Monday, February 11, 2019

This Day, February 12, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin

February 12

 553: Byzantine Emperor Justinian ordered the public reading of the Greek translation to Parshat Hashavuah (weekly Torah portion) on Shabbat morning and prohibited Rabbis from giving drashot on the Torah portion.

1049: Beginning of the papacy of Leo IX, one of the major players in the creation of the Schism of 1054 that would result in the official split of Christianity into the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.  Over the next several centuries, Jewish communities would get caught in the cross-fire between these completing Christian sects resulting in death and destruction.  One example was the Great Cossack Uprising that would pit Eastern Orthodox Ukrainians against their Polish Catholic masters.  The worst example is World War I which started, in part, when the Tsar saw himself as the protector of the Serbs who were Orthodox against the Austrians who were Roman Catholics.

1130: Innocent II was elected Pope. He presided over the Second Council of the Latern which did not issue any canons aimed at the Jews.  But it did issue one that forbade Christians from lending money for interest which would have a long-range impact on the Jews.

1209: Pope Innocent III confirmed the election of Rodrigo Jimenez as archbishop of Toledo who, when he became “vexed the prosperity of the Jews in his diocese” led a “mob” to the Synagogue where “he dispersed” the Jews and “then began to plunder the houses of the unbelivers..”

1481: The first Auto de Fe took place in Seville, Spain. Six Morrano men and six women were burned for allegedly practicing Judaism. These practices could include not eating pig - for whatever reason, washing hands before prayer, changing clothes on the Sabbath, etc. Over two thousand Inquisitions are said to have taken place in the Iberian Peninsula and its colonies. The number of victims in Spain alone is estimated at 39,912.

1486: Over 750 people would be mandated to participate on this very cold day as prisoners in an auto-de-fe in Toledo. They were forced to march barefooted and bareheaded through the streets. Many people came from the countryside to howl and scorn at the prisoners. Among some of the many stipulations of punishment, was the fining of 1/5 of their property, to which the funds went to battle the Muslims in Granada, as well as public self-flagellation over six consecutive Fridays.

1541: Santiago, Chile is founded by Pedro de Valdivia. One of those accompanying de Valdivia was a Converso named Rodrigo de Orgonos. Any “Jews” settling in the lands of the Inquisition would have been Conversos so lineage can be a difficult thing to establish.

1663: Birthdate of Cotton Mather the famous Puritan minister who wanted the Jews to convert to his brand of Christianity but who was not an anti-Semite willing to use secular power to bring this about.

1689: The Declaration of Rights which had been drawn by the Convention Parliament was finalized today.  The Declaration created the legal fiction that would protect the rights of Protestants in England and pave the way for William and Mary to ascend to the throne.  The latter event was in the best interest of England’s fledgling Jewish population.

1699: A committee consisting of António Gomes Serra, Menasseh Mendes, Alfonso Rodrigues, Manuel Nunez Miranda, Andrea Lopez, and Pontaleão Rodriguez signed a contract with Joseph Avis, a Quaker, for the construction of a building that would serve as a new synagogue in London at a cost of £2,750. Avis would later decline to collect his fee, on the ground that it was wrong to profit from building a house of God. In 1698 Rabbi David Nieto had taken charge of a congregation of Spanish and Portuguese Jews or Sephardim who met in a small synagogue in Creechurch Lane. A significant growth in the Jewish community had made it necessary to find larger quarters for the congregation.  The result of this quest was this new construction which would eventually take place on a tract of land at Plough Yard in a section called Bevis Marks; hence the synagogue came to be known as the Bevis Marks Congreaton.

1753: Birthdate Bernhard Eskeles, the Viennese son-in-law of Daniel Itzig who established the banking house of Arnstein and Eskeles with his brother-in-law Nathan Arnstein and who provided financial guidance to “Emperors Joseph II and Francis II.”

1768: In Tuscany Emperor Leopold I and Maria Luisa of Spain gave birth to Frederick II, the last of the Holy Roman Emperors and Fredrick I, the first of the Emperors of Austria.

1737: Prince Carl Alexander, the duke of Württemberg, declared in a decree today "that the privy councillor of finance Joseph Süß Oppenheimer was a faithful servant of his prince and of the state, and was intent in every way upon the welfare of both, for which he deserved the thanks of all. Since instead he was persecuted by envy and ill-will to such an extent that attempts were even made to bring him into disfavor with the duke, the latter accorded him his especial protection and expressly forbade the continuation of such attacks." This was the Duke’s way of protecting Oppenheimer.  The protection would end with the Duke’s death.

1762: In London, Hirschel Levin, the Chief Rabbi of London and his wife gave birth to Solomon Hirschell who served as Chief Rabbi of Great Britain from 1802 until his death in 1842.

1798(26th of Shevat, 5558): Johann Jacob Rabe, who translated both the Babylonian and Jersualem Talmuds into German passed away today.

1800: David Barnard married Rebecca Davids at Portsea, Hampshire, UK.

1804: German philosopher Immanuel Kant passed away. Like many other philosophers of the Enlightenment Kant had less than positive things to say about the Jews. While this should not be the full measure of the man he did “note in a lecture on practical philosophy, ‘Every coward is a liar; Jews for example, not only in business, but also in common life.’"  In “German Idealism and the Jew, Michael Mack, a historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, argues there is a deep affinity between modern anti-Semitism and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, perhaps the greatest thinker to emerge from the Enlightenment.”  According to Mack, “for Kant, motives could only be good if they were not aimed at any material benefit. He saw Judaism as an inherently materialist religion, based upon a quid pro quo between God and His chosen people. In order to fully define the formal structures of his philosophy (autonomy, reason, morality and freedom), Kant almost unconsciously fantasized about the Jews as it’s opposite. He posited Judaism as an abstract principle that does nothing else but, paradoxically, desire the consumption of material goods.”

1806: Phillip Jacobs married Rosetta Hyams today at the Great Synagogue.

1809: Birthdate of Charles Darwin, the naturalist who developed The Theory of Evolution.  For the most part Jewish leaders have been able to harmonize Darwin with the Bible. One of the exceptions is Rabbi Moshe Feinstein who opposed the theory of evolution and issued rulings forbidding the reading of text on evolution

