Thursday, January 17, 2019

This Day, January 18, in Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

January 18

360: In a move that demonstrated how Christianity was becoming the state religion of the Roman Empire with all that meant to detriment of the Jews, Roman Emperor Constantius II “decreed that only Catholic Churches will be granted exemptions from state taxes.”

532: In Constantinople the Nika riots come to an end with Justinian still holding the office of Emperor.  Senators opposed to Justinian took advantage of these riots, which had grown out of a dispute over chariot competition, to try and bring an end to Justinian’s imperial rule. Justinian was ready to flee the city and effectively give up his power.  However, his wife refused to leave and give him the courage to stay and defeat the mob and his enemies.  History does not record the views held by Justinian’s opponents concerning the Jewish people and Judaism.  But it does not seem possible that the Jews could have been any worse off if they had won given Justinian’s anti-Jewish policies.  For example, “Justinian ruled that ‘Jews must never enjoy the furits of office, but only its pains and penalties…They shall enjoy no honors.  Their status shall reflect the baseness which in their souls they have elected and desired.’” Justinian firmly established the principle of servitus Jadaeorum (servitude of the Jews) and “the hitherto uneven pattern of persecution was systematized” as Christianity and state power became synonymous.

749:  According to Michael the Syrian, several ships were sunk off the coast of Palestine and Lebanon as the result of an earthquake.

973: A year after a fire raged through Baghdad “that contributed to the decline of the city’s Jewish population and its importance in the Jewish world” Benedict VI, a contemporary of Ibrahim Ibn Ya’kub, began his papacy today.

1074: “Henry IV granted the citizens and Jews of Worms, the ShUM-cities and other locations, including Frankfurt, certain privileges relating to reductions in fees and import duties.”

1174: Bernard, the third child of Burgundian nobles Tescelin de Fontaine, lord of Fontaine-lès-Dijon, and Alèthe de Montbard, who became the Abbot of Clairvaux and was known as Bernard of Clairvaux, the Benedictine who “condemned violence against Jewish people” was “canonized by Pope Alexander III” today.

1562:  The Council of Trent reconvenes after a ten year break.  The Council of Trent adopted additional books for inclusion in the Old Testament. This meant that the TaNaCh (the Hebrew Bible, or simply The Bible) and Old Testament of the Christian Bible were no longer the same texts.  A discussion of the implications of this change is far beyond the scope of this daily summary. 

1606: The Governor of Puerto Rico reported one-fifth of the white population of the island was Portuguese. It was said these "white" Portuguese persons were most likely conversos.

1689: Birthdate of Charles de Montesquieu the French born political theorist who was uncharacteristically critical of the Jews in Lettres Persanes when he wrote “Know that wherever there is money, there are Jews.  Thou inquires what they do here?  Just what they do in Persia; nothing can be more like a Jew of Asia than a Jew of Europe.” In the same book he also wrote that “the People of the Book” was “a mother that has brought forth two daughters who have stabbed her with a thousand wounds.” (As reported by Elliot Rosenberg)

1701: At Königsberg, Prussia, coronation of Fredrick I who in 1709 appointed Aaron ben Benjamin Wolf “to the office of chief rabbi of Berlin with jurisdiction over all the living in the mark.”

1724: Judah Monis,the Italian born Rabbi who converted to obtain a teaching position at Harvard  married Abbigal Maret, the sister-in-law of Reverend John Martyn of Northboro, MA, at the First Church in Cambridge

1776: Birthdate of Lazarus Magnus, the native of Zwolle, Holland, the husband of Sara Moses with whom he had 13 children at they settled in Chatham, Kent, UK.

1777)10th of Shevat, 5537): Parashat Bo

1777 (10th of Shevat, 5537): Rabbi Shalom Sharabi, known by his name's acronym, the RaShaSH, passed away. He was born in Yemen, and as a young man immigrated to Israel. He was quickly recognized for his piety and scholarship, especially in the area of Jewish mysticism, and was appointed to be dean of the famed Kabalistic learning center in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Yeshivat ha-Mekubbalim. He authored many works, mostly based on the teachings of the great kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria, the Ari. Rabbi Sharabi's most famous work is a commentary on the prayer book, replete with kabalistic meditations. His mystical works are studied by Kabbalists to this very day. He is also considered to be a foremost authority on Yemenite Jewish traditions and customs.

1782:  Birthdate of American political leader, statesmen and orator Daniel Webster.  In 1850, Webster was Secretary of State under President Fillmore. He and his political opponent Senator Henry Clay joined forces to defeat a treaty with the Swiss that would have discriminated against American Jews.  The issue was one of religious freedom, and not an attempt to protect American Jews since the American government was working to remove disabilities faced by Protestant Americans doing business with Catholic countries.

1788: Leading elements of the First Fleet carrying 736 convicts from England to Australia arrives at Botany Bay.  According to Dr. Raymond Apple, Emeritus Rabbi of The Great Synagogue in Sydney, “When New South Wales was founded as a penal colony in 1788; among the 751 First Fleet convicts were at least 16 Jews.”

1794: Birthdate of Daneil Lessman, the native of Soldin Neumark who interrupted his medical studies so he could fight against Napoleon and gained fame as a German historian and poet.

1804: Israel B. Kursheedt “married Sarah Abigail (Sally) Seixas, the eldest daughter of” Gershom Mendes Seixas, who was the cantor’s “favorite child: making Kursheedt “his favorite son-in-law.” (As reported by Yitzchok Levine and M.J. Raphall)

1815: In Charleston, SC, Alexander Solomons officiated at the wedding of Elias Abrahams to Catherine Cohen.

1815: Mordecai Moses married Ann Davis at the Great Synagogue today.

1821: Birthdate of Theodor Goldstücker, the native of Königsberg who became a leading scholar in the field of Sanskrit and pursued a career in Great Britain after being “asked to leave Berlin during the Revolutions of 1848.”

1824: Three days after he had passed away, 9 year old Joseph Gompertz, the son of Benjamin Gompertz and Abigail Montefiore was buried today at the “Hoxton Old Burial Ground.”

1824: In Cincinnati, Ohio, Congregation B'nai Israel was formally organized; those in attendance were Solomon Buckingham, David I. Johnson, Joseph Jonas, Samuel Jonas, Jonas Levy, Morris Moses, Phineas Moses, Simeon Moses, Solomon Moses, and Morris Symonds.

1826: Moss Laurence married Rayner Andrade today at the Great Synagogues.

1834: Birthdate of Jacob Egers, the native of Halberstadt who “was for more than twenty years a master at the Training-School for Teachers ("Lehrerbildungsanstalt") in Berlin.”

1844: James Buchanan, the U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania “introduces a resolution in the United States Senate that the United States be declared a Christian Nation and acknowledges Jesus Christ as America's Savior” which is rejected by “Upper House.”  (This is the same James Buchanan, who as 15th President of the United States presided over the dissolution of the Union, betraying his oath of office and making him, in the minds of many, the worst President in history)

1845(10th of Shevat, 5605): In London, 57 year old Emanuel Aguilar who was suffering from consumption died in the arms of his daughter, author Grace Aguilar:

1847: In Bavaria, Sigmund Myers and he gave birth to Herman Myers, the Richmond, VA education Savannah banker and Mayor of Savannah, GA.

1851(15th of Shevat, 5611): Tu B'Shvat

1851: In Cayuga County, NY, Judge Johnson sentenced John Baham to be hung by the neck until dead. Baham was one of three brothers charged with the murder of Nathan Adler, a Jewish peddler from Syracuse.

1851: Alfred Baham, one of three brothers charged with the murder of Nathan Adler entered a plea of guilty to Manslaughter in the Second Degree and was sentenced to serve 5 years and 3 months in state prison. Baham’s plea followed the trials of his two brothers, both of whom were senteneced to death for the same crime.

