: The Palestine Post reported that after Shlomo Gafni and Hanoch Metz were murdered and robbed near Nazareth, Gedaliah Geller, 36, Moshe Zalman Ben-Sasson, 33, and Yehuda Eliovitz, 28, of Yavne¹el were murdered nearby. Police dogs followed the tracks to Tiberias. Ammunition disappeared from a sealed government armory at Kfar Tavor and there was sporadic shooting all over Galilee. Dr. Chaim Weizmann accepted a donation of £5,000 for the Yishuv¹s security and development from the British Synagogues Federation.

1937: Dr. James Bryant Conant the President of Harvard is scheduled to deliver a lecture on “the ideals of scholarship and academic freedom” which is the third in a series of lectures sponsored by the Semi-Centennial Committee of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

1937: Based on a cablegram from Gordon Loud, who was leading the Megiddo Expedition sponsored by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, to Dr. John A. Wilson, Director of the Institute, an announcement was made that gold, gems and vessels hidden at Megiddo dating back to 1400 BCE had been discovered. It is speculated that the treasure was hidden there by some hitherto unnamed “Prince of Megiddo.”

1938: As the Nazis took over Prague Martha and Waitstill Sharp who were running one of the most successful refugee rescue operations in Europe finished burning their notes to keep any information from failing into the hands of the SS.

1939: Felix Weltsch left Prague with Max Brod and his family on the last train out of Czechoslovakia. In Palestine, Weltsch worked as a librarian in Jerusalem until his death in 1964.

1939: Following today’s occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Germans, Czech diplomate  Egon Hostovský left Brussels, “emigrated to Paris” then moved on to Portugal before finally arriving in New York in 1941.

1939: German troops marched into Prague in what was the last act of German aggression before the start of World War II. It also brought the Jews of Czechoslovakia under the control of the Nazis

1939: In Slovakia, Alexander Mach became commander of the Hlinka Guards, the Slovak Nazis who helped deport the Jews to Auschwitz.

1939: Today, one day after “Slovakia seceded from Czechoslovakia and became a separate pro-Nazi state” “Carpathian Ruthenia proclaimed its independence” three days before it would be swallowed up by Hungary.  (The unraveling of central Europe just before WW II was more than just a case of Hitler on the march.)

1939: The family of historian Dr. Yehuda Bauer left Czechoslovakia for Palestine. Bauer’s life reads like some character out of one of those historic fiction novels that Leon Uris would write. It spans everything from membership in the Palmach to a distinguished academic career.

1940: Birthdate of Judith Rose Fingeret, the Pittsburgh native, who, as Judith F. Krug, led the campaign by libraries against efforts to ban books, including helping found Banned Books Week, then fought laws and regulations to limit children’s access to the Internet.

1941: In Amsterdam, Etty Hillesum a young woman studying Slavic languages at Amsterdam University recorded her rage of the deportations (of the Jews) writing in her diary “The whole German nation must be destroyed root and branch. They are all scum.”

1942: The First Dünamünde Action, a murderous assault designed “to execute Jews who had recently been deported to Latvia from Germany, Austria, Bohemia and Moravia” conducted by the Nazis and their Latvian collaborators began today in the Biķernieki forest, near Riga, Latvia.

1942: In Brooklyn, bookkeeper Eleanor Friedman and insurance salesman Alan Jacob Friedman gave birth to Alan Jacob Friedman “a physicist who specialized in communicating the tenets of science to nonscientists and as the director of the New York Hall of Science in Queens oversaw its growth from a moribund museum to one of the city’s formidable educational institutions.”

