Wednesday, August 16, 2017

This Day, August 17, In Jewish History by Mitchell A. Levin


August 17

986: During the days of the First Bulgarian Empire, the army of Emperor Samuil of Bulgaria and his brother defeat the Byzantines led by Basil II.  The Bulgarian Empire had provided a haven for Jews escaping from the Byzantine Army so the Bulgarian victory was good news for the Jews. 

1236: Pope Gregory IX issued a list of charges against Emperor Frederick II that included a reference to “the matter of Jewish communities of which certain churches were deprived.” (This would appear to be a clash over who “owned the Jews” which would determine who could tax them)

1592: The pope prohibited Jews from admitting Christians into their synagogues.

1655: In a patent dated today, Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, a Portuguese-Jewish merchant, and his two sons were granted citizenship as English subjects.  This made them the first naturalized English Jews.

1655: Portuguese born merchant Antonio Fernandez Carvajal and his sons were officially granted denizhenship as English subjects. (As reported by Joseph Jacobs)   Official granting of citizenship of Jews is one that would be debated in England for the next two centuries

1665: The small colony of Surinam recently occupied by the English gave full rights to the Jews (mostly Spanish and Portuguese refugees) to practice Judaism and run their own affairs. This remarkably liberal charter was transferred over to the Dutch when they conquered the colony. They used it as a means of encouraging the Jews to remain.

1629: Birthdate of King John III of Poland.  King John ruled from 1674 until his death in 1696. He ruled in a period when Poland was disintegrating under rebellions from the Ukraine and attacks from Sweden. Like previous Polish monarchs, King John was reasonably well disposed towards his Jewish subjects since he saw them as a valuable economic asset.  But as Poland drifted into chaos his views were increasingly unpopular among the nobles and the Catholic clergy. Denizenship confirmed a limited amount of English rights on foreign born residence.

1692: Jews were forbidden by law to work as peddlers in Berlin.

1740: Beginning of the Papacy of Benedict XIV who authored “Singulari noblis consoldtioni on the topic Christians and Jews Marrying”, Probe te meminesse which set “down the rules for baptizing Jewish children,” Elapso proxime anno which dealt with Jewish heresy despite the fact that “a heretic had to be a Christian to commit the sin” and Beatus Adreas which gave credence to a three hundred year old blood libel involving Andreas Von Rinn.

1762: The Council of 4 Countries (semi-autonomous congress of Polish Jewry) met for the last time. It functioned for almost 200 years before the Polish government ordered its dissolution.

1786: Frederick II (The Great) who had enough problems with Jews living in Prussia but did exploit them for financial gain passed away today.He did keep them at “arm’s length” as can been seen when he overturned the vote that would have admitted Moses Mendelssohn to the Berlin of Academy of Science. After the partition of Poland, he inherited a Jewish population that was too impoverished to offer him gain.  While he found it impractical to expel them from their Polish homes, he would not allow them to move into Prussia, effectively quarantining these “beggar Jews.”  In 1780, he wrote of the Jews that they were “‘usurious vermin who multiply so infamously.’”

Frederick followed in the footsteps by retaining Veitel-Heine Ephraim as court jeweler and mint master. Born in 1703, he was charged by sum of debasing the country’s currency.  Any truth to that charge was covered up when Frederick ordered an end to any investigations into the matter.  He married Elke Fraenkel which made him the brother-in-law of David Frankel, who was elected rabbi of Berlin in 1743.  

1787: The Jews of Budapest, Hungary, received permission from the government to conduct religious services in private homes provided no rabbi officiated.

1790: Julia Asher, a native of London and Raphael Raphael gave birth to Samuel Raphael who died in Amsterdam in 1844.

1790:  President George Washington visits Newport, Rhode Island, where he is given “the address of the ‘Hebrew Congregation of Newport’” that expressed their appreciation for the rights and liberties that the Jews enjoyed in the United States.  It was in response to this document, that Washington wrote his famous reply guaranteeing the Jews religious liberty and promising them that they would be able to sit under their own vine and fig tree and none would make them afraid.

1790: Moses Seixas, the warden of Congregation Kahal Kadosh Yeshuat Israel, better known as the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, penned an epistle to George Washington, welcoming the newly elected first president of the United States on his visit to that city. Newport had suffered greatly during the Revolutionary War. Invaded and occupied by the British and blockaded by the American navy, hundreds of residents fled, and many of those who remained were Tories. After the British defeat, the Tories fled in turn. Newport’s nineteenth-century economy never recovered from these interruptions and dislocations. Washington’s visit to Newport was largely ceremonial—part of a goodwill tour Washington was making on behalf of the new national government created by the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. Newport had historically been a good home to its Jewish residents, who numbered approximately 300 at the time of Washington’s visit. The Newport Christian community’s acceptance of Jewish worship was exemplary, although individual Jews such as Aaron Lopez and Isaac Elizer were unable to obtain full political equality as citizens of Rhode Island. The Jews of Newport looked to the new national government, and particularly to the enlightened president of the United States, to remove the last of the barriers to religious liberty and civil equality confronting American Jewry. Moses Seixas’s letter on behalf of the congregation – he described them as “the children of the Stock of Abraham” – expressed the Jewish community’s esteem for President Washington and joined “with our fellow citizens in welcoming [him] to New Port.” The congregation expressed its pleasure that the God of Israel, who had protected King David, had also protected General Washington, and that the same spirit which resided in the bosom of Daniel and allowed him to govern over the “Babylonish Empire” now rested upon Washington. While the rest of world Jewry lived under the rule of monarchs, potentates and despots, as American citizens the members of the congregation were part of a great experiment: a government “erected by the Majesty of the People,” to which they could look to ensure their “invaluable rights as free citizens.” Seixas expressed his vision of an American government in words that have become a part of the national lexicon. He beheld in the United States “a Government which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance—but generously affording to All liberty of conscience, and immunities of citizenship: - deeming every one, of whatever nation, tongue or language equal parts of the great Governmental Machine: – This so ample and extensive federal union whose basis is Philanthropy, mutual confidence, and public virtue, we cannot but acknowledge to be the work of the Great God, who ruleth the Armies of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth, doing whatsoever seemeth [to Him] good.” Seixas closed his letter to the president by asking God to send the “Angel who conducted our forefathers through the wilderness into the promised land [to] conduct [Washington] through all the difficulties and dangers of this mortal life.” He told Washington of his hope that “when like Joshua full of days, and full of honour, you are gathered to your Fathers, may you be admitted into the Heavenly Paradise to partake of the water of life, and the tree of immortality.”

Not surprisingly, it is Washington’s response, rather than Seixas’s epistle, which is best remembered and most frequently reprinted. Washington began by thanking the congregation for its good wishes and rejoicing that the days of hardship caused by the war were replaced by days of prosperity. Washington’s concluding paragraph perfectly expresses the ideal relationship among the government, its individual citizens and religious groups:

“May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.”

Washington’s letter, a foundation stone of American religious liberty and the principle of separation between church and state, is signed, simply, “G. Washington.” Each year, Newport’s Congregation Kahal Kadosh Yeshuat Israel, now known as the Touro Synagogue, re-reads Washington’s letter in a public ceremony.

