Saturday, January 27, 2018

This Day, January 28, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

January 28

 814: Charlemagne passed away. The grandson of Charles Martel was one of the greatest European rulers during the Dark Ages.  There was nothing Dark about his treatment of the Jews.  For the most part, he ignored canon law and the wishes of the Pope and treated the Jews of his realm rather decently. 

1077: As a result of an event called the “Walk to Canossa,” Pope Gregory VII lifted he excommunication of Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor. This was part of the struggle between the Church and the temporal rulers as to who would be the final voice of authority in Europe. Jews could not have taken comfort in this apparent success of Gregory over Henry. Gregory was hostile to Jewish interest.  This can be seen in his letter to King Alfonso forbidding Jews to hold public office or to “have power over Christians.”  Furthermore, he ordered the King to have the Jews pay special “Jew Taxes” throughout his kingdom.  Henry was protective of his Jewish subjects. He issued charters to the Jews of Speyer and Worms allowing them to trade in these cities and to practice their religion according to their laws and practices. Furthermore, during the Crusades, he defied Christian doctrine and the Pope, by supporting the right of Jews who had been forced to convert “to disregard their baptism and return to Judaism.”

1167(4927): Poet and philosopher Abraham Ibn Ezra, hero of the golden age of Spain, passed away. There is some disagreement about when this sage actually passed away.  Some say he passed away in 1164.  Others say that he passed away on January 23.  Although specificity as to the date of his death may not be possible, there is no doubt about his greatness.  This brief blog cannot do him justice so here are two sites where you can at least gain a nodding acquaintance with the life and work of this sage.

1225: Birthdate of Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic Saint who expressed his views on Jews in a “Letter on the Treatment of Jews” written in 1271.

For more, see Aquinas and the Jews by John Y.B. Hood and Thomas Aquinas on the Jews Steven C. Boguslawski

1547: King Henry VIII of England passed away.  When seeking to divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn, Henry sought to make use of Biblical law in his fight with Rome. He thought that Rabbis, learned in the matter, might be of some help.  Since Jews were not supposed to be living in England, Henry was forced to seek out Rabbis living in Italy.  While the Rabbis offered some help, they were loathe to give too much assistance to a monarch in faraway England lest they offend and anger the Pope who could make miserable for the Jews of Italy.

1573: Articles of the Warsaw Confederation are signed, sanctioning freedom of religion in Poland. The primary beneficiaries of the document were competing Christian groups – Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox. Jews continued to enjoy the benefits of The General Charter of Jewish Liberties known as the Statute of Kalisz that had been promulgated at the end of the 13th century.

1594(5354): Seventy-nine year old Elia Levita  who was “also known as Elijah Levita, Elias Levita, Eliahu Bakhur ("Eliahu the Bachelor") and “was a Renaissance-period Hebrew grammarian, poet and one of the first writers in the Yiddish language” passed away today in Venice. He was the author of the Bovo-Bukh the most popular chivalric romance written in Yiddish, which, according to Sol Liptzin, is ‘generally regarded as the most outstanding poetic work in Old Yiddish.’”

1600: Birthdate of Giulio Rospigliose who as Pope Clemente IX modified the custom of having the Jews run through the streets of Rome as part of the carnival festivities by allowing them to pay heavy fines to avoid the race. This ended two hundred years of humiliation that had been introduced by Pope Paul II in the 15th century.

 1668: Pope Clement IX canceled the humiliating forced races known as the Palio. During the Plaio near naked Jews were forced to run through the streets of Rome during carnival time. In return for the revocation the Jews of Rome had to pay a special cancellation tax of 200 ducats. This tax was paid for almost 200 years.

1717: Birthdate of Mustafa III. During his reign, the Ottoman Empire continued to decline as a world power and became less accepting of non-Moslems. Mustafa personally helped to enforce the decrees regarding clothing that could be worn by his subjects. “In 1758, he was walking incognito in Istanbul and ordered the beheading of a Jew and an Armenian seen dressed in forbidden attire.”

1721: A fire broke out in the Judengasse at Frankfort which destroyed over a hundred homes. Christian looters took advantage of the situation and it took the intervention of Emperor Charles VI for the Jews to be compensated for their losses.  The fire gave Jews a chance to legally live outside of the Ghetto for 8 years.  By 1729, they had all been forced back into their narrow confines.

 1788: In Smyrna, which at that time was part of the Ottoman Empire, Rabbi and kabbalist Jacob Pallache “and Kali Kaden Hazan” gave birth to Haim Palachi, the author of works in Hebrew and Ladino and the Chief Rabbi of Smyrna who married Esther Palacci with whom he had three sons all of whom were Rabbis – Abraham Palacci, Isaac Palacci and Joseph Palacci.

1789: Lieutenant Colonel David Salisbury Franks, one of the highest ranking Jewish officers to serve in the American Army during the revolution was granted four hundred acres in recognition of his military service. Franks was one of the founders of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of Revolutionary war veterans.

  1790: The French National Assembly granted full and equal citizenship to the Portuguese and Avignonese Jews. The Jews of Alsace would have to wait until 1791 to be granted these same rights. France was the first European country to pass such liberal legislation.

1790: When Joseph II revoked the decrees protecting the Jews, “the citizens of Pesth, Hungary, took measures to expel the Jews because they were business competitors.

1793: Lord George Gordon, the English nobleman who converted to Judaism and took the name Yisrael bar Avraham Gordon was returned to his prison cell today because would not accept his character witnesses at the hearing where he should have been freed because they were Jewish.

1800 (2nd of Shevat, 5560): Chasidic Master Rabbi Meshulam Zusha of Anipoli passed away.  While there is much to say about this sage, most know him because of the following story or one of its variants. “Reb Zusha was on his deathbed surrounded by his disciples. He was crying and no one could comfort him. One student asked his Rebbe, "Why do you cry? You were almost as wise as Moses and as kind as Abraham."  Reb Zusha answered, "When I pass from this world and appear before the Heavenly Tribunal, they won't ask me, 'Zusha, why weren't you as wise as Moses or as kind as Abraham,' rather, they will ask me, 'Zusha, why weren't you Zusha?'”

1803: In Frankfurt am Main Caroline Stern and Freiherr Salomon Mayer von Rothschild gave birth to Anselm Salomon von Rothschild the founder of the Viennese bank Creditanstalt.

1809: Birthdate of Theodor Benfey, “the son of a Jewish trader from Nörten in Lower Saxony who chose a career as a philologist over being a doctor.

1810: Birthdate of Aron Mendes Chumaceiro, the native of Amsterdam who became Ḥakam of Curaçao, Dutch West Indies and who was the father of four prominent sons -- Abraham Mendes Chumaceiro: Attorney at law; Cantor Benjamin Mendes Chumaceiro; Dayyan Jacob Mendes Chumaceiro and Rabbi Joseph Chayyim Mendes Chumaceiro.

1814(7th of Shevat, 5574): Rabbi Dovid of Lelov passed away. He was the first Grand Rabbi of the Lelover Dynasty.  The Lelovers moved from Poland to Jerusalem in the late 1840’s or early 1850’s.

1842: Today The Jewish Chronical “carried the letter from Sir Moses Montefiore, President of the Board of Deputies, to the wardens of all the London synagogues conveying the resolutions of a meeting of the Board, synagogue wardens and the Chief Rabbi” that “ordered the reading of the cherem promulgated by the Chief Rabbi…”

1848: In New York, Benvenida Solis and Leon Ritterband gave birth their sixth child, Moses Maness Ritterband.