1854(18th of Tevet, 5614): Judah Touro, the great American Jewish philanthropist passed away.  Born in 1775 in Newport, Rhode Island, Touro moved New Orleans at the time of the Louisiana Purchase.  He became a prosperous merchant and leading citizen.  He fought with Jackson’s Army in the famed Battle of New Orleans where he was seriously wounded.  “Touro contributed to numerous Jewish and non-Jewish charities.  Touro helped found congregation Nefuzoth Yehuda in New Orleans, which followed the Sephardic rituals of his youth. He subsequently built its synagogue and began to attend services regularly, provided the land and funds for its religious school, bought land for its cemetery and annually made up for any deficits incurred. He also founded the city's Jewish hospital, the Touro Infirmary. In the last year of his life, Touro wrote a will which set the standard of American Jewish philanthropy. After modest bequests to family members and friends, Touro donated the bulk of his fortune to strengthen Jewish life. He left $100,000 to the two leading Jewish congregations and Jewish benevolent organizations in New Orleans. Another $150,000 went to Jewish congregations and charitable institutions in 18 other cities around the United States. He directed that $60,000 be dispensed to relieve poverty and provide freedom of worship to Jews in Palestine. He also left bequests to non-Jewish institutions such as Massachusetts General Hospital, which his brother had helped found.”

1858: Birthdate of Herman Benmosche, the native of Cairo, Egypt, who served as the “Rabbi of Spital Square Synagogue in London” before taking up a similar post at Congregation Beth-El in Norfolk, VA.

1860: Julius Ochs, the son of Nanette and Leser Lazarus Ochs and his wife Bertha Ochs gave birth to Nannie Ochs, the younger sister of Adolph Ochs, of New York Times fame.

1861:  Birthdate of German chemist Hans Goldschmidt.

1864: Two days after he had passed away, 18 year old New Orleans native, the son of Daniel Goodman and Amelia Harris was buried today at the “Balls Pond Road Jewish Cemetery.

1865: Birthdate of Morris Polsky, the native of Kiev who became a successful realtor in New York and a director of Keren Hayesod.

1867: Two days after she had passed away, Esther Davis, the wife of Joseph Davis with whom she had had six children was buried today at the “Brompton (Fulham Road) Jewish Cemetery.

1871: As the Franco-Prussian war comes to an end with the Germans defeating the French,  King Wilhelm of Prussia becomes Wilhelm I of Germany as he is proclaimed the first German Emperor in the 'Hall of Mirrors' of the Palace of Versailles. The empire was known as The Second Reich to the Germans. The real power behind the German throne was Otto von Bismarck who engineered the full emancipation of the Jews two years earlier in 1869. Life for Jews in the empire would be a mixed bag with the rise in anti-Semitism paralleling their involvement in all facets of commerce and culture.  The creation of the Second Reich is tied directly to the events that led to World War that led to World War II.

1875: Isaac Botibol married Jane Angel at Bevis Marks today.

1877: Birthdate of Brno native Arthur Biach.

1878: Two days after he had passed away, Barnett Joshua Simmons, the son of Joshua Simmons and Ann Levy was buried today at the “Brompton (Fulham Road) Jewish Cemetery.”

1884: Eight days after she had passed away, the former Elizabeth Helena de Johngh, the wife Edward Dentz was buried today at the “Balls Pond Road Jewish Cemetery.”

1887: At Albany, Samuel Gompers, President of the Federation of Labor, praised New York Governor David Hill for the way he “aided in the passage of laws in the interest of labor, signed and executed them in their spirit as well as their letter and did all that a man in his position could do to advance the interests of the workingmen and the workingwomen of” New York.

1888(5th of Shevat, 5648): Fifty-two year old Edward Cohen, the Baltimore born son of “Benjamin I and Kitty (Etting) Cohen who moved to Richmond during the Civil War and went from being a stockbroker to President of the City Bank of Richmond and the husband of Caroline Davis passed away today.

1890: Birthdate of Kamila Fislova who was deported from Prague in 1942 after which she was murdered at Ujazdow.

1891: The B’nai Zion Educational Society whose members included David A. Lourie, Charles, Askwith and Louis Arkin was founded in Boston, MA.

1891((9th of Shevat, 5651): Joseph Abenheim, the native of Worms the famed violinist and orchestra leader who played with the royal orchestras at Stuttgart passed away today.

1892: Birthdate of Shevach Samuel Kalinowsky the native of the Ukraine who gained fame as Samuel Kaylin who composed 80 film scores including a Mr. Motto film starring co-religionist Peter Lorre.

1894: An unknown thief stole the book which was the primary source for the upcoming lecture to be delivered by Professor Knapp of Barnard at the Hebrew Institute in New York.

1894: Dr. Joseph Krauskopf, leading rabbi from Philadelphia, is scheduled to deliver a lecture tonight entitled “Only A Jew” at Ahwath Chesed.

1894: The United Hebrew Charities is one of the organizations that will share in the proceeds from a fund raising concert to be held this afternoon at the Metropolitan Opera House.

1895: In Neustadt, Max and Hedwig Pinkus gave birth to Klaus Valentin Pinkus

1895: The officers and directors of what would become the Hebrew Infant Asylum met today and “resolved to make strenuous efforts to obtain a charter.”

1895: It was reported today that charitable institutions in New York City, including those supported by the Jews, believe that the new rules for the disbursement of funds are “too restrictive.”

1895: It was reported today that Dr. Michael L. Rodkinson has been soliciting funds and assistance for creating the first English language translation of the Talmud.  (Editor’s note – Rodkinson was a Russian born American publisher who lived between 1845 and 1904.  He did accomplish his goal of creating an English-Hebrew Talmud as well as the printing other works in English, Hebrew and Yiddish.)

1897(15th of Shevat, 5657): Tu B’Shevat

1897: Sir Louis Jean Bols, who would serve “as Edmund Allenby's Third Army Chief of Staff on the Western front and Sinai and Palestine campaigns of World War I” and “the Chief Administrator of Palestine for the six months of 1920” was promoted to the rank of Captain today.

1898: As anti-Semitic mobs roam the streets of France during the Drefyus Affair, it was reported that “the events of the past few days are beginning to produce a feeling of panic in Jewish circles. Both the business and private houses of the Rothschilds and other wealthy Jews are guarded by special detectives and gendarmes

1898: The funeral for Solomon Latz was held at his home on 49th Street in New York City.

1898: It was reported today that a crowd of 3,000 people demonstrated in front of the Army Club in Marseilles expressing their support for the army and denouncing Zola and Dreyfus.

1898: It was reported today that Oscar S. Straus was so overcome with grief that he fainted as his father’s coffin was being taken from Temple Beth-El for burial at the cemetery.

1899: John T. O’Brien came to the offices of the United Hebrew Charities claiming to be an unemployed veteran.  He was sent to the Elite Hotel on 7th Avenue where he was to be employed as a porter.

1899: The sixteenth annual ball of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum Society of Brooklyn took places tonight at the Academy of Music.

1899: The Schribman – Needle nuptials took place in Charleston, SC

1900: In Berlin, Robert Georg Alexander von Mendelssohn and Giulietta von Mendelssohn gave birth to Eleonora von Mendelssohn

1902: Birthdate of Massachusetts native David “Dave” Ziff who played end at Syracuse in the 1920’s after which he took his pass catching skills to the nascent National Football League for two years.

1903: A number of Moses Lindo’s advertisements and items concerning him that had appeared in the South Carolina which had been collected by Rabbi B.A. Elzas were reprinted today in the Charleston News and Courier.