1809: Birthdate of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States. Jews made up a comparatively miniscule part of the American population during the Age of Lincoln.  When Lincoln was born there were approximately seven million people living the United States of whom approximately 2,000 were Jewish. By 1850, when Lincoln’s political career was extremely active, there were approximately 50,000 Jews living among a population of over 23 million Americans.  In Illinois, the Jewish population could not have numbered much more than 200, most of whom lived in Illinois.  By the time Lincoln was elected President, there were approximately 150,000 Jews living among 31,000,000 Americans.  Of the 1,700,000 people living in “the Land of Lincoln,” approximately 1,500 were Jewish.  Given these comparatively miniscule numbers, there was a surprising close connection between Lincoln and the Jewish people on both a personal and communal basis. At the personal level, Abraham Jonas of Quincy, Illinois, the brother of Joseph Jonas, the first Jewish settler of Cincinnati was one of Lincoln’s closest friends and earliest supporters.  According to the City of Quincy Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Jonas arrived in Quincy I838 and was the town’s first Jewish citizen. The friendship between Jonas and Lincoln began that same year and was to last for the next quarter of a century.  Their personal bond was cemented by a politics when the two served together in the Illinois legislature during the 1840’s. Jonas and Lincoln were early members of the Republican Party and Jonas “handled arrangements for his friend’s arrival for the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debate in Quincy.”  Jonas and his law partner, Henry Asbury, may have been the first two to “float” Lincoln’s name as Presidential candidate.  When Horace Greely, the powerful New York newspaper publisher spoke in Quincy in December of 1858, the two proposed that the eastern powerbroker might want to consider Lincoln as candidate for the top spot on the Republican ticket in 1860.  Jonas did go to the Republican convention in 1860 where “he worked the floor to help secure the nomination” for his long time personal and political friend. Louis Naphtali Dembitz a twenty-eight year old lawyer, civic leader and prominent member of the Louisville, KY. Jewish community was one of the three delegates who placed Lincoln’s name in nomination at the Republican Convention held in Chicago. Dembitz was the uncle of Louis Dembitz Brandeis who was four at the time of the convention and who would become the first Jewish Justice to sit on the Supreme Court.   Abraham Kohn, City Clerk of Chicago, was another Jew who was an early supporter of Lincoln and who worked at the Republican Convention to secure his nomination.  After Lincoln’s nomination, Kohn gave him a flag that included the following verse from the Book of Joshua, “Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”  Other early, ardent supporters of Lincoln included the philanthropist Moses Dropsie, founder of Dropsie College and Sigmund Kaufman a German-Jewish newspaper publisher in New York “who worked furiously and successfully to deliver the German immigrant vote to Lincoln.”  Kaufman also served as one of the electors for the State of New York and as such helped turn Lincoln’s popular vote lead into an Electoral College victory.  In 1863, following the Battle of Chancellorsville, Lincoln visited the hospital bed of the mortally wounded hero Lt. Col Leopold Newman, and personally presented him with his commission of appointment as a brigadier general in the Union Army. At the communal level, Lincoln was the first President to make it possible for Rabbis to serve as military chaplains. He signed the 1862 Act of Congress which changed the law that had previously barred all but Christian clergymen from being chaplains. Lincoln showed his support for Jews in the face of European anti-Semitism.  He appointed a Jew to serve as Counsel in Zurich as a way of letting the Swiss know that the United States government would not tolerate discrimination against American Jews doing business in Switzerland and that the United States Government did not look favorably on the discriminatory treatment of Swiss citizens who were Jewish. But Lincoln’s most famous moment in dealing with the Jews came when he countermanded Grant’s infamous Order #11. The vast majority of Jews were loyal supporters of the Union even in those dark days when the Copperheads and their allies called upon Lincoln to “let our wayward sisters depart in peace.”  Of course, Lincoln came to be viewed as an American Moses who led the African-American Slaves to freedom. Ironically, Lincoln was killed during Pesach, the Jewish holiday of freedom that provided so much of the liberation motif for the work of the Great Emancipator.

1815: Birthdate of Hermann Ottomar Friedrich Goedsche the anti-Semitic author who wrote under the pseudonym Sir. John Retcliffe.

1818: Bernardo O'Higgins signs the Independence of Chile near Concepción. According to the Virtual Jewis Library “The Inquisition was abolished with the establishment of Chilean independence in 1818. Many Jewish citizens or descendants of Converso families were involved in the country's struggle for independence, including General Jose Miguel Carrera, who traced his lineage back to Diego Garcia de Caceres. Carrera was nominated to be the first president of Chile, although Manuel Blanco Encalada actually became the Chilean leader. Diego Portales, father of the 1833 Chilean constitution, also claimed descent from Caceres. Many non-Jewish leaders of the revolution had close ties with Jewish individuals. The first president of the Republic of Chile, Bernard O'Higgins, spent time in the home of Juan Albano Peyreyra, possibly of Jewish ancestry.”

1821: Raphael Picard married Rose Bumsell in Strasbourg today.

1824: Birthdate of Czech native Gustav Freund, the husband of Rosa Fruend

1826: Birthdate of German Chemist Moritz Traube whose work was sought after by many leading scientist of the time and whose marriage to Bertha Moll in 1855 produced chemist Wilhelm Traube and mineralogist Hermann Traube.

1827(15th of Shevat, 5587): Tu B’Shevat

1829: Birthdate of Leonce Cohen, the Parisian musician who received the "Prix de Rome," in 1851 “and became soon afterward one of the violinists at the Thétre Italien at Paris.”

1837(8th of Adar I, 5597): Fifty-year old Karl Ludwig Börne the German author and political philosopher who had changed his name from Lion Baruch when he became a Lutheran, passed away today.

1839: Birthdate of Leopold Loeb who would pass away in Morgan City, LA in 1921;

1842: Birthdate of Henri Jean Baptiste Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu author Les Juifs et l'Antisémitisme; Israël chez les Nations which was translated as Israel Among the Nations: A study of the Jews and Antisemitism by Frances Hellman and published by Putnam and L’Antisémitisme in 1897.

1849: An article published in Wetumpka Daily Standard was critical of Judge Solomon Heydefeldt's plan to put an end to "unlimited slave immigration" in Alabama.  Heydefeldt was no abolitionist. He was afraid that "the state would become impoverished through the uncontrolled 'dumping' of slaves in Alabama."  His critic claimed that the Judge's plan would cause the price of slaves to soar and would deprive "the poor who hoped ... to become slave owners of any expectation of economic advancement.

1849: One day after she had passed away, 80 year old Elizabeth Solomons , the wife of David Solomons was buried today at the Brady Street Jewish Cemetery

1852: Austen Henry Layard, the archeologist who excavated Nimrud and Niniveh as described in Discoveries at Nineveh began serving as Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for the first time.

1853: Birthdate of Alois Eisler, the husband of Emilie Eisler.

1855: Birthdate of Yankev P. Adler, a native of the Russian Empire who, as Jacob Adler would gain fame as an actor and a star of the Yiddish Theatre in Odessa, London and New York City.

1855: Michigan State University was established. According to recent figures, MSU has 3,000 Jewish undergrads out of a total of 36,000 students and 500 Jewish grad students out of a total of 10,000 graduate students.  MSU offers approximately 25 Jewish Studies courses as well as a Major in Jewish Studies. The university offers a study program in Israel and is home to a Hillel chapter.

1860(19th of Shevat, 5620): Seventy-one year old Isaac Baer Levinsohn, the Russian leader of the Haskalah whose seminal work was Bet Yehuda published in 1837, passed away today.,+Isaac+Baer,+1788-1860

1862: After having been arrested and imprisoned at Warsaw  in November, 1861 for activities construed supportive of the Polish Revolution, Talmudist Marcus Jastrow was released because he was a Prussian after which he was deported.

1863: Birthdate of Gatchell Isaacs, the native of Poland brought to London in his infancy who became the rabbi of the Hackney and East London Synagogue in 1890 while also serving as the Chaplain of the Hackney Company of the Jewish Lads’ Brigade and as a teacher for twenty-one years at his alma mater, The Jews’ Free School.

1864: During the Civil War, "the Confederate Congress voted in secret to create "bodies for the capture destruction of the enemies' property."  Officially known as the Bureau of Special and Secret Service, the unit was funded by the Department of State which was headed by Judah P. Benjamin who now "took on the most dangerous assignment Jefferson Davis had given him, that of spymaster."

1870: Women gained the right to vote in Utah Territory. At this time, the Watters family, Ichel and his new bride Augusta were active members of the community.  According to one account, “Augusta thrived on the challenge of frontier life, becoming a hardy pioneer and eventually a mainstay of the Salt Lake City Jewish Community.

1873(15th of Shevat, 5633): Tu B’Shevat

1874: The Young Ladies’ Charitable Union is scheduled to host a fund raiser at the Lyceum Theatre for the Home for Aged Hebrews.

1877: It was reported today that the Ottoman government “will not press its condition regarding the treatment of the Jews of Serbia.”  [Editor’s note: This has little to do with the Jews and everything to do with the Great Powers jockeying for control over the Ottoman Empire.  In an attempt to discredit the Constantinople Conference at which the great powers began slicing up the European portions of the empire, the Turks announced the adoption of a constitution that included a declaration of equal rights for all religious minorities in the Islamic Empire.  This brief statement, which proved to be true, was the Porte’s way of saying that the Christians of Serbia would not have to grant equal rights to the Jews which the Sultan hoped would be a way of guaranteeing Serbian loyalty.]

1879: Birthdate of Brooklyn native Carrie Davidson, “a founder of the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America,” “the editor for 24 years of The Women’s League Outlook” and the wife of “Dr. Israel Davidson, the Professor of Medieval Hebrew Literature at JTS” with whom she raised two daughter.