1943: In Toronto, Canada, “Esther (née Sumberg), a musician, and Milton Cronenberg, a writer and editor’ gave birth to David Paul Cronenberg  a Canadian film director and occasional actor who is one of the principal originators of what is sometimes known as the "body horror" genre, which explores people's fears of bodily transformation and infection.
http://thechronicleherald.ca/heraldmagazine/99409-canadian-icon-david-cronenberg
http://www.nytimes.com/movies/person/86249/David-Cronenberg/biography

1943: The deportation of the Jews from Thrace began. When Hitler was dismembering the Balkans, he gave Thrace to Bulgaria. The price was for the Nazis largesse was the extermination of the local Jewish population. The Jews of Thrace ended up at Treblinka. At the time of the deportation, Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Minister was meeting in Washington with the Cordell Hull, the Secretary of State. Hull raised the issue of rescuing the Balkan Jews. Eden cautioned against this. After all, Hitler might offer the Allies the Jews of Poland and Germany as well and there simply were not enough ships available for such an effort.

1943(8th of Adar II, 5703): At the Theresienstadt Ghetto, Trude Neumann died of starvation. She was the daughter of Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement.

1943: “The Silver Fleet,” a British war movie co-produced by Emeric Pressburger and filmed by cinematographer Erwin Hillier.

1943: In Cleveland, Ohio, “Helen (Smolen) Moss, a schoolteacher, and Nelson Nathan Moss, a lawyer and small-business owner: gave birth to Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

1943: “In the aftermath of the Stalingrad disaster, Hitler informed Joseph Goebbbels that the liquidation program should not ‘cease or pause until no Jew is left anywhere in the Reich.’”

1944: Fort Ontario, an 80 acre federal reservation on Lake Ontario, was closed today, only to be re-opened later in the year as the European refugee center that would be known as “Safe Haven.”

1944: Birthdate of Josef Joffe, the native of Łódź, Poland who grew up in West Berlin and became editor of Die Zeit, a weekly German newspaper before moving onto a career in academia in the United States.

1944: Abba Berditchev parachuted into Yugoslavia. His “mission was to assist the Jews, gather intelligence and help rescue members of the air forces who were captured or had parachuted into Romania. He did not succeed in reaching Romania, instead returning to Bari, Italy. In August 1944 Berditchev traveled to Slovakia, where he participated in the Slovak National Uprising. After two months of fighting in the mountains, Berditchev was captured by the Germans and transferred in December 1944 to Mauthausen along with other captives, where he was brutally tortured and murdered by the Nazis.”
(As chronicled by Yad Vashem)

1944:  Bowing to international criticism led by the British and Americas, Turkey abolished the “Varlik Vergisi” or “Wealth Tax” levied on that nation’s non-Muslim population including the Jews.

1944: Birthdate of Adèle Geras, the native of Jerusalem, wife of Norman Geras and author Sophie Hannah who gained fame as author specializing in works for “young children and teens.”
1945: Birthdate of New York politician Mark J. Green

1945: The exact date of the death of Anne Frank has not been established. According to one source, on this date Anne Frank died in Bergen Belsen concentration camp from Typhus shortly before the liberation. Anne was born in Frankfurt but spent most of her life in Holland. Once the deportations began Anne and her family moved to a hiding place and stayed there from July 9, 1942 until August 4, 1944 when they were betrayed. Anne had hoped to become a writer and succeeded beyond anything she could have imagined when her diary was published after World War II

1946: British premier Attlee agreed to India's right to independence. This decision had a major, if under-reported effect on the future of the Jews in Palestine. Once the British decided to give up India, the need to protect the Suez Canal, the British lifeline to India, had greatly diminished. The British had wanted the Palestine Mandate primarily to protect this lifeline. Now that this would no longer be needed, the British were prepared to give up the Palestine Mandate which led to the creation of the state of Israel two years later.

1947: For the first time, British authorities have shipped “authorized immigrants” from Palestine to Cyprus on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. The immigrants are Jews who had come to Palestine aboard the Susannah.

1948: Birthdate of Kate Bornstein, American transgender author.

1949(14th of Adar, 5709): Purim

1949(14th of Adar, 5709): Emma Menko, the wife of Jake Menko and the daughter of Charles Wessolowsky, an earlier supporter of B’nai B’rith in Alabama, passed away.

1952: In Tangiers, a Muslim demonstration supporting union with Morocco turned violent and "many Jewish-owned shops were among those looted and burned."

