Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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


March 16

597 BCE (2nd Adar): On the secular calendar, according to certain archaeological calculations, the first conquest of Jerusalem by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar occurred. In the Bible, the event is recorded in 2 Kings 24:1ff. and in 2 Chronicles 36:5-8. It is also implied in the early chapters of Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

37: Caligula becomes Roman Emperor after the death of his great uncle, Tiberius.  Caligula was a challenge to all those he ruled, including the Jews, because he was “crazy.” Among other things, he appointed his favorite horse to the position of Consul.  He did present a special problem for Jews because he believed he was a god and expected to be worshipped by his subjects.  Fortunately, he never succeeded in having his golden image installed in the Temple of Jerusalem.  After a bizarre meeting with a delegation of Jews from Alexander that included the famous Philo, Caligula said of the Jews, “They’re not so bad after all.  They’re just a poor, stupid people unable to believe in my divinity”

455: Valentinian III, Western Roman Emperor passed away. During his reign, the position of Jews continued to worsen. Under one imperial decree, Jews were excluded from government service and were prohibited from practicing law. Another decree made it possible for the children of Jews who converted to Christianity to inherit the property of their Jewish parents. 

1021: The first documentary reference to Jews living in Cologne after 331 occurs during the time of Archbishop Heribert of Cologne who passed away today.

1190: On the Sabbath eve before Passover ("Shabbat Hagadol") in York, England, a group made up of clergy, barons indebted to the Jews, and crusaders waiting to follow Richard, set Jewish houses on fire and stole all their valuables. The Jews under Josce, a prominent Jew of York, and their Rabbi, Yom Tov of Joigny (a contemporary of Rabbenu Tam and author of the Yom Kippur Hymn "Omnam Ken"), fled to the castle. Richard Malebys (a noble who owed large sums to Jewish moneylenders) commanded the attackers. For 6 days the Jews held out. A monk who came each morning to celebrate mass and inflame the crowd was killed by a stone thrown from the tower. Facing the choice of baptism or death, most chose death. (Josce killed his wife and two children, and was in turn killed by the Rabbi). The vast majority killed themselves after destroying their belongings. Josce was the last to die. The few who remained opened the gate and requested baptism. They were massacred anyway. Over 150 Jews died.

1421: Chomutov, a Czech city which was declared “Judenrein” a week before the occupation by Germany in 1938 and was the home to the Seligman family “was sack and burned” today by the Taborites, a sect of Catholic heretics.

1523: Birthdate of Antoine Rodolphe Chevaillier, the French born English Hebraist who learned the language from Francis Vatablus and who tutored Elizabeth I in the Biblical tongue while producing translations of several books in both the New and Old Testaments.

1547: François Vatable who got the chair of Hebrew at what “became known as the Collège de France” where “he procured Hebrew editions of the Bible for scholarly use” and whose lectures were attended by Parisian Jews passed away today.

1711(25th of Adar, 5471): Isaac Spira, the son of Eliezer Spira and the father of Nathan Spria, passed away leaving behind a text entitled Elef ha-Magen.

1716: Birthdate of Pehr Kalm, the Swedish-Finnish explorer who visited North America in 1740’s and described “the Jews of New York” as having “formed a considerable portion of the population”  having “stores and fine houses and ships and flourishing synagogue” while enjoying “all the privileges of the other citizens.”

1722: The new "Aeltesten-reglement" (Constitution of the Jewish Community) was issued today in Prussia. It was intended to do away with the evils that had become apparent in the administration of the community, and which, in order to be brought home more thoroughly, was to be read every year in the synagogue. Under this constitution the administration consisted of two permanent chief elders, five elders, four treasurers, and four superintendents of the poor, and assistants; new officers were to be elected every three years by seven men chosen by lot from among the community. The committee was to meet every week in the room of the elders, and to keep the minutes of their proceedings; resolutions, passed by them, becoming law by a majority vote. The exclusion of a member of the community from the Passover was made dependent on the unanimous vote of the committee; the ban could be pronounced only with the consent of the rabbi; and both of these measures were to be subject to ratification by the Jews' commission. The elders were held responsible with their own money for the proper collection of the taxes, but could proceed against delinquent payers. Every year the entire board had to report to a committee of five chosen by the community. The college of rabbis was to consist of a chief rabbi, a vice rabbi and two or three assessors. Other taxes were soon added to the existing ones; e.g., on pawnshops, and calendar money for the Royal Society of Science, and marriage licenses. The income from the last was paid into the treasury from which enlisted men received their pay, and its amount (4,800 thalers a year) soon became a permanent tax upon the whole community.

1743: The New-York Weekly Journal reported that a Jewish funeral procession in New York was attacked by a mob. According to "one learned Christian" witness to it, the mob had, "insulted the dead in such a vile manner that to mention all would shock a human ear."

1751: Birthdate of James Madison author of the Federalist Papers and 4th President of the United States.  Madison was also the President during the War of 1812.  He was the first President to appoint a Jew to a diplomatic post.  “In 1813, President Madison appointed Mordecai Manuel Noah as Consul to Tunis in the Barbary States, where he obtained the release of Americans who had been captured and sold into slavery by the Barbary pirates. It was a difficult task requiring considerable adroitness, but he spent more than his allotment for the purposes and his commission was revoked, the letter of recall affirming that his religion was deemed to disqualify him for the post…In time, however, he got a clean bill of health in the conduct of his mission and the sums he advanced in performing it were reimbursed.”  While Noah’s name is known but a handful today, he was considered to be “the most conspicuous figure in the American Jewish community in the period between the War of 1812 and the Mexican War (1846).” When he returned from Tunis, Noah became a power in New York politics.  At one point he was elected High Sheriff of New York.  One angry citizen complained about Noah saying “What a pity that Christians are to be hung by a Jew.”  Noah replied, “What a pity that Christians should have to be hung.” 

1794: Birthdate of “Rabbi Samuel Bondi one of the founders of the orthodox congregation of Mayence and the progenitor of the largest branch of the Bondi family.”

1802: The United States Military Academy West Point is established.  According to recent figures, there are 85 Jewish Cadets among the 4.200 members of the Corps of Cadets.  There is an accredited Hillel Chapter at West Point and a Jewish Chaplain.  “The West Point Jewish community provides a warm, supportive, nondenominational family to all West Point Jewish cadets and cadet friends. Family night services are very popular. The choir practices once per week and travels several times per semester to other university Hillel Houses and community functions for relaxed overnight trips. The community celebrates nearly all Jewish holidays and the West Point Hillel sponsors parties, retreats and service field trips.” The completion of the Jewish Chapel in 1984 culminated a twenty year undertaking. The organization responsible for the project was the West Point Jewish Chapel Fund a private, non-profit civilian organization. This group raised more than 7.5 million dollars to erect and furnish the facility. In 1986 the Jewish Chapel was deeded to the Academy. Led by a military chaplain, the congregation serves the needs of various branches of Judaism represented in the Armed Forces. In close connection with the Jewish Welfare Board worship resources are designed to meet the broad spectrum of our faith. The Chapel contains an extensive Judaica collection, a fine library, and special exhibits. Sabbath services are held every Friday evening during the academic year at 7:00 p.m.” 

1813(14th of Adar II, 5573): As Americans fight the British  and the Canadians fight what is known in the United States as the War of 1812, Jews on both sides observe Purim.

1818: Birthdate of Germain Sée the native of Ribeauvillé who graduated from the Sorbonne in 1846 after which he became a leading Parisian physician.

1828: In Grebenstein, Germany Meyer (Meier) Goldschmidt and Lea Goldschmidt (Katzenstein) gave birth to Selig Meier Goldschmidt.

1832(14th of Adar II, 5592): Purim

1843: In Moravia, Jakob Brüll and his wife gave birth to “rabbi and scholar” Nehemiah Brüll

1855: Bates College in Lewiston, Maine is founded. According to recent figures, this small liberal arts college has 150 Jewish students among its 1,700 student body.  The school has a Hillel Chapter.  The environment on campus is described as follows. “Bates is very supportive of the Jewish Community. Jewish students gather weekly for Shabbat services and dinner at the Multicultural Center. Films, lectures, holidays, and parties are frequent. Highlights include Sukkah Building and campout, Tu B`Shvat Seder, and Parent's Weekend Bagel Brunch. Bates has a Klezmer Band, Gefilte Dog, and speakers are brought to campus for forums and discussions often. Hillel also presents a visiting Rabbi retreat. Programs are also held with students at Colby and Bowdoin. Bates students volunteer at the local synagogue, Temple Shalom.”

