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A collection of Jewish history and current Jewish events, in date format, updated daily in this Jewish history blog.

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    May 16 In History

    0942(21stof Iyar, 4702): Saadia Gaon passed away. Born in 882, Saadia Gaon was the head of the Talmudic Academy of Sura (Babylonia). He was a recognized authority on the Talmud, and a profound student of philosophy and philology. Saadia was forced to deal with the challenge of assimilation of the upper-class Jews of Babylonia who were attractedto the Greek philosophers whose works had been translated intoArabic. Saadia wrote a philosophic work, The Book of Beliefs and Opinions, in magnificent flowing Arabic. In it, he defended the rational underpinnings of Judaism and showed logically that every rational Jew could believe in the Torah as well as Aristotle and Plato. He wrote the first Hebrew grammar book which explained how the holy language worked. He provided a Hebrew dictionary plus a compendium of rhyming words for Hebrew poets. He was the first to write an Arabic translation of the Bible. He included commentaries, explanations, and grammatical notes as well. His translation continues to be the authoritative Bible for Jews in Arab lands. He also led a successful fight against the Kararites, a sect which rejected Rabbinic commentary as law.

    1165: Maimonidesand his familyarrived at Acre, Palestine.Having been forced to leave Spain because he would not convert to Islam, Maimonides and his family settled in Fez, Morocco. His work with Jews who had been forced to convert to Islam attracted attention of the local authorities and the family moved on to Palestine. Do to the poverty of the land and the uncertain conditions there, Maimonides finally settled in Egypt where he served both as a physician and leader of the Jewish Community.
    1474:Minister Pacheco of Spain used an attack he organized against "new Christians" as a diversion in order to enable him to capture the citadel of Segovia (and maybe the King). Although the plot was discovered in time, the Marranos were attacked by the organized mob, and men, women and children were murdered.

    1477: Abraham dei Tintori produced the first printed edition of the book of Job with a commentary by Levi ben Gerson was published today in Ferrara, Italy

    1487: Joseph Solomon Sonciino produced the first printed edition of Seder Tahanunim at Soncino, Italy

    1527: Florentines drove out the Medici for a second time and re-established a republic The recreation of the Republic led to the expulsion of the Jews. This event took place in the Jewish year 5300 (a year with Jewish mystical connotations), fueling messianic hopes helping to layer the ground for the rise of Solomon Molcho.

    1573: Today Polish nobles elected Henry, as the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, the Lithuanian nobles boycotted this election, and it was the Lithuanian ducal council who confirmed his election. Poland elected Henry, rather than Habsburg candidates, partly in order to be more agreeable to the Ottoman Empire (a traditional ally of France through the Franco-Ottoman alliance), with which a Polish-Ottoman alliance was also in effect.. He owed his election to Solomon Ashkenazi, a “Rabbi” who was an advisor to the Sultan.  He was in effect the Sultan’s foreign minister.  In an unusually blunt statement, Ashkenazi wrote Henry “I have rendered you majesty most important service in securing your election; I have effected all that was done here.” The last statement refers to his behind the scenes work at the Sultans Palace.  See Volume 4  p 605 0f Graetz

    1611: Birthdate of Pope Innocent XI. During his papacy, “Innocent showed a degree of sensitivity in his dealings with the Jews within the Italian States. He compelled the city of Venice to release the Jewish prisoners taken by Francesco Morisini in 1685. He also discouraged compulsory baptisms which accordingly became less frequent under his pontificate; but he could not abolish the old practice altogether. More controversially in 1682 he issued an edict by which all the money-lending activities carried out by the Roman Jews were to cease. However ultimately convinced that such a measure would cause much misery in destroying livelihoods, the enforcement of the edict was twice delayed.”

    1648: During the great Cossack uprising which brought death and destruction to hundreds of thousands of Jews, Bohdan Khmelnytsky's forces overwhelmed and defeated Commonwealth forces under the command of Stefan Potocki at the Battle of Zhovti Vody.

    1746(26th of Iyar, 5506): Moshe Chaim Luzzatto passed away. Born in 1707, this Italian rabbi known by the Hebrew acronym RaMChal was noted philosopher and student of kabbalah.

    1754: Fire ravaged the Ghetto in Prague.

    1785(7th of Sivan): Rabbi Chaim Abraham ben Moses Israel of Ancona, author of “Bet Avraham” passed away.

    1790: Anti-Jewish riots broke out in Warsaw.

    1801: Birthdate of William H. Seward who served as Secretary of State under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson (1861-1869).  Shortly after he assumed office, Seward met with Henry I. Hart, President of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites and assured him that he would continue the push to end the discrimination practiced by the Swiss against American Jews. In 1863, Seward instructed American diplomats to do all that they could to stop the attacks on the Jews of Morocco.

    1845: Birthdate of Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, also known as Eli Metchnikoff. Born in the Ukraine, he was a Russian microbiologist best remembered for his pioneering research into the immune system. Mechnikov received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908, for his work on phagocytosis. He passed away in Paris in 1916.

    1853: The New York Times provided more information about outbreaks of violence that had occurred in Jerusalem during Holy Week (Palm Sunday thru Easter). A group of English missionaries were forced to leave the Church of the Holy Sepulcher because “they behaved in an unseemly manner when the Procession of the Host passed on Good Friday.”  One of the missionaries delivered a sermon outside of a synagogue while the Jews were attending services in which he used “invectives” in talking about the Talmud.  One of the Jews reportedly threw a dead cat at the missionary and a fight broke between the rest of the missionaries and the Jews who sought to defend their religious beliefs.   

    1853: The New York Times reported that the recent defeat of the Jewish Disabilities bill in the House of Lords had bitterly disappointed supporters of the measure since they had anticipated that the Lords would follow their usual path and approve legislation that had been approved by the House of Commons. The action of the Lords, according to the Times, shows the great gulf between the aristocracy and the rest of the citizenry.  Despite the prominence of such families as the Rothschilds, “the Jew in England is no better off than he was in the days of King John.”

    1853: The New York Times reported that thousands of Prussians including Alexander Von Humboldt have petitioned the Second Chamber (one of the two houses of their bi-cameral legislature) demanding that Jews be allowed to hold government jobs and allowing for full freedom of religious opinion.  The petitions were in response to vote by the First Chamber to exclude Jews from public employment.

    1854(18th of Iyar, 5614): Lag B’Omer

    1854: According to an article published today the American Society for Meliorating the Condition of the Jews reported that there are 17 synagogues in New York City that show a membership totaling 25,000. The last census shows that there are 46,000 Jews in the entire United States.  The society believes that the census figure is a case of underreporting because it only records people as being Jewish if they self-report. “It is a well-known fact that one-half or more of the Jews in this country call themselves Frenchman, German, Poles, Hungarians and Englishman and never make themselves known as Jews in governmental connections.”

    1863(27th of Iyar, 5623): Jonas Ennery passed away. Born in 1801 at Nancy he became head of the Jewish school at Strasbourg. He served as a Deputy in the French Parliament and compiled a Dictionnaire Général de Géographie Universelle,  He was the brother of Marchand Ennery, the chief rabbi of Paris.

    1864: Birthdate of Nathan Birnbaum the Austrian journalist, Jewish philosopher and founder of a Jewish nationalist organization "Kadimah."  Kadimah was formed ten years before Theodor Herzl became the leading spokesman of the Zionist movement. Birnbaum is credited for coining the term "Zionism". He died in 1937.

    1864: In New York, the "Open Board of Stock-Brokers" adopted its constitution.  Among the signatories was Mendez Nathan, the son of Seixas Nathan.

    1868: President Andrew Johnson was acquitted in his impeachment trial in the United States Senate. According to one source, Johnson made several virulent anti-Semitic statements during his political career prior to becoming President. Considering the fact that the “Tarheel Tailor” was illiterate until adulthood, his anti-Semitic statements may be more a case of ignorance than anything else.

    1875: The Board of Trustees of B’nai Jeshurun met today in New York City and approved a proposal to allow members of the opposite sex to sit together in the same pews during services.  This put an end to the separate seating that had been the rule at the synagogue since its founding.  The decision would be contested by Israel J. Solomon a member of the congregation who brought a suit in the Court of Common Pleas to over-turn the decision. His suit would fail.

    1877: As the constitutional crisis in France came to a head, 363 parliamentary deputies passed a vote of no confidence in the new government championed by Royalist President Patrice MacMahon. The leaders of the opposition would be defended by Raphael Basch a liberal French Jewish political leader and journalist.  Basch was the father of Victor-Guillaume Basch who would be murdered by the Vichy French in 1944.

    1880(6th of Sivan, 5640): Shavuot

    1881: Birthdate of Amy Loveman, a founding editor of the Saturday Review.

    1881: A comic melodrama entitled “Sam’l of Posen, or The Commercial Drummer” premiered at Haverly’s Fourteenth Street Theatre in New York.

    1888(6th of Sivan, 5648): Shavuot

    1890: It was reported today that former President Grover Cleveland, Oscar Straus and Joseph Blumenthal will be among those who have purchased boxes for the upcoming Strawberry Festival, a fund raiser sponsored by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.

    1891: It was reported today that among the bequests made by the late Nathan Littauer were$1,500 to Mt. Sinai Hospital for the permanent endowment of a bed in memory of his daughter Louise; $1,000 each to the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society and the Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews; $500 to the Board of Relief of the United Hebrew Charities.

    1892: Justice George C. Barrett officiated at the wedding of Albert Kohn and Sophie Kupfer. The nuptials which were one of the most fashionable events in the Jewish community, took place at the home of Henry Kupfer on east 78th Street.

    1893: George Kennan, the explorer and newspaper man who has become a critic of the Czar and advocate for Russian democracy stated his belief that Polish and Russian Jews will be coming to the United States as a result of the edicts of expulsion issued by the Russian government.

    1893: “Myer S. Isaacs, Chairman of the Trustees of the Baron Hirsh Fund for the aid of Russian Jews” in the United States said today that he and his associates “had not considered the question of an influx of Polish Jews” because they did not except any abnormal increase in immigration from that region. (Editor’s note – Based on contemporary reports there was a great deal of disagreement about Russian edicts of expulsion and the potential major influx of Jews from Poland and Russia)

    1894: It was reported today that while Herman Rosenblatt stood in the smoldering ruins of his crockery store, a local ruffian pointed at the Jew and shouted “There is the man who set the fire” causing a mob yelling “Lynch him” to chase after Rosenblatt.  Rosenblatt outran the mob and  found sanctuary in the 47th Street Police Station.

    1896: In a cable from London, Harold Frederic provided a scoop for the New York Times when he broke the news about Baron Hirsch’s grandchild, who is the daughter of the Baron’s son Lucienne and a French governess. As confirmed by a copy of the Baron’s will, the child will inherit a large portion of the Hirsch millions.

    1898:The Daughters of Jacob are hosting a Strawberry Festival at Terrace Garden for the benefit of a Home for Aged Hebrews of the down-town east side. They have already sold 3,000 tickets at fifty cents each, and have received presents of large quantities of goods that will be sold at the festival.

    1898: Joseph J. Corn, the Vice President Temple Culture Society spoke yesterday about the purpose of the society. He said “that in these days of cheap philosophy and what has come to be known as ethical culture there is a need for Jewish culture.  In an effort to combat the notion that religious education ended with confirmation, the society is holding weekly meetings devoted to the study of Jewish history and Jewish philosophy.  Among other things, the programs should help Jews answer the question “Why are you Jews in this Christian world and yet not of it?”

    1899(7th of Sivan): Jewish historian Jacob Ezekiel passed away

    1903: At a meeting held under the auspices of the English Zionist Federal a resolution was adopted “declaring that the establishment of a home in Palestine was the only practical solution of the Jewish question.”  Israel Zangwill had given an impassioned speech in support of the motion during which he invoked the bloody images of the atrocities committed against the Jews of Romania and Kishineff.

    1904: Herzl's diary breaks off with a report to Jacob Schiff. Schiff was a successful banker and financer. He was one of the leaders of the Jewish community in the 19th and early 20th century. He actively intervened on behalf of the Jews suffering in Tsarist Russia. Although he had reservations about Zionism, he was increasingly drawn to Herzl’s concept of a Jewish homeland in Palestine as a practical way of lessening the suffering of Russia’s Jews.
    1909: Birthdate of  Yehiel Feiner whom the world would come to know as Yehiel De-Nur or Dinur, a survivor of Auschwitz who used his experience as the basis for several books including “The House of Dolls.”

    1911: Masliach Effendi of the Turkish government ridicules the idea that Jews could become a menace to Turkey. He suggests appointment of committee to examine the whole question of Zionism.
    1912: Birthdate of Rita Kanarek. In her senior year at N.Y.U. she married Alex Hillman founder and President of Hillman Periodicals. Mrs. Hillman became president of the Alex Hillman Family Foundation where she pursued her passions as an art collector and philanthropist. Among the beneficiaries of her largesse was the Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing in Manhattan. She passed away at the age of 95 in November, 2007.

    1912: Birthdate of author, historian and broadcaster, Studs Terkel. “My family was Jewish but not religious. My mother went through the rituals; my father didn't. He was a freethinker.” He passed away at the age of 93.

    1914 20th of Iyar): Isaac Halevy (Rabinowitz) author of “Dorot ha-Rishonim” passed away

    1916: Birthdate of Ephraim Katzir, former President of Israel. Born Katchalski in Kiev, Katzir came to Palestine in 1925. A biophysicist, Katzir taught at Hebrew University and served as department hair at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. One result of his research was the creation of a synthetic fiber for internal surgery that can be dissolved by body enzymes. He served as Israel's fourth President(a largely ceremonial position) from 1973 to 1978

    1916: The will of Shalom Aleichem was published in the New York Times and read into the Congressional Record of the United States.

    1919:The first Estonian Congress of Jewish congregations which had been convened on May 11 to discuss the new circumstances Jewish life was confronting came to a close today. This is where the ideas of cultural autonomy and a Jewish Gymnasium (secondary school) in Tallinn were born. Jewish societies and associations began to grow in numbers. The largest of these new societies was the H. N. Bjalik Literature and Drama Society in Tallinn founded in 1918. Societies and clubs were established in Viljandi, Narva, and elsewhere. In 1920, the Maccabi Sports Society was founded and became well-known for its endeavors to encourage sports among Jews. Jews also took an active part in sporting events in Estonia and abroad. Sara Teitelbaum was a 17-time champion in Estonian athletics and established no less than 28 records. In the 1930s there were about 100 Jews studying at the University of Tartu. In 1934, a chair was established in the School of Philosophy for the study of Judaica. There were five Jewish student societies in Tartu Academic Society, the Women’s Student Society Hazfiro, the Corporation Limuvia, the Society Hasmonea and the Endowment for Jewish Students. All of these had their own libraries and played important roles in Jewish culture and social life. Political organizations such as Hasomer Hazair and Beitar were also established. Many Jewish youth traveled to Palestine to establish the Jewish State. The renowned kibbutzim of Kfar Blum and Ein Gev were set up in part by Jews from Estonia.

    1923: Birthdate of economist Merton Miller, winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Economics.

    1923: Birthdate of Manuel D. Plotkin, the native of Chita, Russia who was appointed Director of the Census Bureau by President Carter in 1977.

    1923: The first aerial display in Palestine took place at Ramleh today, a squadron of 14 aeroplanes of the British Royal Air Force participating. The exhibition program included flying, air races, a baloon hunt, mimic air fighting and a bombing demonstration. The aerial derby was over the circuit of Ramleh, Raselain, Jaffa, Ramle... Lieut. Martyn, flying a Vickers Vimy biplane, won the air race covering a distance of twenty-seven miles.

    1926: Dr. James Simon will preside over today’s celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden,  a “German Jewish organization founded in 1901 to improve social and political conditions of Jews in Eastern Europe and Orient.”

    1927: It was reported today that four thousand six hundred and twenty-eight persons are now living in 41 settlements in Palestine created by the Keren Hayesod, according to the latest figures given out by the Department of Agricultural Colonization of the Palestine Zionist Executive. Sixty-five per cent of this population are workers, and the remainder children. (JTA)

    1928:Three Jews who are reported to be Communists, were scheduled to be deported from Palestine.  One of the deportees “was found guilty in Jerusalem of belonging to an illegal organization” while the other two were being deported after having served short jail terms for participating in “May Day riots in Tel Aviv.”

    1929: In Baltimore, MD, Arnold Rice Rich and Helen Gravely Jones Rich gave birth to Adrienne Rich, a poet of towering reputation and towering rage, whose work — distinguished by an unswerving progressive vision and a dazzling, empathic ferocity — brought the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse and kept it there for nearly a half-century. Her father was Jewish.  Her mother was not. (As reported by Margalit Fox)

    1929:The 1st Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honoring the best films of 1927 and 1928 and took place on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, in Los Angeles, California. The awards, popularly known as Oscars, were created by Jewish movie mogul Louis B. Mayer, founder of Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation.

    1932: The Nazis are demanding the removal of Bernhard Weiss from his post as the Vice-President of the Berlin Police Force.  Their objections are two-fold: Weiss is Jewish and he ordered the arrest of four Nazis for their role in attacking a former Nazi named Schotz who had left the party.

    1935: “A convention of delegates from national Jewish youth organizations will meet tonight in room 327 of the Chanin Building, 122 East Forty-second Street, to consider the syllabi which will be presented to the seminars to be held on June 9 at the Metropolitan Conference of Jewish Youth Organizations. The meeting, under the auspices of the youth division of the American Jewish Congress, will consider such problems as anti-Semitism, boycott of the 1936 Olympics, Zionism, Jewish youth and economic discrimination and Jewish education.” (JTA)

    1936(24th of Iyar, 5696): A bomb thrown by Arabs kills three Jews at the Edison cinema in Jerusalem. The Haganah demands permission to retaliate, but Ben Gurion refuses. The Edison Cinema was not just a movie theatre. It was a “citadel of secular European culture in Jerusalem. It opened in 1932 with a performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” sung in Hebrew. The Edison was the third largest cinema in the city and popular sport for British soldiers and officials.

    1936: “Steel helmeted police maintained comparative quiet in the Holy Land today following” demonstrations that had broken out yesterday when the Arab campaign of civil disobedience officially began.

    1937(6th of Sivan, 5697): Shavuot

    1937: The Polish government launched two investigations into the attacks on Jews that took place last week in Brzesc, which was known as Brest-Litovsk, the site of the peace negotiations between the Germans and the Russians that resulted with the latter surrendering to the former.

    1937: Dr. Bernhard Kahn and David J. Schweitzer, European director and vice-president, respectively, of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee issued a report today that described“the role of the cooperative credit system established by the American Jewish Joint Reconstruction Foundation in aiding some 500,000 Jews in eleven European countries by facilitating issuance of $28,000,000 in credits in nine months

    1938: The Palestine Post reported on the continued fighting between the police and British army units in the Acre District. At least 23 terrorists were killed there and numerous arrests were made. Jewish settlements repulsed numerous terrorist attacks, but complained that they were supplied with insufficient arms and too small a number of supernumerary constables for a successful defense. The Iraq Petroleum Co. pipeline was again set on fire.

    1938: After two and half weeks of touring the country, Britain’s Palestine Partition Commission began its first official session.  Because of the continued Arab violence, the meeting was held “in camera under heavy guard.’  While Arab leaders continued to boycott the commission, Jewish leaders Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, Moshe Shertok and Dr. Bernard Joseph met with the British to discuss possible implementation of partition proposals.

    1943: The famous Tolmatsky Synagogue of Warsaw was dynamited by order of General Jurgen Stroop. It marked the last German "major operation" in the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

    1943:SS-Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop reports the final liquidation of the Jewish ghetto at Warsaw, although some Jews remain in hiding. The Germans reportedly lost 300 troops.Amazingly the Jewish resistance had proved fierce, by comparison than that of the French Army in 1940. The number of Jewish dead does not matter, since they would have perished in the showers and ovens any way. Death was not the question; the manner of death was the matter of choice. There were a few survivors of the Ghetto, one of them being the mother ofMarshaFensin, the former Cantor of Temple Judah.

    1943(11th of Iyar 11): Yiddish author Chaim Zhitlowsky passed away

    1944: The first ofmore than 180,000 Hungarian Jews reached Auschwitz.

    1948: In New York City, the American Zionist Emergency Council sponsored a celebration of the creation of the Jewish state at Madison Square Garden that was so well attended 75,000 people had to be turned away.

    1948: Based on a telegram from David Ben Gurion and Moshe Sharett, Abba Eban and not Mordechai Elisah, is to be Israel’s chief spokesman at the the United Nations.