1791: Birthdate of Richard Lalor Sheil the Irish politician, writer and orator who spoke out in favor of allowing Jews to sit in Parliament.

1807: Robert Fulton's first American steamboat, the Clermont left New York City for Albany, New York on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world. The copper for the boilers in the Clermont, and many of Fulton’s other ships was supplied a Sephardic Jew named Harmon Hendricks.

1814: Barnett Levy married Bluma Phillips today at the Hambro Synagogue.

1815: In Bavaria, Moses and Brunhilda Morgenthau gave birth to Lazarus Morgenthau.

1825: Shumel ben Isaac married Sheina bat Joseph at the New Synagogue today.

1842: Emanuel Lion married Rosetta Medex at the Great Synagogue today.

1848: Morris Solomons married Caroline Abrahams at the Great Synagogue today.

1859: Aaron Abecasis married Esther Brandon at the Bevis Marks Synagogue today.

1859: Joseph Nordon married Rachel Levin today at the Western Synagogue today.

1856: In California, Strasburg native Charles August Lauff, “the youngest child of Jacob and Caroline Ashelmann Lauff and his wife, Mrs. Maria J. Sebran gave birth to their oldest child, Joseph L. Lauff.

1861: Congressional Medal of Honor Winner Abraham Greenawalt and Jane Greenawalt gave birth to Anna Greenawalt, the sister of Harry Greenawalt.

1863: During the Civil War, Isaac Hyneman, was permanently assigned to the United States Signal Corps.  During the next three years he would see combat in such memorable battles as Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and the Wilderness Campaign before being at Appomattox Court House where the war ended.

1871:  A dispatch datelined Berlin reported that cases of cholera in Suwalki, Poland which has a population of 60,000 half of whom are Jews are decreasing. 

1872: “The Tribune and the Hebrew Voters” published today reported that the New York Tribune, the newspaper owned by Presidential candidate Horace Greeley, is making “frantic”, “clumsy” attempts to overcome the impact of anti-Semitic story told by James Mitchell Ashley, the former governor of Montana at public meeting with Mr. Greely sitting at his elbow.

1873: In New York, David Lewis Einstein and Caroline Einstein gave birth to Florence Einstein who became Florence Walston when she married Sir Charles Walston.

1875: Baron George de Worms and Louisa de Samuel gave birth to their third child and only daughter Henrietta Emmy Louisa Amelia de Worms.

1878:  A Modern Hebrew Poet: the Life and Writings of Moses Chaim Luzzato by A.S. Isaacs was reviewed today in a column styled “A Jewish Singer.” Luzatto was an Italian Rabbi known as the RaMCHal.

1879: In Warsaw, Aaron David Gelbfisz, a peddler, and his wife, Hannah Reban (née Jarecka) gave birth to Szmuel Gelbfisz (Samuel Goldfish) who gained family as movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn.

1879: It was reported today that all places of business in White Plains, NY, were closed last Sunday as result of the conviction of a Jew named Adolphe D. Pollock for having previously kept his business open on Sunday.  Barber shops were the only business exempted from the closing ordinance.

1879: An editorial that originally appeared in the Jewish Messenger which was reprinted today said there was something wrong with the laws in White Plains if the government could not find a way to punish Jews who violate “their own and the general Sabbath by transacting business.”  The Messenger has “no sympathy for the hypocrite and money grabber who breaks his own Sabbath, yet claims the privilege of selling goods on Sunday because…he is a Jew.”  On the other hand, there should be some kind of allowance made for the Jew who closes his business on Saturday that would allow him to conduct business on Sunday as long as he “is not conspicuous.

1880: “The Turk and the Greek” published today examined the current conditions in the Balkans including French Prime Minister Michael Waddington’s decision to champion the cause of the Rumanian Jews at the Congress of Berlin despite the counsel from “a few intelligent Jewish politicians” for France to abstain from involvement in “matters in no way affecting French interests.”

1881: It was reported today that the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society is planning to host another excursion for the poor children of the Lower East Side.

1882: It was reported today that Samuel Obreight has been declared sane by the state Supreme Court.  Obreight’s family had had him declared insane and institutionalized because he had married a Christian girl. The judge ruled that the family’s “wounded sectarian pride” should not be the basis for such a charge. The judge said that the marriage was one of the outcomes of the religious liberty enjoyed in this country since the Revolution.

1883: Nathan Gottgetren, alias Nicholas Gilbert, a 35 year old Jew was brought back to New York by two detectives from Putnam County. A married man and confidential bookkeeper, he has been arrested on charges of forgery.

1883: This afternoon, the members of Shaarai Berocho (Gates of Blessing) dedicated their new facility located on East 45th Street in New York.  The congregation was founded in 1858 under the leadership of Rabbi Elias Epstein.

1883: It was reported today that the Jewish World of London has announced “that Count Tolstoi, the Russian Minister of the Interior, has ordered the enforcement of the decree forbidding Jewish manufacturers from employing Christian workmen.”

1883: It was reported today that “a British Jew, representing Raphael Tuck & Sons,” a London business firm has been expelled from Russia despite having a “proper British passport.”

1884: It was reported today that a mobbed attacked seven Jews were killed and an untold number injured by a mob at Dombrovitz, Russia.

1885: It was reported today that G.A. Heap, the U.S. Consul General in Constantinople has sent a second, more strongly worded protest to the Turkish government  protesting the expulsion of Americans from Jerusalem because they were Jews.  Heap pointed out that the expulsions are in violation of a treaty between the two nations and that he is referring the matter to Washington.

1885: The Book of Psalms translated from the Hebrew and edited by John G. Lansing is among the tomes appearing on today’s “New Books” list

1885: It was reported today that Rabbi Ash will continue serving as the Rabbi of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol after its move into new facility on Norfolk Street. Ash had urged the congregation to buy the building from the Methodists at a cost of $45,000 and to spend the $10,000 necessary to prepare the inside for use by the Jews.

1885: In a speech given to a Jewish literary society whose members were 16, 17 and 18 year old Jewish boys, it was reported that G.A. Ettinger that the recently deceased Sir Moses Montefiore had sought “to free his people from the shackles of prejudice and the evils of persecution” while the recently deceased General U.S. Grant (and former President of the U.S.) had “labored to free 4,000,000 human beings from the shackles of slavery.” As if to dispel any charges past, present or future that Grant was an anti-Semite, a bevy of speakers including Julius Levy, Eugene N. Levy and William Grossman, echoed Ettinger’s sentiments about the recently deceased Giant of Judaism and the General who had saved the Union.

