Thursday, February 13, 2020

This Day, February 14, In Jewish History by Mitchell A and Deb Levin Z"L

February 14

842:  Charles the Bald and Louis the German swear the Oaths of Strasbourg in the French and German languages. The two monarchs were grandsons of Charlemagne making them cousins. Charles, like the other Carolingian monarchs he refused to enforce the anti-Jewish decrees promulgated by the Church. This was a matter of economic reality; not an example of philo-Jewishness.

1014: Henry II who was already King of Germany and King of Italy was crowned as Emperor of the Holy Roman Emperor.  The first serious persecution of the Jew in Germany began at the start of the 11th century under the reign of Henry.  Among other things, Henry issued a decree expelling the Jews from Mayence because they refused to be baptized.  Some of Henry’s enmity towards the Jews may be traced back to the conversion of Wecelinus, the chaplain to Duke Conrad to Judaism.  Conrad was a relative of Henry’s and Christian nobility did not take kindly to such changes.  The poet Simon ben Isaac and Gershom ben Judah both composed dirges to mark this sad turn of events.

1076: Pope Gregory VII excommunicates Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor.  This dispute between Pope and Royal Ruler was one of many struggles that ranged between Princes of the Church and Temporal Princes for political power.  This one did not involve the Jews but it did affect them.  For his time, Henry treated his Jewish subjects well.  He challenged the anti-Semitism of the many church officials by claiming his Jewish subjects as “belonging to our Chamber.”  In other words they came under his jurisdiction and protection.  Seeing the economic benefit of allowing the Jews to play an active role in his realm, Henry exempted the Jews from “custom duties in imperial towns and they enjoyed trade and travel privileges throughout his empire.”  History may remember the penitent Henry shivering in the snows outside the Papal Palace.  For the Jews, he is was a bright beacon in world growing ever darker under the menace of crusader mobs.

1130: “The Jewish Cardinal” Pietro Pierleone was elected Pope under the name of Anacletus II.  The Church counts him as one of the anti-popes. According to at least one source, Anacletus II was a member of one of the most powerful and wealthiest senatorial families in Rome.  At the same time, the family was reported to have Jewish roots and had supposedly amassed its fortune through money lending. Apparently the Church’s difficulty in knowing how to deal with Jewish converts was not just a 20th century phenomenon. 

 1349: In Strasbourg, a riot ensued in the town after corn prices fell. The Jews were accused (despite the protests of the city council) of a conspiracy. The entire Jewish population (2000) were dragged to the cemetery and burned to death. Only those who accepted Christianity were allowed to live. A new council was elected which voted that Jews could not return for 100 years and their property and possessions were divided among the burghers. Twenty years later, the Jews were readmitted.

1546: Three days before his death, Martin Luther preached his final sermon. “The subject of his final sermon…is ‘obdurate Jews’ and the urgency of expelling them all from German lands. According to Martin Luther, ‘we want to practice Christian love toward them and pray that they convert, [but they are] our public enemies ... and if they could kill us all, they would gladly do so. And so often they do.’ Thus the expulsion or even killing of Jews can be viewed by Christians as form of self-defense. This is exactly the excuse given by anti-Semites in Europe for centuries to come…”

1556: Thomas Cranmer who named Archbishop of Canterbury by Henry VIII was condemned as a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church.  Whatever his difference with Rome, Cranmer took a pretty traditional view of things when it came to Jews. Citing St. Augustine, Cranmer declared that even if “Jews…do good works” like clothing the naked, feeding the poor and performing “other good works of mercy” they will be lost because they do not believe in Jesus.

1623: Moshe Zacut who is buried in the Portuguese cemetery in Altona and who may have been the father of Rabbi Moshe Zacut known as the “Remez” passed away today.

1667: The end of the practice known as “Black Monday.” Prior to this date, the Jews of Rome had been subjected to a humiliating medieval practice of running a race in the Roman carnivals, scantily clad, amid insults and blows. This practice of "Black Monday" named for the day of the week during the Carnival Season on which it took place was not practiced after 1667.

1670: Leopold I ordered Jews to be expelled from Vienna within a few months. Although Leopold was reluctant to lose the large amount of taxes (50,000 Florins) paid by the Jews, he was persuaded to do so by his wife Margaret, the daughter of the Phillip IV Spanish Regent, and a strong follower of the Jesuits Margaret blamed the death of her firstborn on the tolerance shown to the Jews.

1674: Barbados passed a law granting the Jewish community the permission they requested. In the 1660's the Jewish community of Barbados became established and of considerable importance. The Jewish community, however, had a decided disadvantage in that their testimony was not admissible in court cases due to their refusal to take an oath on a Christian Bible. In October 1669 the Jewish community presented the king a petition requesting permission to take be able to take oaths on the Five Books of Moses, the Jewish Bible’

1685(10th of Adar): Rabbi Joseph Chajes of Lemberg, author Ben Porot Yosef passed away today.

1722: Fifty-eight year old Frankfurt am Main native Johann Jakob Schudt a gentile who wrote ‘a preface to Grünhut's edition of David Ḳimḥi's Commentary on the Psalms in 1712 and published the Purim play of the Frankfurt and Prague Jews with a High German translation 1716” but who also published Judæus Christicida, in which he attempted “to prove that Jews deserved corporal as well as spiritual punishment for the crucifixion” and Jüdische Merkwürdigkeiten  which “is full of prejudice, and repeats many of the fables and ridiculous items published by Johann Andreas Eisenmenger; but  also contains details of contemporary Jewish life, a source for the history of the Jews, particularly those of Frankfurt” passed away today.

1727: Benedict XIII issued Emanavit nuper, a Papal Bull, dealing with “the necessary conditions for imposing Baptism on a Jew.”

1743: Henry Pelham, a member of the Whigs, became British Prime Minister. In 1753 Pelham “brought in the Jew Bill of 1753, which allowed Jews to become naturalized by application to Parliament.” The House of Lords approved the bill.  But the Tories in the House of Commons tried to defeat it claiming it was “an abandonment of Christianity.” However Pelham and the Whigs prevailed and the bill passed and then was approved by the crown.

1766: Birthdate of economist Thomas Malthus whose theories were examined by Gertrude Himmelfarb in The Idea of Poverty. (She was Jewish, he was not)

1772: A day after he passed away on Shabbat, Isaac Isaac ben Moshe Shneour was buried today at the Alderney Road Jewish Cemetery in the United Kingdom.

1784: In London Benvenida de Isaac Solis, the daughter of Isaac Henriques Henriques Valentine and Simha Mandil and her husband Solomon da Silva Solis gave birth to Daniel da Silva Solis, the husband of Sarah Norris with whom he had five children.

1808: In Germany, Sara Aub and Alexander Mack gave birth to Wolfgang Mack, the husband of Louise Geldersheimer and father of Adolph Mack.

1827: Bluma Jacobs and Joseph Levy gave birth to Israel Levy, the husband of Elizabeth Harris, Adelaide Levy, Sara Ellis and Esther Levy.

1827: Abraham Levy married Louisa Judah today at the Great Synagogue.

1833: In Middlesex, Hannah Levy and Michael Emanuel gave birth to Lionel Emanuel.

1833: Birthdate of Warsaw native Henry (Hayyim Gershon) Vidaver, the prominent rabbi, publisher, Hebraist and orator who passed away in San Francisco, CA in 1882. “In 1859, Vidaver immigrated to the United States, and became the rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia. In 1861 he resigned his position and moved to Germany then returned to the U.S. in 1865 to become rabbi of United Hebrew Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri where he withdrew his support for the Confederacy and wrote in praise of Abraham Lincoln. In 1867, he assumed the pulpit of the B'nai Jeshurun in New York and from 1874 until his death in 1882 served as rabbi of Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco. Vidaver and Jacob Levinski co-authored the first abridged Hebrew Bible, which was published in 1869. He also commonly published poems in Hebrew about Jerusalem and other Jewish issues in Hebrew newspapers, such as Havatzelet.

1836: In London, Isabella and Simcha Cohen gave birth to Catherine Cohen.

1843(14th of Adar I, 5603): Purim Katan

1846: Today, Irish nationalist put forth his views that the government did not understand millions of people in Ireland would not have anything because of the “Potato Famine” to the victims of  which Baron Lionel de Rothschild and his family gave so much aid a newspaper in Dublin wrote that he had “...contributed during the Irish famine of 1847 ... a sum far beyond the joint contributions of the Devonshires, and Herefords, Lansdownes, Fitzwilliams and Herberts, who annually drew so many times that amount from their Irish estates.”

1849: George Judah Cohen, the English born son of Sierlah Levy and Barnett Cohen Married Rosetta “Rose” Solomon in Maitland, NSW, Austrialia

1858: Four days after he had passed away, John Hart, the son of Naphtali and Sarah Cohen and father of Miriam Hart was buried today at the “Balls Pond Road Jewish Cemetery.”