    1948: Israel issued itsfirst postage stamps.

    1948: At the Landsberg DP Camp, survivors of the Holocaust held a celebratory parade in honor the creation of the state of Israel

    1948: Chaim Weizmann was chosen Chairman of the Provisional State Council of Israel which effectively made him the first president of the State of Israel.

    1948: The Egyptian army suffered its first defeat at Nirim, in the Negev.

    1948: The Egyptians entered Gaza. They would not “leave’ until 1967.

    1948:At approximately one o’clock in the morning Syrian artillery began shelling Kibbutz Ein Gev.  At dawn, Syrian aircraft attacked the Kinarot valley villages.  Later in the day “Syrian aircraft made bombing runs on Masada, Sha'ar HaGolan, Degania Bet and Afikim.” This was the opening round in the Syrian attempt to sweep the Jews from the Galilee. To any one observing events of that day, it would appear that the victory would go to the Syrians with their tanks, artillery and combat aircraft.

    1948: Christopher Mayhew, the future Lord Mayhew, an anti-Zionist ally of British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin, writes in his diary, “I must make a note about Ernest’s anti-Semitism, which has come out increasingly sharply these past few weeks with the appalling crisis in Palestine. There is no doubt to my mind that that Ernest detests Jews. He makes the odd wise-crack about the ‘chosen people’ and declares that the Old Testament is the most immoral book ever written…” This view of Bevin is fascinating when his role in enforcing the White Paper and his opposition to a Jewish homeland is being considered.

    1948: An article published today “JEWS IN GRAVE DANGER IN ALL MOSLEM LANDS; Nine Hundred Thousand in Africa and Asia Face Wrath of Their Foes” described the precarious position of the 900,000 Jews living “Arab and Moslem countries stretching from Morocco to India.”  “There is a tendency” in some Moslem states “such as Syria and Lebanon” “to regard all Jews as Zionist agents and fifth columnists.  There are indications that that the stage is being set for a tragedy of incalculable proportions” which the United Nations has done nothing to prevent.  These fears are based in part on Arab League announcements that at some unspecified date, “all Jews except citizens of non-Arab states, would be considered ‘members of the Jewish minority state of Palestine.’ Their bank accounts would be frozen and used to finance resistance to ‘Zionist ambitions in Palestine.’  Jews believed to active Zionists would be interned and their assets confiscated.”  In Syria, “virtually all” Jewish civil servants have already been fired and in Iraq Jews are not allowed to leave the country without posting a $20,000 bond to guarantee their return.  However bad conditions are now, it is predicted that in the event of an all-out war in Palestine, “the repercussions will be grave for Jews all the way from Casablanca to Karachi.”
    1949:  Milton Berle appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.

    1950:Out of a large collection of 120 styles of knit fashions brought to this country from Israel, for merchandising, forty were shown this afternoon at the Plaza Hotel to buyers. The presentation, under the auspices of Service for Palestine, Inc., 2 Park Avenue, was its first show to promote Israel-made products in the American market.

    1955: Birthdate of actress Debra Winger, the star of Officer and a Gentleman.”

    1955: Birthdate of Edgar Bronfman Jr., CEO of Seagram and Warner Music

    1960: Theodore Maiman operates the first optical laser at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.

    1967: General Fawzi, the Egyptian chief of staff, sent a message to the commander of the UN Emergency Force, General Rikhye of the Indian Army requesting the withdrawal of the UNEF from Egypt. The Egyptian Foreign Minister sent a cable to U Thant, UN Secretary General tell him that the Egyptian government ad decided to immediately terminate the presence of UNEF in Egypt and the Gaza strip.

    1968(18th of Iyar, 5728); Lag B'Omer

    1969: Barbra Streisand appeared at a Friars Club Tribute

    1973: Birthdate of actress Tori Spelling.

    1973(14th of Iyar, 5733): Famed Cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz passed away. His body was flown to Jerusalem for burial.

    1974: Despite a terrorist attack the previous day on a school at Ma’alot, Prime Minister Golda Meir tells Secretary of State Kissinger that talks with the Syrians will continue. After a one day hiatus, she says, “We had all better back to peacemaking.

    1975(6th of Sivan, 5735): Shavuot

    1977: "Boulevard Montmartre, in the Afternoon Rain," by Camille Pissarro the son of Frederick Pissarro, a Sephardic Jew, was sold today, at Christie's in New York for $275,000

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that in his 28th Annual State Comptroller's Report Dr. Yitzhak Nebenzahl called for a "Ministry of Administration." He said that while there are many links that tie people to its government, in Israel the administration is the weakest link in this chain. "A government," he explained, "is like an automobile. No matter how fine the car is, it will not ride well unless all four wheels are intact." The Report claimed a massive maladministration, and was specifically highly critical of the Treasury.

    1984(14th of Iyar, 5744): Comedian Andy Kaufman passed away. Born in 1949, Kaufman is best remembered for his many appearances on ‘Saturday Night Live’ andfor his portrayal of Latka on thetelevision hit “Taxi.” He was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer and was 35 at the time of his death.

    1984(14th of Iyar, 5744): Irwin Shaw passed away at the age of 71. Born Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff in 1913 in the Bronx, his Jewish immigrants from Russia changed the family to Shaw and moved to Brooklyn. After graduating from Brooklyn College in 1934, Shaw wrote scripts for radio shows including Dick Tracey. After serving in the Army during World War II, Shaw produced his "great American war novel" The Young Lions, which became the basis for a successful film of the same name.Among other works by this highly prolific writer was Rich Man, Poor Man which became a hit t.v. mini-series.

    1986(7th of Iyar, 5746): Sixty-five year old Yehuda Hellman passed away today.

    1987: For the third and final night Leonard Bernstein conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the IPO’s 50thanniversary celebration

    1987: Birthdate of Can Bonomo, the Turkish born Jewish singer who “represented Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 at Baku.

    1990(21st of Iyar, 5750):  Multi-talented entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. passed away at the age of 64. Born in Harlem in 1925, began his show business career at the age of four. Davis was the son of a popular vaudeville entertainer. He learned how to dance from the legendary BoJangles. He begandancing with the Will Mastin Trio and moved on to asinging career that included opening for Frank Sinatra. Davis was part of theRat Pack and starred with them in the cult classic “Ocean’sEleven.”During the 1950's Davis was in an automobile accident in which he lost his eye. It was during this period of his life than he converted to Judaism.He will be remembered not just for his talent but for his support of the Civil Rights Movement as well. (As reported by Peter Flin)

    1991: The Los Angeles Times featured a review of Wartime Lies,” the first novel written by Louis Begley. "Wartime Lies is the story of a ‘lucky’ little boy. Lucky goes in quotation marks; the child went through terror and degradation. On the other hand, no one in his small family of well-to-do Polish Jews went to a concentration camp. Only two--his grandfather and grandmother--were killed; he, his father and his aunt survived and were able to prosper after the war, even before emigrating.”

    1993: A third revival of “3 Men on a Horse” featuring Jewish thespians Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, Jerry Stiller and Ellen Green closed today in New York City

    1994(6th of Sivan, 5754) First Day of Shavuot

    1994(6th of Sivan, 5754): Shaul Ben-Tzvi, the second commander of the Israeli Navy passed away today.  Born Paul Hamah Schulman in Connecticut in 1922 he graduated from the U.S. Navy Academy and served with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during WW II.  Following his discharge he worked to bring Jews to Palestine during the mandate and then helped to establish a naval arm for the infant Jewish State.

    1999: Angela Warnick Buchdahl was invested as the first Asian American cantor. Two years later, she became the first Asian American rabbi.

    1999: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Return of Depression Economics by Paul Krugman and recently released paperback editions Aharon Appelfeld’s “The Iron Tacks,” the “Israseli novelabout a concentration camp survivor who wanders through Austria buying sacred books and other remnants of the Jewish culture that once flourshedthere while searingfor the Nazi officer who murdered his parents” and “Bronstein’sChildrenby Jurek Becker, “anovel about the psychic aftershocks of the Holocaust in which an 18yearold German Jew stumbles onhis father and two other camp survivors as they torture a former Nazi Guard.”

    2002(5th of Sivan, 5762): Erev Shavuot

    2004(25th of Iyar, 5764): Eight-six year old singer and lyricist June Carroll passed away today.

    2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including the recently released paperback edition of Part of Our Time: Some Ruin and Monuments of the Thirties” in whichMurray Kempton re-evaluate “the radical movements and personalities of the 1930’s focusingon such ‘ruinsand monuments’ as Paul Robeson, Whittaker Chambers, Algers Hiss and Walter Reuther.”

    2006: Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard received the prestigious B'nai B'rith international Presidential Gold Medal for his "outstanding" support of Israel and the Jewish people at a ceremony in Washington.

    2006: A French politician and his sister sued France's state-run SNCF railway for transporting their father and three relatives to a wartime transit camp that sent Jews off to Nazi concentration camps. Alain Lipietz, a Greens European Parliament deputy, and his sister Helene accused the SNCF of organizing the transport of French Jews to the Drancy transit camp near Paris and billing the wartime government for its services. Of the 330,000 Jews living in France in 1940, 75,721 were deported to death camps and only about 2,500 returned alive. Alain and Helene Lipietz told the court their father Georges had been sent by train in mid-1944 from Toulouse in southwestern France to Drancy, usually the last stop for French Jews before they were put on trains to the death camps. He was freed from Drancy on August 18, only days before Paris was liberated by Allied forces. The SNCF billed the state for that transport which came two months after Allied forced had landed in Normandy, the two plaintiffs said. "The SNCF charged for third class tickets for people who were crammed 200 at a time in freight cars meant to transport 60 horses," Helene Lipietz said. "These were cars without water, food or toilets and they were able to pass through Allied lines even as French territory was being liberated and someone could have stopped these convoys," Alain Lipietz added. The SNCF's lawyer, Yves Baudelot, said the railway could not be held responsible for the transports because it had no choice but to cooperate with German occupying forces during the war.

    2007: Thomas Cole, Rose Dobrof, Marc Kaminsky, Penninah Schram, Mark Weiss, and Steve Zeitlin present “Stories as Equipment for Living: Last Talks and Talesof Barbara Myerhoff” at the Center for Jewish History in New York City. “Stories As Equipment For Living” is a compilation of Barbara Myerhoff's unpublished talks on the meaning of stories, the tales she collected and the searching field notes that document her struggle to discover and maintain her personal and cultural identity - all that survive of the work she had undertaken in Los Angeles' orthodox Fairfax community. It is a true sequel to her groundbreaking best seller NumberOur Days.”

    2007: (28 Iyar, 5767) Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Reunification Day; Celebrating forty years of the return of Jerusalem to its rightful place as, one, undivided city serving as the capital of the Jewish state. “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.”(Psalms 137:5-6)

    2007(28th of Iyar, 5767): Rabbi Mordecai Simon, chief administrator of the Chicago Board of Rabbis for thirty two years and host of the Sunday morning television show “What’s Nu?” passed away in Highland Park, Il, at the age of 81.

    2007: Richard J. Pratt was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Medal for Corporate Citizenship. This is given to is executives who, “ their examples and their business practices, have shown a deep concern for the common good beyond the bottom line. They are at the forefront of the idea that private firms should be good citizens in their own neighborhoods and in the world at large”

    2008: At the Channel Inn in Washington, D.C., as part of the monthly meeting/luncheon of the Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia, The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington marks the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel with a series of book talks by Laura Cohen Apelbaum on Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community (the companion to the award-winning exhibit of the same name) co-sponsored by the Embassy of Israel and the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum.

    2008(11th of Iyar, 5768): Ninety-three year Middle East scholar J. C. Hurewitz, passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

    2008: "Furo" is being performed for the first time in Israel, in a special temporary pavilion designed by Giora Porter on the Tel Aviv Port boardwalk.

    2009: The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division  struck down a lawsuit that sought to prevent the state of New York from using eminent domain to seize the property where Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project is being built.

    2009: Ronald Radosh and his wife, Allis Radosh, discuss and sign their new book, “A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel” at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

    2009:At the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum in Bethesda, Md. Rabbi Shefa Gold, a leader in Aleph: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal and a composer of six albums of Jewish liturgical music, reads from and discusses her new book, “In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of the Song of Songs” (with illustrations by Phillip Ratner) followed by a Havdalah Service.

    2009(22nd of Iyar, 5769): Mordechai Limon, the first commander of the Israel Navy, passed away today at the age of 85. “During World War II, he volunteered for the British Merchant Marine, where he learned the art of naval commanding, and after the war he commanded ships that brought clandestine immigrants to the Land of Israel in defiance of the British mandatory authorities. Limon is best remembered for his role in the Cherbourg Affair, directing the operation that brought five warships from France to Israel that French President Charles de Gaulle sought to prevent Israel from receiving, even though they had been paid for. Limon was subsequently expelled from France and retired from the Navy, becoming a private businessman.”

    2009: An Israeli entrepreneur who has started what is believed to be the world's first tuition-free on-line university said today “he hopes the effort will expand education to less fortunate people around the world. Shai Reshef said University of the People has about 150 students from 35 countries who have enrolled since the school began two weeks ago. He hopes to expand the program to include 15,000 students in four years. (Jerusalem Post)

    2010:Linda Levi, Director of Global Archives for The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is scheduled deliver a talk entitled “The JDC Archives: Resources for Genealogists” in New York City.

    2010: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Finding Chandra:A True Washington Murder Mystery by Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz and Innocent by Scott Turow.

    2011: “2,000 Years of Jewish Life in Morocco: An Epic Journey,” a two day symposium focusing on the Jews of Morocco, sponsored by The American Sephardi Federation is scheduled to come to an end.


    2011:Rabbi Matthew Kraus, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Cincinnati is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “The Nature of Jewish Life in America” in which he explores “the impact of the move to the suburbs on Jewish spiritual life--how Jews pray, how Jews practice, and how Jews relate to the Almighty”


    2011: Rabbi Matthew Kraus, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Cincinnati is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “History of the JQC (Jewish Queen City)” which traces the history of Cincinnati’s Jewish community “from its humble origins to the glory days of Plum Street Temple and the Manischewitz Baking Company to the start of the Big Brothers organization at the turn of the century and so much more!”

    2011:Tonight, the Great White Way of Broadway will light up as stars, including Dudu Fisher and Tovah Feldshuh, perform in “Broadway Sensation,” a benefit celebrating Israel’s future. The event, which will raise proceeds for the Jewish National Fund, the OR Movement and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, will be broadcast live in Times Square, and feature over 100 performers from popular shows including Wicked, The Scottsboro Boys and Next to Normal.

    2011: Rahm Emanuel took the oath of office today to become Chicago’s 46th mayor and the first mayor of The Windy City.

    2012: A screening of “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray” is scheduled to be shown at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, Ohio.

    2012: Professor Steven Bowman is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled Italian Hebrew Renaissance of the 10th-11th Centuries at Cedar Village in Mason, Ohio

    2012: Movie critic Carrie Rickey is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled Untold Stories:The Films of Aviva Kempner Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, PA.

    2012: Chilean singer-songwriter Yael Meyer is scheduled to perform at the Washington DCJCC.

    2012: During an interview today, Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress said that his organization is urging European governments to quickly adopt measures to tackle anti-Semitism and the threat of right-wing extremist.

    2012: David Levin beams with joy as Elizabeth Levin graduates from Columbia Medical School after which this accomplished young woman will begin a vascular surgery residency at UCLA.

    2013: The Weiner Library is scheduled to host Ray Farr’s film “A Different World” which “concentrates on the vibrant lives of Polish Jews before their arrival at the Third Reich’s killing centers.”

    2013: As part of the Books That Shaped America Series, Professor Pamela Nadell, the recipient of the American Jewish Historical Society’s Lee Max Friedman Award will lead a discussion of Jacob Riis’ How the Other Lives which among other thing presented an accurate picture of the Lower East Side, home to tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.

    2013: The Poetry Festival at Metulla, Israel’s most northern town is scheduled to come to an end today.

    2013: The annual Indigo Festival, a huge dance fest on the shores of the Sea of Galilee is scheduled to begin today.

    2013(7thof Sivan, 5730): Second Day of Shavuot/ Yizkor

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    May 17 In History 

    142 BCE: “Simon the Hasmonean captured the citadel of Jerusalem and expelled its Syrian garrison ad the Hellenized Jews” who had fought with them. Simon was the last surviving Hasmonean brother.  His victories completed the fight begun by the more famous Judah who had taken possession of Jerusalem in 165 BCE but had not been able to take control of the citadel.

    1012: Benedict VIII began his papacy. During his reign, “a number of Roman Jews were executed on Cecil Roth has called the ‘improbable charge of mocking a crucifix.’  The accuracy of this is open to debate since a contemporary chronicler, Ademar of Chabannes, “this occurred after an earthquake accompanied by a severe storm erupted on Good Friday, prompting a Roman Jews to inform the papal palace that some of his coreligionist had mocked a crucifix in their synagogue. After those found guilty were beheaded the earthquake ceased.

    1220: Second coronation of King Henry III in Westminster Abbey which was ordered by Pope Honorius III who did not consider that the first had been carried out in accordance with church rites. In 1253, King Henry established The Domus Conversorum (House of Conversion) which was a building and institution in London for Jews who had converted to Christianity. It provided a communal home and low wages.

    1338: The Bishop of Strasbourg formed an alliance for the pursuit of the Armleder assassins who were responsible for the massacring of Jews in Alsace.

    1594: Today “The Jew of Malta” was entered in the Stationer's Register, a record book maintained by the Stationers' Company of London which a held monopoly over the printing industry in England.

    1617(12thof Iyar, 5377): Rabbi Judah Löb Saraval passed away He translated Saadia’s commentary on “Canitcles” into Hebrew. [Canticles is another name for the Song of Songs.] “He is quoted in the ritual work "Mashbit Milḥamot," in connection with a question in regard to the ritual bath. Although he was reported to have died in Venice, Filosseno Luzzato found his tombstone in Padua.

    1727: Catherine I of Russia passed away. The Catherine was the second wife of Peter the Great. She ruled for two years after Peter’s death. In that time she issued an edict expelling the Jews from the Ukraine and the rest of Russia and denying them the right to ever return.



    1776: During the American revolution the U.S. Congress called on Americans to raise their voices in prayer, and among the verses read by the "anxious" Jews of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation of New York was, "…And they shall beat their swords into plow-shares."

    1786(19thof Iyar): Moses Eidlitz, author of “Melehet Mah-shevet” passed away.

    1792: The New York Stock Exchange is founded when the Buttonwood Agreement was signed by 24 stock brokers outside of 68 Wall Street in New York under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. Benjamin Seixas, brother of Gershom Seixas, was one of the five Jews included in the list of the twenty-four founders of the New York Stock Exchange

    1795: Rabbi Isaiah Berlinled a special service in the synagogue at Breslau in honor of the recently signed Peace of Basel that ended the War of the First Coalition.From a Jewish point of view, the service was unusual because Berlin permitted the use of instrumental music.


    1805(18th of Iyar, 5565):Lag B'Omer

    1814: The Constitution of Norway is signed and the Danish Crown Prince Christian Frederik is elected King of Norway by the Constitutional assembly. The first Jews arrived in what is now Norway in the last decade of the 15th century. They were Sephardim escaping the Inquisition and were referred to as “the Portuguese Jews.” This constitution included in its second paragraph a general ban against Jews and Jesuits entering the country. In principle, Portuguese Jews were exempt from this ban, but it appears that few applied for a letter of free passage. When Norway entered into the personal union of Sweden-Norway, the ban against Jews was upheld, though Sweden at that point had several Jewish communities. In 1844, the Norwegian Ministry of Justice declared: "... it is assumed that the so-called Portuguese Jews are, regardless of the Constitution’s §2, entitled to dwell in this country, which is also, to [our] knowledge, what has hitherto been assumed."After tireless efforts by the poet Henrik Wergeland, the Norwegian parliament lifted the ban against Jews in 1851 and they were awarded religious rights on par with Christian "dissenters." In 1852, the first Jew landed in Norway to settle, but it wasn't until 1892 that there were enough Jews to form a synagogue in Oslo.

    1836: Birthdate Wilhelm Steinitz. Born in Prague, which was part of the Austrian Empire, Steinitz was the first official World Champion of Chess holding the title from 1886 to 1894. He suffered from a variety of mental problems after losing his championship. At one point he claimed to have played a game of Chess with God. He passed away in 1900 while living in Brooklyn.