1880(30th of Shevat, 5640): Rosh Chodesh Adar

1882: It was reported today that the Times of London has published an article written by a mysterious Russian woman known as “O.K.” in tone that offers an apology for the treatment of the Jews living in Russia. The veracity of this author is questionable since she also extols the virtues of Siberia which she described as a land of promise which will soon be over-run by Russian emigrants seeking to live there.

1883: Birthdate of Ludwig Stössel, the German actor who returned to his native Austria when Hitler came to power and after the Anschluss  was imprisoned before finally being able to escape to London before settling in Hollywood where he re-kindled his career. 

1883: The United States State Department sought Adolphus Simeon Solomons’ advice and assistance regarding the distribution of charity funds to Americans in Ottoman Palestine. Solomons was as a Sephardic Jew born in New York in 1826 who moved to Washington, DC where he made several influential friends and was important enough to have been offered the position of Governor of the District of Columbia by President U.S. Grant.  Solomons did not accept the offer.

1884(16th of Shevat): German author and religious reformer Aaron Bernstein passed away

1884: Birthdate of Max Beckmann, German-born post-modernist painter.

1884: In Ohio, Lazard Kahn and his wife “Coralie Alice Lemann of Donaldsonville, LA” gave birth to Bertrand B Kahn who became a vice president in the Estate Stove Company which had been founded by his father and who was the brother of Milton, Lucian and Jerome Kahn. (As reported by Jim Blount)

1885: In Eisenheim, Bavaria, Karoline and Leopold (Lehmann) Schloss gave birth to Emil Schloss.

1885: Birthdate of vicious anti-Semite Julius Streicher, the Nazi leader who created such publications as Der Strumer

1886: Ha-Yom, the first Hebrew daily newspaper was published in St. Petersburg.

1886: Birthdate of Yampol native Solomon Pincasovich, the product of the Slobodka Yeshivan and the Odessa Conservatoire who became the cantor of the New Synagogue in Manchester, UK in 1921 and a lecturer at Jews College in 1947.

1886: Birthdate of Louis C. Wallach, the New York native who boxed under the name Leach Cross and was known as “The Fighting Dentist” due to the dental degree he earned from New York University.

1890: A summary of the activities of the United Hebrew Charities for the month of January published today described the aid given to 963 families containing 4.4042 members for the month.

1890: “Among the East Side Hebrew Poor” published today described a meeting at Temple Beth-El attended by a large number of young Jews as well as prominent leaders including Rabbi Kaufmann Kohler and Mark Ash of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association where “plans were formulated “to create an organization to aid the Jews living “on the east side between 42nd and 86th Streets and from Fifth Avenue to the River.”

1890: The Independent Order of the Free Sons of Judah was organized today with headquarters in New York City.

1890: It was reported today that Rudolph Grossman, the assistant Rabbi at Temple Beth El has been elected president of newly formed organization designed to bring aid to the poor Jews of the East Side from their wealthier coreligionists.  Charles S. August has been elected Secretary.

1892: As New York public health officials start to deal with an outbreak of typhus it was reported that some of the first victims were fifty-seven Jewish men, women and children who had been “driven out of Russia” who finally made their way to Marseilles where they board the SS Massilia.  They arrived in New York after twenty nine days at sea.  These public health officials connect the outbreak of typhus with conditions aboard the ship and debilitated conditions of the immigrant passengers.

1893: It was reported today that at the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Jastrow has begun teaching a special course in Hebrew designed primarily for (Protestant) clergyman.  (Editor’s note: Professor Jastrow is Morris Jastrow, Jr., who the librarian-in-chief at the school and the son of Marcus Jastrow, the rabbi at Philadelphia’s Rodeph Shalom.)

1893: “Priests and Pigeons” published today described a humorous episode during a Sunday school lesson being taught to youngsters about Haggai and Zachariah.

 1893: “Interesting News From Other Schools And Colleges” published today described newly created Harvard Semitic Museum which included Hebrew “rolls of the law and rolls of the prophets” as well as “some translation of the Hebrew Bible into Arabic.

1893: The committee formed by the Central Conference of American Rabbis “to arrange the seconding part of the Union Prayer book containing the services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur” met for the first time today in Chicago.

1894: Sixty-four year old musical leader and reputed anti-Semite Hans von Bulow passed away today

1894: “Ingersoll Praised and Censured” published today summarized the disagreement that Rabbi Joseph Silverman has with agnostic Robert Ingersoll over the latter’s views on Moses. Silverman does not blame Ingersoll for his mischaracterization of the Jewish sage because “The spirit of the Hebrew Scriptures can never be translated.  A man, to read the Bible rightly must hot only understand the language in which it was written, but he must know the customs and traits of the people.”

1895: The Purim Association will sponsor a performance of Verdi’s “Falstaff” at the Metropolitan Opera House. The associated has been sponsored an event like this each at Purim time since 1868.  Since 1874 each of these events has raised on the average of $15,000 in net proceeds which go to a variety of charities including Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Montefiore Home and the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. 

1895: The district of B’nai B’rth that includes the states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia opened its annual convention in Atlanta, GA today.

1896: Herzl writes a "Literary Testament".

1897: During today’s dedication of the new building belong to the Hebrew Technical Institute; Joseph B. Bloomingdale presented the key to the building to James H. Hoffman, President of the Institute.

1897: In the course of his talk at the dedication exercise of the Hebrew Technical Institute, Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt explained that he had a duty to see to it that Herr Alwardt, the German anti-Semite could speak publicly and that he was fully protected by the police.  To that end, Roosevelt “selected a cordon of forty officers to preserve the peace, and they were all Hebrews, and what is more, they did preserve the peace.” (Editor’s Note: This year, an episode of “Blue Bloods” a television show featuring Tom Sellick as the NYC Police Commissioner drew on this event to resolve part of it plot line.)

1897: Birthdate of Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. Known as "Czar Lepke," Buchalter was a product of the Brooklyn underworld.  During the 1920's he formed the notorious gang called "Murder Incorporated."  The gang specialized in the protection racket.  They began with furriers and leather goods and eventually branched out into the entire garment industry.  During the 1930's, Murder Incorporated was being a small fortune by the movie studios in Hollywood.  Lepke's two decade long reign of terror came to an end when Thomas Dewey went after a variety of gangsters during the late 1930's and 1940's.  Lepke was convicted of murder and electrocuted in March, 1944.  Yes, there were other Jewish gangsters.  But they were a small part of the Jewish population and their criminal activities were never a source of pride.

1897: It was reported today that Secretary Edward T. Devine has said that “The Department of Charities finds no material increase of destitution this year…except among the” Jews because so many of them worked in the garment making industry which is in a slump.  The Department sends all of the “destitute” Jews to the United Hebrew Charities which takes care of them.  (These comments came during a debate about the advisability of providing free food to the poor, something Devine and others opposed)

1897: Rabbi Gustav Gottheil of Temple Emanu-El delivered the opening prayer at today’s dedication of the new building that will be part of the Hebrew Technical Institute on Stuyvesant Street.

1898: Today, Edgard Demange, one of the lawyers who had represented in Alfred Dreyfus in his trials, testified at trial of Emil Zola, stating that the law had been violated in 1894, but that without political will, light could not be shed on the Dreyfus Affair

1898: Professor C.H. Toy delivered the second in a series of lectures on “The Dawn of Literature” entitled “The Dawn of Literature in Babylonia and Egypt” which included numerous comparisons between these two cultures and the literature created by the Jews that is preserved in the Bible.

1899: Among the bills introduced in the New York State Legislature seeking tax exemptions was one brought forward by Mr. Sanders, “exempting the real estate now owned or which may hereafter be acquired by the Beth Israel Hospital Association in the City of New York”

1900: Founding of the Sabbath Observance Association Synagogue at 70th and Central Park West whose members include Mark Blumenthal, Leonard Lewisohn, Moses Ottinger, and Leon Huhner.