1903(19th of Tevet, 5663): Sir Joseph Sebag-Montefiore passed away today in London.  Born in 1822 to Solomon Sebag and Sarah, eldest sister of Sir Moses Montefiore he succeeded to the estate of his maternal uncle and he assumed the name of Montefiore by royal license. He was one of the leading members of the London Stock Exchange, on which he amassed a large fortune. He was a justice of the peace for Kent and the Cinque Ports and lieutenant of the city of London; and in 1889 he served as High Sheriff for Kent. He was for many years a leading member of the Spanish-Portuguese congregation and was president of the elders of that body. In 1895 he became president of the Board of Deputies, after having been vice-president for many years; and in 1896 he was appointed by the King of Italy Italian consul general in London. He was knighted in 1896

1903(19th of Tevet, 5663): Seventy-seven year old Henri Blowitz, the Bohemian born French journalist whose colorful career included obtaining “the text of the Treaty of Berlin” and publishing “it at the very moment that the Congress of Berlin was signing it”  - an accomplishment for which “he was an Officer of the Légion d'honneur.”

1903: Birthdate of Berthold Goldschmidt.  Born in Germany, Goldschmidt was enjoying a successful career until the Nazis came to power.  At that point, he was forced to flee to Britain where he resumed his career.  Oddly enough, he is identified as a “German opera composer” even though the Germans would have sent him to a concentration camp if he had stayed in the Fatherland. 

1904: Herzl spends the day in Venice before continuing on to Rome via Florence.  He described the day as "a blue Monday" which, in the evening found him choosing to dine at Bauer's Austrian Beer House so that he could the Englishmen at the Grand Hotel.

1904(1st of Shevat, 5664): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1906: It was reported today that “Jacob H. Schiff, Treasurer of the National Committee for the Relief of the Suffers by Russian Massacres has received from Lord Rothschild a report made by Carl Stettauer” who had “recently journeyed through Russia for the purpose of organizing the distribution of relief funds” which included the conclusions that “there is not the slightest guarantee that similar occurrences are impossible in the future” and “there is grave cause to fear that the systematic incitement against the Jews” are possible at any moment due to the participation of “Russian officials in the pogroms.”

1906: It was reported today that “the Police Chief of Rostoff-on-Don has been indicted for not preventing the massacre of Jews.”

1907: Birthdate of New York City native C. Irving “Irv” Constantine, the graduate of Curtis High School who played college football for Syracuse University before spending one year with the professional Staten Island Stapletons.

1908(15th of Shevat, 5668): Tu B'Shevat

1908: Samuel Clemens whose pen-name is Mark Twin and Supreme Court Justice Greenbaum will address the annual meeting of the Hebrew Technical School for girls this morning at 15th Street and Second Avenue in New York.  Clemens only daughter married a Jewish composer and orchestra conductor.

1908:  Birthdate of Jacob Bronowsky the famed mathematician and cultural historian who created the widely acclaimed television series “The Ascent of Man” in which he said while standing at Auschwitz: “It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance."

1908: In Brooklyn, Anna Gleichenhaus and Isaac Goodman gave birth to Moe Goodman who would gain fame as Martin Goodman the publisher who among other things, created the company eventually known as Marvel Comics.

1909: It was reported today that Dr. D.C. Potter, chief of the Department of Finance in the Charitable Institutions Divisions of NYC, had told supporters of the Hebrew Infant Asylum that there was a pressing need for funds to carry out the work of the institution and to build a new home for the city’s Jewish orphans.  Work on this building at 192nd Street and Kingsbridge Road has already begun.

1909: The Executive Board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations will meet this afternoon at the Mercantile Club in Philadelphia.

1909: Twenty year old Sam Melitzer, the son of Austrian Jewish immigrants scored 20 points “to lead Columbia to…victory over Princeton.”

1909: Members of the Executive Board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and their female invitees will meet for dinner at 6:30 in Philadelphia followed by a resumption of the business meeting begun earlier in the afternoon.

1912:  The Jewish Chronicle published a letter from author and Zionist leader Max Nordau in which he condemns President Taft’s role in “the abrogation of the Russo-American Treaty.” Nordau ended his denunciation by writing, “The situation for the Jews in Russia will be worse than before and the anti-Semites in America will make the American Jews pay heavily for their manful stand—that’s all.”

1912: President Taft received a delegation representing the American Association of Foreign Language Newspapers led by Louis N. Hammerling. Mr. Taft said he favored admission of desirable immigrants, but immigration laws should be strictly enforced. The issue of immigration is especially sensitive for American Jews.  Attempts to limit immigration from eastern and southern Europe were seen, in part, as an attempt to keep Jews from Russia, Romania and Poland from entering the United States.  The term “desirable immigrants” was often used as a code to describe those coming from Western Europe and Scandinavia. To add to the complexity of the issue, Jews of Germanic origins were concerned about the influx of Jews from Eastern Europe. They were afraid that this onslaught of what they considered “the great unwashed” would bring on a wave of anti-Semitism in the United States.

1913: Birthdate of David Daniel Kaminski. Kaminski became Danny Kay, the Brooklyn born comedian, actor and singer starred in several movies and his own television variety program.  But he was proudest of being the driving force behind UNICEF.

1913: Nathan Straus set sail for Palestine accompanied by two Hadassah nurses - Rachel Kaplan and Rose Landy.  Hadassah had raised $2,500 to cover the salaries of the nurses for two years.  Strauss paid their travel expenses and agreed to fund a new clinic in Jerusalem.

1914: Bernard A. Rosenblatt, the Honorary Secretary of the Federation of American Zionists, issued a reply to the charges of Dr. Paul Nathan of Berlin that some of the Zionists in Palestine were “stirring up discord.”  Mr. Rosenblatt issued a statement in which he traced the growth of the Jewish settlement in Palestine over the last three decades; a growth that has been so successful that the Zionist movement has attracted the support of such important as Louis Brandeis and Nathan Strauss.  He then reviewed the creation of a Jewish Institute of Technology at Haifa; a project in which Dr. Nathan said he wanted to be an active participant and which has funded by the Jewish National Fund and Zionist throughout the world.  Now, seven years after the project had begun, Mr.  Rosenblatt claims that Dr. Nathan held a clandestine meeting of the Board of Trustees that was attended only by his German supporters during which the attendees voted to make German and not Hebrew, the language of instruction at the Institute.  Mr. Rosenblatt said that American Zionists would support the actions of Jewish students and teachers designed to make Hebrew the language of the school as had been previously agreed.  He expressed nothing but scorn for his German counterparts who are determined to put a Germanic stamp on the efforts to develop a home for Jews from all over the world, regardless of their place of national origin.

1914: It was reported today that David Belasco, the English born Sephardic Jew who used the stage name David James left an estate valued at £41,594

1914: Joseph Charlack, Secretary of the Poultry Workers’ Union, whose members are now on strike for higher wages and a shorter workday and of the Kosher Butchers’ Union, whose members have gone on strike in sympathy with   the poultrymen, announced this evening that the rabbis who kill chickens for kosher consumption have voted to go on strike.  He said that this was decided up at a meeting of the representatives of 900 rabbis in the house of Chief Rabbi Margulies on East Broadway.

1915: In Upper Hungary, Ernest Länyi, a wealthy landowner and his wife gave birth to György Länyi who gained fame as George Henry Lane reached the rank of Colonel while serving in the British Army as a member of the elite Commandos known as SOE (Special Operations Executive).

1916: It was reported today that Mr. Lewin-Epstein, a member of the Executive Committee of the American Jewish Relief Committee has “found a shocking condition in the war-stricken countries” and that many Jews “have died from exposure and starvation.”

1916: “The Jewish Theological Seminary reopened today with Dr. Cyrus Adler as temporary President.”

1916: Herbert Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel, completed his service as Postmaster-General in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Asquith.

1916: The American Jewish Relief Committee “announced” today “that to date it has collected $1,223,497.68 of which $981,816.46 is in cash and $241,681.22 in pledges.”

 1917: “The twenty-fifth council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the second biennial meeting of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods adjourned today after selecting Boston as the meeting place for 1919.”

