Thursday, January 25, 2018

This Day, January 26, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

January 26

1531: Three tremors shake Portugal and numerous houses are destroyed in Lisbon by an earthquake which the Pope and others believe confirm the prediction of suffering made by Solomon Molcho who was seeking relief for Jews and Marranos.

1654: MAJOR DATE IN THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY.  With the capture of Pernambuco (Recife) from the Dutch, Portugal retook Peru and Brazil. The Jews, (numbering approximately 5,000) having fought on the side of the Dutch, fled for the most part to Amsterdam. Hundreds also escaped to North America, with 23 eventually arriving in New Amsterdam

1664(28th of Tevet): Rabbi Berechiah Berakh ben Isaac Shapiro of Cracow author of Zera Beirakh passed away

1689: Jean Racine's "Esther" premieres in Saint-Cyr. Racine's last plays, “Esther” (1689) and “Athalie” (1691), each of which were based on Biblical figures were commissioned by King Louis XIV's wife.

1724: Abraham and Sarah Pinto gave birth to Jacob Pinto who fathered seven children with his two wives Thankful and Abigail Pinto.

1736: As the Kingdom of Poland continues to unravel, Stanislaus I abdicated his throne during a period of increasing anti-Semitism.  Twenty eight years after the abdication, the Austrians, Prussians and Russians would begin to partition Poland much to the detriment of the Jewish people who had originally been “invited” to settle in Poland.

1755 (14th of Shevat, 5515): Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua Falk Katz passed away. Born in 1680, he was the author of the Talmudic work "P'nei Yehoshua." He served as rabbi of Lemberg (Lvov) in 1718, Berlin in 1730, Metz in 1734 and Frankfurt in 1740.

1761(21st of Shevat): Rabbi Judah Navon, author of KIryat Melekh Rav passed away.

1788: The British First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson, Australia with the goal of establishing the first permanent English settlement in “the land down under.” According to at least one source there 15 Jews on board including Esther Abrahams.

1799: Birthdate of Samuel Gobat, the native of Crémines, Canton of Bern, Switzerland who became the second “Protestant bishop of Jerusalem who supported many noteworthy projects in Palestine including an “orphanage on Mount Zion” and reversed the policy of his predecessor and devoted his efforts to “proselytizing among Christians” instead of trying to convert Jews.

1804: Birthdate of Eugane "Marie Joseph" Sue France, novelist and author of The Wandering Jew. It is a tale of good and evil. This time the villain was a Jesuit clerk, Rodin, who is after the Wandering Jew's treasure, which has been gathering interest over the centuries. The descendants of a man, who once aided the cursed wanderer, are summoned to Paris to receive the fortune. Rodin represents the oppression of Church, the Jew stands for dispossessed laborers and his female counterpart Herodias for downtrodden womankind.

1808: In Australia, the Rum Rebellion began today when troops under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel George Johnston deposed Governor William Bligh. Esther Abrahams, who had come to the land down under as part of the First Fleet was Johnston’s common-law wife. (Bligh was the captain of the infamous HMS Bounty)

1814: Edmund Kean opened in the role of Shylock at Drury Lane Theatre rousing “the audience to almost uncontrollable enthusiasm.”

1837:  Michigan is admitted as the 26th state in the Union.  By the time Michigan joined the union, Jews had been living there for at least three quarters of a century.  The first known Jewish settler, Ezekiel Solomon arrived in what is now Mackinaw city in 1761. Chapman Abraham arrived in Detroit a year later.  Abraham was a Loyalist who fought on the side of the British during the Revolutionary War.  Other early Jewish residents of what would become the Wolverine state were Louis Benjamin who suffered a loss during Detroit’s great fire in 1805 and Frederick E. Cohen, the portrait painter, who had arrived in Michigan by 1837. In reality there were only a handful of Jews living in Michigan at the time of statehood.  . The real growth of the Michigan Jewish community began in the 1840’s with the arrival of German Jews the most prominent group of which was the forty-eighters. The first synagogue would be formed in 1850, as Congregation Beth El.  For more about the Michigan Jewish community you might consider reading Jews In Michigan by Judith Levin Cantor.

1840: Sixty-eight year old English clergyman Lewis Way, “the founder, in 1808, of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews” who was “convinced that the Jewish nation would again arise, return to its ancestral home, embrace Christianity, and convert the Gentiles” passed away today.

1841: British forces occupy Hong Kong.  Hong Kong would not formally become a possession of the crown for another year at which time Jewish merchants including members of the Sassoon and Kadoorie families, opened offices and established a community that would build a Jewish Club and the Ohel Leah Synagogue.

1851(23rd of Shevat, 5611): Trieste native Leon Vita Saraval a bibliophile and author born in 1771 whose “entire library” was purchased for the Breslau seminary in 1853 passed away today.

1855(NS): Birthdate of Vladimir Jochelson, the native of Vilnius, the scion of a wealthy Jewish family and student of the Vilna Rabbinical Seminary who became a socialist and a member of Narodnaya Volya before pursuing a career as an ethnographer.

1856: “Charitable Bequest of the Late Baron Rothschild” an article published today described the fortune of the Rothschild family, paying special attention to the spending habits and will of the late Amschel Mayer Rothschild, the second child and oldest son of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the founding father of the banking dynasty.  While Rothschild’s personal habits “were extremely simple” he shared his wealth with Jews and Gentiles.  During his life time he distributed at least 50,000 florins per year to 2,600 Christian families.  While his mother was alive, he visited her daily in the original family home on “The Street of the Jews’; a home he was never able to convince her to leave so she could take up residence in a dwelling more fitting with her economic status .  The Baron’s will which was written in 1849, was intended to dispose of a fortune calculated at sixty million florins when he passed away in 1855.  Among other bequests, he left 1,200,000 florins for the establishment of a foundation for the poor of Frankfort intended “to keep up the weekly distribution of alms at the ‘Old Rothschild ‘ house in the Street of the Jews,”  25,000 florins for Jewish hospitals, 5,000 florins for Jewish schools and 20,000 florins “for various Christian charitable institutions.”  Two of his bequests have special meaning for those aware of Jewish laws and customs.  In an apparent attempt to follow the rules of Maimonides on charity he gave 10,000 florins “to the society for encouraging Jewish traders and workmen.  And in an echo of the morning prayer  which says that “participating in making a wedding”  is one of the things to be done while waiting for the World-to-Come,  he bequeathed the interest on 50,000 florins to be used as perpetual fund “to furnish dowers to Jewish maidens.”  Baron Rothschild was not the only member of his family to know financial success.  According to the article, Baron Charles left an estate of 17 million florins and Baron Solomon left an estate of 48 million florins.

