Thursday, February 1, 2018

This Day, February 2, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

February 2

506: Alaric II, eighth king of the Visigoths promulgated The Breviary of Alaric (Breviarium Alaricianum or Lex Romana Visigothorum) a collection of Roman law that included the sixteen books of the Codex Theodosianus complete with all of its anti-Semitic laws.

450: Birthdate of Justin I during whose reign as Byzantine Emperor the Beth Alpha synagogue was built “at the foot of the northern slopes of the Mt. Gilboa near Beit She’an.

962: Pope John XII crowns Otto I, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Gershom ben Judah, who will gain fame as Rabbeinu Gershom Me'Or Hagolah ("Our teacher Gershom the light of the exile") had been born two years earlier in Metz.  Mainz, the city he would move to as an adult, was already the center of Talmudic learning in this part of the Holy Roman Empire with Yehuda ben Meir serving as its leading scholar at this time.

1208: Birthdate of James I of Aragon. King James I of Aragon was the monarch who forced Nachmanides, Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, to participate in a public debate, with the Jewish convert to Christianity, Pablo Christiani.  Unlike what usually happened, Nachmanides chose to respond aggressively. His brilliant defense of Judaism and refutations of Christianity's claims served as the basis of many such future disputations through the generations. Because his victory was an insult to the king's religion, Nachmanides was forced to flee Spain. There were those who wanted the sage killed, but James let him escape; a silent acknowledgement of the strength of the Rabbi’s arguments.

1484: The first printed edition of tractate Bezah of the Babylonian Talmud was published in Soncino Italy

1536: Spaniard Pedro de Mendoza founds Buenos Aires, Argentina.  As in so much of the rest of Latin America, the first Jews to settle in Argentina were conversos.  When Argentina gained its independence in 1810, the Inquisition was abolished and this marked the beginning of the development of the modern Argentinean Jewish Community.  The first Jewish wedding in Buenos Aires took place in 1860.  Today Buenos Aires has a Jewish population of about 200,000 souls.  The city supports a variety of Jewish institutions including a campus of the Convservative JTS and one of the last remaining daily Yiddish newspapers.  Unfortunately, Buenos Aires was also the site of one of the worst terrorist attacks outside of Eretz Israel.

1499: The expulsion of the Jews from Nuremberg was scheduled to take place but was postponed until Lætare Sunday, 1499.

1592: Consecration of Clement VIII, during whose Papacy Jews were forced to attend “conversionist sermons,” prohibited from “dealing in new articles of clothing” and forced to allow copies of the Talmud to be burned in 1601,

1644: Birthdate of Isaac Chayyim Cantarini, also known as Isaacus Viva, the native of Padua who was a physician by training but who ‘also taught in the Yeshiva, officiated as a cantor” and served as “judge” in cases requiring a deep knowledge of Halacha.

1648(17th of Shevat, 5408): Rabbi Chaim ben Benjamin Bechner of Cracow, author of Or Hadash passed away.

1653: Incorporation of the city of New Amsterdam under Dutch rule. The first Jews would arrive in

1649: Birthdate of Domincan month Vincenzo Marco Orsini who as Benedict XIII issued bull describing the “necessary conditions for imposing baptism on a Jew”  and forbidding Jews to sell “new goods.”

1654.  In other words, there really is a valid reason for thinking New York and New York Jew in the same breath.  (New Amsterdam became New York when the English took the colony and named the city in honor of the Duke of York.) 

1697: In Great Britain, a site is acquired for the first Ashkenazi cemetery

1709: In London, Elias Lindo and Rachel Lopes Ferreira were married at Bevis Marks Synagogue – a moment which was celebrated by the creation of a silver Chanukah menorah by John Ruslen known as the Lindo Lamp, the “earliest known English menorah.”

1718(1st of Adar, 5478): Rabbi Gabriel ben Judah Loew Eskeles of Nikolsburg, Moravia passed away. He was the great-grandson of Rabbi Sinai Liva, the brother of the Maharal of Prague and the patriarch of the Eskeles “clan.”

1729: Despite the opposition of the Berlin Jewish community, Frederick William I repeated the order that Moses ben Aaron be appointed to serve as the city’s rabbi.

1740: In Zülz, Silesia, Seligmann Pappenheim, the town’s associate rabbi and his wife gave birth to Solomon Pappenheim whose works include a “book on Hebrew synonyms.”

1763: Löb Wertheimer (son of Samson Wertheimer and Frumet Brülle) and husband of Sarchen Halberstadt passed away today.

1769: Seventy-five year old Pope Clement XIII who in 1759 took a stance against the blood libel when he “proclaimed that the Holy See had examined the grounds on which rested the belief in the use of human blood for the feast of Passover and the murder of Christians by Jews, and that the Jews must not be condemned as criminals in respect of this charge, but that in the case of such occurrences legal forms of proof must be used” passed away today.

1790: The United States Supreme Court meets for the first time.  It would be one hundred and twenty six years before a Jewish jurist would be named to the High Court. 

1797: In the United Kingdom, George Isaacs and Kitty Levin experienced the tragedy of having a stillborn child.

1814: Gershom Mendes Seixas of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York gave a sermon saying that because the United States has declared war, it is the duty of Jewish Americans to "act as true and faithful citizens, to support and preserve the honor, the dignity, and the independence of the United States of America!" Gershom asked the people to pray to God for protection and a strengthening of faith and to get rid of the evil that is around them.  He discusses the horrible conditions that many people have been faced with and the numerous deaths that have occurred.

1816: Birthdate of Jacob Herz (Heart) the native of Bayreuth who was a successful physician in Erlangen but found his career stymied because he would not convert.

1820: Walter Jacob Levi married Rebecca Hart today in the Great Synagogue.

1825(14th of Shevat, 5585): Seventy-four year old Isac Hartvig Rée the husband of Sara Wulff Wulff von Essen and the father of Thamar Ree passed away in Altona, Germany.

1827: Birthdate of Jewish scholar Solomon Buber the Lemberg native who was the son of Isaiah Abraham Buber and the grandfather of Martin Buber.

1831: Gregory XVI began his papacy today during which he granted an audience to Raphael Meir ben Judah Panigel who “was the Sephardi chief rabbi of Jerusalem” until his death in 1893.

1835: In Gnesen, Posen, Joseph Chayyim Caro and his wife gave birth to historian Jacob Caro.

1837(27th of Shevat, 5597): Hungarian rabbi Moses ben Menahem Kunizter, a descendant of Rabbi Lowe, passed away today.

1840: “A report was spread” in Damascus that Father Thomas and his servant “were last seen in the Jewish quarter of the city” which “was sufficient to excite the wrath of” those “who had long nourished a bitter animosity against the Jews” and resulted in the arrest of Jewish barber.  After having received “500 blows” and the promise of a pardon “if he would disclose the names of his co-religionists who had” murdered the pair, the barber “denounced seven persons who had required human blood for the Passover festival.”  (Modern versions date these events as having begun on February 5. This is based on an account published in 1883

1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed ending the Mexican-American War.  There are limited records of colorful Jewish characters who showed up at different places where the war was fought (Remember, it covered a swath of territory including California, New Mexico, Arizona and the Republic of Mexico).  They include: Jacob Frankfort a tailor living at Taos, New Mexico; Nathan Appel, a trooper with Phil Kearny’s Dragoons, Solomon and Thomas Farnham who were with the American Army at the Battle of Chapultepec (and later made their fortune in California) and Jacob Frankfort, a tailor living in Los Angeles who went to work for the U.S. Army when the troops arrived.