1952: The Jerusalem Post reported from Egypt that a political battle was shaping up in Cairo between Palestine hard-liners and moderates over the future of the Palestine Liberation Organization¹s role in the Middle East and its relations with Jordan and Syria.

1953(28th of Adar, 5713): Eighty year old Herman B. Baruch, the brother of financier and Presidential adviser Bernard Baruch who was both a doctor like his father and a former Ambassador to the Netherlands   and Portugal passed away today.

1956: "My Fair Lady" opened on Broadway. The lyrics were written by Alan J. Lerner and the music was composed by Frederick Lowe. These are but two Jews connected with that unique American entertainment creation - the musical comedy. Some other names include the team of Rogers and Hammerstein, Moss Hart, Leonard Bernstein, Frank Loesser, Jerome Kern and the Gershwin Brothers, George and Ira.

1957(12th of Adar II, 5717): Twelve days after having been shot by Zeev Eckstein, Rudolf Israel Kastner succumbed to his wounds and died today in Tel Aviv.

1957: Birthdate of David Silverman, American animator best known for his work on the television “The Simpsons.”

1962(9th of Adar II): Seventy-four year old Minsk native Daniel Persky who “had been a columnist for the Hebrew weekly Hadoar” since 1921 and columnist for Haaretz as well as the winner of Louis LaMed Prize winner for the best Hebrew book of 1948 for writing Ivri Anokhi (I Am a Hebrew) passed away today in New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital.

1965: President Lyndon Johnson asked Congress to ensure everybody's right to vote regardless of any race, religion, sex, etc. This landmark legislation which was heavily supported by Jewish voters and politicians would be known as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It would change the landscape of American politics forever. And it was a true act of political and physical courage for Johnson to make and support such a proposal.

1966(23rd of Adar, 5726): Abe Saperstein founder of the Harlem Globetrotters passed away at age 63.

1969: US Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas resigned under a cloud of scandal. Fortas was a close friend and advisor to Lyndon Johnson. According to some accounts, when Johnson told Fortas that he was going to appoint him the "Jewish seat" on the Supreme Court, Fortas, cautioned against this. He told Johnson that neither he, nor the Jewish community, would consider his appointment as fulfilling that role. Apparently, Fortas saw himself only nominally as a Jew and did not see this accident of birth as a stepping stone to power. Johnson ignored him and made the appointment later.

1970: “After 28 previews, the Broadway production” of Purlie directed by Phillip Rose who also wrote the book for this musical by Louis Johnson, opened at The Broadway Theatre.

1972: “Slaughterhouse-Five” a movie version of the novel by the same name co-starring Ron Leibman was released in the United States today.

1972: “The Godfather,” a movie version of the novel by the same name produced by Albert S. Ruddy and co-starring James Caan and Abe Vigoda opened at the Loew’s State Theatre.

1973: An attack on the Israeli and Jordanian embassies in Paris” was “forestalled” today when “2 Arabs were arrested by French police at the French-Italian bordered, leading to the arrest of one Palestinian and one English doctor in Paris.”

1975: In a case of Jews playing Jews, U.S. premiere of “Funny Lady” with Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice and James Caan as Billy Rose.

1977: The Jerusalem Post reported that at his press conference in Washington US President Jimmy Carter suggested how Israeli and international troops, assisted by listening stations, might possibly man Israel¹s "defense line" which would be outside of the sovereign border. He refused, however, to say where the "line" would be. He warned that further Israeli settlement in the administered territories hampered the peace effort.

1977: The Jerusalem Post reported that The Knesset Law Committee discussed legislation which would introduce partial constituency elections in Israel.

1977: The Religious Torah Front, a political alliance in Israel composed of Agudat Yisrael and Poalei Agudat Yisrael that held five seats in the Knesset split with Agudat Yisrael taking three seats and Poalei Agudat Yisrael two.

1977: The Hadash movement which included Rakah and Non-Partisans parliamentary group was formed in preparation for the 1977 elections.

