421: Constantius III becomes co-Emperor of the Western Roman Empire serving as co-Emperor with Honorius. Constantinius only reigned for 7 months, but during his long tenure Honorius was no friend of the Jews as can be seen by his promulgation of “a new law requiring any taxes collected by Jewish leaders from the Jewish community to be sent to the imperial treasury.
1250: During the seventh crusade, King Louis IX of France faces Ayyubid forces at the 3 day Battle of Al Mansurah. The entire crusading period was a debacle for the Jewish people. As to Louis, Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York says, he “was an ideal medieval king: he was chivalrous, religious, ascetic, and hostile to Jews.”
1265: Hulagu Khan, whose invasion of Persia in 1255 led to the creation of the Ilkhanate, a portion of the Mongol Empire where much to the relief of the Jews “the rulers abolished the inequality of dhimmis, and all religions were deemed equal,” passed away today.
1291: Birthdate of King Alfonso IV of Portugal who increased the taxes paid by the Jews, load to “reinstituted the dormant requirement that Jews wear an identifying yellow badge, and restricted their freedom to emigrate.”
1349: In Worms, Bishop Frederick ordered that “the Jewish community should pay 20 florins each year on St. Martin’s Day when a new “Bishop of the Jews” – the head of the 12 member council that governed the internal affairs of the Jewish community – each year on St. Martin’s Day.
1596: Despite being tortured today by the Inquisition Louis de Caraval said nothing but later said that “he remembered that Jorge de Almeida and some others ‘believed in the law which God gave to Moses.’”
1640: Murad IV, “during whose reign, the Jews of Jerusalem were persecuted by an Arab who had purchased the governorship of that city from the governor of the province,” passed away today.
1693: The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia is granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II. According to recent figures there are approximately 385 Jewish students attending the school with a student population of approximately 7,700. The school offers eight Jewish studies courses and is home to William and Mary Balfour Hillel whose mission is “To inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life and enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.”
1725: Peter The Great, Russian Czar, passed away at the age of 52. Peter’s determination to keep the Jews out of his realm and his treatment of Russian Jews was not the picture of “enlightenment.” But his use of the Velesovsky Brothers showed that he was not above using the services of Jews who converted. From the point of Jewish history he certainly was not the “Great”
1744: Birthdate of Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg, the “prince bishop” sovereign of Frankfurt during whose reign Karl Ludwig Börne was appointed a police actuary in 1811 and then forced to resign three years later because he was Jewish.
1792(15th of Shevat, 5552): With France gripped in the turmoil of the effects of the Revolution and Americans living under the leadership of their first President, George Washington, Jews celebrated Tu B’Shevat.
1795: Birthdate of Hungarian-born journalist and author, Moritz G [Moses] Saphir who moved to Bavaria to further his career. In 1832 he was expelled but was permitted to return by the king later that year. Eighteen thirty-two was also the same year that Saphir became a Lutheran.
1806: “In ‘Sur les Juifs’ published today in Mercure de France Louis-Gabriel-Ambroise Bonald “repeated the usual anti-Semitic accusations” including “that the Jews were at war with morality, that they formed an "imperium in imperio," and that the majority of them were parasites.”
1818: Moses Moses married Sarah Friedberg today at the Great Synagogue.
1831: Louis Philippe of France, successor to Charles X, ratified a motion putting Judaism on a par with Christianity, granting State support to Synagogues and their Minister of Religion. This meant that France extended financial support to Jewish religious institutions on par with Christian institutions.
1833: Birthdate of Baron Horace Günzburg who was “one of the founders of the Society for the Spread of Enlightenment among the Jews of Russia…”
1843: Health officers in Frankfort-on-Main issued an order stating “Israelite citizens and inhabitants, must employ the services of competent persons" when having their sons circumcised.
1858: Birthdate of Pauline Koch, who as Pauline Einstein gave birth to physicist Albert Einstein.
1860(15th of Shevat, 5620): Tu B'Shevat
1860(15th of Shevat, 5620): Sixty-seven year old Charlotte Aron, the wife of Alexandre Aron and the daughter of Asser Lion and Gitlé Loëw passed away today in Alsace, France.
1860: “A Mistaken Philanthropist” published today describes the efforts of "‘Captain’ Moses, a gentleman we presume of Abrahamic stock,” to raise funds and outfit a ship that would provide relief for “the Christian and Jewish refugees, who had been constrained to flee almost naked from Morocco to Gibraltar ‘to escape the knife of the savage Bedouin of the desert.’” Unfortunately for Captain Moses, he misrepresented his credentials when he went to Philadelphia to continue his efforts and ended up being be jailed because authorities saw him as a “swindler” and “imposter” rather than “an indiscreet philanthropist.”
1863: An article published today entitled “Beauregard and the Jews” quoted a letter that the P.G.T. Beauregard had written in 1861 when he was commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in which he explained why could not grant leave to Jewish soldiers to observe the High Holidays. He is sure that “the Hebrews” serving with the army will understand that military necessity makes it impossible to grant a request that he would otherwise comply with quite willingly.
1866: Birthdate of Moses Gomberg, Russian-born American chemist
1866: At Tabor, Hungary, Judith Klemperer and Juda Markus Klemperer gave birth to Karl Klemperer.
1867: The Ausgleich results in the establishment of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. The Ausgleich refers to the compromise document that changed the Austrian Empire into the dual monarchy that put Hungary on level playing field with the previously dominate Germanic (Austrian) element of the Hapsburg Empire. The reform came about as a result of Austria’s defeat at the hands of Prussia. (Yes this gets complicated; but if you want to understand the fate of the Jews of Europe you have to understand European history.) Following the Law of Unintended consequences, The Ausgleich had a profound effect on the Jews living under the rule of the Habsburgs. “With the “Ausgleich” between Austria and Hungary in 1867, Jews finally gained full citizen rights. Vienna was now the city in the Habsburg Empire with the largest Jewish community (40,000 or 6.6 percent). Most of the Viennese Jews were of Bohemian, Moravian and Hungarian origin, while others were from the poor area of Galicia. Jewish communities in other parts of the Empire developed, even in cities that have not had any Jews for a long time, such as Salzburg (part of Austria since 1816).” Today we seem to have forgotten the prominent role that Vienna played in European and Jewish culture. Within a few decades of each other, for example, Vienna was home to Herzl, Freud and Hitler. Imagine what might have happened had Hitler been one of Freud’s patients.