1859: Oregon admitted as the 33rd U.S. state. By the time Oregon joined the Union, Portland already boasted an active Jewish community which “launched its first congregation” in 1858.  Despite their comparatively small numbers, several Jews have held public office in Oregon including Senators Joseph Simon and Richard L. Neuberger and Governors Julius L. Meier and Neil Goldschmidt. (Senator Neuberger’s wife who was also a Senator from Oregon was not Jewish; hence she is not listed.)

1860: In Breslau, Mathilde (née Kassel) Schiffer and Bernhard Schiffer gave birth to Eugen Schiffer, the lawyer and political whose career in public service ran from the days of the Kaiser to the Weimar Republic.

1861: During the session of the New York State Legislature, Mr. Woodruff introduced a bill today to appropriate $35,000 out of the State Treasury to the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New-York City, for a building, as soon as $20,000 has been expended by the Trustees.

1862(14th of Adar I, 5622): Purim Katan

1862: Philadelphian Abraham Hart was promoted to the rank of Captain in Company I of the Seventy-Third Regiment.

1864: Birthdate of Israel Zangwill. Zangwill is a name known to few today, but in his time he was an intellectual power.  Zangwill was born in London and achieved fame by writing a number of novels many on Jewish themes including Children of the Ghetto, Ghetto Tragedies and The King of Schnorrers.  Zangwill first met with Herzl in 1896 and attended the First (and all successive) Zionist Congress. He supported Herzl's Uganda plan and following its rejection, led the Territorialists out of the Zionist organization in 1905. He established the Jewish Territorialists Organization (ITO) whose object was to acquire a Jewish homeland wherever possible. Following the securing of the Balfour declaration, the ITO fell into decline and by 1925 it was officially dissolved. Zangwill supported Zionist efforts in Eretz Israel calling for a radical approach both as regards the demand for the early establishment of a Jewish State and the solution of the Arab question. He passed away in 1926

1864: In Kalwarya, Russia, Tanhum and Rachel Deborah (Alterman) Schulman gave birth to Samuel Schulman who served as the spiritual leader of Montana’s first synagogue, Temple Emanuel before eventually moving to New York where he succeeded Kaufman Kohler as head of Temple Beth-El and then served as the rabbi for Temple Emanu-El when it absorbed his former congregation.

1865: Twenty-two year old Bavarian immigrant and a friend “opened a 25 foot wide dry goods store” today which would be Abraham and Strauss, a commercial enterprise that would “pass into mercantile history” 130 years later in April of 1995.

1869: In Augsburg, Bavaria, Pauline Hirschfeld, the daughter of Simon and Rachel Ausch and her husband Dr. Jacob Jacques Heinrich Hirschfeld, the son of Marie and Emanuel Isak Hirschfeld gave birth to Leo Hirschfeld who became known as Leo Feld, whose second wife was Maria Magdalena Feld.

1869: Birthdate of Boston native Rebecca Kantorowicz Aronson, the husband of Max H. Aronson and mother of Henry, Miriam, Leopold, Sidney, Dorothy, Ruth, Juliette, Lillian and Alberta Aronson

1871: During the Franco-Prussian Adolphe Crémieux, a leading member of the French Jewish community, along with several of his parliamentary colleagues, resigned their positions in the government France

1872: In Bucharest, members of the diplomatic corps, united in demanding that Prince Charles von Hohenzollern who is King Carol I of Romania, provide protection for his Jewish subjects.  [The issue of Romania’s Jews would plague European affairs up to WW I.]

1877: In Berlin, gynecologist Leopold Landau and Johanna Jacoby, a member of the famous Jewish banking Jacoby family gave birth to Edmund Georg Hermann Landau the famed mathematician.

1878: Mrs. Hyam Benjamin hosted a musical evening in a Mayfair (London) drawing room.

1879(21st of Shevat, 5639): Seventy-seven year old French journalist Samuel Ustazade Silvestre de Sacy and member of the Académie française passed away today.

1880: After having been hospitalized in Odeass during a concert tour of Russia, Lublin born Jewish violinist Henryk Wieniawski was taken into the home Nadezhda von Meck who “provided him with medical attention” which was not enough to prevent his untimely death a month later in Moscow.

1881: Birthdate of German psychologist Otto Selz.  Selz’s works were suppressed by the Nazis.  According to some, Selz was a major influence on his students including Sir Karl Raimund Popper who was one of the major figures in the world of 20th century philosophy.

1881: The New York Times features a review of “Hours with the Bible: From Creation to the Patriarchs by Dr. Cunningham Geikie.

1881: It was reported today that an altercation had taken place during a Paris musical between Gaetan de Monticlin, a socially prominent Frenchman and Arthur Meyer owner of Le Gaulois. According to de Monticlin, he had been mocked in an article published in Meyer’s newspaper.  Meyer was a Catholic who was the grandson of a rabbi and who would support those who did not believe in the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus.

1882: In Moscow, Moses and Bertha (Abramovitz) Macht gave birth to Johns Hopkins trained physician, Hamilton College trained attorney and University of Maryland trained pharmacologist David Israel Macht who in addition to performing his professional duties served as President of Congregation Mishkon Israel.

1882: In New York City, Morris Spiegel and Justine Spiegel, the daughter of Rosina and Arnold Blum, Jr. gave birth to Flora Spiegel.

1882: Birthdate of composer and pianist Ignaz Friedman.

1882: Dr. John Lord delivered a lecture on “Moses” this morning at Chickering Hall to a “fashionable and cultured” audience. Lord told his audience that the moral code of Moses “is of the most importance, and rests on the fundamental principles of morality, and has been generally accepted as the basis of moral obligation.  The primary principle of this code is the sin of idolatry and the recognition of the one God who created and rules the world.”

1887: Alexander Kohut, the rabbi of Congregation Ahawath Chesed married Rebekah Bettleheim in Baltimore, MD. She was the daughter of Rabbi Albert Bettelheim.  Her marriage not only made her a wife it made her an instant wife since Kohut was a widower who had 8 children, six of whom were under the age of 13.

1891: It was reported today that the late Ellen M. Phillips has bequeathed $113,000 to various charities most of which were Jewish.  The bequests ranged from $1,000 to $15,000 “including $5,000 to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.  Ms. Phillips lived in Philadelphia, PA

1891(6th of Adar I, 5651): Parashat Terumah

1891(6th of Adar I, 5651): Thirty-two year old Arthur Lewis Raphael, the son of Henrietta and Henry Lewis Raphael and the husband of Marianna Floretta Raphael passed away today.

1892: It was reported today that a Conference of the Russian-American Hebrew Agricultural Fund Association will take place this week in New York City.

1892: As New York City deals with its latest outbreak of typhus the President of the Board of health said that to have all of the Russian-Jewish passengers who arrived on the SS Masilia  placed in quarantine on North Brother Island.  An undetermined number of the passengers have shown symptoms and this is a way of preventing the spread.  (Please note – the Jewish passengers were not singled out.  The source was thought to lie in Russia, and it so happened that all of the Russian passengers were Jewish)

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 last time today in Chicago

1894: Birthdate of Benjamin Kubelsky, better known as Jack Benny. The cry of Rochester saying, "Mr. Benny, Mr. Benny" in that gravely desperate tone was a signature of Jack Benny's humor in movies, radio and television.  Benny loved to clown around with the violin and he created the self-portrait of a "miser."  In one of his most routines, Benny is being held up at gunpoint.  When the robber says "Your money or life" Benny pauses and using his great sense of comedic timing ponders his response.  When the frustrated thief repeats his demand, Benny responds, "Wait a minute, I am trying to make my mind."  (It is a lot funnier when you heart it or see it.)  I must confess I am a fan of Jack Benny’s but I do not think I have been too lavish in my praise.  Benny passed away at the age of eighty in 1974

1895: Birthdate of philosopher and sociologist Max Horkheimer

1895: In New York City, Isaac Newton and Greta (Loeb) Seligman gave birth to Margaret Seligman who gained fame as Margaret Lewisohn after she married Sam A. Lewisohn in 1918.

1895: It was reported today that lawyer and economist Simon Sterne expressed his opposition to the Single Tax Plan and in favor of tenement improvement programs in New York City.

1895: Three days after she had passed away Isabella Lawrence, the wife of John Lawrence with whom she had had six children was buried today at the “Balls Pond Road Jewish Cemetry.”

1896 Theodor Herzl published "Der Judenstaat" which outlined his vision for a Jewish State.  For a complete copy of the text in English

1897: Grand Master M. L. Sexias presided over the opening of the annual convention of District Grand Lodge, No.1, Independent Order Free Sons of Israel which is being held at the Lexington Opera House.

1898: “Hebrew Charities Building Bill” published today described that the purposes of legislation that would incorporate The Hebrew Charities Building in New York to allow for the erection, establishment and maintenance of a building in which Jewish charitable organizations could have their headquarters. It would also allow for the building to house a public library “with a special department in Judaica.”

1899: Samuel I. Hyman the founder of S.I. Hyman and Brothers and a founder of the Central Jewish Institute today married Tillie Endel who had been serving as the secretary of the Madison Avenue Synagogue Sisterhood but who would now assume the role of mother to their daughter Norma and son George.