1859: The U.S.S. Brooklyn on which Adolph Marix, the first Jewish graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, would serve on starting in 1882, was commissioned today.

1862: An Imperial ukase was published in St. Petersburg, Russia, “permitting Jews to enter every branch of the State service; permitting Jewish merchants to reside anywhere, and granting other concessions to the Jews.”

1863: In Chicago, Joseph and Mary (Hoffman) Foreman gave birth to Lt. Gen. Milton J. Foreman.

1863(6th of Shevat, 5623): A. Robinson, a soldier serving with the 15th Georgia passed away today. His passing was later commemorated by the Hebrew Ladies Memorial Association of Richmond, VA.

1866(10th of Shevat, 5626): Twenty-two year old Sophie “Rosalie” Waldstein, the daughter of Ephraim and Lea Koppel Waldstein and the sister of Zadok Waldstein passed away today in Bavaria.

1868(2nd of Shevat, 5628): Jacob Raphael De Cordova, Texas land agent and colonizer passed away.

1871: Julia Zachriah who had been born in Portsmouth in 1809 and was the daughter of Levy Zacharia was buried today at the Balls Pond Road Jewish Cemetery.

1873:  In Albany, NY, founding of the Adelphi Club that meets on the “second Wednesday in January, April, July and October” and whose members included Myer Mandelbaum, Norman Mendleson, Milton Stark and Charles M. Friend.

1879: Birthdate of conductor and violinist Hugo Riesenfeld, the native of Vienna who from 1917 to 1925 was the director of music for the Rivoli, Rialto and Criterion Theares and in 1937 “earned an Academy Award nomination for “Make A Wish.”

1881: In Leadville, CO, Morris and Rosa Altman were married.

1884: Birthdate of Edward Sapir, German-born anthropologist and linguist.  He was on the faculty of the University of Chicago and Yale until his death until 1939.

1884” In Cincinnati, OH, Solomon and Caroline Fox gave birth to Edgar Fox

1890: The annual convention of the Grand Lodge of District No. 1, of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith will open this morning at New York in Vienna Hall

1891: It was reported today that a story persists that the Jews’ desire to buy the Vatican’s copy of the Hebrew Bible goes back to the 16th century.  In 1512, the Jews offered to buy the book from Pope Julius for a sum equivalent to $100,000 and may have recently made an offer of $200,000 for the holy book.

1891: Birthdate of Ilya G Ehrenburg prolific Russian writer and journalist.  Born into a middle class Jewish family living in Kiev, Ehrenburg was able to navigate the treacherous waters of the Soviet Union pursuing his career even during the days of Stalin’s anti-Semitic outbursts and dying peacefully in 1967. 

1891: It was reported today that Rabbi Gustav Gottheil had delivered an address in which he noted “the absence of any united effort on the part of Christendom…to prevent…the persecution of the Jews of Russia.”

1892: A charity ball sponsored by the Jews of Philadelphia, PA is scheduled to take place tonight. The ball is the third and final of the city’s annual charity balls and “has for years been marked by the lavish display of feminine finery and jewelry of the most gorgeous description.”

1892: Four thousand people attended the ball sponsored by the Hebrew Orphan Asylum which was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

1892: “To Aid Russian Refugees” published today described efforts by the Jews of Pittsburg to form a branch of the New York Relief Association which is connected to the Baron Hirsch Fund. The Jews in Pittsburgh plan on collecting sums ranging from $10 to $20 which will help to create a fund to help settle Jewish immigrants in “Western cities” away from New York.

1893: The members and patrons of the Hebrew Technical Institute held their annual meeting tonight at Temple Emanu-El.

1894: “The committee appointed by the Trades and Labor Conference to make arrangements for the upcoming mass meeting at Madison Square Garden’ which will be addressed by Samuel Gompers on the subject of find work for the unemployed during the current economic depression” is scheduled to meet today.

1894: Isaac Bergmann, an unemployed tailor, is being held today after tried to slit his own throat

1895: During his speech at the monthly meeting of the Democratic Club of the City of New York, Senator David B. Hill acknowledged the growing importance of Jewish voters when in his call for party unity he included “Hebrew Democrats” among the other ethnic groups making up the party’s coalition including the Irish, the Italians, the Germans and those living in Harlem.

1896: The members of the Hebrew Infantile Asylum Association met today at the synagogue on east 86th Street.

1896: It was reported this week that Sarah Bernhardt who is returning to the New York stage is “still the same great actress.”

1896: It was reported today that Sarah Bernhardt will play the role of Marguerite in an upcoming theatrical production in New York.

1896: Rabbi Gustav Gottheil delivered an address this morning at Temple Emanu-El entitled “The Safe Monroe Doctrine.”

1896: New York University Law School professor Isaac Franklin Russell delivered a lecture to members of the Russian-American Hebrew Association at the Hebrew Institute.

1896: “Another Heine Chapter” published today described the History of the Heine Memorial Fountain which has been rejected by “the cities of Mayence and Dusseldorf…for political reasons” and may now be denied a “home” in New York’s Central Park. At least one opponent, Paul Dana denied that “Heine’s works or religion ever figured” in the opposition.