1871: During inquest being held today at Union Hill, NY, to determine the cause of death for Charles Kraft, a Jew named Nathan Berg was identified as one of three men who might have been involved in a fatal beating of the deceased.
1872: Birthdate of Theodor Lessing, the “German Jewish philosopher… known for opposing the rise of Hindenburg as president of the Weimar Republic and for his classic on Jewish self-hatred (Der jüdische Selbsthaß)…in which he tried to explain the phenomenon of Jewish self-hatred - Jewish intellectuals who incited anti-Semitism against the Jewish people, and regarded Judaism as the source of evil in the world. A Zionist, he moved to Czechoslovakia after Hitler came to power. The move did not save him since he “was assassinated by Nazi agents in the summer of 1933.”
1874: Sixty-six year old German theologian and author David Friedrich Strauss who was a leader of those studying Jesus as a historical figure, which would have included his Jewish origins, passed away today
1878: Birthdate of Martin Buber. Buber almost defies definition. He gained fame as a theologian, philosopher, teacher and Zionist. His life and teachings are too rich and complicated to be encapsulated in this brief item. Born in Vienna, Buber spent his youth living with his grandfather who was a distinguished rabbinic scholar. Buber returned to Vienna for his secular education. He was attracted to Zionism in its earliest days, but saw the need to add a uniquely Jewish cultural and spiritual component to Herzl’s political ideas. After dabbling with various forms of mysticism, Buber began to study the works of the Chassidic Masters. Eventually he developed a philosophy based on their lives and teaching which has been described as Neo-Chasidism. Buber moved to Jerusalem in 1938 and joined the faculty of Hebrew University. His most famous work I and Thou which described the I-Thou and I-It relationships was published in 1923. Other works available in English include, but are not limited to, Good and Evil, On Judaism and The Legend of the Baal Shem. Buber understood the relationship between Judaism and Christianity but knew the difference between the two as well. His works and philosophy has had an impact on people of many different beliefs. In the words of Buber: “The God of history and the God of nature cannot be separated and the land of Israel is a token of their unity.” “There is no opposition between the truth of God and the salvation of Israel.” "To him who knows how to read the legend, it conveys more truth than the chronicle.” “The Jew carries the burden of an unredeemed world. He cannot concede that redemption is an accomplished fact for he knows it is not.”
1878: In the Pale of Settlement a Hebrew scholar named Ezekiel Baevski and his wife, Koona Dubrusha, née Shur gave birth to Simcha Myer Baevski who would gain fame as Sidney Baevski Myer “the Jewish-Australian businessman and philanthropist, best known for creating Myer, Australia's largest chain of department stores.”
1878: Tonight marked the final performance at the Opera Comique of “Dora’s Dream” starring Giula Warwick.”
1879(15th of Shevat, 5639): Shabbat and Tu B’Shevat
1880: Rabbi De Sola Mendes officiated at the funeral of John D. Phillips which was attended by several prominent Jewish leaders including Albert Cordozo, Jesse Seligman and Emanuel B. Hart.
1882(19th of Shevat, 5642): Twenty days before his 70th birthday, German-Jewish author Berthold Auerbach passed at Cannes, France.
1883(1st of Adar I, 5643): Rosh Chodesh Adar I
1886: Gabriel Lippman the son of a Jewish glove maker and who earned the Nobel Prize in Physics became a member of the French Academy of Sciences which he served as President in 1912.
1889(7th of Adar, 5649): Eighty-three year old author and social work Anna Maria Goldsmid who was the daughter of Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, passed away today. Born in London in 1805 she first gained fame for her work as the translator of Dr. Gotthold Salomon’s sermons from German into English. She helped from the Jews’ Infant-Schools and took an active role in the Jews’ Deaf and Dumb Home.
1889: Achad ha-am organized the Zionist Order Benei Moshe
1890: Birthdate of Herbert S. Goldstein, a prominent American rabbi and Jewish leader, who passed away in 1970. “He was the only person in history to have been elected president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Rabbinical Council of America (first presidium), and the Synagogue Council of America.”
1890: Birthdate of Isidore Kaufman, the native of Syracuse, NY who gained fame as singer Irving Kaufman, who along with is brothers Phillip and Jack for the “The Kaufman Brothers.”
1891(30th of Shevat, 5651): Rosh Chodesh Adar I
1891(30th of Shevat, 5651): Fifty-eight year old Bavarian born Grand Rapids mayor and Michigan congressman Julius Houseman passed way in his adopted home town.
1891: It was reported today that at the request of Baron Maurice de Hirsch and several well-known leaders of the New York Jewish community have undertaken the management of a philanthropic scheme of “great practical utility.” They have consented to act under a deed of trust, by which Baron Hirsch places in their control the sum of $2,400,000 to be used in improving the condition of the poor Hebrew immigrants that are continually coming here from Russia and Romania.
1891: It was reported today that funds provided by Baron Hirsch and his supporters in the United States four new schools have been opened in New York City to help provide training for the newly arrived immigrants from Russia. These include a technical school, an evening school for girls who work during the day and two schools that prepare youngsters for entering the public schools.
1891: It was reported today that Joseph Klein, the President of Hebrew Cemetery Association received a suspended sentence from a court in Union County, New Jersey, after having been convicted of defrauding a co-religionist out of $60.