1849: Isaac Noah Mannheimer delivered a speech in the Austrian Reichstag on the abolition of capital punishment.

1851: Emma and Philip Salomons gave birth to Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Stern-Salomons, who gained fame as an author, scientist and barrister.  

1851: Northwestern University becomes the first chartered university in the state of Illinois. For our family, the two most famous graduates of Northwestern are Dr. Jacob Levin of blessed memory who earned his masters and Ph.d. from the Evanston institution and Betty Levin.

1856: Birthdate of Russian painter Isaac Lvovich Asknazi whose works included “The Poet Jehuda Halevi,” “Sabbath Eve,” “The Bridegroom Examined by the Rabbi” and “Bad News,” “a picture of Jewish life.”

1860: Fifty-year old Joseph Addison Alexander the Princeton University Professor a Hebraist whose works including The Earlier Prophecies of Isaiah (1846), The Later Prophecies of Isaiah (1847), and The Psalms Translated and Explained passed away today.

1860: The community of Kingston, Jamaica, “which is composed chiefly of Jews” have been making contributions for the relief of their suffering brethren of Morocco. They have managed to collect large sums in spite of the prevailing poverty.

1860: “Relief of the Jews in Austria” published today reported that “from Austria, amid the echoes of Hungarian dissatisfaction, and Tyrolese boldness, come the reports of promised reform. It is stated as a certain fact that in a few days the Emperor will issue a decree, relieving the Jews from many disabilities under which they now lie. The law which forbade a Jew to have a Christian servant is already repealed; and the emancipated Israelite can now rejoice in the possession of a cook who hasn't a conscientious objection to getting up and making a fire, of a Saturday morning. The expected decree will abolish the old law, by which no one of the three witnesses required for a Christian's will could be a Jew -- a blind provision, which has been the source of more trouble to Christians than Jews. Then the rule, still on the statute-books in Austria, that a Jew's evidence in a civil case against a Christian should be considered as "doubtful," will be done away; as also the present prohibition, which prevents any but a Christian from filling the office of Notary. This last provision is no older than 1855. Before that year Jews were allowed to be Notaries, and it is said that there is a Jewish Notary in Prague, who was appointed under the old law, and holds his office still. It is proper that the Government should concede these rights to an oppressed class; but one cannot but notice how, through these reforms, it hopes to escape more pressing and important demands from its subjects. Hungary demands her constitutional rights, and the Emperor grants a couple of reforms to Venice. Tyrol desires her ancient and guaranteed privileges, and he emancipates the Jews at Prague! No matter -- the day is coming.”

1862: In New York, Herman S. Bachman and Fanny S. Obermeyer gave birth to Hannah Bachman who married William Einstein and became Hannah Bachman Einstein an activist for child welfare in both Jewish and secular settings. Einstein “was raised in New York City's Temple Emanu-El, a German Reform congregation. As an adult, she remained active in the Temple, and in 1897, she became president of the sisterhood, a position she held for twenty-five years. One of Einstein's activities as sisterhood president was visiting the homes of recent immigrants. She soon became convinced that the private relief provided by the Temple would never be sufficient to alleviate the problems of this group. Only government action, she decided, could address the myriad social problems that immigrants and other impoverished people faced. Joining with other activists, Einstein lobbied the New York State legislature for widowed mothers' pensions, which would enable widowed women to care for their children without working outside the home. In 1913, she was appointed chair of the state committee to investigate the issue. Her committee wrote what became the Child Welfare Law of 1915, which became the national model. By 1920, nearly all the states had passed similar legislation. In the wake of her committee's success, Einstein became president of the New York State Association of Child Welfare Boards, served as the first woman on the board of the United Hebrew Charities, and helped found the National Union of Public Child Welfare Officers. Einstein died in New York City in 1929.

1865(1st of Shevat, 5625): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1865: Birthdate of Emma Eckstein, the native of Vienna who was a patient of Sigmund Freud and who became the first female psychoanalyst.

1867(22nd of Shevat, 5627): Seventy year old Philip Salomons, the eldest son of Levi Salomons passed away today.  A resident of Brighton, he married Emma Montefiore, the daughter of Jacob Montefiore, one of the leaders of the Sydney Jewish community.

1867: Birthdate of Reggio Emilia native Angelo Modena, the decorated Italian officer rose from the rank of second lieutenant of the Alpine troops in 1887 to the rank of general in 1927 after having served as a Colonel during WW I.

1871: Leo Frankel was among those serving as a member of the National Guard when Paris surrendered to the Prussians today…..  This marked the end of the Franco-Prussian War.  From the point of view of history, this was the first of a three act play.  The second act was World War I and the third act was World War II, including the Holocaust. 

1873: Lewis J. Cohen and Henry Lehman, the Jewish proprietors of a store on Chatham Street, were sentenced to a month in the Blackwell’s Island Penitentiary after having been convicted of verbally abusing a visitor to their shop named Robert J. Quinlan.

1873: B’nai B’rith held its annual meeting at Masonic Hall in Manhattan tonight.  According to the treasurer’s report, the society has $58, 961.76 in assets. Founded 14 years ago, the society has 6,096 members.

1874: Rabbi S.M. Isaacs officiated at the wedding of Jacob Schnizter and Cordelia Menken, the daughter of the late Solomon Menken.

1874: In Chicago, Illinois, The B’nai B’rith adjourned the third day of its national convention at 7 o’clock this evening.

1874: In Chicago, Illinois, delegates to the national B’nai B’rith convention attended a banquet at the Sherman House.

1875: Gratz Nathan, a prominent 30 year old New York lawyer who had served as the Assistant Corporation Attorney, attempted to commit suicide in his office tonight.  Nathan gained a certain kind of unwanted notoriety when his uncle, Judge Cardozo, was impeached.

1876: In Cincinnati, OH, Solomon and Caroline Fox gave birth to Jessie Fox who became Jessie Mack when she married San Francisco born jurist Julian William Mack,

1876: Birthdate of Irving Lehman, New York lawyer and jurist.

1877: The New York Times featured a review of John Peter Lange’s “Commentary of the Holy Scriptures” which focuses on the period of Persian rule when the exiles returned from Babylonia.  The commentaries are tied to the books of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.

1878: The annual convention of the District Grand Lodge No.1 of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rit came to a close today after a second day of meetings. The delegates will attend a banquet at Nilsson Hall this evening to mark the end of the event.

1880(15th of Shevat, 5640): Tu B’Shevat

1880: Birthdate of Herbert Max Finlay Freudnlich, the German chemist who served the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry from 1919 until his forced retirement in 1933. His father was Jewish.  His mother was not. He passed away in 1941 in Minneapolis, MN.

1881: Birthdate of Berlin born theatre critic and author Siegfried Jacobsohn.

1884(1st of Shevat, 5644): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1887: Birthdate of pianist Arthur Rubinstein

1888(15th of Shevat, 5648): Tu B’Shevat

1888: Birthdate of mathematician and recipient of the Royal Society’s Sylvester Medal Louis Joel Mordell, the native of Philadelphia who became a naturalized British citizen after completing his studies at Cambridge,

1890: Rabbi Mendes of Shearith Israel officiated at the wedding of Corinna Friedman, the daughter of Colonel Max Friedman to Leo Strassburger, the son of the former Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama.