1897: Aaron H. Appel was promoted from Captain and Assistant Surgeon to the rank of Major and Surgeon in the U.S. Army today.

1897(23rd of Shevat, 5657): Fifty-eight year old Pauline Hirschfeld, the daughter of Simon Ausch and Rachel Ausch and wife of Dr. Jacob Jacques Heinrich Hirschfeld with whom she had four children passed away today.

1898: It was reported today that in Algiers a mob attacked Jews who were riding on an omnibus.

1898: It was reported today that Mrs. Saul Jacobs fainted outside of a New York court room following her husband’s conviction for having been part of scheme to swindle Max Bernstein out of $13,192.75 by passing off a load of painted brass as gold from Siberia.

1899(15th of Shevat, 5659): Final celebration of Tu B’Shevat in the 19th century.

1899: Birthdate of catcher Robert “Bob” Leon Berman whose major league career consisted of appearing in two games for the Washington Senators.

1904(9th of Shevat, 5664): Fifty-five year old Austrian born novelist Karl Emil Franzos passed away.

1904: Theodor Herzl had an audience with Pope Pius X in the Vatican to seek his support for the Zionist effort to establish a Jewish state in Palestine

1905: The New York Times publishes a letter from Henry S. Morias reminding readers of Benjamin Disraeli’s support for the Union during the Civil War. Rabbi Morias, the son of Sabato Morais was a well-known Jewish journalist who served in the pulpits of numerous east coast congregations.

1907: A law establishing national quotas in the 515 seat Austrian Parliament would lead to five Jewish deputies (4 Zionist and 1 Jewish Democrat) being chosen in the next national elections.

1908: In Chicago, Aaron Halperin, a Jewish immigrant from Kiev and Julia Halperin gave birth to Robert Sherman “Buck” Halperin who went from playing football for Notre Dame, the University of Wisconsin and the professional Brooklyn Dodger to becoming a medal winning yachtsman after having served gallantly in the U.S. Navy during WW II.

1908: The funeral for Leopold Wallach, who studied law at Harvard, was a “senior member of the law firm of Wallach & Cook and the husband of Theresa Lichtenstadter is scheduled to take place at his resident at 9:30 this morning.

1910(16th of Shevat, 5670): Mrs. Freide Katz and Hirsch Storch passed away today after which both were buried in the cemetery at Liepāja.

1912: Aaron Hahn, a delegate from Cuyahoga County to Ohio Constitutional Convention, suggests a provision be made in the state constitution for prohibition of sectarian religious instruction. A Rabbi named Aaron Hahn had served as the spiritual leader of Cleveland’s Tifereth Israel but we can find no verifiable evidence that these are one and the same person.

1913(18th of Shevat, 5673): Seventy-year old Civil War and New Orleans, LA merchant passed away today.

1913: Dr. Emil G. Hirsch is scheduled to deliver a sermon this afternoon at services held by the People’s Synagogue Association at the Ziegfeld Theatre.

1913: In Chicago, Dr. Gerson B. Levi officiated at the wedding of “Louis Levy of Gooding, Idahlo” and Rose Alice Nathan.

1913: In Boston, Anshe Slavita dedicated a new facility.

1913: “Yiddish star Boris Thomashefsky and his all-star company” are scheduled to give a matinee and evening performance of the new play “Breach of Promise” at the Haymarket Theatre.

1913: The New York Times reviews The Romance of the Rothschilds by Ignatius Balla a book which the great bankers whose name adorns its title-page allegedly are endeavoring to suppress in England and which shortly will be published in this country by G.P. Putnam's Sons. According to Balla, “A passion for old coins and skill as a chess player formed the basis for the most colossal fortune ever conceived in the brain of a romancer or recorded among the facts of history.”

1914: According to a list published today the members of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association of Camden, NJ, included J.F. Kantor, Dr. William M. Lashman, Benjamin Natal, Max Goldich, Mark Obus Jacob L. Furor, Arnold Weis and Bertrand Schneeburg each of whom was playing a key role in raising funds for a communal building that would include space for a place of prayer a Talmud Torah and “a Sabbath School.

1914: In New York, Louis and Kate (née Lautkin) Wolkind gave birth to Phoebe Wolkind who married Henry Ephron in 1934 and gained game as writer Phoebe Ephron the mother of Nora, Delia, Hallie and Amy Ephron.

1915: The Raid on the Suez Canal, an attempt by a German led Ottoman military force to cross the waterway that was Britain’s lifeline to the East began today.

1916: In Leeds (UK) Lithuanian immigrants Tilly Cohen Newman and Joseph Newman gave birth to Isidore “Izzy” Newman who served with SOE in WW II.

1916: In New York, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Finkelstein gave birth to “Jerry Finkelstein, who made a fortune in business, real estate and newspapers, including The New York Law Journal and The Hill, and for many years was a self-styled Democratic power broker” (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)

1916: Jewish Socialist political leader Morris Hillquit was part of a three person delegation to President Wilson to advocate part of the Socialist Party's peace program, which proposed that "the President of the United States convoke a congress of neutral nations, which shall offer mediation to the belligerents and remain in permanent session until the termination of the war." [Editor’s note: For those of you not acquainted with U.S. history, at this point the United States was not a participant in the Great War and most of her citizens wanted it to stay that way.  In the fall, Wilson would be re-elected on a platform of He Kept Us Out of War.  It was only after America entered the war and during the Red Scare of 1919 that what Hillquit and others like him expounded would come to be consider ‘un-American’ or treasonous.)

1916: The Governor of Massachusetts has reportedly requested “that all contributions” being collected for Jewish Relief Day “be addressed to the American Red Cross in Washington.”

1916: The Women’s Proclamation Day Committee of the Central Committee is scheduled to announce “the list of the 100 women who will work to make Jewish Relief Day a success”

1916: The Business Men’s League of the American Jewish Relief Committee announced that Salt’s Textile Company and the firm of Victor and Achelis have each contributed $1,000 to the funds being raised as part of the upcoming Jewish Relief Day.