1901: Herzl meets Lady Battersea, Rothschild's cousin in the apartment of Israel Zangwil.

1903(15th of Shevat, 5663): Tu B’Shevat

1906: Birthdate of Brest-Litvosk native and NYU graduate Frank Leff, the “director of special projects for the American Jewish Committee” and the husband of Johanna Leff with whom he had two children – Bernard and Naomi.

1906: Today “a massacre of the Jews was reported to have taken place at Kalarashi, Bessarabia.”

1906: Algernon Lee wrote from New York challenging Lewis Nixon’s plea to “Give the Czar a chance” citing all of the Czar’s missed opportunity to improve conditions for his subjects including his failure “to protect the poor Jews…in his empire in the pursuit of their peaceful vocations.”

1907: Following a banquet given in his honor yesterday evening by the Federation of American Zionist, Dr. Shmaryahu Lewin is scheduled to leave for Europe today.

1908: Birthdate Mikos Sarkany who won Gold Medals for Hungary in Water Polo at the 1932 and 1936 Olympics.


1909: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded. Julius Rosenthal, Lillian Wald, Rabbi Emil G. Hirsh, Stephen Wise and Henry Moskowitz a Jewish physician, and civil rights activist, were among the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Jewish attorney Jack Greenberg played a prominent role in one of the most famous moments in the history of the N.A.A.C.P. He was Assistant Counsel from 1949 to 1961 for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and then, from 1961 to 1984, he succeeded Thurgood Marshall as Director Counsel. Greenberg was one of the attorneys who argued Brown v. Board of Education before the United States Supreme Court as co-counsel for the plaintiffs with Thurgood Marshall.

1912: Arrangements were made today by the family of Washington Seligman to move his body from the Hotel Grand where he had shot himself to Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue.

1912(24th of Shevat, 5672): Louis Heilprin, the Hungarian born historian and encyclopedia editor who was a follower of Lajos Kossuth passed away.  He was part of an intellectual family including his brother Angelo, his grandfather Pinchas and his father Michael who was an editor for the American Cyclopedia and a contributor to The Nation.

1913: Mrs. J.B. Malkes is charge of preparing the program for today’s “regular monthly meeting of the Baron Hirsch Women’s Club” at the Auditorium Hotel.

1914: “The Squam Man” a silent cowboy film produced by Jesse Lasky was released in the United States by the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation today.

1915: Birthdate of Canadian actor Lorne Greene.  Greene’s most famous role was that Ben “Pa” Cartwright on Bonanza.  Considering the fact that Little Joe was also played by a Jewish actor, half of America’s favorite cowboy family were MOT- “The Ponderosa” as western homeland for the Jews.

1915: Joseph Zimmerman was award the Pell Gold Medal for the student who ranks highest in all the studies of the year and the Prager Memorial Prize for the student who ranks highest in the senior year at today’s commencement exercise for the College of the City of New York today.

1915: “The American Jewish Relief Committee for the Sufferers from the War, of which Louis Marshall is President and Felix M. Warburg is Treasurer, announced” tonight “the appropriation of $200,000 for the relief of Jewish war suffers” which “will be divided equally between Russian and German Poland.

1915: A list of contributors to the American Jewish Relief Committee published today included the Jewish Charities of Cleveland, Ohio, Calgary J.R.C., Lafayette Indiana Orthodox Jews, and the Young Russian Friends Association.

1916: In Norfolk, VA, the building housing Oham Shalom Synagogue which had been built fifteen years ago at a cost of $70,000 “was destroyed by fire caused by defective insulation.”

1916:  “According to a statement issued” today “one out of every 321 Jews in New York City contributes to the Educational Alliance” of which Justice Samuel Greenbaum currently serves as President

1916: Birthdate of Dutch born actor Max Geldray.  Born in Holland and living in France and touring under such names as "Mac Geldray and his Mouth-Accordion Band", Van Gelder fled to England during the early days of WWII and was injured participating in the Normandy landings in 1944. Tragically, his sister died in a concentration camp during the war. After the war Geldray continued his career as a jazz harmonica player. He was part of the original cast of the 1950's radio show The Goon Show sharing the stage with Peter Sellers.  He stayed on the show for its entire run of nine years. Afterwards, he retired to California, playing at gigs in Reno and Los Angeles, later volunteering at the Betty Ford Center and similar institutions.  He passed away in 2004. 

1918: Following the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, the French issued a statement today expressing their support for the creation “of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine.’

1918: In New York City, Belle (née Rosenfeld) and Benjamin Schwinger, a garment manufacturer, gave birth to Nobel Prize winning American theoretical physicist Julian Seymour Schwinger

1919: Funeral services were held in Chicago today for Alexander Newman, the husband of Eva Newman and the father of Julius, Sol, Maurice and Emanuel Newman

1920: Birthdate of Abraham Shadrinsky, who gained famed as record producer Robert “Bob” Shad who worked with such jazz greats as Charlie Parker, Billy Eckstein and Dinah Washington.

1921(4th of Adar I, 5681): Parashat Teruman

1921: Congregation Shaaray Tefila continued to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its incorporation for a second day.

1921: Birthdate of Joshua Eilberg, the native of Philadelphia and Wharton graduate who served in the House of Representatives for twelve years.

1921: Birthdate of fencing champion Albert Axelrod.

1922: Achille Ratti is formally installed as Pope Pius XI. Early in his papacy, Pius did sign concordats with various fascist governments.  But he must have had a change of heart.  By the time he died he spoken out against fascism and racism and called for measures to protect Jews.

1923: Birthdate of Romanian native Hyman “Hy” Weiss who came to the United States as an infant, served in the Army Air Force during WW II and became a leading record producer.

1923: Twenty-five year old Gene Barry (born Eugene Klass) married Betty Claire Kalb

1924: George Gershwin's ''Rhapsody in Blue'' received its premiere in the concert, An Experiment in Modern Music, which was held today, in Aeolian Hall, New York, by Whiteman and his band with Gershwin playing the piano 

1924: George Kaufman's "Beggar on Horseback" premiered in New York City.

1924: The Eveready Hour was the first commercially sponsored variety program in the history of broadcasting which featured repeated appearances by conductor Nathanial Shilkret on WEAF Radio in New York.

1925: Birthdate of Rosalyn “Dolly” Saget the wife of supermarket executive Benjamin Sage and the mother of comedic actor Robert Lane “Bob” Saget.

1925:”The Estonian government passed a law pertaining to the cultural autonomy of minority peoples. This was a logical step forward in the national policies of the Estonian Republic. The Jewish community quickly prepared its application for cultural autonomy. Statistics on Jewish citizens were compiled. They totaled 3,045, fulfilling the minimum requirement of 3000 for cultural autonomy. In June 1926 the Jewish Cultural Council was elected and Jewish cultural autonomy was declared. The administrative organ of this autonomy was the Board of Jewish Culture, headed by Hirsch Aisenstadt until it was disbanded in 1940.”

1925: After arriving in New York yesterday, Dr. Chaim Weizmann reports on the vibrant condition of the economy in Palestine and of “the numerous business opportunities of which Americans may take advantage.”  Weizmann said that while in the United States he will be seeking a loan of $2,000,000 at seven per cent interest designed to pay for development in Tel Aviv and four large near-by settlements.  The government in Palestine had already given its approval for Weizmann to try and raise the funds.

1926: “The Man Without Sleep” a silent film written by Max Glass was released in Germany today.

1926(28th of Shevat, 5686): Fifty-six year old René Worms, a scion of the distinguished French family whose accomplishments including the establishment of the "Revue Internationale de Sociologie”,  the "Bibliothèque Sociologique Internationale," the Institut International de Sociologie and the Société de Sociologie de Paris which earned him being named a chevalier of the Legion of Honor, passed away today.

1927: Birthdate of Bucharest native Henry Herscovi  who competed as a sports shooter for the Israeli Olympic Teams in 1968 and 1972.

