1290 BCE: The coronation of Ramses II, who, according to some, is the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Since the Bible does not mention the Pharaoh by name, Ramses is not the only candidate. In addition to which, there is some debate among Egyptologist as to when Ramses actually came to power. According to some, his reign began in 1297 BCE.
1040: On the secular calendar birthdate of Rashi ישר, an acronym for Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac or Shlomo Yitzchaki. Rashi was one of the greatest commentators on the TaNaCh and the Talmud. Rashi was born at Troyes, Champagne, northern France, in 1040 and died there in 1104 or 1105. He was reputedly descended from the Davidic line with lineage to the royal house of King David. He studied at Worms under Yaakov ben Yakar, and at Mainz under Isaac ben Judah. He returned to Troyes at age 25, probably serving as Rabbi and “religious judge.” According to the Dictionary of Jewish Biography, as a judge and a rabbi, “he was unpaid…and he earned his living from the vineyards that he is reported to have owned.” [Editor’s note: Like Maimonides, Rashi followed the admonitions that he who makes a spade of the Torah shall perish and calling upon people to work for a living as well as studying Torah.] About 1070 he founded a Yeshiva which attracted many disciples. According to tradition Rashi earned his living as a vintner and/or as a wine merchant. Although there are many legends about his travels, Rashi likely never went farther than from the Seine to the Rhine - the utmost limit of his travels was the Yeshivot of Lorraine. Rashi had no sons, only three daughters, Yocheved, Miriam and Rachel, all of whom married scholars. Yocheved married Meir ben Samuel, Miriam married Judah ben Nathan (see above), and Rachel married (and divorced) Eliezer ben Shemiah. Yocheved and Meir's four sons were the tosafists Shmuel (Rashbam), Yaakov (Rabbeinu Tam), Yitzchak (Ribbam), and the grammarian Shlomo; one of their daughters, Channah, wrote a responsum explaining the ritual and blessing for the Shabbat lights. Besides minor works, such as an edition of the Siddur (Prayer-Book), Rashi wrote two great commentaries on which his fame rests. These were the commentaries on the whole of the TaNaCh (Hebrew Bible) and on about thirty tractates of the Talmud. Rashi's works are so well respected that he is often cited simply as "the Commentator." His commentaries are of interest to secular scholars because he tended to translate unfamilar words into the spoken French of his day. As such, his commentaries offer an interesting insight into the vocabulary and pronunciation of Old French. The authors of the Dictionary of Jewish Biography and The New Encyclopedia of Judaism agree that “although Troyes (Rashi’s city of residence) was untouched by the First Crusade of 1096…the last years of his life were saddened by the devastation that the Crusaders brought to bear on “defenseless Jewish communities of the Rhineland” in general and “the disasters which had befallen his own colleagues.
Commentary on the TaNaCh
Rashi's commentary on the TaNaCh is very thorough, and is used to understand both the plain meaning of the TaNaCh and the interpretation of the medieval rabbis. His commentary is often used in basic, intermediate, and advanced studies of the TaNaCh. There are a small number of commentaries that bear his name that were not authored by him, but by his students. Rashi's commentary on the Torah has become an indispensable part of the framework of Orthodox Judaism - tens of thousands, men and women alike, daily study "Chumash with Rashi" (Chumash = Pentateuch + corresponding portions from the Prophets) in reviewing the Parsha to be read on the next Shabbat. Rashi's explanation of Chumash, clarifies the "simple" meaning of the text so that a bright child of five could understand it. At the same time, it is the crucial foundation of some of the most profound legal analysis and mystical discourses that came after it. Since its publication, this commentary has been included as a standard in almost all Chumashim produced within the Orthodox community. Supercommentaries on this work include Gur Aryeh by Rabbi Judah Loew (Maharal), Sefer ha-Mizrachi by Rabbi Elijah Mizrachi (Re'em) and Yeri'ot Shlomo by Rabbi Solomon Luria (Maharshal). Almost all later commentaries will discuss Rashi either bringing His view as a support or debating it
Commentary of the Talmud
Rashi also wrote the first comprehensive commentary of the Talmud. His commentary attempts to provide a full explanation of the words, and of the logical structure of each Talmudic passage. Unlike other commentators, Rashi does not paraphrase or exclude any part of the text, but carefully elucidates the whole of the text. He also exerted a decisive influence on establishing the correct text of the Talmud. He compared different manuscripts and determined which readings should be preferred. His work became such a standard that it is included in all printed versions of the Talmud.
Rashi's Talmud commentary is always situated towards the middle of the opened book display; i.e. on the side of the page closest to the binding. The semi-cursive font in which the commentaries are printed is often referred to as "Rashi script." This does not mean that Rashi himself used such a script, only that the printers standardly employ it for commentaries. Daniel Bomberg, a Christian printer from Venice, introduced "Rashi script" in his publication of Rashi's commentary on the Tanakh in 1517. Rashi's commentary, which covers almost all of the Babylonian Talmud, has been printed in every version of the Talmud since the first Italian printings. Rashi did not compose commentaries for every tractate of the Babylonian Talmud. Some of the printed commentaries which are attributed to him were composed by others, primarily his students. In some commentaries, the text indicates that Rashi died before completing the tractate, and that it was completed by a student. This is true of the tractate Makkot, the concluding portions of which were composed by his son-in-law Rabbi Judah ben Nathan and of Bava Batra finished (in a more detailed style) by his grandson, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (also known as the Rashbam), one of the prominent contributors to the Tosafot.
“Rashi’s responsa (replies to inquiries on matters of Jewish law) …are characterized by liberality and humility…He ruled that it is permissible to interrupt the grace after meals to fee ones animals, basing the decision other scriptural injunction for a man to feed his animals before himself. On one occasion he told his questioner, ‘I was asked this question before but I realize that my answer then was wrong and I welcome the opportunity to correct my mistake.’” There are places in his commentaries where admits that he does not understand the meaning. “Of this I do not know.”
Rashi in his own words:
“Any plan formulated in a hurry is foolish.”
“Be sure to ask your teacher his reasons and his sources.”
“Teachers learn from their student’s discussions.”
“A student of laws who does not understand their meaning or cannot explain their contradictions is just a basket full of books.”
“Do not rebuke your fellow man so as to shame him in public.”
“To obey out of love is better than to obey out of fear.”
“”All the 613 commandments are included in the Decalogue.”
1217(6th of Adar, 4977): Judah ben Samuel of Regensburg passed away. Born in 1140 in Speyer, he was also called He-Hasid or 'the Pious' in Hebrew and was the initiator of the Chassidei Ashkenaz, a movement of Jewish mysticism in Germany. “This movement is considered different from kabbalistic mysticism because it emphasizes specific prayer and moral conduct. Judah settled in Regensburg in 1195. He wrote Sefer Hasidim (Book of the Pious) and Sefer Hakavod (Book of Glory). The latter has been lost and is only known by quotations that other authors have made from it. His most prominent students were Elazar Rokeach and Moses ben Jacob of Coucy.
1288: Papacy of Nicholas IV began. Like many medieval popes, Nicholas IV displayed a mixed attitude toward the Jews. On the one hand, he issued various instructions (1288) to the inquisitors to proceed against *Conversos and he renewed earlier legislation concerning the Jews in Portugal, compelling them to wear a *badge. On the other hand, he specifically protected the Jews of Rome from being molested by Christians (January 1291). He wrote to Emperor Rudolph requesting the release of *Meir b. Baruch of Rothenburg from prison. There is a belief that he enlisted the services of the Jewish physician and scholar Isaac b. Mordecai Maestro Gaio, who also attended Boniface VIII and who was the first of the Italian Jewish papal physicians. (As described in the Jewish Virtual Library)
1349: In Zurich, Switzerland, the town council tried to protect the Jews of the town, they were forced to give in to the mob, resulting in the murder of many of the Jewish inhabitants. The Jews were then forced to leave.
1455: Birthdate of Johann Von Reuchlin the German linguist who came to the defense of the Jews when Dominican Friars led by Johann Pfefferkorn sought imperial support to destroy a vast array of Jewish books.
1475: The first known Hebrew book, a copy of the TaNaCh, was printed in Italy.
1495: King Charles VIII of France enters Naples to claim the city's throne. Following the expulsion from Spain, Jews had found refuge in Naples thanks to King Ferdinand of Naples. When Ferdinand died his son Alfonso replaced him on the throne. Charles deposed Alfonso. During his short lived reign over the Italian city, the situation of the Jews worsened. Fortunately, a mixed bag of political and religious leaders drove Charles back to France. Unfortunately, the Jews of Naples would be expelled from their Italian haven in 1510.