    1844: Warder Cresson became the first person commissioned to serve as Consul at Jerusalem by the United States State Department. Cresson would convert to Judaism while serving in Jerusalem and take the name Michael Boaz Israel ben Abraham

    1844: Birthdate of Julius Wellhausen, the German biblical scholar who, in his 1878 "History of Israel," first advanced the JEDP Hypothesis, claiming that the Torah was a compilation of four earlier, literary sources.

    1849: In St, Louis, The Great Fire occurred when at 10 p.m. a fire broke out on the steamboat "White Cloud". Within 30 minutes, 23 steamboats were engulfed in flames. The fire swept up the levee, destroying tons of freight and 15 blocks of residences, warehouses, and stores. Businesses destroyed that were owned in whole or in part by Jews include: Isaac Jacobs, Abraham Jacobs, Lewis M. Levy, Simon Lewis, Raborg & Shaffner, Helfenstein & Co., Charles Roderman, Weil & Bros., L. Newman, Helfenstein, Gore & Co., Levy & Bros., H. Cohen, and Simon Abeles.

    1852: The New York Times reported that the first reading of a bill designed to remove the disabilities imposed upon persons refusing to take the “oaths of abjuration” (known as the Jews Bill) had taken place in the House of Lords. During the debate, Lord Lyndhurst cited the recent case of David Salomons, the Jew who had refused to take the standard oath and sought to be seated in the House of Commons nonetheless. In what was seen as a turn for the better, Lord Derby had not offered any opposition to the measure.

    1855: In New York ceremonies were held today marking the official opening first hospital building in the United States devoted solely to alleviate the suffering of poor Jews.  The ceremonies featured uniquely Jewish liturgical motifs including a display of Torah Scrolls. In addition to all of the modern conveniences one would expect to find in a new hospital, there is a synagogue on the 2nd floor.  John Hart is president of the board of directors and Benjamin Hart is the vice president.

    1855: Over five hundred ladies and gentlemen attended a banquet at Niblo’s Saloon that was intended to raise funds for the newly opened Jew’s Hospital.  The Grace before and after dinner were chanted in Hebrew by Rabbi J.J. Lyons and Anthony Leo. 

    1860: Alliance Israelite Universelle was launched by a group of French Jews under the direction of Adolphe Cremieux. It was designed to defend Jewish rights and to establish world-wide Jewish educational facilities. Charles Netter was one of the six founders of the organization which had been formed in response to anti-Semitic incidents such as the abduction of Edgardo Mortara and the Damascus affair. The Franco-Prussian War diminished its universality and separate organizations were formed in Germany and England.

    1866(3rd of Sivan, 5626):  Composer Adolf Bernhard Marx passed away at the age of 70.

    1872: An article published today titled  "The Jews in Roumania" reported that the Italian government has sent a communication to to the government of Prince Charles of Roumania protesting against the persecution and oppression of the Jews in that country.

    1874: Birthdate of Bertha Kalich, star of American Yiddish theatre

    1876(Iyar 23): Aaron Zevi Friedman, the author of “Tuv Ta’am” passed away

    1877: Haemet was published for the first time in Vienna.  Aaron Samuel Liebermann was the publisher

    1877: An American Jewish couple living in England were parties to litigation surrounding their marriage.  Benjamin Levy sued his wife Deborah Isaacs Levy and her alleged lover on grounds that the two were partners in an adulterous relationship. After a few minutes of deliberation, the jury found that they had been guilty of adultery but also found that Levy “had conduced to his wife’s misconduct.  Therefore, they declined to assess any damages against either the respondent or the co-respondent.

    1879: The third annual meeting of Felix Adler’s Society for Ethical Culture had its final meeting in New York City.

    1880(7thof Sivan, 5640): Second Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1885: In New York City, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Guggenheim gave birth to Meyer Robert Guggenheim, a member of the famous Guggenheim family who served as U.S. Ambassador to Portugal at the beginning of the Eisenhower Administration

    1888(7thof Sivan, 5648)L Second Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1890: C.J. Schwab will conduct a 24-piece orchestra today at the 13thannual Strawberry Festival sponsored by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association  at the Lenox Lyceum.  E.B. Levy is in charge of this fundraising event.

    1893: A delegation from New York led by Oscar S Straus met with Secretary of State Gresham in Washington, D.C. to discuss the situation of the Jews in Russia.  They asked him to intervene on their behalf with Czar with the hope that he would take action mitigating the “severe edicts and penalties” that have been imposed upon them in the last few years.

    1893: Explorer, journalist and advocate for democratic reform in Russia, George Kennan and his wife are sailing for England today.  Before leaving he expressed his firm belief that an influx of Russian Jews will be coming to the United States; forced to do so because of the Czar’s edicts.  In response to a question about aid for these immigrants he said that the Baron de Hirsch Fund has a definite, major role to play in assisting Russian Jewish immigrants.

    1893: It was reported today that Myer S. Isaacs, Chairman of the Trustee of the Baron Hirsh Fund expects that the only Jews who will immigrate to the United States from Russia will come of their own volition , will have money to take them to where they desire to settle “or will have friends who can help them.” “They will not be a burden to anybody and…they will make very good citizens. He said that the fund is still experimenting with its trade schools and industrial farm which all the help they can offer for the foreseeable future. (This is neither the first, nor the last time that Jews in America would underestimate the desperation of their European co-religionist)

    1893: “A rich Jewish banker, who desired” to remain anonymous “for the present” was reported to have said that if there should be an unusual increase in Jewish immigration from Poland and Russia, he would be interested in meeting with fellow Jews “to devise ways and means of caring for all refugees that might come.

    1895: “Rubinstein’s Religion” published today discussed the religious beliefs of the late Anton Rubinstein, the Russian pianist, composer and conductor. Although born a Jew, he “was baptized when a mere infant…and was forced…to follow the prescribed” religious “forms once a year.”  “It is worthy of notice and stands greatly to his credit, that in Russia, where it is better to be born a dog than a Jew, Rubinstein, despite his baptism, never sought to deny his Jewish origin.  In a certain way he was proud of it, and always boldly acknowledged it.”

    1895: “W.W. Wilson Becomes a Convert to Judaism” published today described the decision of Brooklyn lawyer Wayne W. Wilson to join the Jewish faith.  The ceremony took place at Temple Israel in Brooklyn. Wilson said that he “joined Temple Israel because the doctrine of the Reformed Jew my views exactly.”

    1895: Birthdate of Saul Adler, the Russian born Israeli who helped find a cure for malaria.

    1901: Herzl met with the Sultan of Turkey to discuss the establishment of a Jewish state and the obtaining of a charter. He failed in both attempts. However, The Sultan bestows on Herzl the Grand Cordon of the Mejidiye and authorized Hertzl to declare that the ruling Khalif was a friend and protector of the Jewish people. Herzl believed that a Jewish homeland could be created by getting approval of the venture from the political leaders of the day. That is why he sought out the support of the Kaiser. The state of Israel would eventually be a product of changed realities on the ground – the settling of the land by the Zionists – and political support from various political leaders such as Harry Truman in 1948.

    1902: “During Shabbat Torah services women interrupted prayers with a call to support the boycott” of kosher butcher shops on the Lower East Side. “Women left their seats in the balcony to persuade men to back their cause and gain communal support.” (As reported by Jewish Women’s Archives)

    1908: The Jewish American Historical Society held its 16th annual meeting today at the Hotel Astor.  During the morning session, Leon Huelmer presented a paper on “Jewish Privaterring in the Eighteenth Century.”  During the afternoon session Dr. Herbert Friedenwald presented a paper on “Why This Is Not a Christian Country.” At the evening session, the attendees approved a measure championed by Cyrus Adler, the society’s President to amend the constitution allowing the society to study “Jewish history in general instead of limiting it to” the study of American Jewish history.

    1908: Charles Towne and Daniel P. Hays were the principle speakers at tonight’s memorial service sponsored by the Hebrew Union Veteran Association and the Hebrew Veterans of the War with Spain to honor the soldiers and sailors who had died in the service of their country.  The service was held at New York’s Rodeph Shalom and guest included Rear Admiral Joseph B. Coghlan and Grand Marshal Isidore Isaacs of the Grand Army of the Republic and his staff.  The Grand Army of the Republic was large national Civil War veterans association that was a forerunner to the American Legion formed after WW I.

    1908(16thof Iyar, 5668): Percival Menken, who was born at Philadelphia, PA in 1865, passed away today.  He was laid to rest at Beth Olom Cemetery in Queens, NY.

    1915: The last British government formed by the Liberal Party fell from power. The party of reform, the Liberal Party produced the first openly Jewish Member of Parliament. Lionel Nathan de Rothschild was first elected in 1847. However, Rothschild would not take his seat until 1858 since it took 11 years to pass the Jewish Disabilities Bill that made it possible for Jews to swear an oath that was not Christian. After World War I, the Labour Party would supplant the Liberal Party as the chief opposition to the Conservatives.

    1915: Birthdate of Joseph Liegbott who was a Tech Sergeant with the 101stAirborne during WW II.  Although he was the Catholic son of Austrian immigrants many of his comrades assumed he was Jewish because of his name, his appearance and his hatred of Germans.  (What’s worse than being Jewish – not being Jewish but having people think you are)

    1918(6thof Sivan, 5678): Last Shavuot of World War I

    1921: Birthdate of Judith Coplon, the native of Brooklyn and former Justice Department employee who became a sensation in 1949 when she was accused of being a Soviet spy.

    1923: The Wiener Morgenzeitung (The Vienna Morning Newspaper) was highly critical of The London house of Rothschild and the Paris representatives of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. ‘for what the paper regards as excessive cordiality shown towards the representatives of the Horthy regime, who are negotiating a loan in European capitals. Heinrich Margulies edited the paper before he moved to Palestine in 1925 where he became a Director of the Anglo-Palestine Bank.

    1923:Sir Wyndham Deedes, who has just resigned as the Civil Secretary of the Palestine Administration, addressed a meeting at the Grand Central Hotel called by the English Zionist Federation. Declaring that he favored Zionism because by enabling Jews to return to Palestine the world was righting a wrong committed by Christians 2,000 years ago, Sir Wyndham said only lack of money was hampering Zionist progress in all directions. (JTA)

    1926: David M Bressler announced that nearly $6,000,000 was raised in New York toward the $25,000,000 United Jewish Campaign at a rally of 1,500 workers.

    1926: Leading Jews of the East Side were guests at dinner tonight of Max Bernstein, proprietor of Libby's Hotel, the first modern Jewish hotel on the East Side, which was opened to the public yesterday. The hotel is at Delancey and Chrystie Streets. The hotel will serve kosher food. It was elected at a cost of $3,000,000. (JTA)

    1930: Today Hadassah announced that a new hospital will be opened in Tiberias on May 25.  The hospital will be named in honor of Peter J. Schweitzer and his widow will be going to Palestine to attend the dedication ceremonies

    1933: In Norway, Vidkun Quisling establishes the Norwegian Fascist Party as well as the Hirdmen (King's Men), a collaborationist organization that's modeled on the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA). When the Nazis invade Norway during World War II Quisling will become the head of the Norwegian government. Quisling was such a notorious traitor that his name has now become a word in the English language that means “traitor.”

    1933:  A petition is submitted to the League of Nations by representatives of the Comite des Delegations Juives protesting Germany’s anti-Jewish legislation, called the Bernheim Petition, named for imprisoned Silesian Jew Franz Bernheim.

    1934:  At New York's Madison Square Garden, thousands attend a pro-Nazi rally sponsored by the German-American Bund. Critics of Roosevelt’s policy towards Jewish refugees often overlook the reality of anti-Semitism in the United States. The Bund rally was merely the most public venue for this reality of the pre-war American landscape.

    1936(25thof Iyar): Seventy-seven year old  Zionist leader Nachum Sokolow passed away

    1936:A curfew order, forbidding residents of Jerusalem to leave their homes at night, was issued today by Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope, the High Commissioner of Palestine, following the killing of three Jews last night at a motion-picture theatre.

    1936: This morning in Jerusalem, more than 30,000 Jews marched in the funeral procession for three Jews murdered the night before at a local move theatre.  Isaac Ben Zvi, President of the National Jewish Council, told the mourners that he held the British government responsible for this because it was the duty of the government to protect its citizens.  An editorial published in today’s Palestine Post said that “ if this is a war of extermination declared y the Arabs on Jews, the Arabs had better know that the shooting down of 400,000 Jews will not alter the course of history and will not shake the Jews’ determination to resettle the land of their fathers…This movement of the Arab Supreme Council seeks tnot only to terrorize the Jews.  It aims to throw the land back to the Dark Ages.”

    1937(7th of Sivan, 5697) Second Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1937: Hundreds of Jews were injured during riots at Brest-Litovsk which is now located in Poland

    1938: A. H. Skinner, organizer and manager of the “newly organized American Palestine Securities Company which was registered with the SEC last week” and is designed “to deal in securities originating in the Holy Land” descried “the rapid growth of large-scale undertakings in Palestine in the last five years.  In reporting on the economic conditions in Palestine, Skinner said that there were twelve companies with capital of more than $500,000 and that poplation had grown from 40,000 in 1920 to 400,000 in 1938.

    1938:Arthur Sweetser, a director of the secretariat of the League of Nationswrote in his diary, “The President’s proposal took a large place in the League’s refugee deliberations this past week.” By the “President’s proposal” Sweetser was referencing Roosevelt’s plan to “get all the democracies to unite” in an effort to settle all of the Jewish refugees from Europe in their respective territories.”

    1939: The British government issues a White Paper (commonly called the MacDonald White Paper) that limits Jewish immigration to 10,000 a year for five years. The White Paper allows 75,000 Jewish immigrants (up to 10,000 per year, plus an additional 25,000 if certain conditions are met) to enter Palestine. The White Paper also restricts Jewish land purchases in Palestine. British government policy will succeed in keeping the actual numbers of Jewish immigrants far below the quotas for settlement in England and Palestine. The White Paper was issued after two years of orchestrated Arab violence. Recognizing the White Paper as a death sentence for a Jewish homeland, the leaders of the Yishuv prepare to bring “illegal immigrants” into Palestine. The White Paper also sealed the fate for Europe’s Jews as it closed the last place of refuge. When World War II broke out Jewish leaders were caught on the horns of a dilemma. In true Jewish fashion when confronted with two choices, the Zionists came up with a third solution. “We will fight the war as if there is no White Paper and we will fight the White Paper as if there is no war.” The Arabs had no such problems as the fact that the Grand Mufti spent the war in Berlin proves.

    1939: There were only 679 Jews still living in Magdeburg. Eleven years earlier, there were more than three thousand Jews living in this ancient German city in which Jews had been living since the 10th century.

    1939: Fighting broke out in Jerusalem as police sought to disperse 5,000 demonstrators who had gathered to protest the White Paper.

    1940: Birthdate of Tama Gottlob, the younger sister of Salomon Gottlob. At age 2 she joined her 7 year old brother on Convoy 25 that left Drancy with 285 children all of whom were going to Auschwitz.

    1941(20th of Iyar, 5701): In cooperation with British Army intelligence, David Raziel, the commander of the I.Z.L. (Irgun Zva-i Leumi) led a group to sabotage the oil depots on the outskirts of Baghdad. Raziels car was bombed and both he and the liaison British officer were killed. Yes, this is Menachem Begin’s Irgun, the same Irgun that will attack the British in Palestine after the war is over; the same Irgun that blew up the British headquarters in the King David Hotel in 1947

    1942: Two thousand Jews were deported from Theresienstadt to Sobibor, 500 miles away. Also, 2,000 Jews from Pabianice reached the Lodz Ghetto. All children under 10 were torn away from their parents and sent "elsewhere."

    1942: Liane Berkowitz, and Otto Gollnow, two members of the anti-Nazi Resistance were given the task of putting up about 100 posters in the Kurfürstendamm-Uhlandstraße section of west-central Berlin which protested against the Nazi "Soviet Paradise" propaganda exhibition being held in the city. Six months later, Berkowitz would be arrested for the act. Despite attempts to gain clemency for her because she was pregnant, Berkowitz would ultimately be executed.

    1943: The United States Army contracts with the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School to develop the ENIAC. Herman Heine Goldstine who passed away in 2004 at the age of 90 was one of the orginial developers of ENIAC. Adele Goldstine, his wife, wrote the technical description for ENICA.

    1943: The Nazis deport 395 Jews from Berlin to the extermination camp at Auschwitz.

    1944: Joel Brand was flown in a German courier plane from Budapest to Istanbul where he met with two representatives from the Jewish “agency for Palestine, Wnja Pomeranz and Menahem Bader. Brand was a Hungarian Jew active in Va’adah (Vadat Ezra Vehatzala), the Jewish Resuce Agency in Hungary who was carrying the terms of Eichman’s offer to trade a million European Jews for 10,000 trucks, 1,000 tons of coffee or tea and 1,000 tons of soap. Eichman assured Brand that the trucks would only be used on the Eastern Front. At the same time, he told Brand that the Jews could go anywhere except Palestine because “the furhrer had promised his friend the Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini” that he would not permit that. Pomeranz and Bader took the proposal back to Ben Gurion who then informed the British of the proposal. British Foreign Minster Eden and Secretary of State Hull would not persue the offer because they feared that if the Russians go wind of the negotiations, they would become even more suspicious of the western Allies (remember this was before the Second Front had opened) and might still make their own peace with Hitler. To ensure that nobody else heard about the negotiations, the British sent Brand to Syria for “temporary internment.” Of course the Soviets might have already known about the negotiations since Brand had been a Communist agent working in Berlin during the 1930’s.

    1948:Egyptian warplanes were strafing and dive-bombing Tel Aviv for the third straight day.  Arab sources were claiming unverified as yet, the surrender of the Jews of Old Jerusalem, with claims and counterclaims flying on both sides on the progress of the invading armies of Egypt, Syria and Transjordan.

    1948: During the Battles of the Kanarot Valley, as the Syrians attempted to wipe out Ein Giv, a company attacked the Israeli-held water station with heavy weapons killing all but one of the workers.

    1948: At dawn, the Syrians renewed their attack on Tzemah as they attempted to take control of the Jordon River Valley.  In an attempt to limit damage to their tanks, the Syrian infantry without armor to lead them, attacked the village's northern positions. Despite a shortage of ammunition and suffering heavy casualties, the Israelis halted the Syrian advance.

    1948: In Tel Aviv, as Battles of the Kinarot Valley rage into their third day.  David Ben Gurion orders Moshe Dayan, the Haganah commander in the area, to ‘Hold the Jordan Valley’ no matter the cost.

    1948: Russia recognized Israel. Much to Stalin’s dismay, he lost the recognition race to the United States. Stalin had not fallen in love with the Jews. He saw Israel as a wedge that would lead to the breakup of one his nemesis, the British Empire. With its large population of refugees from Russia, the state of Israel was never in danger of being seduced by Stalin or the Communists.

    1948: During the War for Independence, Israeli forces liberated Acre, Nebi Yusha, and Tel el-Kadi, Yes; this is the same Acre where Maimonides and his family landed when they first arrived in Eretz Israel.

    1948: A convoy consisting of 12 trucks filled with military supplies arrived in Jerusalem. It would be the last convoy to reach the city. "The siege of Jerusalem was now complete."

    1950: The special committee reinvestigating the assassination of Count Bernadotte in 1948 submits its report to the Israeli cabinet today. 

    1950: Israeli fighter planes forced down a four-engine Royal Air Force Sunderland that was flying outside ‘the prescribed air corridor.”

    1956: Birthdate of comic Bob Saget

    1956(7thof Sivan, 5716): Second Day of Shavuot

    1956(7thof Sivan, 5716): Poet and author Jacob Fichman passed away.

    1956(7thof Sivan, 5716): Dr. Judah David Eisenstein, the self-educated Hebrew scholar, writer, editor and publisher passed away today at the age of 101.  In 1891, he published the first Hebrew and Yiddish translations of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  Born in Poland, he came to the U.S. in 1872 where he became a successful businessman by day and a self-taught scholar by night.  “He was the editor and publisher of ‘Otzar Yisrael,’ a ten volume Hebrew Encyclopedia that was last revised in 1951.

    1959: The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School was opened in the western section Jerusalem. The original facility had been on Mt. Scopus. When the Jordanian Army illegally captured the eastern section of Jerusalem, the facility on Mt. Scopus became untenable. The Israelis would return in June, 1967.

    1967: In what would be a prelude to the Six Day War, President Abdul Nasser of Egypt demands dismantling of the peace-keeping UN Emergency Force in Egypt. The UN force had been established as part of the peace agreement following the Suez War of 1956. Much to Nasser’s surprise, U Thant, the UN Secretary General immediately gave into Nasser’s demand an removed the peace keeping force. Israelis viewed the UN as the umbrella that closes when it starts to rain. The departure of the UN force gave the Arabs carte blanche to move large forces into the Sinai threatening the survival of Israel.