1852: “Shocking Murder Near Philadelphia” published today described the discovery of the mutilated body of Jacob Lehman, a German Jew, who had been robbed before he was killed and dumped into the Delaware River.

1852: Forty-nine year old Francis Mary Paul Libermann (born Jacob Libermann) “a 19th-century Jewish convert to Catholicism who was a member of the Spiritan order and who is best known for founding the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which later merged with the Congregation of the Holy Ghost” passed away today in Paris.

1854:  A second dinner was held in Philadelphia designed to raise funds for Jewish charities.

1855: In Eisenstadt, Austria, Rabbi Dr. Azriel Hildesheimer and Henriette Jettchen Hildesheimer gave birth to Rabbi Hirsch Hildesheimer the husband of Rosa Therese Hieldesheimer

1858: In Pest, Hungary Wilhelm Diamant married Johanna Theres Diamant.

1860: "Oliver Twist," a dramatization of Dickens' novel by the same name, was performed at the Winter Garden in New York City.  J.W. Wallack played the part of Fagin the Jew

1861: Birthdate of Solomon R Guggenheim.  A second generation member of the Guggenheim family that made its fortune mining and metallurgy, Guggenheim is best remembered for endowing the Guggenheim Foundation which funds and runs the Guggenheim Museum. Guggenheim’s brother Benjamin died on the Titanic and it was his daughter Peggy who joined her uncle as a patron of the arts.

1862: Birthdate of Rabbi Joshua A. Joffe, The Jewish Theological Seminary's second Talmud instructor. He joined the Seminary as Preceptor of Mishna and Gemara in 1893, and retired in 1917. As one of only two full time paid instructors at the Seminary when he arrived (the other was Bible instructor Bernard Drachman) Joffe taught all of the Seminary's early graduates. He was also in charge of the library, and he took part in the students' Literary Society, lecturing in Hebrew to the group that met every other Saturday evening. In addition to his work at the Seminary, Joffe taught students in his home (one of these private students was Stephen Wise), and from 1893 to around 1908 he taught Hebrew and Jewish ethics at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum on Amsterdam Avenue between West 136th and 138th Streets. Joffe was born in Nesvizh, Minsk, Russia on February 2, 1862. He studied at the Volozhin Yeshiva, and received smicha (Orthodox rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Isaac J. Reines in 1881. He then went to Berlin and attended the liberal Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums from which he received a second rabbinic ordination in 1888. Joffe's education also included a period, 1886-1890, at the University of Berlin where he studied philosophy, history, and Semitics. He served as rabbi to congregations in Vishnove, Russia, in 1880, and Moabit, a suburb of Berlin, 1889-1892. In 1892 Joffe left Germany and came to the United States. After twenty-four years at the Seminary, Joshua Joffe retired in 1917 after a period of ill health. He then returned to Europe with his wife and daughter and died in Freiburg, Germany on December 23, 1935. His family returned to the United States after his death.

1866(17th of Shevat, 5626): Fifty-six year old Rosanna Osterman, the wife of “silversmith and merchant Joseph Osterman” who moved to Galveston in 1838, died today “in the explosion of the steamship W. R. Carter on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, and was buried in the Portuguese Cemetery in New Orleans” after which she “left an estate valued at over $204,000, much of which she bequeathed to charitable organizations.

1869: The will of the late James Disraeli “was proved” today by Benjamin Israeli.

1871: Baron Jozsef Eotvos, Hungarian statesman and who supported the emancipation of the Jews passed away today while serving as Minister of Religion and Education of Hungary.

1871: Gustavus Cardozo, Chief of the Ordinance Bureau in New York City has issued orders to all householders to immediately clear the snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of their houses and from their rooftops.

1873: In Olmütz, bandmaster and composer Mortiz Fall and his wife gave birth to Leo Fall who gained fame for composing a series of operettas.

1873: It was reported today that a benefit performance has raised $5,200 for the Home for Aged and Infirmed Hebrews.

1874(15th of Shevat, 5634): Tu B’Shevat

1874: In Philadelphia, PA, Herman Reizenstein and Louise Woernitz gave birth to Milton Reizenstein the recipient of Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins and husband of Rose Hollander who served as the Assistant Superintendent of the Educational Alliance and whose writings included the Economic History of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

1875: Birthdate of violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler.  There are several different views as to whether or not Kreisler was Jewish.  As the following note shows, even his family did not agree on the answer to the question. “Amy Biancolli's recent biography Fritz Kreisler: Love's Sorrow, Love's Joy  (Amadeus Press, Portland Oregon, 1998) contains an extensive discussion  of Kreisler's Jewish background, which he never acknowledged and which his wife adamantly denied (see Chapter 8: "Kreisler the Catholic, Kreisler the Jew").    Biancolli cites a 1992 interview by David Sackson of Franz Rupp, Fritz Kreisler's piano accompanist in the 1930s.  Rupp states that he once asked Kreisler's brother, the cellist Hugo Kreisler, about their Jewish background, to which Hugo responded simply, "I'm a Jew, but my brother, I don't know."  According to Biancolli, Kreisler's father, Salomon Severin Kreisler (also called Samuel Severin Kreisler), a physician and amateur violinist from Krakow, was almost certainly Jewish.  Fritz's mother, Anna, was a Roman Catholic, and probably an "Aryan."  According to Louis Lochner's 1950 biography Fritz Kreisler, Kreisler was reared as a Roman Catholic.  However, according to unpublished parts of the manuscript uncovered by Biancolli in the Library of Congress, he was baptized only at the age of twelve.  The bottom line seems to be that Kreisler was at least half-Jewish and his reticence on the subject primarily an attempt to placate his highly anti-Semitic wife Harriet.  ("Fritz hasn't a drop of Jewish blood in his veins!" she is said to have vehemently responded to an inquiry from Leopold Godowsky.  Godowsky retorted: "He must be very anemic.")”

1876: The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs of Major League Baseball which we know simply as the National League, the first and oldest of baseball’s two Major Leagues is formed. Lip Pike may have been the first Jewish major leaguer.  He had begun playing before the creation of the National League.  Reportedly, his first stint was with the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1876 he played with the National League team in St. Louis, thus making him the first Jewish baseball player to play in baseball’s senior circuit.

1878:  It was reported today that the Jewish Messenger has taken issue with those who feel they must respond every time somebody expresses negativity regarding Hebrews as individuals are as a group.  Those making these statements are “petty assailants” from whom the Hebrews need no defense.

1879: Birthdate of Johana Handgriffova who was transported from Prague in October, 1942 to Ujazdow where he was murdered.

1879: In Prague, Dr. Otto Pribram and Fanny Pribram gave birth Ernst August Pribram the Austrian Army Veteran, the serologist and bacteriologist who settled in Chicago where he also taught at Loyola.

1882: Birthdate of Irish author James Joyce. Joyce was not Jewish, but Bloom the protagonist in his most famous novel, Ulysses was Jewish.

1883(25th of Shevat, 5643): Seventy-two year old Rabbi Yisroel Salanter passed away. He was the father of the Mussar movement in Orthodox Judaism and a famed Rosh yeshiva and Talmudist. The epithet Salanter was added to his name due to the influence on his thinking by Rabbi Yosef Zundel of Salant.