1886: “The Jews of Italy” using information that has appeared in the Lunario Israelitico of Leghorn and the London Times provides a snapshot of Jewish society in the middle of the 19th century.  There are approximately 45,000 Jews living in the country which means they comprise about 1 per cent of Europe’s Jewish population.  Rome has the largest Jewish population – 5,600.  Mantua now has the leading rabbinical school while Padua is home “to the greatest Hebrew scholar in Italy, Rabbi Ende Lolli…)

1887: It was reported today that Jonas Heller, who passed away in March, bequeathed gifts of $2,500 to Mount Sinai, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the United Hebrew Charities, the Montefiore Home for Chronic Invalids and the Hebrew Technical Institute. (The list of recipients provides a snapshot of major Jewish institutions in post-Civil War New York City)

1887: “Julius Weisbaden, a miser and monomaniac, was found dying in his room” today “and was taken to Bellevue Hospital”

1887: Temple Emanuel contributed $264 to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

1888: In a case of Jew versus Jew, Samuel Gompers has testified before Congressman Ford’s Immigration Committee.  Gompers, an English born Jew who professed his loyalty to his adopted country said that the “importation” of Polish and Russian Jews had depressed the wages of cigar-makers.  Gompers said that he had no problem with Jews being brought to the United States for humanitarian reasons but he did have a problem with the current process which was designed to depress wages.  Gompers then went on to decry the conditions in the cigar industry where all workers, regardless of their origins, were exploited by the owners. (The latter information was surely not well received by Congressman Ford)

1890: It was reported today that “Michael Gernsheim & Co, the bankers, have made a new move in their fight against an assessment on the stockholders under the reorganization scheme of the Houston and Texas Central Railway Company.”

1890: Birthdate of bacteriologist Harry Plotz who was a leading physician in the fight against typhus.

1890: “King of the British Gypsies” published today included information on the origins of the gypsies who, according to some, were “the mixed multitude” that went out of Egypt during the Exodus. According to Ernst Hengstenberg since there is no mention of them during the wanderings in the wilderness or after the entrance into Canaan they must have left the Israelites shortly after the crossing at the Sea of Reeds.

1890: Dr. Bernard Drachman is scheduled to deliver a lecture on “Judaism and Ethics” at Cooper Union which is the seventh in a series of public lectures sponsored by the Jewish Theological Seminary.

1890: “Precious Stones” published today compared the “frequent and enthusiastic” references to precious stones in Hebrew literature” with the “paucity of allusion to them in…Greek literature” which the author attributed to the Jewish view of these stones as objects to be used in the creation of art while the Greeks saw them, like all other objects, as potential gods.

1890: “Czar and Kaiser To Meet” published today described the upcoming meeting between the two monarchs during which the condition of Russia’s Jews will be discussed.  Baron Max von Oppenheim who has the backing of the “Jewish financial houses in Germany and Austria” has expressed his concerns as have the Rothchilds who have obtained “the assurance…that the existing condition of the Russian Jews would not be made worse.”

1891: “He Swindled Undertakers” published today described the anger that a number of New York undertakers feel toward a young Jewish man who has been soliciting ads from them for the Jewish Times.  First he tells them about complaints in the community about their services and then tells them that advertising in the paper will defuse the anger since most Jews have a very high opinion of the Jewish Times.

1891: The American Hebrew mourns the recent deaths of poet James Russell Lowell and New York Timesman, George Jones.

1891: “Angry Jews In Boston” published today described the disgust the Jews felt when they came to take possession of the Old Church of the Messiah, which they planned to convert into a synagogue.  The Jews were so repelled by the damage that the Episcopalians had done to the building that they were willing to forfeit their $500 deposit.

1891(13th of Av, 5651): Eighty-two year old Louis Goodheim, who had been living at the Hebrew Home since 1884 took his own life.  Goodheim, who had once been a successful merchant in London, left a note thanking the staff for its kindness.  He had told his brother that he was in such agony that if he had had a gun he would have shot himself

1891: “The Russian Refugees” published today described the problems encountered by Jewish colonists who have been settled in New Jersey under the auspices of the Baron Hirsch Fund.

1893: As the unemployment rate reached 12% and continued to rise during the depression brought on by the Panic of 1893, approximately 5,000 unemployed Jews gathered for a peaceful mass meeting at Walhalla Hall turned violent as the worker vented their frustrations when jobs that were advertised turned out to be nonexistent.

1893: “One of the Czar’s Victims” published today described the arrival of Vladimir Korlenko, who had spent six years in Siberian exile and who has two sympathetic novels on “the Jewish question in Russia, in New York where he is staying at the Astor House.

1894 (15th of Av, 5654): Tu B’Av

1895: In two days of meetings, Herzl meets Rabbi Moritz Güdemann and Berlin philanthropist Heinrich Meyer-Cohn in München. Güdemann was an Austrian born Rabbi who was sympathetic to the Zionist cause but was concerned about the tendency to downplay the religious component of re-settling the land.  Herzl looked to Gudemann to introduce him to the Rothschilds.

1895: Based on information that first appeared in The London Daily News it was reported today that there are 571, 300 people living in Warsaw of whom 190,300 are Jews.

1896: Birthdate of Lotte Jacobi the Prussian-born photographer whose subjects included Albert Einstein, Marc Chagall and Alfred Stieglitz. She left Germany and settled in New York in September, 1935 “as persecution against Jews increased.”

1896: Birthdate of Johannes Kleiman, the Dutch business associate of Otto Frank who was arrested by the Gestapo for his role in hiding the famous Frank family.

1896: In Clinton Township, NJ. Mrs. Paul Wissen found a body in the barnyard who “had a Hebraic cast to his features” but whom could not be positively identified.

1897: At Rishon Lezion, Reveivel Miransky one of the Bilium who founded Rishon Lezion and his wife gave birth to Joshua Myron. During World War I, Mr. Myron was a Sergeant in “the camel-mounted Zionist brigade that fought with Vladimir Jabotinsky against Turkey in Palestine.”  This unit was part of the Jewish Brigade that was part of the British Army.  When Mr. Myron passed away in 2000, at the age of 102, he was one of the last surviving members of this force that helped lay the groundwork for the creation of the state of Israel and the I.D.F.

1898: The first conference of Russian Zionists is held secretly in Warsaw. Warsaw, like much of Poland was part of the Russian Empire. During the conference, Achad Ha-Am discussed his differences with Theodor Herzl. Achad Ha-Am was the pen name of Asher Hirsch Ginsberg one of the most famous Jewish intellectuals of the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.  Unlike Herzl who believed in a political, semi-assimilationist solution to the creation of Jewish state, Achad Ha-Am saw the Jewish home as being “a national spiritual center.” Ginsberg was area of the practical challenges that the Jewish people faced.  For example at the time of Kishinev Pogroms, he called for Jews to take arms in their own defense.  While Herzl’s dream of a Jewish state has been realized, the Jewish people are still wrestling with the creation of a Jewish homeland that encompasses Jewish values from tradition to the world of the Haskalah.

1898: As of today 715 of the 865 children staying at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum have been taken from the building at 138th Street and Amsterdam Avenue and moved to the facility at Rockaway as officials deal with the epidemic of dysentery.

1899: Pennsylvania Congressman Marriott Brozzius announced the appointment of Frank Eshelman as a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy following the resignation of Rigmund Albert, a young Jew, from West Point.

1899: Philadelphian George M. Appel began serving as a 1st Lt. in the 39th United States Volunteer Infantry

1899: Philadelphian Gustav Schlachter, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, transferred from Company F, 3rd Infantry to the 44th U.S. Infantry with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

1899: The Court Martial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus resumed today with his attorney making General Roget “squirm in his seat” as he cross-examined him about the Esterhazy’s letters.

1899: “Shot Down By Anti-Semite” published today described the shooting of a locksmith named Bonnet in Paris by an unknown assailant who called out “He looks like one of those dirty Jews” before firing his weapon.