1859: Emperor Alexander II granted Jewish scholars, wholesale merchants and manufacturers the right to live outside of the Pale

1860: Based on reports from the Halifax Sun, “an extraordinary event in the history of the German Jews has just taken place. In the free City of Hamburg, where a Jew, ten years ago, was not even eligible for a night constable, a Jew, by the free suffrages of the citizens, has lately been chosen a chief magistrate, next in station to the highest dignity in that Republic. The gentleman elected is a distinguished juris-consult and writer, Dr. Gabriel Reisser who was Vice-President of the German Parliament that sat at Frankfort in 1848.” Born in 1806, Gabriel Riesser “was the first Jewish judge in Germany and an advocate of the emancipation of the Jews in Germany.”

1862: Birthdate of Ruben ben Mordecai Brainin the native of Belarus who gained fame as Reuben Brainin (Some sources show March 15, 1862 as his birthdate)

1866(29th of Adar): Rabbi Solomon Ha-Kohen of Radomsko, author of Tiferet Shelomo passed away.

1868: “Affairs In England” published today described the reaction to Benjamin Disraeli who was a member of the Conservative or Tory Party, to being selected to serve as Prime Minister.  Generally speaking, the “Radical press” has congratulated Disraeli on the appointment and wish him well in his new position. The “Conservative press” has responded coldly, showing distinct dissatisfaction with Disraeli’s appointment.  For them, Disraeli’s appointment is not a triumph for the Tories but “a blow to their prejudices and principles.”  Instead of being led by Duke or an Earl, the party is now being led by a commoner who “is not an Englishman by descent” but rather by a man “whose grandfather was a Jew of Venice, whose father was a man of letters” and who himself was the editor of a newspaper.

1872: Birthdate of  Philip King, the native of Washington, DC, who played quarterback for Princeton before going on a coaching career at the University of Wisconsin and Georgetown University.

1872: Emily Catherine and Josiah Wedgwood gave birth to Josiah Clement Wedgwood the British political leader.  During the 1930’s Wedgwood took the politically unpopular positions of opposing the appeasement of Hitler and the limitations on Jewish settlement in Palestine that climaxed with the White Paper of 1939. Although he passed away in 1943, the Jewish people honored his memory by naming several things in his honor including Moshav, an INS destroyer and streets in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.

1873(18th of Adar, 5633): Seventy-seven year old Joseph Salvador a member of a distinguished French Sephardi family whose mother was Roman Catholic, the author of Paris, Rome, Jerusalem ou la Question religieuse au XIX siècle  who was angered by the anti-Jewish riots in German and was considered a ‘proto-Zionist” passed away today.

1874: It was reported today that the Germania Theatre Company will be performing at the Terrace Garden Theatre in two days for the benefit of the Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society

1875: Mayor Wickham Chamberlain Tappan was among the dignitaries who attended tonight’s charity ball organized by the Purim Association. The event raised $13,000 for the various Hebrew charities in New York City.

1876” Birthdate Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet official Solomon Lozovsky, who would like many others, find out that Russian anti-Semitism was stronger the Communist brotherhood when he was executed by Stalin in 1952 along with other members of the Jewish Ant-Fascist Committee.

1878: On Shabbat Zachor, rabbis at several synagogues addressed the appeal that has been issued by the Board of Delegates of American Israelites to raise funds to aid their suffering co-religionists trapped in war torn Eastern Europe and parts of the Ottoman Empire.  They did not make a direct appeal for funds. Instead the urged them to respond to the appeal that has been sent to all congregations by the Executive committee of the Central Relief Committee whose members include Meyer S. Isaacs, Moritz Ellinger, Jacob H. Schiff, Leonard Lewisohn and Hyman Blum

1879: “Mendelssohn and Lessing” traced the improvement in the situation of the Jews of Germany reminding readers that when these two met, “the country where the Hebrew race has since attained the highest honors – where a galaxy of Jewish names, Heine, Borne, Rahel figure among the glories of national distinction – the Jew was then looked on like a spotted leper, against whom were shut the doors not merely of the aristocracy and of fashion, but actually of all public schools and public office” and were excluded “from social position and civic right” in a manner worse than now found in Romania.

1882: The Tenth Assembly District Republican Association met tonight to decide if Civil Justice Alfred Steckler, Charles Steckler, and Julius Harburger should be expelled because they had supported Steckler over the association’s chosen candidate. (In the 19th century the majority of Jews voted Republican)

1883: Sir George Jessel, who was fighting a variety of chronic illnesses, sat as the Master of Rolls for the last time.  He was the first Jew to hold this important judicial position.

1885: Birthdate of Sydney Chaplin, half-brother of Charlie Chaplin

1887(20th of Adar, 5647): Eighty-seven year old Joseph Ritter Von Wertheimer whose good works included the founding of the first kindergarten in Vienna, the founding of a Jewish children’s school in the same city in 1834 and the establishment of the Society for the Education of Jewish Orphans in 1860 while fighting for the full emancipation of the Jews, passed away today.

1889(13th of Adar II, 5649): Shabbat Zachor; erev Purim

1889(13th of Adar II, 5649): Sixty-four year old Dr. Alfred Edersheim the Austrian born Jew who would later convert to Christianity passed away today. He was made an A.M. at Oxford in 1881 where he lectured on Biblical topics and wrote Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.

1890: The Mageburg Israelitishes Wochenblat reported “that a petition is in circulation among the rabbis of Europe and America begging the Pope to end the calumny that the Jews use human blood in religious sacrifice by ordering a formal denial throughout the Catholic churches.”

1890: Birthdate of Solomon Mikhoels, Soviet actor and chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. Solomon Mikhoels was a Soviet Jewish actor and director in Yiddish theater and the chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. Born Shlioma Vovsi in Dvinsk (now Daugavpils), Latvia, Mikhoels studied law in Saint Petersburg, but left school in 1918 to join Alexander Granovsky,s Jewish Theater Workshop, which was attempting to create a national Jewish theater in Russia based on the Yiddish language. Two years later, in 1920, the workshop moved to Moscow, where it established the Moscow State Jewish Theater. This was in keeping with Lenin's policy on nationalities, which encouraged them to pursue and develop their own cultures under the aegis of the Soviet state. Mikhoels, who showed outstanding talent, was the company's leading actor and, as of 1928, its director. He played in several memorable roles, including Tevye in an adaptation of Sholom Aleichem's comic short stories about Tevye the Milkman (which were adapted for an American audience as Fiddler on the Roof) as well as in many original works, such as Bar Kochba, and translations. Perhaps his most noted role was as King Lear in a Yiddish translation of the play by William Shakespeare. These plays were ostensibly supportive of the Soviet state, however, closer readings suggest that they actually contained veiled critiques of Stalin's regime. It is noteworthy that two of the Shakespearean plays put on by the theater company were King Lear and Richard III, both studies in tyranny. It is now believed that the Ukrainian director Les Kurbas contributed to the original King Lear production after he was ousted from his Berezil theater in 1934. He seems to have had a lasting influence on Mikhoel's directing style. By the mid-1930s, Mikhoels' career was threatened because of his association with other leading intelligentsia, who were victims of Stalin's purges, notably author Isaac Babel. Mikhoels actively supported Stalin against Hitler, and in 1942, he was made chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. In this capacity, he travelled around the world, meeting with Jewish communities to encourage them to support the Soviet Union in its war against Nazi Germany. While this was useful to Stalin during World War II, after the war, Stalin opposed contacts between Soviet Jews and Jewish communities in non-Communist countries, which he deemed as "bourgeoisie." The Jewish State Theater was closed and the members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee were arrested - all except for two were eventually executed in the purges shortly before Stalin's death. Mikhoels was the most visible of the intellectual Jewish leadership, and a show trial would have cast aspersions on Stalin's rule. Such claims lead most people to a suggestion that Stalin had him assassinated in Minsk in January of 1948 masking his death as a car crash, and Mikhoels received a state funeral. According to documents unearthed by the historian Gennady Kostyrchenko, the organizers of the assassination were L.M. Tsanava and S. Ogoltsov, and the "direct" murderers were Lebedev, Kruglov and Shubnikov. Mikhoels' brother Miron Vovsi was Stalin's personal physician. He was arrested during the Doctors' plot affair but released after Stalin's death in 1953, as was his son-in-law, the composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg.