1883: Birthdate of S. Z. Sakall.  Born Eugene Gero Szakall in Budapest Hungary, he used the first two initials of his last name to create his professional persona.  The chubby cheeked actor was also known as “Cuddles.”  One of his most famous roles was as the round faced waiter in Casablanca who tells Rick that he could “kiss him” after he lets a desperate young couple win enough at the casino to avoid the clutches of the lecherous Claude Raines.

1888: Birthdate of London born classical pianist Irene Scharrer.

1890: At Neuilly, France, verbal attacks were made against the Jews in general and the House of Rothschild in particular which was denounced for its “German origins” and its alleged role in the collapse of the l'Union Générale. 

 1890: “Religious Census” published today described the denominational makeup of Hartford, CN, a city of 48, 179 which includes 1,158 Jews.

1890: “Gods Who Are Kinsmen” published today provided a detailed review of Lectures on the Religion of the Semites by Cambridge professor W. Robertson Smith

1891(24th of Shevat, 5651): Philadelphian Ellen M. Phillips who was a benefactress of various Jewish charities including the Jewish Theological Seminary, passed away today.

1891: “Art Notes” published today described exhibition at the Hotel Cluny in Paris of “a collection of objects” used by Jewish during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.  The collection had been donated to the Cluny Museum by Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild and was made up of items that had originally belong to Isaac Strauss, who served as conductor during the reign of Napoleon III (more for 2014)

1893: “The Century for February” published today described the articles in this month’s edition of the magazine including “A Voice From Russia” in which Pierre Botkine, the secretary to the Russian Legation in Washington, DC provides his government’s version of its treatment of the Jews.

1893: Birthdate of Cornelius Lanczos the Hungarian mathematician and physicist who served as an assistant to Albert Einstein and while working for the U.S. National Bureau of Standards developed “the Lanczos algorithm for finding eigenvalues of large symmetric matrices and the Lanczos approximation for the gamma function.”

1894(26th of Shevat, 5654): Seventy-eight year old Maro Mortara, the native of Viadana who graduated from the rabbinical college of Padua in 1836 before starting to serve as the Rabbi to Mantua in 1842 passed away today leaving behind his son Lodvocio Mortara who was the father of statistician Giorgio Mortara.

1895(8th of Shevat, 5655): Sixty-eight year old French painter Benjamin Eugène Fichel passed away today.

1896: The Young Ladies and Gentlemen’s Circle of the Auxiliary Society of the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Orphan Asylum was formed today in New York City.

1897(30th of Shevat, 5657): Rosh Chodesh Adar I

1897(30th of Shevat, 5657): Author Abraham Kaplan passed away

1897: The Young People’s Association of the West Synagogue is scheduled to meet today at the home of Dr. H.P. Mendes. 

1898: During today’s court session where the libel suit that Joseph Reinach has brought against Henri Rochefort, the audience began shouting “Down with the Jews!”

1899(22nd of Shevat, 5659): Sixty-three year old Samuel David Klauber, the husband of Charlotte Klauber

1899: Based on information that first appeared in La Presse it was reported today that Captain Alfred Dreyfus was so angry when he learned that Captain Lebrun-Renault had claimed that he had confessed at the time of his trial that he refused to answer any more of the questions put to him by the Court Cassation unless he is returned to France.

1899:  Birthdate of Benny Rubin the Boston born actor, comic and writer whose career would span over 70 years and include work on the stage, film and television.

1899: Captain Albert W. Lilienthal completed his service with the 7th U.S. Volunteer Infantry, six months before he would re-enlist with the 40th U.S Volunteer Infantry.

1899: It was reported today that “the latest victim of the anti-Dreyfus party is the Grand Rabbi, Zadok Kahn, who is being denounced as ‘the ringleader of the infamous Jewish conspiracy against France…’”

1901: Birthdate of famed violinist, Yasha Heifetz.  Born in Russia, Heifetz was a child prodigy. He soloed for the first time at the age of four.  Considering the fact that he died in 1987, this means that Heifitz was a performer for eighty-two years.  He became "a violin virtuoso of worldwide acclaim."  He won several Grammies in the 1960s for his recordings of chamber music.  Heifetz is one of a long list of Jewish violin virtuosos including Yehudi Menuhin and Conductor Eugene Ormandy.  There are those who think of the violin as “the Jewish instrument.” Why, the comedian asked, do so many Jews play the violin?  Because, the violinist answered, it is a lot easier to carry than the bass fiddle when you are being chased out of a country.

1901: The 35th Annual Convention of the Independent Order of the Free Sons of Israel is scheduled to open in New York today.

1902:  Birthdate of Israeli political leader and government official Eliyahu Sasson

1903(5th of Shevat, 5663): Morris Tuska who had served as Vice President of the United Hebrew Charities of the city of New York passed away

1905:  Birthdate of Alissa Rosenbaum who gained famed as author and philosopher Ayn Rand. Born in St. Petersburg, Rand was the daughter of a pharmacist – a professional and member of the middle class which was quite an accomplishment in the anti-Semitic world of Czarist Russia.  The family lost everything in the Bolshevik Revolution.  She managed to finish her education in the early days of Lenin’s Soviet Union and the immigrated to the United States.  It was during the immigration process that she took the first name of Ayn (rhymes with Pine) and the last name of Rand as in Remington Rand, name of her favorite typewriter.  After a checkered career, Ms. Rand published her two famous novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. These novels and the film made from one of them espoused her philosophy of “Objectivism.”  Rand “glorified the self-made man who aggressively demonstrated his superiority over the masses through his business acumen.”  Her personal life was at odds with her philosophy when you consider the fact that her husband was a financial failure and much of her financial base came from her unconventional relationship with Nathan Blumenthal.  The name “John Galt”, the hero of the Fountainhead became a code word among her followers in the 1950’s.  She was the philosopher to a movement that found its voice in the Goldwater wing of the Republican Party.  Alan Greenspan, the current Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, is a great fan of her philosophy.  Although Rand died in 1982, her books continue to sell well and her philosophy which, according to some, glorifies selfishness as a virtue and condemns altruism as a vice enjoys periodic periods of revival and popularity.

1906: In Volkovysk,  Yerucham Warhaftig and Rivka Fainstein gave birth to Rabbi Zorach Warhaftig who made Aliyah in 1947 and served in Israel’s first nine Knessets.   Most important of all he worked with he worked with Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese Vice-Counsel in Kaunas to save the entire Mir Yeshiva.

1906: It was reported today that of the sixteen people executed in the Citadel at Warsaw in the last fortnight, 15 of them were Jews.

1906: Letters from Gomel appearing in St. Petersburg newspapers all agree that the “anti-Jewish outrages in that town were perpetrated with the open connivance of the authorities” with the Cossacks and dragoon leading the way with acts of arson and plunder.

1909: Adolf Stoecker, a prominent Lutheran theologian and court chaplain to Kaiser Wilhelm II who was a leading anti-Semite passed away today.

1909(11th of Shevat, 5669): Seventy year old Prague native Leopold Karpeles who was “awarded the Medal of Honor as a Sergeant in Company E, 57th Massachusetts Infantry” for rallying the troops under fire during the Wilderness Campaign in 1864 passed away today in Washington, D.C. after which he was buried in the cemetery of Washington Hebrew Congregation, the oldest Jewish congregation in the nation’s capital.