1899: Philadelphian Gustav F. Schlachter, who rose to the rank of Quarter-Master Sergeant during the Spanish American War and who had re-enlisted in Company F of the 3rd Infantry was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant today.

1899: “Is A Warm Champion of Dreyfus” published today described Anton Weiss of Pine Bluff, AR admiration for and personal friendship with Captain Dreyfus.  Weis had met Dreyfus one was working for the Transatlantic Steamship Line at Harve France where Dreyfus was serving with an artillery unit. There were only a few Jews in the city and no house of worship.  Dreyfus “who was greatly respected” because “of his extensive knowledge” of Jewish ritual served as “the rabbi’ and led the services.”

1900: During the siege of Peking which ended today and was part of the Boxer Rebellion U.S.M.C. Private William Zion “distinguished himself in the presence of the enemy” with such bravery that he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.

1903: Birthdate of Abram Chasins “an American composer, pianist, piano teacher, lecturer, musicologist, music broadcaster, radio executive and author.”

1908: Birthdate of Felix Eliezer Bergmann the native of Frankfurt and brother of Rabbi Dr. Adolf Rosenzweig who earned his degrees from the University of Berlin 1933 before he made Aliyah where became Chairman of Pharmacology at the Hebrew University.

1911: Birthdate of Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik Jewish Russian International Grandmaster and long-time World Champion of chess.  He passed away in 1995.

1911: In Russia, arrests continue in Kiev in connection with charges of blood libel.

1903: In Russia, “Isaac Abramovich Piatigorsky, a frustrated violinist” and his wife Basya Maria Amshislavska gave birth to cellist Gregor Piatigorsky a product of the Imperial Conservatory in Moscow who came to the United States in 1929.

1914: During WW I, as the Germans continued their march through neutral Belgium the government transferred from Brussels to Antwerp which had gained in its Jewish population when the “diamond trade shifted from Amsterdam to Antwerp.”

1915: In Philadelphia, Jewish academic Max Leopold Margolis and his wife Evelyn Kate Aronson gave birth to Max Leopold Margolis

1915(7th of Elul, 5675): Leo Frank was lynched after having been wrongfully convicted of raping 12 year old in Georgia. “Frank, the manager of a pencil factory in Atlanta, Georgia, was accused of raping and murdering an employee, thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan. Frank was convicted, despite evidence incriminating a janitor at the factory, Jim Conley. The prosecution claimed that Conley only helped Frank dispose of the body, in return for $200. After the trial, further evidence came to light calling Frank's guilt into question. The governor commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment, but Frank was then lynched. Frank's trial was sensationalized in the media, which promoted fantastic stories about orgies and rape at the factory. Populist politician and publisher Tom Watson skillfully manipulated the story in order to inflame public opinion, and succeeded in using it to build support for the creation of a new Ku Klux Klan, the original organization having been dormant since Reconstruction due to federal action; a second Klan was founded in 1915 by a group calling itself the Knights of Mary Phagan. Frank's lynching turned the spotlight on anti-Semitism in the United States and led to the founding of the Anti-Defamation League.”\1915: “Louis Marshall who argued the Frank case before the United States Supreme Court, said tonight that Tom Watson, editor of The Jeffersonian and at one time candidate for President on the Populist ticket was responsible for the lynching of Leo M. Frank.”

1915: Nathan Straus who was raised in Georgia said tonight that “the lynching” of Leo Frank “has brought disgrace to Georgia and the whole country” and that the only way for the state to redeem itself was to bring the killers to justice.

1915: “On the first page of the Jeffersonian, a weekly paper edited by Thomas E. Watson which was issued tonight appears the following” ‘A Vigilance Committee redeems Georgia and carries out the sentence of the law on the Jew who raped and murdered the little Gentile girl, Mary Phagan.’”

1916: During World War I Julius Mendes Price “was the only foreign correspondent present at the capture of Gorizia by the Italian army” during the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo which ended today.

1916: “Abram I. Elkus, the newly appointed American Ambassador to Turkey,” “his wife, his two daughter Ethel and Katherine Elkus and his son James Hess Elkus,” set sail today on the steamship Oscar II “for Constantinople via Copenhagen and Berlin”

1917: A tremendous fire swept through the Jewish quarter of Salonica leaving 50,000 Jews homeless. Thirty-two synagogues and fifty Jewish schools were destroyed. The Jews suffered 90% damage to everything they owned.

1917: A movement was made today to “establish a Jewish settlement on the Island of Java.”

1917: During WW I, in which the U.S. was now a combatant,“Ira Nelson Morris, the American Minister” in Stockholm said today “that he had received official advices from Turkey that permission had been granted to about 700 American Jews to leave Palestine for the United States.”

1917: Vilmos Vázsonyi completed his term of Minister of Justice of Hungary.

1918: In Moscow, followers of Lenin “proclaim Jews as a danger to the masses.”

1918: In Brooklyn, a block party featuring “music games and dancing” is scheduled to be held on South 9th Street between Roebling and Driggs Avenue to raise funds for the Red Mogen David (the Jewish version of the Red Cross.

1918: In Riga, “local police refuse to interfere in pogrom agitation.

1918: In Petrograd, “in a demonstration against the Jews,” “anti-Semites among the revolutionaries” tore “up the banner of the ‘Bund.’”

1918: Bolshevik revolutionary leader Moisei Uritsky was assassinated by fellow Jew Leonid Kanegeiser.  Uritsky, like many Bolsheviks traveled a tortuous path from his early idealism.  At the time of his death, he was head the Petrograd Cheka.  The Cheka were the secret police and over time became much for efficient and showed greater cruetly that did those who had served the Czar.

1920: Birthdate of photographer Lida Moser.


1921: In Tübingen, Germany, Jewish scholars Victor Ehrenberg and Eva Dorothea Sommer gave birth to Sir Geoffrey Rudolph Elton the British historian “who specialized in the Tudor Period.”

1923: In the Bronx Samuel and Sonya Grossberg gave birth to Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg who gained fame as pop-artist Larry Rivers.

1924: In Zholkiew (which was in Poland at that time) Shlomo and Hayyah Gittel Schachter gave birth to Meshullam Zalman Schachter whom some consider to be “the spiritual father of the Jewish Renewal movement.” (As reported by Paul Vitello)

1927: Birthdate of Bernard Cornfield, the Turkish born son of a Romanian-Jewish actor “who became one of the most flamboyant and controversial figures ever to stride through the American mutual fund industry.”  (As reported by Diana B. Henriques)

1928: “The Patriot” a silent film with “some talking sequences” directed and edited by Ernst Lubitsch was released in the United States today.

1929(11th of Av, 5689): Shabbat Nachamu

1929(11th of Av, 5689): Following yesterday’s attack on Jews at the Wailing Wall, Arabs attack Jews in Jerusalem on Shabbat. A young Sephardic Jew named Abraham Mizrachi was mortally wounded when he was stabbed at the Maccabi grounds near Mea Shearim, in the Bukharan Quarter,

1932(15th of Av, 5692): Tu B’Av

1932(15th of Av, 5692): Forty-five year old Mrs. Louise H. Pollak, the wife of Cincinnati, Ohio, City Councilman, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College who was a former president of the League of Woman Voters and a member of the Council of Jewish Women passed away today

1933: In Tel Aviv, The British High Commissioner and other officials participate in the laying of the cornerstone for the Levant Fair which is to be held here in 1934.