1892: Based on information that first appeared in the Hartford Courant and the New Haven Evening Post it was reported today that when he is not lecturing on military topics Professor Charles Totten of Yale, devotes his time to Biblical work including study of the Hebrew Prophets. Furthermore, this early supporter of Jewish settlement in Palestine says in the preface to the published copy of his Yale Military Lectures that “the whole series was written in the spirit of Anglo-Saxon identity with the ten lost tribes of Israel.”

1892: In Albany, GA, Julia and Morris Weslosky gave birth to their daughter Blanche who became Blanche Adler when she married Ben Adler

1892: “A Russian Banker Fails” published described the impact of the failure of the Russian-Jewish banker J.E. Guenzburg. The firm dates back to the Crimean War when Guenzburg’s father supplied “vast quantities of spirits to the Russian Army.  While Guzenburg currently has extensive holdings in lands and mines, his financial setbacks are due in no small part to “the expulsion of the Jews who were employed in the firm’s immense sugar factories” and the hostility of the current government towards its Jewish citizens.

1893: “A Contented Colony” published today described conditions “in the Jewish colony at Chesterfield” which is eight miles from New London, CN. Contrary to previously published reports the colonists are not destitute and that most of the 32 families are “comparatively contended people”  The colony already has 180 cows which will provide milk for the new creamery; something that will produce “considerable revenue.” The colony is supported by the Baron Hirsch Fund.

1897: It was reported today that “a recent and clever English novel represents the rector of a struggling parish as having a written a book assailing the moral character of the Hebrew patriarchs.” The purpose of the novel is to acquaint the reader with “higher Biblical criticism” and demonstrate “that Moses did not write the Pentateuch.”

1898: Oscar S. Straus said today that the “a large sum of money that had recently” been received by the Trustees of the Baron de Hirsch funds “was not a new gift “but the second installment of $1,000,000 which the Baroness had promised him last year” to help “the Jews in the crowded districts of New York.”

1898: The recital of Aristide Franceschetti in the Carbon Studio on West Sixteenth Street began “with an evening prayer,’Vegna reba’ in the Hebrew text, which preserved by tradition in the synagogue of Leghorn.”

1898: At today’s meeting of the School Board for the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx, the commissioners voted 11 to 5 to set aside “the full week in which Good Friday” and “some of the Passover days occur” as Spring Vacation.

1899: Those attending the meeting of Rabbis belonging to the Reform Movement in Cincinnati will have to decide if this conference “will supersede the conference which” had been scheduled to be held in Boston this year. While the current conference has included several general reports, its primary purpose was to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Rabbi Wise, who favors holding the Boston conference.

1899: “Credit Men Meet At Dinner” published today described the event sponsored by the New York Credit Men’s Association which included the statement by one of the speakers declared that “No man in business life respects” Jewish merchants “more than I do.  I have lost less money by them than by Gentiles, at the ratio of 4 to 1.  They often pay 100 cents on the dollar when they fail.

1899: Simon Wolf of Washington, DC delivered a lecture at Temple Israel in New York at a meeting of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association entitled “American Jewish Philanthropy.”

1899: Ant-Jewish riots begin in Nikolayev, Russia

1900: Herzl, in his never ending quest to have the rich and powerful support the creation of a Jewish homeland in Eretz Israel, had a luncheon with Eulenburg-Hertefeld, the German ambassador in Vienna.

1904: Birthdate of Mississippi native Buddy Myer, the infielder for the Washington Senators from 1925 through 1941 except for two years spent with the Boston Red Sox.
1906: Birthdate of Henny Youngman.  Born in London, England, this comedian was known for his signature line, 'Take my wife, please. Youngman was had to drop out of school as a youngster and was not Bar Mitzvahed at age 13.  When he was well past the age of seventy, Youngman studied and proudly participated in the rites that he had missed out on as a youngster.

1906: The Jews of Vladivostok were ordered to leave the city within the next three days.

1907: Brooklyn, “George Wiener, an attorney who had emigrated from Russia in 1903, and Mollie (Zuckerman) Wiener” gave birth to Dr. Alexander Solomon Wiener whose many accomplished included the discovery of the Rhesus factor and who was the 1946 recipient of the Lasker Awaard.

1908: The New York Times reported that the Passover Relief Association has arranged to buy 10,000 pounds of matzoth, 3,000 pounds of coffee, 5,000 pounds of sugar and 500 pounds of tea which will be distributed among the city’s poor Jews at a distribution center at the Continental Hall during the week prior to the celebration of Passover which begins on the evening of April 15.

1908: In Haifa, "bitterness against the Jews led to a clash between Jews, Ottoman soldiers and local Arabs in which thirteen Jews were injured, some of them severely."

1911: Election for Grand Council of the Jewish Community of Constantinople takes place. Ashkenazim boycott the elections. Five Ashkenazim who were elected by the votes of Sephardim do not accept office.

1911: The American Jewish Committee which had organized in 1906 was incorporated in New today.

1911: Birthdate of Josef Mengele.  This is was a dark day in history, marking the birth of the German Nazi doctor at Auschwitz extermination camp.  To make matters worse, Mengele escaped justice and lived out his days in South America.  He died in 1979.

1912: In New York City, “Drs. Pauline (a psychiatrist) and Maurice (an ear, nose and throat specialist) Rosenthal” gave birth to Jean Rosenthal “one of the pioneers of theatrical lighting design.”
https://web.archive.org/web/20020824231526/http://www.northern.edu/wild/jr.htm

1913: Birthdate of Natalie Goldstein the native of Chicago’s south side who gained fame as Natalie Goldstein Heinmen, “a pioneering national champion for children’s welfare and respected community and national leader, changed the lives of thousands of children through her innovative and thoughtful leadership.” (As reported by Pastora San Juan Cafferty)

1913(7th of Adar II, 5673): Sixty-two year old Abraham H. Fisher, the Maryland Judge who was a founder of what is now Nusiinov Smith LLP, attorneys at law, passed away today in Baltimore, MD.

1913: The Annual Conference on Child Labor to which Leon Schwarz of Mobile, Alabama had been appointed as a delegate came to a closed today  in Jacksonville, Florida.

1914: Dr. Franz Opphenheimer, a lecturer on political economy at the University of Berlin told a mass-meeting in Cooper Union about agricultural cooperation in Palestine, saying that “the colony which I have founded in Palestine is on the plain of Jezreel, with fifty people working 1,000 acres and is “of the pure co-operative kind.”

1915: “Tried to Drive Jews Out” published today described an attempt by the Russians to force the Austrians soldiers to accept the 1,500 Jewish families being expelled from territory in and around Namiona and Tysmieniczany into their lines and to not shoot them as they made their way forward.

1915: “The American Jewish Committee announced today that it had decided to contribute $5,000 to the International Pro-Falasha Committee which has been endeavoring to spread knowledge of Judaism among the Falashas, or Black Jews, of Abyssinia.”

1916: Felix M. Warburg, Dr. Morris D. Waldman of the United Hebrew Charities and Judge William M. Cohen are scheduled to address today’s meeting at Temple Emanu-El where plans will be discussed “to federate” the Jewish charitable organizations in New York City.

1916(11th of Adar II, 5676): Rabbi Moses Guedalia passed away at the age of 76.  Born in Gibraltar, Guedalia lived in Brazil before coming to New York City when he was nine years old.  This “prominent Jewish scholar” was the founder of the Moses Montifore Congregation and during “the last few years of his life served as the lay-reader for the Free Synagogue established by the Spanish-Portuguese congregation.