1909(11th of Shevat, 5669): Eighty-five year old Julius von Gomperzes the Austrian industrialist who was President of the Bron Trade and Commerce Chamber and a leader of the Brno Jewish community passed away today.

1910: Birthdate of Syracuse, NY, native Alexander "Mine Boy" Levinsky whose nine year career in the NFL included playing on two Stanley Cup championship teams.

1911: Birthdate of Hilde Metzger, the daughter of Louis and Clara Metzger, who moved to Amsterdam in 1933 when her parents “moved to Palestine escape the Nazis” and who became Hilde Metzter Prins when she married Benjamin L. Prins in New York in 1940.

1912: Chief Rabbi Franco of Jerusalem protests to the Turkish Minister of Justice and Public Worship over the removal of seats at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The Governor ignores his protest.

1913: Rae D. Landy, the Cleveland trained nurse arrived in Palestine today after having been recruited by Henrietta Szold “to begin a visiting nurse program in Palestine.”

1913(25th of Shevat, 5673): Fifty-seven year old Judge Henry M. Steinert of New York City passed away today.

1913(25th of Shevat, 5673): Seventy-five year old Nathan Goodman passed away today in Newburgh, NY.

1913: At a time when some in the Reform Movement were trying to make Sunday the day for Shabbat services, Dr. Emil G. Hirsch delivered the sermon this morning at services at Sinai Temple on Chicago’s South Side.

1913: Rabbi Joseph Stoltz is scheduled to deliver a sermon “The Memory of the Righteous” at Chicago’s Isaiah Temple which will coincide “with the annual memorial services of the B’nai B’rith Lodges of Chicago.

1913: Dr. Stephen S. Wise delivered a sermon ln “What is Wrong with the Jew?” at the Free Synagogue today.

1913: The New Jersey Conference of Charities and Corrections of which Newark, NJ Rabbi Solomon Foster served as a member of the Executive Committee began meeting in Plainfield, NJ today.

1914: Less than a year after having the British Featherweight Championship, Ted “Kid: Lewis (born Gershon Mendeloff) won the European Featherweight Championship “at London’s Premierland” today.

 1915: Birthdate of Abba Eban.  Born Aubrey Solomon Eban (he would later Hebracize his name after the creation of the state of Israel), in South Africa, raised in England and educated at Cambridge, Eban was a major figure in the creation of the Jewish state.  At Cambridge he “read” Classics and Oriental language.  This educational background meant he knew Arabic and had an appreciation of Arab culture, knowledge that would be useful during World War II when he served as an intelligence officer with the British Army.  It was while serving with the British Army in Egypt that he met his future wife.  She came from a prominent Sephardic family.  There are those who contend Eban’s political fortunes would later suffer because of his marriage to a Sephardic Jew.  Eban served at the United Nations during the Partition Debate and worked to gain early American recognition for the Jewish state.  After the War for Independence Eban was both Ambassador to the U.N. and Israeli Ambassador to the United States.  In these dual roles, Eban played a critical role in gaining popular and diplomatic support for the embattled state of Israel.  This sophisticated, Cambridge educated intellectual speaking English in the same oratorical tones as Winston Churchill was a one-man public relations machine, the value of which we can hardly comprehend today.  After his time in Washington, Eban returned to the rough and tumble world of Israeli politics.  He held a number of responsible positions, including Foreign Minister, but the top job of Prime Minister always eluded.  Eban produced several works on Jewish History and Civilization including Heritage which was the basis for PBS series narrated by Eban.  Yes, what you have read is biased.  I heard and saw Eban several times as youngster growing up in Washington.  In a post-Holocaust world, with the survival of Israel a daily question-mark, and genteel anti-Semitism still an accepted part of the American landscape, the voice and presence of Abba Eban was a source of pride and comfort to a whole generation of Jews.  Regardless of what his critics might say, in his case, the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.

1915: During WW I, Jamal Pasha, the military governor of Palestine, began battling the British under General Maxwell with the intent of taking the Suez Canal.

1915: It was reported today that “nearly all of the Jewish refugees in Alexandria come from Jerusalem and other large towns” including over 1,000 young men “who refused to become Ottomans” and have declared “their eagerness to join the British Army.

1915: It was reported today that the Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs chaired by Louis D. Brandeis “will deposit $10,000 with the American Consul at Alexandria” for the aid of Jewish refugees.

1915: It was reported today that “the distress among the 5,000 Jews and 12,000 Christians left in Jerusalem is acute” and that “the American relief supplies” are “insufficient to maintain life.”

1916: The American Jewish Relief Committee announced that it had raised $2,050,082 thus surpassing the goal of raising two million dollars set for Jewish Relief Day.

1916: Albert Lucas, representing the American Jewish Relief Committee, called on Secretary of State Lansing and Secretary of the Navy Daniels and arranged that a naval collier “laden with medicine” would sail for a Mediterranean port next week where the cargo will then be delivered to those living in Palestine.

1916: “A report to the committed from Philadelphia” today” said that the local committee there had $330,000 pledged and that the committees of businessmen would keep at work until at least $500,000 had been pledged.”

1917: The State Department received a cable from Ambassador Elkus that a group of refugees from Jerusalem, Aleppo and various parts of Lebanon, all of whom are women and children, are on their way to Beirut with plans to board the USS Des Moines and Caesar while at the same he has discovered another 1,000 Americans in the region who “are anxious to return to the United States. (Editor’s note: Yes, this is the same region that is facing a refugee crisis 100 years later)

1917: Premiere of “The Marriage of Luise Rohrbach” a German silent moved filmed by cinematographer Karl Freund.

1917: Birthdate of Jule Rivlin, the native of Pennsylvania who played basketball at Marshall where he coached from 1955 to 1963>

1918: Margaret Seligman married Sam A. Lewisohn, son of Adolph Lewisohn, benefactor of City College and other major New York cultural institutions.

1918: Governor Whitman, Colonel Harry Cutler, Chairman of the Welfare Board for Jewish Soldiers and Sailors’ Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein of the Institutional Synagogue, Rabbi Joseph Silverman of Temple Emanu-El and Rabbi Maurice H. Harris of Temple Israel were among the speakers at tonight’s celebration marking the 75t anniversary of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith.

1918: As it prepares to embark for the Front, The British Legion, a Jewish military unit serving in His Majesty’s forces, was ordered to London to march through the East End before proceeding to Southampton.

1919: Birthdate of Tullia Zevi, Italian journalist, writer and who was the daughter of an anti-fascist Jewish lawyer.

1920:  France occupies Memel. Memel was one of those cities that had changed hands many times throughout the centuries.  In the 20th century it was passed back and forth between Germany and re-born Lithuania. “The French Governor, who ruled the region on behalf of the Entente, cancelled all restrictions which had been imposed upon the Jews, and thus all the Jewish inhabitants of Memel and the region received citizenship. The Governor nominated a committee of four members, two of them Jews, Moritz Altschul and Leon Rostovsky, as well as one German and a French officer as chairman, to deal with requests for citizenship, as a result of which the number of Jews in Memel increased quickly. The port, the developing commerce, the convenient conditions for developing industry, the possibility to learn a trade and the easing of permission to leave for the west and to Eretz-Israel, motivated many Jews to settle in Memel. The Lithuanian Government, having annexed Memel and the region to Lithuania in 1923, was pleased with the increase of the Jewish population, because the Jews together with the Lithuanians reduced the influence of the German majority.”