1929: “The Christian and the Moslem communities of Palestine were urged to lend their best cooperation to the efforts of the Jewish people in the rebuilding of the Holy Land by John Haynes Homes, pastor of the New York Community church, was the guest of honor at a reception given to him today by the municipality of Tel Aviv at City Hall.

 1929: Birthdate of Gyorgy Braun, the native of Mateszalka, Hungary, who survived the Holocaust and made a new life for himself in Los Angeles as George Brown

 1930: Birthdate of Arlen Specter, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.  During the twentieth century, most Jewish office holders were Democrats.  Specter was unusual because he rose to prominence as a Republican.  Today, there are a record number of Jews serving in the U.S. Senate.  For most Americans, Jewish public officials are such an accepted fact of life that both Senators from California are Jewish.  And places like Minnesota, hardly a state with a large bloc of Jewish voters, elect Jews to Congress (As reported by Peter Jackson)

1932: Birthdate of economist and author Julian Simon.

1932: Birthdate of pianist Jerome Lowenthal.

1934: Publication of a review of Hours of Decision by Oswald Spengler, the historian and author of The Decline of the West who on his mother’s side was a descendant of “a Jewish woman named Bräunchen Moses, the daughter of Abraham and Riele Moses who was baptized shortly before her marriage.,8816,746957,00.html


1935: The first Palestine-owned ships of modern times will start service here today, restoring to the Jewish people a profession in which they have had little part since the ancient Phoenicians.  Two new ships Mount Zion and Tel Aviv sail between Palestine, Constananza and Trieste.  While the ships are of “British naval design” they will have Jewish skippers and crews.

1936: Birthdate of American actor Paul Shenar described as being of Turkish and Jewish ancestry. Count this as a maybe.

1936(19th of Shevat): Yiddish historian and journalist Peter Wiernik passed away

1936: Birthdate of Binyamin Fuad Ben-Eliezer, a native of Iraq who made Aliyah in 1950.  He served in the IDF from 1954 through 1984 and then entered into a successful political career that included service as the Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister.

1937: U.S. Premiere of “On the Avenue,” with a story and songs by Irving Berlin and Samuel Pokrass, co-starring the Ritz Brothers.

1937: Wilhelm Zoellner resigned as head of the Confessing Church “after the Gestapo had denied him the right to visit some imprisoned pastors.”

1938(11th of Adar I, 5698): Parashat Tetzaveh

1938: Rabbi William F. Rosenblum is scheduled to deliver a sermon “Great Jews of Today” at Temple Israel.

1938: Rabbi Louis I Newman is scheduled to deliver a sermon “The Religion of Abraham Lincoln” today at Temple Rodeph Sholom.

1938: Rabbi Nathan Perilman is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “What Makes a Thing Jewish?” today at Temple Emanu-El

1938: Rabbi Jonah B. Wise is scheduled to give a sermon today on “Lincoln and God” at the Central Synagogue.

1938: During the Spanish Civil War, The Botwin Company, a Jewish unit of the Polish Dombrowski Brigade went into action in the Sierra Quemeda near Belal Alcazar.

1938: Hitler met with Chancellor Schuschinigg of Austria, claiming that the acts of Austria were treasonous. Hitler put forth extreme written demands designed to make way for Nazism in Austria. Hitler threatened to end a civil relationship between their two countries.

1938: In Rumania, Jews did not have to prove their citizenship today as originally ordered by the government because the Juridical Committee ruled that the decree calling into question “the citizenship of Rumania’s 750,000 Jews” was unconstitutional “because it singled out one class of citizens, namely the Jews, for special treatment by forcing them and only them to prove citizenship.” (Editor’s Note – this is one more example of the anti-Semitism that was prevalent in Europe in the inter-war years which helps to explain why the Germans were so successful in their implementation of the Final Solution.)

1938: In Elizabeth, NJ, homemaker Esther (née Rosenfeld) and dentist Ralph Sussman gave birth to Judith Sussman who gained fame as author Judy Blume. “Her most famous book, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; focused on an 11-year-old girl being brought up by Jewish and non-Jewish parents, and the difficulties she faced in trying to decide which religion to follow.”

1939: Robert Briscoe, a member of the Irish Parliament delivered an address at Temple Rodeph Sholem tonight in which he expressed his support for “Palestine as a homeland for the Jewish people.”

1939: Birthdate of Leon Richard Kass the Chicago born son of “Yiddish speaking, secular, socialist” Jewish immigrants whose exciting life has included everything from Civil Rights Summer with his wife Amy Apfel to serving as chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics during the George Bush’s first term in the White House.

1940: The British War Cabinet discussed the 1939 White Paper to limit Jewish land purchase in Palestine.  Despite a protest from Churchill, the land limitation regulations would be put into force.

 1940: The Nazis began the first mass deportation of Germans Jews to Poland.

1941: The Nazis established the Jewish Council for Amsterdam under Abraham Asscher, prominent Amsterdam businessman and David Cohen, a professor of ancient history at the Municipal University of Amsterdam.

1941: In Amsterdam, German soldiers, assisted by Dutch police, encircled the old Jewish neighborhood and cordoned it off from the rest of the city by putting up barbed wire, opening bridges and putting in police checkpoints which meant that this neighborhood was now forbidden for non-Jews effectively making it a Ghetto.

1941: Occupation Police arrested the "Jewish Foursome"1942(25th of Shevat, 5702): The Nazis rounded up and murdered 3,000 Jews in the Ukrainian town of Brailov. The Jewish community in the Shtetel of Brailov can be traced back at least to the start of the 17th century. After the war Brailov was the subject of a 52-minute documentary called “Judenfrei: A Shtetl Without Jews.”

1942: At Kibbutz Mishmar HaSharon, Esther (née Godin) and Yisrael Mendel Brog gave birth to Ehud Brog, the eldest of their four sons who gained fame as Ehud Barak, the Chief of Staff of the IDF who would later serve as Prime Minister of Israel.

1942(25th of Shevat, 5702): Avraham Stern was killed after being captured by British authorities in Tel Aviv.  Stern was the leader of Lechi a Hebrew acronym for Lohamei Cherut Israel, "Fighters for the Freedom of Israel", לח"י - לוחמי חירות ישראל) also known as the Stern Gang.  The Polish born Stern had become progressively more violent as he moved from the Haganah, to the Irgun, to his own Stern Gang.  Stern reportedly approached the German and Italian regimes offering to swap helping them in defeating the British for the creation of a Jewish state.  Needless to say, the leaders of the Yishuv disowned Stern and his gang, labeling them as terrorists operating in a way unacceptable to the Jewish community.

1942: Six months after having been released in the United Kingdom, “Pimpernel Smith” directed and produced by Leslie Howard (born Leslie Howard Steiner), who also starred in this “updated” version of portrayal in “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and was filmed by cinematographer Mutz Greenbaum was released in the United States today.

1943: Aizik Feder smuggled a letter out of Drancy, France, to his wife. "Tomorrow I am leaving. . . Courage! Courage! Courage!" The next day he is one of 1,000 Jews sent to Auschwitz. He and 311 others were tattooed with a number. The rest were killed. Only 20 of the 311 would survive the war.

1943: “Journey into Fear” a spy film with a script co-authored by Ben Hecht and edited by Mark Robson was released in the United States today.

1943 As documented by his secretaries, Heinrich Himmler visited Sobibor today.

1944: Incendiary bombs that exploded simultaneously in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv tonight damaged immigration offices in all three cities.  The bombings were thought to be the work of those who sought to destroy the buildings where the anti-Jewish immigration policies are given practical application.  “Responsible Jewish” leaders expressed their disapproval of the “criminal methods of fighting the immigration issue.”

1947(22nd of Shevat, 5707): Dr. Kurt Lewin, German born social psychologist, passed away.  A believer in Gestalt psychology, Lewin, a veteran of the Kaiser’s Army, came to United States in 1933 and became a U.S. citizen in 1940.