1979: In Cincinnati, Ohio, Carolyn and Mike Youkilis, a wholesale jeweler, gave birth to professional baseball player Kevin Youkilis.

1980: “The Union of Council for Soviet Jews convened an international consultation in London and in Israel, meeting with officials and local groups to coordinate efforts and discuss strategies and programs to defend Soviet Jews.”

1982: Paul Saginaw, Michael Monahan and Ari Weinzweig founded Zingerman's, a kosher-style delicatessen, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1983: “Over 1,000 delegates from 30 countries attended the opening session of the Third World Conference on Soviet Jewry in Jerusalem.”

1984: Ninety-one year old Henning Linden, the Brigadier General who led a group of reporters including Marguerite Higgins and a detachment of the 42nd (Rainbow) Infantry Division as the soldiers liberated Dachau, generating international headlines by freeing more than 30,000 Jews and political prisoners, passed away today.

1987: In  “For Israel and U.S., A Growing Military Partnership,” published todayDavid K. Shipler describes how the relationship between the two nations continues to thrive despite the Jonathan Pollard fiasco.

1987: Today an Israeli newspaper quoted Rafael Eitan, named as the spymaster in the Pollard case, as saying that his superiors had known of the operation, contradicting the Government's position. Mr. Eitan later denied having made such a statement.

1988: CBS brought the series “My Sister Sam” featuring Rebecca Schaeffer as “Patricia Russell” back to the air today due in part to letters from fans and the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike which affected the production of other television series for CBS and the other two major television networks. (Schaeffer would be murdered by an obsessive, stalker a year later)

1990: Haim Bar-Lev complete his terms as Minister of Public Security

1990: Yitzhak Rabin completed his term as Minister of Defense.

1990: Gad Yaacobi completed his term as Minister of Communications

1990: Ezer Weizman completed his term as Minister of Science and Technology.

1990: The Labor Alignment left the National Unity Government leading to the defeat of Likud’s Yitzchak Shamir.

1990: Yitzhak Moda'I and four other MKs (all of them former members of the Liberal Party) broke away from Likud to form the Party for the Advancement of the Zionist Idea, later renamed the New Liberal Party.

1992: In “Separating the Men From the Apes” published today Frans B. M.de Waal reviewed The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared Diamond.

1994(3rd of Nisan, 5754): Arthur Taubman, a self-made businessman who built the Advance Stores auto parts chain into a multimillion-dollar business passed away at the age of 92. During World War II, Mr. Taubman also helped about 500 European Jews reach the United States by filing affidavits with the immigration authorities saying the Jews were relatives. When questioned by Federal officials, he said any Jew facing death in Nazi-occupied Europe was his first cousin. In addition, he was the founding chairman of Alliance Tire and Rubber Company Ltd., which he and Prime Minister David Ben Gurion of Israel established in 1953. The company, based in Hadera, Israel, became the largest such manufacturer in the Middle East. Mr. Taubman, who was born and reared in Astoria, Queens, went to work as a stock boy in a New York department store at the age of 13 after completing the sixth grade. He served in the Navy in World War I and later began an auto parts chain in Pittsburgh. When the business failed in the early 1930's, he moved to Roanoke, Va., and started over, making a down payment on three failing auto-parts shops. This time he achieved success. The chain, Advance Stores, a privately held family business based in Roanoke, now has 370 stores. Automotive Marketing magazine estimated its 1992 sales at $320 million. Mr. Taubman was president of the chain until 1969, when he became chairman. He retired in 1973 but was vice chairman until 1985.

1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or special interest to Jewish readers including The Children by David Halberstam and Persian Brides by Dorit Rabinyan

2002: Three Israelis made the Forbes list of 500 Billionaires - Cruise ship heiress Shari Arison Dorsman, shipping magnates Sammy and Yuli Ofer and software kingpin Gil Schwed are the world's richest Israelis. Jewish billionaires featured on the list include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a media mogul turned Republican politician, whose $4.4 billion fortune ranks him at No. 72. Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is No. 413 with $1.1 billion

2005: Dignitaries from all over the world attended the opening of Yad Vashem's new History Museum in Jerusalem.