1917:  Birthdate of English theatrical and film producer, Oscar Lewenstein.  The son of Russian immigrants, Lowenstein passed away at the age of 80.  For more about him read his autobiography, Kinking Against the Pricks.

1917: The national organization representing Reform Rabbis and their congregations approved a resolution reaffirming “its opposition to the literacy test as a condition for admitting immigrants into the United States as unwise and contrary to the salutary American precedents, particularly as an educational qualification already has been imposed by Congress where it belongs, as a prerequisite for naturalization.”

1918: In Odessa, the faculty of the university rejected the three Jewish candidates “for professional posts” and the municipal council adopted a resolution “condemning the action and expressing sympathy with the rejected candidates.

1918: The leaders of drive to add 50,000 new members to the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies are scheduled to meet at 2:30 so they can finish their business before the start of Shabbat this evening.

 1918: In Vienna, accusations that Dr. Braunn was administering drugs to help young Jewish men evand military duty were withdrawn.

1919: The Paris Peace Conference opened in Versailles, France. Among other things, negotiations at the conference would result in the creation of a mandatory government for Palestine that incorporated the Balfour Declaration and was controlled by the British.  Jews serving in the American delegation pushed for guarantees of full rights of citizenship for their co-religionist living in the new countries that would be established by the Big Four.

 1919: Among those present at Paris when the conference began was Joseph Barondess, who was a member of the delegation sent by the American Jewish Congress.

1921: The ninth annual convention of the United Synagogue of America and the fourth annual convention of the Women’s League of the United Synagogue came to an end today at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

1921: “The eleventh annual meeting of the Brooklyn Federation of Charities is scheduled to be held this evening after the testimonial dinner honoring “Nathan S. Jonas, the honorary secretary and founder of the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Charities.”

1922: Birthdate of Yehezkiel Braun. “From the age of two Yehezkel Braun was brought up in Israel, in close contact with Jewish and East-Mediterranean traditional music. The influence of this background is clearly felt in his compositions. He is a graduate of the Israel Academy of Music and holds a Master's degree in Classical Studies from Tel Aviv University. In 1975 he studied Gregorian chant with Dom Jean Claire at the Benedictine monastery of Solesmes in France. His main academic interests are traditional Jewish melodies and Gregorian chant. He lectured on these and other subjects, at universities and congresses in England, France, the United States and Germany. Yehezkel Braun is Professor Emeritus at Tel Aviv University.”

 1925: Birthdate of Solomon Yurick, the Manhattan native was “best-known for the 1965 novel The Warriors (As reported by William Yardley)

1928: One day after she had passed away, Leah Ruttenberg, the wife of Marks Ruttenberg, with whom she had had five children was buried at the “Belfast Jewish Cemetery” in Northern Ireland.

1928: U.S. premiere of “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” a silent comedy produced by Adolph Zukor and Jesse Lasky which would later become a hit Broadway play in the 1940’s and was remade in the 1950’s with Marilyn Monroe as a co-star.

 1929: Fifty-two year old Sophie Irene Loeb passed away

 1929:"New York Daily Mirror" columnist Walter Winchell made his radio début.

 1929: Stalin proposed to ban Leon Trotsky from the Politburo. Trotsky was the apostate who turned his back on Judaism to worship Marx and serve as Lenin’s Joshua.

 1929: Mrs. Oscar Straus, the widow of the former Ambassador to Turkey began her expedition to Nyasaland and British East Africa tonight when she set sail aboard the SS Majestic. (JTA)

 1930: A delegation of Americans living in Tel Aviv, headed by Nathan Kaplan, an attorney who had moved to Palestine from Chicago, met with Paul Knabenshue, the American Counsel General, in an attempt to get him to help break the impasse that has turned Tel Aviv into a “meatless city.”  The British government has resisted all efforts to establish a facility for the slaughter of animals in Tel Aviv.  The British have told butchers in Tel Aviv to return to Jaffa where they can practice their trade.  In Jaffa, the Jewish butchers work in an area that is surrounded by Arabs and the Jews were not able to get meat during the Arab riots that began in August of 1929.

 1930: Birthdate of Shmuel “Sammy” Flatto the Polish born French-Israeli businessman, politician and talk show host.

 1931: Dr. Judah L. Magnes, Dean of the Hebrew University, presided over the memorial service held this evening at the Straus Health Center in honor Nathan Straus, of blessed memory.  Meir Dezingoff, Mayor of Tel Aviv and Dr. David Yellin of the Vaad Leumi addressed the large throng praising Straus for his “philanthropic and social contributions to Palestine.”  The establishment of the first soup kitchen in Jerusalem and the construction of a health center in Hedera were cited as two examples of his generosity.  During the eulogy, Dr. Magnes revealed for the first time, that Straus had purchased land in the Talpioth section of Jerusalem as a site for a university.

1932: Featherweight Harry Blitman fought his 70th bout which he lost.

1934:Just days before his 20th birthday  Harry Mizler, the son of “East End Jewish parents” won the British Board of Control (BBofC) lightweight title at the end  of a fifteen round bout at Kensington's Royal Albert Hall

1935: “David Copperfield” the movie version of the novel of the same name directed by George Cukor and produced by David O. Selznick was released in the United States today.


1935: Birthdate of Gad Yaacobi, the native of Kfar Vitkin who served as an MK and held several ministerial portfolios.

1936(23rd of Tevet, 5696): Parshat Shemot; the start of the reading of the second book of the Torah

1936: In London, George H. Elvin, the organizing secretary for the British Olympic effort “declared that the sports leader of the Berlin Storm Troops had published a book, officially approved, reminding the German people that their sport is ‘built on hatred’ and that ‘National Socialists can see no positive value for our people in permitting Jews to travel through our country and complete in athletics with our best.’”

 1936: In Far Rockaway, Queens Jacob Sniderman, an accountant and his wife, the former Gertrude Langfur gave birth to Rhoda Carol Sniderman who gained fame as novelist Rhoda Lerman.

1936: “A movement for settling German Jews in South America has been launched with the completion of plans for training the first 125 Jewish youths for colonization.”

1937: The Royal Commission, popularly known as the Peel Commission, “ended its work in Palestine” today.

1937: In New Orleans, “the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Affiliated National Temple Federations of Brotherhoods and Sisterhoods today went on record as favoring a more extensive use of ancient, traditional symbols, ceremonies and customs by reform Jewish congregations in their Sabbath services” as well that use of a cantor…and “a choir composed wholly of Jewish singers.” (Editor’s note – This would not be the last time that the Reform movement called for a return to “tradition” as can be clearly seen from the perspective of the last 80 years.)

1941: The Royal Air Force Middle East Command issued a communiqué today reporting that Italian planes had attacked British airfields near Tel Aviv. 

1941: Herman Kruk, who had been active in Yiddish cultural activities in Warsaw and Vilna, recoiled from efforts to stage cultural activities in the ghetto stating, “You don’t make theatre in a graveyard.”

 1942: The Nazis arrested Frans Goedhart and Wiardi Beckman, both of whom were journalists who took part in the resistance movement after the German conquest of the Netherlands.  Tragically, in a manner of the fate of Anne Frank, Beckman died of typhus in Dachau, on March 15, 1945 when the war was almost over.

 1942: After two weeks of constant burial duty of thousands of gassed Jews at Chelmno, Yakov Grojanowski escapes. His diary tells of cruelty, murders, tragedy and suicides. His two weeks were only 14 days of the last 44 days of continual murder via gas-trucks. 

1942: Daniel Mahler was buried today in the Jewish cemetery of Kleinsteinach making him the last person to be interred in a burial ground that had been in use since the 15th century. 

1943: A train from Belgium arrives at Auschwitz; 387 men and 81 women are sent to the barracks while 1,558 people were sent to the gas chamber. 

1943: In Warsaw, after 4 months of no transports, the Germans enter the ghetto and begin deportation again to Treblinka. In rounding up people, the Germans went through the homes killing people, throwing them out of windows, and looting whatever they could. 5,000 Jews were rounded up, including 150 doctors. One, Dr. Izrael Milejkowski, commits suicide during the train ride.