1901(25th of Shevat, 5661): Grodno native Heinrich Schapiro who served “as a military surgeon during the Turko-Russia War and whose career was so distinguished that “he was appointed private-docent of medicine in the imperial clinical institution for physicians  in St. Petersburg, passed away today.

1902: Herzl and Joseph Cowen arrive in Constantinople with hopes of starting negotiations to further the project of creating a Jewish homeland in Ottoman controlled in Palestine.

1902: Birthdate of Alexander Abusch, the German journalist and communist politician who survived the Holocaust and returned to work in the government of East (Communist) Germany.

1903: US Department of Commerce & Labor established. Oscar Straus was appointed Secretary of Commerce and Labor in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt and he served in the position until 1909.  Straus was the first Jew to serve as a cabinet secretary.

1904: In South Carolina, Rabbi J. J. Simenhoff officiated at the wedding of Morris Finger to Sarah Plesskin.

1904(28th of Shevat, 5664): Seventy-five year old George Lewis Lyon, the founder and the editor of The Jewish World, passed away today.

1905: It was reported today in his speech on “The Needs of Harlem Jewry” Daniel P. Hays of the Mount Sinai Lodge of the B’nai B’rith said that “what we need is schools where instruction in Judaism can be given, where children can be made acquainted with the noble lives of the men and women in Israel” because “a good Jew is necessarily a good citizen because the teachings of Judaism are founded upon morality and righteousness.”

1906: Israel Ziony, the Political Editor of the Jewish American wrote a that criticized Louis Nixon, the Tammany Hall leader, for trusting the promises of the Russians and Czar Nicholas II citing the orders that “were given to massacre Jews all over South Russia and the failure to honor the commitments to open up Manchuria which led to traders from the United States being driven out of the area.

1908: It was reported today that ‘the Czar’s sympathy with the Russian pogrom leaders was recently set forth by one of the Russians correspondents of the London Times in a dispatch summing up the anti-Jewish outrages in southern Russia” that included the Czar’s positive reaction to the Black Hundreds.

1909: “Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of the Free Synagogue spoke” tonight “in the Calvary Methodist Church, Seventh Avenue and 129th Street, under the auspices of the Peace Society, of which Andrew Carnegie is President” and said that the United States “should have no time or inclination for war, and that it had no enemy other than one she might herself create.”

1910: Herbert Samuel completed his first term of service as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the cabinet of Prime Minister Asquith. (Samuel was Jewish; Asquith wasn’t)

1910: Herbert Samuel succeeded Sydney Buxton as Post Master General in H.H. Asquith’s cabinet.  This would be the first of two times that Samuel would serve in this position.

1911(16th of Shevat): Rabbi Shalom Mordecai, author of Da’at ha-Torah, passed away

1911: In Czernowitz, Ukraine, Rabbi Avraham Mamrostein, the son of Rivka and Yehuda Leib Marmorstein and his wife Antonia Toba Marmosrstein gave birth to Bruno Marmorstein  three years before his sister Ruth Joseph was born in Chicago in February of 1914.

1912: Arizona is admitted to the Union becoming the 48th and last contiguous state to become on the United States. Jews had been a part of the Arizona landscape from its earliest territorial days.  According to Pioneer Jews, Nathan Benjamin Appel, a native of Hochstadt Germany, was an early pioneer of the Arizona Territory serving as a delegated to the First Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1863 as well as the Tucson chief of Police from 1883 to 1884.  According to the 1880 census, there were approximately 316 Jews living in such places as Tucson, Phoenix and Tombstone. William Zeckendorf and Zadock Staab opened a Tucson based mercantile operation in May of 1878.  The business had its ups and downs, finally failing in 1883 as a result of market fluctuations and competition from less expensive goods being brought in by the railroads.  As can be seen from the successful career of Michael Wormser, a native of Lorraine who settled in Arizona, Jews engaged in agriculture as well as mercantile pursuits.  By the time he died in 1898, his “agricultural kingdom” was worth $250,000, a considerable sum in those days. Samuel Barth was another of the colorful Jews who helped to settle Arizona.  He worked as a miner, pony express rider and sutler.  While trading with the Indians, he claims to have signed a treaty that “granted him title to nearly all of the northern Arizona Territory, including the Grand Canyon.”  Barth, and his brothers Nathan and Morris, founded St. Johns where they damned parts of the Little Colorado River so that they could farm and raise livestock. Jews were not adverse to risk when it came to gunfighting as can be seen by the career of Louis Ezekiels who served as the Deputy Sheriff of Pima County and Jim Levy, the Irish born gambler and gunfighter, who ironically was shot by an angry gang who caught him when he “was not packing.” These early Jews worked hard to mainitain their Jewish identity.  “Anna and I.E. Solomon, who found Solomonville in Arizona’s southeastern corner, refused to let their daughter Lillie marry a non-Jewish lawyer with whom she had fallen in love. Mother Solomon stepped in, put an end to the relationship and arranged for Lillian to marry a “Hebrew haberdasher from Globe. Anna Solomon is prime example of the Jewish matriarchs he stood shoulder to should with their husbands in establishing successful business enterprises while striving to maintain Jewish heritage and identity in the inhospitable desert of the Southwest. Two of early Arizona’s most famous Jewish citizens were Josephine Sarah Marcus who was the paramour of Wyatt Earp (because of Earp, is buried in a Jewish cemetery)  and Mike Goldwater, the merchant king whose family, in later generations would give up the faith of their fathers as can be seen by the career of Barry Goldwater.    

1913: Birthdate of Melvin Allen Israel, the native of Birmingham, Alabama who gained fame as Mel Allen, the mellow-toned sportscaster who was the voice of the New York Yankees

1913(7th of Adar I, 5673): Twenty-seven Rabbi David Carlebach passed away at Halberstadt.

1913(7th of Adar I, 5673): Financier F.L. Siegel passed away today in Denver, Colorado.

1914(18th of Shevat, 5674): Parashat Yitro

1915(30th of Shevat, 5675): Rosh Chodesh Adar

1915: While speaking today at Temple Bethel on “The Danger of Nationalism to the Jewish Religion Dr. Samuel Shulman said that his nationality is American, his religion is Jewish and he takes issue with those that the only “remedy for the process of disintegration” among the Jewish people is by returning to Palestine in an act of “re-nationalization.”

1915: “A mass meeting will be held at Congregation Shearith Bnai Israel this afternoon under the auspices of the Young Israel of Harlem to help raise funds for Jews suffering because of the war.”

1915: “Dr. J.L. Magnes, Chairman of the Jewish National Fund Bureau of the America and Louis D. Brandeis, Chairman of the Provisional Executive Committee for the General Zionist Affairs issued a statement today explaining the situation brought about by the proposed forced auctioning off at this trime of the Jewish Institute of Technology at Haifa.”

1915: According to figures compiled by the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America there are officially 143,000 Jewish communicants in the United States but that number, in keeping with Jewish custom is really only the number of heads of households and “that the total number connected with Jewish congregations is 700,000.” (Editor’s note: This figure is strange since it is estimated by some that by the start of WW I, two million Jews had come to the United States from Eastern Europe.)

1915: The correspondent for The London Daily Mail who was traveling from the front lines to Warsaw had to “bump” his “way through an endless convoy of Jews where huddled in wagons with all their furniture and worldly belongings” which “was the result of a stern order which had been issued requiring the Jews to move to a distance fifty miles from the front” because of doubts about their loyalty.

1915: It was reported today that “the Bund, the Committee of Lithuanian, Polish and Russian Jews living abroad has published an appeal to the civilized world in regard to the treatment of the Jews by the Russian government” which “begins by saying that, in spite of statements made to the contrary, the legal situation of the Jews in Russia is unchanged; they are still confined to the Ghetto and subject to all the same disabilities as before the war.”

1915: “Outlook Good For Jews” published today provided the views of banker and philanthropist Adolph Lewisohn on a post war peace conference for which “all the great Jewish organizations of American need to get together now and work out a plan for Jewish representation at the time of peace negotiations” because he believes that the United States government “will take a special interest in the question of equal rights for all Jews” regardless of where they live.

1915: Herman Bernstein, editor of The Day, announced today that a limited amount of space will be made available aboard the Vulcan to carry supplies to the suffering people living in the Holy Land.

1915: “To Take Aid To Palestine” published today described plans approved by Secretary of the Navy Daniels to ship supplies from the Jewish Relief Society for the starving residents of that region aboard the United States collier Vulcan which will be sailing to the eastern Mediterranean with coal for armored cruisers North Carolina and Tennessee.

1915 Congregation Shearith Israel abolishes family pews from its synagogue.

1915: Jules Hurert, who authored Sarah Bernhardt, a biography of the famous Jewish performer passed away.

1916: A telegram sent today from American Embassy at London to the U.S. State Department stated that the British had turned down the request to allow the shipment of whole wheat to be used for the making of unleavened bread for the upcoming holiday of Passover by Jewish agencies in the United States through neutral Holland to Jews in Germany and Austria and countries occupied by their armies because “it appears that the supply of flour at present in German is amply sufficient to furnish pure flour when required for special purposes.”