1501: On this day and the following day, two tremendous auto-de-fe's took place in Toledo. A woman prophet and over 100 of her followers were burned. The woman envisioned those Jews who had previously died as martyrs were taken to heaven, and the Jewish Messiah was speedily going to return the Jews to the Promised Land.
1520: Birthdate of Moses Isserles, the Ashkenazic rabbi from Cracow best known for writing HaMapah (The Table Cloth) a “gloss” on The Shulchan Aruch (Set Table) of Joseph Karo. Karo relied primarily on Sephardic sources. Isserles used Ashkenazic sources to create a table cloth that would cover the set table thus making Caro’s work viable for the large number of Jews living in Northern and Eastern Europe.
1590: Archduke Maximilian granted the Jews of Mergentheim, Markelsheim, Igersheim and Unterbalbach the right to continue to bury their dead above the village of Unterbalbach for an annual payment of 16 Gulden to the Monastery of Mergentheim
1618(27th of Shevat): Rabbi Tanhum Ha-Kohen of Cracow passed away today.
1656: The Jews in New Amsterdam are granted, "A little hook of land situate [sic] outside of this city for a burial place." This cemetery land was located by the Bowery, near Oliver Street in what is now lower Manhattan. It would be another month before Jews were granted the right to own real estate. Public Jewish worship would not be an accepted matter of fact until the turn of the century. The establishment of a burial society and cemetery is a matter of major importance for any Jewish community. It was sign of permanence and belonging. Following the defeat of the Dutch by the English in 1664, New Amsterdam would become New York.
1732: Birthdate of George Washington. Several Jew’s served with Washington during the Revolutionary War. When Washington was elected President he sent amicable letters to different Jewish communities assuring them that Jews were welcome in the United States. The tone set by Washington helped to make the American experience different for the Jews than anything they had known in their history. As he said in his famous letter written to the Jews of Newport, “May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants--while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”
1755: Benedict XIV issued Beatus Andreas a Papal Bull that confirmed the blood libel as factual. ”The Bull reviewed the cases of ritual murder by Jews, which it explicitly upholds as a fact, and establishes the beatification but not the canonization of Andreas of Rinn and Simon of Trent”
1775: The Jews were expelled from outskirts of Warsaw, Poland.
1781: During the American Revolution Isaac Franks, who had been serving as “forage-master” at West Point, was commissioned as an ensign in the 7th Massachusetts Regiment. He served in that capacity until 1782 when he resigned due to health problems.
1788: Birthdate of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer who has nothing to positive to say about human existence. For him, life is harsh and cruel. If this is so obvious, Schopenhauer asks why there are any optimists in the world. Schopenhauer argues that ‘the aggressively optimistic philosophers of the Western World have fallen victim to a vulgar buoyancy which is rooted in the Jewish Tradition!” In his most famous work The World as Will and Idea the philosopher says Jewish traditional optimism reflects "a self-congratulatory human egoism, which is blind to all except our (own) all too frail human goals and aspirations."
1793: Birthdate of Isaak Markus Jost, the native of Bernburg who overcame poverty and the loss of his father while still a child to become one of the early creators of modern Jewish historical writing.
1812: Birthdate of Moses (Moyses) Baruch Auerbach who gained fame as poet and author Berthold Auerbach whose early efforts included a biography about Spinoza and a text entitled Judaism and Recent Literature.
1816: In St. Thomas, French native Jacob Baiz and Leah Baiz gave birth to Hannah Nanette Henriquez Moron, the wife of Jacob Henriquez Moron today.
1819: The United States of America and Spain signed the Florida Purchase Treaty which gave the United States complete control over what is now the Sunshine State. Within 2 years, records show that 30 to 40 Jews lived in northern Florida including Moses Levy a Moroccan born lumber dealer who built a Jewish colony in an area that is now home to the University of Florida. Abraham Myers, a West Pointer who served during the Seminole Wars was one of the first Jews to live in south Florida.
1820: Birthdate of Elizabeth D. A. Cohen, who would become the first practicing female physician in Louisiana. Born in New York City and educated at the Philadelphia College of Medicine, Cohen practiced medicine in New Orleans, LA. She passed away on May 28, 1921 and was buried in the Gates of Prayer Cemetery on Canal Street.
1821: In Hamburg, Germany Dr. David Assing and Rosa Maria Assing gave birth to authoress Ludmilla Assing.
1828: The final letter of correspondence between Lazarus Jacob Riesser and his son Gabriel was written today.
1828: In Vilnius, Abraham Bar Lebensohn and his wife gave birth to the Hebrew poet Micah Joseph Lebensohn. His brother-in-law Joshua Steinberg who was an author in his own right and functionary in the Russian government translated some of his Hebrew works into German.
1837: Nathan Lewis married Harriette Moses at the Great Synagogue today.
1839: In Hamburg, Kalmar Calman and Betty Friedburg gave birth Adolf Calman who served as a rabbi at several New York congregations including Beth Israel Bikur Cholim and Etz Chaim of Yorkville.
1840: Birthdate of August Bebel, a German social democrat and founder of the Social Democrat Party of Germany. The non-Jewish Bebel was committed to the concept of the brotherhood of man and one of his famous statements was, "Anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools."
1847: In Germany, M.A. and Sophia Stern gave birth to Louis Stern. After the family moved to Albany, Louis was sent to Petersburg, W. Va. “to learn the rudiments of merchandizing in the small store of any uncle after which he moved to New York where he and his brothers – Isaac, Bernard and Benjamin - opened the dry goods store that became known as Stern Brothers, that classier than Wanamakers and B. Altman’s but never quite reached the level of Lord and Taylor or Bonwit Teller.
1848: Beginning of the “The Third French Revolution” which replaced Citizen King Louis Philippe with the Second Republic.
1850: Birthdate of Isaac L Rice. The German born Rice taught at Columbia University and is the namesake for its Rice Stadium. As a businessman he played a key role in the development of submarines. He was a famous chess player and the inventor of the Rice Gambit.
1852: Martin Beir, the secretary and treasurer of the Milton Clark Company, an insurance agency in Rochester, NY married 17 year old Clara Hirsch, the daughter of Wolf and Eva Hirsch. (Clara passed away at the age of 39 and Beir never remarried. In 1898, he was chosen to head B’nai B’rith for the state of New York.
1852: Solomon Isaacs married Esther Hart today at the Great Synagouge.
1853: Founding of Eliot Seminary in St. Louis which would become Washington University. According to recently published figures Wash U has 2,000 Jewish undergraduates who are 33% of the student population. This helps to rank it as number 11 on a list of the 30 private schools Jews choose.
1854(24 Shevat, 5614): Austria Rabbi Abraham Neuda, the native of Moravia who was the son of Rabbi Aaron Neuda of Loštice, and the nephew of Rabbi Jacob Neuda of Lomnitz (Lomnice), Moravia and the husband of author Fanny Schmiedl passed away today
1855: The New York Times reported that a concert designed to raise funds for the Hebrew Benevolent Society is scheduled to be held at the Dodsworth Academy.
1855: Pennsylvania State University is founded. Today Penn State has approximately 4,000 Jewish undergraduate and graduate students out of a total student population of over 40,000. The university offers approximately 45 Jewish Studies courses. Penn State offers both a major and a minor in Jewish studies.
1856: The Republican Party holds its first national meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Early Jewish Republican supporters included Sabato Morais, Rabbi of Philadelphia’s Mikveh Israel Congregation; Moritz Pinner, a German born editor of an abolitionist paper who would fight in the Union Army during the Civil War; Louis Naphtali Dembitz, a Louisville lawyer whose nephew would become the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice. Jews were drawn to the Republican Party because of its anti-Slavery stance. Ironically, another group drawn to the Republican Party were members of the short-lived American Party, also called “The Know-Nothing” Party. The Know-Nothings were natavist who were opposed to the swelling tide of immigration, a belief that included more than just a whiff of anti-Semitism.
1857: Birthdate German born physicist Heinrich Hertz. He was the first one to broadcast and receive radio waves. The unit of measure “hertz” is named for him. Hertz was born into a Jewish family that converted to Christianity. The German Jewish community was devastated two times: first by conversions in the 19th century and then by the Final Solution in the 20th century. One wonders how many of those who perished in the latter were from families who had participated in the former.
1859: Ephraim Alex, the Overseer of the Great Synagogue secured the adoption of the following resolutions designed to help “the strange and foreign poor”:
(1) That it is highly expedient that the relief of the strange poor be managed by a Board of Guardians constituted of delegates from the three City Uniting Congregations.