 1943(12 of Shevat, 5703): Yitzhak Gitterman that native of Horonstopol born in 1889 who “was a director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Poland, and a member of the underground Jewish Combat Organization” was killed today while fighting today in the Warsaw Ghetto.

 1943: Jewish deportees from Belgium arrive at Auschwitz, where 1087 are gassed.

 1943: After a four-month break, Germans resume deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto. Warsaw Jews react with their first acts of overt resistance, expressed in brutal street fighting. 1000 Jews are executed in the streets and 6000 are deported to the Treblinka death camp. An elderly, blind Jewish man is shot by an SS man because he is unable to walk without a guide.

 1943: The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto began their armed resistance to the Nazis which would culminate in April of 1943 with the famous Warsaw Ghetto.

 1943: Nobel-prize winning Polish émigré poet Czeslaw Milosz--a righteous Christian--condemns anti-Semitism and nationalism as "ills that like cancer were consuming Poland." In his poem, "Campo dei Fiori," Milosz laments from Warsaw in 1943--and he's being literal, not figurative--that the carousel's carnival tunes and the laughing crowds in the Catholic area of Warsaw drown out the sounds of the Germans shooting Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

1943: The Second Senate of the Reich Military Tribunal sentenced Lian Berkowitz and Friedrich Rehmer, along with 16 other people from the Red Orchestra, to death today for abetting a conspiracy to commit high treason and furthering the enemy's cause. [For once the Nazis had it right; these were really Germans who had worked against the Third Reich almost from its inception.  For more about these true heroes read Red Orchestra by Ann Nelson. 

1944: Birthdate of Roger Richman, the son of Washington, DC area rabbi who founded the Roger Richman Agency, that dealt with licensing clients, some of whom were deceased.

 1944: For the first time in its history, The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City hosts a jazz concert.  Among the performers are two Jewish pop music legends – Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.

 1944: German armored forces surrounded the forest near Buczac, Poland.  They killed three hundred Jews who had been hiding in the forest for the past nine months.  Some of the Jews of Buczaz had taken part in armed resistance against the Nazis.  This remnant had taken to the woods after the final roundup of Jews in the town.  During their time in hiding, they attacked Nazis as well as members of the local populations who had betrayed the Jews to the Germans.

1945: As Russian troops approached Auschwitz, Ernest Michel who would cover the Nuremberg war crime trials for a German news agency was evacuated from that death camp today.

1945: “Miklós Nyiszli, along with an estimated 66,000 other prisoners, was forced on a death march that took the prisoners into various parts of the Third Reich’s territories including: German occupied Poland (which was part of Greater Germany), Czechoslovakia, Germany proper, present-day Austria and further into various smaller concentration camps in Germany” events that he would later record in Auschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account

 1945: Kazimierz Smolen left Auschwitz today on the last transport of prisoners evacuated by the Germans, nine days before its liberation. “Smolen was a Polish Catholic involved in the anti-Nazi resistance when the Germans arrested him in April 1941 and took him to Auschwitz.”

1945: A count was made of remaining prisoners in the assorted labor and concentration camps:

  • Birkenau; 15,058 Jews remained.
  • Auschwitz: 16,226 People remained, mostly Poles.
  • Monowitz; 10,233 Jews, Poles and assorted prisoners remained.
  • Factories of Auschwitz: Another 16,000 Jews, Poles and prisoners.

1945: Acting on orders from Berlin, the SS begins a massive, on-foot evacuation of all prisoners and slave laborers at the Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Monowitz camps and from the Auschwitz region (Upper Silesia, Poland). Of the thousands of marchers, most die from exposure, exhaustion, and abuse on their way to their destinations. Boys evacuated from Birkenau march toward Mauthausen, Austria. Many of the boys are on "cart commando" duty; i.e., harnessed to enormous carts in groups of 20.

 1945: “A Song to Remember” a Hollywood version of the life of Chopin directed by Charles Vidor, produced by B.F. Zeidman, written by Sidney Buchman and starring Paul Muni was released in the United States today.

1947:  The Detroit Tigers sold Hank Greenberg to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 1948: After embarking from Marseille, France today, a ship named the Alexandria reached Israel carrying a group of Youth Aliyah children. This group included a young girl listed on rosters as Nuta Bolestet; in Haifa, she was transferred with a few other children to the Youth Aliyah camp in Ra'anana. Moshe Ya'ari, a Youth Aliyah official, recorded the few available details about the girl.

 1949: In Orange, NJ, Erika (Ratzer) and Oscar Michael Stemberg gave birth to Thomas George “Tom” Stemberg who founded, along with Leo Kahn, Staples, Inc.

1949: In an attempt to improve relations with new Jewish state, the British ordered the immediate release of the remaining Jews who were detained in Cyprus during those years when His Majesty’s government was determined to keep Jews from settling in Palestine.  Within a month all them, many of whom were Holocaust survivors, had reached Haifa.

1949: “Chicken Every Sunday” a comedy produced by William Perlberg, based on the 1944 play by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein with music by Alfred Newman was released in the United States today.

1951(4th of Shevat, 5711): Forty-one year old Jersey City, NJ, native Robert S. Marcus, the City College and Yeshiva University trained rabbi and hold of doctorate of Jurisprudence from NYU Law School who led congregations in Lawrence and Newburgh, NY before serving overseas as a chaplain with the Ninth Tactical Air Force where he worked with concentration camp survivors and returning to the United States where among other things, he served as the Director of the Department of World Jewish Affairs of the American Jewish Congress while raising two children with his wife Fay passed away today.

1951: Today, “it was revealed that several members of the adored double-championship CCNY team had been doing business with gamblers i.e. shaving points and “further investigations revealed that a total of thirty-two players, many of whom were Jewish, at LIU, NYU, Toledo, Bradley, Manhattan and Kentucky had also been in league with the gamblers – a fact which was known to such coaches as Nat Holman and Bobby Sand.

1952(20th of Tevet, 5712):  Curly Howard, actor, comedian and member of the Three Stooges passed away. 

1960: This week’s Play of the Week featured the broadcast of “Lullaby” produced by David Susskin with Eli Wallach playing “Johnny Horton” and his wife Anne Jackson as “Eadie Horton.” 

1961: The Chaplain’s Medal for Heroism was awarded to the family members of Reverend George Fox (Methodist), Jewish Rabbi Alexander Goode, Reverend Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed) and Father John Washington (Roman Catholic).  These were the famous Four Chaplains who acted with such grace and courage when the United States Army Transport Dorchester was sunk by a Nazi U-Boat in 1943.  Because of the strict requirements for awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor, this award was created to honor their heroism. 

 1963: Al Davis began serving as the head coach and general manager of the Oakland Raiders, a date described by his biographer as “probably one of the three or four most important date in AFL history.

1964(4th of Shevat, 5724): Eighty at year old Edith Julia Morley, the daughter of a London dental surgeon who was raised as an Orthodox Jews and became “the first woman to be appointed professor at any British University” when she was appointed “Professor of English Languate at University College, Reading” in 1908 passed away today.

1965(15th of Shevat, 5725): Tu B’Shevat

 1966: Today, Israel Moses Sieff “was created a life peer as Baron Sieff, of Brimpton in the Royal County of Berkshire.:

1967(7th of Shevat, 5727): Barney Ross Welterweight Boxing Champ in 1934 passed away at the age of 57.  One little known fact about Ross is that he enlisted in Marines during World War II and at the age of 33 won a Silver Star for his actions on Guadalcanal. 

1968: “The Happy Time,” a musical produced by David Merrick with lighting design by Jean Rosenthal opened on Broadway at The Broadway Theatre time.