    1975(7thof Sivan, 5735): Second Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1976: Birthdate of Jeremiah Luber, the grandson of Harvey and Elaine Luber, pillars of the Little Rock Jewish community

    1981: Birthdate of Shiri Maimon, the Sephardic Jewess born at Haifa and raised a Kiryat Haim, who is a popular Israeli singer, actress and television personality.

    1981: In “Fiddler Plays at Darien Dinner Theatre,” Haskel Frankel expresses his love for this musical based on the life of Tevye but is less than enthusiastic about the version now on view at the Darien Dinner Theatre in Connecticut.

    1983: Representatives of the United States, Lebanon and Israel signed an agreement that was supposed to bring peace to the two warring Middle East nations.  The government of Lebanon was not able to honor the terms of the agreement so the peace was “still born.”

    1984: Lia van Leer inaugurated the first Jerusalem Film Festival.

    1985(26th of Iyar, 5745): Abe Burrows, songwriter, composer, and writer passed away. Known in his own right for such hits “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” Burrows was the father of James Burrow the director of the hit sitcom “Cheers.

    1994(7th of Sivan, 5754): Second day of Shavuot

    1994(7th of Sivan, 5754: Rafael Yairi (Klumfenbert), age 36, of Kiryat Arba and Margalit Ruth Shohat, age 48, of Ma'ale Levona were killed when their car was fired upon by by terrorists in a passing car near Beit Haggai, south of Hebron.

    1996(28thof Iyar, 5756): Yom Yerushalyim

    1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “Jews: The Essence and Character of a People” by Arthur Hertzberg and Aron Hirt-Manheirmer and “Richard Rodgers” by William G. Hyland

    1999: Labor Party leader Ehud Barak unseated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israeli elections

    2002(6thof Sivan, 5762): First Day of Shavuot

    2002:Maria Grullich and Alberto Kusnier participated at a Shavuot celebration today in Buenos Aires' Belgrano neighborhood organized by the local Tzedaka social service organization and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Grullich, 63, lost her drugstore last year after it was robbed and she had no money to restock it.Optician Kusnier, 54, was fired a few months ago from another drugstore and hasn't been able to find a new job. This Shavuot event was meant to bring together an Argentine Jewish community that has been devastated by the country's economic crisis. The organizations sponsored packed Shavuot celebrations in 26 Jewish institutions in Buenos Aires and another 14 elsewhere in the country. But the Argentine crisis was a special guest that no one could avoid. Grullich and Kusnier both were invited to attend the Shavuot celebration in Belgrano, where six institutions -- including synagogues, schools and clubs -- were celebrating together.

    2006(6thof Sivan, 5762): Shavuot

    2002(6thof Sivan, 5762) Dave Berg passed away. Born in 1920, the cartoonist may be best known for his work in Mad Magazine

    2004(25th of Iyar, 5764) Tony Randall passed away. Born Leonard Rosenbeg in 1920, this native of Tulsa, Oklahoma enjoyed a successful career in film, theatre and television. Most people know him as Felix Unger in the television version of “The Odd Couple.”

    2005: As the Leo Baeck Institute at the Center for Jewish History marked the 50th anniversary, an exhibition entitled “Starting Over: The Experience of German Jews in America, 1830-1945” opened today.  The exhibit includes photos, letters, documents, sketches, paintings, maps, medals and other rare artifacts of German-Jews who settled across the United States, many of which are being viewed by the public for the first time.
    2006: Opening of the first Sydney Jewish Writers’ Festival

    2006:Eliot Yamin was eliminated from American Idol” today, after the tightest race; each of the three top contestants received an almost exactly equal percentage of the viewer votes necessary for advancement to the remaining two spots

    2007: As part of Jewish Heritage Month, the National Archives presents a lecture entitled “Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the South.” I.

    2007: Rabbi Simon Jacobson presents “Mysteries of Sinai: Find Revelations in the Everyday “at The Sixth Street Community Synagogue in New York City.

    2007: An exhibition opens at the Museum of Modern Art by photographer Barry Frydlender, the first Israeli to have a solo show at the museum

    2008: The Jerusalem Cinematheque presents “A Sacred Duty \
    חובהמקודשת” a major documentary on current environmental threats and how Jewish teachings can be applied in responding to these threats.

    2008 (12th of Iyar): Anniversary of the Jews of Rome being granted additional privileges by the head of the Catholic Church. On the 12th of Iyar, 1402, the Jews of Rome were granted "privileges" by Pope Boniface IX. They were given legal right to observe their Shabbat, protection from local oppressive officials, their taxes were reduced and orders were given to treat Jews as full-fledged Roman citizens.

    2008: At the JCC in Manhattan the international premiere of new episodes from the Israeli comedy series “Arab Labor (Avoda Aravit)” followed by a conversation with writer and creator Sayed Kashua. “Arab Labor” is a satirical look at the Arab status In Israeli society, the controversy surrounding issues of identity and the sensitivities of both populations. Through humor, the series explores the daily conflicts that Arabs face between the desire to integrate and their own values and traditions.

    2009: An exhibition at Williams College Museum of Art entitled “The ABCD’s of Sol LeWitt” that features artist’s drawing and sculptures as well as items from his private art collection comes to an end.

    2009: Hadassah meets in the Twin Cities where its members celebrate Jewish Women in the Arts and recognize the Charter Member of the Region Chai Society

    2009: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “The Third Reich At War” by Richard J. Evans, “A Failure of Capitalism” by Richard A. Posner and the recently released paperback editions of “Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century” by Tony Judt and “The Dream: A Memoir” by Harry Bernstein.

    2009: The Washington Post featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “Paul Newman: A Life” by Shawn Levy and “Valkyrie” by Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager  

    2009:At least five people were arrested today after a clash between anti-Semitic demonstrators and Jews in Argentina.
    2009(23rd of Iyar), 5769:  Daniel Carasso passed away today at the age of 105. The member of a famed Sephardic family, this native of Salonica who was the son of Isaac Carasso created the company that many of us know for one of its most famous products, Dannon Yogurt. (As reported by William Grimes)

    2010:Professors Raanan Rein and Jeffrey Lesser are scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled Jewish-Latin American Historiography: The Challenges Ahead Lecture at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

    2010: In “Reading to Recall the Father of Tevye”, Clyde Haberman explores the life Bel Kaufman and her grandfather Shalom Aleichem.

    2010:A Facebook group called “Comedy Central – I.S.R.A.E.L. Attack game is offensive. Remove it” had more than 1,500 members as of today. The game, “Drawn Together,” which is currently available on Comedy Central’s website is based on the network’s politically incorrect animated series of the same name, depicts “Jew Producer,” a character that has a speaker for a head and is taken to task for failing to kill certain animated characters. A robot called “the Intelligent Smart Robot Animation Eraser Lady” (I.S.R.A.E.L.) is then sent in to do the job, unleashing destruction and murdering children

    2011: Jenna Weissman Joselit, Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of History at The George Washington University is scheduled to deliver a lecture at Beth Sholom in Potomac, MD, entitled “Romancing the Stone: America's Embrace of the Ten Commandments”

    2011: Sam Brylawski and Karen Lund are scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry”

    2011: The building housing the world’s first green-certified synagogue Congregation Beth David in San Luis Obispo, Calif., is scheduled to be up for auction today to satisfy an unpaid loan of 3.3 million dollars.

    2011: A course entitled “Oasis in Time: The Gift of Shabbat in a 24/7 World” is scheduled to be held at the Center for Jewish Life, the Chabad center in Little Rock, AR under the leadership of Rabbi Pinchas Ciment. 

    2012: DeLeon, a Sephardich Indie Rock Band is scheduled to appear at the Washington Jewish Music Festival.

    2012: The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, The American Jewish Committee and The American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists are scheduled to sponsor a lecture by  Irvin B. Nathan entitled “The Challenges of a D.C. Attorney General

    2012(25th of Iyar, 5772): Seventy-four year old Israeli politician Gideon Ezra passed away today.

    2012(25th of Iyar, 5772): Eighty seven year old publicist and theatrical manager Herbert Breslin passed away today. (As reported by Daniel Wakin)

    2013; “No Place On Earth” is scheduled to premiere at theatres in Atlanta, GA and Key West, FL.

    2013: The 3rd annual Celebrating India in Israel Festival is scheduled to come to an end.




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    May 18 In History

    323BCE: Alexander dies at the age of 32.  Despite the legend, there is no proof that Alexander ever came to Jerusalem.  He did pass through Judea on his way to conquer Egyptand on his way from the victory.  He left the Jews in peace to practice their religion and to live in a semi-independent status.  This was his standard treatment for all those who did not oppose him.  He and his subordinates encouraged Jews to settle in Egypt and throughout Asia Minor.  The Jews were allowed to live in their own communities where they were governed by their own councils and courts.  Alexander was viewed as an enlightened monarch in much the way that Cyrus the Great had been.

    363: The first of a series of earthquakes that would last for two days rocked the Galilee.

    576: Over 500 Jews were forcibly baptized in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

    1096(4856): Jews of Worms (Germany) were massacred by Crusaders. The survivors hid in the Bishop's palace for one week, after which they were either murdered or forcibly baptized.

    1152: Henry II, King of England marries Eleanor of Aquitaine. This marriage produced two future Kings of England – Richard I (known as the Lionhearted) and King John, the monarch who signed the Magna Charta.  For the Jews, Henry’s reign was an improvement over that of his predecessor, King Stephen.  While Richard was semi-protective of his Jewish subjects, they suffered at the hands of those who wielded power while he was off crusading or fighting to protect his lands in France.  In the first part of his reign, John maintained a positive relationship with his Jewish subjects, but as time went on he turned on them and made unrealistic financial demands on the community.

    1268: Following the Battle of Antioch the Principality of Antioch, a crusader state, falls to Baibars I the Mamluk Sultan. During the Mamluk Sultanate, there was an upswing in anti-dhimmī feeling although much of this was really aimed at the Christians who held positions in the government and the Jews were just “tangential beneficiaries” of this attitude. 

    1291: A year after the Jews were expelled from England, after a two month siege, the fortress at Acre (Israel) falls to the Fatimid Egyptians, thus bringing about the end of the Crusades. Subsequently, the various crusading armies never succeeded in uniting as a cohesive force. The infighting and separate treaties defeated them as well as the Fatimid armies. “The founder of the Fatimid dynasty was Ubeidullah, known as the Mahdi. He was accused of Jewish ancestry by his adversaries the Abbasids, who declared him the grandson of Abdullah ibn Maymun, by a Jewess.”

    1418:Representatives from the Jewish communities of central and northern Italy met to discuss raising funds for self-defense as well as instituting sumptuary regulations so as "not to show off in the presence of Gentiles." It is plausible that the issuing of these sumptuary regulations, influenced Pope Martin V to issue a protective Bull the following year

    1721: In Madrid, 96 year old Maria Barbara Carillo was burned alive making her the oldest known victim of the Inquisition.

    1792(26thof Iyar): Canadian Jewish leader Levy Solomons passed away

    1794: Betty Hart, the first American female convert to Judaism, married Moses Nathans

    1825(1st of Sivan, 5585): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1832:Eliakim Carmoly, a French-born Talmudist and author, was named to serve as a rabbi in Brussels.

    1847(3rdof Sivan, 5607): Moses Calmus Lissa passed away

    1860: In Chicago, Illinois, the Republican Party nominates Abraham Lincoln for President of the United States. Lewis Naphtali Dembitz, a 28 year old lawyer from Louisville, Kentucky,was one of the three delegates who put Lincoln’s name in nomination. Dembitz was the uncle of Louis Dembitz Brandeis, who would emulate his uncle’s legal career and then excel it as the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice.

    1865(22nd of Iyar): David ben Moses Fraenkel, editor of Sulamith, passed away.

    1868: As the United States entered into a Presidential election year, The New York Times published excerpts an article from the Jewish Messenger describing the role of “Hebrews” in the political life of Europe and the United States.  In the United States, Jews are not “a compact body for political purposes…In the coming campaign, Hebrews will work, and talk, and vote precisely according to their convictions as citizens and in no respect will their political action be dependent upon their religious character as a body.  There is no national Hebrew vote.”

    1870: A column entitled “Mount Sinai Hospital” published today reported that the New York Times was wrong when it said that Mount Sinai Hospital was maintained by Jews for use by Jews.  “The institution is supported by Jewish contribution and its directors” are Jewish “but it has always opened its doors to patients without the slightest regard to creed.”  [In fact the hospital had been started before the Civil War to serve the needs of immigrants and indigent Jews.  During the Civil War that role definitely changed as it became a treatment cite for thousands of Union wounded beginning with McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign in 1862.] 

    1872:  Birthdate of Lord Bertrand Russell, British mathematician and philosopher.  Lord Russell was pro-Palestinian describing them as innocent refugees and describing Israel as occupying land‘given’ by a foreign power to the Jewish people for the creation of a new state.

    1873: An informal reception was held today the recently opened home for aged and infirmed Hebrews at 63rdstreet and Lexington Avenue. The building, which can accommodate 50 individuals, is currently home to 26 women and 2 men. They range in age from 70 to 95.  Mrs. P.J. Joachimsen is President of the Board of Directors.

    1876: Wyatt Earp starts work as a lawman in Dodge City, Kansas. When he died, Earp’s ashes were buried in a Jewish cemeteryin Colma, California.  No, the famous marshal was not Jewish but his wife Josie was and her family had enough power and influence to wriggle around the laws forbidding such burials.

    1876: The New York Times featured a review of “Stray Studies From England and Italy” a collection of essays by John Richard Green.  “Mr. Green shows how mistaken the modern conception” is when it comes to understanding the treatment of English Jews during the Middle Ages.  “That conception is accurately represented by Scott’s picture of Isaac of York in “Ivanhoe,” timid, silent crouching under oppression.  The Jew was really…the favorite ‘chattel’ of the king was protected by the crown not only against the people but against the law. Each Hebrew settlement in England was secured from the common taxation, the common justice, the common obligations of Englishman.  The Jewry was a town within a town, with its own language, its peculiar dress, commerce, law and religion.  No bailiff could penetrate it; the Church itself was even powerless against the synagogue which it contained.  In England, at least, the attitude of the Jew was to the end, one of haughty defiance.  His extortion was sheltered from the common law.  His bonds were kept under the royal seal.  Heavy penalties were enforced against outbreaks of popular violence upon the Jews.  Mentioning the story of the Red King’s forbidding the conversion of a Jew, because a valuable property would be lost to him.” [Editor’s note – The Red King may refer to the third son of William the Conqueror, William II who was known as William Rufus.  Green was an English clergyman who turned to writing histories when his health forced him to leave the pulpit.  His description stands in stark contrast to the exploitation that English Jews suffered and makes no mention of their expulsion.

    1879: An article published today "The Family Sentiment in Americans" claims that people in the United States are changing their views about family history and genealogy saying that "next to the Jews, we are becoming the genealogical nation on the face of the earth."

    1879: A prominent New York banker who is a member of Temple Emanu-El said today that Lewis May, one of the most outspoken advocates for replacing Saturday morning services with Sunday morning serves has just been re-elected as the congregation’s President.  In his acceptance address, Mr. May expressed a personal distaste for the change  but said he recognized it as a necessity since many of the younger men belonging to the Temple could not attend services on Saturday for commercial reasons.

    1879: An article published today entitled “Some Old Graveyards” describes early burial sites in New York City including one on the east side of the New Bowery below Chatham square known as the Olivers Street Burying Ground which was the original cemetery belonging to Shearith Israel, also known as the Nineteenth Street Congregation.  The plot was conveyed to the congregation by Noyes Willey of London who received thirty English Pounds for the land. The Jews had been using the land for burials since the 17th century since there are tombstones there bearing the dates of 1669 and 1684. The congregation formally stopped using this cemetery in 1820 when a city ordinance banned burials in that part of the city. 

    1890: Today’s “Amusements” column includes a review of “The Shatchen” which opened at the Star Theatre last week.  M.B. Curtis dominates the comedy with his “droll caricature” of the German Jewish businessman.

    1890: “For An Educational Fund” published today described the successful Strawberry Festival sponsored by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association during which three thousand attendees raising $3,500 that will go to the association’s educational department.

    1891: “Oriental Records” published today contains a detailed review of Records of the Past, an English translations of the Ancient Monuments of Egypt and Western Asia, edited by A. H. Sayce

    1891(10th of Iyar): Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein, leader of Hungarian Jewry, passed away

    1893: “Hardships of Russian Jews” published today described the benefits of efforts by the United States to lessen the suffering Jews living under the Czar.  Doing so would cut down on the number of immigrants coming to the United States and at the same time would lessen the burden on those Americans trying to find jobs and homes for immigrants from Poland and Russia.

    1894: Members of the Board of Trustees of the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society were those who attended the funeral of Sigmund J. Bach as requested by Myer Stern and the Board of Trustees.

    1895: Justice Ingram gave the managers of the Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews of New York City to mortgage its property at 106thStreet and Columbus Avenue to the Bowery Savings Bank for $75, 000.

    1896: The United States Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” is constitutional.  This decision marked the legal nadir in the field of civil rights in general and race relations in particular.  It was from this pit that several organizations, many of them funded by Jews and/or with a statistically disproportionate Jewish involvement, had to climb until the High Court would declare in 1954 that separate but equal was inherently unequal.

    1896: Based on information supplied by The London Times, the New York Timesreported today that the work of the Jewish Colonization Association will continue despite the recent death of its founder and benefactor, Baron Hirsch.  Dr. S.H. Goldschmidt of Paris will now service as President of the Association with assistance from Herbert G. Lousade of the Anglo-Jewish Association of London.  Currently, 1,222 families occupy the 225,000 acres in Argentina under the association’s control.

    1897: As anti-Semitic riots break out in Algeria.

    1899: Randolph Guggenheimer, President of the Municipal Council will the deliver the address at this afternoon’s ceremonies dedicated the new Hebrew Charities Building at 21st Street and Second Avenue.

    1900: In an article entitled “Topical Study” published today in Die Welt Isaac Rulf warned Jews of the danger presented by an increase in anti-Semitism in Germany, including the possibility of murder by the millions. Ruif died a year later but his children did not escape the Holocaust. One son died at Auschwitz and the other committed suicide before he could be shipped to the camps.

    1901: Herzl is called to the palace again. He is presented a tie-pin with yellow stones. Herzl hands out the sum of 40.000 francs to Nouri Bey and Crespi for having brought the audience about.

    1902: Herzl receives a letter from Constantinoplethat his letter concerning a request for the creation of an IsraeliteUniversityin Jerusalemwas submitted to the Sultan.

    1902” “East Side Boycotters Meet and Organize” published in the New York Timesdescribed the formation of The Ladies’ Anti-Beef Trust Association which plans to establish co-operative stores if the price of beef being sold on the Lower East Side is not lowered.

    1903: The Times of London published a letter from Vyacheslav von Plehve, the Russian Minister of the Interior to the district’s governor, dated 12 days before the riots known as the Kishinev Pogroms, advising the governor not to act against rioters. “The Russian government asserted that it was a forgery and provided a bogus claim that the pogroms had started when a Jewish carousel owner hit a Christian woman. Christians defended themselves and then the Jews attacked them, killing one gentile.”

    1904: Birthdate of Senator Jacob K Javits.  Born in New York, Javits graduated from NYULawSchool.  He served in the Army during World II.  Following the war he became active in Republican politics in New York.  Before coming to the Senate, Javits served in the House of Representatives and as Attorney-General for the state of New York.  Javits was a leader of the liberal wing of the Republican Party and staunch supporter of the Civil Rights movement.  Javits served until January, 1981.  Having been defeated he resumed his law practice and lectured at Columbia.  He passed away in 1986.

    1905: Frederick Kerry arrived in the United States.  Now a Roman Catholic, at birth Kerry was a Jew named Fritz Kohn.  He and his Jewish wife Ida were baptized in 1901 to avoid the stigma associated with being Jewish in Austria.  Frederick Kerry is the grandfather of Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for President of the United States.  At least two of his relatives perished in the Holocaust.

    1910: Turkish Minister of Education advocates adoption of Hebrew as national language of Turkish Jews.

    1910: Franz Kafka and a few of his friends gathered to observe Halley’s Comet.

    1911: Gustav Mahler died at the age of 50.  Born Jewish, Mahler converted to Catholicism, so he could become head of the court opera in Austria.  His conversion did not spare him the contempt of his enemies.