1890: Rabbi Gottheil of Temple Emanu-El officiated at the wedding of Belle Strouse, the daughter of Abraham Stouse and Hugo H. Hahlo which took place this evening at Delmonico’s.

1890: Several hundred thousand dollars in deposits, including $180,000 belong to the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company will be withdrawn from the Albany County Bank today in response to the Board of Directors decision to choose a local lumber deal over Davis S. Mann as Cashier of the bank.  Mann has worked for the bank and his supporters attribute his rejection to the fact that he is Jewish.

1890: It was reported today that David Saltzman, a Jew who converted to Christianity, refused to A.A. Miller’s demand that he leave his daughter’s wedding.  The enraged father responded by beating him with his fists and his cane.

1891: In New Jersey, the trial of Joseph Kline, the President of a Jewish cemetery society, who is charged with larceny and obtaining money under false pretenses entered into its second day.

1891: Birthdate of Barney Sedransky, the basketball player who shortened his name to Barney Sedran and was nicknamed “Mighty Mite.”

1893: Birthdate of Abba Hillel Silver, the native of Lithuania, who became a leading Reform Rabbi, Zionist and champion of the rights of the American working man.

1894: The annual meeting of District Lodge No.1 of B’nai B’rith was scheduled to end today.

1894:  It was reported today that the new officers for B’nai Brith are: President – Samuel D. Sewards; First Vice President – Joshua Kantrowitz; Second Vice President – Bernard Metzgar; Treasurer – Solomon Sulzberger.

1894: A musical competition designed to raise money for charities including the United Hebrew Society that will include John Phillips Sousa’s band will take place today at the Madison Square Garden.

1896 “Bernhardt as Marguerite” published today described Sarah Bernhardt’s performance in “La Dame Aux Camelias” as “a veritable triumph….Bernhardt has rarely given a more careful or more inspired portrayal in this great role.”

1896: “New Theatrical Bills” published today described the successful performance of “A Woman’s Reason” produced by Charles Frohman which is now appearing at the Empire Theatre in New York.

1897: It was reported today that Mindel Brown, acting on behalf of the Ladies’ Auxiliary Corps, has presented a set of colors to the Hebrew Union Veteran Association.

1897: It was reported today that the newly elected officers of the Hebrew Mutual Benefit Society are

President – Morris Goodhartz; Vice President – Maurice A. Herts; Treasurer – Isaac K. Cohn;

1897: “Oldest Benefit Society” published today provides a brief history of the early Jewish community in New York and the Hebrew Mutual Benefit Society which was organized in 1826 when there approximately 300 Jewish families living in the city most of whom “lived below Canal Street and east of the Bowery.”

1897 The closing session of the Fifth Annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society to place today in Baltimore, MD.

1897: Using information that first appeared in The Hebrew Journal, “Too Much Reform” published today described what is seen as a retreat from “the work of iconoclasm” by the reformers and turn towards “preaching and teaching what they consider good and praiseworthy in rabbinical Judaism.”

1897: Two days after she had passed away, 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 was laid to rest today in Vienna.

1899: As of today, the entire 6th Virginia Volunteer Infantry had been mustered out of U.S. Service including Matthew N. Levy, Jr. of Norfolk who had been mustered into U.S. Service on August 8, 1898.

1899: Private Ehrenberg, a bandsman with the 2nd Louisiana Volunteer Infantry from New Orleans was discharged today.

1899: Governor Theodore Roosevelt addressed today’s meeting of the University Settlement Society today.  During his speech TR said that “there is nothing better than the way in which the Jew and Gentile…are striving together to accomplish just such things as this society set out to accomplish.”  Roosevelt’s positive view of Jews stands in stark contrast with the European experience (anti-Semitic riots in France and the anti-Jewish policies of the Czar) and are all the more significant since within the next couple of years he would be Vice President and then President of the U.S.

1899: It was reported today that in his recently published Story of France, Thomas Watson includes a description of the Christian massacre of the Jews in response to “the frightful ravages of the bubonic plague in 1348.”

1899: It was reported today that Monsieur Guerin, the President of the Ant-Semite League led a mob that entered the Place Dauphine at the back of the Palace of Justice where the libel trial brought by Mme. Henry was being heard.  The mob roared with shouts of “Death to the Jews!” After being dispersed by the police the mob re-formed on the Place du Chatelet where it howled “Spit on the Jews!” (All of this stemmed from the attempts to reverse the conviction of Dreyfus)

1899: A proposal was made today in the Chamber of Deputies “to have the Dreyfus Cased heard by a Supreme Court of Appeals, with all three chambers sitting jointly.”

1901: Count Ioseif (Joseph) Gurko, who while serving as the military commander of the region around Warsaw in the 1890’s sought permission to expel the Jews from the western zones of Poland, passed away.

1902: Herzl authorized Leopold Kessler’s leadership of the expedition to El Arish where he and others including Dr. Selig Soskin an agricultural expert, Dr. Hillel Joffee and Colonel Albert Goldsmid would consider the possibility of this area of the Sinai Peninsula as a possible site for Jewish colonization

1903: Herzl appoints Leopold Kessler as leader of the commission "for the exploration of the feasibility of settling in the northern half of the Sinai Peninsula.

1904(11th of Shevat, 5664): Fifty-five year old Austrian novelist Karl Emil Franzos, passed away today.

1905: Birthdate of Barnett Newmann, an American artist who is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters

1906: The protest letter drawn up at conferenced held by the New York University Law School Russian Relief Association which is to be sent to President Roosevelt published today read, “We the undersigned students of law of the New York University, feeling that it is our just privilege and sacred duty to do so, do appeal to and petition you, as the protector of our country, to use your good offices to bring about a cessation of Russia’s policy of prescription and persecution against her defenseless Jewish subjects.”

1906: A full report of the speeches exchanged between the Czar and a deputation of the reactionary League of Russian Men…published today” quoted one speaker as saying “the league’s watchword was orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality” which that “Jews, even converts were rigorously excluded” from the league.

1912: A description of President Taft’s appearance as guest of honor at The Daughter of Jacobs Ball was published today. The President was greeted by a throng of between 12,000 and 15,000 who had come together to raise funds for the Infirmary of the Daughters of Jacob on East Broadway. In his speech, Taft praised the Jewish people for “their perfect system of charitable institutions to look after their poor and infirm.”  The President left the ball as the band played Boola-Boola. 

1912: Birthdate of comedian “Professor” Irwin Corey

1913: In Chicago, “the K.A.M. Auxiliary” is scheduled to “observe ‘photography studio day’ this afternoon at the William Koehne Studio under the leadership of Mrs. Samuel Flitz.

1914(1st of Shevat, 5674): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1915: Jacob Schiff of New York wrote a letter to Max Warburg today in which he mentioned Bernhard Dernburg, the liberal German politician and banker whose father Friedrich Dernburg had become a Lutheran and who had married Luise Stahl, the daughter of a Lutheran minsters and Bernhard’s motherl

1915: In New York, Florence Worms married Abraham Sachs.

1915: “The Reverend C.B. Ragsdale testified today that he signed a false affidavit in which he swore he overheard the negro “Jim” Conley confess to killing Mary Phagan; that after signing this affidavit $200 was paid to hum through Arthur Thurman and C.C. Tedder and that a voice over the telephone, ‘like the voice’ of Dan S. Lehon promised him $10,000 more ‘if the thing went through.’”