1969(28th of Tevet, 5729): Parashat Bo

1969(28th of Tevet, 5729): Ninety-three year old Columbia trained architect William Gabriel Tachau whose firm of Pilcher and Tachau  designed the structures at Gratz College, Dropsie College and Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia passed away today.

1970: As part of it “Play of the Month series” the BBC broadcast “The Three Sisters” featuring Janet Suzman as “Masha.”

1971(21st of Tevet, 5731): Eighty-five year old industrial chemist Leonard A. Levy, the great-grandson of Solomon Bennet, the “Demonstrator in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and Major in the Royal Engineers who co-authored Radium and other Radioactive Elements and Gas Recorders passed away today.

1973(15th of Shevat, 5733): Tu B’Shevat  

1974: Israel and Egypt signed an agreement for the disengagement of forces in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur war. Israel agreed to withdraw from the Suez Canal.

1974: “Soviet Jewish refusenik-scientists Alexander Lerner, Alexander Voronel, Mark Azbel, David Azbel, Venyamin Levich, Alexander Lunts, Victor Polsky, and Victor Brailovsky in open letter to scientific societies and scientists of the world detail persecution of Soviet scientists wishing to emigrate to Israel.”


1976(16th of Shevat, 5736): Seventy-nine year old Friedrich Hollaender, the London born German- American film composer and author passed away today

1976: Joseph Papp “one of the most influential men in the American theatre” and the father of New York’s famous Shakespeare Festival married Gail Bovard Merrifield, his “fourth wife” today.

1976: Terry Bradshaw threw a crucial touchdown pass to Tight End Randy Grossman as the Steelers defeated the Cowboys in Super Bowl X.  Grossman was Jewish; Bradshaw wasn’t.

 1977: Eighty-seven playwright and Carl Zuckmayer , the grandson of Protestant church councilor who had converted from Judaism passed away.  This maternal ancestor was enough for the Nazis to see him as a Jew; a fact that led him to spend World War II in the United States before returning to Europe after the war had ended.

1978: It was reported today that Jules Jeffroykin, the President of the Federation of Jewish Societies has lodged an official protest with police” calling “on the authorities to their utmost to identify the men or the organization responsible” for bombing their offices yesterday.

1979: Twenty-one people were injured when terrorists set off a bomb in a Jerusalem market.

1980: Seventy-six year old multi-talented award winning Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton who, in 1938, publisher Conde Nast had the courage to fire because of “a drawing contributed by Mr. Beaton to the February 1 issue of Vogue” in which “there appeared comments that were critical of the Jewish race” passed away today. (Editor – while the rest of the world turned a blind eye to Hitler and many Englishman flirted with fascism, Nast gets high marks for doing his bit to “change the world.”)

1980: In Los Angeles, Jillian (Jordan) and Alvin Segel gave birth to Jason Jordan “an American actor, screenwriter, producer, and author, best known for his role as Marshall Eriksen in the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother.”

1981: Funeral services were held today for Rabbi Solomon Levy, the native of Tosh Hungary and the former Grand Rabbi of Hust, Czechoslovakia who died yesterday while conducting Shabbat services in Boro Park.

1983: Eighty-seven year old Walter Ulman Austrian born historian who specialized in the Middle Ages and who left Austria for England in 1939 because his grandparents were Jewish passed away today.

 1985: The government of Menachem Begin announced that elections would be held in six months.

1985: “Blood Simple” a crime file “written, edited, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen which was the directorial debut of the Coens and the first major film of cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld” was screened today at the New York Film Festival.

 1987: Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, speaking to high school students in Nazareth today, reaffirmed Israel's commitment to keeping control of its ''security zone'' in southern Lebanon. 

1987: Israeli troops killed four armed guerrillas tonight after the guerrillas infiltrated into the enclave that Israel calls its ''security zone'' in southern Lebanon. The Israeli authorities did not say to what group the guerrillas might have belonged. The incident took place about 8 P.M., the spokesman said, when Israeli forces found the guerrillas near Baraachit, a village about six miles north of the Israeli border, and opened fire.

1989: President Reagan awarded Max Kampelman the Presidential Citizens Medal.

 1990: In article published today, Joel Brinkley reported that “as Soviet Jewish immigrants arrive in Israel at a rate now exceeding 1,000 a week, Israeli officials acknowledge that they have still not devised a plan for handling the mass immigration, and construction of even the first new apartment to house the immigrants is months away. Still, Israelis at all levels can hardly hide their delight at the wave of new immigrants, which many people here see as an affirmation that Zionism has not died. ''This is the best thing that could happen to Israel,'' Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said, smiling broadly in an interview this week. ''I am happy every minute.'' And as to the lack of preparations for the new arrivals, he added: ''Israel does not excel in planning. But it does in improvising.''

1991(3rd of Sh'vat, 5751):  Leo Hurwitz, social activist and documentary film producer passes away


1991: Within 24 hours of the outbreak of the Gulf War, the first Scud missiles landed near Tel Aviv. At least seven Iraqi missiles carrying conventional warheads fell on Israel early this morning in an area running from Tel Aviv to Haifa. The army said that seven people had been slightly injured "from a number of different hits in different parts of the country."  "It was mostly from broken glass and hysteria," a senior Government official said of the injuries. The army said the most serious injuries had been a result of shock.

1991(3rd of Shevat, 5751): Eighty-one year old award winning documentary film maker Leo Hurwitz who fell victim to the infamous blacklist passed away today.

1994(6th of Shevat, 5754): Arthur Altman, the songwriter whose work includes “All or Nothing At All” passed away at the age of 83.

 1995: Federated announced the merger of Abraham & Straus with the Macys, Bloomingdales and Sterns chains which means that after 130 years the name Abraham & Straus will pass into mercantile history.

1998: Mathew Drudge exposed what come to known as the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal on his website.

 1998: “Ragtime,” a musical based on the E. L. Doctorow novel of the same name opened on Broadway at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

1998: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of unique interest to Jewish readers including The Old Religion by David Mamet and Impressionism: Reflections and Perceptions by Meyer Schapiro.

1999(1st of Shevat, 5759): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1999(1st of Shevat, 5759): Ninety-two year old Frances Godowsky, a prolific painter and sometime singer better known as George, Arthur and Ira's little sister passed away today.(As reported by Robert McG. Thomas, Jr.)

 2000: Arrow Electronics, Inc. the world's largest electronics distributor, agreed to buy a majority stake in the distribution business of Tel Aviv’s Rapac Electronics Ltd.

2000: An unsophisticated bomb exploded in a garbage can in the northern Israeli town of Hadera today, and the Israeli police suspect that it was aimed at disrupting peace talks. The Israeli police suspect that Palestinian militant members of the Islamic Holy War group carried out the bombing.

2001(23rd of Tevet, 5761): Eighty-five year old Mordechai Gifter the Virginian born rosh yeshiva of Telz Yeshiva in Cleveland passed away to

2001(23rd of Tevet, 5761): Architect Morris Lapidus passed away today at the age of 98.  Born in Russia, his parents fled a year later when a pogrom swept Odessa.  Lapidus gained fame for designing three icons of American culture - the Fontainebleau, Americana and Eden Roc hotels. They dominated Miami Beach during the 1950’s when this strip of sand was one of America’s leading resort and vacation sites.

2001(23rd of Tevet, 5761): Sixty-five year old Canadian born actor Al Waxman who was a founding member of the Canadian Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and whom many Americans saw as Lt. Bert Samuels “Cagney and Lacey” passed away today.

 2002: Worldwide release of “Blackhawk Dawn” the movie version of a book with the same name produced by Jerry Bruckeimer with music by Hans Zimmer and featuring Jason Isaacs took place today.