1933: “The Private Life of Henry VII” directed and co-produced by Alexander Korda and featuring Binnie Barnes as “Catherine Howard” was released today in the United Kingdom.

1933: In Saarbrucken, a decision by a court in Berlin stating that a Jew doing business in Germany cannot hold the State responsible for negligence in failing to maintain order and to afford him protection is printed in the Freiheit

1934: Twenty-seven year old pitcher Cyrus Sol “Cy” Malis struck out one batter today in his first and last major league baseball game as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League.

1936(29th of Av, 5696): Two Jewish nurses were killed today by Arab snipers in Jaffa.

1936(29th of Av, 5696): “Haya Freud, a lookout on the water tower at Ramath Hakovesh” was killed by
“an Arab during a night raid.”

1936: “Gershon Mosteioff, a student at the Hebrew University” who was acting as a volunteer watchman at Kiryath Anavim was among the thirteen Jews wounded by Arab attackers today.

1936: It was reported today that Louis Lipsky of New York the head of the central council said the completed membership” of the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress “would consist of 136 representatives from 32 countries.”

1937: As Japanese troops moved through Shanghai, the Shanghai Volunteer Corps including its Jewish Company under the command of Major Noel S. Jacobs was activated for a three month tour of duty.

1937: In Geneva, Mr. Ormsby-Gore, the British Colonial Secretary, told the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations that Great Britain definitely considered that she should no longer maintain the Mandate of Palestine, if it has to be applied by violence. He insisted that the whole basis of the Palestine Mandate should be changed. Of course these pious sentiments did not keep the British from holding on to Palestine for another ten years, denying the establishment of a Jewish state and enforcing pro-Arab immigration policies that were a death sentence to the Jews of Europe.

1937: Forty-one congressmen requested that Cordell Hull, the US Secretary of State, advise the British that they were not carrying out the intentions and promises of the Balfour Declaration and of the Palestine Mandate.

1937: While the diplomats debated in Geneva, the Arab terror continued. A long list of sporadic shooting incidents, the wounding of a police agent in Ein Kerem, a bomb explosion in Tiberias and many robberies, all within one week, was announced by the Palestine Police.

1937: At the closing session of the historic, 20th Zionist Congress held in Zurich, Dr. Chaim Weizmann was re-elected the President of the World Zionist Organization.

1937: The New York Times reports that “A remarkable document, purporting to give a confidential report by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Zionist president, of a conversation he had in London with William G. A. Ormsby-Gore, British Colonial Secretary, on a plan for the partition of Palestine, has been published by The Jewish Chronicle here.”

1938(20th of Av, 5698): Eight-nine year old Adolph Lewisohn, the German-born American banker and philanthropist who was known as a “copper king” because of his mining success, passed away.

1938: In Berlin, the Reich Minister of the Interior signed Reichsgesetz Part I, the second decree on the law concerning the change of first and last names that included the requirement that male Jews adopt the middle name of “Israel” and that the female Jews adopt the middle name of “Sara” – the violation of which led to the imprisonment of Lilli Jahn, “a German-Jewish doctor” was killed at Auschwitz.

1938(20th of Av, 5698): Arab violence continued to spread and grow more virulent. Early this morning, the body of Meyer Gutwird a 21 year old rabbinical student “who used to devote virtually of his time to religious studies and was often seen early in the morning at the Wailing Wall reading a holy” was found in Jerusalem.  Gutwird had been stoned to death and then beaten with an iron rod.  A bomb was thrown at a taxicab in Jaffa and Judah Mosseri, a Yemenite Jew, was wounded in both legs when shots were on the border between Jaffa and Tel Aviv.  Arab terrorist did not limit their activities to attacking Jews.  They attacked eight Arab telephone linemen whom they robbed before they released them.

1939: The 85,000 Jews living in Slovakia were terrified of being robbed and pillaged by the non-Jews, who were encouraged by the Germans.

1939: The New York City premiere of “The Wizard of Oz” produced by Mervyn LeRoy with Oscar winning music by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg was held at Lowe’s Capitol Theatre

1940: “The Prefecture of Haute-Garonne issued Leon Blum a new identification card, which indicated that his hair and mustache were grey, his nose “straight,” and his complexion “clear.”

1941(24th of Av, 5701): Three men in Khmelnik, Ukraine, were gathered together and shot dead. The deaths were justified by Einsatzkommando as retaliation for Jewish resistance. Considering how the SS death squads worked, it is surprising that they felt the need to offer an excuse for killing more Jews.

1942(24th of Av, 5701): The Nazis gassed 341 French-Jewish children from the ages of two to ten, as well as 323 girls up to the age of 16, at Auschwitz. Two of the victims are Suzanne Perl, seven, and her sister Micheline, three.

1942: Over the next 48 hours the Nazis murdered 2500 Jews from Drogobych, Ukraine, at the Belzec death camp.

1942: Birthdate of barrister and campaigner for children’s rights Allan Edward Levy.

1943: “A survivor from Sabinov in Slovakia, who has remained anonymous, wrote a report in which he described his selection in Sobibór, together with approximately one hundred men and fifty women, upon arrival.”

1943: The latest deportation continued at Bialystok; The Nazis selection 1,200 children for transport to Theresienstadt. Four weeks later, those children still alive were sent to Birkenau where all of them met the fate of death. Fifty-three adults volunteered to join them.

1943: Some 1200 children are taken from the Jewish ghetto at Bialystok, Poland, to Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, and later to Auschwitz, where they will be killed.

1944: Nicholas Winton, the Englishman who rescued almost 700 Jewish children from Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia was promoted to the rank of pilot officer in the RAF.

1944: Premiere of “Cry of the Werewolf” directed by Henry Levin.

1944: Birthdate of Larry Ellison, the co-founder and CEO of Oracle.

1944: The last deportation from Drancy, France, leaves for Buchenwald bearing 51 Jews. Once again we have a reminder of how critical the Final Solution was to the Germans and their allies.  This deportation took place as the Allies were liberating Paris.  While the Germans were preparing to pull out and leave the French capital to the liberators, they had to ship one more load of Jews to their death. 

1945: Animal Farm by George Orwell is first published by Fredric Warburg both of whose parents were Jewish. Orwell had had a great deal of trouble getting this published because the novel represented a none to veiled attack on Stalin and because Orwell had been marked for murder by the Stalinist back in the days of the Spanish Civil War. (See Churchill and Orwell by Thomas E. Ricks)

1945: It was reported today that the meeting between representatives of the World Zionist Conference and British Colonial Secretary George Hall was “the first known official contact between the Zionists and the new Labor Government.”  In the past the Laborites have pledged their support for the creation of a Jewish homeland so “the Zionists are eagerly awaiting the British Governments action on the request for 100,000 more immigration certificates…”

1946: Birthdate of Drake Maxwell Levin, the Chicago native “who played lead guitar for the teen-idol rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders during their biggest hit-making years in the mid-1960s.” (As reported by Bruce Weber)

1948: Mitchell Flint “took up D-108 for an hour of formation flying, part of an exhibition for Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's visit to Netanya.”