1916: The Central Relief Committee of the American Jewish Relief Committee announced today that “Charles L. Huston of Coatesville, PA, Vice President of the Lukens Iron and Steel Company has contributed $1,000” to aid the suffering Jews of war-torn Europe and Palestine.

1916: “San Francisco opened tonight a campaign to raise $250,000 with twenty four hours for destitute Jews in the European war zone with a mass meeting at the new Civic Exposition Auditorium.”

1917: As World War I drags on for a third year it is reported that not one home in the Jewish quarter of Belgrade remains standing undamaged. Large numbers of Jews have immigrated to Greece from various areas in the Balkans. The Americans sent $55,000 to help with relief in Serbia and Greece, after receiving a cablegram for help from the Chief Rabbi of Salonica, Jacob Meir.

1917: Seventy-five years after the opening of the Burton Street Synagogue, The Jewish Chronicle said today that “virtually all the bitterness of the Reform controversy has – Heaven be praised! – passed”, but added a sting in the tail that “Reform has made no important constructive contribution to the religious life of the community”.

1917: The Italian government sent twelve thousand Lire ($2,400) to the Governor of Tripoli for the Jewish poor.

1918: Birthdate of right-hand batsman Louis Collins Jacobson, the native of Dublin who “played twelve times for the Ireland cricket team between 1947 and 1959” and who represented “a British and Irish side at the Maccabean Games.”

1918: President Bernstein of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of New York which “has received the names of person in this country who are sought by friends and relatives in Russia” from the Jewish Relief Committee of Petrograd, said today. That it was important that those sought be found as in many cases the inquirers were in want.”

1918: Birthdate of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Regardless of his other "shortcomings" from a Jewish point of Ceausescu is memorable for his refusal to break diplomatic relations with Israel after the June, 1967 War.  Romania was the only Eastern European country to defy the Soviets which had ordered all of her client states to break relations with Israel.

1919: In Poland, Jewish parties receive about 10% of the votes during the election for the constituent assembly.  But the under the electoral system in use, they get only 11 out of 394 seats.

1920: Amadeo Modigliani's mistress jumps out of a window.

1920: Birthdate of Albert Abraham Davidoff, the native of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn who gained fame welterweight boxer Al “Bummy” Davis.

1921: Austrian born violinist Erika Morini made her American debut in New York City.

1923: Final session of The Golden Jubilee Convention of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations was held at the Hotel Astor in New York City.

1924: Birthdate of Houston native Annette Strauss who would become the first Jewish female mayor of Dallas, Texas.  She was the second woman elected to the position and the second Jew to serve in that capacity.

1925:  In Shaker Heights, Ohio, Theresa and Arthur Sigmund Newman, the son of Simon Newman and Hannah Cohn who were Jewish immigrants from Hungary and Poland gave birth to actor Paul Newman who “described himself as a Jew, saying ‘it’s more of a challenge.’”

1926: Birthdate of Stuart Etz Hample, a humorist who entertained children (and adults) as an author, playwright, adman, performer and cartoonist

1928: In Trieste, Italy, an insurance executive named Ottocaro Weiss and the former Ortensia Schmitz, a violinist and a niece of the novelist Italo Svevo, gave birth to Piero Weiss. Weiss fled fascist Italy and came to America in 1940 where he gained fame as a concert pianist and recording artist before turning to musicology where he became an author and co-author of books in the field, including a widely used textbook, and founded the music history department at the Peabody Conservatory. (As reported by James R. Oestreich

1929(15th of Shevat, 5689): Final Tu B’Shevat celebration of the “roaring 20’s.” (For the next 15 years the holiday would be observed in a period of Depression and World War)

1929: In the Bronx, David Feiffer and Rhoda (née Davis) Feiffer gave birth to cartoonist and writer Jules Feiffer whose cartoons ran in Playboy and The Village Voice for decades. Feiffer's work appeared often in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Nation, and was nationally syndicated. In 1986, Feiffer won a Pulitzer Prize for political cartoons, and from 1997-2000 he drew monthly op-ed comics in The New York Times.

1930: Birthdate of A. N. Solomons chairman of Singer & Friedlander.

1933: The Jack Benny Program is broadcast for the last time on CBS Radio.

1934: Germany and Poland sign a ten-year nonaggression pact. This was one of the first steps of acceptance of the Hitler regime by the governments of Europe. Five years later, the Poles would find out that Germans did not really mean it.

1934 Josef Pilsudski signed a ten-year peace pact with Hitler. That same year the Warsaw authorities, observing the impotence of the League of Nations in dealing with the German problem, decided to repudiate the Minorities Treaty signed under duress at Versailles.

1935: In a speech before 3,800 people at the Mecca Temple, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Zionist Revisionist leader urged his listeners to put the development of a Jewish national state in Palestine ahead of all other issues related to economic and political development.

1936: “The intermarriage of Jews and persons of other religions is ‘completely indefensible’ and, from the viewpoint of the Jewish people, ‘a dangerous thing,’ Rabbi Milton Steinberg said this morning at the Park Avenue Synagogue” adding that since Judaism is a minority the sanctioning of intermarriage would result in the “complete extinction of Jewish values.”

1936: Dr. Israel Goldstein, Morris Rothenberg and Simon W. Goldsmith were among the speakers who addressed “an all-day meeting at the Astor Hotel” attended by “representatives of 600 Jewish groups” working to increase “reconstruction activity in Palestine to facilitate the absorption of refugees from Germany and other European countries.”

1936: Five hundred leaders “representing sixty-seven local communal agencies from more than fifty cities” meeting at the Chase Hotel in St. Louis “as the National Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds” voted unanimously to adopt “the proposal outline by Sir Herbert Samuel and Felix M. Warburg to finance the emigration of the younger generation of Jews from Germany together with as many of the older generation as might be able to exist elsewhere.” 