1891: “Unleavened Bread,” published in today’s Atlanta Constitution reported that “Cincinnati bakers have been busy for three months preparing for Passover.” (Editor’s note – The story is notable on 2 counts – it was published in a paper in Atlanta, GA, hardly a bastion of Jewish settlement and the matzo was being produced by Manischweitz, which continues to supply a wide variety of Jewish products in the 21st century)
1894: Birthdate of Ludwig Marcuse German-born author and philosopher.
1896: At two o’clock, Henry Steinhal, an actor appearing in “The Russian Jew” who had been accidently wounded when a blank pistol misfired, left the Adler Theatre with a limp and with a question – would he get damages from management?
1896: Benjamin and Rose Briskin gave birth to producer Samuel J. Briskin whose most memorable accomplishments may have been co-founding Liberty Films which made the classics “It’s A Wonderful Life and “State of the Union and serving the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps during WW II for which he received a President commendation.
1896: The Berlin monthly "Zion" publishes a friendly review of Herzl's London article.
1896: Herzl discusses his Zionist ideas after a lecture by Chief Rabbi Güdemann in the "Jüdische akademische Lesehalle" with some Jewish students.
1896: The Jewish community in Vienna wants to prevent the publishing of Herzl's "Der Judenstaat”
1897: It was reported today that Rabbi Kaufman Kohler and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise will co-officiate at the upcoming funeral of Morris Goodhart.
1898: Newspapers in Paris published today provided an account of the way Maitre Fernand Gustave Gaston Labori, Emile Zola’s senior defense council dealt with the government witnesses during the first session of the Seine Assizes.
1898: It was reported today that firemen who arrived at the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society’s orphanage were not dealing with a serious fire. Four boys had secretly gathered to light a homemade lantern made from a cigar box and a candle. When another boy saw the flame, he told Superintendent Louis Fauerbach and he sounded the fire alarm. The boys involved are awaiting disciplinary action.
1899: During this evening’s meeting of the People’s Club, Reverend Walter Bentley offered to let the group meet at the St. Mark’s Parish House. A young, unnamed Jewish man said that “he was positive that no respectable Jew would belong to a club which met in a building connected with a church.” Several Jews said he was mistaken and Reverend Bentley’s offer was acceptable.
1899: Birthdate of Ralph Steiner, the Cleveland native and Dartmouth graduate who became a leading photographer and documentarian.
1900(9th of Adar I, 5660): Sixty-six year old Jacob Mendes Chumaceiro who served variously as the dayyan of the Sephardic synagogue, and acting chakam for the Portuguese Jews of North and South Netherlands, inspector of the Jewish schools of Amsterdam, head and librarian of the bet ha-midrash Ets Haim, and editor of Het Israelietisch Weekblad passed away today.
1901: In the Reichstag, where Konitz was made the subject of an interpellation), the Prussian minister of justice Schönstedt limited himself to a defense of the authorities against the charge of shielding the Jews; but he carefully refrained from uttering one word in condemnation of the ritual-murder charge, and even from stating that there was no reason for assuming such a motive in the case of Ernst Winter.
1903: Solomon Barnato Joel and Ellen (Nellie) Ridley gave birth to Stanhope Henry Joel
1906: Birthdate of Galicia native Henry Roth, author of Call It Sleep.
1906: In London, Laurie and Dora Marian Magnus gave birth to Sir Philip Montefiore Magnus-Allcroft, the husband of Jewell Magnus.
1906: “A deputation of prominent citizens” including at least one rabbi were reported today to have told General Orloff that they had seen “Cossacks and hooligans shooting Jews and setting fire to their rooms” in Gomel.
1906: Birthdate of Arthur Balsam, Polish born pianist, who was an accompanist for Yehudi Menhuin.
1907: The Jewish community of Kingston, Jamaica issues an appeal for help in rebuilding three synagogues laid in ruins by an earthquake. Many Jews were killed during the disaster. The Jewish community in England responded with an offer of assistance.
1908: In Buffalo, NY, Anna and Harry Prinzmetal gave birth to their second son, Dr. Myron Prinzmetal the pioneering cardiologist and the brother of attorney Isadore Prinzmetal.
1909: In Pennsylvania, founding of the Canonsburg Hebrew Association the officers of which are Joseph Levine, President; Maurice Levine, vice president; Benny Klee (who along with his wife owned a grocery store that had previously been operated by Markus Blaustein), treasurer; Samuel Rosenberg, trustee and Harry Levine, trustee
1910: The Hahambashi is formally asked if he has any recommendations for the Turkish authorities over the subject of Ottoman Jews in Persia. At the time the Persian ambassador to Turkey, Prince Mirza Riza Khan utilized the Hahambashi as the final decider of Jewish law.
1911: Supporters of Sigmund Freud attack Alfred Adler and his followers at a meeting of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. The Freudians believe “that sexual feelings and sexual repression are the primary motivations of human behavior” while “Adler insists that feelings of inferiority, mostly on the subconscious level, combined with compensatory defense mechanisms (like overcompensation) become the primary forces behind behavior - especially pathological behavior.”
1913(1st of Adar I, 5673): Parashat Terumah and Rosh Chodesh Adar I
1913: Boris Thomashefsky is scheduled to present “Dvorelle the MIcheses” at the Haymarket in Chicago.
1915: It was reported today that a gala event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel has raised more than $7,000 for the Ladies’ Hebrew Fuel and Aid Society.
1915: It was reported today that plans have been for “a Palestine Pageant and Oriental Exposition” at the St. Luke’s Church in New York which will received support from “fourteen neighboring churches of various denominations.” (Editor’s Note - It would seem that the question of who “owns” Palestine is more complicated than one might already think.)
1916: “The American Jewish Relief Committee has issued a preliminary report of distribution showing that so far $1,085,000 has been sent to Russia, $660,000 to Germany, $430,000 to Austria-Hungary and $109,243 Palestine.
1916: “Alleging that the name of his family was being used to lure hundreds of poor east side Jews into a real estate venture, Jesse I. Straus, the son of Isidor Straus who lost on the Titantic, appeared at the District Attorney’s office” today “and urged immediate investigation of the Chatsworth Industrial Company.”