    1912: Birthdate of Richard Brooks. Born Richard Sax, to Russian Jewish immigrants, Brooks gained fame as film writer, director and producer. Brooks was received Oscar nominations for the screenplays for Blackboard Jungle, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, In Cold Blood and The Professionals.  He won an Academy Award in 1960 for Elmer Gantry.  

    1915: In Worcester, MA, Benjamin and Mary Meltzer gave birth to “Milton Meltzer, a historian and prolific author of nonfiction books for young people who helped start a movement away from the arid textbook style of the past.”  (As reported by Dennis Heveis)

    1918(7thof Sivan, 5678): Second Day of Shavuot; Yizkor

    1918: Georg Nicolai writes to Albert Einstein telling him that he should not reproach himself for not taking an even more active role in protests against the war.

    1921: Ra'anana, an agricultural settlement is founded in the Sharon region.

    1921:The Nation included an essay by Lily Winner entitled "American Emigrés."

    1922(20th of Iyar, 5682):Dorothy Elizabeth Levitt passed away.  Born in 1882 or 1883, she was a pioneering feminist who blazed new trails in journalism, automobile racing and speed-boating.
    1926: In Chicago, Professor James H. Breasted announced that Julius and William Rosenwald have donated $30,000 to be used in building a library near Luxor, Egypt that will be used by the veritable army of visiting scholars and scientist who come to the area each year.  The Rosenwald’s general philanthropy was evident in a variety of secular and Jewish charitable activities.

    1927:Mayor Walker and more than 1,000 women welcomed Nathan Straus and Mrs. Straus on their return from a pilgrimage to Palestine at a tea given today at the Hotel Commodore by the Brooklyn Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization. During his address to the group, Mr. Straus officially presented Hadassah with the $250,000 health centre which is being built in Jerusalem.

    1928: Today a project for a municipal milk supply in Warsaw was defeated in the City Council by the combined vote of the Polish Nationalist and the Jewish middle-class Alderman. The municipal plan was backed by Pilsudski Party and Jewish Socialists.

    1930: Birthdate of Senator Warren B Rudman.  Born in Massachusetts, Rudman grew up in New Hampshire. A Korean War Era Veteran, Rudman practiced law in New Hampshire before being elected to the Senate as a Republican in 1980. He served until January 1993, having chosen not to run for re-election.  He is best known for the Graham-Rudman-Hollings Act, also referred to as the Balanced Budget and Deficit Control Act.

    1930: Birthdate of Barbara Goldsmith, author of Little Gloria: Happy At Last.”

    1933:  As part of the New Deal, Franklin Roosevelt signs the law creating the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).  David Lilienthal, the son Jewish immigrants from Czechoslovakia, was the Director of TVA responsible for its early success and its ability to participate in the Manhattan Project during World War II.

    1934: The Academy Award is called Oscar in print for the first time by Sidney Skolsky.  Skolsky was a close friend of Al Jolson and was responsible for the movie biography of the man who made the first “talkie

    1934: It was reported today that "Leaping Lena" Levy has been Chicago sportswriter “that King Levinsky, the Windy City Walloper, otherwise known as the Chicago Assassin, the Personality Kid, and as plain Harry Krakow, is reported to be suffering from a nervous breakdown.” Levinsky was one of a veritable army of Jewish pugilists who fought during the 1920’s and 1930’s when the fight game was a Jewish game.

    1936: It was announced in the House of Commons that a Royal Commission of Inquiry would be set up to investigate the cause of unrest in Palestine.  The Commission became known as the Peel Commission because its chairman was Lord Peel.

    1937: Archbishop George Mundelein speaks out against the Nazi Party and Nazi Germany

    1937: In Brooklyn, NY, Dewey and Adeline Weissfeld Albert gave birth to Jerome Lewis Albert “who with his father…created and operated Astroland, the space age-themed amusement park that breathed new life into the Coney Island Boardwalk in the 1960s, a time when it was losing its lure.” As reported by Dennis Hevesi)

    1938: As Arab violence continued to escalate,The Palestine Post reported that Arab terrorists killed an Arab constable in Hebron. Arab farmers were robbed by Arab terrorists in villages around Jenin. The Public Works Department property was set on fire in Nablus and Jewish settlers near Hadera found their tractors and other machinery severely damaged.

    1939: A gathering of members of the Hashomer Ha’tzair movement took place at Wieliczka, Poland.


    1939: As Jews throughout Palestine protested against the White Paper with its limit of 75,000 Jews allowed to enter the country each year and the creation of a state that condemn the Jews to permanent minority status in violation of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, a resolution for Palestine Jewry was read aloud at the three hour long demonstration in Tel Aviv that stated in part: “Palestine Jewry declares the betrayal policy will never materialize…Palestine Jewry does not recognize the arbitrary restriction of immigration.  No power in the world can deter the natural right of our people to come home…  Palestine Jewry will not consent to leave the land of the country desolate, but undauntedly will continue reviving it.”

    1941: Jewish veterans honor their dead

    1942: The New York Times carried a report by a United Press International correspondent who had been trapped in Berlin at the outbreak of the war in December of 1941 and who reached Lisbon after being traded as part of a swap for Axis nationals in Allied hands.  According to the story 100,000 Jews had been slaughtered by the Nazis in the Baltic States, almost that many in Polandand twice as many in western Russia

    1942: During a public protest of Nazi anti-Semitism staged in Berlin by Herbert Baum and his followers, portions of "The Soviet Paradise," a government-sponsored anti-Bolshevik exhibition, are set afire. Most members of Baum's group, as well as approximately 500 other Berlin Jews, are arrested.
    1942: Another 1,420 Jews arrived in the Lodz ghetto from Brzeziny. Like the Jews who arrived the day before, their children were taken away from them. They were sent to Chelmno to be gassed.

    1943: Nearly every resident of the Polish farming village of Szarajowka is shot or burned alive by the SS, Wehrmacht troops, and Gestapo agents. After the massacre, the village is razed.What was the crime for which the villagers were being punished? Sheltering Jews

    1944 (25th of Iyar, 5704):Jewish partisan leader Aleksander Skotnicki is killed as his unit battles the armored SS Viking Division near the Parczew Forest in Poland.

    1944: Deportations from Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, to Auschwitz end with the transport of 2500 Jews.

    1944: In Hungary deportations of Jews to Auschwitz would begin today with a total of 437,000 being shipped to the death camp through July 7, 1944. 

    1945(6thof Sivan, 5705): First observance of Shavuot after VE Day

    1948: Moshe Dayan, who had been born in Degania, was given command of all forces in the area, including the settlements in the Kinarot Valley, after having been charged without creating a commando battalion in the 8th Brigade just a day before. A company of reinforcements from the Gadna program was allocated, along with 3 PIATs (a bazooka-like weapon). Other reinforcements came in the form of a company from the Yiftach Brigade and another company of paramilitaries from villages in the Lower Galilee and the Jezreel Valley. The Palmach counterattack on the police station on the night of May 18 gave the Israeli forces an additional day to prepare defense and attack plans

    1948: Syrian aircraft bombed the Israeli village Kinneret and the regional school Beit Yerah, on the southwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

    1948: After two days of fierce fighting a Syrian brigade including tanks overran Zemach, killing all forty-two of the Jewish defenders. 

    1948: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Uruguay, and Nicaragua recognized Israel.

    1948:  The Arab Legion captured the police fort on Mt. Scopus.  The illegal occupation of Mt.Scopus would end with the June War in 1967. 

    1948: Between today and May 20, a unit of the Etzioni Brigade made repeated attempts to fight their way into the Old City at the Jaffa Gate.  Despite taking heavy casualties, the Jewish fighters failed in their effort. The brigade was fighting the Arab Legion, the name given to the Jordanian Army which was trained and led by British officers.

    1948: Fighting under Egyptian command Saudi Arabia joined the other Arab armies in their invasion of Israel.
    1948: "At midnight, Egyptian police" ransacked the home of Levan Zamir in Helwan.

    1948: While at school today in Egypt, Levana Zamir's teacher told her that her uncle had been taken to prison allegedly because he was a Zionist.  The uncle was freed two years later and placed on a ship bound for France. 

    1950: As a result of Operation Ezra and Nehemiah, 120,000 Jews fleeing Iraq were brought to Israel over the course of a year's time.

    1950: Israel has released the eight crewmen of an RAF flying-boat that had been forced down yesterday by Israeli fighter planes.  According to the pilot, the plan was flying from Bahrain to the Suez Canal when it wandered off course due to a navigational error.

    1950: Colonel Harry D. Henshel and Charles L. Orenstein announced that the United States will be represented in the third World Maccabiah Games opening in Tel Aviv on September 27.  Henshel and Orenstein are co-chairman of the national committee for United States participation and Orenstein will chair the committee that will select the athletes.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Abu Eliahu, 40, and Eliahu Ephraim, 45, two watchmen in the Jerusalem "corridor" were murdered by infiltrators.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that The Government approved the special unemployment relief tax scale and hoped to collect IL15m compulsory advance payment on account of future taxes.

    1962: Two off-duty police detectives, Luke J. Fallon and John P. Finnegan, were killed today in a botched robbery of the Boro Park Tobacco Company.  Jerry Rosenberg, whose jailhouse nickname was Jerry the Jew and Anthony Portelli would be found guilty of the first double homicide of New York City police officers since 1927 and sentenced to death. Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller would later commute their sentences to life in prison.  At the time of his death in 2009, Rosenberg would be the longest serving convict in the New York State prison system.

    1965 (16th of Iyar, 5725): Israeli spy Eli Cohen was publicly executed by the Syrians. This execution was aired on national Syrian television. After his execution, a sign with Anti-Zionist messages was placed on his hanging body. His body was left to hang for six hours.Eli was born in Alexandria, Egypt on December 26, 1928. The son of two Syrian Jews, Eli was raised in a strong Jewish and Zionist educational environment. True to their Zionist ideals, the Cohen family moved to Israel in 1949. However, Eli stayed behind to organize Zionist and Jewish activities in Egypt. Eventually, Eli moved to Israeland began training with the Israeli intelligence organization. His preparation was extensive and exhaustive. From weapons to Arab customs to espionage technology, he was trained to know everything about the craft of being a spy. In 1961, the Chief of Military Intelligence, Chaim Herzog, authorized Eli Cohen to be used as a spy for the State of Israel. Soon after, he was escorted to the airport with a ticket for Argentinawhere he would begin to establish his portfolio under his new assumed identity, Kamal Amin Ta'abet. While in Argentina, he established his cover as a Syrian émigré and began to make inroads within the Syrian community of Buenos Aries. In time, he established himself as a successful businessman and began to establish relationships among the Syrian diplomatic corps in Argentina. It was during this time that Eli met Col. Amin al-Hafez. Through his extravagant hosting of his diplomatic contacts, he was eventually invited to visit Syriato set up business operations. Late in 1961, Eli returned to Israel for a short visit with his wife. It was during this visit that he finalized requirements for his mission in Syria. There was no question that Eli was already making impressive progress within the Syrian political and social circuits. Staring in 1961, the Syrian Ba'ath Party was beginning its rise to power within the Syrian government. It was important to Eli that he travel to Syria as the party began to gain power and influence. Eli arrived in Damascusin 1962, acting as an Argentinean entrepreneur returning home to Syria. It was during this time in Syriathat Eli was very careful to develop his relationships with members of the Ba'ath party. True to his style in Argentina, Eli hosted parties and hob-nobbed in the highest social and political circles. As Eli gained the trust of these high officials, they openly discussed matters of military and political importance with him. Between 1962 and 1965, Eli made three secret trips home to be with his wife and children. When the Ba'ath party seized power in 1963, Eli Cohen was well established and entrenched within the social elites of Syria. He became a “trusted friend” of the highest-ranking members of the Ba'ath party, all the while transmitting vital information home to Israel via a transmitter that was hidden in his home. His ability to pierce the highest ranks of the government continued the longer he stayed in Syria. He was invited to discussions regarding Syria's intentions to divert water from the headwaters of the Jordan River. In 1963, Eli transmitted the details regarding the diversion of the waters back to the Israelis. As a result, the IDF Air Force was able to effectively destroy Syrian plans for this project. Cohen exhibited another example of his daring espionage when he visited the Syrian-held Golan Heights, bordering Israel. The Golan was a “strategic asset” for Syria, which allowed them the ability to facilitate acts of aggression against the northern Israeli towns. The Golan was considered a top secret area open only to the top members of the Syrian military. Cohen, skilled in his craft, was able to not only get a tour of the area, but able to get a comprehensive military briefing of the Golan and all its positions. It was during this trip that the “famous” eucalyptus trees were planted. As Eli was being briefed as to the Syrian fortifications of the Golan, he suggested that they plant eucalyptus trees to give the Israelis the impression that the locations were not fortified, and also to offer shade for the Syrian soldiers. As the story goes, his ideas were implemented, and as a result, the Israelis knew where every single fortification was located as a result of the eucalyptus trees. His old contact from Argentina, Col. Amin al-Hafez had risen in the Ba'ath party and eventually became Prime Minster of Syria. After Col. Hafez came to power, he even considered appointing Cohen the Deputy Minister of Defense for Syria. In November, 1964, Eli made another visit back to Israel. During this trip he expressed his desire to end this assignment since changes were taking place in Syria that were not favorable to his cover. After much debate, Eli agreed to return for one more tour of Syria. The intelligence that Eli had provided was too valuable. During his final stay in Syria, Eli was less careful of his espionage transmissions. Alarmed that information was leaking out of the country, the Syrians, with the help of their Soviet advisors, conducted a comprehensive probe to find the intelligence leak. During January 1961, transmissions were pinpointed to Eli's home. Syrian intelligence caught Eli in the act, transmitting information back to Israel. He was apprehended and tortured, but didn't release any information of real value to the Syrians. Syriastaged a public show and Eli Cohen was found guilty of espionage. Attempts were made to save Eli Cohen. World leaders and prominent businessmen, along with the Israeli government and the Pope attempted to arbitrate a solution for Eli, but with no success. Clearly, Eli's espionage contributions toward the security of the State of Israel were unmatched most. He was so skilled at his craft that he was easily able to assimilate into the day-to-day life within Damascus. He was able to achieve the unthinkable and befriended the highest echelons of the Syrian government and military. Not only was he able to gain access where others could not, he was in the position to provide input that allowed him to influence government and military decisions. There is no question that the intelligence that he compiled was highly instrumental in allowing Israel to quickly and effectively defeat the Syrians and gain the Golan Heightsduring the Six Day War. For his heroism and skill, Eli Cohen is known as Israel's greatest spy. But in all actuality, he might be a contender for the greatest secret agent of the 20th century

    1973(16th of Iyar, 5733): Israeli poet and editor Avraham Shlonsky passed away. A native of Russia, he was a driving force in the creation of Modern Hebrew literature. Among other accomplishments he won both the Bialk and Israel prizes. 

    1977: Menachem Begin became Israel's Prime Minister.  Begin's election marked a major shift in Israeli politics.  Begin was a disciple of Jabotinsky, leader of the Irgun, and the polar opposite of the Labor Zionists who had dominated Israeli politics even before the state had been created.  Begin proved to be more of a pragmatist than had been expected.  He met with Sadat and signed the Camp David Accords which led to the swapping of the Sinai for a peace treaty with Egypt.  Despite international furor, Begin bombed an Iraqi reactor, an action that people came to appreciate after the first Gulf War.  Begin resigned after the death of his wife and went into a state of semi-seclusion. He passed away in 1992.

    1977(1st of Sivan, 5737): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1977: Samuel Lewis, the new U.S. Ambassador to Israel, arrived today to take up his ambassadorial post.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported the UNIFIL's admission that it had allowed the terrorists to move, together with their arms, into South Lebanon.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli Government and the Jewish Agency were considering steps how to stop HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrants Aid Society), from helping Russian Jewish emigrants to go to destinations other than Israel. Only 72 out of the 1,086 Jews who left Russiain April, 1978, made their way to Israel.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Mifal Hapayis designated IL7m. for education and health in the West Bank and Gaza.

    1983(6thof Sivan, 5743): Shavuot

    1986: Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir “demanded to prosecute Avraham Shalom, head of the GSS” (General Security Service) as part of his investigation into allegations that two terrorists had been murdered by the GSS. 

    1988:Braving a steady rain, 750 supporters of Shimon Peres attended a rally for the Israeli foreign minister at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan today.

    1991: The Associated Press reported that the B. Manischewitz Company was given a $1 million fine by United States District Judge Harold Ackerman for conspiring to fix the price of Passover matzoth. Manischewitz had pleaded no contest to a criminal indictment last month, saying it could not defend charges it conspired to fix prices from 1981 to at least April 1986. The indictment said Manischewitz, based in Jersey City, had conspired to raise the price of $25 million worth of Passover matzoth in cooperation with Horowitz Brothers & Margareten and with Aron Streit Inc., both of New York. Horowitz has since been taken over by Manischewitz. The Government has not said why Horowitz and Aron Striet were not indicted. The merchant banking firm of Kohlberg & Company acquired Manischewitz in January and had nothing to do with the scheme.

    1994: Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in what was supposed to have been one step along the road to peace with the Palestinians.

    1996(29thof Iyar, 5756): English businessman and racehorse owner Simon Weinstock passes away at the age of 44

    1997: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Jacob Two-Two’s First Spy Caseby Mordecai Richler.

    2002(7thof Sivan, 5762): Second Day of Shavuot

    2002(7thof Sivan, 5762): Zypora Spaisman, Polish born American actress and longtime supporter of the Yiddish theatre, passed away at the age of 86.

    2003: The New York Times featured books by Jewish writers and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “Heart, You Bully, You Bully, You Punk” byLeah Hager Cohen.

    2003: Steve Averbach “was on a bus heading to work when a Palestinian terrorist dressed as a fervently Orthodox Jew got on board. Averbach realized immediately that he was a suicide bomber. As he reached for his handgun, the terrorist blew himself up, killing seven people and seriously injuring 20, including Averbach. Israel’s internal security ministry later wrote Averbach a letter saying, “An investigation of the incident revealed that you were courageous, brave, and selfless in attempting to prevent a mortal attack.” It said the bomber had planned to blow himself up in the crowded center of town or in the bus station, where the death toll would have been far higher.”

    2004:The IDF launched Operation Rainbow in response to the deaths of 13 soldiers, the majority of whom were killed after their armored personnel carriers were blown up in the southern Gazan town of Rafah. The goal of the eight-day operation was to uncover weapons-smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor, and to prevent the smuggling of Strella shoulder-to-air anti-aircraft missiles from the Sinai into Gaza.
    2006:A Sarajevo publisher announced that The Sarajevo Haggadah,a centuries-old Jewish holy book that survived the Spanish inquisition, the Nazi Holocaust and Bosnia's 1992-1995 war has been reprinted in limited editions. The Sarajevo Haggadahwas made into 613 copies on hand-made paper that recreates the appearance of the 14th century original by 95 percent, the head of the Rabic publishing house, Goran Mikulic, told Agence France Presse. The number of copies was chosen to symbolize the number of commandments, or mitzvoth, that Jews are obliged to observe. "The edition was printed in Italy and almost everything was done by hand," Mikulic said. The original handwritten manuscript on bleached calfskin illuminated in copper and gold is the world's oldest Sephardic Haggadah, containing the text recited by Jews on the Passover holiday.

    2006: Rabbi Ada Zavidov is declared the new chairwoman of the Reform Movement's Rabbinic Council at the opening of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism's 18th Biennial Convention.  About 1,000 rabbis and movement members, including Rabbi Elliott Kleinman, vice president of the Unionfor Reform Judaism in Americaattend the conference, which focuses on the Jewish family. Zavidov, granddaughter of Aba Achimeir - one of the founding fathers of the Revisionist Party in pre-state Israel- is the first female Israeli native to chair the rabbinic council.

    2007: Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5767

    2007: The fifth season of Kokhav Nolad, the popular Israeli television show, began today.

    2007: The five candidates for the leadership of the Labor Party face off in a Labor central committee meeting in Tel Aviv that will decide whether Labor should leave Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government.

    2007: The University of Teramoclosed one of its campuses to prevent a planned lecture by Robert Faurisson, a retired French professor who denies gas chambers were used in Nazi concentration camps.

    2008: Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon declared today, "Jewish News of Greater Phoenix Day" in honor of the newspaper's "exemplary service to the community and the Jewish people".

    2008: Veteran journalist Jane Eisner was appointed to be the first female editor of the Forward.

    2008: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington marks the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel with a series of book talks by Laura Cohen Apelbaum on Jewish Washington: Scrapbook of an American Community (the companion to the award-winning exhibit of the same name) the third of which is held at Barnes & Noble in Rockville, Md.