1948: “During today's visit by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to Netanya, Modi Alon scrambled Syd Cohen and four of his B flight pilots, if only for show in front of the prime minister.”

1948: Mordechai Weingarten, a Jewish civilian leader in Old Jerusalem “appeared before a commission investigating events” that had led up to the surrender of the Old City to the Jordanians.

1949: In New York, Ambassador Eliabu Elath and the chief Israeli delegate to the U.N., Aubrey Eban, “addressed a meeting of officials of the Consulate and of various Israeli missions in the United States” as part of the celebration marking the transfer of the remains of Theodore Herzl to Jerusalem. (As reported by JTA)

1949: In New York Norman Bertram Coleman, Sr., and his wife, Beverly (Behrman) gave birth to Norman Bertram "Norm" Coleman, Jr the future Mayor of St. Paul and U.S. Senator from Minnesota.

1949: Premiere of “Jolson Sings Again” the sequel of “The Jolson Story,” biopics about Al Jolson directed by Henry Levin

1950: Premier of “The Petty Girl” a musical comedy directed by Henry Levin.

1951: U.S. Premiere of “The Lost Continent” a science fiction thriller co-starring Sid Melton, the son of Yiddish comedian Isidor Meltzer.

1951: The conflict in the World Zionist Congress on the aims of Zionism now that Israel has been established as a state remained sharp as the delegates adjourned this afternoon for the Sabbath recess.1952: John Blanford of UNRWA and the government of Jordan signed an agreement that provided eleven million dollars for the resettling of Arab refugees in Jordan. The Arab governments, including Jordan, did all that they could to keep the Palestinian refugees penned up in camps and keep them out of their respective countries.  

1952: Two Jews were sentenced to death for economic crimes in Poland. It was thought that the Polish Communist regime was exploiting anti-Semitism to distract attention for its own, ever-growing economic difficulties.

1956: In Paris, Gaby and Raymond Aghion gave birth to Philippe Mario Aghion the “Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics at Harvard University and the co-developer of “Schumpeterian Paradigm.”

1956(10th of Elul, 5716): Sixty-five year old Russian born Yiddish poet Moishe Broderzon passed away today.

1957(20th of Av, 5717): Sixty-six year old English painter and “Whitechapel Boy” David Bomberg passed away.

1960:  Birthdate of actor Sean Penn.  Penn’s father was Jewish.  His mother was not.  Penn’s father was director Leo Penn who was a victim to the infamous Blacklist.

1960: ITV broadcast the final episode of “The Four Just Men” a television series overseen by Executive Producer Hannah Fisher, with music Francis Chagrin.

1961(5th of Elul, 5721): Seventy-six year old Carlos Salezdo, the scion of two Sephardi families and a leading “French harpist, pianist, composer and conductor” passed away today.

1962: In a rare loss of control, reliever Larry Sherry hit Red’s lead-off batter Gordie Coleman in the seventh inning.  The Dodgers go on to defeat Cincinnati.

1963: Three days after his death, a friend disclosed the fact that Clifford Odets’ “The Flowering Peach” “had been the Pulitzer Prize jury’s 1955 drama choice” but that it had been overruled by Pulitzer Advisory Board.

1966(1st of Elul, 5726): Rosh Chodesh Elul

1966(1st of Elul, 5726): 1967: Yonatan Netanyahu married Tuti today.

1967: Tuti and Yonatan “Yoni” Netanyahu were married today after which they moved to the U.S. so he could enroll at Harvard.

1967: “The Stranger Returns” a “spaghetti Western film produced by Allen Klein was released in Italy today.

1969(3rd of Elul, 5729):  German born physicist Otto Stern passed away.  A native of Germany, Stern worked with Einstein before World War I.  He came to the United States in 1933 where he taught and lived until his death.  He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1943.

1974: Leonard Bernstein conducted the premiere of Dybbuk Variations with NYP in Auckland, New Zealand.

1975(10th of Elul, 5735): Seventy-nine year old painter and actor Sig Arno, the native of Hamburg, who left Germany in 1933 for Hollywood where ‘he appeared in over fifty films” over the next twenty years and also found time two appear in three different shows on Broadway including “Time Remembered’ “for which he was nominated for a Tony Award…in 1958.

1976: Hadassah continues its national convention for a third day in Washington, DC.

1979: Premiere of “The Seduction of Joe Tynan” a cinematic commentary on the state of American politics directed by Jerry Schatzberg, produced by Bregman co-starring Melvyn Douglas.

1979: “The Concorde ... Airport '79” with a screenplay by Eric Roth, music by Lalo Schifrin and featuring performances by Avery Schreiber and Harry Shearer was released in the United States today by Universal Pictures.

1980(5th of Elul, 5740): Eighty-eight year old Morris Murray Peshkin, the graduate of Fordham Medical School and allergist who was on the faculty of Columbia and an officer of the American Jewish Congress passed away today.

1980(5th of Elul, 5740): In Jaffa, one person was killed and eight were injured during a terrorist car bombing.

1981(17th of Av, 5741): Ninety one year old Jewish historian, author and academic Selma Stern Taebuler passed away.

1982(28th of Av, 5742): Fifty-seven anti-apartheid activist Ruth First, the daughter of Latvian Jews who had moved to South Africa in 1906 and the wife of Joe Slovo passed away today.

1983(8th of Elul, 5743): Lyricist Ira Gershwin, brother of the famous George Gershwin, passed away at the age of 86. (As reported by John S. Wilson)

1986(12th of Av, 5746) Moses Hadas an American teacher, who was one of the leading classical scholars of the twentieth century, and a translator of numerous works, passed away today. 

   “Raised in Atlanta in a Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish household, his early studies included rabbinical training; he graduated from Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1926) and took his doctorate in classics in 1930. He was fluent in Yiddish, German, ancient Hebrew, ancient Greek, Latin, French, and Italian, and well-versed in other languages. His most productive years were spent at Columbia University, where he was a colleague of Jacques Barzun and Lionel Trilling. There, he took his talent for languages, combined it with a popularizing impulse, to buck the prevailing classical methods of the day—textual criticism and grammar—presenting classics, even in translation, as worthy of study as literary works in their own right. This approach may be compared to the New Criticism school: even as the New Critics emphasized close reading, eschewing outside sources and cumbersome apparatus, Hadas, in presenting classical works in translation to an influx of post-war G.I. Bill students, brought forth an appreciation of his domain for those without the specialized training of classicists. His popularizing impulse led him to embrace television as a tool for education, becoming a telelecturer and a pundit on broadcast television. He also recorded classical works on phonograph and tape.”