1916: It was reported today that 150,000 Jews were fighting in the British Army, 175,000 Jews were fighting in the German Army and 350,000 Jews were fighting in the Russian Army which led Republican Congressman Julius Kahn to express his belief that American Jews would rally to serve in the U.S. military as training ramped up in anticipation of possible entry into the World War.

1917:Julius Kahn, the Republican Congressman from California and a member of the House Committee on Military Affairs has expressed his confidence in his co-religionists

1917(22nd of Shevat, 5677): Lt. Henry Bloom, a solicitor who had attended Liverpool University and was the son of Isadore Bloom was killed today while serving with the Yorkshire Regiment.

1917: After Germany and the United States broke diplomatic relations German economist Moritz Julius Bonn who had been lecturing at various U.S. universities including the University of California, the University of Wisconsin and Cornell University today boarded a Danish passenger bound for Copenhagen from whence he take a ferry to Germany.
1917: Birthdate of Herbert A Hauptman, a mathematician who shared the 1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with the chemist Jerome Karle for their development of revolutionary methods for determining the structure of molecules vital to life. (As reported by William Grimes)

1918: Birthdate of Yosef A.A. (Alfredo Antonio) Ben-Jochannan an Ethiopian born American historian. “According to his own biographical sketches, Ben-Jochannan was born to a black Puerto Rican Jewish mother and an Ethiopian Jewish father who were both black.”  “Ben-Jochannan, also known as ‘Dr. Ben’, is the author of numerous books, primarily on ancient Nile Valley civilizations and their impact on Western cultures. Dr. Ben-Jochannan claims to be fluent in ‘over a half dozen languages.’ In his writings, he states that the original Jews were Black Africans from Ethiopia, while the ‘white Jews’ later adopted the Jewish faith and its customs.

1918: It was reported today that Herbert Samuel, a Jewish leader of the Liberal Party criticized the current government’s policies on a number of issues ranging from finance where there has been a forty percent increase in expenditures to the production of beer which missed the production goal by over five and half million barrels or one third of the amount promised.

1919(14th of Adar I, 5679): Purim Katan

1919: Over three hundred delegates from ten mid-western states are expected to attend the Zionist Convention that is scheduled to begin today.

1920(25th of Shevat, 5680): Parashat Mishpatim; Shabbat Shekalim

1920: It was learned today when the trials of radicals” most of whom were represented by attorney Rose Weiss, were resumed today that “red population” which had reached 515 had “dwindled  to about 100.”

1921: In New York City, the American Jewish Relief Committee met and decided to raise fourteen million dollars this year to provide relief for “Jewish war sufferers.”

1922: Birthdate of Jerome “Jerry” Fleishman who played college ball for NYU before turning pro and playing for several teams including the Philadelphia Warriors.

1922: Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent “abruptly” ended publication of article on the “Jewish Problem” that included portions of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

1922: Birthdate of New York native Jerome “Jerry” Fleishman the Erasmus Hall graduate who played guard and forward for NYU before turning pro and continuing his career with Philadelphia Sphas and the Philadelphia Warriors.

1924: In the Bronx, Dr. Benjamin Pressman, a dentist and his wife “Lena Rifkin Pressman gave birth to Gabriel Pressman who gained fame as journalist Gabe Pressman who went from print to television.” (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)

1923: According to a reported in an Arab language newspaper published in Jerusalem, “Henry Ford will visit Palestine in the near future.”

1923: Sir Herbert Samuel, the British High Commissioner told a delegation of Jews who protesting against “the profanation of the Sabbath, that in Palestine, “there would be no Blue Laws.”

1924: The first part of “Die Nielungen” a two part silent film directed by Fritz Lang, the son of Jewish mother who converted to Catholicism and raised her son in that religion was released in Germany today.

1925: According to a reported made public today, “in the last four years $7,204,439 has been spent by the Palestine Foundation Fund of constructive enterprises in rebuilding the Jewish homeland in Palestine” and “of this amount, 60 per cent., or over $4,320,000, was subscribed by American Jews.”

1926: Rabbi Nathan Krass is scheduled to speak this morning on “The Jewish Conception of Heaven and Hell” at Temple Emanu-El.

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

1926: Movie mogul William Fox today “gave $250,000 to the United Jewish Campaign” today “and accepted its New York Chairmanship.

1926: This evening at the Hotel Astor, a banquet was held in honor of Chaim Nachman Bialik, “the poet laureate of the Jewish people who arrived from Palestine last week” where it was announced that Harlem-Yorkville Section has contributed $75,000 to the Unite Palestine Appeal which has a goal of raising five million dollars.

1926: Dr. Nathan Krass officiated at the debate today between the Emanu-El League of Temple Emanu-El and the Junior League of Temple Beth-El.

1926: Dr. Stephen S. Wise is scheduled to speak this morning on “Are Jews United or Divided” at the Free Synagogue meeting in Carnegie Hall.

1926: English-born American Rabbi “Lewis Browne’s history of the Jews, which the Macmillan company brought last Spring under the title Stranger than Fiction is to be published in England by Jonathan Cape Ltd under the title of The Story of the Jews

1927: Birthdate of Jerry Wolman, the native of Shenandoah, PA who owned both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia Flyers.

1927: Mortimer L. Schiff appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. Schiff, the only son of Jacob Schiff, was a partner in Kuhn, Loeb and active leader of the Boy Scouts of America.

1928: In his comparison of the national aspirations of the Poles, Irish and Jews published today former New York State Senator Nathan Starust noted that “For several hundred years, a comparatively short time as compared with the annals of Jewry, the Poles dreamed of the re-establishment of a united Poland” – a dream which has now been realized. “For an even shorter time, the Irish people have been pleading for a government and political entity of their own” and today Ireland is an Irish State.”  Only the Jews, the people who have been waiting the longest, still have had not had their dream realized.

1929: “Nathan Straus received a cablegram today from Meir Dizengoff, Mayor of Tel Aviv and Chaim Nachmann Bialik, the famous Hebrew poet both of whom had participated in the dedication of the Nathan and Lina Straus Health and Welfare Center in Jerusalem at which John Hyanes Holmes of the Community Church of New York was one of the principal speakers.  “Following elated words regarding your high aspirations and great enterprise for the benefit of your national and the land of your forefathers in the presence of your envoy, Mr. Holmes and representatives of all creeds, the assembly expresses feeling of veneration and great love to the great man and Jew, Nathan Straus, and sends you and your wife blessings and wishes for a long and happy life.”

1929: In the Bronx, Jean (née Kress) and Harry Morozoff, an electrical engineer, gave birth to Victor Morozoff who gained fame as actor Victor “Vic” Morrow whom many remember for his portrayal of Sgt. Sanders in the WW II based television series “Combat!”

1929: It was alleged, but never proven, that the trigger men at today’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre were supplied by the Jewish dominated “Purple Gang.”

1930: In NYC, Maurice Finkelstein, the Syracuse, NY born son of Simon and Hannah Finkelstein and his wife Naomi Finkelstein gave birth to James Finkelstein.

1931: “Fifty Million Frenchmen,” the film version of the Broadway musical produced and released by Warner Brothers with a script co-written by Al Boasberg was released in the United States todayl

1934: Sixty-nine year old “French poet, writer” and convert to Catholicism, Marc-André Raffalovich and the brother of financier and economist Arthur Raffalovich, passed away today.

1934: Birthdate of Harriet Gasway.

1935(11th of Adar I, 5695): Eighty-four year old Joseph Simon, the first Jewish U.S. Senator elected from Oregon, passed away.

1936(21st of Shevat, 5696): Seventy-three year old Nathan Pinanski, the Vilna born son of Moses Pananski and the Boston philanthropist who was the founder and president of both “Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Roxbury” and “the People’s Free Loan Society, a non-sectarian charitable organization” passed away today.

1936: According to figures published today there 216 Jewish farm families in 1900 and now there are “about 100,000” while in the same period of time “total acreage owned by Jewish farmers” has from 12,019 acres to “more than 1,500,000 acres.”

1936: It was reported today “the American Jewish physicians’ committee has just contributed $25,000 toward fulfillment of a pledge of $65,000” which will go to “a fund that will build a medical center in Palestine sponsored by Hadassah.

1937(3rd of Adar, 5697): Fifty-four year old Russian born Brooklynite Louis Singer the Jewish philanthropist who was, among other things, “founder and president of the Home of Old Israel” in Manhattan, a director of the Israel Zion Hospital and President of the Mount Lebanon Cemetery” and the father of four children – Ruth, Jack, Abraham, and Bernard -- passed a way today in Miami.

1937: The New York Times featured a review of Palestine at the Crossroads by Ladislas Farago based on the journalist visit to Palestine in 1936.

1937: Today’s “Latest Books Received” list published today included Major Noah: American-Jewish Pioneer by Isaac Goldberg and a pamphlet entitled “Judah Philip Benjamin” which is part of a biographical study of Confederate leaders.

1937: “The economic and cultural distress of Jews in Poland and Germany was described” this “afternoon at a conference of representatives of 530 orthodox, conservative and reform synagogues and congregations at the Hotel Astor” where “those present pledged themselves to support the 1937 campaign of the United Palestine Appeal for $4,500,000 for the settle in Palestine of Jews from Germany, Poland and other European countries.”