    2008: The New York Times book section featured a review of Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planetby Jeffrey D. Sachs.

    2008: The Washington Post book section featured a review of Ellen Feldman’s novel entitled Scottsboro which “painstakingly recreates the infamous Scottsboro case, complete with all the twists and turns and society-exposing foibles.”  Two Jewish lawyers,Samuel Leibowitz and Joseph Brodsky, saved the lives of the defendants in this infamous case.

    2008: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Temple Judah hosts it’s Temple Wide Picnic marking the close of the Religious School year; farewell until Fall.

    2008: The appointment of Jane R. Eisner, former editorial page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer as editor of The Forward is officially approved at today’s meeting of The Forward Association

    2008:  The Quad City Jewish Federation hosts Israeli Yom Ha’Azma’ut Rally in Bettendorf, Iowa featuring Sasha Grishkov, finalist from the Israeli television series A Star is Born (Israeli version of American Idol) who will perform with her Israeli band.

    2008: “Pamela's First Musical,” written with Cy Coleman and David Zippel, based on Wendy Wasserstein's children's book, received its world premiere in a concert staging at Town Hall in New York City today.

    2009; New York Times columnist Thomas Friedmanaddress the Class of 2009 at Grinnell

    College’s commencement exercises where he receives an honorary degree along with

    Jodie Levin-Epstein, deputy director of the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C.

    2009:The Arizona Chapter of the American Jewish Committee presented the Greater Phoenix Jewish News with the RosaLee Shluker Community Service Award in honor of its 60th anniversary.

    2009: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Barak Obama in Washington, D.C.

    2009: In an article about The Tribeca/ESPN Sports film festival, Sports Illustrated singles out “A Matter of Size,” an Israeli film about Herzl Musiker, a middle aged fat Israel waiter, who discovers his salvation in the world of Sumo Wrestling.

    2009: In a Lecture on Nazi Propaganda at the Library of Congress,Dr. Gabriel Weimann, a Professor of Communication at Haifa University, Israel and at the American University, Washington, D.C., examines the social and psychological mechanisms activated by the sophisticated and powerful Nazi propaganda. The multi-media presentation includes posters, movies, speeches, public events, books, cartoons and other media used by the Nazis.

    2009: In the best tradition of genteel British anti-Semitism, movie director Ken Loach called for people to boycott the Edinburgh Film Festival if festival’s sponsors accept a 300 pound grant from the Israeli embassy that will enable “Tel Aviv University graduate Tali Shalom Ezer to travel to Scotland for a screening of her film, ‘Surrogate.’”

    2009:Michael Sandel gave the 2009 Reith Lectures on "A New Citizenship" in London

    2010(5th of Sivan, 5770): Erev Shavuot

    2010:Founding editor of DoubleX Hanna Rosin and Slate editor David Plotz are scheduled to let loose on the Bible while Alyssa Shelasky of Apron Anxiety is scheduled to whip up a dairy dish and Shavuotini for all to taste as part of “The Ten: An Alternative Shavuot Experience” in Washington, D.C.

    2011:The YIVO Institute is scheduled to present a special evening with acclaimed novelist Philip Roth during which Roth will read excerpts from his new novel, “Nemesis” which tells the story of a terrifying polio epidemic raging in Newark, New Jersey in the summer of 1944 and its devastating effect on the closely knit, family-oriented community and its children.

    2011: Charlotte Dubin, award-winning writer and editor for many publications, including Michigan Jewish History and the Detroit Jewish News is scheduled to receive the Leonard N. Simons History Award at  the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan’s Annual Meeting

    2011: Shelomo Alfassá, a writer, author, editor, curator and historian, whose focus has been on Iberian and Ottoman Jewish history, culture and Jewish law, is scheduled to deliver an illustrated lecture that “will give an overview of the history of Sephardic Jews – from Spain and Portugal to New York City” sponsored by the Derfner Judaica Museum at The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, New York City.

    2011: David McKenzie is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln's City” sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington

    2011:The "Arbeit Macht Frei” sign stolen from Auschwitz and cut into three pieces has been repaired.

    2011:Philip Roth, the much-lauded author of "Portnoy's Complaint", won the biennial Man Booker International Prize today, adding to a collection of prizes that includes two National Book Awards.

    2012: Facebook, the creation of Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to have it initial public offering (IPO)

    2012:Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital, Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning, Temple Micah, Temple Sinai Nursery School and Washington Hebrew Congregation are scheduled to sponsor ShirLaLa Family Shabbat Service and Dinner featuring Shira Klein.

    2013: The 721 general assembly commissioners representing the Church of Scotland are scheduled to vote on “The Inheritance of Abraham,” a report which says scripture” provides no basis for Jewish claims to Israel” (As reported by JTA)

    2013: The IPO String Trio is scheduled to perform two musicales in the San Francisco Bay area.

    2013: In Israel the Indigo Festival on the Sea of Galilee and the Abu Gosh Festival are scheduled to come to an end.

    2013: “Bezalel on Tour” will be on view for the first time at G91 Loft in New York City.

    2013: Cantor Joel Caplan of Agudath Israel in Caldwell, NJ, will lead Shabbat morning service at Agudas Achim, as the Iowa City congregation dedicates its new facility in suburban Coralville.  Cantor Caplan is the son of Dick and Ellen Caplan, pillars of the Iowa City Jewish community. Cantor Caplan began his Jewish odyssey at Augdas Achim under the guidance of Rabbi Jeff Portman and began his musical odyssey at West High in Iowa City.




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    May 19 In History

    363: For a second day in a row, a series of earthquakes that took place along a fault-line stretching from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba  shook the region around the Galilee. According to some, this seismic event was part of the reason the Temple in Jerusalem was not rebuilt despite Emperor Julian’s support for the project.

    1103 (10 Iyar 4063): Isaac Alfasi passed away. Born in Fez in 1013, he is also known as the "RIF". He compiled the first codification of Jewish law, called Sefer Halachot. It still appears today in every volume of the Talmud. Joseph Caro later used it as a basis for his work. Sefer Halachot was the most important codex until Maimonides' Mishna Torah. Alfasi was 25 years old when Hai Gaon died. He was called Gaon by many authorities and his death marked the very end of that (Gaonic) period. His students included Judah Halevi and Josef ibn Migash.

    1588: The Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon.  The Armada was the most massive fleet of its day including 130 ships and 30,000 soldiers and sailors.  The Armada was designed to take control of the English Channeland facilitate the invasion of Englandfrom the Netherlands.  The English were at a great a disadvantage in terms of ships and manpower.  The all important question was when would the Armada begin its trip north?  Until the English knew this they would not when or where to make their first move.  Dr. Hector Nunes, a secret Jew living in England provided the information about the Spanish departure.  The Jews may have played a small part in one of the great turning points in history, but it was a small part that made a big difference.

    1604: The city of Montreal was founded today. Jews would not start arriving in Montreal until the 18th century following the British defeat of the French.  Today Montreal boasts a vibrant Jewish community number approximately 90,000 which some describe as the “most Orthodox” in North America.  However it has lost its position as the leading Jewish community in Canada to Toronto because of the rise of the French separatists and their political party, Parti Quebecois.

    1792: The Russian army entered Poland.  Ultimately Poland would be partitioned among its three imperial neighbors.  Much to the dismay of the Russians, the partition brought them a large mass of Jews, something they found quite upsetting to say the least.

    1802: The Légion d'Honneur is founded by Napoleon Bonaparte. Among the Jewish recipients are Rabbi Langer of New York’s Congregation Orach Chaim, Rabbi David Feuerwerker,a veteran of the French Army who served with the Marquis during World War II, David Saul Marshall, political leader in Singapore and Victor Attias and Henry Smadja who were members of the Jewish Resistance in Tunisia during World War II.

    1818: Eliza Frances (née Campbell) and Mr. Lionel Prager Goldsmid, an officer in the 19th Dragoons, and a scion of the well-known London family of that name whose maternal grandmother's father was Revolutionary War aide-de-camp David Franks gave birth to Sir John Goldsmid who would rise to the rank of Major General in the British Army

    1820(6thof Sivan, 5599): Jews in the United States celebrate  Shavuot in tranquility since the nation has just avoided a potential breakup over the issue of slavery with the adoption of the Missouri Compromise

    1839(6thof Sivan, 5599): As American Jews celebrate Shavuot they are forced to contend with an economic panic that will continue to cause ripples into the next decade.

    1858(6thof Sivan, 5618): Less than a month before Abraham Lincoln delivered his “House Divided Speech” American Jews celebrate Shavuot
    1860: The New York Times reviewed The Throne of David by Rev. J.H. Ingraham, which “illustrates the grandeur of the Hebrews at the height of their power and splendor.”

    1861: In San Francisco, CA, J. P. Davis, the President of  the Hebra Bikur Holim, (Society for Visiting the Sick) presented a new Torah Scroll to Congregation of Sherith Israel

    1863(1st of Sivan, 5623): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1863(1st of Sivan, 5623):Jonas Ennery passed away. Born at Nancy, France, in 1801, he worked at the Jewish School of Strasbourg for 26 years.  In 1843 he published “Le Sentier d’Israel” and he helped to edit "Prières d'un Cœur Israélite," (Prayers of a Jewish Heart) which was published in 1848. Despite anti-Jewish rioting in Alsace, Ennery was elected representative to the French National Assembly as a representative for the department of the Lower Rhine. After the coup d'état that brought Louis Napoleon to power Ennery was exiled forced into exile.  He moved to Brussels, where he lived as a teacher until his death. Ennery's brother, Marchand Ennery, was the chief rabbi of Paris.

    1866(5th of Sivan): Solomon Ludwig Steinheim passed away

    1867: According to reports published today, The Hebrew Educational Society of Baltimore has adopted the Christian plan of Sabbath school instruction.

    1871(28thof Iyar): Meir Halevi Letteris passed away

    1873: An article published today entitled “The New Home for Aged and Infirmed Hebrews” described the opening of this facility in New York City which was first envisioned by Mrs. Henry Leo in 1870.  She enlisted the support of the Bnai Jeshurun Benevolent Society to help her make the home a reality.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Leon did not live to see the her dream come to fruition.

    1878: According to todays “Home and Foreign Events” column “at the suggestion of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites, the Alliance Israelita Universelle will issue invitations for a conference of representatives of the Jew Jewish organizations of Europe and America.  The conference will be held in Paris and it will be open to the discussion of all subjects affecting the interests of Judaism.”

    1879: An article published today entitled “The Rothschild Family: The Greatest Financiers of the Age,” purports to provide “an authentic history of the Rothschilds in Frankfort, London, Paris and Vienna” including how the founder of the family acquired his wealth and anecdotes about “family peculiarities.

    1879: Joseph H. De Meza “a young Cuban Jew” was arrested today for stealing clothing from Mrs. Charles A. Lillie in New York City. De Meza came to Mrs. Lillie’s home and asked for “an outfit of her husband’s clothing” claiming that the husband had fallen into the East River at the Fulton Ferry and that he had sent De Meza to get a dry outfit.

    1879: An article published today entitled “Sunday Services for Hebrews” described reaction among various Jewish leaders to the recently announced plans by Temple Emanuel to start holding “Sabbath” services on Sunday.


    1880: Eighteen year old Matthew Nathan , the son of Jonah Nathan joined the Royal Engineers

    1880: It was reported today that Joseph Seligman’s will names his widow, Babet, as executrix of his estate, and his brothers James and Jesse and his son David as executors. The will provides that they may use $25,000 for contributions to the charities of their choice and sets up the terms for the disbursement of his estate so that it will provide for his wife and his children.

    1882(1stof Sivan, 5642): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1882: The Leadville, CO Jewish community suffered a financial loss when a building owned by New Yorkers Caesar J. Kaskel and Jacob Michaels burned.  The building was the home to a clothing store managed by Julius W. Kaskel.

    1882: As part of a blood libel investigation an entourage of mounted policemen arrived in Tisza-Eszlar, a small Hungarian village. The investigation revolved around the disappearance of a fourteen year old Catholic housemaid named Esther Solymossy.  The police directed their attention toward Joszef Sharf, custodian of the local synagogue.

    1886: The future Sir  Matthew Nathan was promoted to the rank of Captain in the Royal Engineers

    1889(18th of Iyar, 5649): Lag B'Omer

    1890: Samuel Hutch, a Jewish peddler was seen alive for the last time near Wurtsborough, NY.

    1890: “New Publications” published today includes a review of A Visit of Japheth to Shem and Ham

    1891: Barney Greenman, a fourteen year old Jewish boy came to the Barge Office in New York and asked the immigration officials to send him back to Rotterdam.

    1891: The Czar has issued a new proclamation or “ukase” ordering the expulsion of the Jews from the Asiatic provinces of the Russian Empire.

    1894: “Literary Notes” published today described the upcoming publication of Christopher Columbus and the Participation of the Jews in the Spanish and Portuguese Discoveries by Dr. Meyer Kayserling, the German born rabbi and historian.

    1895: “Hebrew Home to be Mortgaged” published today described plans by the managers of the Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews of New York City to build a new facility with funds gained from taking out a mortgage on the property at 106thStreet and Columbus Avenue.

    1895: Most of the 4,000 “uptown people” who had been invited to a tea at the Hebrew Institute attended this event which gave them a chance to observe the various activities of the educational organization.

    1895: “In A Wide Labor Field” published today provided a detailed description of the work of the Educational Alliance which was formed in 1892 under the direction of the Hebrew Free School Association, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association and the Aguillar Free Library Society

    1896: The village of Metula was founded with funds supplied by Baron Rothschild.  Metula was the northern most town in Palestine and would become the northern most town in Israel.  Metula is close to the border with Lebanon

    1896: Herzl is received by Agliardi, the Papal Nuncio in Vienna.

    1897: Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol.  In The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Wilde created a Jewish theatre manager named Isaacs whom he describes as “A hideous Jew, in the most amazing waistcoat I ever beheld in my life, was standing at the entrance, smoking a vile cigar. He had greasy ringlets, and an enormous diamond blazed in the centre of a soiled shirt…He was such a monster.” This does not mean he was an anti-Semite.  After all, Ada Leverson, the English Jewess, invited Wilde to her Salon after he had been arrested.

    1898: “Gladstone’s Career” published today contained a summary of the late English political leaders life including his rivalry with Disraeli which began with a battle over the budget when Gladstone was made Chancellor of the Exchequer and continued even after Disraeli took his seats in the House of Lords.

    1899: The new Hebrew Charities Building that was dedicated yesterday “will provide accommodation for the relief work of the United Hebrew Charities, afford convenient offices and meeting rooms for…various Jewish charitable and philanthropic enterprises” and to provide a meeting place large enough to accommodate gatherings of those supporting various Jewish agencies and institutions.

    1901: Herzl sends a letter to the Sultan and asks for a final audience before his departure.

    1903: Menachem Ussishkin arrives in Viennato prepare for his visit to Palestineto make land purchases for the Geulah Committee and to organize the Yishuv.

    1906: Birthdate of Gerd Bucerius, the German journalist and lawyer whose Jewish wife took refuge in the United Kingdom when the Nazis came to power.  He remained behind and defended numerous Jewish clients facing charges from the German authorities.

    1907(6thof Sivan, 5667): Shavuot

    1908(18th of Iyar, 5668): Lag B'Omer

    1909:  Birthdate of composer Shlomo Yoffe or Schlomo Joffe. Born in Warsaw he studied piano theory in Samara, Russia from 1918 until 1921 and, in 1924 in Warsaw joined the Zionist movement Hashomer Hatza'ir, playing the mandolin, tuba, baritone and clarinet in its folk orchestras. He graduated from the Teachers' Seminarium in Poznan (Poland) in 1928, and in 1930, following agricultural studies in Brno(Czechoslovakia), moved to Palestine, helping to establish a kibbutz in 1932. Only after 1940 did he begin to be involved with music again, at first teaching and arranging music at the kibbutz Beit Alpha. After a period of concentrated study (1947-53), with Prof. J. Tal and Prof. O. Partos at the New Jerusalem Academy of Music, and privately with A.A. Boskovich, he devoted himself to composition and teaching at the district conservatory for kibbutzim at Beth-She'an Valley, where he was director until 1973. In the 1950s, under Boskovitch's influence, he used elements of Near Eastern Jewish song, maqam, heterophony and a form of chromatic modality, often in the expression of biblical and Israeli dramas, for example in the cantata "Tales of Mount Gilboa" (953), but also in his Prokofiev-like neo-classical symphonic works. These features remained evident in later works, despite the influence of Schoenbrg in the compositions of the 1960s and the influences that followed a visit to Darmstadtin 1962 and meetings with Lutoslawski and Penderecki. His cantata "Rising Night after Night" (1978), for example, exhibits many contemporary aspects, including extended vocal techniques, clusters and a deformed folk melody, but despite these developments, Joffe always remained, through his teaching, association and biblical roots, a 'kibbutz composer'.

    1909: Birthdate of Sir Nicholas George Winton, MBE a Briton who organized the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport. Winton found homes for them and arranged for their safe passage to Britain. The UK press has dubbed him the "British Schindler".

    1911: The Turkish government instructs its Minister at Teheran to protest the Persian government attacks against lives and property of Ottoman Jews at Kermanshah.

    1911: The King of Italy confers Knighthood of Order of Crown on Rabbi Abraham Elbgen, Chief Rabbi of Crete.

    1911: Jews of Constantinople take a prominent part in the celebrations of the anniversary of the Sultan's accession to the throne.

    1911: Plans are made in Cairo to form a Federation of Synagogues.

    1914:  Birthdate of Max Perutz, Austrian-born British molecular biologist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1962.

    1915(6thof Sivan, 5675): Shavuot observed for the first time during WW I.

    1918: Birthdate of Louis Sachwald, who was among the brave American soldiers who battled the Japanese during the dark days of WW II at Corregidor and survived a brutal imprisonment to become a successful business man in Maryland

    1918: Birthdate of Abraham (Bram) Pais a Dutch-born American physicist and science historian.

    1919: In Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk moves to Samsun from Istanbul with a few followers, to oppose the Ottoman government, which eventually leads to the Turkish War of Independence and the creation of the modern Turkish state. As part of his reform programs Ataturk made religious faith a matter of individual conscience. He created a truly secular system in Turkey, where the vast Moslem majority and the small Christian and Jewish minorities are free to practice their faith. As a result of Atatürk's reforms, Turkey -unlike scores of other countries- has fully secular institutions.

    1919:The twenty-sixth biennial council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations begins in Boston.

    1921: The Emergency Quota Act passes the U.S. Congress establishing national quotas on immigration. Because of the convoluted quota system established by this law, immigration from southern and eastern Europe effectively came to an end.  This had the effect of closing the American Door for the Jews of Eastern Europe and Russia.  The strict enforcement of this law would also mean that European Jews would have no place to go when Hitler came to power.
    1926(6th of Sivan, 5686): Shavuot

    1928: Birthdate of NBA great Adolph "Dolph" Schayes.

    1930: The world executive of the Mizrachi (Orthodox Zionists) sent a telegram to Dr. Chaim Weizmann today calling for an immediate meeting of Zionist congress that would address the announcement by the British High Commissioner to suspend immigration to Palestine.  The appeal stated that “the new immigration ban reveals a new British government tendency to disregard the principles of the mandate.”  This “tendency endangers the Zionist work.”  Protests against the new British policy are already taking place in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Emek Valley. The Jewish Agency and the Vaad Leumi are meeting in a joint session to deal with this issue.

    1934: In Brooklyn Rabbi Isaac Landman is scheduled to deliver a sermon entitled “Two Sets of Commandments” at Congregation Beth Elohim.

    1934: Rabbi I. Mortimer Bloom is scheduled to deliver a sermon entitled “The Reign of Law” at Temple Oheb Shalom.

    1934: Rabbi Louis I. Newman is scheduled to deliver a sermon entitled, "Goebbels' Speech and the Madison Square Garden Meeting-What Do They Conceal?" at Congregation Rodeph Sholom

    1934:Dr. Samuel H. Goldenson is scheduled to deliver a sermon entitled “Who is Who-With Respect to Life's Values" at New York’s Temple Emanu-El.

    1934(5th of Sivan, 5694): Erev Shavuot

    1934:Rabbi Milton Steinberg is scheduled to lead Shavuot Services at Park Avenue Synagogue at 6 p.m. this evening.