                                                                        Or                                

Moses Hadas passed away. Hadas was an American teacher, one of the leading classical scholars of the twentieth century, and a translator of numerous works. Raised in Atlanta in a Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish household, his early studies included rabbinical training; he graduated from Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1926) and took his doctorate in classics in 1930. He was fluent in Yiddish, German, ancient Hebrew, ancient Greek, Latin, French, and Italian, and well-versed in other languages. His most productive years were spent at Columbia University, where he was a colleague of Jacques Barzun and Lionel Trilling. There, he took his talent for languages, combined it with a popularizing impulse, to buck the prevailing classical methods of the day—textual criticism and grammar—presenting classics, even in translation, as worthy of study as literary works in their own right. This approach may be compared to the New Criticism school: even as the New Critics emphasized close reading, eschewing outside sources and cumbersome apparatus, Hadas, in presenting classical works in translation to an influx of post-war G.I. Bill students, brought forth an appreciation of his domain for those without the specialized training of classicists. His popularizing impulse led him to embrace television as a tool for education, becoming a telelecturer and a pundit on broadcast television. He also recorded classical works on phonograph and tape. His daughter Rachel Hadas is a poet, teacher, essayist, and translator.

1987:  Rudolf Hess, the last of Hitler’s inner circle died in a Berlin hospital at the age of 93. He apparently attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself with an electrical cord.  Hess had parachuted into England in 1941 for reasons that to this day are unclear.  Convicted as a war criminal at Nuremberg, he spent the rest of his life at Spandau Prison.

1988: According to an article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette entitled, “A Tale of Two Piggies.” Concrete pigs had replaced pink flamingos as yard ornaments for Temple Judah congregants Terri and Brian Cohen. The 1,100-pound concrete porker showed up in the couple’s front yard at 1290 35th St. NE after a mysterious phone call invited Terri to leave her home. Brian recalled a friend asking what kind of lawn ornament he wanted and when he responded, “no pink flamingos and no Virgin Mary grottoes,” he neglected to mention swine.

1992: Woody Allen admitted to being romantically involved with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of Allen’s longtime companion, actress Mia Farrow.

1994: Elias Canetti, a novelist, playwright and cultural historian who had won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981 was buried today in Zurich next to James Joyce. 

1995(21st of Av, 5755): Ninety-three year old screenwriter Howard Koch, who won an Oscar for his work on “Casablanca”, passed away. (As reported by Mel Gussow)

1997: Guy Hever disappeared after finishing his stint on guard duty while serving with an artillery unit based in the Golan Heights.
 
1997: In the Gaza Strip a two day celebration was held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Gush Katif settlement bloc

1997: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including the recently released paperback edition of Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics by Ruth Lewin

1998: US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an "improper physical relationship" with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

2001: “Rat Race,” a comedy directed by Jerry Zucker, co-produced by Jerry Zucker and Janet Zucer, written by Andy Breckman and co-starring Jon Lovit was released in the United States and Canada today.

2002: “Israeli security forces arrested the Hamas terrorists known as the ‘Silwan Cell’ who were responsible for the attack on the Café Moment coffee shop in Jerusalem that killed 11 Israeli civilians and wounded another 54.”

2002: The end of the two-day dedication ceremony of the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho.

2003: Ariel Sharon completed his term in office as Communications Minister of Israel.

2003: The Sunday New York Times includes reviews of Einstein’s Clocks, Poincare’s Maps: Empires of Time by Peter Galison, Kate Remembered, a biography of Kathryn Hepburn by the Jewish author A. Scott Berg and What Was She Thinking?:Notes on a Scandal, a novel by Jewish author Zoe Holler.

2004(30th of Av, 5764): Rosh Chodesh Ave

2005: In a tribute to the vitality of the Jewish people Hutzot Hayotzer Jerusalem’s largest summer festival celebrating art and various crafts returns to its original location at the Sultan’s Pool when it opened today.  Hutzot Havotzer is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary and is a cultural happening in the truest sense of the word.  With the world fixated on Gaza and terror, this is another reminder of the vitality of Jewish culture even in times of unbelievable stress and hostility.

2005: Sixteen families of “Morag, a moshav in the southwest edge of the Gaza Strip” “were evicted today by the IDF and Israeli police.”

2005: Today, “as the Vikings' morning training camp session ended at Minnesota State University about half a dozen fans approached Zygmunt Wilf -- a New Jersey real estate developer and the new principal owner of the Minnesota Vikings for autographs as he walked off the field.”

2005: In an example of the demise of another Jewish founded department store chain Coles announced that it would decide the fate of Myer, an Australian retail group founded Sidney Myer a Jewish immigrant from Russia.

2006: IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz refused to resign over charges that he had sold off his portfolio because, unlike most Israelis, he knew that his country was faced with the prospect of going to war after two Israelis soldiers had been captured by Hezbollah.

2006: I Was a Child of Holocuast Survivors by Bernice Eisenstein went on sale today.

2006: Israel's Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decided to indict Haim Ramon for indecent assault. Ramon responded by saying: "I am certain of my innocence. The court will prove it."

2007(2nd Elul, 5676): Ninety-one year old Carolyn Goodman, the phsychologist turned “civil rights advocate” and mother of murdered Civil Rights worker Andrew Goodman passed away today. (As reported by Margalit Fox)

2007: “Superbad” produced by Judd Apaow, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and starring Jonah Hill opens in movie theatres throughout the United States. Jonah Hill, who plays the socially inept teen, says he's really a nice Jewish boy. "I am not a super lecherous guy. I usually enjoy having a girlfriend as opposed to dating a variety of women. I'm a nice Jewish boy."

2008: In St. Paul, Minnesota, Bais Chana Jewish Women's Weekend Retreat comes to a close.

2008: Services were held at Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Des Moines for Marvin Pomerantz, 78, a friend and adviser of Republican governors and presidents for four decades who twice served as president of the Iowa Board of Regents

2008: The Washington Post book section reported that The D.C. Jewish Community Center is seeking submissions for its third annual writing contest -- short essays or stories that illuminate how humor has been helpful in difficult times. The winning entries will be part of "Laughing for God's Sake: Humor in Jewish Literature," the opening event in the upcoming Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival to be held in September.

2008: The cabinet voted this morning to release some 200 security prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

2008: Anna Gostamelsky shattered Israel’s national swimming record the 100-meter freestyle this evening at the Beijing Olympics.   But after six years, Ms. Gostamelsky, one of thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, has not been able to convince the rabbinate that she is Jewish according to halacha.

2008: “The tribute concert Lyrics by Don Black was held at the London Palladium, featuring performances of Black's songs by a selection of guest artists

2008: Opening of the12th Annual Jewish Arts Fest of Dallas featuring the deeply Texan and Jewish story of The Immigrant in a musical concert production by Fort Worth's Stage West.

2009: Time magazine features reviews of three books about Bernie Madoff “who hawked his investment fund to a largely Jewish clientele” including Too Good to be True by Erin Arvedlund, Madoff with Money by Jerry Oppenheimer and Betrayal; The Life and Lies of Bernie Madoff by Andrew Kirtzman.

2009: In Washington, D.C. Community organizer Michael Rosen discusses and signs What Else But Home: Seven Boys and an American Journey Between the Projects and the Penthouse at Politics and Prose Bookstore

2009(27th of Av, 5769): Two more Israelis died on today due to complications from the swine flu, becoming the eighth and ninth people in Israel to succumb to the pandemic. The two men, age 76 and 67, died at the Sharon Hospital and Beilinson Hospital, both in Petah Tikva.