2006: Attorney David Etra stays overnight at the White House on the day after Purim When asked to explain the holiday’s meaning, Etra summed it by saying, “It was a about a crazy guy in Iran who wanted to kill all the Jews” which caused President Bush to remarked that “not much has changed.”

2006: 15th of Adar 5766 – Shushan Purim. This day points out one of the differences between the Jews and those who sought to conquer or destroy them. There are still Jews around to celebrate Purim and Shushan Purim. Where are the Romans who must “Beware of the Ides of March”?

2007(25th of Adar, 5767): Stuart Rosenberg an American film and television director whose notable works included the movies Cool Hand Luke), Voyage of the Damned ,The Amityville Horror, and The Pope of Greenwich Village passed away at the age of 79.

2007: “Stan Lee Media's new president, Jim Nesfield, filed a lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment for $5 billion, claiming that the company is co-owner of the characters that Lee created for Marvel.”

2007: USA Today reported that Businessman Jimmy Delshad is set to become the first Iranian-American mayor in the USA. The sixty-sixty year old Delshad, who immigrated to America at the age of 19, will assume the top job in Beverly Hills, California. As the article points out, 8,000 of the city’s 35,000 residents are of Iranian descent. Just as America benefited from the German Jews who fled Hitler in 1933, so it would appear that America is benefiting from the Iranian Jews who fled the Ayatollah in 1979.

2007: The Canadian Jewish News reported that Zahal Square, the barren space just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, is to be rebuilt by Canadians, Jewish and non-Jewish, into an attractive public gathering place and site of national celebrations and cultural events, under a joint project of the Jerusalem Foundation, the municipality and leading Israeli businesspeople.

2008: Shabbat Zachor, 5768

2008: The Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities and The Iowa Arts Council present Israeli Pianist Ofra Yitzhaki at the Galvin Fine Arts Center, St. Ambrose University. Ms. Yitzhaki is a recipient of the Vladimir Horowitz Scholarship at Julliard and the winner of the Van Cliburn Institute Concerto Competition.

2008: In Washington, D.C. The National League of American Pen Women hosts author Cynthia Polansky presenting a lecture, "Why a Holocaust Novel? The Far Above Rubies Journey," delving into the real-life story that inspired her novel.

2009: Soviet-born Israeli-American pianist “Yefim "Fima" Naumovich Bronfman “performed Brahms's Second Piano Concerto with the Houston Symphony Orchestra.”

2009: In an event that is part of the Chaim Kempner Author Series and is co-sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute Robert Zweig discusses and signs Return to Naples: My Italian Bar Mitzvah and Other Discoveries at the D.C. Jewish Community Center.

2009: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman

2009(19th of Adar, 5769): A Palestinian terrorist shot Israeli Senior Warrant Officer Yehezkel Ramzarkar, 50, and Warrant Officer David Rabinowitz, 42, as they patrolled near the northern Jordan Valley town of Massua. The so-called Imad Mughniyeh Group claimed responsibility for the murder, which occurred when a terrorist cell staged a vehicle breakdown and then shot at a police car that had stopped to assist, killing the two policemen inside.
 
2009: Over 600 Jewish professional from across North America who are attending the National Young Leadership Conference in New Orleans took a break from lectures and learning opportunities to work on restoring Archbishop Hannan High School in St. Bernard Parish which had been abandoned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

2009(19 Adar, 5769): Twenty-four year old Sgt. Robert Weinger was killed near Bati Kot, Afghanistan, when his vehicle struck an explosive device.
 