1937: “Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Bavaria delivers a sermon in Munich in which he explains how the signing of the Concordat between the Vatican and Nazi Germany substantially increased Hitler's prestige around the world.”

1938: “Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’s newspaper, the Angriff today urged the Nazi regime to speed up the temp of ‘liquidating’ Jews in Germany’s economic life,” saying “that it is about time for a further decisive step to force Jewish business men to sell out.”

1938: The Palestine Post quoted the text of Colonel R. Meinertzhagen's letter to The Times of London in which he wrote that both the former British Prime Minister Lloyd George and Mr. Balfour envisaged the whole of Palestine as a future Jewish sovereign state. In Meinertzhagen's view the partition recommended by the Lord Peel Committee only complicated the issue, insofar as it had crystallized Arab opposition. The colonel called for continued Jewish determination to achieve this goal, not only for the Jews, but also in a direct British interest. 

1939: It was reported today that “I.J. Singer’s new novel East of Eden” which “like its predecessor The Brothers Ashkenazi deals with the teeming world of Polish Jews” will be published by Knopf next month.

1940: National Commander Edgar Burman and Judge Mark Sullivan gave the main addresses this evening at the installation ceremonies for Hoboken Post No. 55 of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States

1941: It was announced today that “Lieutenant Raphael de Sola, one of the yachtsmen who participated in the Dunkirk rescue operations, has been appointed Commander of Ship of the Royal Navy.” (JTA)

1941: Birthdate of Tomas Abraham who was transported from Prague to Terezin in 1941 and then to Auschwitz in 1944 where the three year old was murdered.

1941: In Amsterdam Hendrik Koot a member of the pro-Nazi NSB movement died of the wounds he sustained when and he his fellow thugs in the WA attacked the Jews who, much to their surprise, fought back.  (The Jewish “victory” would be short-lived and in the next few days over four hundred Jews would die)

1942:  Birthdate of millionaire businessman and Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.

1942(27th of Shevat): Yiddish poet Menachem Bareisha passed away

1943: In an article entitled “Visitor from Shangri-La” Theodore Strauss described the visit of veteran British actor H.B. Warner to New York where, among other things he his promoting “Hitler’s Children” an anti-Nazi film that has broken all records at the theatres in which it has been shown.  Warner said that he is using the personal appearance tour to promote his own ant-fascist views.

1943: The Soviets drove the Nazis out of Rostov-on-Don. While the city was under German control thousands of Jews were murdered including 13,000 on August 11, 1942. Immediately after the liberation, the Jews were allowed to use the former Soldier’s Synagogue with Shaia-Meier Aronovich serving as rabbi starting in 1944.  In the postwar years, the community suffered as Stalin adopted increasingly anti-Semitic policies.

1943: Birthdate of Aaron Russo, the Brooklyn native who went from working in the family undergarment business, to nightclub operator, to movie producer and director before becoming a political activist who ran for Governor of Nevada and became active in “libertarian” groups.

1944: The national board of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, yesterday cabled $100,000 to Hadassah's founder, Miss Henrietta Szold, head of the youth immigration bureau of the Jewish Agency for Palestine in Jerusalem, as its part of an international celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Youth Aliyah (immigration) movement.

1944: Birthdate of Carl Bernstein, one of the two journalists who broke the Watergate Scandal.

1945: In Detroit, former Michigan State University and Canadian Football League wide receiver and running back Abe Eliowitz married Sarah Lachman today.

1945: Birthdate of Stuart Sorrell, the London born son an electronics salesman, the Cambridge and Harvard trained advertising mogul who married Christina Falcone after divorcing Sandra Finestone with whom he had three children.

1945: Henrietta Szold, of blessed memory, was buried today at 3 pm on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  Among the attendees were representatives of the 12,000 Jewish refugees whom she helped to rescue through Youth Aliyah.  As a sign of mourning all Jewish institutions flew their flags at half-mast and all of the Jewish newspapers were published with black borders on their front page. (As reported by JTA)

1945: President Franklin Roosevelt met with Ibn Saud where they discussed the future of the Jews and settlement in Palestine.  Churchill received a full report of the meeting, but the report was kept secret from the rest of the world.  Among other things Ibn Saud expressed his total opposition to Jewish settlement in Palestine and said that Holocaust survivors should be returned to their countries of origin.  FDR expressed his essential agreement with the King’s position.

1946: “Gilda,” a film noir directed by Charles Vidor with script doctored by Ben Hecht and featuring Ludwig Donath was released in the United States today

1947: Foreign Minster Bevin “announced that he was referring the entire Palestine imbroglio to the United Nations.”

1947: In Philadelphia, Arline and Joseph Schwarzman, the owner of a dry-goods store in Philadelphia gave birth to Stephen Allen Schwarzman, the chairman and CEO of Blackstone Group, the global private equity firm.

1948: Birthdate of Slovakia native and Israeli trained “autoimmunity researcher” Yehuda Shoenfeld.

1948: “The young Oxford philosopher Isaiah Berlin who was among those Churchill asked to scrutinize the text of volume one of his memoirs” sent the former Prime Minister a proposal about changes in content with a reminder that “You did, I recollect, order me to quite candid.” Berlin praised Churchill’s handling of the “tremendous story of the Rise of Hitler.”

1948: Archbishop Conrad Gröber who opposed the Nazis passed away.

1949: Russian-born English chemist and Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, 74, was elected first president of the newly restored modern state of Israel.

1949: “The Clay Pigeon” directed by Richard Fleischer, with a screenplay by Carl Foreman was released in the United States today.

1949: In Lakewood, NJ, the former Joan Hyman and “Preston Robert Tisch, a film and television executive who also served as the United States Postmaster General” gave birth Steven Elliot Tisch who is most famous for serving as a senior executive with the Super Bowl winning New York Giants who beat the Patriots owned by co-religionist Bob Kraft.

1949 (Tu B’Shevat, 5709): The Knesset opened its first session.  Political democracy has been part of the Jewish state since before its official founding.  The Knesset is a unicameral legislature that many critics agree is quite unwieldy.  The political party system is based on proportional representation which leads to coalition governments.  Israel's critics like to forget that about ten percent of the members of the Knesset are Arabs.  During the days of the Cold War, Israel's detractors liked to point out that members of the Communist Party were elected to the Knesset.  What they forget to mention that Israel, unlike the Arab states, held free elections so of course it was the only country in the Middle East to have elected Communist officials.  It was the only country in the Middle East to have democratically elected officials of any kind.  Also, with approximately ten per cent of its members being Arabs, the Knesset also boasts the largest number of democratically elected Arab legislators in the Middle East.

1950: Birthdate of Berkley native Joel Selvin the San Francisco music critic and journalist who wrote a biography about Bert Berns, the Bronx born son of Russian Orthodox Jews.

1951: The door was opened for the elections for the second knesset when the government resigned today after the Knesset had rejected the Minister of Education and Culture's proposals on the registration of schoolchildren

1951: In Dublin, Elaine and Reuben Shatter gave birth to Irish political leader Alan Joseph Shatter

1952: Premiere of Le Plaisir, also known by its English title House of Pleasure, a French comedy-drama anthology film directed by Max Ophüls

1952: The Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood of America established the Lena and Henry J Perahia Scholarship Foundation Award as a permanent endowment

1952(18th of Shevat, 5712): Eighty-five year old Indianapolis, Indiana native Louis Paul Dessar, the CCNY and National Academy of Designed trained internationally acclaimed artist passed away today.

1952: Comedian Joey Adams marries gossip columnist Cindy Heller

1954: In “Sharp Eyes for the Multiple Things” published today, William Barrett reviews The Hedgehog and The Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy’s View of History by Isaiah Berlin.

1955: The cover of Time features Carl Jung, the one-time follower of Freud who split with his master and reportedly enjoyed an “unconventional” relationship with one of his Jewish patients.

1956(2nd of Adar, 5716): Sixty-five year old Ernest M. Ach, the son of hat maker Samuel Ach and Esther Kahn Ach, the husband Pauline W. Ach and the father of David, Roger and S. Laurence Ach passed away today.

1958: In a move to counter the newly created UAR which joined Egypt and Syria, Jordan and Iraq formed a union which created “a unified military command.” (Editor’s note – any move that created unified military commands among the Arab states posed an additional threat to Israel.  At the same time, it should be noted that much of jockeying and hostility in the Arab world came from Arab fears of the fellows and had nothing to do with Israel.)

1959(6th of Adar I, 5719): Parashat Teruman

1959(6th of Adar I, 5719): Eighty year old Simon Ackerman the tailor born in Lithuania and the founder of Chester Barrie, Ltd who was the husband of May Ackerman and the father of Estelle, Dorothy, Helen, Raymond and Myron Ackerman passed away today

1961: Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, accused the government of Morocco of bias against Jews and appealed to the Human Rights Commission of the United States to urge the Moroccan Government to stop what it termed “repressive action” including police brutality.

1962: Philanthropist Nehemiah M. Cohn, founder of the Giant Grocery Chain in Washington, D.C. stated that “Giving to those less fortunate than we are...brings us contentment and true happiness. The Talmud says that a man’s greatness is measured not by how much money he can acquire, but rather how much he can part with. Cohen’s view of philanthropy is carried on through the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation.

1964(29th of Tevet, 5724): Fifty-three year old Soviet photographer Semyon Fridlyand passed away today.

1967(4th of Adar I, 5727): Francis Benedict Hyam Goldsmith, a British Conservative Member of Parliament and luxury hotel tycoon in France and the United Kingdom, passed away. “Born Franck Adolphe Benedict Goldschmidt in 1878 in Frankfurt, Germany, he was the son of Adolphe Benedict Hayum Goldschmidt, who permanently moved to London in 1895, already a multi-millionaire, and Alice Emma Moses Merton (1835-98), daughter of Joseph Benjamin Moses aka Moses Merton. Benedict Hyum Goldshmidt who was a millionaire in his own right, moved to London in 1895. Goldsmith’s “grandfather was Benedict Hayum Salomon Goldschmidt, a  banker and consul to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, founder of the B.H. Goldschmidt Bank.” He grew up on his family's 2,500 acre country estate in Suffolk. Educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, he gained an honours degree in law and was called to Bar by the Inner Temple in 1902. In 1903 he was elected to Westminster City Council, remaining a member for four years. In 1904 he was elected a member of London County Council representing St Pancras South with W.H.H. Gastrell as municipal reformers, having defeated both George Bernard Shaw and Sir William Geary, who were standing as Progressives. From 1904 to 1910 Goldsmith was active on many committees showing great interest in education and special schooling, becoming whip of the Municipal Reform Party. He was also involved in many Jewish charities, assisting in the organizations involved in the emigration of Jews from the Russian Empire and became a member of the emigration committee of the Jewish Board of Guardians. In 1910 Goldsmith was elected Conservative M.P. for Stowmarket, close to his family home of Cavenham Park. Although remaining an M.P. until 1918, his political career was ended by anti-German hysteria during World War I. During the war he served in Gallipoli and Palestine with the Suffolk Yeomanry. After the war Goldsmith moved to France where he set up a hotel business. He married Marcelle Moullier in June 1929. Goldsmith eventually built up a portfolio of 48 hotels including the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo, the Carlton in Cannes and the Lotti in Paris. He was director of the Savoy Hotel company for many years and one of the founders of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. He was Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur.”

1968(15th of Shevat, 5728): Tu B’Shevat

1968: Footballer Mordechai "Motaleh" Spiegler led Israel to victory over Switzerland today at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv.

1969(26th of Shevat, 5729): Eighty-year old Russian born Joseph “Joe” Magidsohnn, the All-American halfback for the University of Michigan who “was the first Jewish athlete to letter at the Ann Arbor school passed away today.

1970(8th of Adar I, 5730): Seventy-three year old Dora Polsky Antin, the widow of former State Senator Benjamin Antin and “a borough chairman of the United Palestine Appeal” passed away today.

1971: After 1,597 performances the original New York production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” co-starring Bob Balaban as “Linus” closed today.

1971(19th of Shevat, 5731): Eighty-two year old Berlin born, American architect and city planner Dr. Paul Zucker passed away today.

1972(29th of Shevat, 5732): Eighty-two year old Israel Moses Sieff who “was created a life peer as Baron Seif” the British Zionist and Chairman of the Board of Marks and Spencer passed away today.

1973: U.S. premiere of “The World’s Greatest Athlete” with music by Marvin Hamlisch.

1974: Vitaly Rubin, Vladimir Galatzky. David Azbel and Ida Nudel continued their hunger strike today,

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that hundreds of Lebanese men, women and children in southern Lebanon demonstrated in an open space at the "Good Fence," an open Israeli-Lebanese crossing point, demanding that Syrian army leave the Lebanese territory.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli officials in Washington noted that US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's hardening stance and his assertion that the settlements in the occupied areas "should not exist" was a deliberate shift of US policy, arrived at only after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visited Washington and influenced US President Jimmy Carter in this direction.

1979: A revival of the musical “Whoopee!” which had starred Eddie Cantor in the original production and with lyrics by Gus Kahn opened at the ANTA playhouse.

1980(27th of Shevat, 5740): Seventy-six year old Austria born, American architect Victor David Gruen passed away today.

1982(21st of Shevat, 5742): Seventy-seven year old William Lee Wilder “the Austrian-born American screenwriter, film producer and director who was the older brother of Oscar winner William “Billy” Wilder.

1983: Manchem Begin replaced Ariel Sharon as Minister of Defense.

1983: Soviet anti-Zionist trials continue today with Simon Shnirman as the defendant.

1985: The U.S. Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism announced their decision to begin accepting women as rabbis.

1986: Six people were wounded during the bombing of a bus in Jerusalem.

1988(26th of Shevat, 5748): Composer Frederick Lowe passed away.  The Austrian native teamed with Alan Jay Lerner to create a number of hit musicals including “Brigadoon,” “Paint Your Wagon” and most famous of all, “My Fair Lady.” (As reported by Stephen Holden)

1989 ( 9th of Adar I): Ninety-one year Rabbi Sheldon Haas Blank, a professor of Bible who was a faculty member at the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion for more than 60 years, passed away at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati

1989: In  “Fossil Findings Fan Debate on Human Origins” published today, John Noble Wilford reported that “new fossil discoveries” in caves in Israel “and genetic evidence have fueled a resounding debate among anthropologists over the timing and circumstances of the last major event in human physical evolution, the emergence of the anatomically modern Homo sapiens.

1991: Today, a victim of last Saturday's missile attack on a Tel Aviv suburb -- military censors do not permit publication of his name -- held a prayer service in the yard of his damaged house. He and several friends prayed and danced with Torah scrolls as a bulldozer sat poised to push the building down. As soon as they finished singing Hatikvah, the national anthem, the bulldozer driver raised his shovel, pushed forward and leveled the remains of the house.

1992: The McCrory Corporation, the financially troubled parent of a chain of five-and-dime variety stores, said today that it would miss a debt payment and hinted that it might file for bankruptcy court protection. McCrory is part of the Riklis Family Corporation, a privately held concern headed by Meshulam Riklis, an Istanbul native who came to America from Tel Aviv in 1947. Other Riklis holdings have included the Samsonite Corporation, Elizabeth Arden, the Culligan International Company, Martha White Foods Inc. and Botany 500.

1993:Paul Rudnick’s “Jeffrey” which no major New York Theatre would touch because “it was a comedy about AIDS” completed a successful two month run at “the tiny WPA Theatre” after which it would moved to the Minetta Lane Thetare.

1996(24th of Shevat, 5756): Judith Kaplan Eisenstein, daughter of Mordechai Kaplan and the first bat mitzvah ever, passed away at the age of 86.

1997: “British singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer and film score composer Mark Knopfler, the son of a Hungarian Jewish immigrant father married British actress and writer Kitty Aldridge with whom he had two daughters.

1997: Eve Ensler, the daughter of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, who “identifies as a Nichiren Buddhist” established the first V-Day that demands “that violence against women and girls must end.”

1999: Bruce Fleisher won the American Express Invitational with a three round score of 203.

1999: The New York Times book section featured a review Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency by Al Franken.

2000: “A target date for a framework agreement on a permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians slipped by here today as contacts between the two sides remained frozen, with no signs that the impasse might be broken.”

2001(21st of Shevat, 5761): Eighty-four year old Maurice Levitas (Moishe ben Hillel) the Dublin born academic and activist who served with the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War passed away today. His daughter Ruth Levitas is the author of The Concept of Utopia and his brother Max was took part in the “Battle of Cable Street.”

2002: Palestinian terrorists destroyed an Israeli tank tonight, by “planting a mine that punched through the tank's belly, killing at least three soldiers and lightly wounding a fourth”

2003: University of California outfielder Brian Horowitz was responsible for a record-breaking RBI’s in today’s game. (Editor’s note – Brian Horowitz, the Golden Bear’s outfielder is not to be confused with Professor Brian Horowitz, the distinguished author and member of the Tulane University faculty)

2003: “Daredevil” a film based on characters created by Stan Lee and co-produced by Avi Arad was released in the United States today.

2003: “The Hours” a movie version of the novel of the same name produced by Scott Rudin with music Philip Glass was released in the United Kingdom today.

2004: On his 61st birthday, Aaron “Russo gave his full endorsement to the Free State Project, saying in his letter, ‘I encourage my fellow Libertarians and all freedom-loving Americans to consider joining the Free State Project.’”

2005: Effi Eitam was suspended from the party chairmanship by the National Religious Party's internal court, after he left the government against the center decision. The suspension caused Eitiam and Yitzhak Levi to leave the party.

2005(5th of Adar I, 5765): Seventy nine year old Henry Wolf passed away. (As reported by Steven Heller – note that the Times originally and incorrectly reported that he was 80)

2005: The Taipei Times features an article in which Taiwan’s only rabbi, Ephraim Einhorn, recounts the history of Taiwan’s small Jewish community that has existed since the 1950’s and its links to the Holocaust.

2006: Indian Jewish cricketer Bensiyon Sonavkar played for Saurashtra in the match again Maharashtra .

2006(16th of Shevat, 5766): Eighty three year old Shoshana Damari, whose unique throaty voice and larger-than-life performances embodied the Hebrew revival myth, passed away today after a short bout with pneumonia. (As reported by Steven Erlanger)

2007: Haaretz featured an article on the state of the Jewish community entitled “Las Vegas: Lots of Jews, not much Judaism.”  According to a comprehensive study released recently by Dr. Ira Sheskin, of the University of Miami, Las Vegas is now home to the country's 23rd-largest Jewish community. His research found that the Jews of Las Vegas are less observant and less connected to Judaism than the vast majority of U.S. Jews. Only 50 percent report attending a Passover Seder, only 14 percent report belonging to a synagogue and only a minority light Shabbat or Hanukkah candles or keep kosher. The one category where the Jews of Las Vegas do excel is intermarriage, with 48 percent of all currently married Jewish respondent/spouse couples being mixed.  On the positive side, La Vegas does not lack for wealthy Jews willing to support Jewish causes.  After all, Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas, one of the richest men in the country, underwrote Sheskin's study and is a major philanthropist in the Jewish arena.

2007: Gabi Ashkenazi received the rank of Lieutenant General and was appointed Chief of the General Staff.

2008: The 12th New York Sephardic Jewish Festival comes to an end with a showing of “Nuba of Gold and Light.”

2008: In The Financial Express, an article entitled “Guitar in Tow, Rabbi Set to Spread Jewish Traditions in Poland,” describes the work of Rabbi Tanya Segal..

2009: Ninety year old publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Jr. the only child of Alfred A. Knopf Sr. and Blanche Wolf passed away today. (As reported by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt)

2009: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a one-of-a-kind, award-winning exhibit of hundreds of pieces of World War II era mail and documents related to the Nazi’s attempted extermination of Jews and others will be publicly displayed at Coe College in the Perrine Gallery of Stewart Memorial Library.  The collection is owned by the Deerfield, Illinois-based Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation, which acquired the extraordinary items to preserve and offer them for public use at Holocaust and genocide educational venues around the world.  According to a press release, “The insured value of the collection is $1 million, but the educational value to future generations is incalculable,” said Daniel Spungen, a member of the board of the Spungen Family Foundation. “One of the most heartbreaking artifacts and historical evidence of Nazi desecration is a torn fragment of a hand-written Hebrew parchment from a Bible scroll (Tanakh).  A German soldier used the holy scripture to wrap a parcel he mailed from Russia to Austria in 1942,” explained Spungen.  “The sacred parchment was pillaged from a Russian synagogue.  Ironically, the portion that was used as wrapping paper has passages from the first book of Samuel about the story of David and Goliath.” George J. Kramer, chairman of the New York-based Philatelic Foundation, described the scroll fragment as “one of the most important items of Judaic postal history.” This is only the third public exhibition since the acquisition of the historic items from a private collector was formally announced by the Spungen charitable foundation last September.  Steve Feller, past President of Temple Judah, a Coe professor of physics and co-author of the book, “Silent Witness: Civilian Camp Money of World War II,” will present an educational program about Holocaust-related money in conjunction with the exhibit of the collection. The postal artifacts in the collection are evidence of the torments, ravages and terror of war and genocide in Europe from 1933 to 1945.  They also show that many prisoners never lost hope, and the human spirit survived.  “We will be giving educational institutions and museums around the world the opportunity to use the exhibit materials for displays, lectures and research,” said Florence Spungen, Founder of the Foundation.  “This is a permanent educational tool for all generations to document this important period of time that cannot be forgotten.” The Holocaust exhibit was acquired intact from noted researcher, writer and collector, Ken Lawrence, of Bellefonte, Pa., a former vice president of the American Philatelic Society, who began assembling the material in 1978. Including items contributed by Spungen, the foundation now will be the guardian of the more than 250 envelopes, post cards, letters, and specially-designated postage stamps used exclusively by concentration camp inmates, Jewish ghetto residents and prisoners of war.  In addition, the collection includes counterfeit Bank of England paper money created by slave laborers during “Operation Bernhard,” the Nazis’ failed plot to undermine England’s economy and the subject of the recent motion picture, "The Counterfeiters."Frequently exhibited by Lawrence, the display won awards and medals at stamp shows including an international exhibition in Washington, D.C. in 2006. “The scroll page that was used for mailing a parcel is the most viscerally disturbing item.  Some scholars have told me it is among the most important surviving evidence of Nazi desecration,” said Lawrence.  “Chronic, flagrant desecration exemplified by violating that sacred scripture imbued the cultured German nation and historically honor-bound German army with an inhuman attitude toward Jews that made the Holocaust both possible, and given the opportunity, inevitable.” Some of the ghetto and concentration camp letters have coded or hidden messages about the plight of the senders.  Research about the postal materials has led to discovery of a previously unreported undercover address in Lisbon, Portugal, used by Jewish resistance fighters, and the location of two camps in Romania for slave laborers and political detainees. In addition to the Bible scroll fragment used to wrapping a package, the collection includes:

·         Rare examples of mail sent to prisoners and mail sent between inmates at different camps;

·         A card sent by an inmate at Dachau soon after it opened in 1933 is the earliest known prisoner mail from any Nazi concentration camp;

·         An October 3, 1943 letter to his parents in Rzeszów, Poland from Eduard Pys, a 21-year-old who arrived on the first transport at the Auschwitz concentration camp in May 1940;

·         The only known surviving piece of mail sent by Rabbi Leo Baeck, the leader of German Jewry (Reichsvertretung der Deutschen Juden), while he was confined to the Theresienstadt ghetto;

·         A postal checking account receipt imprinted with a crude anti-Semitic caricature denoting payment for a subscription to a Nazi propaganda newspaper, Der Stűrmer;

·         Mail secretly carried by children through the sewers of Warsaw during the 1944 uprising;

·         Mail clandestinely carried from Nazi-occupied Poland to the exhibit Polish Navy headquarters in London and to a Jewish resistance leader in Switzerland; and,

·         A December 1945 postal card addressed to Dr. Eugen von Haagen, a Nazi war criminal on trial after the war at Nuremberg, that is the only recorded example of the censor mark of the International Military Tribunal.

Arrangements are being worked out for the entire collection to be housed at the new facilities of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center that will open in April in Skokie, Ill. “We are genuinely excited about the prospect of being the central repository for this remarkable collection,” said Richard Hirschhaut, Executive Director of the museum.  The Florence and Laurence Spungen Family Foundation was established in 2006 to support charitable and educational causes.  Many of the historic artifacts now can be viewed online at the foundation’s Web site,

2009: In Baltimore, Theatre Hopkins’ production of Lisa Kron’s innovative comedy “Well”,appears at JHU’s Swirnow Theatre on the Homewood campus.

2010(30 Shevat, 5770): Rosh Chodesh Adar

2010: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Capitalism and the Jews byJerry Z. Muller and the recently released paperback edition of We Can Have Peace In the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work by Jimmy Carter.

2010: Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said todat that the Chabad house in Pune had been under surveillance by David Headley, an American of Pakistani descent in prison in Chicago for allegedly scouting out targets for the Mumbai attack. Pune was the sight of a bombing on Saturday night..

2010: A third of the children in Israel live below the poverty line, according to data published by the National Insurance Institute today.

2010: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Military, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, is scheduled to arrive in Israel today as part of a tour of the region. Admiral Mullen will be hosted by IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who will hold a festive dinner in his honor later tonight.

2010: The Counter-Terrorism Bureau of the National Security Council published a travel warning advising Israeli citizens against visiting Sinai during Pessah.

2011: “Hidden Children,” a movie “based on true events” that tells “the gripping story of two young Jewish brothers sheltered by a devout Catholic woman in Nazi occupied France, setting the stage for a political and legal battle that made headlines across the country” is scheduled to be shown at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

2011: A documentary entitled “Over 90 and Loving It” is scheduled to be shown at the 21st Annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

2011: The official transition ceremony between 19th General Gabi Ashkenazi the Israel Defense Forces' 19th chief of staff and Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, the Israel Defense Forces' 20th chief of staff is scheduled to be held this morning at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem. The farewell ceremony for Ashkenazi is scheduled to be held at Tel Aviv University.

2011: A former Hungarian military officer has been charged with war crimes in the 1942 slaughter of 1,200 civilians in Serbia, prosecutors said today. The charges against Sandor Kepiro, 96, stem from his alleged participation in a raid by Hungarian forces on the northern Serbian town of Novi Sad in January 1942 that left more than 1,200 civilians dead, the Budapest Investigating Prosecutor's Office said.

2012: “Mahler on the Couch” is scheduled to be shown at the Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival in Palm Beach, FL.

2012: Shachiv Shnaan, an Israeli-Druze political leader “returned to the Knesset today as a replacement for Matan Vilani.

2012: “Restoration” is scheduled to be shown at The Yeshiva University Ring Family Israel Film Festival in NYC.