2009(27th of Av, 5769): Eighty-four year old Israel Adler founder of the National Sound Archives of the National Library of Israel, founder and former director of the Jewish Music Research Centre of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and one of the co-founders of IASA died today after a prolonged illness.

2009: “New Doubts Raised Over Famous War Photo” published today described challenges to the authenticity of one of the iconic combat photographs Robert Capa’s “Falling Soldier.”

2010: The National Jewish Retreat is scheduled to begin at Reston, VA.

2010: Clashes between the IDF and Palestinian terrorists along the Gaza border intensified today, when two IDF soldiers were slightly injured by mortar fire near the security fence in southern Gaza.

2010(7th of Elul, 5770): Harold Shpeen, 87, of Marlton, a longtime dentist and former president of the Jewish Federation of South Jersey, passed away today.  Dr. Shpeen was a dentist for nearly 50 years, owning a practice in Westmont and later Cherry Hill. He was also an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Dental School and at Camden County College.

2010: LAJFF in cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League and Second Generation host an exclusive pre-release screening of “A Film Unfinished” in Encino.

2010: Ryan “Kalish hit his first career grand slam in game against the Angeles in Fenway Park.”

2011: Les Bergen, a JHSGW Board Member, is scheduled to facilitate “a virtual tour of Arlington National Cemetery, where more than 5,200 Jews are buried. 

2011: “Smiley - How about some emotional pornography?” written by Eyal Weiser and directed by Allon Cohen is scheduled to open in New York City.

2011: “The California Supreme Court declined to review the Court of Appeal's decision to affirm Phil Spector’s conviction” for the murder of Lana Clarkson.

2011:  Fighting bad lighting and a spotty internet connection, activists at the Rothschild tent city held a live chat tonight with leaders of the “May 15” anti-government protests that brought hundreds of thousands into the streets across Spain since they began over three months ago.

2011: It was reported today that “The Hebrew University in Jerusalem has been ranked the 57th best university in the world, in a list of the top 500 universities worldwide. The list, which is published annually by Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, placed Harvard, Stanford and MIT in the first three spots.

2011: Peter Shumlin became the first sitting governor in the United States to preside over a same-sex wedding ceremony

2012: Among the many choices Washington Metropolitan Areas Jews have for welcoming the Sabbath are the Pre-service wine and cheese social at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria and the Shabbat BBQ at Congregation Beth Emeth in Herndon, VA

2012: A final vote is scheduled to take place today when the United Church of Canada's General Council can choose to accept or reject an overall motion that includes recommendations to approve a boycott of products made in Israeli settlements. (As reported by JTA)

2012: The leader of the Lebanese Shiite terrorist Hezbollah said his group will transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis to “hell” if Israel attacks Lebanon. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said today that the group has a list of Israeli targets that it can hit with few rockets.

2012: South Africa’s chief rabbi has called on the country’s deputy minister of international relations to resign, saying he is unfit to hold public office. Earlier this week, South African politician Ebrahim Ebrahim issued a statement saying that South Africans would be discouraged from visiting Israel unless they were involved in peace efforts.

2012(29th of Av,5772): Seventy-seven year old “Samuel H. Lindenbaum, who was widely considered New York City’s top zoning lawyer and who was credited with doing as much as any of the powerful developers among his clients to shape the modern skyline of Manhattan” passed away today.  (As reported by David W. Dunlap)

2013: In Monticello, NY, second and final day of the Bagel Festival attendees can participate in the Best Bagels Contest and the Bagel Triathalon  that includes seeing how far you can roll a bagel, how far you can shot put a bagel and how high you can stack bagels without have them fall.

2013: “Arthur Fields: the man on O'Connell bridge” published today described the “career” of Irish photographer Arthur Fields, the Dublin native Abraham Feldman who was the son of Jews from Ukraine.

2013(11th of Elul, 5773): Eight-nine year old historian David Landes author of Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

2013: The Tamarod ("Rebellion") movement in Egypt has joined a campaign calling to stop US aid to Egypt, and to cancel the 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel, Daily News Egypt reported today.

2013: The IDF fired a Tammuz surface-to-surface missile at a Syrian army post today, after several Syrian mortar shells exploded in the Golan Heights. (As reported by Yaakov Lappin)

2014: The New York Times featured books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Kill My Mother: A Graphic Novel written and illustrated by Jules Feifer, Timeless: Love, Morgenthau and Me by Lucinda Franks and “Andrew Lewis Conn’s new novel, O, Africa!, which explores the fictional exploits of two Jewish brothers whose commercial partnership propels them to the forefront of the silent film industry in the years between the World Wars.”

2014(21st of Av, 5774): Ninety-six year old Sophie Masloff, “the first woman and the first Jew to serve as mayor of Pittsburgh” passed away today. (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)

2014: This evening, the PBS premiere of “Before The Revolution - The Untold Story of the Israeli Paradise in Iran.”

2014: The Baton Rouge (LA) Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to host a screening of “Fiddler on the Roof” complete with a sing-along.

2014: “Israel will not agree under any circumstances to a ceasefire deal that doesn’t meet the country’s security demands, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today, as an Israeli delegation landed in Cairo to discuss an Egyptian proposal aimed at ending hostilities in the Gaza Strip and across the Israeli border.” (As reported by Adiv Sterman)

2014: Israeli security forces are preparing to examine “three openings in the ground…inside communities in the Gaza border area” near homes, kindergartens and playing fields” which are thought to “tunnel entrances dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza into Israel.” (As reported by Stuart Winer)

2014: After yesterday’s violent protests at a Tesco supermarket by pro-Hamas demonstrators and the decisions of the grocery chain which was founded by Jewish businessman Jack Cohen to knuckle under to the Bobycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, today another UK grocery chain removed kosher items from their shelves out of fear of violence from pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

2015: The “Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited” is scheduled to open to the public today at the Southern Museum in Kennesaw, GA.

2015: As part of program sponsored by the Southern Museum, the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum and the Museum of History and Holocaust Education at Kennesaw State University Congregation Neir Tamid is scheduled to lead a centennial remembrance of Leo Frank’s lynching including the recitation of Kaddish led by Rabbi Tom Liebschutz.

2016(13th of Av, 5776): Ninety-two year old Arthur Hiller, the director who may be best known for the tear-jerker “Love Story” passed away today.

2016: “At 8 p.m., violinist Gil Shaham is scheduled tol perform Bach's complete Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin in single recital at Tanglewood.

2016: Rabbi Deborah Silver and Deborah Mintz are scheduled to lead the Summer Learning Series at Shir Chadish, the Conservative synagogue which gave the author of this blog his first teaching job.

2017: The 2017 Daniel Pearl Fellows, Nichals Chang and Samuel Yousafazi are scheduled to participate in “an open discussion” moderated by Rob Eshman at the Steve Allen Theatre in Los Angeles.

2017: The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is scheduled to host an evening with photographer Baron Wolman who “became the first chief photographer of the legendary publication, Rolling Stone magazine.”

2017: “Pawn Sacrifice,” a film about American chess prodigy Bobby Fisher and co-starring Live Schreiber is scheduled to be shown for the last time in London and Manchester.

2017: The Cleveland Jewish News is scheduled to present an evening of comedy featuring Sarge Pickman, “The Black Jew with the Chai IQ” at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood.