Friday, January 26, 2018

This Day, January 27, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

January 27

 98: Trajan becomes Roman Emperor after the death of Nerva. The second of the three Jewish revolts against Roman authority took place at the end of Trajan’s reign.  This second revolt took place in the Diaspora.  It started in 115 and lasted until 117.  The revolt began in Egypt and then spread to other parts of North Africa including Libya, Cyrenaica and the Island of Cyprus.  The revolt angered Trajan because it took place while he was campaigning in the East and he saw it as an act of treachery aimed at his rear.  Just as the Jews of the Diaspora remained passive during the two revolts that took place in the land of Israel, so the Jews of Israel took no part in this bloody action which resulted in the destruction of the Cypriot Jewish community and the start of the decline of the Egyptian Jewish community.

661: The Rashidun Caliphate ends with death of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. Begun in 632, the Caliphate marked a period of conquest that gave Islam control over a large swath of North Africa, the old Persian Empire and the modern Middle East.  It was during this period that the forces of Islam defeated the Byzantines thus giving them control over Jerusalem.

681: The 28 canons adopted by the Twelfth Council of Toledo which contained a series of “diverse measures against the Jews” were read for the fir time in the Church of Santa Maria in Toledo, Spain.

1164(1st of Adar): Poet and philosopher Abraham ibn Ezra passed away

1186: Henry VI, the son and heir of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, married Constance of Sicily. During Henry’s reign Jews would be massacred from the Rhine districts all the way to the Vienna.

1197(6th of Adar): Rabbi Samuel ben Natronai, a tosafist, was broken on the wheel and martyred today.

1343: Pope Clement VI, who had portions of Levi ben Gershon’s (Gersonides) Sefer Milhamot Ha-Shem, ("The Wars of the Lord"), translated into Latin today “issued the Bull Unigenitus Dei filius to justify the power of the pope

1349: The Jews were driven out of Burgundy and escorted as far as Montbozon.

1449: New Christians or Conversos were the targets of a riot in Toledo, Spain. The Conversos especially the wealthy ones, were attacked during a revolt against taxation. Three hundred of them decided to band together and defend themselves. During the attack one Christian were killed. In response, 22 Marranos were murdered and numerous of their houses were destroyed.

1571: Birthdate of Abbas I of Persia, “the 5th Safavid Shah of Iran during whose early reign the “Jews prospered throughout Persia and were encouraged to settle in Isfahan, the new capital.”  As the years wore on, the conditions of the Jews worsened and among other things, they “were forced to wear a distinctive badge on their clothing and headgear.

.1659: Cornelis Janss Plavier and his wife Geertje Andriesz, who were about to leave for New Amsterdam borrowed 1625 guilders, insurance included, from Amsterdam merchant Abraham Cohen Henriquez. The loan was to be repaid with the sale of beaver shipped in the autumn to Amsterdam. Merchandise and bills of lading for the beaver were to be kept by Asser Levy, or in his absence by Joseph d' Acosta, until proper security could be given by the couple for the shipment for which they were obligated. The borrowers were not Jewish; the others involved were.

1695:  Mustafa II becomes the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul on the death of Amhed II. Ahmed II had been born in 1643.  During his reign he imprison Doctor Hayati Zadi in the Yedikule prison where he died. During the reign of Mustafa II, Belgrade was reconqured and the Jews were allowed to return to the city in 1690. Also, Doctor Nuh efendi, Doctor Levi, Doctor Tobias Cohen and Doctor Israel Koenigland were appointed palace doctors. Mustafa ruled until 1703.

1766: In Jamaica, Abigail and Gotchal Levien gave birth to Joicey Levien.

1773: Birthdate of Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, the 6th son of George III who(the one who lost the 13 colonies) who “became a Patron of the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum, later to become the charity known as Norwood” and who supported legislation to remove “the civil liabilities of Jews” passed away today.

1774: Two days after his death at the age of 63, Abram ben Tov was buried at the “Alderney Road (Globe Rd) Jewish Cemetery.

1775: in the town of Leonberg in the Duchy of Württemberg (now Baden-Württemberg), of Joseph Friedrich Schelling and his wife Gottliebin Marie gave birth to German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling who was a major influence on Rabbi Sekl Loeb Wormser, Talmudist and Kabbalist who was a follower of Rabbi Nathan Adler.

1780(20th of Shevat, 5540): Amsterdam native Rebecca bat Rab Meir passed away today in the United Kingdom

1781: As the United States garnered allies in its fight for independence, British Admiral Sir George Rodney was informed that Britain was now at war with the United Provinces (Holland) and recommended as "first objects of attack St. Eustatius and St. Martin” attacks that would lead to the worst outbreak of anti-Semitism during the American Revolution

1785: Founding of the University of Georgia. According to the January, 2005 issue of “The Jewish Week,” the University of Georgia is emerging as one of the new “hot campuses” for Jewish students. “In 1993 the state of Georgia began paying full tuition to students with a 3.0 average or better in high school who kept a B average or better in college. So now the University of Georgia, which the Chronicle of Higher Education said had been considered a party school 10 years ago, is now a popular destination for in-state Jewish students. It’s 58th on this year’s U.S. News and World Report ranking of state schools for undergraduates, right below Maryland. Now the University of Georgia Hillel gets as many as 130 students at a Shabbat dinner, according to its director Shawn Laing.”

1788: “The first of England’s flotilla of convict transports dropped anchor at Sydney harbor, New South Wales.”  There were eight Jews among the eight hundred prisoners one of whom was sixteen-year old  Esther Abrahams of London, sentenced to an Australian penal farm for stealing a piece of lace. 

1790: In France, active citizenship was extended to the "well born" Sephardic Jews of Bordeaux, who promptly bowed out of the fight for equal rights. They looked upon their poorer brothers in Alsace-Lorraine with contempt.

1791: The National Assembly grants civil rights to the Jews of Alsace and Lorraine completing the process of emancipation for French Jews.

1806: Birthdate of “German philologist and lexicographer” Wilhelm Freund whose four volume Latin dictionary became “the basis for the standard English-Latin dictionaries in the 19th century” Lewish and Short’s A Latin Dictionary

1808: Jerome Bonaparte granted full civil rights to the Jews of Westphalia

1811: Abraham Lima Lamert married Elizabeth Abrahams at the Great Synagogue.

1813: Birthdate of Heinrich von Friedberg who became a Protestant and enjoyed a successful legal career in Prussia.

1813: Solomon Meyer married Sarah Samuel at the Great Synagogue today.

1814: Seventy-two year old Philip Astley, “the father of the modern circus” who in 1786 hired Jacob de Castro, the son of a Hebrew teacher, to perform in “Amphitheatre and Ambigu-Comique” for several years and a group of whose performers were known as “Astley’s Jews” passed away today.

1814: Fifty-one year old Johann Gottlieb Fichte the German philosopher who in 1793 “singled out Jews and Judaism as constituting a ‘state-within-a-state’ that was ‘predicted on the hatred of the entire human race’ and ‘spreading thought almost all lands of Europe and terribly oppressing its citizens” yet whose Addresses to the German Nation shows “few traces of such Jews-hatred.”

1824: Birthdate of Dutch painter Jozef Israëls. “Descended from a poor Jewish family, Jozef Israëls started taking drawing lessons in 1835 at the Academy Minerva in Groningen…. In addition to fishermen scenes and portraits, he expanded his subject matter with peasant scenes, and later in his career he returned to the subject of death and old age, as well as treating Jewish and biblical themes. He traveled extensively and was much honored at home and abroad. Israëls was the most acclaimed Dutch painter in his time, eagerly sought after by collectors in Great Britain, the United States, and other countries. Hailed as a second Rembrandt, he participated in many exhibitions, and his work was disseminated through reproductions.

1832: In Alsace, Alexander Aron and his wife, the former Charlotte Ascher Lower, gave birth to Clara Aron.

1836: Benjamin Marks married Abigail Garcia today at the Hambro Synagogue.

1836: Birthdate of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch the Austrian author whose works included Jews and Russians and New Jewish Stories.  “He faithfully described the manners of the Polish Jews but he feared that his affection for them might give the impression that he was an Israelite.”