(2) That the following gentlemen be appointed the delegates of this Board with power to meet the delegates appointed by the other two congregations and make such arrangements with them for one year as shall seem most desirable to effect the desired object, viz., Messrs. E. Alex, Samuel Moses, Lewis Jacobs, S. A. Jonas, Joseph Lazarus, Jacob Waley, M.A., and Lionel L. Cohen.
(3) That £220 be placed at the disposal of such Board of Guardians for one year to be paid in monthly instalments.
(4) That the Secretary of the Synagogue do attend the meetings of the Board of Guardians when requested and finish all information, books or documents bearing on the relief of the strange poor.
1860: The New York Times reported that “The community of Kingston, 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.”
1861: Bell and Daly announced the upcoming publication of The Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, by Isaac Taylor
1861: According to reports sent from Paris today, the arrest of Jules Mires has threatened the stability of the Credit Mobilier. It is expected that when word of his arrest reaches Constantinople, ruinous panic will set in since investors there hold a glut of paper tied to his financial activities.
1865: The Richmond Examiner described the condition of Charleston, SC when it fell to Union forces under the command of General Sherman. According to the Examiner, all that the Yankees found was “the abandoned hull of Charleston” inhabited by “a few Jews” and “some telegraph operators.”
1868: In Amsterdam, Marianne Smit and diamond cutter Mozes Polake gave birth to Henri Polak the founder of the Dutch Social Democratic Workers’ Party and longtime President of the General Diamond Workers’ Union of the Netherlands who died of pneumonia before the Nazis could ship him to a concentration camp in 1943.
1868: Birthdate of Charles Pearce Coady, a Democrat who served as a Congressman from Maryland’s Third District and was one of the opening speakers at the 13th annual convention of the Order of Brith Shalom in Baltimore.
1869: In Kaiserslautern, thirsy five year Abraham Weil, the German born son of Salomon Weil and Helena Lea Meyer married Berta Seligmann, a native of France
1871: Dr. Henry W. Schneeberger received his formal rabbinical ordination from Dr. Hildesheimer. In the document of ordination Dr. Hildesheimer testified to Henry’s high moral character and to his devotion to Judaism. He also wrote, “He is worthy to be crowned with the crown of Morenu Horav [Our Teacher, the Rabbi].” “Thus equipped with the rabbinic title and with the university degree, he lost no time and hurried home to try out for a rabbinical post. Only three weeks after his ordination in Berlin, he preached at the synagogue where he had delivered his very first sermon, at the Rodeph Shalom Synagogue on Clinton Street in New York City.” Rabbi Dr. Henry W) Schneeberger was the First American Born, University- Educated, Orthodox Ordained Rabbi in America (As reported by Dr. Yitzchok Levine).
1872: “Galicia’s Demands” published today described conditions in this portion of Austria that became part of the empire as a result of the partition of Poland. According to the article, the Poles are in the majority. However, the Germans and the Jews, who are in the minority “are far ahead of the Poles” “in money and intelligence.” Due to the electoral system, the Poles are the dominate force and the Germans and the Jews are underrepresented in the Diet.
1873: “Joseph Litten, the president of the Jewish community in Konigsberg” and his wife gave birth to professor and jurist Friedrich Julius Litten who became a Lutheran “in order to further his career” but who was also the father of Hans Litten, the lawyer who defended opponents of the Nazis and died at Dachau.
1876: In New York City, a Polish Jew was arraigned on charges of cruelty to animals. According to the arresting officer, Siwaski roasted a rat after he had caught in a wire cage trap.
1876: Johns Hopkins University was founded in Baltimore, Maryland. Today, the elite school has approximately 750 Jewish students out of a student population of 6,500. The university offers 45 courses in Jewish Studies and a major in Jewish Studies.
1878: It was reported today that Rabbi Maruice Treichenberg, who had served as the spiritual leader for the Greene-Street Synagogue, has passed away in Denver, Colorado.
1880: In New York, a meeting is scheduled to be held this afternoon at the Sons of Israel Synagogue to evaluate charges by Jewish butchers that they are being forced to violate Halachah by the wholesalers who employ them. According to the butchers, the wholesalers are having them keep meat for a period longer than that allowed by law and they are not allowed to warn their customers about this. The wholesalers deny the allegations.
1880: Professor Felix Adler delivered a lecture today on the subject of “Catholicism and Liberty” in which he took issue with the view of Cardinal Manning. Speaking on behalf of the Church, Manning has taken issue with the concept of the equality of man and the theory that government’s authority is derived from the will of the people.
1881(23rd of Adar I, 5641): In Jersey, eighty-eight year old Mary Asher, the widow of Benjamin Asher and the mother of Asher Asher passed away today.
1882: The SS Illinois a ship carrying Jewish refugees from Russia is expected to arrive in Philadelphia, PA today. The 50 Jewish families are escaping the violent attacks now going on the Czar’s domain. A committee of prominent Christians including the Mayor and leading Jews has developed plans to care for the refugees including lodging, food and job placement.
1882: Philadelphia’s May King received an offer today from Calvin Jones of Charlotte, NC, offering 40 acres to each of the 50 Jewish refugee families. The land is located in Alexander and Wilkes counties and is described as well watered and suited for growing wheat, corn and tobacco.
1882: In London, Sir Alexander T. Galt, the Resident Minister in Great Britain of the Dominion of Canada, recommended that Russian Jews immigrate to Manitoba while he was attending a meeting of the Lord Mayor’s Jewish Fund Committee.
1884: Birthdate of boxing Hall of Famer Abraham “Abe” Attell. Known as “The Little Hebrew,” Attell was Featherweight Champion from 1901 until 1912. He gained additional notoriety and ignominy as one of the figures alleged to have fixed the 1919 World Series. Supposedly Attell was the one who actually passed the ten thousand dollars to several White Sox players to guarantee that they would throw the Fall Classic.
1885: In Munkacs which at the time part of the kingdom of Hungary Mendel Gottesman and Sarah Fishgrund gave birth to American businessman and philanthropist, the husband of Jeanne Regina Gottesman and father of patron of the arts Celeste Ruth Gottesman.
1887: The Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society opened a new facility “for infants and boys over six years old” at 11th Avenue between 150th and 151st Street in New York.
1887: Birthdate of Ksawery Tartakower, the native of Rostov-on-Don who gained famed as Polish and French chess grandmaster Savielly Tartakower.
1887: Henry M. Stanley who had been designated as the leader of the expedition charged with rescuing the apostate Jew Emin Pasha arrived at Zanzibar.
1890: Tonight’s celebration of Washington’s Birthday sponsored by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association which will take place at the Hebrew Free School Building will include a speech by Rabbi Rudolph Grossman.
1890: Birthdate of Ukrainian born British pianist Benno Moiseiwitsch.
1890: Menachem Ussishkin one of the originators of BILU, founded the Odessa Committee. The Committee was dedicated to the practical exponent of the Hovevei Zion movement, in establishing agricultural settlements in Eretz-Israel. Ussishkin later served as President of the Jewish National Fund. He was one of the few early Zionist leaders who actually settled in Eretz-Israel.
1891(14th of Adar I, 5651): Purim Katan
1891: Birthdate of "Chico" Marx one of the Marx Brothers. A couple of his more famous films included “Animal Crackers” and “A Night at the Opera.”
1892: As New York City dealt with an outbreak of Tyhus that had been traced to recent arriving immigrants thirty-two year old Solomon Zabalzki and forty-two yeard old Rachel Hesselberg were among those who taken to North Brother Island where those thought to be infected were kept under quarantine.
1892: Sixty year old Esther Goodman, Robert Goodman and Sarah Goodman were rescued by firemen when a fire broke out this morning at their apartment in Brooklyn, NY,
1892: It was reported today that “the Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfort and Konigsberg Jewish Relief Committees” will be meeting “to consider the refusal of America to receive Russian Jewish immigrants brought by North German Lloyd steamers.”
1892: Birthdate of David Dubinsky one of a veritable army of American Jews who became leaders in the American labor movement. Born in Russia, Dubinsky began working the United States in 1911 as a cloak cutter. Two decades later he had risen to the presidency of the International Ladies Garment Union. The ILGU was a force for social and labor progress that helped end sweatshops and improve the lot of American workers. Dubinksy was honored with an American Medal for Freedom. He died in 1982 at the age of 90.
1893: Birthdate of “Polish born circus performer and vaudeville strongman” Siegmund Breitbart who was billed as “The Superman of the Ages” when he toured the United States in 1923.
1894: The 14th annual reception sponsored by the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society was held at the asylum’s facility on 151st Street.
1895: Captain Dreyfus began the journey that would take him to prison in French Guyana
1897: Amos J. Cummings will deliver a lecture today on “Horace Greeley” as part of the free lecture course offered at the Hebrew Institute.
1897: The Young Ladies and Gentlemen’s League will host a reception today in honor of George Washington’s Birthday at the Montefiore Home.