1922: In Jerusalem, Priscilla Lee, daughter of Dr. Henry J. and Josie Wolfe married Joshua Lipavsky.

1922: Birthdate Shmuel Agmon, the Tel Aviv born mathematician “known for his work in analysis and partial differential equations.”

1923: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of the modern Turkish Republic declared, “Our country has some elements who gave the proof of their fidelity to the motherland. Among them I have to quote the Jewish element; up to now the Jews have lived in happiness and from now they will rejoice and will be happy.”

1923: “Nora” a silent film co-starring Fritz Kortner was released today in Germany.

1926: Arshag Mahdesian, an expert on Armenia wrote today challenging William E. “Pussyfoot” Johnson’s description of Turkey in which described “the Jews” as “aliens who live on the bounty of the Turks

1926: In Breslau, Rudolf Stern, “a physician, medical researcher and a veteran of the First World War” and “Käthe Brieger Stern,a noted theorist, practitioner, and reformer in the field of education for young children” gave birth to Fritz Richard Stern an “American historian of German history, Jewish history and historiography” whose family had been forced to leave Germany even though “his family had converted to Christianity in the 19th century.

1927: “Rio Rita” a musical orchestrated and conducted by Max Steiner “premiered on Broadway” today “at the new Ziegfeld Theatre.”

1927: The Ziegfeld Theater opened at 6th Ave & 54th Street in New York City. After Flo Ziegfeld’s death, Jewish showman Billie Rose would buy the theatre and turn in into his headquarters.  In 1927, the Ziegfeld was the site of the premiere performance of “Showboat”, the musical which owed its lyrics, tunes and literary inspiration to American Jews.

1927: Birthdate of jazz great, Stan Getz, premier tenor “sax man.” The son of Jewish immigrants from Russia, Getz was born in Philadelphia but raised in New York.  His father bought Getz his first saxophone at the age of thirteen. Getz gained fame among mainstream music fans when he won a Grammy for his recording of "The Girl from Ipanema" in 1963. 

1927: Birthdate of Herbert Kaplow, the Manhattan born son of Jewish immigrants who became a leading reporter for NBC and ABC television news.

1928: In Tel Aviv, Sir Alfred Mond, the Jewish chemist who became a Member of Parliament, says that despite the current level of unemployment, there is no economic crisis in Palestine, since the rate of unemployment is “constantly decreasing.”  After noting growth in the agricultural sector, Mond predicted that the construction of the Haifa harbor would have a positive impact on the country’s economy.  Others living in Palestine do not share Mond’s optimism, claiming that without an infusion of capital to develop the country’s industrial capacity, the employment situation will worsen.

1929(22nd of Shevat, 5689): Albert Steinrück who played Rabbi Lowe in the early German film classic Golem passed away at the age of 56.  Considering what was about to happen to the Jews of Europe, there is a certain sense of irony in this choice of material for a film.

1931: Birthdate of Newark, NJ native Judith Viorst the author best known for her children’s books and the wife of fellow Rutgers alum and author Milton Viorst who was on Nixon’s enemies list and whose late-blooming interest in Zionism and the Middle East can be seen in 2016 work Zionism: The Birth and Transformation of an Ideal

1931: The first Siyyum of the Talmud celebrated by Daf Yomi students.

1931: An announcement was made today at a meeting of “Jewish athletic clubs and youth organizations” held at the 92nd Street Y.M.H.A., that the “first world-wide Jewish Olympic games will be held in Tel Aviv next summer and that these groups had come together to “organize the first American chapter of the World Maccabee Union.”

1933: Hitler met the high command of Germany's officer corps for the first time.  Hitler needed the support of the Army.  The Prussian officer corps looked upon Hitler as an untrustworthy upstart.  They also feared that he would replace the army with the SA, his private army of brown shirted thugs.  Hitler would later make a deal with the high command.  He would get rid of the SA and they would support him.  This gave rise to the Night of Long Knives when Hitler literally killed off the SA and the German military machine embraced Hitler.  Neither World War II nor the Final Solution could have taken place without this alliance of Hitler and the High Command.

1933: In response to Hindenburg’s appointing Hitler to the post of Chancellor, the Familienblatt a Jewish weekly newspaper, “declared, that it can hardly stand the idea, that an outspoken anti-Semite is appointed head of government.”

1933: “Morgenrot” a WW I German submarine movie starring Camilla Spira, the daughter of actor Fritz Spria who died in the Ruma concentration camp in 1943, was released today in Germany three days after Hitler came to power

1934(17th of Shevat, 5694): Eighty-four year old Columbia University Professor Julius Sachs, a member by birth and marriage of the Goldman-Sachs clan and the founder of Sachs Collegiate Institute passed away today.

1934: In a letter published today Zionist leader Louis Lipsky criticizes an article published in the Good Gray Lady on January 21 which endorsed the proposal to create Arab and Jewish cantons as the solution to the problems in Palestine.  The Arab canton would include Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa while the Jewish canton would be limited to Tel Aviv and a narrow strip of land that would include the malarial swamps around Lake Hula.  Furthermore, Lipsky contends that the details of the plan which had been published in the Palestine Arab newspaper, Falstin, violate the spirit and letter of the Balfour Declaration to a point where it whittles it down to meaninglessness.

1934: U.S. premiere of “Hips, Hips, Hooray!,” a comedy directed by Mark Sandrich (Mark Rex Goldstein) with a script by Bert Kalmar, Edward Kaufman and Harry Ruby.”

1935: “Red Hot Tires” a crime drama written by Dore Schary was released in the United States today by Warner Brothers.

1935: Sam Winograd, the CCNY grad would become the school’s Athletic Director, led his basketball team to victory over Temple.

1936: Elfriede Spiro, a Jewish woman whose family had come from Ostrowo in East Prussia, but had fled to Breslau when East Prussia became part of Poland after World War I and then fled to Italy after the rise of Hitler and Italian physicist and Noble laureate Emilio Gino Segre “were married at the Great Synagogue of Rome” – creating a marriage that lasted until October of 1970 when Elfriede passed away and that produced three children (Claudio, Amelia Gertrude Allegra and Fausta Irene)

1936: In Washington, D.C., Simon Marks, Sir Herbert Samuel and Lord Bearsted are scheduled to address a conference being held to deal with the challenge of settling persecuted European Jews in Palestine.

1936: Today, the National Conference for Palestine unanimously approved “a complete boycott of all Nazi goods and services” and a pled to support a campaign designed to raise three and half million dollars for building “the national home in Palestine” and providing aid to German Jews seeking to settle there.

1936: A review of Adventures in Palestine by Marion Rubenstein which provides “a detailed picture of the new life which is being built in the Jewish communities in modern Palestine” as seen through the eyes of three little girls who are refugees from Germany was published today.

1936: Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “The Conquest of Troubles” at the Jewish Science Society.

1936: Rabbi Morton M. Berman is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “Need Jews Be Communists?” at the Free Synagogue meeting in Carnegie Hall.

1936: In Cincinnati, Alfred M. Cohen, president of B’nai B’rith presented his annual report to the executive committee in which he “declared that Palestine offers the one substantial hope for the salvation of German Jewry.”