1917: At Temple Israel of Harlem, Dr. M.H. Harris is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “Cleanliness and Godliness” at services this evening.

1917: It was reported today that Herman Bernstein, the editor of The American Hebrew, believes the condition of the Jews would improve under the revolutionary government that has taken control of Russia. He also believes that the new government will seek a separate peace with Germany while seeking to sign a treaty with the United States that guarantee the Russian government would allow all Americans to visit and do business in Russia.

1917: Provisional government of Russia voided many anti-Jewish laws and restrictions.  This was the so-called Kerensky Government which replaced the Czar.  Unfortunately, Kerensky and the forces of democracy were overthrown by Lenin and his Bolsheviks.

1918:  Birthdate of Frederick Reines winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1995.

1919(14th of Adar II, 5679): Purim

1919(14th of Adar II, 5679): Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov, Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic(SFSR) passed away at the age of 33. 

1920: Birthdate of Avron Zalmon Fleischman, the native of Brooklyn who gained game as author Albert Sidney “Sid” Fleischman.

1921: Birthdate of welterweight Daniel Kapilow, the founder of Ring 8 “which was founded to offer health coverage and aid to retired aging boxer and President of Teamsters Local 966 who was the husband of Natalie Kapilow.

1923: Premiere of “The Covered Wagon” a silent Western film produced by Jesse Lasky with music by Hugo Riesenfeld.

1925(20th of Adar, 5685): Fifty-nine year old August Paul von Wassermann, the Bamberg native, who developed the Wassermann test that remains “a staple of syphilis detection” passed away today.

1925: Seventy-five year old  “French sculptor Charles-Henri Cordier who in 1862 created a bust called “Jewess from Algiers,” which portrays a striking woman cloaked in Eastern garb; a striped headdress covers her hair, and her shoulders are draped in a voluminous and intricately detailed white cloth,” passed away today.

1926: Mrs. Abram I. Elkus, wife of the former United States Minister to Turkey, was appointed chairman of the Women's Division of the New York drive in the United Jewish Campaign. Mrs. Jacob H. Schiff heads the Division as its honorary chairman, according to an announcement made by William Fox, chairman of the New York drive. An organization meeting will be held today at the Hotel Biltmore, where headquarters of the New York drive are located. Fifty women, leaders in women's clubs, professional groups, synagogue organizations, and others making up a representation of all varied women's interests in the Jewish life of the city, will be present. They will be addressed by David A. Brown, national chairman of the United Jewish Campaign. Each of these fifty will head a unit of workers in the active drive, which opens April 11th. Mrs. Elkus served in the great Jewish War Relief Campaign of 1918, and led a group of 1,000 women workers in the Red Cross Drive of that year. Her life abroad in the years immediately after the war in Eastern Europe brought her into personal contact with the tragedy precipitated by the war upon European Jewry.(As reported by JTA)

1926:  In Newark, NJ, Daniel Levitch and Rachel ("Rae") Levitch (née Brodsky) gave birth to Joseph Levitch who gained fame as Jerry Lewis who teamed with Dean Martin to form one of the most popular comedy duos of the post-war period.  After the team broke up, Lewis honed his comedic craft and is especially loved by French audiences.  He is best known for his Labor Day MDA Telethons which have raised untold millions for research and care of those suffering from this disease.

1930: It was reported today that “the main difficulty in connection with the report of the Palestine Inquiry Commission centers around the land question…” (As reported by JTA)

1933: Birthdate of Sandy Weil financer and CEO of Citigroup until 2003.  The son of Polish immigrants, Weil became one of the wealthiest individuals in America.  Recent revelations have shown that while Weil made a lot of money, some his methods were of a questionable nature.

1929: New York Hakoah of the Eastern Soccer League defeated a touring team from Budapest today thanks to two goals scored by Moritz Haeusler. (Bob Wechsler)

1933: “A Love Story” based on a play by Arthur Schnitzler and directed by Max Opuls was released in France today.

1934: In its first international football (soccer) match the team from Mandatory Palestine (the future Israel) lost to Egypt 7 to 1.

1935: After 237 performances the curtain comes down on the original Broadway production of “Life Begins at 8:40,” “a musical revue with music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and E.Y. Harburg.”

1935: Fourteen Jewish American athletes and their manager David White set sail on the SS Conte di Savola.  The athletes will participate in the Maccabiah, the Jewish Olympics, scheduled to open in April in Tel Aviv.  Due to unexpected financial difficulties, it was not known until the last minute if the team would be able to go.  Thirty teams are expected to compete in the games up from the twenty-five teams that competed in the inaugural games held in 1932.  

1935(11th of Adar II, 5695): Aron Nimzowitsch passed away.  Nimzovich or Niemzowitsch was born in Latvia in 1886 when it was part of the Russian Empire. He was a chess grandmaster and was the foremost figure amongst the hypermoderns. Nimzowitsch came from a wealthy Jewish family and learned chess from his father. He travelled to Germany in 1904 to study philosophy, but began a career as a professional chess player that same year. After tumultuous years during and after World War I, Nimzowitsch moved to Copenhagen in 1922 and lived there until his death. He is buried in Bispebjerg Cemetery in Copenhagen, Denmark.

1936: Jews in Palestine protested the worsening conditions under which the Jews of Poland were living.  Polish Jews were dealing with everything from a government threat to end Kosher slaughtering to actual Pogroms.  The Jewish National Council of Palestine conducted a mass protest meeting and the Jews of Tel Aviv shuttered their shops for one day.

1936: The U.S. Secretary of the Interior “spoke at a joint banquet” held tonight by the United Synagogue of America and its women’s auxiliary where he told the attendees “Like those forefather of yours, we of America today are wandering the desert even though it is a social and not a physical desert.”

1936: Magistrate Anna Moskowitz Kross and Mrs. David E. Goldfarb are scheduled to speak a tea being held today that has been organized by Mrs. Benjamin Antin and Mrs. Edna Crane which will mark the opening event of the Bronx Women’s Division of the United Palestine Appeal.

1937: In New York, “Catholic, Protestant and Jewish speakers” including Rabbi Elias L. Soloon and Rabbi Morris M. Goldberg joined in tonight’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of Congregation Shaare Zedek which was also marked by President Roosevelt and Governor Lehman who “sent letters of feciliation…”

1937: Birthdate of cognitive psychologist Amos Tversky.  Born in Haifa, Amos Tversky, a Stanford psychology professor and his longtime colleague, Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman, jointly won the 2003 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. The $200,000 prize, awarded for the third time by the University of Louisville in Kentucky, recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of psychology. Working as a team for nearly three decades, Kahneman and Tversky revolutionized the scientific approach to decision making, ultimately affecting all social sciences and many related disciplines. Tversky died of cancer in 1996.  His untimely death prevented him from sharing in a Nobel Prize with his longtime colleague, Daniel Kahneman. 

1937: Police fired on a crowd in Clichy which provoked a crisis that the opponents of Leon Blum used in an attempt to gain a vote of no confidence in his Popular Front government.

1937: Thanks to intervention by United States consular representatives, Boris Smolar, a correspondent for JTA who was ordered to leave Germany on March 12, “has received permission for an indefinite stay I Berlin.”

1938(13th of Adar II, 5698): Fast of Esther

1938: Tonight, Harold Jacobi, the chairman of the New York United Palestine Appeal, joined with leaders of Hadassah in using a Purim theme to call upon American Jews to support the drive to provide aid for  the “more than 200,000 Jews in Austria who have come under the rule of the Nazis” on the eve of the holiday when Persian Jews were faced with possible destruction.

1938: Jewish professors were kicked out of Austrian universities

1938: In his review of Goodbye Wester Country by Henry Williamson, Ralph Thompson described the author’s interpretation of the Nazi revolution as being “the most naïve interpretation of the Nazi revolution ever put to paper.

1938: During the Spanish Civil War the four day battle at Belichite in which the Botwins, a company of Polish volunteers named after political radical Naftali Bortain, had almost been wiped out.