1915: An act of Congress merged the Revenue Cutter Service with the Life-Saving Service creating the United States Coast Guard. Some of the Jews were members of, or associated with this valiant force were: musician and vocalist, Mel Torme,; Arthur Fiedler who “volunteered during the early days of World War II for the Temporary Reserve of the U.S. Coast Guard and was later a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary” and comedian and television star Sid Caear who joined the Coast Guard in 1939. This proved to be a boon to his carrer. Assigned to play in military shows, he caught the attention of producer Max Liebman, who was impressed by his ability to make other musicians laugh.  Liebman took him out of the orchestra and cast him as a comedian, jump-starting his career upon release from the Coast Guard in 1945. And the rest is show biz history.  When Sid Caesar was celebrating his 80th birthday, The Coast Guard presented him with a public service award that read as follows:

"The Commandant of the United Stated Coast Guard takes great pleasure in wishing a joyous 80th birthday to Coast Guard veteran Sid Caesar and presenting to him this Coast Guard Certificate of Appreciation, in recognition of his public support of the Coast Guard, most notably in the early days of his career as an actor, musician and comedian and more recently as public spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard. Mr. Caesar joined the Coast Guard in 1939, after studying saxophone at the Julliard School of Music and playing in a number of prominent big bands. In the Coast Guard, he was assigned to play in military revues and shows, such as "Tars and Spars," but he showed a natural penchant for comedy by entertaining other band members with his improvised routines, prompting show producer Max Liebman to move him from the orchestra and cast him as a stand-up comedian to entertain troops, jump-starting his career upon his release from the Coast Guard in 1945. After leaving the Coast Guard, Mr. Caesar went on to perform his "war routine" in both the stage and movie versions of the revue, and continued under Liebman's guidance after the war, in theatrical performances in the Catskills and Florida, but he never forgot the service that launched his career. Mr. Caesar's performance distinguished the Coast Guard as an honorable and valuable service. Friends and acquaintances say he always kept the Coast Guard close to his heart, especially its hardworking enlisted members. Each and every time the Coast Guard asked Mr. Caesar for a favor, he came through for us, whether it was speaking before the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association or recording audio public service announcements for Coast Guard recruiting campaigns. His respect, admiration and fondness for our service shines bright. Mr. Caesar's years of generosity, concern and dedication to the Coast Guard family are deeply appreciated and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard and public service."

1915: The total contributions received by the American Jewish Relief Committee as of today totaled $412,658.66.

1916: President Woodrow Wilson appointed Louis D. Brandeis to the Supreme Court.  Brandeis was the first Jewish member of the court.  Although there was opposition to a Jewish justice in some quarters, Brandeis was followed by two more distinguished Jewish Supremes - Benjamin Cardozo and Felix Frankfurter.  Brandeis was an active member of the American Jewish Community.  He was an early an ardent Zionist.  Unfortunately he did not live to see the creation of the modern state of Israel.

1916: Workers using adding and coin counting machines under the direction Treasurer Harry Fischel, Albert Lucas, Mrs. Samuel Elkeles and Mrs. Harry Kraft are busy tabulating the contributions that were received yesterday, Jewish Relief Day, include $200,000 from San Francisco, $65,000 from Cincinnati and $10,000 from Richmond, VA.

1916: A check was received in the mail today at the headquarters for Jewish Relief Day for $100 from Douglas Robinson, the brother-in-law of Former President Teddy Roosevelt.

1916: During the trial of a Jews in Galicia, the Polish Assistant Public Prosecutor alleged “that the Jewish religion teaches that revenge on non-Jews is justified” which will lead the Zionist organiations protesting to the government against this libel and demanding a inquiry into the matter.

1917: Among the gifts acknowledged by the American Jewish Relief Committee were $10,000 from the Chicago Committee and $1,000 each from committees in Louisville, KY, Indianapolis, Indiana, Des Moines, Iowa and Corsicana, TX.  (Editor’s note: the list of Committees outside of the Northeastern United States should serve as a reminder that there were thriving Jewish communities in a wide variety of locations.)

1917: James Malcom, an Armenian businessman and advocate for an independent Armenian state, introduced Chaim Weitzman to Sir Mark Sykes.  Sykes was a protégé of Lord Kichner and a dominant, if not the dominant, force in forming British policy in the Middle East.  Weitzman was seeking Sykes’ support for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine after World War I

1917: Dr. Schmarya Levin is scheduled to “address the Harlem Forum in the Wadleigh High School” this morning.

1917: The Commissioner of Foods and Markets is scheduled to “speak at the Evening Forum of the Free Synagogue” this evening.

1917(5th of Shevat, 5677): Rabbi Avraham Eliezer Alperstein the native of Belarus who was of the teachers at REITS and was one of the founders of Agudath Harabbonim passed away today in New York.

1918(15th of Shevat, 5678):Tu B'Shvat

1918(15th of Shevat, 5678): Seventy-five year old Mrs. Jacob Panken, he mother Jacob Panken, the Socialist-pacifist Judge of the Municipal Court, passed away suddenly tonight after suffering a heart attack which was thought to have been “brought on by the excitement” stemming from upcoming appearance before a draft board in the Bronx where she was going to plead for a military exemption for her 25 year old son Novie.

1918 In Jerusalem, the cornerstone is laid for Hebrew University.

1918: In the United Kingdom, a special conference of the labor movement is scheduled to consider a special memorandum recommending “that Jews in all countries enjoy the common elementary rights of tolerance, freedom of residence and trade and equal citizenship and that Palestine be set free from the oppressive government of the Turk and formed into a free State, under international guarantee, to which such of the Jewish people as desire to do so may return.”

1918: Leon Trotsky (born Lev Davidovich Bronstein) became leader of “the Reds.”

1919: Beatty v. Guggenheim Exploration Co., a US trusts law case, concerning the test for the imposition of a constructive trust best known for a quote from the leading opinion by Justice Cardozo -“The constructive trust is the formula through which the conscience of equity finds expression. When property has been acquired in such circumstances that the holder of the legal title may not in good conscience retain the beneficial interest, equity converts him into a trustee” was decided today.

1922: The Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Govan in Glasgow launched the SS Athenia, the first British passenger vessel sunk by a German U-boat in World War II which counted among the survivors was Kalmen Kaplansky.

1923: The First "Reich’s Party" (NSDAP) forms in Munich.  These are the Nazis.

1924: In the Bronx, Charles Ledner, “a furniture salesman” and “the former Beulah Levy gave birth to
Albert Charles Ledner, the WW II veteran and graduate of the Tulane School of Architecture.

1924: Charley Phil Rosenberg, who had spent part of his childhood in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, suffered a rare defeat on his way to winning the Bantamweight World Championship in 1925.

1926(13th of Shevat, 5686): Kaufman Kohler, the German born American leader who was one of the great leaders of Reform Judaism, passed away today in New York at the age of 83.

1928: Birthdate of Hal Prince, American stage producer and director.

1929: The British government is reportedly planning on building a road to the Megiddo Excavation which is being funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

1930: Today, Albert Einstein sent a letter to Issa El-Issa, the editor of Falastin, “a Palestinian newspaper based in Jaffa founded in 1911” in which he said, in part, “I am convinced that the devotion of the Jewish people to Palestine will benefit all the inhabitants of the country, not only materially, but also culturally and nationally” and “I believe that the Arab renaissance in the vast expanse of territory now occupied by the Arabs stands only to gain from Jewish sympathy.”