2010: After a nearly 62-year hiatus, the renowned Hurva synagogue inside the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City has been rebuilt and is again an operational house of prayer.Hundreds of people, braving the wind and an unexpected Jerusalem chill, crowded into a courtyard opposite the outer walls of the synagogue tonight to take part in an official rededication ceremony for the newly-rebuilt shul – which stands in the exact spot it did before its destruction at the hands of the Jordanian Arab Legion during the War of Independence in 1948. Huvra’s first incarnation came in 1701, when it was constructed by disciples of Judah Hahasid. Its first destruction came some 20 years later, when those same disciples lacked the funds to repay local creditors, who in return burned the Hurva to the ground.It was nearly 150 years before the Hurva stood again, but in 1864, after a massive construction project was approved by the Ottoman Turks and funds were procured from Jewish communities the world over, a neo-Byzantine Hurva was soon towering over the rest of the Jewish Quarter. However, that Hurva, which hosted the likes of Theodor Herzl and Ze’ev Jabotinsky before the creation of the state, also met with ruin. The Jordanian army took Jerusalem’s Old City in May of 1948, loaded the building with explosives and set off a blast whose smoke cloud could be seen miles away.

2010: The New York Philharmonic is scheduled to present “Sondheim: The Birthday Concert” marking the 80th anniversary of the birth of Stephen Sondheim.

2010: Actress Isla Fisher who took the Hebrew name “Ayala” when she converted in 2007 married actor/comedian Sacha Baron Cohen”

2010: An Israeli lawmaker told a delegation of American Jewish leaders that he would consult with Diaspora Jewry on issues involving conversion. David Rotem, the author of a bill that will allow local rabbis in Israel to perform conversions to Judaism, made his comments today during a meeting in the Knesset with Diaspora Jewish leaders led by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Jewish Federations of North America Senior Vice President Rebecca Caspi. Overseas Jewry is concerned about a provision in the conversion bill which says that a convert to Judaism who visited Israel before converting either in Israel or overseas would be prohibited from becoming an Israeli citizen under the Law of Return.The Jewish Federations of North America has issued a statement strongly rejecting the proposal and has written directly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the subject.Explaining that no law will be passed before the Knesset’s Passover break, Rotem assured the group that no future bill would affect the status of conversions outside of Israel. Rotem, of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, also stressed that Netanyahu is aware of the importance of these issues for Jews around the world."From my conversations with the prime minister and the government secretary, it is clear that the law that is viewed as problematic by Jews in the Diaspora will not be passed during the current Knesset session which goes into recess on March 21," Sharansky said. "We have received assurances that we will be consulted in this process, so that the views of world Jewry are taken into consideration."

2011(9th of Adar, 5771): Fifty-one year old “Yakov Kreizberg, an internationally known conductor praised for the depth and intensity of his interpretations” passed away today.  (As reported by Margalit Fox)

2011(9th of Adar II): On the Jewish calendar anniversary of First Dispute Between Two Schools of Torah Thought (1st century CE). According to Chabad-Lubavitch, “The schools of Shammai and Hillel for the very first time disagreed regarding a case of Jewish law. This occurred around the turn of the 1st century. In the ensuing generations, the schools argued regarding many different laws, until the law was established according to the teachings of the "House of Hillel" -- with the exception of a few instances. According to tradition, following the arrival of the Moshiach the law will follow the rulings of the House of Shammai. All throughout, the members of the two schools maintained friendly relations with each other.”

2011: The five finalists for the Sami Rohr Prize in fiction for Jewish Literature are scheduled to meet with judges in New York City. The winner is expected to be announced shortly after these meetings.

2011: “Yolande: An Unsung Heroine” is one of the films scheduled to be shown today at the 15th New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival. The movie tells “the heroic, riveting story of Yolande Gabai (de Botton), a beautiful, sophisticated Jewess from Alexandria, who became one of the most prominent Israeli spies in Egypt in 1948, risking her son's life and her own collecting intelligence in Egypt, undercover as a reporter for the Palestine Post.”

2011: Samuel Heilman is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “Lubavitchers: What Do They Want, and Who Sent Them?” at Ohev Shalom – The National Synagogue.