1842: During the consecration of the first Reform Synagogue in London, Rabbi David Woolf Marks shocked the traditional Anglo-Jewish community by declaring. “We solemnly deny that a belief in the divinity of those traditions written in the Mishnah and the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud is of equal obligation to the Israelite with the faith in the divinity of the Laws of Moses… These books are human compositions; and, though we are content to accept with reverence, advice and instruction from our post-biblical ancestors, we cannot unconditionally accept their laws. For Israelites there is but one immutable Law – the sacred volume of the Scriptures commanded by God to be written down for the unerring guidance of His people until the end of time.” Every Hebrew congregation must be authorised to take such measures as shall bring the divine services into consonance with the will of the Almighty, as explained to us in the Law and in the Prophets.”

1843(26th of Shevat, 5603): Sixty-nine year old Levy Salomons, the son of Shiphra Levy Salomons and Solomon Salomons passed away today in the United Kingdom

1847: A ball was held at the Museum Building to raise funds for the establishment of Hebrew school in Philadelphia, PA. Among those in charge of the event were M.H. De Young, Moses Nathans, Isaac Nathans, Benjamin Pincus, S.M. Klossser, and David Van Beil.

1850: Birthdate of Samuel Gompers, first president the American Federation of Labor.  When asked what does the American working man want, Gompers responded, “More!”

1859(22nd of Shevat): Rabbi Menahm Mendel of Kotsk passed away

1859: Birthdate of Kaiser Wilhelm II who served as German emperor from 1888 until his abdication in 1918. Wilhelm played many complex roles in the lives of the Jews of Europe.  He missed one opportunity to alter Jewish history by not supporting Herzl when he sought the Kaiser’s help in creating a Jewish state in Eretz Israel. Despite the thousands of Jews who fought and died in his Army, Wilhelm was an anti-Semite who blamed the Jews for Germany’s defeat helping to give rise to the canard about Germany having been defeated by “the stab in the back,” a stab delivered by the Jews.

1860: Birthdate of Sir Charles Solomon Henry, an Australian merchant and businessman who lived mostly in Britain and sat as a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons from 1906-1918.

1863: Sixty-eight year Edward Robinson, the American biblical scholar who is considered the “Father of Biblical Geography” passed away.  The American Protestant journeyed to Palestine with Reverend Eli Smith where they identified many of the sites described in the Bible.  Among them was the tunnel dug during the reign of King Hezekiah.  An arch dating back to Herod’s rebuilding of the Second Temple was named Robinson’s Arch in his honor. In 1839, Robinson became the first person to describe Tell el-Hesi., a site later excavated by Flinders Petrie.

1864: During the American Civil War, the Richmond (VA) Examiner published an article today about those who have are deserting the southern Confederacy for the safety of the North with Jews being the only group identified by their religion.  According to the paper, a “great underground route to the North is now open through to Washington, D.C, via the track of the York River Railroad.  This route, so generously left open by the Confederate Government, is patronized daily by scores of the principal of substitutes in search of more healthful localities -- Jews and blockade-runners carrying out gold and running in goods…”

1869: Twelve year old Jacob Bibo, the younger brother of Isaac R. Bibo, who had been placed in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in March 1867 after his mother died, “left the institution” today “and went to work with a pawnbroker on the Bowery.

1873: In Russia, the recently promulgated Ukase concerning recruiting sailors and soldiers for the Czar’s military went into effect.  Among the change in the new law was the termination of the exemption from service that had been given to Jews who had converted to Christianity. This is one of dozens of exemptions that were terminated.  Now an exemption may be purchased upon payment of 800 silver rubles to the government.

1876(1st of Shevat, 5636): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1878: President Henry S. Herman presided over the opening session of District Grand Lodge No. 1 of the Independent Order of the B’nai Brit which was being held at the Nilsson Hall in New York City.  District 1 includes New York States, all the states of New England and the Dominion of Canada.

1879: A Commission of Investigation was established to examine charges of immoral contact by Monsignor Thomas John Capel.  Capel’s behavior would lead to his being sent to the United States where he became a popular speaker who delivered an address on patriotism to the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.

1879(3rd of Shevat, 5639): Schiee Jaffe, the native of Gnesen who was the son of Samuel and N.N. Jaffe passed away today in Berlin

1880(14th of Shevat, 5640): Eighty-five year old German born pianist Jacques-Simon Herz passed away today.

1884(29th of Tevet, 5644): Sixty-nine year old Rabbi Gutmann Gumpel Klemperer, the husband of Julie Klemperer, whose intellectual accomplishments included writing “a history of the Prague rabbinate from the death of Yehudah Leib ben Betsal’el (Maharal) through the period ending in 1879” passed away today.

1885: Birthdate of Jerome (David) Kern, one of America's foremost composers of music for the theatre and screen. He is best known as the composer of Broadway musicals like The Cat and the Fiddle (1931) and Roberta (1933).

1885: Birthdate of musician and composer Harry Ruby.

1886: In Atlanta, GA, Joseph L. Loeb of Charleston SC, married Stella Jackson the “youngest daughter of the late J.J. Cohen of Rome, GA” at the “residence of her brother, L.L. Cohen.”

1887: Henry M. Stanley, the leader of the expedition to save Emin Pasha, the apostate Jew turned Christian, turned Moslem, arrived in Cairo.

1888:  Birthdate of mineralogist and petrologist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt

1888: Birthdate of Sacki Gustav one of the many German Jews from Kleinseinach who died while serving in WW I.

1890: In St. Louis, Rabbi Rosentretter presided at the wedding of Fannie Miller, the daughter of A.A. Miller and Morris Elman.

1890: In Albany, NY, Davis S. Mann, a Jewish teller, was denied a promotion to cashier of the Albany County Banks.

1891(NS): Birthdate of Russian and later Soviet author, journalist and activist, Ilya Ehrenburg.

1891: Joseph Kline, the President of a Hebrew Cemetery Society “was put on trial” today “in the Union County charged with larceny and obtaining money under false pretenses from John Leece

1892: Birthdate of Ernst Lubitsch “a German-born Jewish film director” whose “urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director” which led critics to say that his films had “the Lubitsch touch".

1892: It was reported today that the recent charity ball hosted at the Brooklyn Academy of Music raised approximately $6,000 for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum.

1893(10th of Shevat, 5653): Russian journalist Nachum Cohen author of “In A Dull Townlet” which “appeared in book form in 1895” passed away today.

1893: It was reported today that the average attendance during 1892 at the Hebrew Technical Institute was 138.  Seventy-five percent of the 32 students who graduated “have obtained desirable positions.

1894: Approximately 200 delegates attended the opening session of the annual meeting of District Lodge No. 1 of B’nai B’rith a the Lexington Avenue Opera House where they heard an address from the retiring President, Judge Goldfogle of the Fifth Judicial District.

1895: It was reported today that the 2,000 people who attended a charity ball in Brooklyn last week raised over $10,000 for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum.

1895: Birthdate of Joseph Rosenstock, the native of Cracow who conducted orchestras in Poland, Japan, Germany and the United States.

1895: “The Navigator Prince Henry” published today provides a detailed review of Prince Henry The Navigator: The Hero of Portugal and of Modern Discovery in which the author C. Raymond Beazly draws on the accounts of Benjamin of Tudela.

1896: It was reported today that Mrs. Wallenstein has been re-elected as President of the Hebrew Infantile Asylum Association.  Mrs. Reiser has been re-elected as Vice President.

1896: Sarah Bernhardt appeared in the role of Marguerite in “La Dame aux Cemelias” at the Abbey Theatre.

1897: Opening session of the Fifth Annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society took place in Baltimore, MD.

1897: The Jewish Messenger published a complete report about Henry Herzberg’s speech, “The Soul of Judaism.”

1897(24th of Shevat, 5657): Dr. Solomon Deutsch, a leading philologist, passed away today in New York.  Deutsch was born in Silesia in 1816 and came to the United States in 1857 after completing his education. He served as a rabbi in several cities including Philadelphia and Hartford before retiring to purse an academic career that included the authorship of Hebrew Grammar, Medical German and Biblical History.

1897: The Hebrew Union Veteran Association held its annual reception at the Lenox Lyceum in New York City.

1897: “Condition of the Poor” published today included Superintendent N.S. Rosenau’s of the United Hebrew Charities description of the “suffering among the poor Jewish people on the east side” which is made all the worst with the combination of bad weather and economic depression. The Jewish fund is “broke” having provided half a million dollars to the destitute “In the three years from October 1893 to the close of 1896.”

1897: During today’s debate on the proposed Immigration Bill being considered by the House of Representatives, Ohio Congressman Henry Grosvenor said “he would not vote for a measure framed specialty to restrict the Russian Jews” because such a vote would leave him open to charges that he had voted “against a man on account of his religion.”