1936: “The American Jewish Joint Distribution” with headquarters at 7 Hanover Street in New York City, announced today :that religious schools in 130 cities” through the United States had made contributions in 1934 and 1935 “toward the rehabilitation work” designed to aid Jews in Germany, Poland and other part of Eastern Europe.

1937: “Dr. Jonah B. Wise, the rabbi of the Central Synagogue and co-chairman of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee campaign issued a special plea today to ‘all men and women who are interested in human rights and saving human life’ to contribute to the immediate assistance of the Jews in Poland in response to their ‘frantic requests for aid.’”

1938: The Palestine Post reported that Mordecai Uhana, the sole Jewish resident of Ramallah, a cobbler who lived had there for 34 years, was shot while at work and badly wounded. The driver and a passenger of a Givat Shaul bus were shot and hit on their way to Jerusalem. Nissim Dorani, a lorry driver, was killed by a bomb, thrown at him at Km. 5 on the Jaffa-Jerusalem Road. Twenty children, eight women and two men, all of them Jewish, were arrested as illegal immigrants at Safed. Three Arab terrorists were executed at Acre.

1938: It was reported today that British photographer and artist had apologized to publisher Conde Nast for sneaking a sketch that contained “comments that were critical of the Jewish race in the February 1st issue of Vogue” saying that it was an “ill-mannered expression of my irritation and annoyance caused by some bad films I had just seen” and he knows that none of his “many Jewish friends will think that” his “silly little joke had any bearing on the standing of their great community.”

1938: A majority of the 2,500 delegates attending the convention of the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organization at the Hotel Astor voted in a favor of adopting the Ludlow Amendment, a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States which called for a national referendum on any declaration of war by Congress, except in cases when the United States had been attacked first.” (For those who have made a fetish out criticizing FDR’s response to the Jewish condition in Europe might want to consider the support of a major Jewish organization for this Isolationist Amendment.)

1938: In Rumania, “the Bucharest and Jassy bar associations decided to suspend the activities of all Jews admitted after 1918” which means “that at least 800 Jewish lawyers will be unable to practice during the coming months.”

1939: In light of the news that German scientists in Berlin had split the uranium nucleus, Leo Szilard wired the British Admiralty, the keeper of his 1935 patent on chain reactions, to disregard his earlier letter telling them to cancel his patent. 

1940: At a prison camp in Siberia, Isaac Babel is found guilty of belonging to an anti-Soviet Trotskyite organization and with spying for France and Austria after a twenty minute trial. He is condemned to death and will be shot tomorrow.

1940: Following today’s raid by British police of the Ben Shemen Youth Village where weapons belong to the Haganah were found, the principal, Dr. Siegfried Lehman “and others were arrested and sentenced to terms from 3 to 7 years.” (As reported by The History of the Jewish People)

1940: Nazis denied Polish Jews the right to travel on trains. One cannot help but see a note of irony in this decree.

1942 (8th of Shevat, 5702):  At Stari Becej, Hungary, 200 Jews and Serbs were slaughtered. At Titel, 35 Jews killed. At Teofipol, 300 Jews marched naked for three miles and then are shot.

1943: 230 women of the French Resistance began “began their internment at Birkenau, the main women’s camp at Auschwitz” (For more see A Train In Winter by Caroline Weber)

1944: Birthdate of Denise Eisenberg who gained fame as Denise Rich who played a key role in obtaining the “mid-night” pardon for her ex-husband Marc Rich by donating millions to charities controlled by William Jefferson Clinton.

1944: As the Germans continue to pursue the Final Solution despite reversals on the battlefield “a handwritten from Heinrich Himmler’s speech today in Posen to Generals of fighting troops reads: ‘Largest stabilization in the G.G. since the solution to the Jewish question. Total solution. Not allowing avengers to rise against our children. (G.G. refers to the Poland and Ukraine, areas which had the largest pre-war Jewish population.  “Avenger” is a euphemism for Jews, who if left alive would pose a threat the Aryans.”

1945: In England, Derek and Iris du Pré gave birth to classical cellist Jacqueline Mary du Pré who married Daniel Barenboim at the Western Wall.

1945(12th of Shevat, 5705): Abba Berditchev was murdered by the Nazis. A native of Romania, he was detained by the British when he entered Palestine illegally.  He volunteered for service in the British army and he “parachuted into Yugoslavia with Chana Senesh, Reuven Dafni and Yonah Rosen. Berditchev’s mission was to assist the Jews, gather intelligence and help rescue members of the air forces who were captured or had parachuted into Romania. . After two months of fighting in the mountains, Berditchev was captured by the Germans and transferred in December 1944 to Mauthausen along with other captives, where he was brutally tortured before he was murdered by the Nazis.” (As reported by Yad Vashem)

1945: The Virgin Island Daily News reported that Peter de Hemmer Gudme, journalist, Oriental scholar and author of two philo-semtic tomes “From Nebuchadnezzar to Hitler” and “A Sketch of the History of Zionism” died while in the hands of the Gestapo in Copenhagen.  Born in 1897, he was the brother of Sten Gudme who has been working in London on behalf of the Free Danish government.  [Ed note: The Gudmes were not Jewish; they were just decent human beings.]

1945: One thousand Jewish women interned at the Neusalz, Poland, slave-labor camp are set on a month-and-a-half-long forced march to the concentration camp at Flossenbürg, Germany, about 200 miles to the southwest. Along the way, 800 are beaten and shot.

1946: Birthdate of noted Anglo-Jewish historian Jonathan Irvine Israel.

1946: In Chicago, Russian Jewish immigrants Ida (née Kalis) and Nathan William Siskel gave birth to movie critic, Gene Siskel who was part of the television duo of Siskel and Ebert.

1947: Joseph B. Levin was assigned to the Office of Opinion Writing at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.  Mr. Levin had joined the SEC in 1942 while it was still located in Washington, DC.  At the time of his appointment, the Commission had not returned to Washington from its wartime headquarters in Philadelphia, PA.