1897: The Jewish Alliance will host a reception today at Temple Emanu-El on 5th Avenue in honor George Washington’ Birthday.
1897: “Lehman Gift Accepted” published today provided details of the decision of the Board of Trustees of the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society to accept the gift of $100,000 from Emanuel Lehmnan that will serve as an endowment for a fund that will benefit those who had been under the care of the society and were now out on their own.
1898: Seventy-seven year old Heungseon Daewongun, the Regent of Korea whom German Jewish businessman Ernst Jakob Oppert attempted to blackmail in an attempt to remove “Korean trading barriers” passed away today.
1898: The managers of the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society will host their annual reception in honor of George Washington’s Birthday between 3 and 5 this afternoon.
1898: The Young Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s League of the Montefiore Home will host their fourth annual reception this afternoon in honor of George Washington’s Birthday.
1901: On Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Leah (née Goldstein) and Mordecai Marcus gave birth to David Daniel “Mickey” Marcus the West Point graduate and attorney who was the first “Aluf” of the IDF and built the “secret” road to Jerusalem that meant that the ancient city of David would be part of the modern state of Israel.
1901: Over the next three days, Herzl writes letters to Zionists in France, Italy, England and America for parliamentary intervention against immigration restrictions in Palestine. He considers transferring the center of his action to London but drops the plan because he does not want to separate from his parents.
1902: Herzl travels to Munich and meets the banker Reitlinger. Herzl proposes the Turkish suggestion of Jewish immigration to Asia Minor and Mesopotamia and the exploitation of mines. Reitlinger considers the matter too costly, risky and unsafe.
1902: Birthdate of Jacob Sack, the Pittsburgh native who played lineman for the Pitt Panthers before going to play professional ball for the nascent NFL.
1903: Boutros Ghali writes the conditions for the Jewish settlement in Sinai.
1907: Birthdate of actor, director and producer Sheldon Leonard.
1907: In Omaha, Nebraska, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Maisal gave birth to Zena Maisel who married Sidney E. Pollack and as Zena Maisel Pollack served as the administrative director of the Jewish Guild for the Blind.
1909(1st of Adar I, 5669): Rosh Chodesh Adar I
1909(1st of Adar 1, 5669): Sixty-seven year old chess champion Eugene Delmar passed away today.
1910: Birthdate of Sophie Melvin, the native of the Ukraine who gained fame as social activist Sophie Gerson (As reported by Deborah Gerson and Tim Wheeler)
1912(4th of Adar, 5672): Seventy-four old Bertha Eppstein, the wife of Max Eppstein and the mother of Seraphine Eppstein Pisko, the secretary of National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives, passed away today in Denver, CO.
1913(8th of Adar I, 5673): Parashat Tetzaveh
1913: Dr. Gerson B. Levi is scheduled to officiate at Saturday morning services at B’nai Sholom-Temple Israel in Chicago.
1913: Rabbi Joseph Stoltz is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “Washington and the Jews” this mornings at Isaiah Temple.
1913: Rabbi Abraham Hirshberg is scheduled to deliver a talk at this afternoon’s children service at the Chicago Hebrew Institute.
1913: Judge Huge Pam is scheduled to deliver a lecture this evening on “Municipal Government to the Welfare of the Nation and People” at the Chicago Hebrew Institute.
1913: It was reported today that “Samuel Littman, a sergeant of Company B, 47th Regiment of the New York National Guard has resigned” because he claimed that he was not promoted to lieutenant because he was Jewish – a charge that Governor Sulzer has asked to be thoroughly investigated.
1914: Birthdate of Dr. Renato Dulbecco, the Italian born virologist who shared a Nobel Prize in 1975 for his role in drawing a link between genetic mutations and cancer. During World War II, Dulbecco served as a medical officer in the Italian Army. When the train taking him to the Russian front “stopped in Warsaw, he saw railway laborers wearing yellow stars. When he asked about them, he was told that the workers were Jews who would be killed when their work was done. He was horrified.” According to him seeing this was a life changing moment which may account for the fact that he deserted from the Italian Army and spent the rest of the war providing medical assistance to the resistance fighters in and around Torino.(As reported by Denise Gellene)
1915: The second day of the 23rd annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society will include another series of literary presentations and a business meeting that will include the election of officers.
1915: Birthdate of New York native, “the song and dance man” whose credits including “Easter Parade” and “On the Town.”
1915: Georgia Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorse and State Attorney General Warren Grice are scheduled to file their brief in the U.S. Supreme that will deny a writ of Habeas Corpus in the case of Leo Frank who is scheduled to be hung after a trial held in the midst of an orgy of anti-Semitism.
1915: Eighteen year old Charles Pores won a weather-shortened version of the Brooklyn-to-Sea Gate Marathon.
1915: Following the failure of the Ottoman attack on Allied forces in Egypt, the Arabs have expressed their bitterness and “their determination not to fight in the future” on the side of the Turks.
1915: It was reported today that Djemal Pasha, the Ottoman Minister of Marine “clearly see the utter futility of further military operations against Egypt” and has gone north to Damascus” where he plans on resigning. (Reading this, one would not suspect that it will take the British another two years to finally get to Jerusalem and more than three years to finally complete their conquest of Palestine and Syria)
1916: Elinor “Ellie” Fatman the daughter of Morris and Settie Fatman who had been teaching at the Henry Street Settlement House since 1913 proposed to Henry Morgenthau, Jr. in Central Park.(As reported by Edna S. Friedberg)
1916: In Amsterdam, Levie Van Praag and Sabiena Cohen, both of whom were killed in Sobibor, gave birth Jacques Van Praag who was murdered at Birkenau
1916: In Washington, D.C., at today’s meeting of the Executive Committee of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers is scheduled to raise “the question of Jewish rights in the belligerent countries.
1916: Dr. Nathan Syrkin and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise addressed a convention chaired by Judge Sanders of the Jewish organizations of Manhattan held at Arlington Hall where plans were discussed for the upcoming Jewish conference to be held in Philadelphia in March.
1916: After two years and four month serving in Constantinople, American Ambassador Henry Morgenthau arrived in New York aboard the steamship Frederick VIII to start a 60 day vacation.
1917(30th of Shevat, 5677): Rosh Chodesh Adar
1917: As of today, Frederic C. Penfield, the United States Ambassador to Austria-Hungary “has turned over $25,000 to the Vienna Jewish Association to be used for the relief of Jews in the occupied districts of Rumania and Serbia.
1918: A report today from Zurich stated that Jewish deputies succeed in persuading the Austrian Government to abolish the prohibition against Yiddish correspondence.
1918: Colonel John Henry Patterson led the Jewish Legion, the unit he commanded on parade down Whitechapel Road.
1919(22nd of Adar I, 5679): Seventy-eight year old French neurologist Hippolyte Bernheim passed away today in Paris.
1920: The New Orleans Times-Picayune published an interview with Elizabeth D.A. Cohen, the first practicing female physician in Louisiana, her 100th birthday.
1921(14th of Adar I, 5681): Purim Katan observed for the first time under President Warren G. Harding.
1921: The Tikvath Israel Society hosted “junior activities” at the center on Sumner Avenue at the corner of Van Buren Street.
1922: In the South Bronx, Solomon and Lillian Baumol, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe gave birth to economist William J. Baumol. (As reported by Patricia Cohen)
1922: Birthdate of Sammy Hershkovitz, the Romanian born Jew who made Aliyah at the age of 2 and gained fame as Sammy Ofer, the Israeli international shipping magnate, philanthropist and art collector who headed a family ranked as the richest in Israel. (As reported by Isabel Kershner)
1922 (24th of Shevat, 5682): Aaron David (A.D.) Gordon passed away. Gordon, a Hebrew writer and philosopher of the “religion of Labor,” was considered the ideological pillar of the kibbutz movement. Born in 1856 in Russia he only came to Eretz Israel at the age of 48. Neither his age nor health impeded his drive to work in agriculture .He helped found Kibbutz Degania in 1909. Gordon's philosophy included a call to a return to “Nature.” He believed that the self-improvement of each individual rather than external changes such as espoused by Marxism was the way to change Jewish destiny.
1923: “Earth Spirit” a silent film produced by Richard Oswald and written by Carl Mayer was released in Germany today.
1923: In Chicago, Max and Bertha Goldsmith gave birth real estate developer Bram Goldsmith who “served as the chief executive of National City Bank from 1975 to 1995.”
1925: In Pittsburgh, PA, Harry and Ida Barch Stern, Jewish immigrants from Poland and Ukraine, gave birth to American poet Gerald Stern whose works have been published The Pineys, Leaving Another Kingdom, and Odd Mercy and who while married to Patricia Miller gave birth to a daughter Rachel, “a nutrition therapist” and David, “an architect.”