1898: It was reported today that a lady was wounded by accident when a Spaniard fired at a French non-commissioned officers during today’s anti-Jewish riots in Algiers.

1899: A trial opened in the Assize Court in Paris today  Mme. Henry, has sued Joseph Reinach, a member of the Chamber of Deputies and the editor of the Republic Fracaise for libeling her late husband by calling him “a traitor.”  Mme. Henry is the widow of the late Lt. Col. Henry who committed suicide after having confessed to forging documents used against Alfred Dreyfus.

1899: In Detroit, Leo Franklin “preached his first sermon as Rabbi of Bethel at the Washington Boulevard Temple” today.

1899: Birthdate of football player and manager Béla Guttmann the native of Budapest who “moved to Vienna to escape the anti-Semitism of the Admiral Horthy regime and joined the all-Jewish club SC Hakoah Wien which won the all-league title in 1926.

1900: In Przasnysz, Russian Poland, Abraham Rickover and the former Rachel Unger gave birth to Chaim Godalia Rickover who gained fame as U.S. Naval Academy graduate ,Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the atomic and later nuclear powered Navy.  He, more than any other single individual, was responsible for the creation of the submarine fleet that gave America its strategic edge over the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

1901: Birthdate of Abraham Cantarow, the native of Hartford, CT, who served on the faculty of Jefferson Medical College.

1902: Birthdate of Yosef Sapir, the native of Jaffa who served as mayor of Petah Tikva , an MK and a member of the government that guided Israel through the Six Day War.

1902: Birthdate of Alberto Carlos de Liz-Texeira Branquinho, Portugal’s Chargé d'Affaires in Budapest in 1944 who risked his life to save thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust.

1904: In Mulhouse, Baruch Kahn and Constance Lange gave birth to Edmond Kahn.

1904: Herzl received a telegram from Leopold Greenberg that described a definitive offer from the British Government that would allow for a Jewish homeland in Nandi, a territory in the colony of Kenya. Greenberg advised immediate acceptance and the sending of an expedition. Greenberg was a British Zionist and publisher of the Jewish Chronicle.

1906: “Joseph Hartigan, President of the senior class” presided over “a mass meeting and conference held by the New York University Relief Association” tonight ‘at the Educational Alliance in East Broadway” where “the massacres of the Jews in Russia were denounced and protest was ordered sent to President Roosevelt.”

1907(12th of Shevat, 5667): Ninety-year old Moritz Steinschneider who overcame anti-Semitism to become a noted bibliographer and Orientalist

1908: “Ein Walzertraum (A Waltz Dream),”an operetta by Oscar Straus opened today at the Broadway Theatre in New York City.

1909: Birthdate of boxer Lou Halper.

1910(17th of Shevat, 5670: Mrs. Chaie Schore Schaker passed away today in Liepaja

1911: Birthdate of Blanche Margaret Meagher, who served as the Canadian ambassador to Israel from 1958 to 1961 making her the first woman to serve as a Canadian ambassador.

1912: In New York City, President Taft attended a ball sponsored by the Daughters of Jacob, an organization established in 1895 to fund a home for aged Jewish citizens.

1913: Twenty-four year old Alvah Myer who won a Silver Medal at the 1912 Olympics ran what he thought was “a world-best time in the 100 meters at the Lyceum Games in New York” which the AAU would later disallow. (As reported by Bob Wechsler)

1913(19th of Shevat, 5673): Fifty-three year old City Magistrate Moses J. Harris passed away today in Brooklyn.

1915: During a series of campaigns that would result in the British holding Palestine, one part of the German-led Ottoman troops cut the road between El Arish and Qantra Road while another unit attacked “near Qantara in the northern sector of the Suez Canal and near the town of Suez in the south”

1915: Birthdate of basketball player Edward L. “Ed” Keller who played for Duquesne before turning professional and playing two seasons with the NBL.

1915: Among those listed today as contributors to the American Jewish Relief Committee were the Sewing Circle of Memphis, TN, the B’nai B’rith Lodge of Meridian, Mississippi, the House of Israel, Hot Springs, Arkansas and Temple B’nai Israel, Natchez, Mississippi

1916: Citizens of the United States responded generously today, which President Wilson and several governors had officially proclaimed as Jewish Relief Day as a way of aiding the Central Committee for the Relief of Jews Suffering Through the War reach their 1916 fund raising goal of five million dollars. In response to a Congressional Resolution asking him to do so, President Wilson had issued a proclamation proclaiming January 27 as Jewish Relief Day and urged people to donate to the committee or send contributions to the American Red Cross to aid the Jews in war-torn Europe and Palestine.

1916: As a twenty-four fund raising effort that began last night in San Francisco continued today, Governor Hiram W. Johnson of California urged “Californians to aid in the work.”

1916: In response to the fund raising efforts on Jewish Relief Day, “employees in factories has contributed their dinner money” to the cause including a large number of Italians working on the East Side.

1916: In Richmond, VA, Governor Henry Carter Stuart, Mayor George Ainslie and Right Revered Dennis J. O’Connell, the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond were among the speakers at meeting attended by Jews and Christians under the auspices of the Jewish War Relief Committee during which almost $17,000 was raised

1916: Across the United States, “many workmen are giving their day’s pay and many business men are contributing a part of their proceeds on Jewish Relief Day.

1916: As part of Jewish Relief Day, in Cincinnati, $50,000 has been contributed and another $50,000 pledged to the American Jewish Relief Committee.

1916: As part of Jewish Relief Day, the Fruit and Produce Merchants’ Committed raised $8,207 at a fruit auction today.

1916: Nobody was exempt from the thousands of volunteers participating in the Tag Day fundraising event today including President Wilson who bought two tags – one from Dr. David S. Sola Pool and one from Miss Ruth V. Kahn.

1916: Albert Lucas, the Executive Secretary of the Central Committee sent the following telegram to President Wilson: “The Central Committee for the Relief of Jews suffering Through the War respectfully desires to express its grateful appreciation of your action in proclaiming today as Jewish Relief Day.  Entirely apart from the immense sum of money which will doubtless be raised through the efforts of thousands of volunteers of all sects and creeds that are devoting to for the aid of the stricken Jewish people your Excellency has the assurance that we are convinced that day be reckoned as the dawn of another emancipation day.”

1916: The American Jewish Relief Committee announced today that, to date, it has received $1,262,700.78 of which “$1,070,748.56 was in cash and $191,952.22 in pledges.”

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(4th of Shevat, 5677): Eighty year old Rabbi Moses Samuel Zuckermandl, a student of Samson Raphael Hirsch, passed away today in Breslau.

1918: “At the annual meeting of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies held tonight at the Manhattan Opera House, officers reported great success during the first year of the federation and the members cheered the announcement of full victory for the two week’s drive to get 50,000 new members, pledged to the maintenance of the 89 welfare bodies embraced in the organization.”

1919: “Oh, Joy!” the English version of the Jerome Kern musical “Oh, Boy!” opened in London at the Kingsway Theatre.

1920: The Palestine Military Railways, the British operator of the Jaffa-Jerusalem Railway began rebuilding the line today, widening to “standard gauge” today.

1924: Birthdate of Harvey Irwin Shapiro, the Chicago born poet who became an editor of the New York Times (As reported by Margalit Fox)

1925: London born, American featherweight David “Danny” Frush who fought under the name “Seaman Clarke” lost his bout today in Paris by a Knockout.

1926: Birthdate of journalist, broadcaster and humorist Fritz Spiegl.  Born and educated in Austria, Spiegel and his family fled when the Nazis annexed Austria.  He settled in England where he lived and worked until his death in 2003.

1929: Birthdate of German-born American chess champion Hans Berliner.

1929: “Marquis Preferred” a comedy featuring Mischa Auer was released in the United States today.

1929: Birthdate of Richard Ottinger, a New York Democratic Party leader who served in the House of Representatives and then pursued a career with the Pace University School of Law.

1930: According to reports published today, “there are more than 213,000 volumes in the Hebrew University Library.”  During 1929, 22,000 volumes were added to the library’s collection. The library includes the ‘only medical library of note in the entire region.’” The Library has expanded its locations as well as it collection.  Based on the demand of physicians in Palestine, the library has established a branch medical library at the Nathan Straus Health Center in Jerusalem and another such facility in Tel Aviv.