1916: “Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels notified Leon Sanders, President of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society” today “that the 60,000 pounds of matzoth which the organization is to send to Palestine would be taken on board the collier Sterling which is scheduled to leave Norfolk, VA for Alexandria, VA” in the next eight days.
1916: The concerns of Dr. M.J. Lewis reported today included “the worries of the older generation of Jews that so many of their offspring, in spite of the work of the Educational Alliance, are mistaking liberty for license and feel that their young are going astray. American ideas and ideals are causing a great gulf to spring up between the older and the younger. It is this gulf that is giving them concern.”
1918: In the East of London, garment manufacture Philip Rayne and his wife gave birth to “property developer” and philanthropist Max Rayne whose good works led to him being made a “life peer” known as Baron Rayne.
1918: After completing three weeks of training. Solomon Landman was sent to Camp Hancock in Augusta, GA where he performed many of the functions of a social worker and a chaplain including visiting the sick in hospitals, setting up entertainment for the troops and conducting religious services.
1918: According to reports “from Zurich, in an interview with Rabbis Lipshitz, Treistman and Cahano, the Polish Premier Kucharzewski promised to submit to the Political Department, the rabbinical memorandum on anti-Semitic restrictions still prevailing in Poland and to satisfy the Jewish demands.”
1919(8th of Adar I, 5679): Parashat Terumah
1919: Rabbi Gerson B Levi led Shabbat services at B’nai Shalom Temple Israel on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue.
1919: In statement made public today by the ZOA, “Jacob H. Schiff said he favored the establishment of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine but found himself unable to endorse some of the phases of Zionist propaganda in particular the emphasis on Jewish nationalism at the expense of religion.
1919: After World War, Hugo Guttman the Jewish officer who successfully lobbied for Adolf Hitler to receive the Iron Cross First Class, “was demobilized from the German Army but was still maintained on the Army rolls as a Reserve Lieutenant.”
1920: The Illustrated Sunday Herald, a popular British Sunday newspaper, published an article by Winston Churchill urging the Jews of Russia and beyond to choose Zionism over Bolshevism. In one sense, Churchill saw Zionism as anti-dote for Jews who would otherwise be drawn the Communist cause.
1921: Birthdate of Immanuel Jakobovits, the native of Konigsberg, Germany who became the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.
1923: In Paddington, London “Italian actor Victor Rietti and Rachel Rosenay” gave birth to Lucio Rietti who gained fame as English actor Robert Rietti.
1923: The Völkischer Beobachter ("Völkisch Observer") the newspaper of the National Socialist German Workers' Party or Nazi Party was published as daily for the first time.
1925: Kaufman and Berlin's "Coconuts" premiered in New York City.
1930: "Happy Days Are Here Again" by Benny Mereoff hits #1.
1931: In Cairo, King Faud opened the Museum of Modern Art which was located in a mansion that had been purchased by Elie Mosseri and donated to the government. Mosseri was a leading member of the Egyptian-Jewish community.
1934: Birthdate of Louis Katz, the long serving Yiddish copy editor of the Forward. (As reported by Paul Berger)
1935 (5th of Adar I, 5695): Max Liebermann leading German impressionist painter and graphic artist, passed away at the age of 87. Some of his works are on display at the Jewish Museum in New York. Once you see a Liebermann you want to see more.
1935: “Rumba” a musical drama based on a story by Guy Endore was released in the United States today.
1936(15th of Shevat, 5696): Parashat Beshalach, Shabbat Shirah, Tu B’Shevat
1936: In honor of the “Sabbath of Jewish Song” (known as Shabbat Shirah) Temple Emanu-El is scheduled to follow a special liturgy developed by the “Board of American Hazan-Minsters” of which Walter A. Davidson is secretary.
1936: “Three peasants were killed and several were wounded” when peasants ‘armed with pitchforks and clubs fought with the police “who were searing for the nationalist ringleaders who organized anti-Jewish riots in Zagorow, Poland.
1936: A national conference on Palestine at Washington D.C’s Willard Hotel which “is intended to formulate a comprehensive program to link the efforts of the Jews of” the United States “and of Europe in providing for the transportation” German, Polish and other European Jews to Palestine opened today.
1937: “The plight of the Jews was forcibly brought to the attention of the world” today with the startling report “that the Polish government planned the immediate ‘evacuation” of all of the more than three million Jews in Poland, “thereby confronting other nations with a migration problem of unprecedented dimensions.”
1937: “Nationalism Casts Polish Jews Aside” published today described a “drive similar to that in the Reich that aims to ‘Polonize’ towns and the country’s businesses” which means the government has thrown its political and economic might on the side of 22 million Poles and to ignore the needs of the Jewish population which it considers to be “surplus.”
1938: In Rome, the Minister for Popular Culture issued an official statement today denying “rumors published in various foreign newspapers” describing “measures taken against the intellectual activity of the Jews” including a ban on Jews speaking on the radio and a ban on all books and plays by Jewish authors.
1938: Today, Tribuna, “one of Rome’s two principal Fascist dailies printed a two-column review of In the Dawn of a World by Franz Werfel.
1939: “Thirty people marched tonight from a wine cellar in downtown Vienna to a near-by Nazi headquarters shouting ‘Down with Roosevelt, Down with Jews, Heil Hitler.’”
1939: “The contention that Palestine is the only country where Jews from Germany and Central Europe can be received on a scale that will solve the refugee was stressed tonight by Dr. Chaim Weizmann” as he started to present the Jewish case at the opening of the hearings in London.
1940: The first ghetto was set up by the Nazis in Lodz. The idea was to bring in all Jews from the surrounding areas in order to make it easier to proceed with the "Final Solution." By the first of May, 160,000 Jews would have been herded into the Ghetto.
1940: Edzia Abbe and her family were among the Jews forced to move into what would become the Lodz ghetto.