1925(28th of Shevat): Poet and author Mrs. Radcliffe N. Salomon (Nina David) passed away
1926: Birthdate of Alan David Yorkin, the native of Washington, PA who gained fame as director, producer and write Bud York who teamed up with Norm Lear to form Tandem Productions which gave us many cutting edge sit-coms including All in the Family, Maude and Sanford and Son.
1926: In Great Britain, a “well-known play producer” was reported to have “said he judged his play not by first-night receptions, but by the attitude of Saturday night audiences, which he estimated were nearly 75 per cent Jewish” and that “the Jewish population of London were keen dramatic critics” who “had been of tremendous service to the modern British drama.”
1926: Ross Sterling, the owner and publisher of the Houston Post Dispatch, who is not Jewish was reported today to have been donor of an unsolicited give of $5,000 gift to the United Jewish Campaign which is trying to raise fifteen million dollars to alleviate the suffering of Jews living “in foreign lands.”
1926: As of today the new officers of the National Council of the Palestine Foundation Fund were Samuel Untermyer, President; Morris Rothenberg, Chairman of the directors and Rabbi Aaron M. Ashinsky of Pittsburgh, Vice Chairman of the board.
1926: “The United Jewish Campaign received word” today at its headquarter in the Pershing Square building that a $50,000 quota for the $15,000,000 overseas chest had been accepted a committee of Jews from North Dakota. (That’s right – Jews in North Dakota!)
1926: Pledges totaling $300,000 for the relief of Jews in Poland were made” today “at a conference in the HIAS Building called by the Federation of Polish Jews in America” whose President, Benjamin Winter “blamed the policy of the Polish Government for the present distress among the Polish Jews.”
1927: Birthdate of Franz Reheinberger who would be executed at the age of 17 for his part in anti-Nazi activities.
1929: In New York City, “Rachel Gutman and real estate attorney Judah Wattenberg” gave birth to Rebecca Ann Wattenberg, the sister of Ben J. Wattenberg “aunt of journalist Daniel Wattenberg” who gained famed as actress Rebecca Schull, the wife of Gene Schull.
1930: U.S. premiere of “Slightly Scarlet,” a comedy direct by Edwin H. Knopf with a script co-authored by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
1931(5th of Adar): Poet and novelist Menahem Mendel Dolitzky passed away today.
1932: The United States marked the bicentennial of the birth of George Washington who Rabbi de Sola Pool of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue had “praised” as “a great liberator” and whom Rabbi Samuel Schulman while addressing his congregation had “referred to a statement made in a treaty between the United States and Tripoli in 1796 and signed by Washington that ‘the Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”
1932: “With Chief Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo of the Court of Appeals assured of confirmation as an associate jus of the United States” the Governor of New York “indicated tonight that he would promptly fill the vacancy on the State bench.”
1932: As America celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington members of the Jewish National Fund of American are scheduled to meet tonight at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York “to hear speakers pay tribute to Washington and to hear speakers discuss” plans for creating “an evergreen memorial of 500,000 pine and eucalyptus trees” which “will be planted in Palestine as a living tribute” by “the Jews of America to the first President.”
1932: In New York, Chief Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo is scheduled to speak on “Washington, the Constitution Builder” during the Bicentennial celebration at Chancellor’s Hall.
1933: Birthdate of Gideon Patt, a Sabra who served in the Nahal Brigade, earned a BA from NYU before pursuing a career in politics that included service in the Knesset and several cabinet posts.
1933: Adolf Hitler made his private para-military units, the SS and the SS, part of Germany’s police force.
1934: U.S premiere of “It Happened One Night” an all-time classic comedy written by Robert Riskin for which he won the Oscar and co-produced Harry Cohn
1934: During his eulogy today at the funeral of Rabbi Hyman Gerson Enelow in Chicago, David Philipson said, “If there was one trait that characterized Hymen G. Enelow above all other, it was his love of learning for its own sake.
1934: “The Jewish newspaper IF” published a photograph by Herbert Sonnenfeld of “a model portraying two different periods in Eretz Israel: a typical home in Tel Aviv in 1934, and ten years earlier.”
1934: Bishop Hermann Wilhelm Berning of Osnabrück ordered all churches in his diocese to display the Nazi’s swastika flag on patriotic occasions alongside standard church flags.
1935: “The Whole Town’s Talk” a crime comedy written by Jo Swerling and Robert Riskin and starring Edward G. Robinson was released in the United States today.
1935: “After Office Hours” directed by Robert Z. Leonard who co-produced the film with Bernard H. Hyman which was written by Herman J. Mankiewicz was released today in the United States.
1936(29th of Shevat, 5695): Parashat Mishpatim and Shabbat Shekalim
1936: “The third annual observance of Brotherhood Day” sponsored by the Conference of Jews and Christians began today.
1936: It was reported today that in Poland Senators “suggested that the government should communicate with international Zionist organizations and arrange an immigration quota for Poland” which would be a way of ridding the country of one million of its three and one half million Jews.
1936: This morning Arturo Toscanini accepted an invitation to conduct the opening concert of the newly organized Palestine Symphony Orchestra on next October 24 at Tel-Aviv.
1937(11th of Adar, 5697): Sixty-seven year old Astronomer J. Ernest G. Yalden who spent 25 years directing a “trade school funded by the Trustees of the Baron de Hirsch Fund passed away
1938: “After warning that he would be ‘tactless’ in his remarks, Stanley M. Isaacs, Borough President of Manhattan, told 1,750 teachers attending the 11th anniversary of the Jewish Teachers Association at the Hotel Commodore” today “that he could see no reason for the existence of their organization”
1939: As part of the annual observance of Brotherhood Week, “ceremonies honoring the memory of Roger Williams the founder of Rhode Island” and one of “the first to preach the gospel of tolerance in the New World” were held in front of his bust in the Hall of Fame on the campus of NYU by members of Zeta Beta Tau, which included an address by B. Leo Schwartz, a benediction by Rabbi Augustus Loeb and wreath laying by James R. Katzman.
1941: In Paris, Theodore Dannecker, the SS officer in charge of bringing the Final Solution to France reported approvingly that “The French inspectors formed and instructed in collaboration with our section for Jewish affairs today constitute an elite body as well as training cadres for Frenchmen to be drafted in the future to the anti-Jewish police.” The “French inspectors” worked for the agency that “transferred” the over 20,000 Jewish businesses into the hands of Frenchmen sympathetic to the Third Reich. “The anti-Jewish police” referred to the Frenchmen who would round up French Jews and ship them off to the death camps.
1941: The Nazi SS began rounding up Jews of Amsterdam.
1941: Today’s New Yorker magazine called stockbroker and New York Stock Exchange Member James B. “Jimmie” Seligman “one of the wittiest men on the Floor.”
1942(5th of Adar, 5702): In Brazil, author Stefan Zwieg and his second wife Lotte (née Charlotte Elisabeth Altmann) committed suicide together in Petrópolis using the barbiturate Verol. Filled with a sense of despair at the future of Europe and its culture, he wrote, "I think it better to conclude in good time and in erect bearing a life in which intellectual labor meant the purest joy and personal freedom the highest good on earth."
1942: Wanda Landowska performed Bach's Goldberg Variations at New York City's Town Hall. It was the first 20th-century performance of this work on the harpsichord. The Polish born Jewess who sought refuge from the Nazis first in France and then the United States is credited with reviving harpsichord music in the 20th century,
1942: U.S. premiere of “The Adventures of Martin Eden,” the cinema version of the novel Martin Eden produced by Samuel Bronston and B.P. Schulberg.
1942: Lord Moyne completed his service as Secretary State for the Colonies. Moyne was a close personal friend of Churchill, who as Deputy Resident Minister of State in Cairo took part in the interrogation of Joel Brand when a response was being crafted to Eichmann’s “Blood for Truck” proposal. Moyne would be murdered by Lehi in 1944.
1943(17th of Adar 1, 5703): At Auschwitz, the Nazis murdered Communist Party member and anti-Fascist fighter Dagobert Biermann, the father of singer-song writer Karl Wolf Bierman.
1943: For the next six days, 10,000 more Jews were deported to Chelmno. All were gassed to death.
1943: “An agreement was signed between the special Nazi envoy sent to facilitate the deportations, Theodor Dannecker and the Bulgarian Commissar for Jewish Affairs, Alexander Belev for the deportation of 20,000 Jews (12,000 from Macedonia and Thrace and 8,000 – from the old territory of Bulgaria).”