1938: Adolf Eichmann went to Austria to begin the removal of Jews

1939: As Arab violence continues unabated, 3 Arabs were killed today and another 250 were arrested by British forces who also seized a large quantity of rifles, ammunition and explosives.

1940(6th of Adar II, 5700): Samuel Untermyer passed away. It is difficult to do justice to the life and career of this lawyer, self-made millionaire and leader of the Jewish community born in Virginia who found success in New York City. The following lengthy obituary in the New York Times provides a picture of his life and accomplishments

1942: The first 1,600 Jews were deported from Lublin to Belzec. Another 10,000 would follow the next week.

1943: Birthdate of actress Susan Linda Bay who is the widow Leonard Nimoy.

1943: In Manhattan, attorney Jacob Goldberg and “the former Etta Herman, a department store coat model and homemaker” gave birth to Michael Harris Goldberg “the general counsel of the upstart American Basketball Association during its final years in the 1970s and the head of the N.B.A. coaches’ union for nearly four decades…” (As reported by Richard Sandomir

1943(9th of Adar II, 5703):  An SS officer was killed by a Jew named Kotnowski at Lvov. In reprisal, the Germans hung 11 Jewish policemen from the balconies overlooking the main street of the Ghetto. Also over 1,000 Jews were taken away and shot.

1945: Approximately 90% of Wurzburg, a city that had shipped its Jewish population to concentration camps from 1941 through 1943, was destroyed today when 225 British heavy bombers attacked the city in a 17 minute period.

1946: Today The Acheson-Lilienthal Report Report on the International Control of Atomic Energy was published.  Lilienthal is David Lilienthal who had gained fame as the creator of TVA. His involvement in how the United States should deal with Atomic Energy in the post-war world is another example of Jewish involvement in a whole raft of issues dealing with the creation and use of both the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs.

1947: “The Red House,” the film version of the book by the same name, starring Edward G. Robinson was released today in the United States.

1947: The British announce plans to end Martial Law in Tel Aviv and adjacent areas effective tomorrow. 

1947(24th of Adar, 5707): Sixty-three year old Copenhagen born Waldemar Holberg, the world welterweight champion in 1914 who boxed for in the 1908 Olympics for Denmark passed away today.

1947: An explosion ripped through press room and tourist information center in the Jerusalem offices of the Jewish agency.  While some said the attack was the work of “Jewish terrorists” and highlighted the split between Yishuv and militant extremists, the Irgun denied responsibility and said the attack may have been the work of the British.

1948: As Arab forces waged a war of terror designed to undo the UN Partition Resolution, the Palmach attacked al-Husayniyaa in response to the explosion of land mine.

1949:  In London, Ontario, Joe Garber and Hope Wolf gave birth to Canadian actor Victor Garber

1952:  Birthdate of French American businessman, Philippe Kahn, founder of Borland Software Corporation

1954(11th of Adar II, 5714): Tonight unknown assailants attacked an Egged bus traveling between Eilat and Tel Aviv killing the driver Efraim Firstenberg, eight male passengers and two female passengers following which the killers spat on and abused the bodies of the dead before leaving with loot they had collected.

1957: “Robert Briscoe, the Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, carrying his Talis bag from Dublin visited and prayed at the Park East Synagouge on Shabbas morning.

1958: In Croatia Slavko Goldstein and his wife gave birth to Ivo Goldstein, the historian who is ‘the former president of Bet Israel, a Jewish community in Zagreb, which he founded with his father” with whom he also worked on “the reconstruction of the Zagreb Synagogue.”

1959: Birthdate of Scott L. Schwartz, the native of Philadelphia who used “his size and agility at 6"10 and 303 pounds (137 kg)” to carve out careers in law enforcement, acting and wrestling.

1962: It was reported today that Daniel Persky, the brother of Eliah Persky, had the motto “Eved L’Ivrith Anokhi” (A slave unto Hebrew am I) on his business cards.

1962: The “Golani Brigade raided Syrian outposts to the north of the Sea of Galilee in order to stop Syrian shelling of Israeli Villages.  Seven Israeli soldiers and thirty Syrian soldiers were killed during the battle.”  The raid did not end the shelling.  It would continue sporadically until 1967 when the IDF heroically took the Golan Heights. 

1963: “Personality: Boom is Loud for Lesser” published today provides a profile of Louis Lesser and his real estate empire.

1964: Premiere of “Nothing But the Best,” a British comedy with a script co-authored by future Oscar winner Frederic Raphael.

1965: Israel Votes to Have Diplomatic Relations with West Germany

1965: As bagel bakers clashed over how to deal with the changing world of Bagel Baking, Morris Skolnick was defeated in his bid to be elected business agent for famed local 388.

1966: When David Dubinsky announced his retirement today from the International Ladies Garment Workers he told fellow union officers, ''I didn't have a life, I had a union life. You know my nature. If I'm president I can't only be president from morning till night. It has to be from morning until the next morning.''

1968(16th of Adar, 5728): Italian Jewish composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco passed away. Born in Florence in 1895, he was descended from a prominent banking family that had lived in the city since the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Like many artists who fled fascism, Castelnuovo-Tedesco ended up in Hollywood, where, with the help of Yasha Heifetz, he landed a contract with MGM as a film composer. Over the next fifteen years, he worked on scores for some 200 films there and at the other major film studios. He was a significant influence on other major film composers, including Henry Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith, Nelson Riddle, John Williams, and André Previn. His relationship to Hollywood was ambiguous: later in life he attempted to deny the influence that it had on his own work, but he also believed that it was an essentially American art form, much as opera was European. In the United States, Castelnuovo-Tedesco also composed new operas and works based on American poetry, Jewish liturgy, and the Bible.

1976(14th of Adar II, 5736): Purim observed for the last time during the Presidency of Jerry Ford.

1980(28th of Adar, 5740):  Allard Lowenstein, Congressman from New York’s 5th district and noted liberal Democrat was murdered.

1982: In case of Jew on Jew, in “Rudnick’s Poor Little Lambs’ of Yale” Frank Rich reviewed Paul Rudnick’s ''‘Poor Little Lambs,’ a no-holds-barred account of a year in the life of the Whiffenpoofs singing group.”

1983: The Third World Conference on Soviet Jewry continued to a second day in Jerusalem.

1984: William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, Lebanon, is kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists and later dies in captivity.

1985:  Associated Press newsman Terry Anderson is taken hostage in Beirut.

1985(23rd of Adar, 5745): Shabbat Parah

1985(23rd of Adar, 5745): Olga Ginsburg (nee Bessman) who had been born in 1894 and was the wife of Joseph Binsburg and the mother of the multi-talented Serge Gainsbourg passed away today.

1987: Israel radio reported today that the Israeli Government has helped to pay the legal bills of Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American intelligence analyst sentenced to life in prison last month for spying for Israel. The radio said ''state elements in Israel'' transferred $80,000 by unspecified indirect means to the defense of Mr. Pollard and his wife, Anne Henderson-Pollard. Mrs. Henderson-Pollard was sentenced to five years for helping her husband to pass hundreds of top-secret American documents to the Israeli Government. The couple's total legal expenses were reported to be somewhere between $120,000 to $200,000. The radio report did not say when the transfer took place or whether the Israeli Government planned to make additional payments to the Pollards. Israel radio said the funds were provided to James Hibey, a Washington lawyer, whom it described as the lawyer for Mr. Pollard and his wife.

1987: Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin today denied reports that Israel may still be spying on the United States. Mr. Rabin was responding to a story in The Washington Post which said American investigators became suspicious during their questioning of Mr. Pollard that Israel had another agent working in an American intelligence operation.

1987: Doctors discovered and removed a tumor from the brain of Jazz Drummer Buddy Rich. (As reported by James Barron)

1988(27th of Adar, 5748): Eighty-five year old Austro-Hungarian Empire native Paul Kohner, a dominating talent agent, the brother of novelist Frederick Kohner and father of actress of Susan Kohner passed away today.

1991: "Underground," a new work by the Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol, directed by Adrian Hall, is scheduled to have its last performance today at the Yale Repertory Theater.

1991: “Trabbi Goes to Hollywood” a comedy film directed by Jon Turteltaub and featuring Milton Berle was released in Germany today.