1932: In Chicago, Jackie Fields won a ten round decision “to regain the world welterweight title he had lost last year.” (As reported by Bob Wechsler).

1934 (12th of Shevat, 5694): German Chemist Fritz Haber passed away at the age of 65.  Haber won the Nobel Prize in 1918.

1934: In St. Louis Joseph and Zelma Bosse Feldman gave birth to Tulane grad Martin Feldman who began serving as a Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2010.

1935: Barney Ross won a ten round decision in Miami today “to retain his world junior welterweight title.” (A reported by Bob Wechsler)

1936(4th of Shevat, 5696): Thirty year old Richard Loeb, of Leopold and Loeb infamy, was murdered today by fellow convict James E. Day at Stateville Penitentiary after having spent the day with fellow killer and prison pal Nathan Leopold.

1936: German mathematician Issai Schur, who had been dismissed from his position because he was Jewish accepted an invitation to lecture in Switzerland.

1936: Fearing an outbreak of rioting that authorities in Prsytyk, Poland, “suspended the holding of market days for four weeks” as a result of the anti-Semitic Enek party’s campaign to boycott Jews.

1936: A reception was held tonight at Temple Emanu-El by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in honor of Sir Herbert Samuel and Simon Marks where the attendees had pledged “to supply its share of fifteen million dollar fund to be raised throughout the world” as long there are no plans to “aid or facilitate the export of German goods” which some had been pushing as a quid pro quo for improving the conditions for Jews living under the Nazis.

1936: As Poland continues in the grip of a wave of anti-Semitism, almost 100 Jews in Truskolaz were beaten today “following rumors that a Jew had committed a sacrilege in a church.

1937: In Chicago, “Sam Sotonoff, a machinist, and Jessie Berger, a homemaker” gave birth to Bette Lee Sotonoff who gained fame as author Bette Howland whose works included Blue in Chicago

1937: In an open letter to Dr. Stephen S. Wise and Dr. Samuel Margoles, editor of The Jewish Day, Felix Poplawski, president and Thomas Jachimiak, secretary of the New York District of the Guild of Polish Newspapermen in America took the two Jewish leaders to task today for their recent criticisms of Poland’s policy toward her Jewish citizens saying that “they considered it unjust to hold the Polish Government responsible for anti-Jewish acts and sentiment.”

1937: “For the first time an Austrian court adopted the Third Reich’s anti-Semitic ‘race’ principles today when Judge Mifka decreed a divorce between two German nationals – a Protestant and a Jewess – both Austrian residents on the husband’s plea that the difference in ‘race’ between a German Protestant and a German Jewess was itself grounds for divorce.”

1937: Jewish students attempting to enter Warsaw University grounds today were turned back Fascist pickets and those “who insisted on entering were pushed out and beaten.”

1938: Collier’s magazine published “The Fall in America 1937” H.G. Wells’ laudatory article about “I’d Rather Be Right “a musical with a book by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, and music by Richard Rodgers.

1938: In Geneva, Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Viscount Cranborne, the Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs brought pressure to bear on Rumania’s Foreign Minister, Istrate Micescu to improve the condition of the country’s Jews by reminding him of the clauses of the Treaty of 1919 that guaranteed that Jews would be treated as full-fledged citizens.

1938: The Palestine Post published a major study on the extent of the 'Octopus of Nazi Propaganda in Syria.' There were two major German propaganda centers in the Middle East: one in Cairo for Egypt, Sudan, Palestine and Transjordan, and the second in Baghdad, for Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The Germans proved to be masters in the art of propaganda and anti-Semitic incitement spread by their well-trained agents and maintained a number of exclusive, influential clubs in major cities. Large bribes were handed over for the 'Arab victims of the Jewish aggression in Palestine. 

1939(8th of Shevat, 5699): Parashat Bo

1939: Rabbi Samuel H. Goldenson is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “What Our Synagogue Should Be Today” at Temple Emanu-El.

1939: Rabbi Jonah B. Wise is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “Jesus ben Sirah” at the Central Synagogue.

1939: Rabbi Nathan Stern is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “The Vision of the Beautiful” this morning at the West End Synagogue.

1939: Rabbi Alexander Segel is scheduled to deliver a sermon “Does God Harden Human Hearts?” this morning at the Fort Washington Synagogue.

1939: Rabbi Harold H. Mashioff is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “We Have Not constituted Ourselves the Messiahs” this morning at the Temple of the Covenant.

1939(8th of Shevat, 5699): Louis Cohen a New York mobster who murdered labor racketeer "Kid Dropper" Nathan Kaplan and was an associate of labor racketeer Louis "Lepke" Buchalter was killed today shortly before he was to testify against Buchalter.

1939: U.S. premiere of “They Made Me A Criminal” starring John Garfield, with music by Max Steiner and produced by Benjamin Glazer and Hal Wallis

1939(8th of Shevat, 5699): Irving Friedman, alias Danny Field, a New York mobster, was murdered shortly before he was testify against Louis “Lepke” Buchalter  as part of deal with D.A. Thomas Dewey.

1941: Edward L. Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud and one of the “fathers of modern public relations,” writes a letter to the New York Times opposing a proposal by Dr. Harwood L. Childs of Princeton University that the U.S. should create a national propaganda ministry. 

1941: “Quiet City” a “composition for trumpet, cor anglais, and string orchestra by Aaron Copland” which had its root in “the incidental music” for Irwin Shaw’s “Quiet City” which premiered in 1939, “was premiered” today by “the Saidenberger Little Symphony in New York City.

1942: 1942, Gussie Schwebel appeared on the front page of the Forverts the day after she had delivered “three dozen knishes” to Eleanor Roosevelt ‘at her house, 49 East 65th Street.”

1942: In a sign of its increasingly closer ties with the Allies, Brazil severed diplomatic relations with all three Axis powers – a move that would eventually lead to a declaration of war that in turn would result in Lt. Col. Waldemar Levy Cardoza commanding a battalion of Brazilian artillery in the Italian campaign.

1943: Over the next 3 days, ten thousand Jews from Pruzhany, Belorussia, are deported to Auschwitz.

1944: Leonard Bernstein's "Jeremiah" premiered in Pittsburg.

1945: The weekly internal report of the War Refugee Board, states that the United States would permanently close its War Refugee office in Turkey. The outgoing representative stated, "Inadequate sources of information and communication channels render impossible the orderly organization or direction from Turkey of any rescue activities...."

1946: The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, a joint British and American committee composed of six Americans and six Englishmen that was charged with examining the “political, economic and social conditions in Mandatory Palestine as they bear upon the problem of Jewish immigration and settlement therein and the well-being of the peoples now living therein” which had been meeting in Washington, D.C. began its second week of meetings today in London.

1947: Arlene Francis and Martin Gabel gave birth to Dr. Peter Gabel the associate editor of Tikkun.

1948: Birthdate of Shimon Ullman the Jerusalem born professor of computer science and co-founder of Orbotech

1948: Birthdate of Laurence Moody, the Cambridge graduate who became an English television director.

1949: Israel was recognized (diplomatically) by Australia, Belgium, Chile, Great Britain, Holland, Luxembourg, and New Zealand.