1947(22nd of Shevat, 5707): Moses Gomberg passed away. Born in Russia, he was educated in the United States and became a chemistry professor at the University of Michigan. “In 1896–1897 he took a year's leave to work as a postdoctoral researcher with Baeyer and Thiele in Munich and with Victor Meyer in Heidelberg, where he successfully prepared the long-elusive tetraphenylmethane.”

1949(13th of Shevat, 5709): Parashat Beshalach

1949: “The Quiet One,” with an “original screen play by Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb and Sidney Meyers; directed by Sidney Meyers and produced by Janice Loeb” opened today “at the Little Carnegie” in New York.

1949: An unidentified aircraft bombed Jerusalem.  Based on various sources the plane might have been Egyptian or British.\=

1949: In Berlin, Litzi Friedman and Georg Honigmann, the chief editor of the Berliner Zeitung gave birth to German author and dramatist Barbara Honigmann.

1950: Albert Einstein warned against the building of the hydrogen bomb.

 1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that 20 persons were injured in the course of a Communist demonstration held in Tel Aviv by the Israel-USSR Friendship League. Skirmishes broke out, outside the previously bombed Soviet Legation, between Communists and Israelis outraged by the recent vicious anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli Soviet campaign. The Soviet Ambassador, Mr. Pavel Yershov, received Mr. S. Mikunis and Dr. Moshe Sneh, in the presence of reporters, an unusual diplomatic occurrence. Israeli police arrested 27 persons in connection with the bombing of the Soviet Legation. Moscow radio accused Israeli police of a "clear connivance" in the bombing.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that in his address to UN officers, Syrian Colonel Ghassan Shabib, a senior Israeli-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission delegate had declared, "This country has no room for both peoples. There should be either Jews or Arabs."

1954(9th of Adar I, 5714): Fifty-eight year old David Abelevich Kaufman the Soviet documentary director known as Dziga Vertov whose brother Mikhail, and Boris and wife Elzaveta Svilova were also film makers, passed away today in Moscow.

1995(20th of Shevat, 5715): Parashat Yitro

1955(20th of Shevat, 5715): Seventy-four year old German dramatist Julius Dab, a cofounder of the Kulturbund Deutscher Juden who escaped to the United States in 1939 passed away today in Roslyn Heights, NY.

1956(30th of Shevat, 5716): Forty-six year old German born Israeli journalist Ezriel Carlebach died of a heart attack. There is no way that this blog can do just to the fascinating life of this man, whom if you did not know he was real, would swear that Ian Fleming or David Baldacci, had created for one of their novels.

1959: The Prime Minster officially opened the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, “an outdoor performance venue in Melbourne” the construction of which was “inspired by businessman and philanthropist Sidney Myer.”

1964: The Beatles performed at a sold-out concert in Carnegie Hall arranged by impresario Sid Bernstein who repeated the same success later with the Rolling Stones.

1964: A funeral service for fifty-year old Arnold Manoff, he author and scriptwriter who was a victim of the HUAC blacklist is scheduled to take place at Riverside Memorial Chapel where his two sons Thomas and Michael; his two daughters Dinah Beth Manoff and Mrs. Eva Russo; his mother Mrs. Gussie Manoff; and his sisters Mrs. Sophie Parsons and Mrs. Flora Blum will say their final farewells.

1965: In the Rhawnhurst neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, Ruben Amaro, Sr., “a Marrano Sephardic Mexican-Cuban and Judy Amaro-Perez (née Herman), the descendant of Russian Jews gave birth to baseball player and executive Ruben Amaro, Jr.

1966: Birthdate of Mario Javier Saban, the native of Buenos Aires who “who is descended from Spanish Jews who took refuge in the Ottoman Empire” and is the author of the best-selling Converted Jews.

1969(24th of Shevat, 5729): Sixty-one year old James Joseph Packman, the native of Biala who came to the United States in 1910 and carved out a career as a “banker, journalist and publicist passed away today.

1969: In Brooklyn, public school teachers Charlotte and Abraham Aronofsky, who are Conservative Jews of Ukrainian Jewish descent gave birth to film director Darren Aronofsky

1970(6th of Adar I, 5730): Sixty-eight year old “novelist and screenwriter” Samuel Guy Endore, born Samuel Goldstein, passed away today.

1971: Birthdate of Antwerp native Nathan Kahan middle distance runner who represented Belgium in the 2000 Olympics and later became a sport psychologist.

1973(10th of Adar I, 5733): British composer Benjamin Frankel passed away at the age of 67.  Born to Polish parents who had moved to England,  the first major work to bring Frankel to wider public attention was the Violin Concerto dedicated " In memory of the six million'", a reference to the Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust.

1977(24th of Shevat, 5737): Parashat Yitro

1977(24th of Shevat, 5737): Seventy-eight year old Washington, DC native and National University Law School trained attorney Nathan Cayton who when appointed as a Judge of the DC Municipal Court “was the youngest man ever to be appointed to a judicial position in the District of Columbia” passed away today.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that the US Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, called on Israel to cease all settlement activities in the administered areas and dismantle the existing ones in the Rafiah salient.

1979(15th of Shevat, 5739): Tu B’Shevat

1980(25th of Shevat, 5740): Muriel Rukeyser, poet and political activist, best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism, passed away. “Her poem To be a Jew in the Twentieth Century (1944), on the theme of Judaism as a gift, was adopted by the American Reform and Reconstructionist movements for their prayer books, something Rukeyser said ‘astonished’ her, as she had remained distant from Judaism throughout her early life.”

1982: “One from the Heart” a musical based on a story by Armyan Bernstein who co-authored the screenplay and featuring Allen Garfield was released today in the United States.

1982: U.S. premiere of “Making Love,”  “one of the earliest films to deal with homosexuality” directed by Arthur Hiller, co-produced by Daniel Melnick with a story by A. Scott Berg.

1982: “Quest for First” a film adaptation of the 1911 Belgian novel co-starring Ron Perlman was released in the United States today.

1982: “Policemen burst into the apartment of refusenik Mikhail Nekrasov during a lesson. They confiscated Hebrew textbooks, dictionaries, and cassettes and warned students to stop attending Hebrew classes and seminars. Nekrasov was told that he would lose his Moscow residence permit if he did not stop teaching Hebrew.”

1986: After spending eight years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, human rights activist Anatoly Scharansky was released. The amnesty deal was arranged by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan at a summit meeting three months earlier. Scharansky was imprisoned for his campaign to win the right for Russian Jews, officially forbidden to practice Judaism, to emigrate from the USSR. Convicted of treason and agitation, Soviet authorities also labeled him an American spy. After his release, he immigrated to Israel, where he was given a hero's welcome. Later, as a member of Israel's parliament, he was an outspoken defender of Russian Jews.

1989(7th of Adar I, 5749): Ninety-three year old Esther Untermann, a graduate of Panzer College in East Orange, NJ who in 1944 became “Judge of the Newark Second and Third Criminal Courts” following the death of her husband Judge William Untermann whom she followed in that position and who was so involved civic activity that she was referred to as “Newark’s original organization woman” and as “First Lady of Essex” passed away today after which she was “buried alongside her husband at the King Solomon Memorial Park in Clifton.”

1989: The Solomon Mikhoels Cultural Center, which is based at the Moscow Jewish Musical Chamber Theater, was dedicated today.

1990(17th of Shevat, 5750): Eighty-nine year old Nat Homan “one of the younger brothers of Hall of Fame coach and player Nat Holman who played for NYU and helped the school with the AAU championship passed away today.

1990: Vanities on the Bonfire published today described the fall from financial grace of Peter Cohen, Chairman of Shearson Lehman Hutton.,8816,969389,00.html

1990: In “As Jerusalem Labors to Settle Soviet Jews, Native Israelis Slip Quietly Away,” published today Joel Brinkley describes Israel’s attempts to deal with the challenge of Yoradim.