1940: Birthdate of Ted Koppel, ABC newsman and host of Nightline. Koppel was born in England where his parents had fled to escape Hitler’s Germany. According to one source, Koppel’s proudest possession is a family Torah Scroll.
1941: Lord Moyne, the British leader who would be murdered by Lehi in 1944, began serving as Secretary of State for the Colonies in the cabinet led by his friend Winston Churchill. He also assumed the leadership position in the House of Lords per the appointment of Churchill who as commoner served in the House of Commons.
1942: Herman Barron defeated Henry Picard by two strokes to win the Western Open in Phoenix, AZ. This made him the first Jewish golfer to win a PGA Tour event.
1942: Birthdate of actor and comedian Robert Klein.
1942: Fritz Todt, Hitler’s Minister of Armaments died in a plane crash today paving the way for Albert Speer to assume all of his powerful positions in the Third Reich – an assumption of power that should have led him to the gallows at Nuremberg.
1942: Author Hans Gunther Adler was deported along with his wife Gertrude Klepetar to Theresienstadt where he would spend the next three years of his life and she would die.
1942: Much to the disappointment of the Nazis only 359 Jews (137 women) from the Kovno ghetto arrived in Riga. The German Civil Administration in Lithuania had originally requested 1,000 male Jews.
1943: Sixty-seven year old Frederick Paul Keppel who Third Assistant Secretary of War during World War I played a role in having “a double triangle placed above the graves of the Jewish soldiers” who died in France “instead of the cross” passed away today.
1944(14th of Shevat, 5704): Seventy-seven year old “Sir Elly (Eleaszer Silas) Kadoorie, Bagdad-born Jewish philanthropist, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Hong Kong” passed away today. (As reported by JTA)
1944(14th of Shevat, 5704): Eighty-six year old Bernard Sachs, the American neurologist who is the Sachs in Tay-Sachs Disease an honor he earned because he “provided a more comprehensive description of the disease, and in 1887 noted its higher occurrence in Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe” passed away today.
1944: The Nazis deported 1,000 Jews from Holland to Birkenau, including 268 hospital patients.
1945: The Alsos Mission, a sub-set of Robert Oppenheimer’s Manhattan Project which was “established to investigate enemy scientific developments involving nuclear weapons chemical and biological weapons, and the means to deliver them” “reopened its forward headquarters in Strasbourg as Alsos Forward South (AFwdS0”
1946: In Palestine, Jewish newspapers respond to an attack on a British military installation followed by a British rampage aimed at the Jews of Cholon by publishing editorials calling on the Jewish population to reject the tactics of terrorism in their quest to create a Jewish homeland regardless of British or Arab provocations. An editorial in the Palestine Post calls on the Jews to “ferret out extremists” and to remember that “lawless violence will generate lawless violence—from which the innocent invariably suffer more than the guilty. In its editorial, Haaretz “declared these incidents had given the Jewish people an ‘opportunity of reminding itself that forces are being let loose that cannot after be controlled…We have to pursue the difficult struggle against British policy and there many ways of doing it. Our fight is against British policy, not against British soldiers.’”
1947: Birthdate of MIT grad Gerald Jay “Gerry” Sussman who became the Panasonic Professor of Electrical Engineering at his alma mater where he developed a specialty in artificial intelligence.
1949: Formation of Shabak or Shin Bet, the Israel security service
1951: Birthdate of Deborah Lynn Friedman, who as Debbie Friedman would change the face of Jewish music in the last half of the 20th century.
1952(11th of Shevat, 5712): Eighty-four year old Max W. Wallenstein, one of the four children of Esther and Solomon Wallenstein passed away.
1952: “Lambert the Sheepish Lion” an animated short film featuring the voices of Stan Freberg and June Foray was released today in the United States.
1958: Birthdate of actor Barry Miller.
1960: “Tiger at the Gates” co-produced by Henry Weinstein, co-directed by Harold Culman and featuring David Hurst as the “Poet Propagandist” was broadcast today as “The Play of the Week.”
1966(18th of Shevat, 5726): Eighty two year old Russian-born American mathematical physicist Paul Epstein passed away today.
1964: After 149 performances “Chips with Everything,” a play by Arnold Wexler finished its Broadway run.
1967(28th of Shevat, 5727): Seventy-three year old British publisher Sir Victor Gollancz passed away today.
1967: Falastin, a Jaffa based Palestinian newspaper founded in 1911 “that became one the most influential newspapers in Ottoman and British Palestine” ceased publication today.
1971: The NASDAQ stock market index, which Bernie Madoff helped to create, makes its debut. According to some, the confidence that Madoff built up in his role with NASDAQ, would become a tool in the creation of the largest Ponzi scheme in history.
1972(23rd of Shevat): Seventy-eight year old Samuel Pinanski, the President of the American Theatres Corporation and the Hebrew Free Loan Society passed away today.
1973(6th of Adar I, 5733): Max Yasgur, the owner of the farm where Woodstock took place, passed away.
1974: “Many leading figures in British show business appealed to Soviet authorities to allow Panov to emigrate to Israel with his wife.”
1975: Opening session of the Second National Conference in Solidarity with Chile co-sponsored by Herbert Aptheker, the youngest child of wealthy Jewish family from Brooklyn who became a leading Marxist.
1976: The first recorded meeting of what would become the Women's Rabbinic Network took place.
1976: “The Taxi Driver” produced by Julia and Michael Phillips, co-starring Albert Brooks and Harvey Keitel and with music by Bernard Hermann was released in the United States today.
1978(1st of Adar I, 5738): Rosh Chodesh Adar I
1978(1st of Adar I, 5738): Fifty-one German born Arnulf M. Pins the “director for the Middle East Region of the Joint Distribution Committee, and associate director of JDC-Israel” passed away today in Jerusalem.
1980: “American Gigolo” an oddly plotted crime movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer was released in the United States today.
1981: A revival production of “The Five O’Clock Girl” with music by Harry Ruby and lyrics by Bert Kalmar closed at the Helen Hayes Theatre.