1992: Loretta Weinberg began serving as a Member of the New Jersey General Assembly from the 37th Legislative District,

1995(14th of Adar II, 5755): Purim

1998: The Vatican expressed remorse for the cowardice of some Christians during the Holocaust, but defended the actions of Pope Pius XII.

1998: At a press conference today Cardinal Cassidy, President of the Holy See's Commission For Religious Relations With the Jews, presented for publication the document, We Remember: A Reflection On The Shoah. Joining him in the presentation were Bishop Pierre Duprey, Vice President of the Commission, and Father Remi Hoeckmann, O.P., its Secretary.

1999(28th of Adar, 5759): Rhoda Mendelson Faffer passed away today at the age of 87.  The deceased was the wife of the late Samuel Faffer and the late, well-known Chazan, Cantor Nathan Mendelson of Montreal Canada. 

2001: More than 30 Jewish student journalists from across the United States studied with Pulitzer Prize-winners Charles Krauthammer and Glenn Frankel, the editor of The Washington Post Magazine, as well as editors of leading American Jewish publications as part of the Journalism Track of the 2001 Charlotte and Jack J. Spitzer B'nai B'rith Hillel Forum on Public Policy.
The young people, from a variety of schools across the United States, confronted some of the toughest ethical dilemmas of their profession: Can journalists put aside their Jewish identity when covering a news story, especially one that reflects poorly on the Jewish community? How do reporters reconcile Judaism's prohibition of gossip with the demands of their work?
The J-Track program is part of an ongoing collaboration between the American Jewish Press Association and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life to bridge the gap between campus and community, as well as to identify and train students to enter the profession of Jewish journalism. The conference this year was co-sponsored by the Jewish Student Press Service.
Many of the 30 students selected to participate in the J-Track had already done internships with Jewish and secular media outlets. Their experience in the field was reflected in the penetrating questions they posed during visits to The Washington Post, National Public Radio and ABC News Nightline. During a session on Capitol Hill, a student asked Reuters Congressional correspondent Joanne Kenen whether her friendship with Washington public relations professional Steve Rabinowitz affected her coverage of events. Another young reporter asked New York Jewish Week Editor/Publisher Gary Rosenblatt why stories of harassment by a staff member of the National Council of Synagogue Youth were not reported sooner. Students also participated in a lively discussion on the Jewish perspective on lashon harah (gossip) between columnist Krauthammer and Rabbi Avi Weinstein, director of Hillel's Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning.Traveling across the Potomac to Roslyn, VA, students toured an exhibit on wartime reporting of the Holocaust at the Newseum, a museum dedicated to the media, and later discussed the ethics of publishing Holocaust denial advertisements in their school newspapers.
In addition to sessions on professional and Jewish ethics, students had the
opportunity to discuss their future career with working professionals. Washington Jewish Week Editor Debra Rubin worked with small groups of students to review writing samples, and Jewish Telegraphic Agency Washington correspondent Matt Berger led a session on getting started in the field. Many presenters invited students to seek internships on their staff. "We are helping young people to 'do Jewish' through journalism," explains Hillel Communications Director Jeff Rubin. "These young people may attend the finest journalism schools in the world but they will not be exposed to a Jewish perspective on professional ethics, or the opportunity to channel their passion for Jewish affairs into a career in Jewish journalism. Through the J-Track we hope to show them that the Jewish community embraces many approaches to Judaism and journalism. Now they can make informed choices."

2002: “The Last Days of Pompeii,” a solo exhibition of the works of Eleanor Antin came to a close.

2003: On the eve of the United States' invasion of Iraq, Pastor John Hagee took to the pulpit to warn of the coming Antichrist. In his sermon, "The Final Dictator," Hagee described the Antichrist as a seductive figure with "fierce features." He will be "a blasphemer and a homosexual," the pastor announced. Then, Hagee boomed, "There's a phrase in Scripture used solely to identify the Jewish people. It suggests that this man [the Antichrist] is at least going to be partially Jewish, as was Adolph Hitler, as was Karl Marx." This "fierce" gay Jew, according to Hagee, would "slaughter one-third of the Earth's population" and "make Adolph Hitler look like a choirboy."


2003: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of interest to Jewish readers including What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News by Eric Alterman

2005:  In yet another exchange of land for a promise of peace, Israel officially hands over Jericho to Palestinian control

2006: In an interview at the time, repeated on BBC2's Newsnight today Michael Levy stated that "Over the years I have paid many millions of tax and, if you average it, each year it comes to many hundreds of thousands of pounds. In that particular year, I was giving my time to the Labour Party and the voluntary sector, and I just lived off capital.

2007: While serving as Chief Rabbi of France, Joseph Haim Sitruk “was selected as Commander of the Legion of Honor.”

2007: The Jewish Post reported that “Hadarom, the Rabbinical Council of America’s annual Torah journal, is now available on the Internet. The 50-year-old journal, which deals principally with matters of Jewish law and biblical and Talmudic exegesis, is accessible at www.rabbis.org.”

2008: The New York Times book section features reviews of Why We’re Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America by liberal Jewish columnist Eric Alterman and The Best American Erotic Poems From 1800 to the Present edited by David Lehman.

2008: In “Black Rabbi Reaches out to Mainstream of His Faith” published in The New York Times, describes the life and work of Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, Jr. (prounced fun-AY) the spiritual leader of Chicago’s Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation.Like their rabbi, a majority of Beth Shalom’s members came to Judaism later in life, after wrestling with contradictions and questions that they found in their own earlier beliefs. Many refer to their religious experience as reversion, rather than conversion, and feel a cultural connection to the lost tribes of Israel. They say that Judaism has renewed their sense of personal identity. There are no firm national statistics on the number of African-American Jews, said Gary Tobin, president of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research. Usually referred to as Israelites or Hebrews, they have historically been seen to stand apart in theology and observance from the nation’s approximately 5.3 million Jews, mainly of Ashkenazi, or European, ancestry, and have largely been ignored by the broader Jewish community. Rabbi Funnye hopes to change that by speaking about his congregation at synagogues throughout Chicago and across the country. “I believe that people cannot know you unless you make yourself known,” he said. “The only way to do that is to step outside and not fear rejection.” To spread his message, he also serves on the boards of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the American Jewish Congress of the Midwest. In addition, he is active in the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, focusing on reaching out to other communities of black Jews around the world, including the Falashas in Ethiopia and the Igbo in Nigeria. Occupying a former Ashkenazi synagogue, Beth Shalom is in the Marquette Park neighborhood. It is just blocks from where Chicago’s Nazi party used to march and where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was struck by a rock while protesting against segregated housing in 1966. The congregation was founded in 1918 as the Ethiopian Hebrew Settlement Workers Association by Rabbi Horace Hasan from Bombay. Members include some Hispanics, African-Americans and whites who were born Jews, as well as former Christians and Muslims. In line with traditional Jewish law, Beth Shalom does not seek out converts, and members must study for a year before undergoing a traditional conversion ritual. Men are required to be circumcised, and women undergo a ritual bath in a mikvah. Many worshipers feel that their devotion to Judaism is misunderstood. “When the broader community thinks of a Jew,” Dinah Levi said, “we don’t fit the profile.” Ms. Levi, 57, raised as a Baptist, is vice president of Beth Shalom, where she said she feels at home with spiritual elements that incorporate the African-American experience. “Since we are a varied people as written in the Torah,” she said, “I think the religion can be embraced by a multitude of people.” Beth Shalom’s service is somewhere between Conservative and Modern Orthodox observance with distinctive African-American influences. Men and women sit separately as the liturgy is read in English and Hebrew. Some members kiss their prayer shawls, pointing to the Torah, as is the practice in traditional synagogues. A chorus sings spirituals over the beat of a drum. Across America, black congregations have been active since the early 20th century. In the past, efforts to reach out to the mainstream Jewish community have been met with suspicion and rejection, said Lewis R. Gordon, the director of the Center of Afro-Jewish Studies at Temple University. That is why many groups stay separatist, aligning themselves more with Black Nationalism than with traditional Jewish groups. “People ask me, ‘As if you aren’t already in a bad enough situation being black, why would you want to be Jewish?’ ” said Tamar Manasseh, 29, a lifelong member of Beth Shalom. Ms. Manasseh, wearing a Star of David around her neck, attended Jewish day school and is currently planning her daughter’s bat mitzvah. “I can’t change being Jewish just the same way I can’t change being black,” she said. Close to completing her rabbinic studies, she will be among the first black women to be ordained as a rabbi, according to Rabbi Funnye, her mentor. After a Saturday service, Rabbi Funnye has a quiet moment in his office. On the wall is a 1930s black-and-white photograph of members of an African-American congregation. The men, all in prayer shawls, look out before an opened Torah. “We’re not going anywhere,” said Rabbi Funnye, smiling confidently, “I’m going to reach out until you reach back.”