1937: Birthdate of wrestler Boris Gurevich, the native of Kiev who a gold medal in Mexico City at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that British troops, assisted by aircraft and police, started a major anti-terrorist campaign in the hills around Jenin. Two British soldiers and some 45 Arab brigands were killed. There were also various shooting incidents in Jerusalem.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that at the Revisionist Conference, held in Prague, Vladimir Jabotinsky opposed partition and urged Britain to recognize the whole of Palestine as a Jewish country. "There is plenty of room," he argued, "for both Jews and Arabs to live together."

1938: In Warsaw, General Wilczynski, the head of the Physical Education Bureau said that the “Aryan paragraph recently introduced  in the by-laws of several sporting organizations excluding Jewish clubs from membership in national organizations” was “unsportsmanlike” and declared it illegal saying that a numerous clause limiting membership based on population percentage should be used instead.

1938: The Palestine Post reported that The Association of Romanian Architects and Engineers expelled all Jewish members.

1938: The Premier of Rumania, Octavian Goga, issued a written statement today in which “he asserted that anti-Semitism would continue even if he were removed from” office because anti-Semitism which has been part of the National Christian Party for the last fifty years is an “enduring feature of Rumanian policy.”

1939: In Prague, “two far reaching decrees – one aimed at depriving most Jews of their Czecho-Slovak citizenship and the other at forcing all immigrants to leave the country within six months – are scheduled to be proclaimed today by the government” which will have a devastating effect on  the 10,000 Jews who have become naturalized citizens since 1918.

1939: Ten year old Zvi Dershowitz, the future rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, “along with his parents Aaron and Ruth and sister Lili” emigrated to New York from Brno.

1940: U.S. premiere of “I Take This Woman” starring Hedy Lamar, produced by Louis B. Mayer with a script by Ben Hecht and music by Artur Guttmann.

1942: Churchill ordered Lord Moyne to release the 793 illegal immigrants on board the Darien and allow them to settle in Palestine. 

1942: Birthdate of Barry Diller former head of Paramount Studios and founder of Fox Television Network.

 1943: Four days before Max Mannheimer's 23rd birthday, he, his mother, father, brothers Ernst (Arnošt) and Edgar, his 15-year-old sister, Katharina (called Käthe), and his 22-year-old wife, Eva (née Bock) were arrested and deported to Auschwitz” where “his parents, sister and wife were taken in the first selection” and where his brothers Erich and Ernst were murdered shortly thereafter.

1943: Final surrender of German forces at Stalingrad.  This marked the turning point in the war on Eastern Front.  Now the Soviets would go on the offensive.  One of the by-products of the Soviet advances over the next two years would the liberation of several concentration camps including Auschwitz. The defeat at Stalingrad had a negative impact on Hitler’s relationship with the General Staff.  Ideological steadfastness would now become more important than military skill. 

1944:  Thirty-four days its keel was laid down, the SS Morris Sigman was launched today.  The ship was named after Morris Sigman who served as president of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union from 1923 to 1928.

1944(8th of Shevat, 5704): Ernst Alexander died today in Berlin.

1944: Edward Chodorov's "Decision" premieres in New York City

1944: Allied planes drop bombs on a German shipping port and accidentally kill Jews on the Island of Rhodes in the Jewish quarter.

1945: An unknown number of inmates attempted to escape from Mauthausen concentration camp.  Located in Austria, Mauthausen was opened in 1938.  It was liberated in May, 1945.  As to the risks and consequences of escaping consider the following account from a camp survivor, ““When someone tried to escape from Mauthausen during the winter, people were forced to march to the camp center where they were forced to stand outside all night in their ragged clothing. Other times when the person who tried to escape was caught, during the winter they would pour water over him and force him to stay out in the freezing cold weather.” When I asked my grandfather if his father ever tried to escape, he replied, “No, he didn’t escape - nor did he try. There was practically no way to escape from those camps, and if they did escape, then the Sudeten people would chase them through the fields. Most of the time they would catch them.”

1946: The Jewish Chronicle published the citation appointing Captain Newman a Member of the Order of the British Empire” for “his courage and devotion to duty during two clandestine missions in Occupied France.”

1947(12th of Shevat, 5707): Sixty-three year old David Louis Podell the native of Odessa, who was the son of Mordecai and Minnie Landa Podell passed away today in New York City.

1949: The Israeli Government in Tel Aviv announced that West Jerusalem was no longer ‘occupied territory’ but an integral part of Israel under civil administration.

1949: Immigration fever reached its height with approximately one thousand new immigrants a day reaching the shores of Israel.

1949: Birthdate of Brent Spiner, the actor who plays Commander Data on “Star Trek.”

1949: "The British military administration in Libya allowed Libyan Jews to travel to Israel.  This brought an end to travel restrictions that had been in force since the start of the Israel War of Independence.  According to Haim Abravanel "on the first day of legal emigration: 'It was snowing for the first time in Tripoli and under the white flakes blown by the wind thousands of poor Jewish wretches ran towards the street where the polices get their passports at last" and sold all of their possessions including "furniture, businesses assets and work tools."  In the next few days, 8,000 passports were issued to Jews who had no idea how they would reach Israel.

1950(15th of Shevat, 5710): Tu B'Shevat

1951: U.S. premier of “The Steel Helmet” a Korean War movie directed and produced by Samuel Fuller.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Jordan, following a border clash during which an Israeli patrol expelled marauders, accused Israel of "aggression” and invoked the Jordanian-British Treaty of 1948 for protection.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Soviet media embarked on a concentrated “spy and saboteurs hunt," and a "merciless struggle" against the Ukrainian "Jewish bourgeois nationalism and Zionism." (One thing that was left our during the memorial ceremonies commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz last week was any mention of the virulent ant-Semitism that gripped the Soviet Union almost immediately after the war.  If Stalin had not died, the fate of Russian Jewry would have been much different,)

1954: President Eisenhower reports detonation of 1st H-bomb.  The debate over whether or not to build the H-bomb featured two famous Jewish physicists; each leading a different faction.  Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the A-bomb opposed the building of the H-bomb.  Edward Teller, who was Oppenheimer’s junior and not nearly as illustrious a scientist led those in favor of building the bomb.  Teller’s side won and the rest is history.

1955: Pinchas Lavon resigned as Israeli Minister of Defense after bitter disagreements with David Ben Gurion, chief of staff Moshe Dayan, and Director General of his office, Shimon Peres. What became known as the Lavon affair concerned a controversial Israeli operation within Egypt. The question of who had prior knowledge was to plague the Israeli political establishment and Ben Gurion in particular for years to come. The Lavon Affair and its investigation commission eventually led to the fall of the government and brought about Ben Gurion's resignation in 1963.

1957:  Producer Mike Todd and actress Elizabeth Taylor got married.  Ms Taylor converted to Judaism.  Todd was the creator of a form of wide-screen cinema called Todd-A-O.  “Oklahoma” and “Around the World in 80 Days” were both filmed in this manner.

1957: The UN adopted a resolution calling for Israeli troops to leave Egypt.  This was the beginning of the end of the 1956 Sinai Campaign.  This resolution marked one of the few times in the Cold War when the U.S. and the Soviet Union found common ground.  The Eisenhower Administration resurrected the career of Nasser, the Egyptian dictator by forcing the Israelis to back down.  The Americans would do the same to the British and the French in what would be an example of the law of unintended consequences.  The Americans told their two European Allies that the American nuclear umbrella would not cover them if they did not give into the Russians.  The French gave in, but swore they would never find themselves in this situation again.  This was the driving force behind the French development of their own nuclear weapons and eventual departure from NATO.  As we have said many times before, Jewish history takes place on the stage of world history.