1981: In a case of Jew on Jew, the curtain came down on a revival of The Five O’Clock Girl, a Harry Ruby and Bert Kalamar musical which Times critic Frank Rich described as "amiably silly" saying it "is not without passing interest as an arcane footnote to theatrical history, but as entertainment in 1981 it's a pretty slim affair,” adding that "the show's book is tiresomely long, and its gags are unshucked corn” meaning that “we're living just for the songs, and very few of them prove to be worth living for."
1982(15th of Shevat, 5742): Tu B’Shevat
1982(15th of Shevat, 5742): Just two days before his 65th birthday, Edward Lawrence “Eddie” Turchin, an infielder for the 1943 Cleveland Indians passed away today in Brookhaven, NY.
1983(25th of Shevat, 5743): Eighty-four year old “Alfred Wallenstein, the conductor, cellist, classical music pioneer on radio and former music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic” passed away today. (As reported by Allen Hughes)
1983: The Kahan Commission released its report today.
1984(5th of Adar I, 5744): Eight-one year old Mordechai Shapira, the son of Avraham and Liba Rochel Shapira and the husband of Batya Shapira, passed away today in Petah Tikva.
1988: A commission of historians charged by the Austrian Government to look into President Kurt Waldheim's wartime record reported today that he must have been aware of atrocities committed around him and did nothing about them, and that he tried to conceal his military past
1990: Herb Gray, a member of the Liberal Party, began serving as Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian Parliament today.
1991: Victor Erlich, the grand-son of Henryk Erlich was informed that according to a decree passed under Russian president Boris Yeltsin, Victor Alter, together with Erlich had been "rehabilitated" and the repressions against them had been declared unlawful. Victor Alter had been a Jewish leader of the Bund who was arrested by the NKVD and eventually executed by Stalin as part of his plan to murder any of those who might work for a non-Communist Poland after the end of the War.
1991: Israeli media reported that three soldiers had been wounded when Jordanian gunmen sneaked across the border and threw a hand grenade at a military bus. A few hours later, an Israeli guard in Jerusalem shot and wounded a Palestinian who attacked him with an ax.
1991(24th of Shevat, 5751): Eighty-five year old photographer Aaron Siskind passed away today. (As reported by Andy Gundberg)
1992(4th of Adar I, 5752): Ninety-three year old Yiddish Art Theatre actor Baruch Lumet the father of Sidney Lumet the filmmaker responsible for such hits as Serpico and Network passed away today.
1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Commanding Heights: The Battle Between Government and the Marketplace That Is Remaking the Modern World by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw and the newly released paperback edition of Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger by Elizabeth Ettinger
1998(12th of Shevat, 5758): Ninety-five year old Joseph Baruch (J.B.) Salsberg who “was a Labor-Progressive member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1943 to 1955” passed away today.
2001(15th of Shevat, 5761): Tu B’Shevat
2001: “A Brazilian production of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Company’ opened today at the Teatro Villa-Lobos in Rio de Janeiro.”
2001: Hamas claimed responsibility for today’s Beit Yisrael Bombing in which two people were injured in Jerusalem.
2001(15th of Shevat, 5761): Eighty-eight year old pioneering dancer and choreographer Pauline Koner passed away today. (As reported by Jack Anderson and Lewis Segal)
2002: The XIX Olympic Winter Games, during which 16 year old Sarah Hughes won a gold medal, opened today in Salt Lake City.
2002: “Jewish involvement of Patriots' owner extends to Israel” by Jacob Horowitz, reported today that Robert Kraft may or may not have said the Shehechiyanu when his New England Patriots scored the game-winning field goal in Sunday's Super Bowl, but there was no mistaking the elation of this Jewish businessman and philanthropist. The team owner nearly leapt through the glass window of his sky box at the Superdome in New Orleans as the clock ticked down and the 20-17 victory over the heavily favored St. Louis Rams brought the team its first Super Bowl title. Kraft's passion, evident throughout this week's celebratory events, is not limited to football. Indeed, his presence -- and philanthropic endeavors -- has resonated far beyond the Patriots' front office. Along with his wife, Myra, Kraft has been heavily involved in Jewish and non-Jewish projects throughout the area. And the Krafts' Jewish involvement extends beyond Boston to New York and Israel, where they have invested in study programs, absorption of Ethiopian Jews, and a football stadium. "Bob and Myra are truly an amazing combination," said Barry Shrage, president of Boston's Combined Jewish Philanthropies and a longtime friend of the family. "They are two folks who are committed to all of the citizens of Greater Boston and the world, but they also have a strong connection and commitment to Israel and the Jewish people." In 1989 the Krafts, in collaboration with Combined Jewish Philanthropies, introduced the Myra and Robert Kraft Passport to Israel Fund. The fund helps children involved in Jewish studies take an educational trip to Israel sometime between their sophomore and senior years of high school. To date, thousands of students have taken advantage of the trips to Israel that the Krafts help provide. In addition, the Krafts have been active in developing the sister-city relationship between Boston and Haifa. In 1998 they participated in the renovation of an afterschool enrichment center that assists in the absorption, education and integration of Haifa's Ethiopian community. Aside from the Krafts' their work with the Ethiopian Jewish community, their impact and presence can be felt across the state of Israel. Kraft is the primary shareholder of Carmel Container Systems, Israel's largest packaging plant. In 1997, he invested $40 million in a plant in Caesarea in order to provide his company, which employs 700 people, with the most advanced technology available. In 1999, Kraft brought his love of football to Israel in the form of a new stadium, Israel's first American football stadium. Kraft Stadium, at the northern end of Sacher Park in Jerusalem, is used to accommodate the Jerusalem-based American Touch Football in Israel league. Currently in 13th year, the league runs a 33-team, 500-player league in Israel's capital. At the time of the groundbreaking, the league president, Steve Leibowitz, commented that "this will be the start of an American sports revolution in Jerusalem." Closer to home, the Krafts have worked to promote interfaith relations. Among other things, they created the Kraft-Hiatt Fund, a joint endowment fund through which gifts to College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., are used to encourage a greater understanding between Christians and Jews. In referring to his friend, Shrage said, "Robert always says that his investment in Israel and his commitment to the Jewish people is a result of his upbringing." Kraft's father, Harry Kraft, was a highly respected leader in the Jewish community of Brookline, a Boston suburb. Myra Kraft, a 1964 Brandeis graduate and the daughter of Boston philanthropist Jacob Hiatt, has been a trustee at Brandeis since 1988. She also sits on the board of directors of Combined Jewish Philanthropies and is a member of its overseas committee, and is chairwoman of the Israel program committee. In April 2000, Kraft gave an $11.5 million gift to Columbia University, his alma mater, for the establishment of the Robert K. Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life. At the time, Kraft said the basement facility for Jewish students had not changed from the time he began Columbia in 1963 to when his son David entered in 1991. "For a school like Columbia University in New York City, with the number of Jewish students, it is very important that there would be this kind of facility. I just thought it was time to help." Said Richard Joel, president and international director of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, "You only have to listen to what Mr. Kraft said when he accepted the Super Bowl trophy to understand what matters to him -- faith, family and country. "It is no wonder that he and Myra are deeply committed to a values agenda. We are delighted to count them among our leadership." Kraft's Jewish identity has even occasionally trickled into his position as owner of the Patriots. On Sept. 22, 1996, he asked that the kickoff of a game between the Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars be changed to avoid a conflict with Yom Kippur, which started at sundown that evening. Kraft requested the change so Jews, including himself and his family, could see the entire game before the start of Kol Nidre services that night.