2008: About two dozen Holocaust survivors, including some saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler mark the 65th anniversary of the Nazi's liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow.
In just two days in March 1943, German soldiers emptied the ghetto of its estimated 16,000 Jewish residents, shipping them to a forced-labor camp in nearby Plaszow and to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, where most were killed in the gas chambers. Those left behind were executed, with some 2,000 Jews killed. By the end of World War II, just 3,000 Jews who lived in the ghetto survived. About 25 survivors _ some returning to Poland for the first time since the war's end _ will march through the Podgorze district in Krakow to the grounds of the former camp in Plaszow where around 8,000 people, including Poles, perished during the war. Just 60 of the Jews Schindler saved are alive and a dozen are expected for the march, said Andrzej Skotnicki, who helped bring back Schindler's Jews for the anniversary events and recently published a book on Jews from Krakow that were saved by Schindler."  They lost many members of their families, so its not easy for them," Skotnicki told The Associated Press. The Plaszow camp was the setting for Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar-winning film "Schindler's List," which chronicled the German businessman's efforts to shield more than 1,000 Jews from Nazi death camps by hiring them to work in his Krakow factory. Since the release of Spielberg's film, tourists to Krakow have sought out the place where Schindler kept the emaciated, frostbitten Jews, claiming their work was essential to the survival of his metal works factory, where prisoners produced enameled pots and pans. Schindler spent his fortune feeding the Jews he saved. After the war, he emigrated to Argentina with his wife, Emilie, but returned to Germany in 1958 where he died in 1974. He was buried in Jerusalem at his own request.

2008: A bomb alert today at the Paris Book Fair, which this year honors Israeli writers, prompted the evacuation of thousands of people but appeared to be a false alarm, Paris police officials said. An anonymous caller phoned the central phone number for the fair and said a bomb would go off at 5 p.m., according to Jean-Daniel Compain, director of REED, a company that organizes the Paris Book Fair. He said 25,000 people were evacuated. Special police squads moved in quickly and conducted a search but did not find anything, Compain said. A little over an hour later, the fair reopened and visitors began streaming back in. Compain said the caller did not make any specific reference to Israel being the guest of honor. He said it was the first time the fair had ever had such a threat, "and I hope the last." A security official who declined to give his name said visitors were also evacuated from surrounding fairs at the sprawling exhibition center at Porte de Versailles in southern Paris. Security at this year's book fair was especially tight because of the Israeli focus of the event." They said they had a verification to make. Everyone left. It took 45 minutes to evacuate everyone because they did it through one entrance only," said Patricia Botin, a writer who lives in Paris and was visiting the fair. A book fair official, who declined to give his name in accordance with policy, said all available exits were used during the evacuation. The book fair has drawn criticism from Arab intellectuals for spotlighting Israel. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization called for a boycott of the March 14-19 event in response to what it calls Israel's "oppression" of the Palestinians. Israeli President Shimon Peres, in Paris on a state visit, opened the fair last week. He condemned the boycott, which he said is an action that can hurt only those involved.

2009: In Albany, NY, a screening of Etgar Keret’s film “Jellyfish” followed by Q&A with the famed Israeli author.

2009: After The New Republic published ‘Wasting Away in Hooverville” today, Jonathan “Chait appeared on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report to counter conservative arguments that the New Deal was a failure.”

2009: As part of Lillian Goldman Literary Series the American Jewish Historical Society, the Center for Jewish History and Jewish Heritage present: “The Lifecycles of New York Jews: Love and Loss,” the second in an already widely praised series of staged readings that explores the experiences of love, well-being and loss through the eyes of New York Jewish authors. With the assistance of stage and screen star Kathleen Chalfant and a wonderful supporting cast, acclaimed author Nicole Krauss joins in a theatrical reading of her poignant and powerful New Yorker magazine story, "The Last Words on Earth," from the novel The History of Love.  Non-fiction story writer and memoirist Dorothy Gallagher, whose work has been described as "intimate, fierce and hilarious," reads from her collections How I Came Into My Inheritance and Strangers in the House.  Jonathan Rosen, editorial director of Nextbook, reads from his national bestseller, The Life of the Skies and Alix Kates Shulman reads from her memoir, To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed.

2009: A 29 year old Israeli man connected with Jerusalem’s haredi “modesty squad” was sentenced to four years in prison today for the brutal gang assault of a woman in her apartment last year. The Justice Minister announced that the group’s ringleader and other alleged cell members were never charged in the case due to a lack of evidence.

2009: Ninety-six year old song writer Jack Lawrence passed away today.

2010: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski “released a National Broadband Plan, titled “Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan”.

2010: Rosh Chodesh Nisan, 5770

2010: According to the Vilna Gaon, construction of the third temple is scheduled to begin on this day.

2010: As part of its series “Far Flung Jews: Jewish Cultures Around the World,” the Jewish Study Center is scheduled to offer a program describing “The Resurgent Jewish Community of Berlin” at Adas Israel in Washington, DC.

2010: A senior Israel Defense Forces officer said today that despite the violence that erupted across Jerusalem in response to Hamas' declaration of a "day of rage" , neither the Palestinian Authority nor Israel was interested in seeing a renewal of conflict.

2010: Avner Netanyahu, 15, son of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Sarah Netanyahu, received the top honor in Israel's national Bible Quiz championship for youth today. The girls' champion was Or Ashual of the Bnei Akiva Amana Academy in Kfar Saba.

2010: “Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson…helped” to “re-launch the London Jewish Museum” today “after a two year closure. “Food and the nature of Britishness both play a significant part in the museum, which has expanded from a Victorian house in London's Camden Town to a former piano factory next door, tripling its floor space. Among the interactive displays is a chance to smell chicken soup cooking in a recreated East End immigrant's kitchen. There also is a cavalcade of historical figures, both famous and obscure, including 19th-century Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli; war poet Isaac Rosenberg, killed on the Western Front; and Daniel Mendoza, an 18th-century boxing champion of England. Their stories sit alongside those of humbler figures - laborers, seamstresses, trade unionists, entertainers.” According to Sarah Jillings, the museum’s exhibition project director, the goal is to tell both the story of the Jewish community in London and the story of London itself.  “Britain's 300,000-strong Jewish community stretches back to 1066, when the first Jews arrived with William the Conqueror's invading Norman army. The museum attests to a thriving medieval community. One of its star displays is a 13th-century mikvah, or ritual bath, uncovered in what is now the heart of London's financial district. England's entire Jewish population was expelled by King Edward I in 1290 after years of anti-Semitic violence, and Jews were only readmitted in 1656 under Oliver Cromwell, who had overthrown the monarchy. From there, the museum tells an evocative tale - common to many immigrant communities - of dislocation and hard work, prejudice and resistance, and the gradual move from inner-city tenements to greater prosperity in the suburbs. There are many Jewish museums, Holocaust museums - extraordinary places - around the world, said Alan Yentob, creative director of the BBC and a patron of the museum. But this is one that tells the story of an immigrant culture, and therefore chimes with many people around the world today. One gallery is devoted to the Holocaust, focusing on the experience of one British survivor of Auschwitz, while another holds a large display of Jewish ceremonial art. Its curators acknowledge that the history of Briton's Jews is also the history of anti-Semitism. For centuries Jews were barred from many professions, including serving in Parliament - Disraeli was allowed because he had converted to Christianity as a teenager. A century ago, the press ran sensationalist headlines about alien newcomers as tens of thousands of Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe settled in Britain. The museum sees its role as helping to build social cohesion. It predicts that a majority of the 65,000 visitors expected this year will not be Jewish, and will include many groups of schoolchildren.” As to fish and chips, that supposedly quintessential British dish, Celebrity Chef Lawson says, “Fish and chips, which everyone thinks of as very English, is, in fact Sephardic Jewish.”  According to some sources, “Britain's national dish has its origins in fried fish introduced to the country by Spanish and Portuguese Jews.”

2011: The 15th New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to come to an end.

2011(6th of Adar II, 5871): Seventy-five year old actor Al Israel who was best known for his role in two Al Pacino gangster films – Scarface and Carlito’s Way—passed away today.

2011: Final screening of Human Resource Manager, a film based on a novel by A.B. Yehoushua, is scheduled to take place at the Cinema Village in New York.

2011: Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi are scheduled to appear “in concert for the opening of the exhibit on Ketuvot at The Jewish Museum.

2011: The Israel Air Force fired two missiles at a security compound in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip today, killing two Palestinians
 
2011: Jewish youth held an artistic and educational ceremony to memorialize the victims of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires Israeli pop star Ivri Lider, who was invited to Argentina by the "Autumn Festival” of music, performed at the event. Youth media professionals specializing in video and film prepared a video called “Justice will not stay buried under the rubble” about the attack memorials.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt-AhWWL4nc

2011: The northern California home of Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the progressive Tikkun magazine, was vandalized for the third time in less than a year. The attack came a day after Lerner presented the Tikkun Award for ethics to South African Justice Richard Goldstone at a celebration of Tikkun’s 25th anniversary attended by more than 600 people at the University of California, Berkeley. (As reported by JTA)

2011: The Chief Rabbinate, Interior Ministry and State Attorney’s Office are currently drawing up new procedures to determine the validity of Orthodox conversions for the purpose of Aliya, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar said today.


2012: “Nina Menkes Retrospective: Cinema as Sorcery” featuring personal appearances by the famed filmmaker whose parents are Holocaust survivors is scheduled to come to an in New York City.

2012: The Friars Club is scheduled to present a tribute to Jerry Lewis at the 92nd Street Y. The program will include a “screening of a new documentary, Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis, followed by a talk/tribute with Jerry Lewis on the occasion of his 86th birthday.”

2012: Jerusalem hosted its second annual marathon today.

2013: The Alexandria Kleztet is scheduled to perform in Rockville, MD. 

2013: “The Day I Saw Your Heart” is scheduled to have its Minnesota Premiere at the Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival.

2013(5th of Nisan, 5773): Sixty year old former MK Marina Solodkin suffered a stroke and passed away while attending a conference in Riga, Latvia.

2013: The Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia is scheduled to a the Virginia Virtuosi performing an evening of Jewish classical music celebrating Freedom.

2013: The Philomusica Quartet – Nadia Weintraub, Yelena Tishin, Avraham Leventhal, Dmitri Golderman – is scheduled to perform at the Eden-Tamir Music Center

 2013: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presented the new government to President Shimon Peres tonight.

2013: MK Tzipi Livni, Israel’s newest Justice Minister, stressed today that she would not support the basic law bill “Israel is the national state of the Jewish people,” whose promotion is part of the new coalition agreements with the Jewish Home party. In the absence of a constitution, The Basic Laws of Israel (Chukei Hayesod) deal with the formation and role of the principal state’s institutions, and the relations between the state’s authorities.

2014(14th of Adar II, 5774): Purim

2014(14th of Adar II, 5774): Eighty-six year old Tony award winning composer Mitch Leigh whose work also included the “Nobody Doesn’t Like Sara Lee “ jingle  passed away today. (As reported by Anita Gates)

2014: Eden Rose Strauss, daughter of Rabbi Feivel and Abbie Strauss and granddaughter of Dr. Bob and Laurie Silber is scheduled to be the youngest person in Bexley, Ohio “celebrating” what for will be her first Purim

2014: The Jewish Museum is scheduled to host a family concert by The Dirty Sock Funtime Band.

2014: “The Jewish Cardinal” and “Suskind” are scheduled to be shown at the Houston Jewish Film Festival.

2014: The New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to host a screening of “Joann Sfar Draws From Memory” which “tracks his odyssey through the Algerian and Eastern European Jewish heritage that serves as the wellspring of his work.”

2014: Ilan Caplan, the Chazan for the Traditional High Holiday Services in Cedar Rapids is scheduled to chant Megalith Esther at Shird Chadesh In Metairie, LA which when it was the Conservative Congregation of New Orleans gave Mitchell Levin who davens in Cedar Rapids, his first teaching job. (Don’t you just love Jewish Geography?)

2014: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa Temple Judah is scheduled to host a Religious School Purim Carnival followed later in the day by a Megillah Reading with attendees including adults in costumes.

2014: In Israel, Channel 2 reported that Israel has tightened security in its airspace following the the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. (As reported by Times of Israel)

2014:”Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s top negotiator in talks with the Palestinian Authority, chastised Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday evening over comments he’d made the previous day dismissing the viability of peace talks, saying “grumbling and despairing is easy…our responsibility is to change reality.”  (As reported by Itamar Sharon)

2014: “Hundreds of east Jerusalem residents held a demonstration in Jerusalem’s Old City near the Damascus Gate this evening, with several demonstrators throwing rocks at a police car, breaking its windshield.” (As reported by Itamar Sharon)

2014: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and or of special interest to Jewish readers including  Bernard Malamud: Novels and Stories of the 1940s and 50s: "The Natural," "The Assistant," "Twenty Stories," "Posthumously Published Stories edited by Philip Davis, Bernard Malamud: Novels and Stories of the 1940s and 50s: "The Natural," "The Assistant," "Twenty Stories," "Posthumously Published Stories edited by Phillip Davis and The Wherewithal, A Novel in Verse by Philip Schultz as well as the publication of an interview with Philip Roth.

2015: “Solomon Schechter Symposium” with Dara Horn is scheduled to be presented by the Herbert D. Katz Center Advanced Judaic Studies.

2015: Rabbi Denise Eger read the Torah today during installation as CCAR president.

2015: Jack Goldberg is scheduled to deliver a lecture on “Middle East Chaos: From Civil Wars to Disintegration of States” in San Diego.

2015: Orient Stier is scheduled to deliver a lecture on “The Hidden and the Revealed: A God’s-Eye View of the Landscape of Holocaust Postmemory” at the Jewish Museum of Florida.

2015: “Los Angeles County prosecutors filed a murder charge today against real estate scion Robert Durst in the December 2000 killing of his longtime friend Susan Berman, who was found shot execution-style in her Benedict Canyon home on Christmas Eve.”

2015: “Under pressure on the eve of a surprisingly close election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel today doubled down on his appeal to right-wing voters, declaring definitively that if he was returned to office he would never establish a Palestinian state.”

2015: “The Allied Powers’ Response to the Holocaust Conference” is scheduled open today.

2016: “Shore of Love” and “Arabic Movie” are scheduled to be shown at the 19th New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival.

2016: “Women’s Night Dinner” and “A La Vie” are scheduled to shown at the Houston Jewish Film Festival.

2016: During a speech in the Rose Garden this morning “new U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland credited his Jewish grandparents, who he said fled to the United States from anti-Semitism in Russia, for putting him in position to be nominated”

2016: The YIVO Institute for Jewish research is scheduled to present a lecture on “Yiddish Culture and Interwar Paris: The 1937 World's Fair & the Modern Jewish Culture Pavilion.”

2017: The Princeton Tigers (23-6) led by senior forward Spencer Weisz, “a Maccabiah Games gold medalist” and “the Ivy League’s Player of the Year are scheduled to face off against Notre Dame in the opening round of the NACC Basketball Tournament.

2017: JW3 is scheduled to host the last screening of “Denial,” a film based on the libel trial in which professor Deborah E. Lipstadt squared again Holocaust denier David Irving.

2017: The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center is scheduled to host “Hidden Mysteries and Magic: Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism in Renaissance Florence.”

 

 

 

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