2003 (15th of Shevat, 5763): Tu B’Shvat

2003: In New York, premiere of “Divine Intervention” the work of Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman which is set on the West Bank and in Israel

2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Unmaking of AOL Time Warner by Nina Munk, There Must Be A Pony In Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future by Kara Swisher with Lisa Dickey and After Such Knowledge: Memory, History, and the Legacy of the Holocaust by Eva Hoffman 

2005: In “Trouble in a One-Synagogue Town,” published today Patrick Healy describes the conflict between Congregation Tifereth Israel, which has been the only synagogue in Greenport, NY, for more than 100 years and its former rabbi, Gary Moskowitz, who is busy setting up a new congregation called the East Coast Jewish Center in this old whaling village at the edge of Long Island.  The article is an example of the fact that while some think Jews are “a stiff necked people” they might be equally well described as “a very fractious people.”

2006: Yaakov Edri “was appointed Minister of Health and the Minister for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee.

2006(18th of Tevet, 5766): Ninety-four year old Sylvia Abrams, the mother of Leonard Abrams, passed away today.

2006: While serving his second stint as member of the Knesset, Avraham Hirschon was appointed Minister of Communications while retaining the Tourism ministry.

2006: Roni Bar-On began serving as Science and Technology Minister

2006: Tzupi Livini began serving as Foreign Affairs Minister.  She was the second woman to hold this position.  Her female predecessor, Gold Meir had left the position almost 40 years to the day before Livini’s appointment.

2006: Ze’ev Boim completed his term as Deputy Defense Minister and began serving as Minister of Housing and Construction.

2006:  In an example of how much the Papacy has changed since its silence during the Holocaust, the Jerusalem Post reported that Pope Benedict XVI, meeting with Rome's chief rabbi Monday, expressed pain and worry over fresh outbreaks of anti-Semitism, and called on Jews and Christians to wage a united battle against hate. Waves of anti-Semitic violence and vandalism have hit Europe in the past few years as can be seen by last week, attack on worshippers in a Moscow synagogue by a man with a knife.

2007: At the Panthéon, in Paris, , on the occasion of the national ceremony in honor of the Righteous of France, the President of the French Republic, Jacques Chirac declared: "What a courage, what a generosity of spirit they needed!". He learns from it a lesson: "You, Righteous of France, you have transmitted to the Nation an essential message, for today and tomorrow: the refusal of indifference, of blindness." 

2007: At the national ceremony in honor of the Righteous of France, Simone Veil, President of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah declared: "The Righteous of France thought simply having gone through History. In reality, they wrote it".

2007: The Seventh Annual British Film Festival, organized by the British Council, opens at move houses in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Nazareth and Jerusalem.

2007: Jeff Marx co-wrote four songs for a musical episode of the NBC sitcom “Scrubs” that appeared tonight.

2007: In Canada, Liberal political leader, Irwin Cotler was appointed Critic for Human Rights.

2007(28th of Tevet, 5767): Columnist, humorist and social commentator Art Buchwald passed away at the age of 81.(As reported by Richard Severo)

2008: At the Goethe Institute in Tel-Aviv a screening of “Secret Courage: The Walter Suskind Story.”

2008: As another ten rockets slammed into southern Israel from Gaza, one damaging a day care center in the town of Sderot and another hitting Ashkelon, a town of 120,000 people.

2009: At Theater J, at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, the final performance of “Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears, written and performed by Theodore Bikel.”

 2009: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or on topics of special interest to Jewish readers including Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President by Richard N. Haass, Martin Indyk et al, Nothing to Fear FDR’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America by Adam Cohen and FDR V. The Constitution The Court-Packing Fight and the Triumph of Democracy by Burt Solomon 

2009: IDF troops are scheduled to begin observing a unilateral truce at 2 A.M. following a vote by the Israeli Cabinet to accept an Egyptian-backed, unilateral 10-day cease-fire, ending Operation Cast Lead three weeks after it began.

2009: Nadav Kandar had 52 full color portraits which were pictures of the people surrounding US President Barack Obama, from Joe Biden (Vice President) to Eugene Kang (Special Assistant to The President) published in one issue of the New York Times Magazine “in what was the largest portfolio of work by the same photographer The New York Times Magazine has showcased in one single issue.”

2009: The Jerusalem Post reported that a historic natural gas reservoir found offshore from Haifa is poised to meet Israel's natural gas demand for about 15 years and reduce the country's dependence on gas imports from Egypt and offshore from Gaza.

 2010: In Tel Aviv, world premiere of “The Child of Dreams” an “opera by Gil Shohat, based on the play of the same name by Hanoch Levin “commissioned by the Israeli Opera for its 25th century’ which is based on the events related to the MS St. Louis.

2010: The 19th annual New York Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to present the New York premiere of “Forgotten Transports: To Poland,” Lukás Pribyl’s “documentary on Czech Jews deported by the Nazis to camps and ghettos in Eastern Poland’s Lublin region.

 2010: The 10th annual Atlanta Jewish Festival is scheduled to present a screening of “Mary and Max,” a “pleasingly demented and darkly comic, bittersweet, decidedly adult claymation fable of an improbable pen pal relationship between an unloved eight-year-old Australian girl and a middle-aged, morbidly obese Jewish New Yorker with Asperger's syndrome.

 2010: In Chevy Chase, MD, Ohr Kodesh Congregation is scheduled to present “Dreams of Freedom: An Evening with Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Honoring the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.” World famous author and Talmudist, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, is scheduled to discuss the biblical dimensions of MLK's "Letter from the Birmingham Jail." 

 2010: More than 100 Israeli security police forcibly entered Od Yosef Chai and arrested 10 Jewish settlers.  The Shin Bet suspects five those arrested were involved in the torching and vandalizing of Palestinian mosque last month in the Palestinian village of Yasuf.  Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva published “The King’s Torah (Torah Hamelech), Part One: Laws of Life and Death between Israel and the Nations,” which says that the sixth commandment only applies to a Jew who kills a Jew.  “Non-Jews are ‘uncompassionate by nature’ and attacks on them ‘curb their evil inclination.’”

2011: Matan Vilnai completed his term as Deputy Minister of Defense. 

2011: The World Premiere of “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray” is scheduled to take place at The New York Jewish Film Festival.

2011: The Knesset's Law Committee, headed by MK David Rotem, is scheduled to debate a bill on conversation the bill today ahead of a possible vote on it, much to the fury of Shas. 

2011 (13th of Shevat, 5711): Edgar Tafel, the last surviving member of storied architect Frank Lloyd Wright's original Taliesin Fellowship that began in 1932 at Wright’s home and school in Wisconsin, died today at 98. On his own, Tafel designed 80 houses, 35 religious buildings and three college campuses, among other projects. In recognition of his achievements, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's School of Architecture created an Edgar A. Tafel chair in architecture in his honor. Tafel was born in 1912 in New York to immigrant parents from Russia who started a dressmaking business but then moved to the anarchist Ferrer Colony in New Jersey, where Tafel attended the Colony’s Modern School. He later attended the avant-garde Walden School before joining Wright from 1932 to 1941 at both Taliesin and Taliesin West, Wright's summer headquarters and now the location of The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Tafel was 20 when he arrived at Taliesin, where he drafted, cut stone, made plaster, prepared cement and kept Wright’s pencils sharpened, and also apparently was subjected to anti-Semitic comments and treatment by some of the other acolytes at Taliesin, a community that was cult-like in its adoration of Wright, according to the 2007 book "The Fellowship." As a senior apprentice to Wright, Tafel worked with him on major projects such as Wingspread (1937), the Johnson Wax Building (1939) and Fallingwater (1939). Tafel left Taliesin in 1941 and served in a photo intelligence unit during World War II. He opened his own architecture firm in New York after the war. One of his best-known projects was a church house for the First Presbyterian Church at Fifth Avenue and 12th Street in Greenwich Village, a red-brick structure wrapped in balustrades ornamented with cloverleaf-shaped Gothic quatrefoils, emulating the adjoining 19th century church. It came at a time, 1960, when the dominant theme for American architecture was the so-called "glass box" skyscraper. Tafel maintained an amicable, if sometimes strained relationship with Wright until his death in 1959, and wrote “Apprentice to Genius: Years With Frank Lloyd Wright” in 1979.(As reported by Alan D. Abbey, the Eulogizer for JTA)

 2011(13th of Shevat, 5711): Milton Rogovin, an optometrist and persecuted leftist who took up photography as a way to champion the underprivileged and went on to become one of America’s most dedicated social documentarians, passed away today at the age of 101.(As reported by Benjamin Genocchio)

 2012: “The Footnote” an Israeli Hebrew language film centering on feuding Talmudic scholars was named as one of the nine shortlisted entries for the Oscars

2012: Publication today of “What makes a Jewish photographer Jewish?

2012: “ Iraq ‘n’ Roll” a musical documentary that describes Israeli rock musician Dudu Tassa’s  mission to revive his grandfather’s traditional Iraqi songs by remixing the tunes for contemporary listeners, is scheduled to have its New York premiere at the New York Jewish Film Festival.

 2012: The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington is scheduled to sponsor a Middle East Forum featuring Ambassador Dennis Ross

 2012: Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today that Israel was "very far off" from a decision about an attack on Iran over its nuclear program.

2013: The Jacky Terrasson Trio is scheduled at the Red Sea Jazz Festival.

2013: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Temple Judah is scheduled to host another “Shabbat Alive!” service featuring Rich Recht. 

2013(7th of Shevat, 5773): Ariel mayor and former MK Ron Nachman died on Friday at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, after a prolonged struggle with cancer. He was 70 years old. 

2013: After a long, tumultuous journey, Hans Sachs’ multimillion-dollar poster collection has been rescued from Germany — and will be sold to the highest bidder beginning toay at an auction house in New York. 

2014: Sarah Aronson is scheduled to read from one of her three books for children include Believe at the Iowa City Public Library this afternoon.

 2014:”Ana Arabia” and “The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich” are scheduled to be shown at the New York Jewish Film Festival. 

2014: If Israeli-Palestinian peace talks fail, Israel will be subjected to international isolation similar to that which brought about the collapse of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is leading Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians, warned today.

 2014: Hundreds of people are protesting in the Tel Aviv Rabin Square, urging "social justice." Protesters arrived at the Tel Aviv square to rally against "rising housing prices, increasing poverty rates and widening social gaps," according to Ivy Binyamin, one of the protest's organizers. (As reported by Gilad Morag)

 2014: A rocket hit an open area between two communities in Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. No injuries were reported. The rocket was most likely launched from the center of the Gaza Strip. A color red alert sounded in the area of Sdot Negev and Sha'ar Hanegev regional councils prior to the hits. (As reported by Matan Tzuri)

2015: AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was investigating the 1994 attack on the Buenos Aires Jewish center “was found shot and killed in the bathroom of his apartment” today. (JTA)

 2015: “Three Women” and “The Dune” are scheduled to be shown at the New York Jewish Film Festival.

 2015: The Jewish Museum of London is scheduled to host a screening of “Abram Games: Maximum Meaning, Minimum Means.”

 2015: The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU is scheduled to host “When Should I Stop Laughing? Reflections on Jewish Humor” a lecture by Ruth Wisse of Harvard University.

 2015:  The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including A Voice Still Heard: Selected Essays of Irving Howe edited by Nina How and When The Facts Change: Essays, 1995-2010 by Tony Judt.

2016: Employees of Israel’s Mega retail chain are scheduled to go on strike today.

2016: In Tekoa, nineteen year old Othman Muhammad Sha’alan stabbed Michal Froman, the pregnant “daughter-in-law of the late Rabbi Menachem Froman, a former rabbi of the community who was known as a peace activist.”

2016: Today, “US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro responded to criticism of his charge last week that Israel appears to institute “two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians” in the West Bank.”

2016: In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day the Illinois Holocaust Museum is scheduled to offer half-price admission and “a public tour of the Karkomi Holocaust Exhibition.”

2016: Violinist Israel Gatterer and pianist Eliah Zabaly are scheduled to perform in the “Classic-Rock” Concert at Migdalei haYam haTichon.

2016: Thirty-eight year old Dafna Meir, nurse in the neurosurgery department of Soroka Medical Center, Beesheba who was stabbed to death by a terrorist in her home as she fought to protect her children is scheduled to “be laid to rest” this morning “at the Harmenuhot Cemetery in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem.

2016: Music video for "Shed a Little Light" produced in collaboration with Naturally 7 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Video by Uri Westrich  Grab this track on iTunes:…/shed-a-little-light…/id1072769793...
or CDBaby:

2017(20th of Tevet, 5777): On the Jewish calendar, Yahrtzeit of Maimonides

2017(20th of Tevet, 5777: “Border policeman Erez Levi was killed early this morning after being run over by a car driven by Yaqoub Mousa Abu al-Qia’an

2017: “Khen Elmaleh, a DJ on the Galgalatz Army Radio popular music channel” “was fired today after express support for Yaqoub Mousa Abu al-Qia’an who killed border policeman Erez Levi.

2017: An unidentified man used a hammer to smash “a window at the Aleph library in Villeurbanne near Lyon in eastern France.” (JTA)

2017: “Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Networks — an affiliate of the Jewish federations of North America, which advises Jewish groups and institutions on security — said 30 threats were called in today to Jewish community centers. Media reported additional threats called into schools and other Jewish institutions.” (JTA)

2017: Eric Paslay is scheduled to give a concert in Chicago, the proceeds of which will go the Illinois Holocaust and Education Center.

2017(20th of Tevet, 5777): Eighty-six year old “coloratura soprano” Roberta Peters the only daughter of Jewish couple from the Bronx passed away today.

2017: “Peshmerga” and “Scarred Hearts” are scheduled to be shown at the New York Jewish Film Festival.

2017: Bonni –Dara Michael is scheduled to lead a tour of Yeshiva University Museum’s collection of clothing and textiles that includes “a gold bracelet that belonged to the wife of the Hatam Sofer, a pearl and silver embroidered lectern cover of a Chief Rabbi of Izmir, a custom-made 1950 Hattie Carnegie wedding gown, and a 1969 Ark curtain made by Ina Golub for Temple Beth Ahm in New Jersey.”

2017: Today, Israel’s National Library announced the acquisition of thousands of Hebrew manuscripts and books from the Valmadonna Trust Library which holds a “13,000 book assemblage of Hebrew texts from Amsterdam to Shanghai and a host of historic Jewish communities in between, spanning a millennium, was assembled by the late Jack V. Lunzer, a Jewish British industrialist” who died in December of 2016 at the age of 92. (As reported by Ilan Ben Zion)

2017: Peter Hayes a “professor of history and German and Theodore Zev Weiss Holocaust Educational Foundation Professor of Holocaust Studies (emeritus) at Northwestern University” is scheduled to deliver a lecture on his new book Why?,  in which eight questions including: “Why were Jews the primary victims? Why were Germans the instigators? Why did murder become the "Final Solution"? And, why didn’t the international community do more to help?

2018: Peter G. Weintraub is scheduled to teach the next edition of “Introduction to Judaism” at the Streicker Center.

2018: “Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School announced the termination of Rabbi Shmuel Krawatsky’s employment today, following the publication by The Jewish Week of an article featuring allegations against him” concerning charges of child molestation.

2018: The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to offer a Gemara shiur on mesechet Megillah.

2018: In an act of Tikkun Olom, the Oxford University Jewish Society will be leading Homeless People Outreach where participants will be making up and delivering on the streets Oxford small care packages with sandwiches, fruit and water to those “who are sleeping rough night after night in this cold weather.”

2019: Hadassah is scheduled to host its annual Tu B’Shevat Seder this evening in Cedar Rapids, IA.

2019: The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to host a Shabbat dinner after Friday evening services.

2019: The New York Jewish Film Festival is dark tonight with plans to continue tomorrow evening.