2011: Nissim Reuben, the American Jewish Committee’s Program Director for Indian-Jewish American Relations is scheduled to deliver a lecture about the Jewish community in India, Jewish Indian Americans, their relationship with Israel, and his personal story at Congregation Beth Emeth.

2011: The IDF seized a freighter ship with dozens of tons of weaponry from Iran headed for Hamas in the Gaza Strip today. The ship, known as Victoria, was flying a Liberian flag, and was seized by the navy in the Mediterranean Sea, 200 miles off of Israel's coast.

2011: At 11:00 AM this morning, people throughout the country stopped, observing five minutes of silence in honor of Gilad Schalit. Rather than the customary one minute of silence, Ofer Ben Tal, one of the organizers for the campaign to free Gilad Schalit, asked the public to stop for five full minutes, one minute for the nearly five years Schalit has been held in captivity by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Traffic jams were observed throughout Tel Aviv, as cars stopped in the streets in Schalit's honor.

2011: The Tel Aviv Museum of Art announced the selection of painters Asaf Ben Zvi and Michael Halak as the winners of the 2011 Rappaport Prize. This is the sixth prize awarded since its establishment in 2006 in honor of Ruth and Baruch Rappaport.The prize is awarded annually to two painters, an established painter (Ben Zvi ) and a young painter (Halak ). Beyond the monetary sum given to the painters, the prize funds two solo exhibitions at the museum as well as the production of the catalogs accompanying the exhibitions. (As reported by Daniel Rauchwerger)

2011: Egyptian security officials said that Egypt's army captured five vehicles smuggling weapons into the country from Sudan, and apparently heading to Gaza, AP reported.

2012(21st of Adar, 5772): Seventy-four year old “Jerome Albert, who with his father, Dewey, created and operated Astroland, the space age-themed amusement park that breathed new life into the Coney Island Boardwalk in the 1960s” passed away today. (As reported by Denis Hevesi)

2012: Noa (Achinoam Nini) and Mira Awad, two of Israel’s most beloved singing stars and coexistence advocates are scheduled to perform their concert “Two Voices, One Vision.”

2012: Political Stand-up Comedian Jeremy ‘Political’ Man is scheduled to appear at the Off The Wall Comedy Basement in Jerusalem.

2012: “Non-practicing” Jewish authoress Jodi Picoult is scheduled to discuss the moral dilemmas presented in her new novel “Lone Wolf” at the Historic Sixth and I Synagogue in Washington, DC.

2012: New York Congressman Gary L. Ackerman a flamboyant Jewish Congressman from New York and a supporter of Israel announced today that he will not seek re-election.

2012: The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted a Grad-type Katyusha rocket fired by Gaza militants toward the southern city of Ashdod today, following hours of relative calm along Israel's border with the coastal enclave. Two more projectiles hit an open field in the Eshkol and Ashkelon regional Councils; no wounded reported.

2013: In Olney, MD, Shaare Tefila is scheduled to sponsor “Shabbat Alive!”

2013: In Tel Aviv, the city’s annual marathon will not be run today because of the expectation of unseasonably high temperatures.  Other races, including the half marathon, are scheduled to be run as planned. (As reported by Adviv Sterman)

2013: Yotam Ben Horin and Sarai Givaty are scheduled to perform at SXSW 2013 in Austin, Texas.

2013: Playwright Jonathan Garfinkel has probably gone where no Canadian Jewish writer has gone before — Pakistan and Afghanistan — to create his new play, “Dust.” Premiering  today at the Enbridge playRites Festival in Calgary, the drama centers on three women — Canadian, Pakistani and Afghan — and how their lives are affected by the War on Terror. It’s based on hundreds of pages of interviews conducted by Garfinkel and Christopher Morris, the play’s director, in each of those countries.

2013(4th of Nisan, 5773): A participant in the Tel Aviv half marathon collapsed and died Friday morning, and more than 20 others were hospitalized due to extremely hot conditions. The deceased runner, Michael Michaelovitch, was a 29-year-old IDF sergeant from the settlement of Tene, south of Hebron

2013: The Jewish Home and Yesh Atid parties signed a coalition agreement with Likud-Beytenu this afternoon, paving the way for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to swear in his new government early next week

2014: The Desert Film Society is scheduled to show “The Sturgeon Queens.”