1949: “Admiral Broadway Revue” “an American live television variety show” created and directed by Max Liebman who wrote for the show along with Mel Brooks and Mel Tolkin and starring Sid Caesar was broadcast for the first stime

1950: Birthdate of Barbara Klein who gain fame as Barbi Benton, friend of Hugh Hefner, Playboy Bunny and regular on the television country comedy hit, “Hee Haw.”

1950 (10th of Shevat, 5710): On the secular calendar the date on which Joseph Isaac Schneersohn (Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn or Friyerdikker Rebbe ("Previous Rebbe" in Yiddish) or Rayatz) passed away.  There is no way that this blog can do justice to his life of accomplishments.

1952(1st of Shevat, 5712): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1952: Birthdate of writer and director Richard Glatzer. (As reported by Ashley Southall)

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Soviet-controlled Hungarian regime was deporting Jews to work camps in a Soviet-inspired anti-Semitic campaign, resembling that of the Nazi era. In a similar manner Czechoslovakia started purging Jewish doctors in order 'to prevent the threat of a repetition of the murder of Soviet leaders.' The Knesset approved vastly increased customs duties on a series of commodities, including the food parcels sent to Israelis by their relatives from abroad. This increase was expected to cover at least a part of the budget deficit, which stood at IL 5.6 million, as claimed by the government, or IL 25m. as claimed by the opposition

1958: Dore Schary's "Sunrise at Campobello" premieres in New York City.

1958(7th of Shevat, 5718): Seventy-year old author Elma Ehrlich Levinger passed away today.

1959: Sixty-two year old Johannes Kleiman, “one of the Dutch citizens who helped hide Anne Frank and her family during the Nazi occupation of the Nethrlands” passed away today in Amsterdam.

1959 (19th of Shevat, 5719): Joseph Sprinzak, Speaker of Israel Knesset from 1949 until 1959, passed away. A dedicated Labor Zionist Sprinzak was one of the unsung founders of the early Zionist movement who dedicated their lives to creation of the Jewish homeland.

1960(28th of Tevet, 5720): Eighty-eight year old Orientalist Lionel David Barnett, the son of Baron Barnett and Adelaide Barnett and husband of Blanche Esther Barnett with whom he had two children passed away today.

1962: David Morgenstern, prominent Hebrew scholar and president of the Herzliah Hebrew Teachers Training Institute, was honored tonight at a dinner in the Pierre Hotel in recognition of his 25 years of “dedicated service to the furtherance of Hebrew education.” (JTA)

1965: Three days after the death of Winston Churchill, “Halina Neuman, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, wrote to The New York Times” expressing her feelings about Britain’s war time leader.  To Neuman, for those trapped in the darkness of Nazi Europe, Churchill’s speeches and the sound of his voice were a light, a beacon of hope and proof “that the world was not coming to an end.”

1967(17th of Shevat, 5727): Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit, the native of Tiberias  who was the only Sabra to sign the Israeli declaration of independence and who has served as the Minister of Police since 1948 passed away today.

1967(17th of Shevat, 5727): Forty-five year old virologist Alick Issacs passed way today

1967: The dedication of the nave windows created by Marc Chagall which were described as “the most successful and beautiful exhibition of his genius in this country” took place today at “Union Church, in the Hudson Valley hamlet of Pocantico Hills.”

1968: Following yesterday’s Shabbat services, the new chapel at Shaar Hasomayim was formally dedicated today.

1968: Ya’acov Ra’anan, commander of the INS Dakar, had wanted to enter his home port today but was told to stick to the original schedule and dock the boat on January 29 as planned.

1969: In the ever shifting sands of Israeli party politics, the Labor Party and Mapam created a political alliance called the Alignment.

1972: Clifford Irving and his wife Edith confessed that the “biography of Howard Hughes” was a fraud.

1977: “Cross of Iron” a WW II movie set on the Eastern Front with a screenplay by Julius Epstein was released in Germany today.

1983(14th of Shevat, 5743): Forty-eight year old Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan passed away today.

1984: A month-long show featuring 43 painting by expressionist Chaim Soutine is scheduled to come to an end at the Galleri Bellman in New York City.

1986 (18th of Shevat, 5746): The space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, killing all seven crew members: flight commander Francis R. "Dick" Scobee; pilot Michael J. Smith; Ronald E. McNair; Ellison S. Onizuka; Judith A. Resnik; Gregory B. Jarvis; and schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. “Among the seven crewmembers killed was Judith Resnik, the first American Jewish astronaut in space. Resnik joined the space program in 1978 after graduating from Carnegie-Mellon with a B.S. in electrical engineering and the University of Maryland with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Prior to the 1986 Challenger tragedy, Resnik served as the mission specialist on Discovery's maiden voyage in 1984, logging 144 hours 57 minutes in space. Resnik was the second American woman in space (after Sally Ride) and the fourth worldwide. Before joining the space program, Resnik worked in the radar division of RCA, as a biomedical engineer in neurophysics at the National Institute of Health, and finally for the Xerox corporation. She was accepted into the NASA program, along with five other women, in 1978. An Akron, Ohio, native, Resnik was a classical pianist and a gourmet cook, and also enjoyed running and bicycling. She was active in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the IEEE Committee on Professional Opportunities for Women, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Association of University Women.”

 1979(29th of Tevet, 5739): Two were killed and thirty-four more were injured when terrorists set off a bomb in a Netanya market.

1983(14th of Shevat, 5743): Forty-eight year old year old New York native Aryeh Kaplan, the physics researchers who changed his life when he became “a practicing rabbi” in 1965 passed away today.

1987: Valerian Trifa, the Iron Guard leader who later served as archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church in America and Canada died today. Trifa was exposed and brought to justice thanks to the efforts of Zev Gola

 1988: The BBC broadcast the final episode of “Yes Minster” a satirical political sitcom co-created and written by Jonathan Lynn.

1991: Iraq fired another missile with a conventional warhead at Tel Aviv tonight, the seventh attack in 12 days. But this time the army said the Scud was defective and disintegrated as it fell back to earth. No one was hurt, and there was no property damage. The missile had fallen apart even before any Patriot air-defense missiles could be fired at it.

1992: As part of “Israel: The Next Generation,” a performance is given of “‘Jabar’s Head, a cabaret show presented in Arabic, Hebrew, and English by the Beit Hagefen Theatre”

1992(23rd of Shevat, 5752): Eighty-six year old Israeli archaeologist Nahman Avigad who led the team that found the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter passed away today.

1992: In New York, Laurie Simmons and Carroll Dunham gave birth to actress and poet Grace Dunham.

1993: At New York’s Plaza Hotel, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, which operates two sports rehabilitation and social centers in Tel Aviv and Haifa and is building a facility in Jerusalem, receive the 10th annual Defender of Jerusalem Awards from the Jabotinsky Foundation.

1993(6th of Shevat, 5753): Fifty-two year old Hannah Wilke an American painter, sculptor, photographer, video artist and performance artist passed away today in New York.

1996 (7th of Shevat, 5756): Jerry Siegel noted cartoonist and creator of Superman passed away at the age of 81. Whether it is highbrow (see next entry) or lowbrow, there always seems to be a Jew somewhere creating American Culture.

1996(7th of Shevat, 5756):  Joseph Brodsky passes away at the age of 55.  Born in Russia in 1940, the famed poet would survive persecution in his native and exile to the United States to win the 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature and become Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991.