1991: In the early morning hours Iraq carried out its 13th Scud attack. The Scud was hit by the Patriot over a populated section of Tel Aviv and flaming missile parts slammed into the city. At least seven people were lightly injured. The Army reported extensive damage to houses and businesses. Rescue workers, firemen and ambulance crews rushed to the scene and set up barricades to keep curious neighbors away from the damaged area. The light injuries were typical of those sustained by hundreds of Israelis in three weeks of Scud missile attacks by Iraq. Most people have been hurt by shrapnel, flying glass, falling furniture or shock. One man was killed when his house collapsed during an early Scud attack, and three elderly Israelis died of heart failure during another assault

1991: The first Lincoln Prize, funded by Lewis Lehrman, was awarded today to “film-maker Ken Burns for his Civil War Series on PBS” that was narrated by Shelby Foote.  (Lehrman and Foote were Jewish; Burns was not)

1991: The Knesset passed a law whereby a Knesset member who changed political parties while still able to serve and vote in the Knesset itself, could not be made a Minister or a deputy minister and could not be promised a seat in the next Knesset.

1993: U.S. premiere of “Groundhog Day,” the classic comedy directed by Harold Ramis who also co-authored the script.

1994(1st of Adar, 5754): Rosh Chodesh Adar

1995(12th of Adar I, 5755): Ninety-eight year old basketball legend Nat Holman passed away today in the Bronx. (As reported by Sam Goldpaper)

1996(22nd of Shevat, 5756): Eighty-three year old  Austrian opera singer Désirée Louise Anna Ernestine "Dési" von Halban the daughter of Josef von Halban and Selma von Halban passed away today in the Netherlands.

1998: Yehuda Lev writes about “The Truth About the Media and Jews.”

1999: Eight months after opening in the United States, “My Giant” a comedy starring Billy Crystal who also served as producer and wrote the script along with David Seltzer was released in the United States today.

2002(30th of Shevat, 5762): Rosh Chodesh Adar

2002(30th of Shevat, 5672): One hundred eleven year old Theresa Bernstein, the Krakow native who became a leading American artist passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

 2004: Mattel announced the split of Barbie and Ken. Barbie and Ken were named for the children of Jewish businesswoman Ruth Handler, the guiding light behind Mattel who gave the world these iconic toys.

2006: Professional Indian-Jewish cricketer played for Saurashtra in their match against Maharashtra

2006: The New York Times featured books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Lovers& amp; Players by Jackie Collins (Jewish father, Anglican mother)

2007: Bar-Ilan University is resisting pressure to fire history professor Ariel Toaff for writing a book arguing that there is a factual basis to some of the blood libels against the Jews in Europe in the Middle Ages, university president Moshe Kaveh's media consultant said today.

2008: The 12th New York Sephardic Jewish Festival continues with showings “Italian Jewish History and Identity,” two programs of documentaries, television shorts and fiction films exploring little-known aspects of Italian Jewish history and identity presented by Centro Primo Levi

2008: James L. Kugel, a professor of Hebrew at Harvard University from 1982 to 2003, discusses How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now at the D.C. Jewish Community Center.

2008: The social component of the Oscar award season kicked off for Beaufort with a screening and reception sponsored by the Israeli consulate and the entertainment division of the Jewish Federation.

2008: The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted this afternoon to designate as a landmark what is believed to be the oldest structure in Queens built as a synagogue. Estée Lauder once worshiped there, and Madonna once lived at a former yeshiva nearby. The synagogue, Congregation Tifereth Israel, at 109-18 54th Avenue in Corona, was built in 1911, when only 20,000 or so of New York’s 1.5 million Jews lived in Queens, according to a report by Kathryn E. Horak, a researcher at the commission. Designed by Crescent L. Varrone, the two-story, wood-frame synagogue combined Gothic and Moorish design with Judaic ornament: pointed-arched windows, a roundel with a Star of David in colored glass, and a gabled parapet. The original wood stoop and railing have been replaced with a brick porch with an iron railing, and the wood clapboard siding has been covered with stucco. The congregation, established in 1906 or 1907, primarily served Jews who had moved to Queens from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and its design mimicked that of synagogues in the neighborhood, which had been shoehorned into narrow tenement lots, similar in scale and material to neighboring tenements and commercial buildings, and featured symmetrical tripartite facades, with a central entrance and corner towers. According to Ms. Horak, there were two Jewish neighborhoods in Corona in the early part of the 20th century: an older and poorer one along Corona Avenue, where Jews managed shirtwaist factories, and a newer and more prosperous one along Northern Boulevard. Josephine Esther Mentzer, later known as Estée Lauder, the cosmetics pioneer who died in 2004 at age 97, was a member of Congregation Tifereth Israel as a young woman. An affiliated yeshiva, on 53rd Avenue, closed in the 1970s and was converted into a residence and music studio; Madonna lived there from 1979 to 1980. The synagogue continued to be used by a dwindling number of congregants until the 1990s, but fell into a state of disrepair, although a small community of Bukharan Jews from the former Soviet Union began meeting there in the mid-1990s. In 2002, the synagogue was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Estée Lauder once worshiped at Tifereth Israel and Madonna once lived at a former yeshiva nearby.

2009: The American Friends of Tel Aviv University present a lecture by Professor Asher Susser, one of Israel's foremost policy analysts and a director of Tel Aviv University's Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies entitled "After the Vote: What's Next for Israel?"

2009: In Australia, a program sponsored by the Arts Centre to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl began today.

2009: Eric Weissberg joined the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College orchestra and chorus, along with the Riverside Inspirational Choir and NYC Labor Choir, in honoring Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday at the Riverside Church in New York City. Under the direction of Maurice Peress, they performed Earl Robinson's "The Lonesome Train: A Music Legend for Actors, Folk Singers, Choirs, and Orchestra" in which Weissberg was the banjo player

2009: By a voice vote, the New York State Senate confirmed the appointment of Jonathan Lippman as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.

2009: Career U.S. diplomat Maclom Toon who served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel passed away today.

2009: One Hundred Years Ago today, WEB Dubois, Julius Rosenthal, Lillian Wald, Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch, Stephen Wise and Henry Malkewitz formed the NAACP

2010: The Winter Olympics are scheduled to open in Vancouver, Canada. Israel will field a team of three in Vancouver: Mykhaylo Renzyhn, an alpine skier originally from Latvia, and the brother-sister duo Alexandra and Roman Zaretsky, born in Belarus, who compete in ice dancing. Chicago native Ben Agosto, a 2006 Olympic silver medalist, is returning to compete in the ice-dancing pairs. Steve Mesler, a bobsledder from Buffalo, N.Y., is back for his third Olympics.  Laura Spector, 22, had qualified for the U.S. Olympic biathlon team that will be competing this month in Vancouver.

2010: Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim an exhibition featuring the work of Tel Aviv native Dror Benshtrit is scheduled to open at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

2010: The Israel Defense Forces thwarted an attempted stabbing attack by a Palestinian in Hebron today.

2010: IDF soldiers opened artillery and gun fire on a group of four Palestinians rigging explosives near the Gaza border.

2010: Anders Hogstrom was arrested today in Stockholm for allegedly ordering the theft of the metal sign reading “Arbeit macht frei” from the front gate at Auschwitz.  He was reportedly acting as angent for an unnamed British Nazi sympathizer who wanted to own the sign.

2010(1 Adar, 5770):  Rosh Chodesh Adar

2010(1 Adar, 5770): Seventy-one year old Allan Kornblum, who helped steer the F.B.I. into the post-J. Edgar Hoover era by drafting guidelines for its surveillance operations in the 1970s, and whose testimony helped convict the murderer of a black man in a celebrated civil rights case revived nearly 40 years after the event, died  today in Gainesville, Fla. (As reported by Patricia Sullivan)

2010: The Art Market Monitor reported that The Jewish Museum in New York went shopping in London last week, where it bought a 1913 painting by Vuillard at Christie’s. The museum paid $464,430 for the painting, well above its $288,554 high estimate. The money was provided by a patron who wishes to remain anonymous.