2004(16th of Shevat, 5764): Julius "Julie" Schwartz American comic book and science fiction editor passed away. He is best known as a longtime editor at DC Comics, where at various times he was primary editor over the company's flagship superheroes, Superman and Batman.
2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror
by David Frum and Richard Perle and Someone To Run With by David Grossman; translated by Vered Almog and Maya Gurantz.
by David Frum and Richard Perle and Someone To Run With by David Grossman; translated by Vered Almog and Maya Gurantz.
2005: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas announced a cease-fire at a summit in Egypt.
2005: “Fateless,” an Hungarian “based on the semi-autobiographical novel Fatelessness by the Nobel Prize-winner Imre Kertész, who also wrote the screenplay” which “tells the story of a teenage boy who is sent to concentration camps at Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Zeitz” was released today in Hungary, Germany and the United Kingdom.
2006: Haaretz reported that IDF confiscated a stolen seventh-century synagogue mosaic. An archaeologist said the mosaic seized from Palestinian antiquities thieves appears to have been cut from the floor of a previously unknown synagogue that dates back to the 7th century.
2006: In Hebron international observers end their decade-long presence following attacks by Palestinians.
2007(20th of Shevat, 5767): Ninety-five year old Florence Melton “an inventor of the foam soled washable slipper and the mother of Gordon Zacks and Barry Zacks passed away today.
2007: The 11th annual New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival closed after a week long run.
2008: At the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. Daniel Mendelssohn, author of The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million participates in a PEN/Faulkner event entitled "Imagination as Subversion: The Role of Imagination in Memoir & Nonfiction."
2009: The Sunday New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Jerusalem File “Joel Stone’s adamantly anti-heroic novel about a former Israeli security officer who has lost his will to live,” The Samaritan’s Secret, Matt Beynon Rees’ latest thriller which “finds the protagonist Omar Yussef in Nablus, helping his friend Sami Jaffari, a lieutenant with the national police, investigate the theft of a priceless Torah scroll (said to be the oldest book in the world) from a Samaritan sect’s synagogue” and the recently released paperback version of The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman.
2009: The Washington Post features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann, the English author who is the son of two Jewish immigrants and Is God A Mathematician by Mario Livio a Romanian born Jewish astrophysicists who was educated in Israel, served with IDF and is currently the senior astrophysicist at the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore
2009: This evening, Hila Plitmann, the 36-year-old Israeli operatic soprano, won her Grammy for Best Classical Performance as vocalist on a recording of Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan (2000), an original composition for full orchestra and amplified soprano by John Corigliano using the lyrics of Dylan and performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by JoAnne Falletta.
2010: The New York premiere of “Salvador: The Ship of Shattered Hopes” is scheduled to take place tonight at the 14th New York Sephardic Film Festival is schedule.
2010: In Washington, the DCJCC is scheduled to present a program entitled “Sanctuary in Israel: The Plight of African Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Israel Today.”
2010: Eleven people were arrested as Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren was repeatedly interrupted while trying to deliver an address tonight at the University of California, Irvine. 2010: Unknown assailants torched a building housing a Conservative synagogue in Arad tonight, a year after a failed attempt to burn the shul.
2010: Chancellor Arnodl Eisen and JTS Provost Alan Cooper met with about 100 students, faculty and alumni to discuss the recent announcement that the position of deal of the JTS cantorial school has been eliminated.
2010(25 Shevat, 5770): Ninety-four year old Rabbi Bernard Lander, founder and president of Touro College, passed away today. (As reported by Margalit Fox)
2011: Members of Maryland’s Jewish community are scheduled to meet with the Governor, Lt. Governor and state legislators as part of The Maryland Jewish Community 2011 Annapolis Advocacy Day.
2011: Opening night of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
2011: Two Kassam rockets slammed into a field and a parking lot in a kibbutz in the Sha'ar Hanegev regional council at around 11 a.m.
2012(15th of Shevat, 5772): Tu B’Shevat
2012: Based on a previous announcement by Ofer Eini, chairman of Histadrut, a general strike in support of contract workers is scheduled to begin today shutting down banks, the Bank of Israel, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), buses, railways, the courts, national parks, local authorities, and government ministries
2012: Lilith Editor in Chief Susan Weidman Schneider and Michelle Brafman, a writer and fiction teacher at GWU and the Johns Hopkins MA in writing program, are scheduled to facilitate an evening devoted to discussing the influences of naming practices on the identities of Jewish women.