1943: Bulgaria agreed to allow the Germans to deport 11,000 Jews. Horrible overcrowding conditions existed in the 20 trains that would transport them. Each day the trains stopped to dump the bodies of those who died during the journey.
1943: Italians countermanded German orders to deport French Jews. Three days later Ribbentrop complained to Mussolini that "Italian military circles. . . lacked a proper understanding of the Jewish question."
1943: “Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and their friend Christoph Probst were found guilty of treason and condemned to death by head judge of the court Roland Freisler. They were beheaded by executioner Johann Reichhart in the Munich-Stadelheim prison only a few hours later at 17:00. The execution was supervised by Dr. Walter Roemer who was the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Prison officials emphasized the courage with which she walked to her execution.” This trio was part of a small number of genuine anti-Nazi Germans who had worked to bring down the regime.
1943: “Allied military forces marched through the crowded streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa today as part of the celebrations of Red Army Day.” [The Red Army referred to is the Soviet Army which was doing the brunt of the fighting against the Germans.]
1943: Birthdate of Elliot Rabinowitz who gained fame as music manager and businessman Elliot Roberts who partnered with David Geffen to “create Asylum Records.”
1944: Dr. Leonardo De Benedetti, Physician and Surgeon and Dr. Primo Levi, Chemist “left the concentration camp at Fossoli di Carpi with a convoy of 650 Jews of both sexes and all ages. They did not know that the trip would end four days later in Auschwitz.
1945(9th of Adar, 5705): Osip Maksimovich Brik “a Russian avant garde writer and literary critic, who was one of the most important members of the Russian formalist school, though he also identified himself as one of the Futurists,” passed away.
1945: In Boston, businessman Samuel Tannenbaum and the former Gertrude Leaman gave birth to Rena Meryl Tannenbaum who gained game as publisher Rena Wolner.
1946: The Palmach attacked the Police Tegart fort at Shefa 'Amr with a 200-pound bomb; in the firefight that followed, the Palmach suffered casualties
1946: The British said today that three members of armed Jewish bands had been killed during the series of night attacks on Palestine mobile police camps in which dynamite charges damaged several buildings, vehicles and other facilities last night.
1947: Birthdate of Israeli man of letters Yehonatan Geffen, the native of Nhalal who is the nephew of Moshe Dayan and the father of Aviv, Shira and Natasha Geffen.
1948 As the conflict over the coming partition of Palestine grew, three car bombs arranged by Arab irregulars exploded on Ben Yehudah Street killing 52 Jewish civilians and leaving 123 injured. This was part of the war waged by the Arabs between the partition vote in November, 1947 and the end of the Mandate in 1948. In the meantime the international community did nothing then or later to enforce its decision to make Jerusalem a city to be governed by an international body.
1948: The Golani Brigade, one of Israeli’s most elite infantry brigades was formed.
1951: Birthdate of Ellen Greene, the Brooklyn born daughter of a guidance counselor and dentist who has enjoyed a multi-dimensional career performing in nightclubs, on Broadway, in films and television programs including Law and Order, The X Files and Miami Vice.
1952: “The Belle of New York” produced by Arthur Freed was released in the United States today.
1958: Egypt and Syria announced that they were joining together in a new nation, The United Arab Republic. The UAR was supposed to be the first step in the creation of giant Pan Arab Nation. The Israelis were concerned because the two enemies now were going to have a one military command which made coordinated military actions against the Jewish state a potentially destructive reality. The UAR would collapse three years later as the Syrians grew disgusted with the Egyptian attempts to dominate the relationship. This would not be the first or last time that charismatic leader would try to form a Super Arab and/or Super Moslem state.
1958: In East Meadow, New York, Leon Greenberg, “an executive for New York’s Century Theatres movie chain” and his wife Shirley gave birth to playwright Richard Greenberg who won the Tony Award in 2003 for “Take Me Out.”
1960: David Susskind produced “A Very Special Baby” this week’s “Play of the Week” co-starring Marion Winters as “Anna” and Larry Blyden as “Joey.”
1961: “Come Blow Your Horn” Neil Simon’s first play opened “on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
1964: Final performance of “The Passion of Josef D.” written by Paddy Chayefsky at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
1964(9th of Adar I, 5724): Ninety year old Samuel Earl “Ike” Samuels who played briefly for the St. Louis Browns before pursuing a career in dentistry and insurance sales passed away today in New York City.
1965(20th of Adar I, 5725): Felix Frankfurter, Supreme Court Justice passed away. Born in 1882, Frankfurter was involved in various liberal and unpopular causes including the defense of Sacco and Venzeti. He was a professor at Harvard Law School. Many of his students went to work in FDR’s new deal and they were known as “Frankfurters” (for their teacher not the hot dog). When FDR appointed him to the bench, Frankfurter was the third Jew to serve on the High Court.
1966: “Promise Her Anything” directed by Arthur Hiller with a title song by Burt Bacharach and Hal David which had been released in the previous November in the United Kingdom was released today in the United States.
1971(27th of Shevat, 5731): Fifty-six year old New York native David “Dynamite Dave” Smulker the all-star Temple University fullback who as a member of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles played in the first televised professional game in 1939 passed away today.
1971: Birthdate of Arnon Grunberg, the Dutch born author of Blue Mondays which won the Dutch prize “for the best debut novel” and whose mother survived Auschwitz
1972: Paul Grüninger, the Swiss police official who save thousands of Jews following the Anschluss died in poverty today.
1973: In New York, premiere of “Charlotte’s Web” an animated feature film version of a children’s novel by the same time with music by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman and sons by Irwin Kostal.
1973: “Walking Tall,” a biopic with music by Walter Scharft and directed by Phil Karlson whose father was Jewish was released in the United States today.
1974: Today “Jewish activists Mark Abramovich and Yakov Schwartzman (Kishinev), Leonid Bendersky (Tiraspol) and Sender Levinson (Bendery) were arrested in Kishinev after staging a hunger strike near the Central Post Office.”
1975(11th of Adar I, 5735): Fifty-six year old Samuel Bihari, one of the four brothers who founded Modern Records and helped to create a “sanitized” form of rock and roll for the mass market of the 1950’s passed away today.
1981(18th of Adar I, 5741): Eighty-one year old Curtis Bernhardt who worked as movie director in Germany under the name of Kurt Bernhardt before fleeing Nazi Germany and pursuing his career in France, England and finally the United States, passed away today.
1981(18th of Adar I, 5741): Seventy-five year old Austrian born American historian Saul K. Padover whose works include biographies on Karl Marx, Joseph II of Austria, Louis XVI, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson passed away today.
1982: New York City Mayor Ed Koch announced his plans to run for governor of New York. The campaign would be a failure.
1982(29th of Shevat): Legendary DJ Murray "the K" Kaufman, called the 5th Beatle by some, passed away at the age of 60.
1984(19th of Adar I, 5744): Eighty-seven year old mathematician and WW II codebreaker Maxwell Herman Alexander “Max” Newman passed away today in Cambridge.
1985(1st of Adar, 5745): Rosh Chodesh
1985 (1st of Adar, 5745): Violinist Efrem A Zimbalist passed away at the age of 95.. Born in Russia, Zimbalist was one of long line of violin virtuosos that included Jascha Heifitz, Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern. Many of you may recognize this name with the word "Junior" after it. Zimbalist’s son was a minor matinee idol in television and movies who was not Jewish.(As reported by Tim Page)
1986(13th of Adar I, 5746): Soviet Poet Boris Slutsky passed away.
1987(23rd of Shevat): David Susskind passed away at the age of 66. Susskind is best remembered for his pioneering role in late night television. Susskind hosted a show called Open End, where guests from a variety of walks of life actually discussed issues of the day without a script and with civility. (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)
1989: At a benefit for the Dance Library of Israel, an international dance library and archive in Tel Aviv, Marge Champion presented an award to Agnes de Mille. The presentation took place at a dinner that preceded a benefit performance of “Jerome Robbin’s Broadway.”
1989: “Different Trains,” a three-movement piece for string quartet and tape written by Steve Reich in 1988 won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
1991: "Underground," a new work by the Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol, directed by Adrian Hall, has its world premiere at the Yale Repertory Theater today, co-directed by Adrian Hall.
1991: “He Said, She Said,” a comedy directed by Marisa Silver was released in the United States today,
1992(18th of Adar I 5752): Avot Yeshurun, an Israeli poet who wove Arabic and Yiddish idiom into a unique and influential form of Hebrew verse, passed away today at the age of 88. No cause of death was given by his family, which announced his death. Born in Ukraine as Yehiel Perlmutter, Mr. Yeshurun made aliyah in 1925, worked as a laborer and began publishing poetry. His family perished in the Holocaust. After Israel was established in 1948, Mr. Yeshurun was one of its first literary figures to acknowledge the plight of the uprooted Palestinians. He saw the Palestinians and the Jews of Europe as having endured a common tragedy, and sought to fuse their experience in the language of his poetry. Although long ignored by the establishment, Mr. Yeshurun was highly regarded by younger poets. His stature was formally recognized a month ago when he was awarded the Israel Prize.