2011: The Matchmaker, “enchanting coming-of-age drama that tells the story of a relationship between an Israeli teen and a Holocaust survivor who makes ends meet by brokering marriages and has been nominated for 7 Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Film, is scheduled to be shown at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

2011: “The Yankles” and “Army of Crime” are scheduled to be shown at the 21st Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

2011: Egypt's ruling military reassured its international allies today that there would be no break in its peace deal with Israel following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak

2011(8th of Adar I, 5771): Ninety-six year Sofia Cosma the concert pianist who survived the Gulag, passed away today.

2012: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “All The Time In The World: New and Selected Stories” by E. L. Doctorow.

2012: “Ahead of Time” and “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray” are scheduled to be shown at the Athens Jewish Film Festival in Athens, GA.

2012: As we celebrate the 203rd anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, Edmon Rodman, has suggested that we take some time to remember Alfred W. Stern a Jewish clothing manufacturing executive who was “one of the greatest private collectors of works about Abraham Lincoln. (As reported by Edmon J. Rodman for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

2012: A man was killed and three others were injured in an attack by the Israeli Air Force on tunnels and a weapons depot in the Gaza Strip today.

2012: The Israel Air Force may stop the production of the Iron Dome and David Sling missile interception systems in 2012 as a result of insufficient funds, a military budget breakdown revealed today.

2013: In Philadelphia, PA, the NFL held a memorial tribute honoring the life of Steve Sabol Z”L and his contributions professional football through “NFL Films” which he founded with his father Ed.

2013: A multi week-course entitled “The Supreme Court in the Age of Holmes and Brandeis” is scheduled to begin this afternoon. How the scion of a prominent New England family and Kentucky-born son of Jewish immigrants came to make common bond on the High Court should make for a fascinating trip through the legal and social history of the United States.

2013: “The Final Journey of King Herod the Great” is scheduled to open today at the Israel Museum. (As reported by Jessica Steinberg)

2013: Prisoner X,” who hanged himself in an Israeli jail in 2010, was an Australian citizen who worked for the Mossad but apparently committed a heinous crime, perhaps treason, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported today.

2013: Emergency services were in Jerusalem were placed on high alert today due to intelligence reports of a terror threat to the capital.

2013: Merrick Garland assumed the office of Chief Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Cirucit.

2013: Journalist and author Joshua “Lehrer publicly apologized for his plagiarism and fabrications in a speech before the Knight Foundation” today

2014: The Center For Jewish History is scheduled to present “Threshold to the Sacred: The Ark Door of Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue.”

2014: “Zaytoun” and “Aftermath” are scheduled to be shown at the 14th Annual Jewish Film Festival at the David Posnack Jewish Community Center

2014: “The Eleventh Day – The Survivors of Munich 1972” – a documentary in which the seven Israeli Olympians who survived the massacre tell their own story – is scheduled to be shown at San Diego’s Jewish Film Festival.

2014: “Some of France’s most esteemed culinary artists, including the head chef at the official residence of the French president, are scheduled to join the kitchens of some of Israel’s most popular restaurants, from Haifa to Beersheva, for a week of special menus and fusion cuisine.”

2014: One hundred fifth anniversary of the founding the NAACP, America’s leading Civil Rights organization whose founding 6 members included Dr. Henry Moskowitz

2014:’Israeli pairs skaters Evgeni Krasnopolsky and Andrea Davidovich finished the free skate finals in 15th place in the Sochi Winter Olympics today.”

2014(12th of Adar I, 5774): Ninety-one year old comedian and early giant of live nighttime television Sid Caesar passed away today.

2014(12th of Adar I 5774): Eighty-four year old New York real estate developer William Zeckendor, Jr. passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

2015: In Skokie, Illinois, Lyric Opera Orchestra is scheduled to perform chamber music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, composer of The Passenger at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

2015: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to host the Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz which was re-scheduled from January 27.

2015: The Legacy Council at the Center for Jewish History is scheduled to host The History of Matchmaking in the Jewish Community with Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Hosted by the Legacy Council at the Center for Jewish HistoryThe History of Matchmaking in the Jewish Community with Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Hosted by the Legacy Council at the Center for Jewish History
The History of Matchmaking in the Jewish Community” with Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

2015(23rd of Shevat, 5775): Seventy-year old Harvey J. Goldschmid who was appointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission by President Bush in 2002 passed away today. (As reported by Julie Creswell)

2015(23rd of Shevat, 5775): Ninety-one year old nuclear physicist Ernest Sternglass passed away today. (As reported by Kenneth Chang)

2015: The Skirball Center is scheduled to host a Night of Israeli Cinema.

2015: Observance of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the 16th President of the United States who is the subject Lincoln and the Jews: A History by Jonathan Sarna and Benjamin Shapell published this year which should be as informative and interesting as Sarna’s previous Civil War efforts Jews and the Civil War and When Grant Expelled the Jews.

2016: Today the New York Historical Society announced today that Eric Foner’s Gateway to Freedom: The History of the Underground Railroad has received The American History Book Prize.

2016: “Flory’s Flame,” a “documentary about the life and music of renowned 90-year old Sephardic composer and performer Flory Jagoda” and “Peggy Guggenheim” a documentary about the famous art patron are scheduled to be shown at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

2016: Anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. Below is a potpourri of articles about Lincoln and the Jewish people.  Of course, Lincoln’s greatness transcends all of this.  The totality of the man was certainly greater than the sum of all of his parts.

2017(16th of Shevat, 5777): On the Jewish calendar, yahrzeit of Rabbi Sholom Mordechai Schwadron, the son of Rabbi Moshe Schwadron, the father of Isaac Schwadron, the rabbi of Khotymyr  and the grandfather of  Rabbi Sholom Schwadron, “the Maggid of Jerusalem.

2017: In Amherst, MA, the Yiddish Book Center is scheduled to host a screening of “The Venice, Ghetto, 500 Years of Life,” a film that “tells the story of the oldest ghetto in Europe (which marks its 500th anniversary this year) and of Venice’s Jewish community, seen through the eyes of a Jewish teenager from New York visiting family in the city.”

2017: “After 11 scoreless games Mike Brown was released from his position with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

2017: “The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, together with the London Partnership Minyan are” scheduled to present “a shiur by Rav Rahel Berkovits on ‘Women Rabbis and the Nature of Halakha.’”

2017: “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945” – a traveling exhibition of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum is scheduled to open today at UNC Asheville.

2017: “Scots Jews: Photographs by Judah Passow” is scheduled to come to an end at the Jewish Museum in London today.

2017: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Genius of Judaism by Bernard-Henri Lévy, The Attack by Loïc Dauvillier, The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf, Rolling Blackouts by Sarah Glidden and Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar that provides a detailed account on which examines the career of hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen.

2018: The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to co-host the Interfaith Formal at Trinity College this evening.

2018: “Alouette” and “Maydeleh and the Prisoner” are scheduled to be shown at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival as a part of the “Joyce Forum – A Day of Short Films.”

2018: The Streicker Center is scheduled to host Dr. Avivah Zornberg lecturing on “Narratives of Redemption: Trauma and Healing.”

2018: Today, “the Trump administration denied Prime Minister Netanyahu’s claim that the US and Israel were discussing proposals for Israel to annex West Bank Settlements.” (As reported by Eric Cortellessa)

2018: Celebrate the 209th Anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln by reading Lincoln and the Jews by Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell.

2019: The Center For Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society are scheduled to present a with Adina Hoffman, author of Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures and Columbia University Professor Phillip Lopate

2019: The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach, FL is scheduled to host “How Did American Act? Heroism on the Home Front” which includes a look at home some women sounded “the alarm about the plight of Europe’s Jews”

2019: As we celebrate the 210th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln, whom some compared with Moses because of their roles in freeing slaves we might do well to remember the words and life of a man who lived a life that would have made the Biblical prophets proud.

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