1948(15th of Shevat, 5708): Tu B’Shevat

1948 (15th of Shevat, 5708): Composer, Ignaz Friedman passed away at the age of 65. Born in 1882, Ignaz Friedman (also spelled Ignace or Ignacy) was a Polish pianist and composer famous for his Chopin interpretations

1949: Switzerland recognized Israel.  

1951: Temple Beth Israel of Meridian, Miss. became the first Jewish congregation to allow women to perform the functions of a rabbi.

1952: In Cairo, the main Cicurel Department Store was destroyed by a fire set either by the Muslim Brotherhood or militant nationalists. The store was part of chain started in 1909 by Moreno Cicurel an Egyptian Jew who was both active in Jewish and Egyptian community affairs.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the unexpected delay in the ratification of the Reparations Agreement with West Germany upset the Ministry of Finance budget calculations.

1954: Prime Minister Churchill urges the members of his cabinet to support a policy of open navigation through the Suez Canal, which is another way of saying he was calling on the British government to support all measures to force the Egyptian government to open the waterway to ships traveling to and from Israel. 

1954: David Ben-Gurion steps down as Minister of Defense, a position he had held since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

1954: Pinchas Lavon becomes the second person to hold the position of Minister of Defense

1955: Sid Gilman was named coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

1958: ABC broadcast the first episode of “Sid Caesar Invites You” starring Sid Caesar.

1959: “An Evening with Fred Astaire” with music by David Rose and his Orchestra and produced by Bud Yorkin was re-broadcast this evening.

1968: The film version of Up the Junction starring Maureen Lipman was released today in the United Kingdom.

1968 (25th of Tevet, 5728): The British Admiralty reported the Dakar, an Israeli submarine, was missing and gave the last known position as 100 miles (160 km) west of Cyprus

1969: American businessman and music publisher Allen Klein met with John Lennon today who retained “Klein as his financial representative” in attempt to avoid going broke.

1970: “Can You Top This?” “was briefly revived in syndication by Four Star Television” today featuring “Morey Amsterdam as Executive Producer and regular panelist” along with Paul Winchell and Jack Carter.

1972: “The Hot Rock” the movie version of the novel with same name with a screenplay by William Goldman and co-starring George Segal, Ron Leibman and Zero Mostel was released in the United States today.

1973 (23rd of Shevat, 5733): Famed actor Edward G. Robinson, born Emanuel Goldenberg, passed away.

1975: “Day School Funds for Jews Urged” published today described plans laid out by Rabbi Milton H. Polin, a leader of the Rabbinical Council of America to meeting to meet the “absolutely urgent need “for a “massive infusion of funds” to sustain the network of 473 Hebrew day schools maintained by Orthodox Jews in the United States and Canada” in which approximately “82,000 youths are enrolled.”

1976: Israel opened the "Good Fence" to Lebanon. 

1976: David Mamet's "American Buffalo" premiered in New York City.

1976: Birthdate of William “Willie” Adler, guitarist who played with the Lamb of God.

1977: Birthdate of Livingston, NJ, native Justin Jeremy Gimelstob, the Davis Cup tennis player.

1978: In Cairo, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat announced that serious negotiations were going on behind the scenes on the stalled peace talks and that the US officials expressed hope that the current rift with Israel will soon be over.

1980: Israel and Egypt established diplomatic relations

1981: Finance Minister Yigal Hurvitz and two other Likud members of the Knesset broke away from the Likud to form Rafi - National List.

1986: Nine days after Spain and Israel established full diplomatic relations, Jerusalem designated Shmuel Hadas, “its unofficial envoy in Madrid to become its first ambassador to Spain.”  The Madrid government had already designed Pedro Lopez Aguirrebengoa, its former ambassador to Greece “to head the new Spanish Embassy in Tel Aviv.”

1986: ''Between the Wars: The Bronx Express, a Portrait of the Jewish Bronx'' comes to a close at the Bronx Museum of the Arts

1988: In “The Day He Caught Walter Johnson” Ira Berkow describes the highlight of 19 year Bob Berman who formed a battery with The Big Train.

1989: This Boy’s Life, a memoir by Tobias Wolff who did not find out that his father was Jewish until he was an adult, was published today.

1991: Flaws are becoming apparent in the Patriot air defense system deployed against Iraqi Scud missiles, with some warheads exploding and wreaking damage even though the missiles themselves are shot down. Those flaws were evident today, after Iraq fired four more Scud missiles at Tel Aviv and Haifa. The Israeli military said that Patriot defense missiles destroyed the four Scuds, but that at least one Scud warhead survived the midair collisions and exploded on the ground, causing some damage and slightly wounding two Israelis.

1992: Final performance of in Rina Yerushalmi's adaptation of "Hamlet" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

1995: ABC broadcast the last episode of “My So-Called Life” a television series created by Winnie Holzman and produced by Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz

1996: “Rent” with Idina Menzel in the role of Maureen Johnson, moved from the New York Theatre Workshop (off-Broadway) to Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre “due to its popularity.”

1996(5th of Shevat, 5756): Thirty six year Gold Medal winning wrestler David L. Schultz passed away today.

1997: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Moses Mystery: The African Origins of the Jewish People by Gary Greenberg and The Creation of Dr. B: A Biography of Bruno Bettelheim by Richard Pollak and Girls Only by Alex Witchel.

1997: The New York Times published “The Antagonist as Liberator” by Amos Elon

1997: In “The Man He Always Wanted to Be” Susan Boxer provides a detailed review of The Creation of Dr. B: A Biograph of Bruno Bettelheim by Richard Pollak

1997: The Unlikely Spy, the first novel by Daniel Silva which he had begun writing three years ago, “debuted on the New York Times best-seller” today where “it remained for five weeks, rising to number 13.

1998: During what will become known as the Monica Lewinsky ScandalU.S. President Bill Clinton appeared on national and denied having had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

2001: ''Voyages'', Emmanuel Finkiel's film that deals with the Holocaust opens today at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.

2001(2nd of Shevat, 5761): Eighty-one year old American political scientist Murray J. Edelman passed away. (As reported by Paul Lewis)

2003: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish author and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush by David Frum, AMERIKA (The Man Who Disappeared) by Franz Kafka; translated by Michael Hofmann. An Amazing Adventure: Joe and Hadassah's Personal Notes on the 2000 Campaign by Joe Lieberman and Hadassah Lieberman with Sarah Crichton and newly released in paperback Einstein’s’ Unfinished Symphony: Listening to the Sounds of Space-Time, by Marcia Bartusiak. The author, a freelance science writer with a breezy yet careful style, tells of the efforts by scientists to detect and measure gravitational waves, which Einstein predicted would ripple through the fabric of space-time. Her account is ''informative and easy to read,'' David Goodstein wrote here in 2000. ''When a gravity wave is first detected, the reader of this book will feel like a participant in the great event.''

2003: “After 45 performances and 28 previews, the curtain came down on a Broadway revival of “Dinner at Eight,” “a 1932 American play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber.”

2006: As part of events leading up to Holocaust Memorial Day observances in Poland, Holocaust survivors mixed with the young at the memorial to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto.

2006: The Fifteenth Annual Jewish Film Festival comes to an end in New York.

2006: Hamas, an organization committed to the creation of a Palestinian state in all of the territory stretching from the Jordan to the Mediterranean won 76 of the 132 seats in the first parliamentary elections held in the PA in ten years.  The Hamas victory means that the terrorist organization can form a government without any coalition partners.  For many Israelis who had continued to look for an Arab partner for peace, the election results seemed to doom any hopes of peace.

2006:  The board of directors of Hudson’s Bay Co., Canada’s largest chain of department stores, agreed to sell the venerable institution to Jerry Zucker.  Born in Israel, Zucker graduated with a triple major from the University of Florida. He is a resident of Charleston, South Carolina and ranks #346 on the Forbes Four Hundred List of Richest Americans.

2007: In a sign of growing acceptance of an expanded role for Israelis in international organization, The Jerusalem Post reported that Dr. Margaret Chan, the new director-general of the World Health Organization, has invited Israeli health professionals to contribute their experience and skills to the UN organization. The Chinese born, Canadian educated Chan told the Post that she welcomes from any member country including Israel.

2007:  “A reading” of “Bar Mitzvah Boy” was held at the Chelsea Studios in New York City.

2008: Shabbat Yitro – The Giving of the Ten Commandments

2008: In New York City, the 92nd St Y hosts Israeli Folk Dance: Winter Marathon, an “all-night dancing, guaranteed to chase your winter chills away”   as part of the Israel at 60 Celebration.

2009: The American Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Jewish History present:
 “Stella in the Bois de Boulogne” a dramatic reading of a new play by Jane Wood and Tara Prem that brings alive the historic conflict between Stella Adler of the influential Jewish-American Adler acting dynasty and the controversial artistic director Lee Strasberg, and her subsequent meetings in Paris with Russian director Constantine Stanislavsky in 1934.

2009: Rosh Chodesh Shevat, 5769.

2009: Sports Illustrated reports that Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban was fined $25,000 for what the NBA called “improper interactions with Denver Nuggets players” during and a game on January 13.  Cuban has been fined 14 times by the league for fines totaling almost $1.5 million.

2009: Brad “Ausmus agreed to a 1-year, $1 million deal (plus incentives) to be a back-up catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers

2009: Faced with a decline in their operating budget and a shrinking endowment, the trustees of Brandeis University voted unanimously today to close the Rose Art Museum and sell its collection to help shore up the university’s finances. The museum, founded in 1961, holds more than 8,000 pieces. It is best known for its collection of modern art, including works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. “These are extraordinary times,” Jehuda Reinharz, the president of Brandeis, said in a statement. “We cannot control or fix the nation’s economic problems. We can only do what we have been entrusted to do: act responsibly with the best interests of our students and their futures foremost in mind.” The plan calls for the museum to be closed in late summer and turned into a fine arts teaching center and exhibition gallery. It is unclear how much the collection is worth. The university plans to take all proceeds from the sale and invest them back into the university. Brandeis faces a budget shortfall that could reach $10 million, and the sale of the art is a step to help combat the deficit. The university has already announced a hiring freeze and is considering revamping academic programs to help save money.

2009: Brazilian Jack Terpins was unanimously re-elected president of the Latin American Jewish Congress. A longtime activist in Brazil, Terpins, 61, recently finished his term as president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, Brazil's Jewish umbrella organization.

2009: In an Agriprocessor Doubleheader Leah Rubashkin, 36, wife of former Agriprocessors CEO Sholom Rubashkin, testified in a bail appeal hearing Monday that cash found in their home during a search was used for living expenses, not to escape the country while Soglowek Nahariya Ltd an Israeli food company has made a $40 million  offer for the Postville kosher meatpacking company, which became mired in legal and financial troubles after an immigration raid in May snared about one-third of its work force.

2010: “Bad Biology” a horror film that includes an appearance in front of the camera by James Glickenaus  who as a director is usually on the other side of the camera was released in the United States today.

2010: The 92nd Street Y in New York is scheduled to present a program entitled “The Future of Islam” featuring John L. Esposito and Mahmoud Mamdani.

2011: The U.S. Premiere of “Inventory,” a film that tells the story three explorers, who painstakingly deciphered inscriptions on gravestones in the lushly overgrown Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, is scheduled to take place at The New York Jewish Film Festival.

2011: Yona Avrushmi, who was convicted of murder after throwing a grenade into a Peace Now rally killing Emil Grunzweig “was granted parole and released from Rimonim Prison” today.

2011: In Columbus, Ohio the Cultural Arts Committee Meeting of Tifereth Israel is scheduled to meet at the home of Cantor Chomsky.

2011: Historian Lisa Jardin appeared in a BBC documentary investigating her the life of her father Jacob Bronowski the history of science in the 20th century.

2011: Today, the Jerusalem District Police released details regarding its investigation into a cell of Palestinian militants suspected in two murders and 19 other security incidents since 1997. The cell is alleged to be behind the recent stabbing of an American tourist and her friend in the Jerusalem hills five weeks ago; the tourist, Kristine Luken, was killed, while her friend, Kaye Wilson, managed to flee the attackers with serious wounds. Police believe that the same cell carried out the murder of 53-year-old Netta Blatt-Sorek, a resident of Zichron Ya'akov, whose body was found a year ago near the Jerusalem-area monastery of Beit Jamal last year. The militants are suspected in two cases of attempted murder, one count of rape, another of attempted rape, seven incidents of robbery, seven cases of breaking-and-entering, and for shooting at an Israeli military jeep. Jerusalem District Police chief Aharon Franco said that the cell started off as a group of petty criminals and turned into a nationalist threat when it began carrying out attacks to avenge the January 2010 assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, an incident which has been widely blamed on Israel's Mossad.

2012: “Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort” is scheduled to have its world premiere on the closing night of the New York Jewish Film Festival.

2012: Comedian Jeff Applebaum and Ari Hoptman are scheduled to appear at the Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival.

2017: “For A Good Time, Call…” a comedy starring Ari Graynor premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

2012: Israeli hackers brought down Iran's Press TV website and two websites belonging to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education today.

2013: “My Australia” is scheduled to be shown at the 9th annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival

2013: Rabbi Sim Glaser is scheduled to entertain audiences at the Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival with “Material I Can’t Use In Sermons.”

2013(15th of Shevat, 5773): Tu B’Shevat

2013: Six incoming members of the 19th Knesset will have to give up their foreign citizenship before they are sworn in as new MKs on February 5.

2013(15th of Shevat, 5773): Two Ashdod refinery workers were killed this morning after they were exposed to a lethal dose of highly toxic gas.

2014: Meretz chairman and former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni who passed away on January 24 will be laid to rest this morning at the cemetery in Kfar Shamaryahu (As reported by Tova Dvorin)

2014: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Why I Read by Wendy Lesser, My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel and Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus

2014: “The Light Ahead,” a 1939 cinematic version of Fishke der krumer by Mendele Moyker Sforim is scheduled to shown at the Westside Neighborhood School in Los Angeles.

2014: In New York Temple Israel is scheduled to host “The Complete Guide to the Arab Israeli Conflict” presented by Jonathan Cummings.

2014: If her health permits, Clair Moncreif will appear in “Golda’s Balcony” at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré which will be a benefit for the Jewish Foundation of Louisiana. (As reported by the Crescent City Jewish News)

2014: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to present “America’s Enduring Cantorate” featuring Cantors Jack Mendelsohn and Barbara Ostfeld-Hortowitz.

2014 “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not intend to uproot Jewish settlements anywhere in the West Bank, and will not force any settlers to leave, even under a permanent peace deal with the Palestinians, a well-placed official in the Prime Minister’s Office told The Times of Israel today” (As reported by Raphael Ahren)

2014: An Israeli documentary, “The Green Prince” (directed and written by Nadav Schirman), won the Sundance Film Festival award in the category of Audience Award for World Cinema: Documentary in Park City, Utah today. The film is loosely based on the bestselling memoir “Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices” by Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of senior Hamas member Sheikh Hassan Yousef. (As reported by Marissa Newman)

2015: In “Lone Soldiers’ from Kansas City Serve in Israel’s Army” published today Eric Adler described the life of Jake Fichman who is serving with the IDF.

2016: Matan Porat is scheduled to open 92Y’s Seeing Music festival by providing a live, improvised accompaniment to Buster Keaton’s cinematic masterpiece, The General.

2016(16th of Shevat, 5766): Ninety-four year old character actor Abe Vigoda passed away.

2016: The Hadassah Mission to Jerusalem and the Blooming Desert led by Marlene post is scheduled to being today.

2017: According to IDF data published today, in the 15 months between October 2015 and the end of 2016, 281 terrorist attacks originating in the West Bank were reported throughout the country. Those attacks include 143 stabbing attacks, 89 shooting attacks, 39 vehicular attacks and 9 attacks utilizing explosive devices

2017: The Jerusalem Artichoke Festival which “is being celebrated by more than 50” the capital city’s restaurants is scheduled to come to an end today.

2017: Funeral services are scheduled to be held this morning at Beth Tzedec Synagogue for Hyman Belzberg, one of Canada’s wealthiest citizens who along with his brothers, Samuel and William, had controlled First City Financial Corp. Ltd.,First City Trust Corp. and numerous real estate and development companies across North America.

2017(28th of Tevet, 5777): On the Jewish calendar “Yahrtzeit of David Nieto the Venetian born physician and rabbi, who led the London Sephardic community from the pulpit of Bevis Marks Synagogue.

2017: The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to observe Holocaust Memorial Day today with a screening of “Son of Saul” followed by a short discussion.

2017: The Intown Jewish Academy in partnership with the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, Eternal Life-Hemshech and Mt. Scopus, Hadassah Greater Atlanta are scheduled to host “Behind Enemy Lines” during which ninety-six year old Holocaust survivor Marthe Cohn who became a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army and was able to retrieve inside information about Nazi troop movements by slipping behind enemy lines will tell her incredible story of courage, faith and espionage.

2018: OPERATION UNDERSTANDING DC is scheduled to host a virtual luncheon with Aviva Kempner, Director of "Rosenwald"

2018: In Wyoming, The Jackson Hole Jewish Community Center is scheduled to host a “ ‘Tuba’ Shevat Holiday Dinner.”



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