2012: Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan kicked off a new movement calling for changes in the political system today by warning that the current system could result in faulty decision-making on key issues like Iran.
2012: Gilad Schalit, the IDF soldier held in Hamas captivity for five years before being released in October, was welcomed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to the Élysée Palace in Paris on today. 2013: “Excellence” a concert featuring the Young Piano Masters of the Aldwell Institute of the Jerusalem Conservatory of Music and Dance is scheduled to take place at the Eden-Tamir Music Center
2013: An IISHJ (International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism) Seminar, “Matzah Without Dogma: Four Centuries of Secular and Humanistic Judaism,” featuring Rabbi Adam Chalom is scheduled to begin at Silver Spring, MD.
2013: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today condemned an arson attack at Betar Jerusalem soccer club's offices overnight, calling it "disgraceful."
2013: As snow began falling across the Northeastern US today, ushering in what was predicted to be a huge, possibly historic blizzard — and sending residents scurrying to stock up on food, and gas up their cars — some synagogues announced they would be canceling weekend services. At least two synagogues in Providence, R.I., called off Shabbat services this weekend in light of the expected severe weather. More than two feet of snow were expected in Providence, one of the highest predicted snowfalls on the East Coast this weekend.
2013: A British judge ordered Google to help identify people who may have defamed a London rabbi accused of inappropriate conduct toward women.
2014: The JCC of Northern Virginia is scheduled to host the “Ninth Annual Comedy” night featuring Monica Piper
2014: “The Attack” is scheduled to be shown at The David Posnack JCC’s 14th annual Jewish Film Festival
2014: “The Girl on the Train” is scheduled to be shown at the 24th annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival
2014: For its Joyce Theatre debut, the company created by talented Israeli choreographers Lee Sher and Saar Harari is scheduled to perform the New York premiere of Grass and Jackals, a dance piece and light spectacle.
2014: “An Israeli activist from the leftist Ta'ayush organization says he was attacked today in the West Bank by a group of masked settlers who beat him with clubs.” (As reported by Eilor Levy)
2014: Former CIA Director James Woolsey told Israeli Channel 10 TV today that “anti-Semitism could be a factor in the US refusal to release” Jonathan Pollard.
2014: For the fourth time this week, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired a rocket this evening in southern Israel. (As reported by Matan Tsuri)
2014: In “At Look at a Real Man Portrayed in Monuments Men” Jamie Stengle profiles the character portrayed by Matt Damon -- James Rorimer the museum curator and director of the Metropolitan Museum who Cleveland born Jew, a fact not mentioned in the movie for some strange reason.
2015: The Jewish National Fund of Canada - 2015 Tu Bi'Shevat Telethon is scheduled to take place today.
2015: Four ultra-Orthodox protesters were arrested today during a Jerusalem protest against IDF enlistment, that featured vandalism including setting fire to trash dumpsters.
2015: “Comedian Joan Rivers won a posthumous Grammy Award” tonight in the category of Best Spoken Word Album for the audio version of her 2014 memoir “Diary of a Mad Diva.” (As reported by Lior Zaltzman)
2015: In Coralville, IA the children of Agudas Achim are scheduled to celebrate Tu B’Shevat by planting herb and vegetable seeds which they will transplant in the Spring.
2015: Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is scheduled to “mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide with a powerful symposium that examines the United States' response to the genocide through the lens of the Near East Relief, the first non-governmental, non-sectarian, ecumenical of its kind.”
2015: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington and Adas Israel are scheduled to co-host “Voices of the Vigil – A Movement in Music” during which Robyn Helzner “shares her experiences as an activist in the Soviet Jewry movement.”
2015: The Eyal Vilner Big Band is scheduled to bring the timeless sounds of the Swing Era to Smalls Jazz Club.
2015: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed With Standardized Testing — But You Don’t Have to Be by Anya Kamenetz and the recently released paperback edition of Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen.
2016: “For You Were Once Strangers” is scheduled to be shown at the Bow Tie Cinemas.
2016: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to host an “Insider's Talk with Chief Curator Hetty Berg of Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum.”
2016: An unidentified Arab stabbed and wounded an eleven year old boy in Ramle today.
2016: With the memory of last week’s fatal stabbing of border policewoman Hadar Cohen fresh in their minds. “Jerusalem police guarding the Damascus Gate…arrested an Arab woman carrying a large knife.”
2016: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to host an evening exploring the life of Hungarian Jewry based on How They Lived: The Everyday Lives of Hungarian Jews, 1867-1940 by Andras Koerner.
2017: In Memphis, TN, Temple Israel’s Barbara K. Lipman Early Learning Center is scheduled to host a carnival style celebration of Tu B’Shevat.
2017: In a testament to the vitality of small-town Jewry, the Agudas Achim book club in Coralville, IA is scheduled to discuss Moonglow by Michael Chabon.
2017: Suzanne Schnieder is scheduled to present the second class on “Separation Anxiety: Religion and the Modern State” which explores the role of separation of church and state in democratic states.
2018: The Illinois Holocaust Commission is scheduled to co-host “If Not Now, When!” a panel discussion on the ‘impace and response to the Rohingya Genocide.
2018: The 28th Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to open today.
2018: In London, JW3 is scheduled to host the final screening of “Menashe” which is a rarity since it is a full length feature film in Yiddish.
2018: The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to host a pub crawl starting at Turf Tavern during the 4th week of Hilary Term.
2018: The Yeshiva University Museum is scheduled to host an evening with Brandeis University art historian Peter R. Kalb and artist Ben Schachter as they discuss issued raised in Schacter’s latest book, Image, Action and Idea in Contemporary Jewish Art.
2018: As part of Black History Month, Albion College is scheduled to host a screening and discussion of “Rosenwald: The Remarkable Story of a Jewish Partnership with African-American Communities.”