1931: Birthdate of author Mordecai Richler.  A native of Montréal many Americans know him as the author The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz which was later turned into a film of the same name. His first novel, The Acrobats (1954), is about a young Canadian painter in Spain with a group of expatriates and revolutionaries. Richler was a sharp cultural critic, and his books The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959), St. Urbain's Horsemen (1971), and Joshua Then and Now (1980) all deal with greed and success. He wrote a collection of humorous essays titled Notes on an Endangered Species and Others (1974), and a series of children's books. He said, "Coming from Canada, being a writer and Jewish as well, I have impeccable paranoia credentials."

1934: “Bedside,” drama produced by Samuel Bischoff was released in the United States today.

1936: Supreme Court Justice McCook, who had been hearing a suit brought S.S. & B Live Poultry Corporation to restrain the Kashruth Association of New York from proceeding against it for failing to use leg band, “handed down a decision” today “upholding the right of the association, a semi-official organization of laymen and orthodox rabbis to declare a ban against all poultry not killed under the supervision of the organization and not bearing leg-bands or seals sold by it.”

1936: The National Conference of Jewish Federations and Welfare Fund ended its annual meeting today after having agreed that American and British Jews were committed “to the withdrawal of the younger generation of Jews from Germany” after “it was revealed that” the plans involved “no incidental benefits to Germany such as withdrawal of Jewish property in the form of German goods to be sold and accepted by Jews in abandonment of the boycott” already in place.

1937:  Delegates to the annual convention of the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations who represented 125,000 women engaged in a variety of Jewish communal activities “pledge their support to the Child Labor Amendment which was designed to that children are “not called upon to do the work of adults.”

1937: While discussing “the problems facing the Jews of the world” today Rabbi Stephen S. Wise “decried the threat recently made by the government of Poland ‘to compel 3,000,000 Jews to emigrate from that country’” which “he added was in violation of the covenant under which that country” had been created “under the Treaty of Versailles.”

1938: A special issue of the Stuermer, the anti-Semitic newspaper published by Julius Streicher – a favorite of Hitler – on sale today included a demand that Jewish men and Aryan woman “found guilty of having relations” should be subject to the death penalty.

1938: The Palestine Post reported on the plight of the Jews in Romania. Under the new restrictions over 200,000 Jews had lost their trading licenses and one hundred thirty Jewish lawyers at Yassy had been expelled from the bar.

1938: In a greeting to the National Council for Jewish Women meeting in Pittsburgh, Albert Einstein urged the attendees to remember that “Mutual assistance is” the “one weapon” in the “bitter struggle” of the Jews “for existence” and that although “weakened through dispersion in countless factions” the Jews ‘remained united through this fairest of all duties – the duty of selfish mutual aid.”

1938: The Palestine Post reported that Tel Aviv Mayor Israel Rokach opened a picturesque garden on the seven-dunam oval island at Zina Dizengoff Circle.

1939: It was announced from Berlin today that “the negotiations between George Rublee, American chairman of the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees and Dr. Helmuth Wohlthat of Germany regarding the evacuation of Jews from” Germany “are progressing satisfactory.” (Editor’s Note – These words, have, to say the least, a hollow ring to them as we observe Holocaust Memorial Day.)

1940 (17th of Shevat, 5700): Based on information that became public in the 1990’s, today is the day on which author Isaac Babel was shot to death after being found guilty of belonging to an anti-Soviet Trotskyite organization and with spying for France and Austria during a 20 minute trial that had been held the day before. Babel had been arrested by Stalin’s NKVD in 1939 and shipped off to a Siberian labor camp. Two of Babel’s more famous works were Red Cavalry based on his experiences as a cavalry officer fighting against the Whites and Odessa Tales which describes the richly textured Jewish society of Odessa.  Babel was rehabilitated in the 1950’s by Khrushchev.

1941: The fund raising campaign of the United Talmud Torahs of Montreal is scheduled to come to a close tonight.

1942: Gussie Schwebel and her son Jack delivered three dozen of her knishes to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt at her house located at 49 East 65th Street in Manhattan.

1943: Simon Attali, “a self-educated person who achieved success in perfumery ("Bib et Bab" shop) in Algiers” and Fernande Abécassis, the parents French economist Jacques Attali nd his sister Fabienne were wed to in the French North African colony.

1943: Members of the 'Amitié Chrétienne’ held an emergency meeting at the home of Swiss Protestant pastor Roland de Pury to try and find a way to warn Jews that the Gestapo was watching the offices of the Union Générale des Israélites de France (UGIF),where they were going to get false documents.  They decided to have Germaine Ribière pose as a cleaning lady, who, while cleaning the stairs would warn the Jews not to end the building. Germaine Ribière was a Catholic member of the French Resistance who was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem for her efforts to save Jews from the Nazis. The 'Amitié Chrétienne’ was founded in Lyon, France, in 1941 with the goal of saving Jews and others from the Nazis and the Vichy Governments

1944: SS Morris Hillquit, a liberty ship named after the Jewish Socialist who opposed the United States entering World War I, was launched today. Like so many other supply vessels that survived the war, it would be sold to a private entity in 1947 and finally be scrapped in 1968.  Not bad for a ship that was built in 34 days.

1945: The Soviet army entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, who were mostly ill and dying. It is estimated that at minimum 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945; of these, at least 1.1 million were murdered

1945: The Red Army entered Birkenau and found it almost entirely empty of human inhabitants. One survivor found in the hospital was Anne Frank's father, Otto. Anne had died there months earlier from decease. (Otto would return to Amsterdam to find the famed diary.) Though most of the storage facilities were already destroyed, the Russians discover 836,255 women's dresses, 348,000 sets of men's suits and 38,000 pairs of men's shoes.

1945: After Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz today Salamo Arouch, a Greek-born Jewish boxer who survived the death camp by winning fight after fight against fellow prisoners, began searching other liberated camps for any family members who might have survived. During the search he found Marta Yechiel, a girl from his home in Greece.  The two moved to Palestine, married and raised a family that included four children and 12 children at the time of his death.

1945: Tzipora Shapiro, whose “father, grandfather, brothers, aunts, and uncles all died in the Lodz Ghetto,” and whose mother was gassed at Auschwitz “walked out of the gates” that same death camp today. (As reported by Yardena Schwartz)

1945: “Up in Central Park” a music with a book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields and a score by Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy Fields, choreographed by Helen Tamiris opened on Broadway at the New Century Theatre where it ran for 504 performances.

1946: Four hundred people marched 15 miles in the snow to the town of Celle to attend the wedding of Holocaust survivors Lilly and Ludwig Friedman’s wedding.  Lily wore a wedding gown that had been created from a parachute acquired from a former Nazi pilot by an unknown seamstress.  For Lilly “the dress symbolized the innocent, normal life she and her family had once led before the world descended into madness.”  The dress would eventually go on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

1947: As part of “Aliya Bet,” the Chaim Arlozoroff set sail from Trelleborg, Sweden, carrying 664 survivors of the European death camps.  Most of those on board, who were labeled illegal immigrants by the British, were women.  When the ship finally arrived in Haifa, a struggle ensued at the end of which the British transferred the former camp inmates to detention camps at Cyprus.

1952: Birthdate of Brian Gottfried, Baltimore born tennis star who won the Wimbledon Doubles in 1976

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that over 2,000 frightened refugees, including many Jews, escaped the purges in East Germany and crossed over from East to West Berlin. Israel got an urgently needed one-year loan of $16 million from an American group of banks, headed by the Bank of America.

1955: At the Boston Medical Library an exhibit of Jewish medical leaders, including medieval manuscripts and awards presented to Jewish physicians.

1955: “Plain and Fancy,” a musical comedy co-authored by Joseph Stein opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre for the first of 461 performances.

1956: “The Court Jester,” a musical comedy directed and produced by Melvin Frank who also co-wrote the script and starring Danny Kaye was released in the United States a month after it had premiered in Japan.

1957(25th of Shevat):  Yiddish poet Zishe Weinper passed away

1958: Birthdate of Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams.

1959: Birthdate of Keith Olbermann former TV sportscaster and former MSNBC host.

1961: "Sing Along with Mitch" featuring Mitch Miller premiered on NBC TV

1962: “A Family Affair” a musical about Chicago Jewish wedding with a book by James Goldman and William Goldman, lyrics by James Goldman and John Kander, and music by Kander all of whom share a suburban Chicago Jewish upbringing opened on Broadway today at the Billy Rose Theatre with a cast that included Shelly Berman, Larry Curt, Morris Carnovsky and Linda Lavin

1964: Red Buttons married Alicia Pratt, his third and last wife today.

1964(13th of Shevat, 5724): Lieb Glantz, famed chazzan and composer, passed away at the age of 65

1965(24th of Shevat, 5724): Eighty-six year old Siberian born American Modernist painter Abraham Walkowitz who may be best known for his drawings of Isadora Duncan passed away today.

1965: Up the Down Staircase, a best-selling novel written by Bel Kaufman was published today. Writing must be in her blood since she is the granddaughter of Shalom Aleichem, something not mentioned in any of the education classes that I took where this book was mandatory reading. 

1966: “Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment” a comedy starring David Warner in the title role was released today in the United Kingdom.

1968: A radio station in Nicosia, Cyprus, received a distress call on the frequency of the INS Dakar's “emergency buoy, apparently from south-east of Cyprus, but no further traces of the submarine were found.”

1968: Congregation Shaar Hashomayim began the dedication of its new chapel with a Sabbath Service.

1969(8th of Shevat, 5729): Nine Jews were publicly executed in Damascus Syria

1969(8th of Shevat, 5729): Seventy-eight year old Leon Pines, the native of Vilna who moved to the United States in 1907 where he pursued a career in manufacturing and who was a member of several Jewish organizations including the American Friends of Hebrew University passed away today in Miami Beach.

1969: A day after Beatle John Lennon retained Allen Klein as his new financial representative in an attempt to stave impending economic ruin, the two met with the other Beatles who opted to remain with their own money managers.

1970(20th of Shevat, 5730): Eighty-three year old Maurice Samuel Calman, the Romanian born American oral surgeon who served on the Board of Alderman passed away today.

1971(1st of Shevat, 5731) Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1972(11th of Shevat, 5732): Eighty four year old mathematician Richard Courant, co-author of What is Mathematics?  who was forced to flee Germany even though he had fought for the Kaiser, passed away today. (As reported by Harry Schwartz)

1973(24th of Shevat, 5733): Actor John Banner passed away.  Best known for his portrayal of Sgt. Schultz in the television hit “Hogan’s’ Heroes,” Banner was born on this date in 1910.

1974: “Lorelie” a musical with “lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Jule Styne” which was based on “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” opened at Broadway at the Palace Theatre.

1975: “The Main in the Glass Booth” a film adaptation of a novel and play that old the story of bringing Adolf Eichmann to justice, directed by Arthur Hiller, produced by Ely Landau and featuring Luther Adler was released today in the United States.

1977: Broadcast of the first episode of “Lanigan’s Rabbi” based on the novels of Harry Kemelman featuring the character of “Rabbi David Small.”

1977:Operation Thunderbolt,” known in Israel as Mivtsa Yonatan, (literally "Operation Jonathan"), a 1977 Israeli film based on an actual event – the hijacking of a flight and the freeing of hostages (Operation Entebbe) at Entebbe Airport in Entebbe, Uganda, on July 4, 1976, directed by Menahem Golan and starring Klaus Kinski, Yehoram Gaon, and Sybil Danning was released in Israel today.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Egypt embarked on a massive diplomatic effort to explain why it had broken off peace talks with Israel.

1978(18th of Shevat, 5738): Seventy-nine year old Viennese actor Oscar Holmoka who, among other things was nominated for an Oscar for his role in “I Remember Mama” which was a reprise of the same part he played in the Broadway version of the play.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that The Jerusalem Municipality had begun the installation of a sewerage network at the Anatot Refugee Camp, despite UNRWA's objections that this would violate the camp's protected status as a "refugee camp of implicitly temporary nature." UNRWA had previously objected to the installation of such a network, despite the 1970 cholera outbreak. (This should provide a slightly different slant on the "refugee problem" and how these poor souls are being exploited.)

1982:  In an example of “The Bible on Broadway,”  "Joseph and the Amazing Dreamcoat" opened at the Royale in New York City for the first of what would be a total of 747 performances. 

1982(3rd of Shevat, 5742): Seventy-nine year old Alexander Abusch who joined the  Communist Party of Germany in 1918 and survived the Nazi years by living in Mexico and returned to serve as the Minister of Culture of East Germany passed away today

1986(17th of Shevat, 5746): Eighty-one year old American artist Edward Biberman passed away.

1989: “Parents,” a “black comedy horror film directed by Bob Balaban” was released today in the United States.

1991: In the midst of Iraqi attacks on Israel 74 year old Alexander Goldberg, a retired aeronautical engineer from Hempstead, Long Island,  will join more than 100 other Americans, both Jews and Christians, for a flight tonight to Israel, where they will be put to work at army bases, hospitals and collective settlements, or kibbutzim. Some will pick fruit or help maintain army tanks; others will work in a factory that makes protective gear for chemical warfare.  In the midst of Iraqi attacks on Israel

1992: Singer Ofra Haza and the Amka Oshrat Yemenite Dance Troupe appear in concerted at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

1993: During the Intifada, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian terrorist.

1994(15th of Shevat, 5754): Tu B'Shevat

1994(15th of Shevat, 5754(: Eighty-one year Ruben Mattus, the Jewish immigrant who along with his wife Rose created “Haagen-Dazs ice cream” passed away today.

1994: The second season of “Homicide: Life on the Street” produced by Barry Levinson and co-starring Yaphet Kotto and Richard Belzer came to an end this evening.

1995: U.S. premiere of “Miami Rhapsody” written and directed by David Frankel with a cast that included Sarah Jessica Parker, Paul Mazursky, Jeremy Piven and Ben Stein.

1996(6th of Shevat, 5756): Eighty-six year old Israel Eldad the native of Galicia who became a leading member of the Irgun and winner of the Bialik Prize passed away.

1996:  Germany observed its 1st Holocaust Remembrance Day

1997(19th of Shevat, 5757): Ninety-six year old Saginaw, Michigan born composer Gerald Marks best known the hit “All of Me” passed away today in New York.

1997: FOX broadcast the final episode of “Ned and Stacey” a sitcom starring Debra Messing.

1997: It was revealed today that French museums had nearly 2,000 pieces of art that were stolen by the Nazis.

1999: Moshe Arens begins serving as Defense Minister.

1999: An e-mail sent today that “ultimately reached White House adviser Sidney Blumenthal” detailed “a Dartmouth College Jewish studies professor’s defense of” charges that President Clinton had committed adultery because “According to classical Jewish law, President Clinton did not commit adultery; adultery is defined as a married man having intercourse with a married woman, and Monica Lewinsky is single,” (As reported by Lazar Berman)

2000: An off-Broadway revival of “The Time of the Cuckoo” by Arthur Laruents opened at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater today.

2001: Survivors of Auschwitz have gone on a poignant march past the gas chambers which claimed their fellow prisoners as Europe marked Holocaust Memorial Day. Today, Shabbat, 700 people, including camp survivors and local Jewish leaders, walked from the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp's Gate of Death to its giant memorial wall, past the remains of the gas chambers and the crematoria. The Nazis killed 1.5 million people in Auschwitz, the highest number at any camp, before hastily retreating from an advancing Soviet army which liberated Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, regarded as the world's largest Jewish burial ground, now houses a museum and is little changed from the day Red Army troops freed its last inmates. Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek told the participants in a letter that they were the "guardians of this tragic heritage of mankind." Ceremonies from London to Lithuania marked the 56th anniversary of the Auschwitz death camp's liberation. Britain and Italy held their first-ever Holocaust memorial days, while survivors, spiritual leaders and politicians across the continent pledged to remember a grim historical lesson about the consequences of intolerance.

"Not everyone who survived has the strength to share," said Auschwitz survivor Hedi Fried, speaking at a forum in Stockholm, Sweden. "We who can have an extra obligation. We owe it to our murdered parents, the 6 million Jews, 500,000 Gypsies and countless homosexuals, Russians and Poles who died." Britain observed its first national Holocaust Memorial Day with ceremonies across the country and a London service that also honours victims of other 20th-century genocides. The guest list for the memorial at Westminster Central Hall in London included Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair, the archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster and Britain's chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks. The ceremony included tributes to survivors of violence in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda. In Germany, where a sharp rise this year in violent attacks on minorities gave the annual Day of Remembrance for Victims of Nazism added resonance, Parliament president Wolfgang Thierse issued a warning about the dangers of neo-Nazism. Germans must show "commitment to democracy and against raging right-wing extremism," he told Deutschland Radio. "This isn't about remembrance without consequences."