2014(13th of Adar II, 5774): Shabbat Zachor

2014: “My Best Holiday” is scheduled to have its New York Premiere at the New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival.

2014: Today, Masha “Gessen wrote in the Washington Post that Putin's popularity had been restored thanks to the Sochi Olympics and invasion of Ukraine, which had played on the longstanding notion "that Russia is a country under siege, surrounded by enemies and constantly on the brink of catastrophe" and added that "the only way to continue shoring up his popularity is to escalate war rhetoric and the war effort," to paint "the Western/fascist/Ukrainian enemy as ever more dangerous and the Russian invasion of Ukraine as ever more important

2014: In Springfield, VA, Congregation Adat Reyim is scheduled to host a Purim Pasta Party.

2014: In the evening, Ilan Caplan is scheduled to chant the Megalith Esther at Shir Chadish in Metairie, LA.

2014: Four Border Police soldiers were hit by a car, driven by a Palestinian, at a roadblock near Beit Ummar in Gush Etzion in what the driver claimed was an accident. (As reporterd by Yoav Zitun)

2014(13th of Adar II, 5774): Seventy-eight year old comedian David Brenner passed away.

2015: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Last Flight of Poxl West by Daniel Torday and Frank: A Life in Politics From the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage by Barney Frank.

2015: “The kosher supermarket in Paris attacked by a jihadist gunman linked to the shootings at Charlie Hebdo magazine in January re-opened today.” (Times of Israel)

2015: World premiere of “Khoya: Jewish Morocco Sound Archive” is scheduled to take place at the 18th Annual NY Sephardic Film Festival.

2015: In Chicago the Lyric Opera is scheduled to perform “The Passenger” which tells the story of a former SS officer who thinks she sees one of her former prisoners on an ocean liner.

2015: “Two days ahead of the general election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog today continued to vie for the premiership, with the former addressing a right-wing rally in Tel Aviv in the evening and Herzog saying he was willing to form a national unity government under his own leadership.” (As reported by Marissa Newman)

2015:  “Breaking Silence, Survivor Sets Out to Meet Holocaust Past” published today

2016: In Washington, DC Dr. “Pamela Nadell -- the Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women's and Gender History, Chair of the Department of History, and  Director of the Jewish Studies Program at American University – is scheduled explore the lives of Jewish women who immigrated to the United States as she lectures on “Tevye’s Daughters in America.”

2016: “The Man in the Wall” and “Baba Joon” are scheduled to be shown at the Houston Jewish Film Festival

2016: “Hiker finds rare gold coin in Israel” published today described Laurie Rimon’s discovery in the eastern Galilee of “a 2,000 year old coin with the face of Emperor Augustus…who ruled from” 27 BCE to 14 CE.

2016: Mosh Ben Aris, an Israeli from a Yemenite Iraqi family, is scheduled to perform at B.B. King Blues Club in New York.

2016: The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is scheduled to host an  “Educators' Open House  which is open to teachers and educators from around the region and is a chance to learn directly from OJMCHE staff about renowned photojournalist Ruth Gruber's importance to the topics of 20th century history.

2017: The Yeshiva University Museum is scheduled to present fabric artist Ita Aber and curator Bonni-Dara Michaels leading a tour of Yeshiva University Museum’s Uncommon Threads exhibition, featuring garments, textiles and jewelry from the Museum’s collection, including Aber’s 1970s customized Israeli flag.

2017: The Streicker Center is scheduled to host “The Jewish Response to Racism” presented by April N. Baskin the Union for Reform Judaism’s Vice President of Audacious Hospitality, Stosh Cotler the CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and longtime U.S. civil rights strategist Eric Ward.

2017: The Akron Zips coached by Keith Dambrot are scheduled to play Houston in the first round of NIT basketball tournament.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No comments: