1166: Birthdate of King John of England. King John is known to history as the brother of Richard the Lionhearted whom he followed to the throne in 1199. He is also the monarch who was so rapacious that the English nobles banned together and forced him to sign the Magna Charta, which placed limits on the power of the King. John’s record in dealing with the Jews was uneven, to say the least. Since Jews fell outside of the norms of the feudal world of the Middle Ages, special provisions were needed to deal with them. Two years after coming to power, King John issued a special charter guaranteeing the rights of the Jews while he reigned as long as they conformed to all laws and decrees i.e. provided a steady flow of funds to the royal treasury. In essence, the Jews were “the king’s possession” to do with as he pleased. So this same King John, when he needed more money, imprisoned several wealthy Jews in a castle at Bristol in 1210 and held them until they paid a ransom of 66,000 marks. John’s son followed his father’s pattern of behavior in dealing with the Jews. His grandson would expel the Jews from England after squeezing them of all their financial value.
1294: Pope Boniface VIII is elected Pope. In 1298, four years after Boniface came to power, 628 Jews are killed after a priest Nuremberg, Germany, spreads a story that Jews drove nails through communion hosts, "thereby crucifying Christ again". There are those who hold Boniface accountable for this murderous act, if for no other reason that it took place during his “undistinguished” papal rule.
1354: The Jews of Speyer, Germany were given permission to open a school and synagogue.
1491: Birthdate Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish founder of the Jesuit order. Loyola was born one year before the Jewish expulsion from Spain. He lived during a period dominated by the Inquistion and Church sanctioned anti-Semitism. “It is accordingly much to their credit that the Jesuits were firmly opposed (particularly under Ignatius and his first three successors as Superior General of the Jesuits) to ecclesiastical anti-Semitism and to the Inquisition's persecution of suspected Jews. When Ignatius was accused of having partly Jewish ancestry, he replied, ‘If only I did! What could be more glorious than to be of the same blood as the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin, and our Lord Himself?’”
1524: Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer who after establishing “a sea route from Europe to India and the Spice Islands” met “Ysuf Adil” “a Jewish man of about forty who said he been born in Posen, Poland and had been taken prisoner en route to Jerusalem and sold as a slave in India” and the Portuguese explorer called Gaspar de Gama” and was employed as a pilot in Indian waters” passed away today,
1529: According to various sources date on which Kabbalist, poet and author Shlomo Alkabetz (שלמה אלקבץ) married the daughter of one Yitzchak Cohen, a wealthy householder living in Salonica. His most famous work was 'Lecha Dodi', the hymn that marks the start of the Shabbat.
1610: Spain and the Dutch Republic signed a treaty recognizing free commerce between the Netherlands and Morocco, and allowing the sultan to purchase ships, arms and munitions from the Dutch. This was one of the first official treaties between a European country and a non-Christian nation, after the 16th-Century treaties of the Franco-Ottoman alliance. Samuel Pallache, a Jewish-Moroccan merchant, was the lead negotiator during the negotiations. He had been appointed as the Ottoman envoy to the Dutch Republic by sultan Zidan Abu Maali in 1608.
1698: Birthdate of William Warburton, the Bishop of Gloucester, author of the Divine Legation of Moses in which he contends, among other things, that “the afterlife is not mentioned in the Torah” which makes “Mosaic Judaism distinctive among ancient religions.”
1696: On Christmas Eve, at Evora, Portugal, a group of alleged heretics were led from the palace of the Inquisition (still existing today) to the Roman square, the most visible height of the town, where they were burned. Evora, a provincial capital of Portugal, had been an important center for Marrano Jews.
1778: The South Carolina and American General Gazette reported that Samuel Mordicai had married Catherin Andrews, the daughter of Abraham Andrews.
1789: During the French Revolution, the National Assembly approved a law granting Protestants equal rights with Catholics. The Assembly refused to extend the same rights to the Jews of France.
1798: Birthdate of Adam Bernard Mickiewicz, poet, author and Polish nationalist who sought to organize a military force to fight against the Russians during the Crimean War. To that end, he worked with Armand Levy to organize a military unit made up of Russian and Palestinian Jews called the Hussars of Israel to fight against the forces of the Czar – the same Czar who was the impediment to Polish independence.
1812: Birthdate of Henry Russell, the “great-nephew of the British Chief Rabbi Solomon Hirschel” who was a leading composer of tunes that were popular both in England and the United States.
1814: The Treaty of Ghent was signed ending the War of 1812 which is also referred to as the Second War for American Independence. As has been the case in all other conflicts, Jews played an active role in the military. The most famous of them was Uriah P. Levy whose naval career would see him rise to the rank of Commodore despite having to deal with anti-Semitism. Captain John Ordronaux gained famed as a privateer. Several grandsons of Mordechai Sheftal, the Georgian who gained fame during the Revolutionary War fought the British as did one of the sons of Haym Solomon. Thirty Jews were part of the force that defended Fort McHenry. Captain Mordecai Myers distinguished himself on the water of Lake Ontario and Major Abraham Massaias helped to “foil British attempts to invade Georgia from the sea.” Last but not least is Judah Touro who would fight with Andrew Jackson’s forces at the Battle of New Orleans. As we all know, this most famous battle of the War of 1812 was fought on January 8, 1815, more than two weeks after the war had officially come to an end.
1817: In Durbach, Johanna and Emanuel Bodenheimer gave birth to Hermann “Hirschel” Bodenheimer.
1820: Siegmund Leopold Beyfus and his wife “Babette” Rothschild, the daughter of Mayer Amschel Rothschild gave birth to Charlotte Beyfus the future wife of Abraham Oppenheim.
1826: In Paris, Jacob Libermann was baptized today taking the name François Marie Paul after which he entered the seminary and began studying for the priesthood.
1834: A letter of this date written from Jerusalem stated “It should be known to you that from other lands, worthy people are actually streaming to the Four Holy Cities (Hebron, Jerusalem, Tiberias and Safed)” which is part of the proof offered by Arei Morgenstern in his book” Hastening Redemption: Messianism and the Resettlement of the Land of Israel” that there a significant number of Haredim had made Aliyah prior to the birth of the modern Zionist movement at the end of the 19th century.
1837: Birthdate of Samuel (Shmuel) Polyakov known as the “railroad king” in Russia who was also the co-founder of World ORT.
1841: As the conflict between traditionalist and reformers in the Anglo-Jewish community becomes increasingly strident, The Voice of Jacob published an article with a relatively conciliatory tone under the heading ““The attempt to establish a secession synagogue in London.” The article’s author clung to the notion that “that reform group was unlikely to wield any influence.” Considering the names of the people tied to the Reform movement, this seemed like “a vain hope.”
1841: Birthdate of Flaminio Ephraim Servi, the native of Pitigliano, Tuscany who served as rabbi in several communities including Casael-Moneferrato where he was the Chief Rabbi.
1845(25th of Kislev, 5606): Jews in Texas observe Chanukah as members of an independent republic for the last time.
1849: Birthdate of Charles Ephrussi, scion of prominent Jewish banking family from Odessa who gained fame as an art critic and collector
1851: The President of the Hebrew Benevolent Associations attended tonight’s Anniversary Dinner commemorating the first landing of the Pilgrims hosted by the Sons of New England at the Astor House.
1855: Today’s “Parisian Gossip Column” reported a claim by French publicist and editor Taxila Delord that Mlle. Rachel, the famous Jewish actress is planning on returning to France from the United States without completing all of the performances to which she had agreed.
1857: Uriah P. Levy was restored to active duty. Naval officials had tried to end his career prematurely, due in part, to the fact that he was Jewish. Levy played a key role in putting an end to flogging as a punishment for common sea men. He also was responsible for saving the library that had belonged to Thomas Jefferson.
1862(2nd of Tevet, 5623): 8th day of Chanukah
1862: Today, Henry C. Ekstein a native of Philadelphia joined the U.S. Navy where he served as surgeon rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before he retired in 1893.
1864(25th of Kislev, 5625): Parshat Vayehsev, First Day of Chanukah as President Lincoln revels in the news that Sherman has taken Savannah.
1865: A group of Confederate veterans met in Tennessee and founded the Ku Klux Klan. The first leader of this violent hate group was Nathan Bedford Forest, the Confederate General who commanded troops at the infamous Fort Pillow Massacre. Klan members have attacked Blacks, Jews, Catholics, immigrants and just about everybody else who is not just like them. The Klan has fallen several times only to reappear in more virulent forms at a later date. The Klan is not just a Southern phenomenon. During the 1920's one of the largest groups of Klansmen could be found in Indiana. During that same decade, the hooded hate-mongers staged a parade in Washington, D.C. with no objection worth noting. Any attempt to rationalize or romanticize the Klan's behavior smacks of the worst form of revisionism.
1865: Birthdate of Polish historian Szymon Askenazy
1868(10th of Tevet, 5629): Asara B’Tevet
1868: Birthdate of Emanuel Lasker, a mathematician who gained fame as a chess player. He was “World Champion” from 1894 through 1921. In one of those on-going ironies of the way history is recorded, Lasker is identified as a “German chess champion” even though he was the kind of German who was forced to flee for his life in the 1930’s. Lasker finally found refuge in the United States where he died in 1941.
1870(30th of Kislev, 5631): Rosh Chodesh Kislev
1870: Barbe-bleue, an opéra bouffe, or operetta, in three acts (four scenes) by Jacques Offenbach with a French libretto co-authored by Ludovic Halévy was performed today at the Grand Opera House in New York City.
1871(19 Tevet 5631): Abraham Samuel Benjamin (The Ktav Sofer) passed away. Born in 1815, he was a Rabbi, educator and Orthodox leader of Hungarian Jewry. He was the son of Moses Sofer and took his father’s place upon his death in 1839. His Responsa and clarification on the Torah were published under the title Ktav Sofer.
1873: Birthdate of Otto A Rosalsky, the NYU law school graduate (class of 1894) who at the age of 33 was first appointed Judge General Sessions a position he would continue to hold for so long that he was the dean of that bench when he passed away in 1936.
1873: Birthdate of C.G. (Charles Gabriel) Seligman,a pioneer in British anthropology who conducted significant field research in Melanesia, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and, most importantly, the Nilotic Sudan. After completing his medical education, in 1898 he went with the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Straits. Subsequently, his interests turned from medical research towards anthropology. In 1904l he revisited New Guinea to distinguish the characteristic racial, cultural, and social traits of the peoples of the region. In the 1920's, he pioneered a psychoanalytic approach: studying cross-cultural similarity of dreams. He concluded that the psychology of the unconscious could provide an approach to some basic anthropological problems. He died in 1940.
1874: In Lithuania, Jacob Menasseh Milwitzky and Hinda Riva Mandelstamm gave birth to philologist William Milwitzky, the graduate of Columbia and the University of Paris “who travelled through Turkey, Greece and Romania to collect material for the study of Judaeo-Spanish dialects” which provided the basis for articles in Modern Language Notes and the Jewish Encyclopedia and who also co-author La Bible en Espagne.
1879: The Pauline Markham troupe which included Sadie Marcus, the Jewess who would marry Wyatt Earp performed “H.M.S Pinafore” for the first time In Tombstone the town made famous by the Gunfight at the OK Corral.
1881: It was reported today that Baron Gustav Rothschild has purchased a “woodland tract around Chantilly for which he paid the state” approximately a million dollars.
1881: It was reported today that a near riot had broken out in Odessa, Russia, as people sought to buys tickets for the upcoming performances of Sarah Bernhardt.
1882: It was reported today that Judge Arnoux has lifted the temporary injunctions that restrained the police from arresting Jewish merchants who kept their stores open on Sunday. In his ruling, Arnoux said that the state legislature has designated the “first day of the week” as the day on which numerous commercial activities are prohibited and that it would be a violation of that stance to allow those who observe a different day of the week as a day of rest to remain open on Sunday. In other words, Jews who do business on Sunday are subject to arrest. The ruling did not prohibit Jewish merchants from contesting the constitutionality of the law if they face trial on such a violation.
1882: It was reported today that Annie Littlestein, the 19 year old Jewish immigrant from Poland who had been saved after she jumped into the East River had fled her home after a violent altercation with her jealous husband. The couple has one child whom the police gave back to its mother after the husband disappeared from the home. (Life in the new world was not always an easy walk on Streets Paved With Gold)
1883(25th of Kislev, 5644): Chanukah
1885: Birthdate of Sagagen, Russia, native Aaron Samuel Cantor who came to Philadelphia in 1891 where he attended the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, became a cardiologist and eventually moved to Scranton, PA where he passed away in April of 1955.
1886: Birthdate Manó Kaminer the native of Hungary who gained famed film director Michael Curtiz. Who directed everybody from Errol Flynn to Elvis Presley. Like so many other Jewish immigrants he helped develop American Middle American culture with films like Yankee Doodle Dandy and White Christmas. But his most famous effort is the all-time classic “Casablanca.”
1887: It was reported today that Bishop Potter, New York’s leading Presbyterian minister, publicly praised the contributions of the Jews of New York to the Sunday Hospital Fund and said that their generosity should serve as an example to Christians who have not been nearly as generous.
1887: It was reported today that among those contributing to the non-denominational Sunday Hospital Fund were Mrs. J.H. Lazarus ($10.00) and Congregation B’nai Jeshurun ($50.00)
1888: Birthdate of Mihaly Kertesz, the Budapest born son of a carpenter and an opera singer who gained fame as Michael Curtiz who won the Oscar as Best Director for the film classic “Casablanca.”
1888: Today, the first burial took place at the “New Hills of Eternity cemetery” which stood on a twenty acre site in San Mateo County that had been purchased by two San Francisco Synagogues after the California state legislature had passed a bill prohibiting further burials in the Mission District which had been the site of the old Hills of Eternity, the city’s Jewish cemetery.
1890: Rabbi Pereira Mendes and Cantor A.H. Nieto officiated at the wedding of his daughter Rebecca Nieto to Albert Lucas of London this afternoon at Shearith Israel on West 19th Street.
1890: In New York, Grand Jury presented its finding on “illegal divorces which often cause trouble to the ignorant persons who put their faith in them” addressing specifically the practice of Jewish immigrants to the United States obtaining religious divorces from Rabbis and then re-marrying even though they have not gotten a civil divorce – a practice which was acceptable in Europe but not in the United States.
1891: The American Hebrew reminded its readers to “let your children know that it is Chanukah this week and give them a good time. You have eight days’ time in which to celebrate the Feast, the first night being the 24” of Kislev which is December 25.
1891: Birthdate of NYC native Jess Perlman, the CCCNY alum and Fordham Law School graduate who worked with Camp Madison Grove School in Madison, CT and served on the Jewish Board of Guardians in New York
1891: Emanuel Lehman, the Treasurer of the ad hoc committee formed to provide aid to Russian Jews reported that $77,708.73 has been raised for this purpose as of today.
1891: In Vienna, Rosa Korngut and Nathan Birnbaum gave birth to “Yiddish linguist and Hebrew paleographer,” Solomon Birnbaum
1892(5th of Tevet, 5653): Thirty-three year old Herman Stern, a German Jew “who was employed as foreign exchange clerk in the Wall Street banking house of Landenburg, Thalman & Co committed suicide today by hanging himself in his bedroom at the house of Samuel M. Marks.”
1893: The American Hebrew was founded by F. de Sola Mendes and Philip Cowen, the publisher of the paper.
1893: “History of the Jews In America” published today provided details about the second annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society which will be held at Columbia College later this month.
1894: Birthdate of Lazarus Leonard Aaronson, the son of Orthodox Jew’s living in London’s East End, who converted to Christianity and is best known for his 1930’s work Christ in the Synagogue.
1894: In New York the United Hebrew Charities received $1,163.62 when the Mayor decided to distribute the remainder of the funds donated by city employees last winter to help the poor and the unemployed.
1894: In Paris, “General Mercier, Minister of War, introduced…a bill in the Chamber of Deputies providing the death penalty for such military traitors as Captain Dreyfus.”
1894: In the Chamber of Deputies, Socialist Jean Jaurès who has been “delegated by his party to demand the abolition of the death penalty in the Army…said that Captain Dreyfus escaped the death sentence because the Government feared the consequences of executing him.”
1894: “Christmas In Germany” published today provides a snapshot of events and feelings in the Kaiser’s Kingdom including the anger being felt by Germans over “the spy mania in France” including the Dreyfus Affair which try to make Germany a villain responsible for espionage
1895: Sixty-four year old Sir Edward J. Harland who hired Gustav Wihelm Wolff to be his personal assistant and with whom he later formed Harland and Wolff, the leading shipbuilding company passed away today
1897: It was reported today that in Morocco, “a deputation from the Jewish community” took part in the recent triumphant entry of newly appointed governor Kaid ben Elsh into the city of Tetuan.
1897: It was reported today the former president of the Municipal Council of Jerusalem is applying for “a concession to supply Jerusalem with drinking water” which will “utilize three ancient reservoirs, two of which dated from the time of King Solomon and the third from the time of Sultan Soliman the legislator.”
1901: In Hungary, a carpenter named Samuel Rosenfeld and his wife Sarah Gluck gave birth to Ruth Rosenfeld who came to the United States where she worked as a seamstress.
1904: Birthdate of British financier and philanthropist, Sir Charles Clore the descendant of Lithuanian Jews whose holding company owned the fabled Selfridges department story and whose “Clore Foundation is a major donor to arts and Jewish community projects in Britain and abroad.”
1905: It was reported today that the Novoe Vremya which “continues its provocative attitude toward the Jews, sarcastically referring to the ‘second day of the revolution so solemnly and stupidly proclaimed by the Russian Jewish agitators’ is one of only two non-official newspapers that is still being published.
1905: “A meeting was held” tonight “in the Education Hall under the auspices of the Zionist Council of Greater New York to define the attitude of Zionists toward the Jewish question and the recent massacres in Russia.”
1905: In Philadelphia, PA, today “a policeman threatened to stop a meeting of Socialists who had gathered in a local theatre to ‘protests against the massacres of Jews in Russia’ if the speakers persisted in denouncing President Roosevelt and his administration.”
1906: Birthdate of German-born American composer Franz Waxman. His film scores netted him 12 Oscar nominations and two back to back Academy Awards for “Sunset Place” and “A Place in the Sun.”
1907: Birthdate of I.F. (Isidore Feinstein) Stone, a left-wing journalistic gadfly who published “IF Stone’s Weekly.”
1910: Birthdate of author Fritz Leiber. The Phi Beta Kappa graduate won three Hugo awards for his science fiction writing including Ship of Shadows.
1912: Marguerite Thompson married William Zorach, the Lithuanian born American Jewish sculptor, painter, printmaker, and writer who won the Logan Medal of the arts.
1913(25th of Kislev, 5674): Jews observe Chanukah for the last time in a world that is not at war.
1913: Birthdate of Bernard Manischewitz, the native of Cincinnati, Ohio who was the last member of his family to preside over the worldwide kosher food empire that began when his grandfather opened a small matzo bakery in Cincinnati. Mr. Manischewitz was president of the B. Manischewitz Company for 26 years, until he supervised its sale to a group led by Kohlberg & Company in 1990. At the time, it had $1.5 billion in annual sales and exported its products, from gefilte fish to borscht, around the world. It then controlled 80 percent of the United States market for matzo, the unleavened bread eaten year-round but especially at Passover. Mr. Manischewitz's father, Jacob, gave him his first job with the company when he assigned him to inspect the production line to make sure the flat, cracker-like matzos did not break. He eventually became one of the three first cousins who ran the company in its third generation, continuing alone after the others died. The cousins followed the five sons of Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, who began the bakery in 1888. In the company's early stages, the rabbi installed certain innovations that were challenged by rabbinical authorities as violating Jewish dietary laws. Rabbi Manischewitz, however, argued strongly that his methods were more sanitary and led to standardized quality. Rabbi Manischewitz also began insisting in advertisements that customers ask for his matzos by the name Manischewitz in order to counter imitators who copied his original name, Cincinnati matzos. In 1932, the company built a second factory, in Jersey City, which quickly became the center of operations. By 1949, Bernard Manischewitz's generation had taken over. He was president, D. Beryl Manischewitz was chairman and William Manischewitz was treasurer. An article in The New York Times in 1951 told how Bernard Manischewitz was leading the company into preparing more than 70 different kosher foods, in addition to matzo, including frozen fish and poultry, canned borscht and chicken soup, and the Tam Tam cracker. Wines with the name Manischewitz were sold throughout the country under a licensing arrangement. In an interview with The Times in 1956, Mr. Manischewitz suggested that those products signified the biggest change in Jewish domestic life since biblical times. He said all but the most strictly Orthodox homemakers had been released from "the compulsory obsession with the problems of cooking." He also noted that American processed kosher foods were selling well in Europe and even in Israel. All this expansion called for snappy — or at least memorable — advertising. One tongue-in-cheek radio ad advised listeners not to eat Manischewitz matzos in bed because they were crispier and so might cause "a crummy night's sleep." Bernard Manischewitz attended Syracuse University for a year and graduated from New York University with a business degree. He later took night courses in factory management. One of the last battles of his career came in 1990, when the company faced charges of conspiring to fix the price of Passover matzos. It ended in 1991 with the company pleading no contest to a single criminal indictment and paying a $1 million fine. Mr. Manischewitz was an intensely private man who avoided using his own name to register in hotels and make restaurant reservations, Dr. Hoffman said. He also believed that not dropping his name made good business sense. When he was in Alaska bargaining over the price of whitefish for making gefilte fish, Dr. Hoffman said, he feared that if people knew he was Mr. Manischewitz, they might expect a higher price. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 89. (As reported by Douglas Martin)
1913: Melech Epstein, the Russian born “Jewish American journalist and historian” arrived at Ellis Island. He was the author of Jewish Labor in U.S.A. and The Jew and Communism.
1914: “Open Fund to Aid Jews” describes plans in London to provide aide for Russian and Polish Jews who are suffering as the Russian, German and Austrian forces fight it out on the Eastern Front.
1914: Dr. Arthur Levy, a rabbi serving with the German Army in the campaign against Russia wrote a letter today from Lodz describing the pogroms and murders “committed by the Russians against the Jewish population.”
1914: In an attempt to save the life of Leo Frank, Louis Marshall “presented the appeal from the decision of the Federal District Court of Georgia before J.R. Lamar, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
1914: It was reported today that Charles S. Whitman, the Republican who begin serving as Governor on January 1, 1915 plans to appoint at least one Jewish member to each of the boards managing the state’s hospitals.
1914: “To-Night’s the Night,” a musical comedy composed by Paul Rubens the son of English stockbroker Victor Rubens and Jenny Wallach, opened tonight at the Schubert Theatre in New York City.
1914; During World War I the "Christmas truce" begins on the Western Front. For more about this amazing tale read Silent Night: The Story of The World War I Christmas Truce by the Jewish author, Stanley Weintraub's and you will see how a Christmas book can be considered a “Jewish Book.”
1914: The American Jewish relief organization in Washington, DC received a cablegram from Alexandria, Egypt asking for aid to help the 682 Russian Jews who have just reached that city after having been forcefully expelled from Jaffa by the Turks.
1914: In New York, Herman Bernstein, the editor of The Day, a Jewish newspaper, received a telegram from Secretary State of William Jennings Bryan in which he says, “Department hesitates to place full credence in press reports of ill-treatment of Jews in Jaffa, inasmuch as no official advices to that effect have been received from the Ambassador at Constantinople.”
1915: Eduard Gold was appointed mayor of South Vancouver today.
1915: It was reported today that one of the signs of the great strides made by organized religion in 1915 is “that Jews have recently started a movement to raise funds for those of their race in war stricken lands.”
1915: Rabbi Louis Bernstein of St. Joseph preached “the opening sermon tonight at the national meeing of the Jewish Chautauqua Society” which is meeting in St. Louis for 6 days.
1915: “The Central Committed for the Relief of Jews Suffering Through the War which is in working in co-operation with the Jewish Relief Committee” announced today “collections amounting to about $20,000.”
1915: It was reported today that “more than three hundred Jews – captains of industry, merchants, university professors and rabbis” attended a just concluded conferred that had been convened to form “an organization that would bring about closer relations between the Jews of Germany and the Turks.”
1915: It was reported today that “Theodor Wolff of the Tageblatt, who is perhaps the most prominent editor in Germany declares that notwithstanding the recent revival of anti-Semitism the feeling against Jews in Germany is gradually on the wane, existing nowhere to a great extent except possibly among the minor ability.”
1915: Birthdate of Aleksandr Yakovlevich Novakovsky, the native of Petrograd who gained famed British economist Alexander Nove.
1915: It was reported today that Jacob H. Schiff has continued his annual tradition of marking the anniversary of the death of his mother, Mrs. Clara Schiff by addressing “the girl members of the School of Religious Work” and awarding a prize named in her honor for the best essay written by one of the students.
1916(29th of Kislev, 5677): Fifth Day of Chanukah
1916: In New Orleans, the Jewish Chautauqua Society led by Chancellor Berkowitz of Philadelphia met for a third day today in New Orleans.
1916: Today the Metropolitan League of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association held a Chanukah celebration at Temple Israel in Harlem where Felix M. Warburg “advised the young men to adhere closely to the teachings of their religion, never to desert it and to obey their parents” while advising “the parents to send their children to the Hebrew associations rather than to other places.”
1916: “A plea for inclusion of Jewish political and religious freed in the treaties of peace at the end of the European war was made by Max J. Kohler, author of Jewish Disabilities in the Balkan States in an address” given this “morning at Temple Israel in Brooklyn on ‘The Relation of American Jewry to World Jewry.’” (Editor’s note – Woodrow Wilson had just been re-elected using the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War.” All of this would look different when a mere four months later the United States would declare war on Germany ending the self-proclaimed role of honest peace broker.)
1916: More than 20,000 youngsters attended the Chanukah celebrations at today’s session of the Convention of the Young Judea National Leaders’ Association heard Professor Israel Friedlander discuss the significance of the holiday when he said was the only Jewish festival in which the “military spirit” was involved.
1916: “An endless chain of contributors who persuade others to contribute and to persuade still others is one of the plans for raising money put in operation by the committee seeking to collect $10,000,000 before the end of 1917 for the relief of Jews suffering from the war, it was announced” today “by Albert Lucas, Secretary of the Joint Distribution Committee which represents those organizations interested in Jewish war relief work.”
1916: The New York Times featured a review of Isaac Mayer Wise: The Founder of American Judaism, a biography of the founder of Reform Judaism, written by Max B. May.
1917: Birthdate of Zara Nelsova, the native of Winnipeg, Canada whose career as a cellist took her to London and then back to North America where among things this one-time child prodigy taught at Julliard in New York.
1917: During a discussion of juvenile education as a factor in the success of the Zionist movement at today’s meeting of the Young Judea National Leaders Association at the Central Jewish Institute
Samuel Rodman Leaders of Baltimore said that “the present Jewish education in America is worthless.”
Samuel Rodman Leaders of Baltimore said that “the present Jewish education in America is worthless.”
1917: Seventy-one year old Nevada Senator Francis G. Newlands the only Democrat to vote against the confirmation of Associate Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis.
1918: An official notification reached Washington today “crediting Andrew Moraczeewski, the Premier of Poland, with having just declared that it was the purpose and intention of the Polish Government to put an end to the anti-Semitic movement.”
1918: “An appointment was today by telegraph” for a delegation of American Jews to meet in Paris with Colonel House, the advisor to President Wilson, to discuss the Zionist movement.
1918: Birthdate of Anwar El Sadat who served as President of Egypt from 1970 until his murder in 1981. Sadat’s trip to Jerusalem and subsequent signing of the Camp David Peace Agreement make him a “Profile in Courage.”
1919(2nd of Tevet, 5680): 8th day of Chanukah
1920: Reviews of Playmates in Egypt and Other Stories by Elma Erlich Levinger, A Book of Jewish Thoughts by J.H. Hertz, Stories of Child Life in a Jewish Colony In Palestine by Hannah Trager with a preface by Israel Abrahams and Omar and the Rabbi by Frederick Leroy Sargent were published today.
1920: Enrico Caruso gave his last public performance, singing in Jacques Halevy's ''La Juive'' (The Jewess) at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Halevy was the son of a cantor. In writing “La Juive” he created the role of Eléazar one of the great favorites of tenors including Enrico Caruso. The opera's most famous aria is Eléazar's "Rachel, quand du Seigneur”.
1920: At erev Shabbat services, Shaari Zedek is scheduled to host Jewish Collegians’ Night during which Louis S. Posner will deliver a lecture on “The Building of a Nation” and “David Tannenbaum, formerly of the Chaplain of the Eighty-second Division, American Expeditionary Force” will describe the “achievements of the Inter-Collegiate Association.
1921(23rd of Kislev, 5682): Parashat Vayeshev
1921(23rd of Kislev, 5682): Odessa born financier and economist Arthur Raffalovich, the son of Hermann Raffalvoich and brother of Sophie and author Marc-André Raffalovich passed away today in Paris.
1922: “Heroes of the Street” a crime drama produced by Harry Rapf was released today in the United States.
1922: “During a six-hour delay on the New York Central between Boston and New York, Harvard President Abbot L. Lowell told Victor Kramer, a Jewish graduate of Harvard that at Harvard Jews “are Menorah boys” and Christians “are Crimson boys and the two just don’t mix” which accounted, in part for his belief that the “real answer” to the Jewish problem “was for Jews to abandon their religion which had been superseded by Christianity.”
1923: Birthdate of David Frank Friedman a film producer from Birmingham, Alabama, who cheerfully and cheesily exploited an audience’s hunger for bare-breasted women and blood-dripping corpses in lucrative low-budget films like “Blood Feast” and “Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S.” (As reported by Bruce Weber)
1924: Albania becomes a republic. Jews had lived in parts of what is now Albania since Roman times. As part of the Ottoman Empire Albania provided a refuge for Jews fleeing from the Inquisition (a role it was to play again during the Shoah). An independent Albania had actually been created just before World War I in one of the on-going dismemberments of the Ottoman Empire. After the war, there were probably 200 Jews living in the country.
1924: In Vilna, Sonia and Max Silverstein, who would later emigrated to Havana where he operated a shoe factory, gave birth to Stanley Oscar Silverstein “who designed fashionable but affordable shoes that helped Nina Footwear, the company he founded with his brother, become a force in the international women’s footwear industry…” As reported by Daniel Slotnik)
1924: Birthdate of Nissim Ezekiel, the native Bombay (as it was called during British rule) “an Indian Jewish poet, playwright, editor and art-critic” whose works include The Bad Day and The Deadly Man.
1925: Birthdate of Yafa Abramov, the native of Giv’at Rambam who gained fame as Yafa Yarkoni “an Israeli singer who won the Israel Prize in 1998 for Hebrew song.”
1925: In Brooklyn, Isadore and Nettie Stromer Singer gave birth to M.I.T. professor Irving Singer.
1925: Birthdate of Nuremberg native Claude Frank whose family moved to Paris when he was 12 to escape the Nazis and eventually arrived in the United States where he became a successful pianist who often performed with his wife Lillian Kallir
1925: In the Bronx, NY, Hetty and Max Schmertz gave birth to Eric Joseph Schmertz “who as one of the nation’s most relied-upon labor peacemakers helped resolve thousands of labor disputes, getting both the Rockettes and New York City cab drivers to end strikes in the 1960s.” (As reported by Dennis Hevesi)
1927: “The New Moon,” an operetta with music by Sigmund Romberg and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II” opened in Philadelphia on Christmas Eve.
1928: Erwin Rommel and his wife gave birth to Manfred Rommel who as mayor of Stuttgart “strengthened the city’s Jewish population.” (As reported by Douglas Martin)
1928: As the internecine conflict between Jews for control of the project to settle Jews in Palestine heated up, it was reported today that “M.W. Weisgal, editor of The New Palestine, the official organ of the Zionist movement in this country said…that the Jewish Agency was a term used by the Palestine mandate for any Jewish agency which might arise to help Palestine and that the World Zionist Organization was at present at such an agency.
1928: It was reported today that “Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York, whose opposition to the inclusion of non-Zionists in the Jewish Agency Council was overridden by the World Zionist Organization” said “he will opposed the measure when it goes before the Zionist Congress for ratification.”
1931: Birthdate of Argentinean born composer and director Maricio Kagel.
1932(25th of Kislev, 5693): Parashat Vayeshev and first day of Chanukah
1932: Birthdate of Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus.
1934: “Peter” a comedy directed by Henry Koster and produced by Joe Pasternak was released in Austria today.
1935(28th of Kislev, 5696): Fourth Day of Chanukah
1935(28th of Kislev, 5896): Fifty year Austrian composer Alban Berg passed away today in his native Vienna as the result of blood poisoning.
1936(10th of Tevet, 5697): Asara B'Tevet
1936: In Germany, the hierarchy ordered its priests to read the pastoral letter, On the Defense against Bolshevism
1936: In Cuba, Congress impeached Miguel Mariano Gómez who as President of Cuba had negotiated with Congressman William I Sirovich about the possibility of “Cuba opening her doors to at least 100,000 persecuted German Jews”
1936: It was reported today that William Green, President of the American Federation of Labor has expressed his support for “the ideals of the Jewish labor movement in Palestine.”
1937: The Palestine Post reported that 11 Arabs were killed, scores wounded, and one captured, in a battle fought by a strong police and military force against a large Arab band northeast of Nazareth. An Arab gang attack was repulsed at Kibbutz Alonim. Telephone lines were cut in numerous places throughout the country.
1937: In a leading article the Post sadly reflected that at Christmas-time the world picture hardly presented a flattering reflection of a Christian ideal. The situation in Europe was painfully familiar and needed no elaboration, while in Palestine, in which the centuries-old history of Christianity had its roots, peace seemed intractable.
1937: Pope Pius XI delivered his annual Christmas message to the College of Cardinal during which he “condemns…the persecution of the Catholic Church in Nazi Germany.” "In Germany there is real, actual religious persecution despite efforts to present a contrary impression. For some time people have been saying and trying to make other people believe there is no persecution, but we know there is — and very grave persecution. Indeed, rarely has there been persecution so grave, so terrible, so painful, so sad in its deep effects.” (As reported by Austin Cline)
1937: “Thank You, Mr. Moto” “the second of eight Mr. Moto films” all starring Peter Lorre as Mr. Motto and produced by Sol M. Wurtzel was released today in the United States.
1938: Several members of the American Catholic hierarchy and leading Protestants sign a Christmas resolution expressing "horror and shame" in response to the Kristallnacht pogrom.
1938: “The desperate plight of 7,000 Jews expelled from Germany, who for almost two months have been sheltered in barns near the Polish-German frontier is being investigated be Robert Briscoe, a member of the Irish Parliament.”
1939: “On Christmas Eve, approximately two months after occupying the city, Germans, along with Polish policemen, encircled the synagogue in Siedlce, removed the Torah scrolls from the building, and lit aflame both the synagogue and the Torah scrolls.”
1940: Birthdate of Shaul Amor, the native of Morocco who made Aliyah in 1956 and was elected to the Knesset for the first time in 1988.
1940: In advising the Mandate Government as to how to deal with Jewish immigration to Palestine after the Patria incident Churchill sent a memo urging the government to consider their promises to the Zionists and to be guided by general considerations of humanity towards those fleeing from the cruelest forms of persecution. The Permanent Under-Secretary of State ignored Churchill’s request and successfully convinced his colleagues not let Churchill know of their decision to suspend Jewish legal immigration until September, 1941.
1940: Release date of the Czech film “Ecstacy” starring Hedy Lamar, who was the daughter of two assimilated Viennese Jews – Gertrude and Emil Kiesler.
1941: “Dangerously They Live” a “WW II spy film” starring John Garfield was released in the United States by Warner Bros.
1941: Viktor Alter, the Polish born Bundist who to organize the International Jewish Ant-Fascist Committee was sentenced to death by the NKVD after having fallen afoul of Stalin’s paranoia and anti-Semitism.
1942: Following a successful attack on Nazi troops at the Cyganeria, a coffee house in Cracow, Poland, the German authorities launched a massive retaliatory campaign aimed at destroying the Jewish Fighting Organization.
1942: Hundreds of Jews were captured after another German manhunt in the woods of Parczew.
1942: On Christmas Eve before Barney Ross and his Marines were to go to battle the famous Father Frederic Gehring, a war-time chaplain who wrote regular correspondences for Reader's Digest magazine asked Ross to take part in what would become one of the most poignant such events of the war. During his time in Guadalcanal, Ross had begun what would be a life-long friendship with Gehring who considered Ross a national treasure who defied logic when it came to bravery and the defense of principle. Ross was the only one capable of playing a temperamental organ on the tropical island, so Gehring asked him to learn Silent Night and other Christmas songs for the troops. Barney played these songs and sang with the homesick young men, after which Gehring implored Ross to play a Jewish song. Ross played a melancholy song called "My Yiddishe Momma" about a child's love for his self-sacrificing mother. Many of the Marines knew the melody of the song because Ross always had it played when he entered the ring. But when the Marines heard the heart-rending lyrics, newspaper reports say they were all in tears. After Ross's single-handed victory in the battle at Guadalcanal, he was viewed as almost superhuman, particularly based on all he had to overcome in his troubled life.
1942: During his Christmas Eve address, Pope Pius mentioned “the hundreds of thousands who without any fault of their own sometimes only by reasons of their nationality or race are marked for death or gradual extinction.” Despite having been told about the fate of the Jews of Europe, the Pope chooses not to condemn those who are engaged in the slaughter known as “The Final Solution.”
1943: As the Soviet Army began advancing toward Berlin, the Nazis worked furiously to cover up the slaughter of the Jews. At the infamous Fort Number Nine (known as “the Slaughterhouse") in the Kovno Ghetto the Bobel Commando unit composed of 64 Jews dug up and assisted in the burring of 12,000 bodies out of the 70,000 that had been murdered there since the winter of 1941. On this Christmas Eve they attempted their escape while the guards celebrated. Nineteen would survive and tell the horror story of Bobel Commando Unit. In Borki, a similar attempt to escape was undertaken by its Bobel Commando Unit. Of 60 who tried, only 3 escaped to live through the war. One, Josef Sterdyner, testified at the trial of the Borki guards in 1962. Another, Josef Reznik, was a witness at the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem in 1961.
1943: “The Ghost Ship,” “a psychological thriller directed by Mark Robson” was released in the United States today.
1943: At Borki, Poland, 60 Jews working on an exhumation squad attempt to escape through a tunnel, but few of them are successful.
1943: U.S. premiere of “Jack London” a film treatment of the author’s life produced by Samuel Bronston.
1943(27th of Kislev, 5704): New York’s Rabbi Louis Werfel a 27 year old chaplain serving with the Twelfth Air Force Service Command in North Africa was killed in a plane crash in Algeria as he was flying back from conducting Chanukah services in Casablanca. Rabbi Werfel was the fourth Jewish chaplain to lose his life in the line of duty as of this date. He was known as “the flying rabbi” because of his propensity for using aircraft to travel to distant outposts to serve the unique needs of Jewish servicemen. After graduating from Yeshiva University he served as the rabbi for the Mount Kisco (NY) Hebrew Congregation and Knesseth Israel in Birmingham, Alabama, his last pulpit before joining the Army Air Force. In Birmingham he was on the board of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board’s Army and Navy Committee The wide range of Werfel’s activities could be seen from his request to the Jewish for 10,000 French-Hebrew prayer books for the Jews fighting with the Free French forces.
1944: As proof that for many British policy-makers keeping Jews out of Palestine was more important than saving them from the Holocaust, Lord Gort, the High Commissioner for Palestine telegraphed the Foreign Office from Jerusalem asking that the Soviet Government – whose troops had entered the Balkans – be asked to close both the Rumanian and Bulgarian frontiers on the grounds that Jewish immigration from South East Europe to Palestine was getting out of hand.
1945: Twenty-one year old Arnold Weiss who was serving as an officer in the United States Army’s Counter-Intelligence Corps, began working on a project that would lead to the discovery of Hitler’s last will and political testament.
1945: In New York City Bernard Constant Meyer, a Manhattan psychoanalyst and his wife concert pianist Elly Kassman gave birth to University of Iowa graduate Nicholas Meyer who enjoyed a career in films and as an author.
1946: Birthdate of Uri Geller, the Israeli who specializes in the para-normal.
1946(1st of Tevet, 5707): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
1946(1st of Tevet, 5707): Israel Levin is murdered in Tel Aviv, Palestine, for betraying Stern Group leader.
1946: The World Zionist Congress ended with the Zionists calling for an end of terrorism. The Congress expressed its opposition to a UN trusteeship and want independence with no partition. The delegates also adopt resolution to boycott conference in London, England.
1947(11th of Tevet, 5708): Forty-five year old Berlin native Gertrude Greissle, the daughter Mathilde (Zemlinsky) Schonberg and Arnold Schonberg and the wife of Felix Anton Greissle passed away today in New York
1947(11th of Tevet, 5708): Forty-six year old Turku native Elias Katz who won a silver medal while running the 3000 meter steeple chase as a member of Finland’s Olympic team in Paris was murdered during an attack by Arabs in Palestine.
1947: Heavy sniping amounting almost to guerrilla warfare killed four Arabs and two Jews and wounded at least twenty-six other persons in Haifa during the last twenty-four hours.
1947: Nineteen people who had been on trial since August 7 on charges of committing war crimes in their operation of Mittlebau-Dora Concentration Camp heard the their individual verdicts – 15 guilty and 4 acquitted.
1948: Abram Chayes married Antonia (Toni) Handler who “served as Undersecretary of the Air Force in the Carter Administration; a union that produced five children Eve, Gayle, Lincoln, Angelica and journalist Sarah Chayes.
1948: “The Paleface” a western comedy with a screenplay by Melville Shavelson was released in the United States today.
1948: The Canadian Minister for External Affairs, Lester Pearson, informed Israel’s Foreign Minister, Moshe Sharett that “ the state of Israel, in the opinion of the Canadian governments has given satisfactory proof that it complies with the essential conditions of statehood” including “external independence and effective internal government within a reasonably well-defined territory.” In plain English, the government of Canada recognized the state of Israel.
1948: On Christmas Eve, pilgrims are allowed to enter Bethlehem. But they have to pass through both Jewish and Arab checkpoints.
1948: Egyptian planes attack Nazareth, Haifa and Tel Aviv.
1950(15th of Tevet, 5711): Lev Simonovich Berg passed away. Born in 1876, Berg was the geographer and zoologist who established the foundations of limnology in Russia with his systematic studies on the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of fresh waters, particularly of lakes. Important, too, was his work in ichthyology, which yielded much useful data on the paleontology, anatomy, and embryology of fishes in Russia.
1951(25th of Kislev, 5712): As the Korean War drags on for a second year, the Jews observe Chanukah
1951: Idris I is proclaimed King as Libya gains its independence from Italy. Jews had lived in what was now Libya since the time of the Greeks and Romans. Jewish fortunes in Libya were already in decline before independence. The anti-Jewish policies of the fascists coupled with outbreaks against Jews following the creation of Israel had begun to take its toll on the Jewish population. The Six Days War in 1967 led to further attacks on the Jews. Idris realized that he could not protect his Jewish subjects and he allowed the Jewish community to leave the country. The Jews went to Rome with some of them moving on to Israel or the United States
1952: The Jerusalem Post reported that the new Mapai-General Zionists-Progressive government coalition won a 63-to-24 vote of confidence. The religious parties still hesitated, but were expected to join the coalition.
1952(6th of Tevet, 5713): Ninety-eight year old Max Hexter, the son of Levi and Betty Hoechster and the husband of Sarah Hexter passed away today in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1952(6th of Tevet, 5712): Moritz Hausler, the Viennese native who “played for the Austrian National team seven times during his international career” and “was also a member of the famed Hakoah-Vienna club” before coming to the United States where he played soccer for the New York Giants and New York Hakoah passed away today
1952: “Come Back, Little Sheba” a dramatic film directed by Daniel Mann, produced by Hal B. Wallis and with music by Franz Waxman was released today in the United States.
1952: The Jerusalem Post reported that 80 dunams of land and a house in the Zeita village in the Little Triangle were detached from Israel and handed over to Jordan by the Mixed Israeli-Jordanian Armistice Commission, according to the demarcation armistice lines, agreed upon at the Rhodes armistice negotiations. Arab residents of this area surrendered their Israeli identity cards and became Jordanians.
1952: As the third Israeli government ends and the fourth Israeli government takes power today, Moshe Sharett retained his position as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
1952: Yosef Burg replaced Mordecahi Nurock as Minister of Postal Services, making him the second person to hold this position. Nurock was the first person to hold the position now known as the Communications Minister
1952: Israel Rokach replaced Haim-Moshe Shapira as Interior Minister in Israel.
1955(9th of Tevet, 5716): Hugo Chaim Adler a Belgian composer, cantor, and choir conductor passed away. “Born in Antwerp to Jewish parents, Adler studied at the Hochschule für Musik Köln from 1912-1915. In 1915 he was drafted into the German Army during the First World War; serving for three years in the infantry until he was wounded at Argonne. In 1918 he was appointed cantor and teacher at St. Wendel in the Saarland. He left there in September 1921 to become second cantor at the synagogue in Mannheim, rising to head cantor there in 1933. While in Mannheim he studied music composition at the Mannheim Conservatory with Ernst Toch. In 1939 he fled Germany for the United States after having been imprisoned due to his Jewish ancestry by the Nazi regime. From September 1939 until his death of cancer in December 1955 he was cantor of Temple Emanuel in Worcester, Massachusetts. He remained active as a choir conductor and composer of sacred music during these years. Several of his works were published by Sacred Music Press and Transcontinental Music Publishers in New York City. He is the father of composer and conductor Samuel Adler.”
1955(9th of Tevet, 5716): Seventy-two year Samuel Charney, who wrote under the pen-name of Shmuel Niger passed away today.
1955: Release date in Japan for “The Court Jester” a musical comedy starring Danny Kaye
1957: Norma Talmadge, the former wife of Joseph Schenck with whom she created one of Hollywood’s earliest and most successful production companies passed away today. He was Jewish. She was not, although she apparently had a penchant for Jewish husbands since she married George Jessel 9 days after she divorced Schenck.
1958(13th of Tevet, 5719): Fifty-three year old Nicholas “Slug” Brodszky the native of Odessa who came to the United States in 1934 where he composed the music for many successful films including “The Student Prince” and “”Love Me or Leave Me as well as “the score for the Yiddish language film Die Purimspieler.”
1959: At the first post-war Christmas Eve celebrations in 1959, the synagogue and the Cologne memorial for the Victims of the Nazi regime were damaged by two members of the extreme rightist Deutsche Reichspartei, who were later arrested. The synagogue was daubed with black, white and red color paint, and a swastika and the slogan "Juden raus" were added
1959: The desecration of a new synagogue in Cologne, Germany sparked a wave of anti-Jewish incidents throughout Western Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Africa.
1963: Birthdate of Paul Bloom, the Canadian born American professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University
1969: On Christmas Eve, five small boats showing almost no lights slipped out of Cherbourg harbor into the teeth of a Force 9 gale which kept even large freighters from venturing out. Built for the Israel Navy, the vessels had been embargoed at the beginning of the year by French president Charles de Gaulle.
1970: Nine Jews were convicted in Leningrad for hijacking a plane. In the post-Cold War era, some of us may have forgotten about the Refusniks and the battles Jews waged to immigrate to Israel.
1970: Three weeks after its premiere“The Aristocats” featuring music by Richard and Robert Sherman was released in the rest of the United States today.
1970: The New York Times reports that Jews and Arabs are living harmoniously on the plain near Meggido--believed to be the Biblical Armageddon--where St. John said in Revelations that the forces of good and evil would fight the last great battle at the end of time.
1971: Birthdate of Tamir Bloom. A champion fencer, Bloom was a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team.
1974: Victor and Elena Polsky arrived in Israel.
1974: Refuseniks from Leningrad led by Israel Varnavitsky and from Moscow led by Alexander Luntz took part in a protest in “the waiting room of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the 4th anniversary of the 1st Leningrad Trial” after which approximately “300 people signed a letter protesting the unjust sentences” at the end of trail.”
1974: “On Prisoner of Zion Day activists came to the Central Committee of the CPSU demanding release of all 40 Prisoners of Zion.”
1975(20th of Tevet, 5736): Sixty-four year old composer Bernard Herrmann passed away. Born in 1911, Herrmann gained fame for writing musical scores for a wide variety of films including Citizen Kane, Vertigo and Psycho. In fact he died the day after he completed the score for the film Taxi Driver
1975: In Moscow, Anatolii Sharansky, Alexander Luntz, Mark Azbel, Yuli Kosharovsky, Victor Brailovsky, Vladimir Lazaris and others were arrested today following a demonstration of solidarity with the Prisoners of Zion that had been organized by Vladimir Prestin.
1977: BBC1 broadcast the final episode of “The Duchess of Duke Street” featuring June Brown as “Mrs. Violet Leyton.”
1978(24th of Kislev, 5739): In the evening, kindle the first Chanukah light
1978(24th of Kislev, 5739): Sixty-eight year old native Washingtonian Philip Prince Peyser, the son of Julius Peyser and Miriam Prince passed away today after which he was interred in Davidsonville, MD.
1980: “Five Jewish activists were sentenced to ten days’ imprisonment on charges of hooliganism for demonstrating at the Lenin Library in solidarity with Prisoners of Zion.”
1982: “Six Weeks” a movie version of the novel by the same name produced by Peter Guber with a screenplay by David Selzer was released today in the United States.
1982:”Bombs in Australia Hit Jewish and Israeli Sites’ published today described attacks on the Israeli Consulate and a Jewish social club in Sydney.
1984(30th of Kislev, 5745): Rosh Chodesh
1984: Yitzhak Peretz replaced Shimon Peres as Internal Affairs of Minister.
1984: In “A Panel Explores Gambling Among Jews” Nadine Brozan describes the ways in which the Jewish community is finally coming to grips with this social problem.
1985: A small bomb concealed in a loaf of bread was found at a bus stop near Tel Aviv University today, the police said. A passer-by discovered the suspicious-looking loaf and informed explosives experts, a police spokesman said. The device was safely dismantled. No arrests were reported.
1987(3rd of Tevet, 5748): Eighty-nine year old Dr. John Jacob Sampson, the native of Galveston, TX and husband of Rose Etta Sampson, who practiced medicine with his father, passed away today in San Francisco, CA.
1990: In the run-up to what would be Gulf War I, Saddam said Israel will be Iraq's 1st target. A Spanish television station reported today that during a weekend interview, the Iraqi leader had said that Tel Aviv would be Iraq's first target whether or not Israel joins the war effort against Iraq
1993(10th of Tevet, 5754): Asara B’Tevet
1993(10th of Tevet, 5754): Lieut. Col. Meir Mintz, commander of the IDF special forces in the Gaza area, was shot and killed by terrorists in an ambush on his jeep at the T-junction in Gaza. The Hamas Iz a-Din al Kassam squads publicly claimed responsibility for the attack.
1993: “Tombstone” a film that tells the tale of “Wyatt Earp” including his relationship with “Josephine Marcus” and featured the line in Latin by “Doc Holliday” Credat Judaeus Apella, non ego which literally means "Let the Jew Apella believe it; not I" and allegedly referred to a Hellenized Jew who, was orthodox, ill-informed and consequently very superstitious.”
1995(1st of Tevet, 5756): Rosh Chodesh Tevet
1995: The night was certainly not silent and it was not always calm as Bethlehem marked its first Christmas under Palestinian control with thunderous fireworks, choirs, bagpipes, dances and laser lights. While the revelry flowed over Manger Square, Yasir Arafat, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, took his place in the front pew of St. Catherine's Roman Catholic Church, part of the larger complex including the Orthodox Church of the Nativity, for the traditional Midnight Mass in his role as the new leader of Bethlehem and the Palestinians of the West Bank. Sitting impassively in his trademark checkered headdress with his wife, Suha, and Bethlehem's mayor of 23 years, Elias Freij, Mr. Arafat listened as the Latin Patriarch, Michel Sabbah, a Palestinian who is the chief Catholic prelate of the region, praised him and declared that "the beginning of Palestinian freedom is the beginning of reconciliation between Palestinian and Jewish people."
1995: On Christmas Eve, at an Israeli checkpoint on the border of the West Bank, Israeli police stopped busloads of Israeli nationalists who had wanted to hold a protest against the transfer of authority to the Palestinians at Rachel's Tomb. The protesters held up posters and chanted, "Land of Israel, Land of Israel" as the police blocked their way to the West Bank."Why can't we go in?" demanded Judy Pearlman, a Jerusalem resident originally from New York. "The Arabs are having their celebration worshiping their God. Why can't we worship ours? All we want to do is light candles at Rachel's Tomb on the last day of Hanukkah. We're second-class citizens in our own country."
1996: “The Portrait of a Lady,” the cinematic version of the novel of the same name starring Nicole Kidman, Barbara Hershey and Shelley Winters which had premiered at the Venice Film Festival was released in the United States today.
1997(25th of Kislev, 5768): First Day of Chanukah
1997: Edward S. Walker, Jr. presented his credentials as the U.S Ambassador to Israel.
1997: For the first time Chanukah candles were officially lit in Vatican City.
1997: The New York Times published "A Singular Passion for Amassing Art, One Way or Another" — outlined a case involving Portrait of Wally by Egon Schiele, which was in the MoMA exhibition but was obtained by Rudolph Leopold soon after the Nazi era. The Manhattan DA stepped in to help restore the piece to descendants of its original owner, but ownership of the painting is still in contention, nearly 10 years later. Ron Lauder has been accused of a failure to act on the case, despite being MoMA chairman at the time
2000: Robert Durst's longtime friend, Susan Berman, who had facilitated Durst's public alibi after Kathie Durst’s disappearance and who had recently received $50,000 from Durst was found murdered execution-style in her Benedict Canyon house in California.
2000: The New York Times book section featured books by Jewish authors and/or about subjects of Jewish interest including The Wandering Jews by Joseph Roth and translated by Michael Hofmann, More Stories From My Father’s Court by Isaac Bashevis Singer; translated by Curt Leviant and a poem entitled Flight to Egypt by Jewish poet Joseph Brodsky.
2001: David Broza performed his Not Exactly Christmas Eve Concert.
2004: The Jerusalem Post reported a major archeological discovery. The Israel Antiquities Authority announced that an elaborately paved assembly area and water channel that carried rainwater to the pool of Shiloah (Siloam) during the Second Temple period were uncovered by archeologists digging in Jerusalem's ancient City of David.
2005: The Seventh Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival featured showings of “Dear Enemy,” “Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer” and “The Star Hidden in the Backlands.”
2006: The New York Times book section featured books by Jewish authors and/or about subjects of Jewish interest including Isaac B. Singer: A Life by Florence Noiville; translated by Catherine Temerson and Putnam Camp: Sigmund Freud, James Jackson Putnam, and the Purpose of American Psychology by George Prochnik. The book is based on Freud’s only trip to the United States, which took place in 1909.
2006: The Washington Post book section carried a review entitled “Out of Hungary: How an extraordinary group of refugees helped create Casablanca, Darkness at and the bomb” in which Geoffrey Wheatcroft explores The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World by Kati Marton. “In her very readable new book, Kati Marton tells the story of nine Hungarian Jews who left the country between the world wars and prospered.” The nine include filmmakers Alexander Korda and Michael Curtiz, photographers Andre Kertesz and Robert Capa, physicists Edward Teller, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner and John von Neumann and the author Arthur Koestler.
2006: BBC Radio 2 broadcast the first of “two special on-hour tribute programs” that celebrate Lew Grade’s life and mark the centenary of his birth.”
2007: The International Conference on Contemporary Reform Judaism opens its two day meeting in Jerusalem.
2008(27th of Kislev, 5769): Seventy-eight year old Harold Pinter, who was widely esteemed as the most important British playwright of the past half-century and was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2005, passed away today in London today. (As reported by Mel Gussow and Ben Brantley)
2008: The Maltz Museum, hosts a special Hanukkah candle-lighting service at 5 p.m., followed by a full-buffet Chinese dinner, catered by Pearl of the Orient. Museum
2008: The Moshav Band joins with Soul Farm in an appearance at B.B. King Blues Club in New York City.
2008: The American Technion Society (
one of the Haifa institution's fund-raising arms, reports that it has lost a
total of $72 million invested in funds managed by Madoff.
2008: The second season of the Hebrew-language edition of “Survivor” begins today.
2008: The second season of the Hebrew-language edition of “Survivor” begins today.
2009: David Broza, one of Israel's most enduring and energizing artists performs at the Kaufmann Concert Hall in New York City.
2009: Jews in the Greater Washington Metropolitan area can choose between an evening that features the perfect blend of the latest, hottest dances from Israel intermingled with recent hits and oldies from the whole gamut of Israeli choreographers at Tikvat Israel Synagogue in Rockville, MD or "Putting the Ha! in Hanukkah" Jewish music for people who don't like Jewish music at Jammin Java in Vienna, VA.
2009: The gang that ordered the theft of the infamous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' sign from the Auschwitz death camp memorial were planning to sell it to fund attacks against the Swedish prime minister and parliament, the Times reported on today.
2009(7th of Tevet, 5770): After months of quiet, a father of seven was shot dead in a drive-by shooting attack near the northern Samaria settlement of Shavei Shomron today. The victim was identified as Meir Chai, a 45-year-old resident of the settlement and father of seven children ranging in age from two months to 18. Chai was the fourth terror victim in the West Bank in 2009. In March, two policemen were shot dead in the Jordan Valley and in April, 13-year-old Shlomo Nativ was stabbed to death near his home in the Gush Etzion settlement of Bat Ayin. Chai was driving in his minivan on Road 57, between Shavei Shomron and Einav, when a Palestinian car overtook him and opened fire. Chai was hit in the head and drove off the road. Magen David Adom paramedics arrived quickly at the scene and despite their efforts, were forced to pronounce his death. The Al Aksa Martyrs organization announced that its men were responsible for the attack.
2009: The Boston Globe published “Levi Horowitz; guided many as Bostoner Rebbe; at 88,” a comprehensive obituary of the Jewish leader who passed away on December 5.
2010(17th of Tevet, 5771): Roy R. Neuberger, who drew on youthful passions for stock trading and art to build one of Wall Street’s most venerable partnerships and one of the country’s largest private collections of 20th-century masterpieces, died today at his home at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan” at the age of 107. (As reported by Edward Wyatt)
2010: Hullegeb Fest is scheduled to present “Kudus Kudus ‘The Sacred Songs of Ethiopian Jewry’” at the Confederation House.
2010: Two suspects from Jerusalem and Hadera are set to be indicted today on charges of stealing 30 Torah scrolls from synagogues across the South and the Central region.
2010: A Kassam rocket that was shot into Israeli territory early this evening. The rocket exploded in an open field near Ashkelon. No injuries or damage was reported.
2010: Following a series of attacks from Gaza, IAF planes attacked targets in the northern and southern Gaza Strip late tonight. The IDF Spokesperson Unit said that "a terrorist cell was attacked in the northern Gaza Strip, and a smuggling tunnel in southern Gaza."
2011: The Kinsey Sicks in Oy Vey in a Manger is scheduled to open in Washington, DC.
2011: Israelis from Baton Rouge, Gulfport and other cities nearby are scheduled to join with Israelis from New Orleans and Metairie for a fun Chanukah event of food, music and lots of fun at the Chabad Center in Metairie, LA.
2011: The Godfather of Israeli music, Miki Gavrielov, is scheduled to perform at the 7th Annual Sephardic Music Festival at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC.
2011: Hamshoushalayim is scheduled to come to an end for 2011.
2011(28th of Kislev, 5772): Shabbat Shel Chanukah
2011: Today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to instruct the police to act firmly against violent attacks targeting women in the public sphere.
2011: Around noon today, shots were fired at an Israeli vehicle near the Ma'ale Shomron settlement in the West Bank. No one was injured in the incident but the vehicle was damaged and there were clear signs that the vehicle had been struck by bullets. Israel Defense Forces soldiers are searching the area for the perpetrators and checkpoints have been set up.
2011: It was reported today “that members of Anonymous had stolen e-mail messages and credit card data from the website Stratfor, a “strategic forecasting company” founded by in Austin by George Friedman in 1996.
2012: Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies and author of 15 books about the Holocaust and Jewish history, is scheduled to unveil The Evian Initiative, a new campaign to solve Israel's African refugee problem at Hebrew University.
2012: The Gefilte Fish Gala, a fund raiser Sharshelet’s Breast Cancer research is scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C.
2012: “Zimzum” a film that centers around solving a spree of robberies at a Moshav, is scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
2012: “Stand Up Rabbis” a night of comedy featuring Rabbi Naftali Cohen and Shmuley Boteach is scheduled to take place in New York City.
2012(11th of Tevet, 5773): Ninety-two year old Alexander Leaf “a versatile physician and research scientist who was an early advocate of diet and exercise to prevent heart disease” passed away today. (As reported by Paul Vitello)
2012: Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel’s civilian population have no lawful justification and are a war crime, Human Rights Watch said in a scathing report published today, assigning Hamas blame for civilian deaths in Israel and Gaza during last month’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
2012(11th of Tevet, 5773): The curtain came down today on the life of ninety year old Jack Klugman. Many people know him only as the funny slob: “Oscar Madison” or the quirky Medical Examiner “Quincy” but he was an accomplished dramatic actor as can be seen from the several episodes of “Twilight Episodes” in which he starred.
2013: The distribution of Christmas Trees by the JNF which began at Nazareth on December 10 is scheduled to come to an end today.
2013: “Gravehopping” is scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
2013: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Minister Transportation Yisrael Katz dedicated the first train station to be armored against missile attacks in Israel in the southern city of Sderot. The ceremony was also attended by the Chairman of Israel Railways, Doron Weiss, and its CEO, Boaz Tzafrir. (As reported by Tova Dvorin)
2013(21st of Tevet, 5774: Twenty-two year old Salah Shukri Abu Latyef, a civilian worker for the IDF from the Israeli Arab town of Rahat was shot fatally by sniper fire near Gaza, where he was working between Nachal Oz and Kfar Aza. The worker was evacuated to Be'er Sheva's Soroka Hospital where he was pronounced dead (As reported by Ari Yashar)
2013: This afternoon a police officer was stabbed by an Arab terrorist.
2013: A firebomb was thrown at car belong to a resident of Nazareth.
2013: The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has struck multiple terrorist sites throughout Gaza, in response to the fatal shooting of a civilian IDF worker by terrorist snipers from the Islamist-controlled territory. During the afternoon the IDF hit six targets in Gaza linked to terrorist groups. “The targets we attacked belong to the Islamic Jihad and Hamas,” the commander said. (As reported by Maayana Miskin and Ari Soffer)
2014(2nd of Tevet, 5775): 8th day of Chanukah
2014(2nd of Tevet, 5775): Seventy-five year old forger Lee Israel passed away today.
2014: “The Spanish Prisoner “and “Ida” are scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.
2014: David Broza is scheduled to return for his annual concert at the 92nd Street Y.
2014: A successful robbery took place “at the Israeli owned Mizrahi-Tefahot bank in Zurich today.
2015: David Broza is scheduled to perform his annual “Not Exactly Christmas Eve” concert at the 92nd Street Y.
2015: Agudas Achim is scheduled to sponsor “Mushu & a Movie.”
2015(12th of Tevet, 5776): On the Jewish calendar “Yahrzeit of Harav Moshe Margulies, zt"l, of Amsterdam, author of Pnei Moshe on the Yerushalmi.”
2015: On Christmas one hundred and ten years ago, as Jews were being massacred in Russia Professor Israel Friedlander said “The Christian world as a whole –especially to-night – is preaching the Gospel of peace and good-will to man but the Christian world knows neither peace nor good-will in dealing with the Jews.” (Editor’s note: As the terrorist continue their three month long rounds of attacks on Jews, you can remove the words “Christian” from Friedlander and they seem mournfully true especially in world where CNN describes those who commit acts of terror against Jews as “protestors.’)
2016: Following services this morning at the Stanton Street Synagogue, YNY is scheduled to host talk followed by Walking of Tour of the Lower East Side led by Elissa Sampson
2016(24th of Kislev, 5777): In continuation of a tradition that is more than two decades old, The Public Menorah Lighting Ceremony under the leadership of Rabbi Pinchas Ciment, the consummate lamplighter, is scheduled to take place in Little Rock, AR.
2016(24th of Kislev, 5777): Shabbat Va-yayshev; In the evening, kindle the first light of Chanukah