2012: Likud Party officials said today that it expects to hold its first party convention in over a decade on March 22nd.

2012: Congress is set to significantly increase funding for Israeli missile defense to more than make up for White House cuts to the program, Capitol Hill sources told The Jerusalem Post today. 

2013: In London, The Wiener Library is scheduled to host a presentation entitled “A Personal Story of the Holocaust” by Agnes Grunwald Spier who “was a baby when she and her mother were saved from deportation to Auschwitz by an unknown official.”  She is the author of The Other Schindlers’

2013: In honor of Valentine’s Day, UK Jewish Film is scheduled to sponsor a screening of “Paris Manhattan.”

2013: Businessman and former Ambassador to Finland Earl “Mack testified in front of the House Committee on Ways and Means Hearing on Tax Reform and Charitable Deductions in support of charitable deductions.”

2013: “It was announced that Martin Mann had been developing an untitled thriller film with another screenwriter for over a year, for Legendary Pictures.”

2013(4th of Adar, 5773): Eighty-one year old legal scholar Ronald Dworkin passed away today (As reported by Adam Liptak)

2013: Eighty-nine year old Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey announced today that he will not seek a sixth term.

2014: “Focus on the Family Weekend” sponsored by Frum Divorce is scheduled to open at White Plains, NY.

2014: “Commie Camp” is scheduled to be shown at the Jewish Film Festival in San Diego, CA.

2014: The Jewish Museum is scheduled to offer guided tours of “Art Spiegelman’s Co-Mix: A Retrospective” which celebrates the career of one of the most influential living comic artists, best known for Maus, his Pulitzer prize-winning graphic novel about his parents' survival of the Holocaust

2014: Friends and family prepare to celebrate the 80th birthday of Harriet Gasway, wife of Bill Gasway, and a pillar of the Cedar Rapids Jewish community.

2014: In today’s edition of Yedioth Ahronoth, Cameron Kerry, Secretary of State John Kerry’s Jewish brother recalled relatives who died in the Holocaust and labeled as “vile” recent personal attacks on the US secretary of state.

2014: Alexei Bychenko made took part in the final round of competition in the men’s figure skating at Sochi. (As reported by Yoel Goldman)

2014: After an Israeli passenger found a grenade safety catch aboard his plane at Ben Gurion Airport, all of the passengers aboard a Ukrainian International Airlines plane were evacuated along with their own baggage.  (As reported by Tova Dvorin)

2014: Residents of southern Israel were subject to two separate rocket attacks this evening.

2014: As the world prepares to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, consider the following for the Jewish twist on a holiday connected with the three “c’s” – Cupid, Chocolate and Carats (as in diamonds)

2015: The Eden-Tamir Music Center is scheduled to host a piano recital by Ran Zemach.

2015: As of today a total of at least thirty homes in Madison, Wisconsin have been spray-painted with “anti-Semitic and racial slurs and swastikas” including a property that belonged “to Jim Stein, the president of the Jewish Federation of Madison, Wisconsin.”

2015(25th of Shevat, 5775): Shabbat Shekalim

2015: Following Shabbat, three people were shot tonight at a Copenhagen Synagogue.

2015(25th of Shevat, 5775): Eighty-seven year old poet Philip Levine passed away today. (As reported by Margalit Fox)

2016: Benjamin Taylor author of Proust is scheduled to lecture on this topic at the 91nd St. Y.

2016: Today, the Boston Globe reported that “Eric Silverman and Gail Dines” “two Jewish professors at Wheelock College” have filed complaints with the USEEOC alleging discrimination based on religion.

2016: Masterpieces & Curiosities: Alfred Stieglitz’s The Steerage is scheduled to close at the Jewish Museum.

2016: “Remember” and “Sabena Hijacking: My Version” are scheduled to shown on the last day of the 26th annual San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

2016: The New York Times features books by Jewish author and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates and Jakob’s Colors by Lindsay Hawdon

 2016: Valentine’s Day – Yes, with all of the problems in the world there are those who seriously debate whether Jews are violating their religion if they participate in this debate!

2016: The funeral for General Avigdor Ben-Gal whose bravery and leadership in facing the Syrians during the Yom Kippur was a key to victory is scheduled to take place this afternoon at the Kiryat Shaul Military Cemetery in Tel Aviv.

2016: In the United Kingdom, The Guardian reported today that ‘Warsaw’s nationalist has moved to strip” “Jan Tomasz Gross, a Polish-born Princeton University History”  and “a leading Jewish Holocaust scholar” of the Order of the Merit of the Republic Poland “for asserting Poland was in part responsible for Nazi war crimes against its Jewish population during World War II.”

2017(18th of Shevat, 5777): Yahrzeit of 36 year old Judith Resnik, who died along with her six fellow crew members when the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated.

2017: “Fanny’s Journey” and “Fever at Dawn are scheduled to be shown at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

2017: Rabbi Barry Schwartz is scheduled to “present an in-depth profile” of the story of “Adam and Eve” as part of the “The Bible: The Greatest Stories Ever Told” at the Streicker Center.

2017: The world premiere of “pieces by Israeli composers Dina Pruzhansky and Moshe Kroll is scheduled to take place as Symphony Space in NYC.

2017: David Shulkin began serving as the 9th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

2018: In Charlottesville, the Brody Center at the University of Virginia is scheduled to host “Bagels On the Lawn.”

2018: “White House officials insisted today that the recommendation of bribery and fraud charges against Prime Minister Netanyahu would have ‘no impact on the time or content’ of a peace plan,” but President Trump has not rallied publicly to the Israeli leader’s defense and veterans of Middle East diplomacy said his troubles could pose an unpredictable new obstacle to Mr. Trump’s peacemaking efforts.” (As reported by Mark Landler)

2018: Dr. Avivah Zornberg is scheduled to lead “Miriam and Moses: Sing now! To God” in which she examines how “the tale of Moses’ sister offers an intimate glimpse in the tension” that exists between siblings.

2018: “Future 38” and “Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait” are scheduled to be shown at the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

2018: “Romance and Reason” in which “The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in partnership with the National Library of Israel will explore these shared ideas and transmutations of imagery as expressed through Islamic manuscripts from the 11th through 18th centuries, a particularly rich and fertile period for these works” is scheduled to open today.

2019: The American Jewish Historical Society is scheduled to host “Music in our Time 2019 during which “the combined choirs of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Jewish Theological Seminary present an array of exciting Jewish choral music from noted composers of the 20th century (including some important birthday anniversaries) and their 21st-century colleagues.”

2019: The Oxford University Jewish Society is scheduled to host a “Diane and Discuss Valentine’s Day special….with Gila Fine” who will discuss “Talmudic Heroines: The Tragedy of Heturta, the Madonna who Became a Whore.”

2019: “Archivist for YIVO and a klezmer musician, French violonist Eleonore Biezunski who has been exploring Yiddish traditions of old and new for quite some time now” is scheduled to perform “Yiddish Love Songs from the Ruth Rubin Collection” at The Town and Village Synagogue in Social Hall.

2019: As we observe the first anniversary of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, we remember the seventeen victims including the five Jewish victims, Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, Jaime Guttenberg, 14, Meadow Pollock, 18, and Alex Schachter, 14, as well as geography teacher Scott Beigel, 35.”  (Editor’s note:  Unlike when they talk about things like Nobel Prize winners or Supreme Court Justices, nobody is talking about the disproportionate number Jews whose lives were cut short by the blast of bullets from a gun.)

2019: Observance of Valentine’s Day which some might say is the non-Jewish version of Tu B’Av which this year is observed on August 15.

2019: The observance of Valentine’s Day is a special day of love for Sue and Ronald Reider, pillars of the Cedar Rapids Jewish community as they celebrate the birthday of their granddaughter Maya Rose.

2019: The friends and family, including many in the Cedar Rapids Jewish community are posed to celebrate today the 85th anniversary of the birth of Harriet Gasway.

2020: As people prepare to share flowers and candy on St. Valentine’s Day, Jews also remember the massacre on St. Valentine’s Day, 1439.

2020: In Cambridge, MA, Club Passim is scheduled to host a “special Valentine’s Day concert” featuring Cambridge-based folk music duo Sophie Michaux and Adam Jacob Simon (Sophie et Adam)” as they “share folk tunes from England, Romania, Argentina and the U.S., as well as Yiddish songs and originals by Adam Simon.”

2020: In Israel, The Jerusalem Theatre is offering a special “couple’s coupon” in honor of Valentine’s Day for the shows “Rega, Rega – the songs of Sasha Argov” and “Mania – A legend in her lifetime”.

2020: In Cedar Rapids, members of the Jewish community are scheduled to celebrate birthdays and/or the anniversary of birthdate including Maya Rose, the granddaughter of Sue and Ron Reider and Harriet Gasway.

2020: On the second anniversary of the tragedy, we'd like to remember all 17 victims of the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, including the four Jewish students and one Jewish teacher.
May their memories be a blessing.
Jamie Guttenberg
Alyssa Alhadeff
Meadow Pollack
Alex Schachter
Scott Biegel, Geography teacher





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