    1935: T. E. Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia, died from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident. Lawrence is connected in the popular mind with his role in providing British support for the Arab Revolt during World War I.  But Lawrence was not one of those British Arabists who were, at best, disdainful of the Jewish people. As can be seen from the following, Lawrencewelcomed the settlement of the Jewish community in Palestine. “In 1919 Lawrence drafted a letter for Emir Feisal for a meeting with Felix Frankfurter, a leader of American Zionists. In his letter Feisal wished “the Jews a hearty welcome home” and asserted “our two movements complete one another.” “There is room in Syria for both of us” he concluded. The letter was published in the New York Times on March 5, 1919. In “The Changing East,” Lawrencewrote of “the Jewish experiment” as a conscious effort, on the part of the least European people in Europe, to make head against the drift of the aces, and return once more to the Orient from which they came. The colonists will take back with them to the land which they occupied for some centuries before the Christian era samples of all the knowledge and technique of Europe. They propose to settle down amongst the existing Arab-speaking population of the country, a people of kindred origin, but far different social condition. They hope to adjust their mode of life to the climate of Palestine, and by the exercise of their skill and capital to make it as highly organised as a European state. The success of their scheme will involve inevitably the raising of the present Arab population to their own material level, only a little after themselves in point of time, and the consequences might be of the highest importance for the future of the Arab world. It might well prove a source of technical supply rendering them independent of industrial Europe, and in that case the new confederation might become a formidable element of world power. However, such a contingency will not be for the first or even for the second generation, but it must be borne in mind in any laying out of foundations of empire in Western Asia “
    1936(27th of Iyar, 5696):“A 43 year old Jew named, Feivil Schnitzer, was shot and killed early this morning by an Arab in the Armenian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was the twenty- sixth murder of a Jew by Arabs since the present disturbances began, and in every case the assassins are still at large.”
    1936: “Tel Aviv celebrated the inauguration of its new port today.  Tens of thousands gathered around a provisional jetty to watch the arrival and unloading of two steamers with cargoes of cement.” Tel Aviv’s aged and ailing Mayor, Meir Dizengoff, left his sick bed to watch the Jewish porters unloading bags of cement. “Now that my eyes have sevenths, I am ready to die.”
    1938: Simon W. Gerson, an aide to Manhattan Borough President Stanley M. Isaacs spent three hours testifying before the Joint Legislative Committee on Law Administration and Enforcement chaired by state senator John J. McNaboe.  The committee spent very little time questioning Gerson about the aleteration of his name on Municipal Court records in the a rent case which was supposed to be the focus of the hearing and a lot of time questioning Gerson about his political views.  Gerson, who was Jewish, was a self-described Communist who, along with his wife, has been very critical of the American political and economic system. His boss, Borough President Isaacs was also Jewish but he was a leading member of the Republican Party. 
    1939: In defiance of the White Paper, 309 “illegal Jewish immigrants” landed on the “shores of Southern Palestine.”  Before they were discovered by British troops, the group, including 74 women and 14 children were attacked by an armed mob of Arab villagers.
    1940: Today is the last day on which Hans Rey would paint his illustrations on French soil.
    1941: Birthdate of Nora Ephron.  Born in New York to parents who were dramatists, Ephron attended Wellesley.  She has been a novelist, screenwriter and director.  Some of her hits include “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Michael” and “Heartburn.”  She was married to Carl Bernstein.

    1941: The Palmach ("peluggot mahaz" - "assault companies") commando units were established by Yitzhak Sade as a defense from any Axis (Germany and Italy) attack on Eretz Israel. Later they assisted in planning and executing the dropping of Parachutists in occupied Europe. At its peak (November 1947) it had approximately 5000 members which were mainly responsible for capturing Safed and Tiberias as well helping to open the road to Jerusalem.

    1943: Liberal Judaism, a new illustrated monthly journal of opinion and letters, has been issued by The Union of Hebrew Congregations, it was announced today. The cover of the first, or May, issue, published last Saturday, is dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of Reform Judaism in the United States.

    1943: Berlin was declared "Judenrein", Jew Free.

    1943: In the House of Commons, the courageous Eleanor Rathbone attacked the British government for the defeatist attitudes expressed at the Bermuda Conference and noted that the Allies are responsible for the deaths of any Jews if they refuse to help.

    1943: Ben Hecht’s “We Will Never Die”was performed at the Chicago Stadium, with guest stars John Garfield and Burgess Meredith in the lead roles. An estimated 20,000 people attended as the stadium, “scene of many a hectic convention and gaudy circus, was turned into a house of worship,” as the Chicago Daily News put it.[Jewish Virtual Library]

    1944(26th of Iyar, 5704): Jews deported from Paris to Kovno, Lithuania, are machine-gunned by guards in a fenced enclosure after some of the prisoners attack SS troops.

    1944: The Germans transport Hungarian Jew Joel Brand to Turkey so he could deliver a proposal from Adolf Eichmann that would have required the Western Allies to exchange 10,000 trucks for one million Eastern European Jews. Eichmann called it "blood for trucks." Arrested by the British, Brand was sent to Lord Moyne (resident minister of state in the Middle East), who comments: "What shall I do with those million Jews?"

    1944:Mel Mermelstein the man who would defeat the Institute for Historical Review in an American court and had the occurrence of gassings in Auschwitz during the Holocaust declared a legally incontestable fact was deported to Auschwitz along with the rest of the Jewish community of Munkacs, which was part of Czechoslovakia at that time.

    1945(7thof Sivan, 5705): For the first time since VE Day, Yizkor is recited on the 2ndday of Shavuot.

    1948: Israeli forces abandoned Bet ha-Aravah and the potash works on the northern end of the Dead Sea.

    1948: The provisional government of Israel declared a state of emergency.

    1948: As the undermanned and outgunned Israeli units sought to keep the Syrians and Iraqis from taking the Jordan Valley, a second raid, by a Yiftach company, crossed the Jordan and struck the Syrian camp at the Customs House, near the main Bnot Yaakov Bridge After a short battle, the Syrian defenders (one or two companies) fled. The Palmachniks destroyed the camp and several vehicles, including two armored cars, without losses.”

    1948:The Iraqis, who were about to drive west through Nablus toward Tulkarm, “asked the Syrians to make a diversion in the Degania area to protect their right flank. The Syrians complied, their main objective being to seize the bridge across the river north of Degania Alef, thus blocking any Israeli attack from Tiberias against the Iraqi line of communications.”

    1948: During the War for Independencetwo civilian leaders from Kibbutz Deganya arrive at Ben Gurion’s offices begging for help in fighting off the attacking Syrian armored column.  Ben Gurion responded candidly “We don’t have enough artillery, enough airplanes. Every front needs reinforcements.  The situation is extremely grave in the Negev, in the Jerusalem area and in the Upper Galilee.”  And if anything, Ben Gurion was understating the desperate situation.  So far the only help he had to send to Deganya was Moshe Dayan who had little more than his eye-patch with which to face the Syrians, Iraqis and Jordanians.  Ben Gurion sent the two leaders to Yigal Yadin, his Chief of Staff.  Yadin listens to the report and then advises them to let the Syrian tanks breach the kibbutz so that the defenders can disable them with Molotov cocktails.  Their angry response shocks Yadin into action.  If Daganya is lost the North is lost.  With the Egyptians advancing from the Negev and the Arab Legion besieging Jerusalem, Yadin’s position seems more like Custer than King David.  Yadin meets with Ben Gurion. In a table-pounding dispute, Yadin attempts to convince the Old Man to send four 65 millimeter artillery pieces that had been intended for Jerusalem north to Deganya.  This is the sum total of the Israeli artillery reserve and the weapons lack sights (you know, the things you aim the gun with).  Ben Gurion agrees to send two of the canon North with Dayan under the condition that they be returned promptly to help with the fighting around Jerusalem. 

    1948: The provisional government council of Israel proclaimed a state of emergency.

    1948: "A tiny force of the Palmach took Mount Zion and broke through to the Jewish Quarter."  The unit was forced to withdraw several hours later when reinforcements could not come to their aid.

    1949(20th of Iyar, 5709): Mary Antin, author of The Promised Land,” passed away

    1950(3rd of Sivan, 5710):  The Aliyah of Iraqi Jews began. The first deportation of Eretz Yisrael Jews to Babylonia took place in 597 B.C.E. The bulk of Eretz Yisrael Jewry followed them to Babylonia 11 years later, in 568 B.C.E. The first return of some Babylonian Jews to Eretz Yisrael took place in 539 B.C.E. The majority, however, remained in Babylonia, where they were destined eventually to make a major contribution to Judaism through the creation of the Babylonian Talmud and the Geonic Responsa.” It was not until 1951, 2,548 years after the arrival of the first Jewish deportees in Babylonia, that this ancient Jewish community began its own liquidation through an Aliyahto Israel.

    1951(13th of Iyar, 5711): David Remez passed away.  Born David Drabkin in Russia in May of 1886, he made Aliyah in 191.  Trained as a lawyer and teacher, he worked as field hand on several agricultural settlements. A founding member of Mapai and a leader of Histadrut, he was a true founding father as one of the signatories to Israel’s Declaration of Independence.  He was the first Minister of Transportation and was serving as Minister of Education at the time of his death.

    1953(5th of Sivan, 5713): Erev Shavuot

    1953:A call went to 3,750 Jewish communities throughout the country, to assure the successful financing this summer of the most important agricultural development program to be launched in Israel since the establishment of the state, was issued here today by the United Jewish Appeal on the eve of Shavuos, the Festival of Pentecost, which in the ancient days celebrated the appearance of the first fruits of summer.The appeal was made by Rabbi Jonah B. Wise, a national chairman of the UJA. "There can be no greater observance of this ancient festival commemorating Jewish attachment to the soil than support of the United Jewish Appeals current special effort to help Israel achieve agricultural self-sufficiency and maturity." he said.Rabbi Wise called specific attention to a special emergency drive for $25,000,000 in cash launched by the UJA for a five-week period beginning May 1. The cash fund is being sought for establishment in Israel by the end of June of 36 new agricultural settlements, for the immediate channeling to the new colonies of large, recently-discovered water sources, and for speeding a rise in the productivity both of the soil and those newly placed on it as immigrant farmers.

    1954: Nicholas Winton, a Briton who organized the rescue of 669 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War relinquished his commission of “flying officer” in the RAF while retaining the rank of “flight lieutenant.”

    1959: As reported in today’s New York Times, Richard Tucker was among those who appeared at the “Puccini Night” open air concert at Lewisohn Stadium in New York City. The stadium was named in honor of Adolph Lewisohn, the German-Jewish banker who donated the money to pay for its construction.

    1966: The emblem for the Israeli town of Arad, a square with a hill and a flame, was adopted today.

    1969: Palestinian terrorists from Jordan bombard the Musa Alami School near Jericho.

    1972(6th of Sivan, 5732): Shavuot

    1972: The Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of New York scheduled final exams today.  It was the only college in the system to do so.  (The exams would be moved to May 30 after a major protest led by Hillel, the ADL and other major Jewish organizations.)

    1974(27th of Iyyar, 5734): Sandy Sasso wasordained as the first female Reconstructionist rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia

    1975: The New Yorker published “The New York Review of Gossip” by Marshall Brickman.

    1977:A bi-national foundation, designed to promote joint industrial research and development between the United States and Israel was established in Washington today at a formal ceremony between Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs C. Fred Bergsten and Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz. The move to establish the Bi-national Industrial Research and Development Foundation, followed President Carter's signing into law Congressional legislation which stipulated that Israel and the U.S. would each contribute $30 million to create an endowment to promote activities of mutual interest and benefit to both countries. An agreement for the project was signed in Jerusalem March 3, 1976. The Joint Israel-American Committee for Investment and Trade, whose objective is to foster economic ties, initiated the project which is expected to provide direct mutual economic gains such as the development and participation in new external markets and increase the flow of materials and services between the two countries. According to a spokesman for the Government of Israel Investment Authority, which is headquartered in New York, the Foundation "is the first of its kind established between the United States and another country." For a project to be supported by the Foundation it must show promise of tangible direct benefits to the national economies of both countries, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Treasury Department. The Foundation will be governed by a board consisting of three officials of each government (JTA)

    1981: Former Finance Minister Yigal Hurvitz joins Moshe Dayan's Telem party.

    1983(7thof Sivan, 5743): Second Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1985(28thof Iyar, 5745): Yom Yerushalayim

    1985: Two famous Jewish men of letters are joined together in Harold Bloom’s review of Zuckerman Bound by Philip Roth

    1988: Shimon Peres is scheduled to address commencement ceremonies at the Jewish Theological Seminary this afternoon.

    1989(14th of Iyar, 5749): Dr. Abel J Herzberg passed away.  Dr. Abel J. Herzberg was a lawyer in Amsterdam when he was arrested in 1943, along with his wife, and taken to the Dutch transit camp at Westerbork. He was sent to Bergen-Belsen in January 1944 and, as a Zionist, he was put on the list of 1300 Jews who were available to be sent to Palestine in exchange for German citizens held as prisoners by the Allies. He was on the list of 272 Jews who were selected in April 1944 to go to Palestine, but at the last minute 50 names were crossed off the list and Dr. Herzberg had to go back into the Star Camp with the other Dutch Jews. Dr. Herzberg survived and after the war, he went back to being a lawyer in Amsterdam. He published the diary that he kept in Bergen-Belsen.  It appeared in English under the title, “Between Two Streams: A Diary From Bergen-Belsen.”

    1989: Morton Isaac Abramowitz completed his term as Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research which left him free to accept appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey.

    1996(1st of Sivan, 5756): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1999: Conductor Yakov Kreizberg made his debut appearance with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

    2002: In The Observer Michael Sfard the lawyerrepresenting Israeli conscripts who refuse to serve beyond the 1967 ceasefire lines explains why a growing number of soldiers are disobeying orders, in order to protect the basic values on which Israel was founded.

    2004(28th of Iyar, 5764): Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day - is the anniversary of the liberation and unification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty that occurred during the Six Day War. Yom Yerushalayim is celebrated on the 28th of the month of Iyar(one week before Shavuot). In 2004 Iyar 28 corresponds to May 19 on the secular calendar.

    2005(10th of Iyar, 5765): Steven Budeysky, a member of the U.S. Army’s 105th Military Intelligence Battalion was killed today while serving in Iraq.  “Budeysky was born in Moldova in the former Soviet Union and went on to learn English as part of a singing group that toured Europe. When Budeysky was 12 years old, he and his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Chicago, where he attended Ida Crown Jewish Academy. He was also known as Baruch or Boris to his friends. A 2001 graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in economics and history, Budeysky was pursuing a graduate degree in political science from Troy University when he enlisted in the Army in 2002.”

    2006:The Jewish Chroniclerevealed that the Claims Conference highest-paid official, executive vice-president Gideon Taylor was awarded $437,811 (£240,000) in salary and pension (2004 numbers).  An advisor to British survivors in compensation claims in the 1990s, Dr Pinto-Duschinsky, commented: "It is wrong for the executive vice-president to earn annually the same as the compensation for several hundred former slave laborers. The moral authority of the leading Jewish organizations is gravely weakened by excessively high salaries for top officials."

    2006: In an article entitled “Long, long ago, when basketball was kosher” Haaretz reported on a gathering of about 125 Yeshiva University (YU) alumni and friends at the school's Jerusalem campus  for a nostalgic evening with "The YU Dream Team of the 1950s" - six former basketball players from New York City who later immigrated to Israel.

    2006(21st of Iyar, 5766): Yitzhak Ben-Aharon,the last founding giant of Israel’s left wing, died two months short of his 100th birthday. A controversial figure on the Israeli political scene, he was one of the first to call for the return of all territories occupied by Israel in the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and reached the peak of his career as secretary-general of the Histadrut, Israel’s trade union federation.


    2007:After a two-month tryout at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England, a London revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” opened today  at the Savoy Theatre starring Henry Goodman as Tevye, Beverley Klein as Golde, Alexandra Silber as Hodel, Damian Humbley as Perchik and Victor McGuire as Lazar Wolf.

    2007: After 13 performances at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Felicja Blumental International Music Festival comes to a close.

    2008: At the Israel Museum opening of an exhibition entitled “Swords into Plowshares
    The Isaiah Scroll and Its Message of Peace.” On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, the IsraelMuseum presents the longest, best preserved, and most complete Dead Sea Scroll document ever found, in a special installation in the Shrine of the Book.

    2008: At the Stephan Wise Free SynagogueStephan Wise Free SynagogueStephan Wise Free SynagogueStephan Wise Free SynagogueStephan Wise Free SynagogueStephan Wise Free SynagogueStephan Wise Free SynagogueStephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York, an evening of Israeli music entitled “The Sharett Sisters in Concert.”

    2008 (5768): Pesach Sheini

    2009: Time magazine reports on the recent passing of “Jewish boxer Salamo Arouch” at the age of 86.  Arouch survived the Holocaust by winning boxing matches staged by the guards at Auschwitz.  “He was the subject of the film ‘Triumph of the Spirit’ starring Willem Dafoe.”

    2009: At Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.,children's author Amy Krouse Rosenthal reads from and discusses her new picture book, “Duck! Rabbit!”

    2009:Rivka Galchen discusses her debut novel, “Atmospheric Disturbances,” in conversation with Ron Charles, Book World's deputy editor, as part of the Nextbook series at the D.C. Jewish Community Center.

    2009:Today the Edinburgh International Film Festival returned a 300-pound grant from the Israeli embassy, after bowing to pressure from director Ken Loach. The grant was intended to enable Tel Aviv University graduate Tali Shalom Ezer to travel to Scotland for a screening of her film, Surrogate. Ezer's film is a romance set in a sex-therapy clinic, and makes no reference to war or politics. It recently won the award for best film at an international women's film festival in Israel

    2009:This evening, Israel Air Force (IAF) jets attacked targets throughout Gaza after a woman was lightly injured from a rocket explosion in Sderot. During the attack, the IAF succeeded in hitting two weapons factories and four smuggling tunnels, used by Hamas terrorists to restock their supply of armaments.
    2009(15th of Iyar, 5769): Shlomo Shamir whose life reads like something out a James Bond novel, passed away. Born Shlomo Rabinowitch in Russia in 1915, he made aliyah ten years later.  He was an active member of the Haganah from 1929 until 1940 when he joined the RAF and rose to the rank of major before his discharge in 1946. During the War of Independence he played a key role in the fighting around Latrun and the creation of the Burma Road. After the war, he served as the 3rd commander of the Israeli Navy and the 3rd commander of the Israeli Air Force. After leaving the military he graduated from Tel Aviv University and Harvard.  He was an entrepreneur who developed several successful businesses.

    2009: Ninety year old Sheikh Jabr Muadi, a Druze Israeli politician who served in the Knesset from 1951 to 1981 passed away today.

    2010(6th of Sivan, 5770): First day of Shavuot

    2010(6th of Sivan, 5770):At Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, IA, Melanie Abzug, Miriam Maikon and Sam Sarasin are scheduled to Confirmed during Evening Shavuot Services.

    2010(6th of Sivan, 5770): Martin Cohan, 77, who co-created the ABC sitcom "Who's the Boss?" and was a prolific TV writer and producer, died today at his home in Pacific Palisades after a two-year battle with large-cell lymphoma, his family announced. Cohan and his business partner, Blake Hunter, created the sitcom starring Tony Danza and Judith Light, which ran from 1984 to 1992. The two men also served as creative consultants for a British version of the TV show called "The Upper Hand," which debuted in 1990 and ran for seven seasons. Besides his work as executive producer and writer for "Boss," Cohan wrote hundreds of scripts for such popular TV series as "The Bob Newhart Show," "Diff'rent Strokes," " Mary Tyler Moore" and "Silver Spoons." Born July 4, 1932, in San Francisco, Cohan graduated from Stanford University in 1955 after studying theater arts. He found work as a stage manager and assistant director at ABC Television, his family said. He got his break on "Mary Tyler Moore" as an assistant director in 1971 and won a Writers Guild of America award in 1972 for best comedy episode. He went on to write, direct and produce for "The Bob Newhart Show."

    2010: The Washington Postreviewed Jules Feiffer's account of his multifaceted career which will delight that generation of readers for whom his whimsical, sardonic and often politically barbed Village Voice cartoons were a cultural touchstone.

    2010: “The Frozen Rabbi” by Steve Stern is among the books briefly reviewed in today’s “Newly Released” Column.“When an electrical storm causes a power failure in his parents’ home, 15-year-old Bernie Karp meets the family heirloom stored in the basement freezer: a 19th-century Polish rabbi, now defrosted and ready to savor life in suburbia. In chapters that toggle between past and present, Mr. Stern’s comic novel explains just how Rabbi Eliezer ben Zephyr, the famed “Boibiczer Prodigy,” came to be encased in a block of ice, and follows his chilly journey from a European shtetl to the Lower East Side to the Karp household in Memphis.