1992: Barry Diller resigns as CEO of FOX Television Network.
1992: American diplomat Josiah W. Bennett who as a member of the Foreign Service headed the United States Information Service in Tel Aviv passed away. (Bennett was not Jewish)
1993: New York Judge Judith Kaye is nominated by then-governor Mario Cuomo to become the first female Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals.
1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including the recently released paperback editions of Love Invents Us by Amy Bloom and Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist by Philip Furia.
1998(26th of Shevat, 5758): Distinguished Democratic politician and government official, Abraham Ribicoff passed away. Ribicoff was Governor of Connecticut, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under John Kennedy and U.S. Senator from 1963 until 1981.
1999(6th of Adar, 5759): Nobel Prize winner Gertrude Elion passed away.
2002(20th of Adar I, 5762): A Fatah terrorist murdered 45 year old Valery Ahmir “in a drive-by shooting.”
2003(20th of Adar I, 5763): Ninety-year old Oscar winning screenwriter Daniel Taradash passed away today.
2003: An International Conference hosted by the Dubnow Institute on “Transforming Religious and Ethnic Emblematics of Judaism and Jewishness” began today.
2004(30th of Shevat, 5764): Rosh Chodesh Adar
2004(30th of Shevat, 5764): Israel Ilan Avisidris, 41, of Jerusalem; Lior Azulai, 18, of Jerusalem; Yaffa Ben-Shimol, 57, of Jerusalem; Rahamim Doga, 38, of Mevasseret Zion; Yehuda Haim, 48, of Givat Ze'ev;
Netanel Havshush, 20, of Jerusalem; Yuval Ozana, 32, of Jerusalem and Benaya Yehonatan Zuckerman, 18, of Jerusalem were murdered today and 60 other people were injured when an Arab terrorist blew up Egged bus #14 in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada.
2004: A suicide bomber attacked a bus in the center of Jerusalem, killing 8 people and wounding 70. The Palestinian terrorist group Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility.
2005(13th of Adar I, 5765): Ninety-six year old Trude Rittman, the German-Jewish American arranger of Broadway hits including Carousel and Sound of Music passed away today. (As reported by Wolfgang Saxon)
2005(13th Adar I, 5765): Ninety-four year old French film actress Simone Simon who was “the daughter of Henri Louis Firmin Champmoynat, a French Jewish engineer and airplane pilot in World War II, who died in a concentration camp” passed away today.
2006: The Liberal Party appointed Irwin Cotler Critic for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in the opposition shadow cabinet for the 39th Canadian Parliament. “Cotler's wife, Ariela, is a native of Jerusalem and worked as a legislative assistant to the Likud members of the Israeli Knesset from 1967 to 1979.”
2006: French President Jacques Chirac and his prime minister attended a synagogue memorial ceremony for a Jewish man who was kidnapped, tortured and killed.
2006(24th of Shevat, 5766): Hilde Palm (née Löwenstein) the daughter of German Jewish lawyer Eugene Lowenstein, who wrote under the pseudonym Hilde Domin creating such works as the poetry anthology “The Tree Blossoms Nevertheless” passed away today.
2006(24th of Shevat, 5766): Bernie Weisberg, former national director of Young Judea and the Labor Zionist Alliance, passed away at the age of 82 (As reported by Anthony Weiss)
2008: The Jerusalem Post reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has established an unprecedented high-level government task force charged with fundamentally altering the Israel-Diaspora relationship.
2008: Israeli officials rejected Arab complaints that they are not committed to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. Furthermore, these officials stated that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had responded positively to the Arab League initiative as a basis for negotiations.
2009: In a move intended to improve its relationship with the new wave of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, the Hebrew Free Burial Association hosted a Russian-Jewish Community event. Established in 1888, HFBA is one of the oldest and largest free burial associations serving the New York Jewish Community.
2008: Sarah Chayes, the daughter of Abram Chayes and award winning reported for National Public Radio “was a guest on PBS's Bill Moyers Journal” today.
2009: Music of the Sephardic Diaspora is the focus of a concert in the new Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center when celebrated viola da gambist Jordi Savall and early music ensemble Hespèrion XXI present Diáspora Sefardí: From Medieval Spain to the Eastern Mediterranean.
2009: Agudas Achim conducts the first ever Early Passover Pallet Sale in eastern Iowa making it possible for those living in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids Corridor to buy unique “Kosher for Passover “items including Chocolate Seder Plates, at “discount prices.”
2009: Agudas Achim conducts the first ever Early Passover Pallet Sale in eastern Iowa making it possible for those living in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids Corridor to buy unique “Kosher for Passover “items including Chocolate Seder Plates, at “discount prices.”
2009: The New York Times features a review of A Hidden Life: A Memoir of August 1969 by Johanna Reiss who had won a Newberry Award a quarter of a century ago for The Upstairs Room, her story of survival as a ten year old hiding from the Nazis in occupied Holland.
2009: The now-daily rocket attacks by Gaza terrorists against southern Israel resumed today with the launch of a Kassam rocket at the Sha'ar HaNegev region and a mortar attack fired at IDF troops near the Kissufim Crossing
2009: Duke Blue Devil guard Jon Scheyer scored a then-career-high 30 points against Wake Forest
2009(28th of Shevat, 5769): Howard Zieff, the commercial director and ad photographer who stuffed an actor with spicy meatballs in a memorable Alka-Seltzer spot and used an American Indian in print ads to convince people “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s real Jewish Rye,” then went on to direct movie comedies, passed away today at the age of 81. (As reported by Dennis Hevesi)
2010: The Knesset "approved a law instructing the Israeli Government to protect the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab counties in all forthcoming peace negotiations; the first Israeli law to recognize Jews as coming to Israel not only to fulfill Zionist aspirations, but as refugees
2010: The Jewish Studies Program at Tulane University under the leadership of Dr. Brian Horowitz and the Center for Cultural Judaism are scheduled to present a program entitled “The Jewish Question as the Arab Question: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz” at Tulane’s Uptown Campus in New Orleans, LA.
2010: National police headquarters issued an order today to cease the delivery of mail throughout Israel following the discovery of what is believed to be a package bomb at a post office in Migdal Haemek
2010: Army Radio reported today that The Palestinian Authority handed a Kassam rocket made in a West Bank village to Israeli authorities last week. According to the report, PA security forces found the rocket ready to be launched towards central Israel.
2010: Israel's ice dancing team at the Winter Olympics finished in 10th place. Roman and Alexandra Zaretsky performed to music from "Schindler's List" in the free dance tonight at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, Canada. The brother-and-sister duo earned a score of 90.64 in the free dance, and a score of 180.26 over-all. The music was chosen in part as a tribute to 27 family members that died in Minsk, Belarus during the Holocaust, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
2010: Israeli archaeologists said today that they've discovered an unusually shaped 1,400-year-old wine press that was exceptionally large and advanced for its time. The octagonal press measures 21 feet by 54 feet (6.5 by 16.5 meters) and was discovered in southern Israel, about 40 kilometers south of both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
2010(8th of Adar, 5770): Rabbi Menachem Porush, a long-serving Knesset member and father of current Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush, died in Jerusalem today at the age of 94. Porush, a seventh generation descendent of Lithuanian immigrants, sat in the Knesset for 35 years until 1994 and remained politically active until his death. The son of a deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Porush entered politics through journalism, working as a writer and editor for religious newspapers for two decades until his election to the Knesset in 1959. "He was a great Jew. He was like one of the stone of the Wailing Wall in the Holy City, Jerusalem," President Shimon Peres said. "Menachem my friend, you were full of vision and hope for the future of the Jewish nation. You loved the nation and worked to unify it. You stood as a bridge between its parts.
2010(8th of Adar, 5770): Steffi Sidney-Splaver, who began a career as an actress and then gave up acting to become a Hollywood writer, publicist and producer, passed away today at the age of 74.
2011: Member of Knesset Danny Danon. The Deputy Knesset Speaker, Chairman of the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee and of World Likud is scheduled to give an address at The OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
2011: The Round Up, a “drama that tackles the controversial subject of French collusion in the atrocities of the Holocaust” is scheduled to be shown at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
2011: At the Jerusalem International Book Fair, Galaade Editions and ITHl are scheduled to present: “Sisters, not enemies: Telling the story of Jews and Arabs in Israel in another voice.”
2011: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall.