1959: “The Pride and The Passion” a big screen epic sent during the Napoleonic wars in Spain directed and produced by Stanley Kramer, co-starring Theodore Bikel as “General Jouvet” and with an opening title sequence designed by Saul Bass was released today in Finland.

1960:  Birthdate of Robert Smigel, a comedy writer, performer, and puppeteer best known as the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, a character he created for Late Night with Conan O'Brien and writer for SNL for twenty years.

1960: David Susskind produced “Juno and the Paycock” broadcast as “The Play of the Week” co-starring Walter Matthau in the role of “Joxer Daly.”

1962: “Swifty the Great” published today provides a profile of Swifty Lazar, the super-agent who beats out MCA, William Morris and General Artists for clients on a regular business.,33009,829005,00.html

1963 (8th of Shevat, 5723): Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel passed away.

1965: In Chicago, “Robinn Schulman, a nurse whose family owned the company that manufactured Shane Toothpaste (now known as AloeSense), and Joseph Steiner, a figurative painter and art instructor, David Steiner, a Zionist and filmmaker who died in an bus crash in Uganda after which he was posthumously ordained as a Rabbi.

1968: Today, the ill-fated INS Dakar was scheduled to enter her home port; a rendezvous she did not keep.

1970: The funeral of Frederick Cohen son of Isidore and Leah Cohen is scheduled to take place this afternoon at The Riverside.

1970: The funeral of Abraham Cahan, husband of Flora Cahan and father of Sanford Cahan and Marjorie Rosenbloom is scheduled to take placed this morning at The Riverside.

1974: As Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sought to bring a truce to the Middle East, Syrian guns shelled Israeli military position and civilian positions near the Golan Heights.

1974: Barbra Streisand's 1st #1 hit, "The Way We Were"

1975: Two people were injured in a terrorist bus bombing in Jerusalem.

1977: After their F-4E Phantom II was hit by an Israeli artillery shell David Noy and Ilan Erster were recovered after having ejected from their aircraft.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Europe was on an alert as Arab terrorists boasted of having poisoned Jaffa oranges.

1978: “The Boys in Company C” an early Vietnam era war film co-starring Michael Lembeck was released in the United States today.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli seamen extended their two-week strike to ships with vital cargoes.

1978: The first staging of International Stud part of a collection of three plays by Harvey Fierstein opened today at La MaMa, E.T.C., an Off-Off-Broadway theater, where it ran for two weeks

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that the indirect behind-the-scenes Israeli-Egyptian negotiations and the face-to-face military negotiations came to a halt with both sides remaining far apart in their search for a political

1980 (15th of Shevat, 5740): Tu B’Shvat

1980 (15th of Shevat, 5740): William H Stein, US biochemist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1972 passed away at the age of 68.

1985: Neil Simon’s “Biloxi Blues” closed out its world premiere run which had begun on December at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

1987: A memorial service is scheduled to be held in NYC for Grete Mosheim, a leading Berlin and West German stage actress whose husbands included actor Oscar Homollka and financier Howard Gould and who had fled Germany when Hitler came to power.

1988: In Itamar Yitro Asheri and his wife gave birth to Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri who was murdered by terrorists belonging to the PRC in 2006.

1989(27th of Sh'vat, 5749): Marie Syrkin, author, editor, poet, teacher, and outspoken activist for Israel, died at the age of eighty-nine.

1991: New York Mayor David Dinkins was scheduled to leave on his trip to Israel today.  The trip is designed to show support for Israel during the Persian Gulf War.

1992: A theater performance benefiting the Tel Aviv Foundation, which helps Russian artists settling in the Tel Aviv area, was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this evening "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," an adaptation of the Tom Stoppard play by Joseph Brodsky, the poet laureate of the United States, was performed in Russian by a Soviet émigré troupe, the Gesher Theater Company, with simultaneous translation into English. A reception honoring Mayor Shlomo Lahat of Tel Aviv followed the performance.

1993(11th of Shevat, 5753): Eighty-four year old Lithuanian born American violinist Alexander Schneider who was a member of the Budapest String  Quartet passed away today.

1994(21st of Shevat, 5754): German born Dutch photographer Annemie Wolff whose husband, architect  Helmuth Wolff committed suicide as a part of a failed suicide pact and who compiled a photographic of Dutch suffering under the Nazis passed away today.

1995(2nd of Adar I, 5755): Eighty-six year old physicist and radiobiologist Tikvah Alper who overcame prejudice against women and Jews and who opposed Apartheid in her native South Africa passed away today.

1997: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Behind the Oval Office Winning the Presidency in the Nineties by Dick Morris, For the Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman by Jonah Raskin and Arnon Grunberg’s Blue Mondays about “a jaded young Jewish man gets kicked out of high school and spends his days in bars, getting fired from jobs, rejecting his parents and his religion, and dropping most of his money on whores before deciding to become one himself.”

1997(25th of Shevat, 5757): Ninety-one year old Sanford Meisner the actor and acting teacher who founded the Meisner/Carville School of Acting passed away today.

1998(6th of Shevat, 5758): Eighty-six physicist Gertrude Scharff Goldhaber passed away today. (As reported by Wolfgang Saxon)

2003: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Welcome to Heavenly Heights by Risa Miller and What I Saw Reports From Berlin, 1920-1933 by Joseph Roth; translated with an introduction by Michael Hoffman

2004: Israel killed a leader of Islamic Jihad and three other terrorists in a Gaza raid.

2006 (4 Shevat, 5766): Paratrooper Yosef Goodman, a member of the elite Maglan unit died in a training accident. Goodman aged 20, originally from New York, lived in Efrat with his parents and siblings. The price of a Jewish state is indeed expensive.

2007: Israeli author David Grossman was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

2007: The Jewish Daily Forward published “The Joys of Cedar Rapids.”

2008(26th of Shevat, 5768): Eighty-two year old Joshua Lederberg who “was just 33 years old when he won the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering that bacteria can mate and exchange genes” passed away today.

2008: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at Temple Judah kicks off the weekend with Super Bowl Shabbat.  The traditional minyan combines Tefillah and Tailgating by observing Shabbat Mishpatim followed by a Kiddush featuring pizza and assorted football munchies.

2009: At NYU, the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership cosponsors “Tribalism in the Middle East,” a lecture by Mordechai Kedar, professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University and an expert on Arabic and Muslim Society.

2009 (8th of Shevat, 5769): Eighty-nine year old Ralph Kaplowitz, who appeared as a member of the Knicks in what is considered the National Basketball Association’s first game in 1946, when Jewish players were often showered with anti-Semitic catcalls, passed away at his home in Floral Park, Queens today.(As reported by Vincent Mallozzi

2009: Opening session of the 9th annual Herzliya Conference

2010: Members of the Little Rock Jewish Community are scheduled to meet at The Center of Jewish Life under the auspices of Rabbi Pinchas Ciment and join their co-religionists around the world in the second JLI course titled Portraits in Leadership: Timeless Tales for Inspired Living.

2010: The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan is scheduled to show “Una Storia Romana” (An Italian Story), a documentary that centers on the round-up of Jews in Rome in 1943 and Jewish attempts to raise the 50 kilos of gold that German demanded as ransom.

2010: Maggie Anton, author of the trilogy about Rashi’s Daughters is scheduled to speak at The Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Ontario.

2010: A number of Israel’s leading “Wikipedes” came to the Knesset today, where they reaped the laurels of their efforts, but also leveled a certain amount of criticism toward a lack of government cooperation with their efforts to compile a free online Hebrew-language encyclopedia

2010: First broadcast of PBS’s service documentary “Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness” which examines how Melville J. Herskovits a Jew who grew up in El Paso, TX came to be considered “the inventor of African American Studies.

2010: Ninety-one year old Donald Wiseman, the “biblical scholar, archaeologist and Professor of Assyriology at the University of London” passed away today.

2010: Security forces searched Israel's coastline and closed beaches in the south today after two barrels of explosives washed up on the shores of Ashkelon and Ashdod, north of Gaza.

2011: The 92nd St Y is scheduled to present “The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry: Pivotal Figures from a Heroic Era” during which political advisor Richard Perle and Gal Beckerman, author of When They Come For Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry, are scheduled to discuss the dramatic Cold War period when American Jewry first became politicized as Jews and Jews behind Russia's Iron Curtain took grave risks in order to win their freedom and emigrate to Israel or the United States.

2011: Mike Brown signed a three year extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

2011: Esther Friedman, matriarch of a pro-active Zionist family from Netanya and Jerusalem wh died last night at age 94 after several years of serious illness, was buried today on the Mount of Olives.

2011: The Knesset Constitution Committee approved a modified version of a bill today that would allow some small communities to maintain admissions committees to screen candidates for residency.

2012: Professor James Kugel is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “In the Valley of the Shadow: Some Thoughts on Serious Illness at Shearith Israel in New York City.

2012: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present a lecture by Miryem-Khaye Seigel entitled “The Broder Singers: Forerunners of the Yiddish Theater.”

2012: About 200,000 missiles are aimed at Israel at any given time, a top Israel Defense Forces officer said today, adding that Iran's ability to obtain nuclear weapons was solely dependent on the will of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

2012: During his visit to Gaza today, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon urged “the people from Gaza to stop firing rockets into the Israeli side. Indiscriminate killing of people, civilians, is not acceptable, for whatever reasons. Eight rockets were fired into Israel on the eve of Ban’s visit, the IDF said. 

2012(10th of Shevat, 5772): Seventy-year old Zalman King, “a filmmaker who mixed artistic aspiration, a professed empathy for female sexuality and gauzy photography to bring soft-core pornography to cable television” passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

2013: Israel’s No. 1 box-office hit, “The World Is Funny” is scheduled to be shown at the opening of  The 13th Annual Broward County Jewish Film Festival, at the Posnack JCC, in Davie

2013: The Israel String Quartet is scheduled to perform two string quartets by Beethoven at the Eden-Tami Music Center.

2013: As the בולטימור רייבנס prepare to square off against the סן פרנסיסקו 49, the traditional minyan at Temple Judah is scheduled to host its annual Super Bowl Shabbat service.

2013: The Syrian state broadcasters showed the aftermath images of last week's alleged Israeli air strike on the sprawling Jamraya site north-west of Damascus.

2013: The Los Angeles Times reported that the top contenders in the city’s mayoral race “share strong ties to the Jewish community.” (As reported by Seema Mehta),0,4056368,print.story

2013: Turkey’s foreign minister blasted Syrian President Bashar Assad for not responding to an alleged Israeli strike on targets in Syria. (As reported by Yoel Goldman)

2014: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including An Officer and a Spy, a novel about the Dreyfus Affair by Robert Harris and Trieste, a novel that focuses on the fate of Jews of this city that has belonged to so many nations by Dasa Drndic as well as a “conversation” with Gary Shteyngart, author of the recently published Little Failure.

2014: Among the ads scheduled to be shown during the Super Bowl is a commercial for “Noah,” director Darren Aronofsky’s  cinematic treatment of the “the righteous man in his generation.” (It will be interesting to see how his version squares with what he learned growing up Jewish in Brooklyn)

2014: In the UK, scheduled final showing of “Children of the Sun” a documentary about “the children who were part of Israel’s first kibbutzim.”

2014: “Mike Flanagan, a former British soldier who smuggled two Cromwell tanks to the Haganah in 1948, was buried in the Sha’ar HaAmakim cemetery alongside his wife and son today. (As reported by Marissa Newman)

2014: “threeASFOUR: MER KA BA” is scheduled to close today.

2014: “Chagall: Love, War and Exile” is scheduled to close today

2014: Ynet News reported today that “R abbi Mordechai “Motti” Elon, an Israeli Modern Orthodox leader, will not appeal his conviction on two charges of sexually assaulting a minor.”

2014: With Israeli politicians pouncing on US Secretary of State John Kerry for allegedly encouraging a boycott against Israel, the State Department issued a statement today urging that Kerry's words be portrayed "accurately."

2015: In Miami Beach, the Jewish Museum is scheduled to host a lecture by Genie Milgrom, “How to Find and Prove your Jewish Ancestry from Catholic Inquisition Sources.”

2015: In New York, the Center for Jewish History is scheduled to host “Echoes of the Borscht Belt” featuring contemporary photographs by Marisa Scheinfeld.

2015: During an awards ceremony today where the IDF honored many of those who fought “in last summer’s conflict in Gaza” a Distinguished Service Medal was awarded posthumously to twenty-four year old Lt. Eitan Fund “who famously rushed into a tunnel to try and stop the kidnapping of Hadar Goldin during an ambush near Rafah on August 1, 2014.”

2015: Pianist Roman Rabinovich and Violinist Itamar Zorman are scheduled to perform with Jupiter Chamber Players at the Good Shepherd Church in New York City.

2015: Anat Gov’s play “Oh God” is scheduled to open at the JCC Manhattan’

2015(13th of Shevat, 5775): Ninety-two year old screenwriter Stewart Stern passed away today. (As reported by Margalit Fox)

2016: “The Metropolitan Klezmer” is scheduled to perform at the 92nd Street Y.

2016(23rd of Shevat, 5776): Ninety-year old breast feeding advocate Dana Raphael passed away today. (As reported by Sam Roberts)

2016: The 92nd Street Y is scheduled to host “Trials and Error: The NFL Concussion Settlement.” 

2017: Journalist Paul Martin is scheduled to speak at today’s Learn and Lunch hosted by the Oxford University Jewish Society.

2017: Coe College is scheduled to host the first session of “The Conflicted Jewish World of Chaim Potok” under the leadership of award winning Physics Professor Steve Feller.

2017: Lebanon is scheduled to begin an auction for energy rights in an area of the Mediterranean Sea that is claimed by Israel.

2017: Richard A. Shweder is the Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development at the University of Chicago, David Makovsky is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute, Mark Yudof is Board Chair of the Academic Engagement Network and Milan Chatterjee is one of two recipients of the American Jewish Committee’s inaugural Campus Courage Awards, are scheduled to take part in a panel discussion about BDS on College Campuses at the Streicker Center

2017: Susan Bachrach, Curator of the special exhibition The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is scheduled to take part in a discussion “Sports and Politics, Then and Now” at the California African American Museum

2017: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to host the opening “Black Panther Got Loose from the Bronx Zoo: An Exhibition by Ido Michaeli”

2018: The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to host a Kabbalat Shabbat service followed by dinner at the beginning of Parents’ Shabbat.

2018: In Cedar Rapids, Temple Judah is scheduled to host its Tu B’Shevat Seder and Soup Seder.




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