1996: A revival of David Merrick’s “Hello Dolly” closed at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre after 116 performances.

2000: “Isn’t She Great” a biopic directed by Andrew Bergman, “with a screenplay by Paul Rudnick based on a 1995 New Yorker profile by Michael Korda” starring Bette Midler, with music by Burt Bacharach was released today in the United States.

2000(21st of Shevat, 5760): Seventy-seven year old London born actress Joy Shelton who converted to Judaism after she married actor Sydney Tafler passed away today in Richmond upon Thames.

2001: In Chicago, “Roman Vishniac: Children of a Vanished World” featuring 50 pictures taken by the photographer “during the years 1935 through 1938” in which he “turned his camera lens on Jewish life in Eastern Europe, in the hope of focusing worldwide attention on its declining condition at the brink of destruction” opened at the Spertus Museum.

2001: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Newest Place in the World by Suzanne Ruta, Rethinking the Holocaust by Yehuda Bauer and the Jewish Confederates by Robert N. Rosen.

2002(15th of Shevat, 5762) Tu B'Shevat

2002(15th of Shevat, 5762): Today Mark Sokolow, who escaped without injury from the second tower of the World Trade Center during the attack on September 11, was walking with his family in the scarred central shopping district here when a Palestinian bomber set off an explosion that resounded throughout Jerusalem, killing herself and an 81-year-old man and wounding 113, most of them slightly. ''I was a lot luckier last time,'' Mr. Sokolow, a 43-year-old lawyer from Woodmere, N.Y., said as he recovered in a hospital here from shrapnel wounds to his face and leg. ''This one involved my whole family.'' After a frantic search for his wife and two of his daughters, he learned at the hospital that most of their wounds were also slight, though one girl, Jamie, 12, had shrapnel in her right eye. She was likely to retain her sight, doctors said. The blast scattered burning body parts across Jaffa Road and sent a cloud of swirling dust and circling pigeons into the air, witnesses said. The attack was steps from where a Palestinian gunman raked the area with semiautomatic gunfire last week, killing two and wounding 20 before being shot dead by the police. If the bomber in the attack today intended to die, she would be the first female suicide bomber to strike in Israel since such attacks began here in 1994, the police said.

2003: Ariel Sharon emerges victorious in Israeli elections today which included the defeat of Amram Mitzna, the leader of the Labor Party. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his rightist party, Likud, crushed Israel's Labor Party in parliamentary elections, as voters vented their doubts about any prompt, secure end to the bitter conflict with the Palestinians.

2004: Soviet dissident Alexander Podrabinek was summoned by the FSB to come for interrogation today, but refused to answer the questions

2004: In northern Greece, in the presence of US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller, Nobel peace prize winner Elie Wiesel and representatives of the city's political and cultural sectors, the memory day for Greek Jews who lost their lives in the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau was honored by the Jewish community in Thessalonica.

2005: “Barenboim Comments Sparks Anger As Controversy at Columbia” published today described the behavior of Argentine-Israeli conductor Barenboim and the environment which some Jewish students have to deal with at Columbia University.

2006(28th of Tevet, 5766): Kabbalah sage Rabbi Yitzhak Kedouri passed away at the Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem. His precise age was unknown, but estimated to be somewhere between 106 and 113 years old. Rabbi Kedouri was born in Iraq at the turn of the 20th century. He began his studies in Jewish mysticism in his youth, before coming to Israel in 1923. Kaduri, known as "the senior Kabbalist," is the last of a generation of Sephardic Jewish mystics. His close circle of friends and family say he was one of the few known living Kabbalist who used "practical Kabbalah," a type of Jewish magic aimed at affecting a change in the world. More rational schools of Judaism are skeptical about Kaduri's powers. Nevertheless, few doubted Kaduri's righteousness and vast knowledge of both conventional and more esoteric Jewish thought and law. For most of his life Kaduri was unknown to the general public. He led a modest life of study and prayer and worked as a bookbinder. During the past decade and a half he served as the head of Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva in Jerusalem's Bukharan quarter.

2006: “Nothing Lasts Forever” a comedy produced by Lorne Michaels in 1984 that was not released to the public, co-starring Mort Sahl, Sam Jaffe and Eddie Fisher with music by Howard Shore was screened today at the Eastman House's Dryden Theatre in Rochester, New York.

2007: Maccabiah U.S.A. (MUSA) held its annual meeting in Newark, New Jersey.

2007: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present by Michael B. Oren.

2007: The Washington Post featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by the late Carl Sagan.

2007: Raleb Majadele was appointed Minister without Portfolio making him Israel’s first Muslim cabinet officer.

2007: The Los Angeles Times book section featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Little Book of Plagiarism by Judge Richard A. Posner.

2007: The Times of London featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including of Imposture by Benjamin Markovits.

2008: An American adaptation of the Israeli television series “BeTipul” or “In Therapy” entitled In Treatment premiered today on the American cable network HBO

2008: In Seattle, Washington, the final performance of “The Westerbork Serenade.” “The Westerbork Serenade” is a one-person play which tells the true story of Jewish cabaret performers held by the Nazis in the Dutch transit camp of Westerbork. From 1942-1944, some of Berlin's greatest stars performed at Westerbork, thereby delaying their transport to death camps. Most, however, were killed before the end of the war. The play contains period songs, sketches and accounts. “The Westerbork Serenade” is the title of an acerbic love song about camp life written by Dutch singing duo, Johnny and Jones, in 1944, just months before their deportation to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen death camps.

2008: U.S. News & World Report features an article entitled “New Taste for Kosher Food” that begins “Not only Jews look for the kosher symbol on food these days. In a surprising turn of events, "kosher" has become the most popular claim on new food products, trouncing "organic" and "no additives or preservatives," according to a recent report. A noteworthy 4,719 new kosher items were launched in the United States last year—nearly double the number of new "all natural" products, which placed second in the report, issued last month by Mintel, a Chicago-based market research firm. In fact, sales of kosher foods have risen an estimated 15 percent a year for the past decade. Yet Jews, whose religious doctrine mandates the observance of kosher dietary laws, make up only 20 percent of those buying kosher products. What gives? "It's the belief among all consumers that kosher food is safer, a critical thing right now with worries about the integrity of the food supply," says Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior analyst at Mintel a Chicago based market research firm.

2008: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Palestinian refugees belong in their own state and do not have a "literal" right of return to Israel. "The outlines of any agreement would involve ensuring that Israel remains a Jewish state.” His statements of support for the Israeli position on refugees came on the heels of scurrilous charges that Obama is secretly a Muslim who received a radical Wahabi education.

2008: Israeli officials said today that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak held talks in Paris last week with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf even though their countries have no diplomatic relations. The two men first met by chance in the hotel where Barak was staying and spoke briefly, a spokeswoman from his ministry told AFP.

2008 (21 Shevat, 5768): In Iowa City Dr. Michael Balch, Associate Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Iowa and a longtime member of the Jewish community passed away. Michael earned a BS in Engineering Science from Pratt Institute in 1960 an MS from New York University in 1962 and a PhD in Mathematics from New York University in1965.  His areas of expertise were Economic behavior under uncertainty and Theories of deterrence, arms control, and war.

2009: Jack Lew began serving as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. 

2009: The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research presents a lecture by Yedid Kanfter entitled: “The Lodz Towers of Babel: Industry and Religious Politics in Lodz Before the First World War” in which the Yale University professor  explores the link between Lodz and religious infrastructure, between industry and Orthodox politics. 

2009: The Jerusalem Conference “the unique annual forum co-sponsored by Arutz Sheva for the discussion of Israel's national priorities, social values, and aspirations” hosts its concluding session.

2009: “Stumbling Stone,” a documentary study of the artist Gunter Demnig and his continuing Holocaust memorial project is shown at the New York Jewish Film Festival.

2009: James Steinberg began serving as the 16th United States Deputy Secretary of State.

2009: “Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh” opens today in Manhattan.

 2009: Israel's chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican today to protest a papal decision to reinstate. Bishop Richard Williamson, who told Swedish TV in an interview broadcast last week that evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews being deliberately gassed." He said 300,000 Jews were killed at most, "but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber."

2010: In New York City, closing day of "Laba’s Guests" at Laba Gallery, New York 

2010: Walter Isaacson is scheduled to discuss and sign his new book, American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane, at Barnes and Noble in Bethesda, Md.

2010:  Novelist Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season and Wickett's Remedy, is scheduled to “chat” about "The Story Behind the Stories" at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. This event, co-sponsored with George Washington University, is the launch of the JCC's new series, "Authors Out Loud."

2010: Elisa New is scheduled to discuss and sign her new memoir, "Jacob's Cane: A Jewish Family's Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore," at Barnes & Noble in Rockville, Md.

2010: Israeli drip irrigation giant Netafim opened a new factory in Turkey today despite recent diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

2010(13th of Shevat, 5770) Seymour Bernard Sarason, professor emeritus of psychology at Yale University passed away in New Haven, Connecticut, at the age of 91. (As reported by William Grimes)

2011: The 92nd St Y is scheduled to host its Shababa Bakery where children of all ages can “squish, roll and braid” their own challah to take home and bake for Shabbat.

2011: Ezra Rosenfeld is scheduled to lead a guided tour of “the amazing mountain palace and fortress of Herodion” that many consider King Herod's "Piece de Resistance."

2011: Rabbi Edward Feld, the senior editor of the new Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative) High Holy Day Mahzor was not able to deliver his lecutre about “Why Words?”—a discussion of how we relate to words in a prayer book at Congregation Olam Tikvah in Fairfax, VA because of a snow storm and power outage.

2011: Paraguay joined a string of South American nations in recognizing an independent Palestinian state.

2011(22nd of Shevat, 5771): Gerry Faier, a longtime gay activist in New York who returned to Jewish practice in her later years, passed away today at 102.

2012: “Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber”  is scheduled to be shown at the Brotherhood Film Festival sponsored by Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York and the Virginia Peninsula Jewish Film Festival in Williamsburg, Va.

2012: Rachel Feinstein is scheduled perform on the final night of the Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival.

2012: In Iowa City, IA, Agudas Achim is scheduled to host “Support Mitzvah Day 2012” a fund raiser sponsored by the Tikkun Olam Committee.

2012: Opposition leader and Kadima party head Tzipi Livni called for tougher sanctions against Iran today, saying that it is the responsibility of the entire world to stop Tehran’s quest for the bomb.

2012: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said today that “Israeli intransigence” was behind the failure of the January Israeli-Palestinian talks in Jordan.

2012(4th of Shevat, 5772): Fifty four year old Steven Leiber, a San Francisco art dealer and collector who became an expert in artists’ ephemera and built an archive that became an important resource for scholars and curators” passed away today. (As reported by Roberta Smith)

2013: The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present “Laughing All the Way to Freedom” featuring Professor Emil Draitser, author of Taking Penguins to the Movies.

2013: This evening “a suspicious object” was found on the road leading to Erfat, which turned out to be “a fake bomb” that “had been planted on the road.

2013: Jerusalem expressed "surprise and astonishment" today at a decision by Iran and Argentina to set up a "truth committee" to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center that killed 85 people.

2014: “When You Listen to a Witness, You Become a Witness,” an exhibition that “documents the experiences of students while visiting the former Nazi concentration camps established in Poland during WW II,  is scheduled to open at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library

2014: “Yitzhak Bergel, the 47 year-old Jerusalem resident who allegedly spied for Iran on behalf of extreme anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect, was sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court today to 4.5 years in prison.” (As reported by Tova Dvorin)

2014: Twenty-three year old Abur Sara and 30 year old Abu Nagma were indicted today on charges that they “were planning a terror attack on Binyanei Hauma in Jerusalem and the American Embassy in Tel Aviv.” (As reported by Aris Yashar)

2015: Showtime broadcast the last episode of “Web Therapy” starring Lisa Kudrow.

2015: Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism in collaboration with the Institute for Historical Research, supported by the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck, University of London are scheduled to present “Remapping Survival: Jewish Refugees and Rescue in Soviet Central Asia, Iran and India.”

2015: The United Nations commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day which had been postponed due to predictions of an unprecedented snow storm which had cause the Mayor to “close down” New York is scheduled to take place today.

2015: A celebration of the release of “Toyznt tamen: A Thousand Flavors, a new recording by Yiddish singer and songwriter Miryem-Khaye Seigel” is scheduled to take place the Museum at Eldridge Street.

2015: A verdict is expected to be rendered today in the case of three defendants who are trial for an arson attack on the Wuppertal Synagogue last July. (As reported by JTA)

2016: In Tel Aviv the five day long “360 degrees music festival” is scheduled to come to an end.

2016: The 92nd Street Y is scheduled to host an evening with former CBS News anchor Michelle Gielan, the author of Broadcasting Happiness.

January 28, 2017(1st of Shevat, 5777): Rosh Chodesh Shevat; Parashat Va-ayrah;

2017: “Stormy weather washed several dozen explosive fuses up onto beaches in Tel Aviv and Herzliya today, police said warning the public to exercise caution.”

2017: An exhibition “WOMEN: New Portraits Annie Leibovit” is scheduled to continue its ten city tour with an opening in Zurich.

2017: Russ and Daughter’s is scheduled to host its first “Lox Without the Lines” a pre-paid Shabbat brunch at the Jewish Museum that is both kosher and in keeping with Jewish Sabbatical laws.

2017: After years of service to the Jewish Community of Iowa City and the University of Iowa, Agudas Achim is scheduled to host a farewell Kiddush for Jerry Sorkin.

2017: The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to host the Seudah Shlishit featuring a talk by Chaplain Michael Rosenfeld-Schueler

 2018: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to host “International Ladino Day: A Celebration of Story and Song.”

2018: Sara Aharaon is scheduled to lecture on The Jews of Afghanistan: History, Culture and Muslim-Jewish Relations at the Hudson Yards Synagogue.

2018: The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is scheduled to co-host a presentation by Murry Sidlin, President and Creative Director of the Defiant Requiem Foundation that provides an overview of about twenty composers who created many works at Terezin, the "model" ghetto/concentration camp established by the Nazis outside of Prague.

2018: The final screening “An Act of Defiance,” the winner of the Dorfman Best Film Award in 2017 is scheduled to take place today at Reel Borehamwood

2018: The curtain is scheduled to come down “A Sick Day for Morris McGee” which Yedioth Ahronoth described as “a work full of charm and ingenuity” at the New Victory Theatre.

2018: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic by David Frum, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff and The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age by David N. Schwartz

2018: Final day for registering for Tablet’s January Book Giveaway.





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