2011: Israel conducted a successful test of the Arrow 2 ballistic missile defense system off the coast of California early this morning, when it destroyed a target simulating an Iranian ballistic missile
2011: Rham Emanuel was elected Mayor of Chicago today, making him the first Jew to hold this position.
2011: Montreal's city council has condemned the boycott campaign against a local shoe store that sells footwear made in Israel. A council motion deploring the campaign, proposed and supported by Mayor Gerard Tremblay, passed today by a vote of 38 to 16. (As reported by JTA)
2011(18th of Adar, 5771): George Einstein, a cousin, contemporary and occasional companion of Albert Einstein who was a successful inventor and businessman in his own right passed away at the age of 91.
2011: Sue Fishkoff described the role of the Jewish community in the conflict between Wisconsin’s Governor Walker and public sector employees.
2011: Nearly 100 orthodox North American rabbis signed a letter demanding of Interior Minister Eli Yishai to “rectify the injustice being done to our converts, ourselves and the Jewish people” and “insure that those individuals whom we convert will automatically be eligible for aliyah as they have been in the past.”
2011: In an effort to curb the trend of Orthodox converts from abroad not being recognized by Israel for citizenship, the Jewish Agency today appealed the Interior Ministry for a more dominant role in identifying established Diaspora communities as such.
2012: “Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber” is scheduled to be shown at Temple Beth Sholom Idelson Library in Sarasota, FL.
2012: In London, Chochana Boukhobza is scheduled to discuss “The Third Day” a novel about two cellists who travel to Jerusalem for a concert, as part of Jewish Book Week.
2012: In London, Rod Arad is scheduled to talk about his passion for marrying unconventional forms with unexpected functions and the sources of his unbridled creativity during Jewish Book Week.
2012: Publication of “The Jewish Community of Harbin, China”
2012: Iran may develop inter-continental missiles that can reach the east coast of the United States in two to three years, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a CNBC interview today
2012: Israel Beiteinu will propose an alternative to the Tal Law by which "everyone will serve the state," Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said today.
2012(29th of Shevat, 5772): Eighty-six year old Mark Shulman the husband of Margaret Shulman
2013: The Israeli Opera’s Meitar Opera Studio is scheduled to present The Operas of Donizetti at the Eden Tamir Music Center
2013: In Springfield, VA, Congregation Adat Reyim is scheduled to host a wine and cheese reception along with a Shabbat Folk Service “celebrating the anniversary of Debbie Friedman’s birth.”
2013: Palestinian protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank turned violent today, with demonstrators throwing stones at Israeli security forces at several locations.
2013: After nine seasons and 197 original episodes CBS broadcast the last episode of CSI:NY, a cerebral crime fighting program created by Carol Mendelsohn and for which Jerry Bruckheimer served as executive producer.
2014: In Iowa City, Hillel under the leadership of Director Jerry Sorkin, is scheduled to host its annual fundraising concert featuring University of Iowa School of Music faculty members, Kenneth Tse (saxophone), Alan Huckleberry (piano), and Scott Conklin (violin), along with a quartet of School of Music graduate students.
2014: The DPJCC's 14th Annual Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to close with the showing of “Orchestra of Exiles”
2014: Friends and family of Cyndie Birchansky, whose accomplishments include three really neat children, look forward to celebrating her natal day.
2014: The Red Door is scheduled to host “Waiting Room” an evening curated by Leah Wolff and Guy Ben-Ari.
2014: The Jewish Agency will extend immediate emergency assistance to the Jewish community of Ukraine and will help secure Jewish institutions in the country, the Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky announced today.
2015: The New York Times features books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Lies, First Person by Gail Hareven, Khirbet Khizeh by S. Yizhar, Lucky Alan and Other Stories by Jonathan Lethem, Mark Twain’s America by Harry L. Katz and Huck Finn’s America by Andrew Levy.
2015: In New Orleans, Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn is scheduled to officiate at the graveside services Martha Blackman who was the widow of Murray Blackman, of blessed memory, the longtime Rabbi at Temple Sinai.
2015: “Laureen Nussbaum, Anne Frank scholar and Holocaust survivor, is scheduled to speak on Holocaust history and the legacy of Anne Frank's work during this afternoon’s lecture at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education.
2015: “Mexican-Jewish cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki accepted the Academy Award for “Birdman,” repeating his victory last year for “Gravity.”
2015: An exhibition “Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War and the Holocaust” is scheduled to open at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.
2015: “Ida,” a “Polish moved that traces the evolution of a young novitiate in Catholic convent, who, about to take her vows, learns that she is the daughter of Jewish parents killed in the Holocaust” won the Oscar for best foreign-language film. (As reported by JTA and Times of Israel)
2015: “The evening’s “In Memoriam” segment of the Oscars devoted to film industry notables who have passed away over the past year, included, among others, Israeli filmmaker Menachem Golan, director Mike Nichols, and legendary film actress Lauren Bacall.”
2015: Israel’s losing streak at the Oscars continued, as the short film “Aya,” cowritten and codirected by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun and starring Sarah Adler, failed to win for Best Short Film.
2015: As the world is scheduled to watch the Academy Award ceremonies tonight there are those who remember that Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky “claimed to have been the first to call the Academy Award Statuette ‘Oscar.’”
2015: Lewis Black is scheduled to appear at the Vonnegut Fundraiser in Indianapolis, Indiana
2015: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to host a “1-hour workshop that will include a series of activities designed to get” people “thinking, taking and sharing ideas to help in planning for a new regional museum projected to open in 2020.
2015: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Barnes & Noble is scheduled to host a book reading and signing featuring Boris Fishman, author of A Replacement Life.
2015: “Fragile” an exhibition by Tel Aviv native Tal Eshed is scheduled to open at the Klemens & Tanja Grunert Gallery.
2016: The American Sephardi Federation is scheduled to host “a new class exploring the Baqashot (‘Songs of Seeking’ in Edwin Seroussi’s wonderful translation), a musical tradition whose roots are in Andalusian Spain.”
2016: 284th anniversary of the birth of George Washington whose welcoming tone expressed to the Jews of the United States helped to make the American Jewish experience unique from its inception down to the 21st century.
2017: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was warmly welcomed at Sydney today by his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, with the Israeli leader promoting the two countries’ growing ties as Israel faces rising international criticism over its settlement policy in the West Bank.” (As reported by Jacqueline Williams and Gerry Mullany)
2017: Meir Weinstein, “founder and leader of the Jewish Defence League of Canada” filed a hate crime complaint “with Toronto police against a downtown mosque whose imam allegedly called for killing Jews.” (As reported by Ron Csillag)
2017: The Jewish Museum celebrated its annual Purim Ball today at the cavernous Park Avenue Armory, which was decorated with a ceiling-to-floor installation of multicolored streamers and shapes, eliciting oohs and ahhs from the more than 700 festive guests who included former Mayor Michael Bloomberg as they mingled with dancing giant anthropomorphic Purim Puppets on stilts. (As reported by Masha Leon)
2017: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to host a focus group opened to the public to receive an exclusive sneak peek and provide feedback on stories and historic artifacts for the new Jewish museum being built in the Washington Metropolitan Area.
2017: As “the climate conversation heats up,” The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center is scheduled to present “An Evening With Al Gore.”
2017: The JDC Archives and The Center For Jewish History are scheduled to host “Town Fools, Beggars and Other Outcasts: Bringing the Margins to the Center in East European Jewish History” during Nata Meir will examine “Jewish social outcasts in prewar Eastern European history and offer insights into the changing mentalities of Jewish society.”
2018: The Steicker Center is scheduled to host “Love and Death in Italian Ghettos in the Time of the Plague” during which a panel of experts “using original documents from Italian archives…will explore the everyday lives of Roman, Mantuan, Venetian and Florentine Jews during exceptionally trying times, addressing how Europe’s Jewish communities coped with plagues and pestilence.
2018: JW3 is scheduled to host the final screening of “Scaffolding” in London.
2018: JW3 is scheduled to host the first screening of “Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema.”
2018: The New Orleans JCC is scheduled to host a screening of “The 90 Minutes War” as part of the Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series.
2018: MusicTalks and Yeshiva University’s Center for Israel Studies are scheduled to present a celebration of “the music and life of Arik Einstein, “the voice of Israel” and a pioneer of Israeli rock music, through a live performance by Elad Kabilio and an ensemble of musicians from MusicTalks.”
2018: Two hundred eighty-sixth anniversary of the birth of George Washington who signed a treaty between the United States and Tripoli in 1796 that said “the Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion” which meant that “Washington did not intend to disparage the Christian religion” but “he did mean to say that no claim in the future would justified that Christianity was …the foundation of the Government of the United States.”