Six million Jews and five million others, including communists, homosexuals, gypsies and the mentally retarded, perished under the Nazi regime. Italy also marked Holocaust Memorial Day for the first time, with a ceremony in Milan organised by Italian unions and a moment of silence during evening soccer games. Padua, in northern Italy, was honoring Giorgio Perlasca, a butcher credited with saving more than 5,000 Italian Jews by pretending to be a Spanish diplomat. Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi acknowledged Italy's blame in the Holocaust, calling Benito Mussolini's racial laws a betrayal of the country's founding principles.

"But numerous Italians knew how to further the demands of their conscience against the violence of the dictator," he said. About 7,000 Jews were deported from Italy during the Holocaust, and 5,910 of them died. Lithuanian Jews gathered in Vilnius to mark the anniversary, and in Sweden, Prime Minister Goeran Persson was attending a ceremony at a Stockholm synagogue. The Jewish Museum planned a lecture, music and a reading from Anne Frank's diary.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was to give the keynote speech in Sweden on Monday at an international conference on ethnic and religious intolerance.

2002: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish author and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response by Bernard Lewis and Beyond the Last Village: A Journey of Discovery in Asia's Forbidden Wilderness by Alan Rabinowitz.

2002: In Great Britain, a Holocaust event, organized by the Holocaust Education Trust, takes place in Bridgewater Hall. Extracts of the event will be broadcast by the Granada group of television companies during the week following the event. The second UK Holocaust Memorial Day takes place in Manchester involving the participation of survivors from the Holocaust and victims of contemporary racism and prejudice, young people and a range of community representatives.

2002(14th of Shevat, 5762): Ninety-five year old Nettie Konigsberg, the widow of Martin Konigsberg and mother of Allan Stewart Konigsberg better known as Woody Allen passed away today.

2002(14th of Shevat, 5762: Eighty-one year old Pinhas Tokalti was murdered and more than a hundred were injured today when a female terrorist “worked for he Palestinian Red Crescent in Ramallah” “detonated a 22 pound explosive device at the entrance to a “shoe store located on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem

2003: In the United Kingdom the main Holocaust Memorial Day event took place in Edinburgh with a theme of “Children and the Holocaust.

2003: Polls published today affirmed that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel is likely to retain his post in elections on Tuesday, and then to face the complex challenge of assembling a durable coalition from a fragmented Parliament.

2004: An event establishing January 27 as memory day for Greek Jews and Holocaust victims was held at the Athens Concert Hall's convention center today, under the auspices of the foreign ministry. 

2004: Israel honored 9 Greeks for their efforts to save Jews during WWII. Today, Israel’s ambassador to Athens presented that country’s influential “Righteous Among the Nations” award to nine Greek nationals who saved persecuted Jewish compatriots during the Nazi occupation of Greece (1941-44). Ambassador Ram Aviram presented the awards the same day as the recently enacted Greek Holocaust Memorial Day (Jan. 27), with a relevant event held at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) as well. According to a press release by the Israeli embassy in Athens, the “Righteous among the Nations” awards are given by “Yad Vashem”, an institute created by the Israeli state to perpetuate the memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust. They are bestowed to individuals who risked their lives to save Jews during the Second World War. More than 200 Greek citizens have been honored by the Yad Vashem Institute, including the late Archbishop of Greece during the occupation, Damaskinos, the Greek chief of police at the time, Angelos Evert, the Metropolitans of Zakynthos and Dimitrias at the time, Chrysostomos and Loakeim, respectively, the one-time mayor of Zakynthos, Loukas Karrer, and many other unsung Greek heroes of World War II. This year’s awardees are Dimos and Theodora Vevelekos, Michalis and Eleni Mavridis, Smaragda Sarafianou, Ioannis and Tasia Spentzos as well as Ilias and Angeliki Kazantzis. The president of the Central Board of Greek Jewish Communities, Moses Konstantinis, also participated at the ceremony.

2004, Modena Municipality, the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, the Istituto Storico di Modena and the Jewish Community of Modena and Reggio Emilia organized a Study Convention in memory of Angelo Donati and an exhibition with photos

2005: The Fourteenth Annual New York Jewish Film Festival comes to an end.

2005: Arno Lustiger, the historian who documented “Jewish resistance under Nazi rule” and Wolf Bierman whose father was a member of the resistance who was murdered because he was Jewish spoke before the German Bundestag.

2005: At a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the former Foreign Minister of Poland Władysław Bartoszewski delivered a speech in which he paid honor to Jan Karski when he said, "The Polish resistance movement kept informing and alerting the free world to the situation. In the last quarter of 1942, thanks to the Polish emissary Jan Karski and his mission, and also by other means, the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the United States were well informed about what was going on in Auschwitz.” (While his comments about Karski are true, there are those who would say he provided a distorted picture of the Polish Resistance movement’s treatment of the Jews.)

2005: Holocaust Memorial Day in Great Britain. Holocaust Memorial Day is a national event in the United Kingdom dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust. It was first held in January 2001, and has been hold on 27 January every year since. The chosen date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union in 1945. This year’s major event took place in London with a theme of “Survivors, Liberation and Rebuilding Lives.

2006: The following column in the Jerusalem Post explains the importance of the First annual "International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

Last November the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as an annual "International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust." With 104 co-sponsors, including Israel, the historic UN resolution selected that date as it is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. During the 1950s the Knesset debated which date to establish as Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Chief Rabbinate had already designated the 10th of Tevet - an existing fast day marking the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem that culminated in the destruction of the Temple - as the date of "General Kaddish" for Holocaust survivors who did not know the date of death of their fallen family members. The ultra-Orthodox rabbinate suggested adding - as had been done to signify the destruction of Jewish communities by marauding Crusaders - additional piyyutim (liturgical poems) relating to the Holocaust to the lamentations recited on Tisha B'Av itself, the solemn fast day commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temples. While incorporating the Holocaust within existing fast days marking national calamities reflected the traditional view that the Holocaust was yet another chapter in a long story of Jewish suffering through the ages, others argued that the Holocaust needed to be commemorated on its own.After long debate, the Knesset established the 27th day of Nisan as "Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevura," literally "Holocaust and Heroism Day." The date marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which in fact began on the 15th day of Nisan (April 19, 1943). Since the actual beginning of the uprising coincided with Pessah, the Knesset, as a compromise, chose a date that falls a week after the end of Pessah and a week before Yom Hazikaron, our Memorial Day for fallen soldiers, and Independence Day - but within the span of the nearly month-long uprising. As a further compromise, the legislation provided that if the 27th day of Nisan impinged upon Shabbat (i.e. fell on a Friday or a Saturday), the commemoration would be moved to the following Sunday. In effect, both sides of the debate in Israel in the 1950s wanted to place the Holocaust within an established context, either the traditional suffering of the Jew or the heroic Zionist model of the "new" Jew. Neither wanted to face the enormity and senselessness of the tragedy, especially in the first decade after World War II.In its infancy, Israel could not bear the image of Jews as victims being "led like sheep to the slaughter" and, accordingly, latched on to the heroic (if doomed) resisters in the Warsaw Ghetto as the proper "Israeli" model on which to base Holocaust remembrance. Moreover, the placement of Holocaust Memorial Day as a prelude to Independence Day conveyed the "Israel-centric" message that the Holocaust was a stepping stone in the founding of the State of Israel, the proverbial "darkness before the light" of national redemption. But this focus on the perceived heroic aspects of the Holocaust to fit our tough (but vulnerable) sabra self-image, together with the implicit message that the Holocaust's true significance lies in its happy ending - Israel's establishment - has had unfortunate repercussions. Sadly, most Israelis don't mark Yom Hashoah in any meaningful way.

For its part, the ultra-Orthodox community has always opposed, on halachic grounds, the imposition of a day of mourning during the joyous month of Nisan, which commemorates the birth of the Jewish nation and its exodus from bondage in Egypt. Sandwiched between Pessah and, to most Israelis, the more significant Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars and Independence Day, Holocaust Memorial Day has traditionally not been given the undivided attention it deserves. The Holocaust deserves to be viewed honestly and in depth as a unique historic event. Adopting January 27 as Israel's Holocaust Memorial Day would:

  signify Israel's appreciation of the unusual step taken by the UN;  ensure that the worldwide Holocaust Memorial Day will not be a passing fad since Israel's annual ceremonies can serve as the focus of global attention and as a model for other national commemorative events;·  indicate that Israel has "grown up" since the 1950s to appreciate that Jewish victimhood in the Holocaust is not something shameful that must be obscured in the celebration of Jewish heroism;·  unite the Jews in Israel, both observant and secular, to commemorate, discuss and ponder in an unhurried and thoughtful manner the manifold aspects of a tragedy that does not easily fit into any previous category of Jewish or world history. The UN has finally acknowledged the global historical significance of the Holocaust. Israel should support this development for its own good as well as that of the world.

2006: In Poland, as part of Holocaust Memorial Day observances a 1940’s tram marked with the Star of David - like the ones that used to travel through the ghetto - is seen again on the streets of Warsaw.  It is empty, with nobody getting on or off. It will be empty. Nobody will get on or off.

2006: Rick Recht takes Cedar Rapids by storm as he leads the Jewish Community in a celebration of “Shabbat Alive.”

2006(27th of Tevet, 5766): Ninety year old solicitor Lord Mischson, the Brixton Rabbi Arnold Mishcon passed away today

2006: “Author Howard Jacobson described his new novel Kalooki Nights as ‘the most Jewish novel that has ever been written by anybody, anywhere.’”

2006: “The New World” a historic drama filmed by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and edited by Saar Klein was released today in the United Kingdom.

2007: “Dirty Girl,” a play based on the experiences of Ronnie Koenig, the former editor in chief of Playgirl Magazine, finished its initial run in New York City.

2007: In the UK, the main National Holocaust Memorial Day event is hosted at Newcastle with a theme of “The Dignity of Difference.”

2008: In “The Capa Cache,” published today Randy Kennedy describes the fate of “the suitcase — actually three flimsy cardboard valises — that contained thousands of negatives of pictures that the Hungarian born Jew Robert Capa, one of the pioneers of modern war photography, took during the Spanish Civil War before he fled Europe for America in 1939, leaving behind the contents of his Paris darkroom. Capa assumed that the work had been lost during the Nazi invasion.” The negatives were in fact hidden for more than half a century until last month… they made what will most likely be their final trip, to the International Center of Photography in Midtown Manhattan, founded by Robert Capa’s brother, Cornell.”  

2008: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Alfred Kazin: A Biography by Richard Cook

2008: International Holocaust Memorial Day – light a light, kindle a candle – Holocaust Memorial Trust website

2009: In Manhattan’s East Village, third part of a four part series The Comedy and Kabbalah of Relationships” featuring Rabbi YY Jacobson

2009: As part of Holocaust Remembrance Day, The Centro Primo Levi, the Consulate General of Italy and the Italian academic institutions in NY under the auspices of the United Nations present Giorno della Memoria (Day of Memory) including a reading the names of the Jews deported from Italy and the Italian territories on Park Avenue at 68th Street in front of the Consulate General of Italy and a discussion of the Fascist Racial Laws and the socio-political conditions, the indifference, and collaborationism that allowed their promulgation in 1938.

2009: In his new book We Must Rise From Its Ashes, Avraham Burg advocates commemorating the Holocaust three times during the year. “By observing it on January 27, the international day of Holocaust remembrance, Israelis would never lose sight of the fact that the Shoah was a crime against humanity, not just against the Jews, and that preventing further genocide is the business of the entire world. Commemorating it May 9, the day on which the former Soviet republics — and Israel’s immigrants from those countries — mark the victory over Nazi Germany, would symbolically embrace the many immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not Jewish under Jewish law. Finally, celebrating it on the Ninth of Av would express the Jewish particularity of the genocide, while incorporating the Shoah into that day’s remembrance of the destruction of the Temples would place it within the historical continuum of Jewish suffering rather than consider it wholly unprecedented.

2009: The Massachusetts attorney general’s office said today that it planned to conduct a detailed review of Brandeis University’s surprise decision to sell off the entire holdings of its Rose Art Museum, one of the most important collections of postwar art in New England. The decision to close the 48-year-old museum in Waltham, Mass., and disperse the collection as a way to shore up the university’s struggling finances was denounced by the museum’s board, its director and a wide range of art experts, who warned that the university was cannibalizing its cultural heritage to pay its bills

2010: Sara Hurwitz was given the title of “rabbah,” (sometimes spelled “rabba”) the feminine form of rabbi

2010: Dorit  “Beinisch was moderately hurt when a 52-year-old man named Pinchas Cohen hurled his sneaker at her during a hearing on medical marijuana, hitting her between the eyes, breaking her glasses and knocking her off her chair.”

2010: The recently discovered 29 blueprints depicting the layout of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in chilling detail, with gas chambers, crematoria, delousing facilities and watch towers drawn to scale are scheduled to go on display in Jerusalem today.

2010: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to be at Auschwitz to take part in a ceremony marking the 65th liberation of the death camp by the Soviet Red Army.

2010: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Hadassah Book Club is scheduled to meet at Temple Judah where attendees will discuss Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. De Rosnay's novel is set against a backdrop of the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, and then transported to Auschwitz.

2010: International Holocaust Memorial Day.

2010: Bundled tightly against the cold and snow, elderly Auschwitz survivors walked among the barracks and watchtowers of Auschwitz and Birkenau on today, many clad in scarves bearing the gray and blue stripes of their Nazi prison garments decades ago

2010(12 Shevat, 5770): J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most important American writer to emerge since World War II but who then turned his back on success and adulation, becoming the Garbo of letters, famous for not wanting to be famous, died today at his home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. He was 91.

2010 (12 Shevat, 5770): Howard Zinn, historian and shipyard worker, civil rights activist and World War II bombardier, and author of “A People’s History of the United States,” a best seller that inspired a generation of high school and college students to rethink American history, died today in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87 and lived in Auburndale, Mass.

2011: The Seventh Annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival is scheduled to open tonight “with three episodes from Season 2 of Srugim, the very popular Israeli television series about the lives and loves of five young Jewish singles living in the hip Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, as they navigate the frequently contradictory worlds of contemporary Israeli romance and traditional observance.”

2011: ASF is scheduled to present “Behind the Scenes: An Intimate Video Visit to Morocco” which is part of the year-long series, "2,000 Years of Jewish Life in Morocco: An Epic Journey", presented Under the High Patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, and made possible through the generous support of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation.

2011: A program entitled The Holocaust and Justice: How Do You Prosecute Unprecedented Crimes is scheduled to be held at the University of Iowa Law School.  The program will included a screening of the film “Night and Fog” followed by a discussion by UI Law Professor Mark Osiel

2011: International Holocaust Memorial Day

2011: In Italy, observance of Giorno della Memoria (Day of Memory)

2011: Holocaust Memorial Day (UK)

2011: The memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II was honored around the world today, the day which marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day. German President Christian Wulff paid his respects on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the biggest Nazi concentration camp, where about a million Jews were murdered during the war, accompanied by World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder and his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski. "On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Jewish community and the survivors of the Shoah welcome the fact that President Wulff - who has only been in office for a few months and has already been to Israel - is visibly giving the issue of the Holocaust remembrance such a high political priority,” Lauder declared ahead of the ceremonies in Auschwitz and Birkenau2011: “Copenhagen” a (high) drama with considerable comedy concerning the two Nobel physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg and Bohr's wife Margrethe, opened tonight at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  The play features performances by Steve and Barbara Feller, pillars of the Temple Judah community.

2011: Four hundred rabbis will submit a letter today, demanding Fox News sanction host Glenn Beck for his repeated airing of Nazi and Holocaust imagery, and for putting on his show attacks on WWII survivor George Soros, Reuters reported.

2011: In excerpts of Ehud Olmert’s new memoirs that were published today, the former Jewish leaders says that he and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, were very close to a peace deal two years ago, but Mr. Abbas’s hesitation killed the deal.  According to Olmert, at their last meeting, Abbas “said that he could not decide and that he needed more time.” (As reported by Ethan Bronner)

2011(22nd of Shevat, 5771): Ninety-year old Joseph Lefkowoitz a native of Patterson, NJ, a World War II veteran who had retired from the Social Security Administration passed away today in Crossville, TN.

2012: “With a French Flavor” featuring the wind and string Ensembles from the Buchmann Mehta Music School at Tel Aviv University is scheduled to begin at noon in the Ein Kerem Music Center.

2012: Jack Lew completed his service as Director of the OMB began serving as the 25th White House Chief of Staff

2012: Today, "I Honor Wall" - Online virtual event on Yad Vashem's Facebook page, invites people to honor the Righteous Among the Nations. When particpants agree to attend the online event, their names and Facebook profile pictures will be automatically connected to the name and story of a Righteous Among the Nations.

2012: International Holocaust Memorial Day

2012: Today, Malcolm “Glazer and his family hired long-time Rutgers University head coach Greg Schiano” making him the ninth head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2012: Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today the world must quickly stop Iran from reaching the point where even a "surgical" military strike could not block it from obtaining nuclear weapons

2012: Israeli officials and academic experts think that Iran’s threats of retaliation to a possible strike against it are a bluff, the New York Times reported today

2012: Today, authorities leveled additional charges against a teenager accused in the fire-bombings of two New Jersey synagogues, saying he had plotted a similar attack on a Jewish community center and had conducted Internet searches for building Molotov cocktails and instructions on blowing up buildings.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said investigators found multiple Molotov cocktails this week in a wooded area near the Jewish Community Center of Paramus, and they traced the evidence to a foiled attack they said suspect Anthony Graziano was planning for January 7. Graziano, 19, was charged today with aggravated arson, bias intimidation and other charges for the planned attack on the Paramus Jewish community center.

2013: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Insurgents: David Patraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War by Fred Kaplan and the recently released paperback edition of  Shalom Auslander’s first novel, Hope: A Tragedy

2013(16th of Shevat, 5773): Eighty-seven year old Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and historian Stanley Karnow passed away today. (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)

2013: “The Jews of Algeria,” an exhibition that retraces the history of the Algerian Jews since Antiquity, is scheduled to come to a close at the Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme

2013: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to sponsor “Superman at 75: Celebrating America’s Most Enduring Hero” who was the creation of Joe Shuster and Jerry Seigel.

2013: In Recognition of the International Day of Holocaust Remembrance, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is scheduled to present “I’m Not Leaving: The Power of Presence, Our Most Valuable Weapon.”

2013: Rabbi Sidney Kleiman of Congregation Adereth El in Murray Hill turned 100

2013: The World Zionist Organization’s Department for Activities in Israel & Countering Anti-Semitism is scheduled to mark the International Day for Countering Anti-Semitism (International Day for Commemorating the Holocaust) with a special conference on countering Anti-Semitism which will take place at the Mediatheque Theater in Holon.

2013: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

2013: In the UK, observance of Brent Holocaust Memorial Day.

2013: The IDF confirmed the deployment of Iron Dome missile defense batteries in the North today, amid an escalation in the Syrian civil war and concerns over Syria’s sizeable chemical weapons falling into radical Islamic hands.

2013: Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi triggered outrage from Italy's political left today with comments defending fascist wartime leader Benito Mussolini at a ceremony commemorating victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Speaking at the margins of the event in Milan, Berlusconi said Mussolini had been wrong to follow Nazi Germany's lead in passing anti-Jewish laws but that he had in other respects been a good leader.

2014: While she celebrates the arrival of her grandchild, the friends and family of Debbie Rosenbloom including her husband David Levin celebrate the natal day of the Director of Programs for Jewish Woman International

2014: As it has every year since 2006, the United Nations is scheduled to remember the Holocaust that affected many people of Jewish origin during World War II on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

2014: As part of the 2014 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust” is promoting “The Path to Nazi Genocide” a film “using rare footage that examines the Nazi’s rise and consolidation of power in Germany and explores their ideology, propaganda and persecution of the Jews.

2014: “Documents from the Nuremberg Trials recently found in a flea market in Israel are to go on display at the Chabad Jewish Educational Center in Berlin as part of events marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.” (As reported by JTA and Times of Israel)

2014: “The largest ever delegation of Knesset members will convene overseas, on the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau, together with Holocaust survivors, for a historic gathering on combating anti-Semitism and preservation of death camps.

2014: As a way to observe International Holocaust Memorial Day, the Reform Movement recommends visiting The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration and Complicity in the Holocaust,”

2014: “Hackers attacked Israeli computers, including one used by the Defense Ministry department dealing with civilians in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli data protection expert said today.”

2014: “The UN commemorated the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, with honorees such as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, and filmmaker Steven Spielberg speaking before the United Nations assembly.” (As reported by Yitzhak Benhorin)

2015(7th of Shevat, 5775): Journalist Maurice David Landau who had been the managing editor of the Jerusalem Post and editor-in-chief of Haaretz passed away today.

2015: As record snow covers her east coast stomping grounds, Debbie Rosenbloom’s friends and family (including her husband David Levin) send her the warmest of best birthday wishes.

2015: “Voices of Auschwitz” is scheduled to air on CNN

2015: The Czech Republic observes Memorial Day for the Victims of the Holocaust and Prevention of Crimes against Humanity

2015: German observes Memorial Day for the Victims of National Socialism

2015: In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is scheduled to show “Liberation and Return Life” a film that “shows liberation and its immediate aftermath through the eyes of the American soldiers who first entered Nazi concentration camps in the spring of 1945, and amateur footage that shows the rebuilding of the personal, political, and religious lives of Holocaust survivors in displaced persons’ camps."

 2016: In an example of de ja vu all over again, friends and family (including her husband David Levin) gather to settle the birthday of Debbie Rosenbloom as the east coast digs out from a record snow fall.

2016: Professor Michael Wildt is scheduled to deliver a lecture on “Antisemitism, 'Volksgemeinschaft' and Violence: Inclusion and Exclusion in Nazi Germany” at the Institute of Historical Research in London.

2016: In a Radio 4 program on scheduled to be broadcast cast today BBC journalist Gavin Esler will tell the “story of Albert Goering — the brother of Nazi minister and air force chief Hermann Goering — who is said to have saved hundreds of Jews and political dissidents during World War II.”

2016: President Obama is scheduled to “mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day by attending a ceremony at the Israeli embassy in Washington” where a ceremony will take place recognizing “four Righteous Among the Nations.”

2016: The Tel Aviv Cinematheque is scheduled to host screening of “Into the North,” “a Czech-Israeli co-production” sponsored by the Czech and Danish ambassadors to Israel as part of the observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

2016: In a quirk of the calendar International Holocaust Remembrance Day falls on the 100th anniversary of Jewish Relief Day – an event where the people of the United States under the leadership of the President raised funds to provide funds to ameliorate the suffering of the Jews of Europe and Palestine. (Editor’s Note – the irony is that some of the Jews saved by this generosity would perish in the Holocaust.)

2017: While others mark the anniversary of the liberation at Auschwitz, the friends and family of Debbie Rosenbloom including her husband David Levin are preparing to celebrate a double portion of nachas – Shabbat and her birthday.

January 27, 2017: Observance of Holocaust Memorial Day which coincides with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviets.  For Jews there is a certain irony in the decision to use this date because what the Soviets actually “liberated” were the ashes of a people that the world had turned its back on. For more see

2017: In a moment of irony Bruhilde Pomsel, “the personal stenographer of Goebbels” and survivor Hitler’s bunker passed away on International Holocaust Memorial Day.

2017: In London, “Denial” is scheduled to be shown for the first time at JW3.

2017: As part of Interfaith Week, the Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to open its Friday night dinner to anybody “who wants to come and experience JSoc.”

2017: “And the Waters Subsided,” an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the Arno Flood featuring Jewish books and Judaica objects is scheduled to come to an at the National Library of Florence, Italy.

2017: Observance of Holocaust Memorial Day which coincides with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviets.  For Jews there is a certain irony in the decision to use this date because what the Soviets actually “liberated” were the ashes of a people that the world had turned its back on.

2017: While Holocaust International Holocaust Remembrance Day is being observed right wing anti-Semitism in on the rise in Poland and Germany while left wing anti-Semitism is on the rise from London, England to Knoxville, TN.

2018(11th of Shevat, 5778): “Shabbat Shirah”; for more see

2018: In addition to hearing the Song of the Sea, Debbie Rosenbloom will hear the song “Happy Birthday To You” as offered by her friends and family including most importantly, her husband, David Levin.

2018: “The Testament,” directed by Amicahi Greenberg is scheduled to be shown at the Brooklyn Israel Film Festival today.

2018: International Holocaust Memorial Day – The Power of Words

2018: In the UK, Britain’s Channel 4 is scheduled to show “Holocaust: Revenge Plot,” a “documentary featuring long-lost tapes describing how a Jewish group sought to exact revenge for the murder of 6 million.”



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