    2011:The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington is scheduled to honor Dennis Berman, The Kramer Family and Esther B. Newman at tonight’s annual fundraising dinner in Potomac, MD.

    2011: Ed Goldberg and the Odessa Klezmer Band are scheduled to perform at the Marlboro branch of the Monmouth County (NJ) Library.

    2011: The Second Annual Atlanta Jewish Music Festival is scheduled to take place at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA.

    2011:A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, 1910-65” a “colorful new exhibition that celebrates the many Jewish composers of the American Songbook and their great contribution to American popular culture including Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein is scheduled to open  today at The Bainbridge Library in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

    2011: The Center for Jewish History and Leo Baeck Institute are scheduled to present “Follow the Fugue” a concert featuring the Phoenix Chamber Ensemble.

    2011: Prosecutors announced today that a grand jury had indicted Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn on charges related to the alleged sexual assault of a hotel housekeeper at the Sofitel New York.

    2011: A judge granted Dominique Strauss-Kahn bail today, allowing the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund to be freed from Rikers Island to stay in a Manhattan apartment while his sexual assault case is pending.

    2011:Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today Israel would object to any withdrawal to "indefensible" borders, adding he expected Washington to allow it to keep major settlement blocs in any peace deal.  In a statement after President Barack Obama's speech outlining Middle East strategy, Netanyahu said before heading to Washington that "the viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of Israel's existence".

    2011:Lars von Trier was expelled from the Cannes Film Festival today, a day after joking at a news conference that he was a Nazi and expressing sympathy for Hitler. The Danish director’s film “Melancholia” is in competition at the festival and seen as a contender for the top prize.  (As reported by Melena Ryzik)

    2011:Swiss producer Arthur Cohn, a six-time Oscar winner, was honored for his body of work by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.Cohn’s grandfather the chief rabbi of Basel. He invited Theodor Herzl to hold the first Zionist Congress there after rabbis elsewhere objected.

    2012: Mendy Cahan is scheduled to at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City.

    2012: In Springfield, VA, Congregation Ada Reyim is scheduled to present “A Night of Magic and More.”

    2012: As part of the Ahavat Yisrael Weekend, Moshav is schedule to perform at Adas Israel in Washington, DC.

    2012: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the family and many friends of Amy Barnum have a chance to celebrate her birthday.  An ayshish chayil she has raised three marvelous daughters, provided leadership for Temple Judah and Hadassah and is the glue for the annual traditional High Holiday services. “Her children (and everybody else) call her blessed.”

    2012:Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg updated his status to "married" today.

    2013: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker and the recently released paperback edition of The Price of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz

    2013: The Alexandria Kleztet is scheduled to perform for the Jewish Community Association at Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, MD.

    2013: David Senesh, the nephew Hannah Senesh is scheduled to Dr. Louis D. Levine in a talk about the brave young Jewish poet and paratrooper and whose life and work are being honored at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie with an exhibition “Fire In My Heart.”

    2013: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to sponsor a walking tour of Downtown Jewish Washington which will give participants a chance to experience the neighborhood along Seventh Street, NW as it was from 1850 to 1950.

    2013: In Little Rock, AR, the friends and family of Rabbi PInchus and Estie Ciment are scheduled to gather to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter Zissie.  The Ciments are the quintessential “lamplighters” who have brought the light of Chabad Lubavtich to the Arkansas Jewish Community.



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    May 20 In History

    68(3rd of Sivan, 3828): During the Great Revolt, Vespasian captured Jericho and slaughtered the Jewish inhabitants.

    325:  The First Council of Nicaea, convoked by Emperor Constantine, opens.  Among other things, the Council dealt with the issue of setting the date for Easter.  Going forward, Easter would never again be celebrated on the same day as the first day of Pesach.

    526: An earthquake, with an epicenter in Syria that reportedly killed 300,000 people, is felt throughout much of the Near East including at least two towns now located in the modern state of Israel – Acre and Beit Jann.

    1092:During the reign of St. Ladislaus the Synod of Szabolcs decreed that Jews in Hungary should not be permitted to have Christian wives or to keep Christian slaves. This decree had been promulgated in the Christian countries of Europe since the fifth century, and St. Ladislaus merely introduced it into Hungary.

    1293: King Sancho IV of Castile creates the Study of General Schools of Alcalá which would become one Spain’s oldest and finest universities.  During the 1930’s the school would prove to be haven for Jewish intellectuals fleeing anti-Semitism in other parts of Europe.  The school would cease to be a haven when Franco led his coup in 1936 that became the Spanish Civil War and brought facism to the Iberian Peninsula.

    1631: The city of Magdeburg in Germany is seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years' War. For once, there were probably no Jews among the dead.  The Jews had been explled from the town in 1493 and would not be readmitted until 1671 during the reign of the great elector, Frederick William.

    1648: King Wladislaus IV of Poland passed away. Wladislaus was the king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth when the Chmielnicki, Uprising began in January of 1648.  According to some, the King and his advisors underestimated the size and the strength of the uprising.  They suffered to major defeats as the Cossacks moved westward.  His death left the Poles leaderless at a crucial time in their history and may have been a contributing factor to the success of the uprising which brought death and destructions to hundreds of thousands of Jews living throughout the area.

    1671: Frederick William of Prussia permitted 50 Jewish families who had been expelled from Vienna to settle in his dominion.

    1769(13thof Iyar): Rabbi Nethanel Weil of Prague, author of “Korban Nethanel” passed away.

    1806: Birthdate of British philosopher John Stuart Mill

    1819: Rica Meldola, the eldest daughter of Raphael Meldola married David Aaron de Sola, the senior rabbi at Bevis Marks Synagogue in London.

    1820(7thof Sivan, 5580): Second Day of Shavuot; Yizkor

    1820: Birthdate of Esriel  or Azriel Hildesheimer, a German rabbi who was a leader in the formation of Modern Orthodox Judaism.

    1822: Birthdate of author Emile Erckmann who along with Alexandre Chatrian co-authored the 1869 play “Le Jeuf Polonais” (The Polish Jew) which was the basis for “The Bells.”

    1835: Michael Rose, the Great Synagogue’s first Rabbi, arrived in Sydney, Australia.

    1839(7thof Sivan, 5599): Second Day of Shavuot; Yizkor

    1842: Arch abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison wrote an article in his newspaper the Liberator, referring to Mordecai Noah, one of the most prominent Jews of the period as "a Jewish unbeliever, the enemy of Christ and Liberty."  Garrison felt that Noah had expressed sentiments that were hostile to the abolitionists when, as a Judge, he was delivering a charge to a Grand Jury.  Garrison would continue his attacks on Noah describing him as "the miscreant Jew", that lineal descendant of the monsters who nailed Jesus to the Cross"  and as a "Shylock" who "will have his pound of flesh at any cost." 

    1847: Consecration of the New Netherdutch Synagogue took place in New York. The congregation was organized so they could, "have a Synagogue where they can worship according to the Amsterdam Minchag. They number about sixty members. The service was performed by the S. E. C. Noot, the Chazanof the congregation, assisted by several young men."

    1851: Birthdate of inventor Emile Berliner. Born in Germany, Berliner came to the United Statesin 1870.  His most famous invention was the flat phonograph record which replaced the cylinder that had been invented by Thomas Edison.  Berliner made many other contributions through his work at the Bell Labs.  He also was an early developer of the helicopter.  At the end of his life, he supported the rebuilding of Palestineand was very active on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He died in 1929. 

    1855: Birthdate of Saul Frank.  A Dutch Jew, whose parents were Sephardic, he was a successful businessman who settled in California and married Sarah Vasen the Iowa educated physician who became the first Jewish woman doctor in Los Angeles.

    1858(7thof Nisan, 5618): Second Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1867: A fair was held today at the Concordia Opera House in Baltimore, MD.  Proceeds from the event are to be used for the building of the Hebrew Hospital which, when completed, will offer services to all indigent citizens without regard to religious affiliation.

    1873: Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis, a tailor from Reno, received patent 139,121 which protected their invention of blue jeans with copper rivets in areas of stress including the pocket corners and the button fly.

    1874: Levi Strauss marketed blue jeans with copper rivets charging $13.50 per dozen.  Strauss arrived in San Franciscowith canvas that he thought he could use for making tents to sell to the miners.  But what the miners needed were stout pants, which Strauss gave them using the canvas.  He later changed to heavy blue denim called genes in French which became jeans in to the people of California.  The copper rivets were used because the miners put nuggets in their pants pockets and regular stitching would not hold them.

    1879:Joseph H. De Meza a young Cuban Jew pleaded guilty to charges that he had tried to steal clothing from Mrs. Charles A. Lillie by swindling her.  He was held over because he could not raise $3,000 in bail.  During the proceedings, De Meza told the court of various swindles he had taken part since his family left Cuba six years ago.  According to De Meza, his family had been forced to flee from their home in Matanzas because they were part of the insurgency aimed at overthrowing the Spanish rulers of Cuba.
    1885(6thof Sivan, 5645): Shavuot

    1889(19thof Iyar): Italian Jewish leader Samuel Altari passed away

    1890(1st of Sivan, 5650): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1891: “He Wants to go Home” published today described the plight of Barney Greenman who came to United States with his parents a year ago.  The teenager who has received help from the United Hebrew Charities, wants to go back to Rotterdam where he can rejoin his parents who went back because they “did not succeed in make a fortune…”

    1891: In London, as the number of destitute Russian Jews seeking refuge in Great Britain,  The Evening News “warns authorities that if the Hebrew ‘invasion’ is not checked…an anti-Hebrew movement…will grow up in England.”

    1891: Louis Raphael shot his fiancée, Rachel Weinberg this evening and then turned the gun on himself.

    1890: It is alleged that two or more unidentified individuals threw the body of Samuel Hutch, a Jewish peddler, down an abandoned mine shaft near Wurtsborough, NY.

    1891: Dr. Henry M. Leipziger was unanimously elected Assistant Superintendent of Schools in New York City.

    1893: As the condition of Jews in Russia worsened it was reported today those living in the Asiatic  part of the empire are to be expelled in the same manner as their co-religionist in the Polish part of the empire.

    1893: Birth of Herzl's daughter Margarethe Gertrude (always known as "Trude").

    1895: In Brooklyn, a judgment in the amount of twelve dollars was awarded to the landlord who owned the building at 116 Seigel Street to paid by Congregation Havercham which had failed to pay rent for the month of May.

    1896: In New Yorkthe laying of the cornerstone took place for the new Synagogue of Congregation Shearith Israelat
    70th Street
    and Central Park West. At the entrance to the synagogue, there are two millstones that were from
    Mill Street
    , the location of the town miller during the early colonial period.

    1896: Max Bodenheimer, leader of the Cologne Zionists, invites Herzl to speak. Bodenheimer was a lawyer in Cologneand one of the main figures in German Zionism. Close to Theodor Herzl, he was the first president of the Zionist Federation of Germany and one of the founders of the Jewish National Fund. After his flight in 1933 from Nazi Germany, and a short sojourn in Holland, he settled in Palestinein 1935.  He passed away in 1940.

    1897(18th of Iyar, 5657): Lag B'Omer

    1897: According to a compilation of the May Laws published today, the right of Jews “to become shareholders in stock companies, or directors, managers, or superintendents of real property belonging to corporations and situated outside of towns or townlets in the Pale” was severely limited.

    1898: The Jewish Messenger reported that Congregation Orach Chaim had resolved to purchase its first building at 221 East 51st Street. The edifice was formerly used as a church. Prior to this, the congregants had been worshipping in rented space, reportedly above a beer saloon. During the meeting at which the decision to make the purchase was reached, long-term president Meyer Dannenberg "...arose and surprised members by giving toward the new edifice $5,000 in behalf of his son, Hon. Isaac Dannenberg."

    1898(28 of Iyar, 5658): Sixty-two year old Rabbi Herman Phillips, a teacher at the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society for the last six years passed away at his home on 3rd Avenue. A native of Germany, he served as cantor at the synagogue on west 44th Street in Manhattan before serving as a rabbi at congregations in Boston and Toronto

    1899: “French Cheers for Dreyfus” published today described the reaction in Paris to the acquittal  of the notorious Jew baiter, Max Regis on charges of inciting to murder.  An angry mob followed him to the train station and the marched to the Officers’ Club where they cheered for Dreyfus and Picquart.  When the French officers turned a water hose on the crowd, they were pelted with stones some of which injured the anit-Dreyfus military men.

    1899: It was reported today that police arrested fifty rioters who attacked the Jewish quarter in Algiers where they wrecked several houses.

    1904(6thof Sivan, 5664): Shavuot

    1904: Birthdate of Meir Tobianski

    1906(25th of Iyar, 5666):Raphael Louis Bischoffsheim, a Dutch-born French banker, politician, philanthropist and founder of the Nice Observatory passed away today.

    1907: Incorporation of Dropsie College in Philadelphia, PA

    1907(7thof Sivan, 5667): Second day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1912: In New York, Nathan Finkelstein and Anna Katzenellenbogen gave birth to Moses Isaac Finkelstein, who gained fame as Sir Moses I. Finley

    1914: In Jerusalem, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Shapira gave birth to Avraham Elkanah Shapira who werved as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1983 to 1993.

    1915(7thof Sivan, 5675): Second Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1915: Birthdate of Moshe Dayan.  Dayan was born at Deganya, the most famous Kibbutz,. As a teenager he joined the Haganah. He lost an eye in an attack on Lebanon with an Australian Division.  During the War for Independence, Dayan would play a key role in the relief of Deganya. He rose in the ranks of the Israeli army, becoming Minister of Defense in 1967. He resigned after the Yom Kippur War because he was criticized for Israel's lack of preparedness. In 1977 he joined the Begin government.

    1915: The Ottoman government allowed Hebrew to be used once again as a written language for letters, although it will be censored by the military.

    1915: The Philadelphia Inquirer reported today at the upcoming speech of Rabbi Leventhal at the Hebrew Free School.

    1917: The Ottomans allowed the Jews to return to Jaffa and Tel Aviv reversing the order expelling them from their homes.

    1920: Henry Ford’s newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, with a circulation of seven hundred thousand, "discussed" the Jewish problem.  Ford was an anti-Semite and his paper followed his lead.

    1922: “The first Jewish municipal bond issue in history, amount of 80,000 pounds has been authorized by the Palestine Government for the township of Tel-Aviv…The obligations are secured by taxation, the bonds being used at 6 per cent, repayable in twenty years.

    1922: Birthdate of Sarah Doron.  Born in Lithuania she made Aliyah in 1933 and eventually pursued a political career that including serving as a member of the Knesset and Minister without Portfolio.

    1926(7thof Sivan, 5686): Second Day of Shavuot

    1928: Birthdate of Alfred Gilbert Aronowitz “an American rock journalist best known for introducing Bob Dylan and The Beatles in 1964.”

    1930: Sir John Hope-Simpson arrives in Palestine.  “Upon the recommendation of the Shaw Commission the British authorities conducted an investigation into the possibilities for future immigration to and settlement of Palestine. The investigation was headed by Sir John Hope-Simpson, who spent a relatively short amount of time in Palestine reviewing the situation. Hope-Simpson's main concern was that there was not sufficient land to support continued immigration. According to his report, Arab farmers were suffering from severe economic difficulties. Many were tenant farmers who owed large amounts of money and lacked the means to ensure successful agricultural endeavors. Others were simply unemployed. The report indicated that the Jewish policy of hiring only Jews was responsible for the deplorable conditions in which the Arabs found themselves. Due to these conditions, Hope-Simpson recommended the cessation of Jewish immigration. Only after new agricultural methods would be introduced in Palestine, would room be made for an additional number of immigrants. In response, Jewish leaders in the Yishuv argued that Hope-Simpson had ignored the capacity for growth in the industrial sector. Stimulating economic growth through increased demand would most likely benefit the Arab economy as well. Hope-Simpson disagreed, seeing the future of Palestine in agriculture, not in industry. Jews also claimed that since they had made a principle of using Jewish labor only, the cessation of immigration would in fact have no effect on Arab unemployment. The Hope-Simpson Report was published in October, 1930. At the same time, the Passfield White Paper was issued, clarifying British intentions in Palestine.”

    1930: “The Chief Rabbinate of the Jewish Community of Palestine has joined in the call for a general strike of protest against the suspension of immigration.”

    1931: Birthdate of Israeli political leader Kesari Yisrael.  Born in Yemen, he made aliyah at the age of two.  His service in the military was followed by course work in economics and sociology at Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University.  Following an active career with Histadruit, he was elected to the Knesset and served Minister of Transportation from 1992 to 1996.

    1932: Birthdate of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, a groundbreaking and wide-ranging scholar of Jewish history whose meditation on the tension between collective memory of a people and the more prosaic factual record of the past would influence a generation of thinkers.  (As reported by Joseph Berger)

    1934:Jack Benny is among those who will be featured at the “Friars Frolic” which is scheduled to take place tonight at New York’s Forty-fourth Street Theatre.

    1934(6th of Sivan, 5694): First Day of Shavuot

    1934: Rabbi William F. Rosenblum is scheduled to lead Confirmation Services at Temple Israel.

    1934:Rabbi Samuel J. Levinson is scheduled to lead Confirmation Services at Temple Beth Emeth of Flatbush (Brooklyn).

    1934: Rabbi Israel Goldstein is scheduled to lead Confirmation Services at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun on 257 West Eighty-eighth street.

    1934:Rabbi Samuel Buchler is scheduled to deliver a sermon entitled  "The Ten Commandments in Our Generation;" at New People's Synagogue on Clinton Street.

    1934:Rabbi Stephen S. Wise is scheduled to deliver a sermon entitled "Young Israel and the Undying Jew;" at the Free Synagogue meeting at Carnegie Hall.

    1934: The 1934 edition of the "Friars Frolic" will be presented at the Forty-fourth Street Theatre this evening. It will be staged under the direction of Lou Holtz, Jack Benny and Nat Burns. The show, which will offer a series of original and intimate sketches and playlets, which have been presented at private "Frolics," will also enlist the services of more than one hundred stars of the stage, screen and radio. With his plain vanilla looks, bland speech pattern and neutral name, Benny was the most “un-Jewish” of Jewish comedians. 

    1935: Birthdate of Michael Rose, the native of Bedford-Stuyvesant who gained fame as screen writer Mickey Rose

    1936:As Arab violence continued, all railways in Palestine were placed under rigid curfew regulations.  “Christians joined Jews in evacuating the Old ‘City of Jerusalem.”  As of today, only “200 Jewish families out of a former total of 5,000 remained in the Old City.”

    1938: The Palestine Post reported that Arab terrorists set on fire a special experimental agricultural farm, set up by the government, for the benefit of Palestinian Arab farmers.

    1939: Despite the recent outbreaks of violence in response to the White Paper, as the Sabbath came to an end, Jews peacefully “paraded in their customary fashion on the main streets of Jerusalem.”  In an attempt to bridge the gap between Jews and Arabs, the Sephardic community issued a statement that expressed solidarity with the rest of the Jews of Palestine in the struggle to annul the betrayal of the White Paper appealed to the Arabs saying “Brethren in race, our hand is outstretched today as ever for a true peace, for collaboration in an honorable and lasting peace.  The mandatory proposals will lead to the ruin of the country and the impoverishment of both Jews and Arabs instead of construction and revival.

    1940: A concentration camp begins functioning at Auschwitz in Poland. Because most of Europe's Jews live in Poland and Eastern Europe, the six concentration camps called death camps will be established there: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno, Belzec, Treblinka, Sobibór, and Majdanek.

    1941(23rdof Iyar, 5701): Thirty year old David Raziel, a founder of Irgun, was killed today.  Raziel was serving with the British in Iraq in their fight against the pro-Axis government when a bomb from a German aircraft kill him and the British officer with whom he was serving.

    1941(23rd of Iyar, 5701): Dutch physicist Leonard Salomon Ornstein passed away. Born in 1880, he studied theoretical physics with Hendrik Antoon Lorentz at University of Leiden. He subsequently carried out Ph.D. research under the supervision of Lorentz, concerning an application of the statistical mechanics of Gibbs to molecular problems. In 1914 he was appointed professor of physics, as successor of Peter Debye, at University of Utrecht. In 1922 he became director of Physical Laboratory (Fysisch Laboratorium) and extended his research interests to experimental subjects. His measurements concerning intensities of spectral lines brought Physical Laboratory in the international limelight. He is also remembered for the Ornstein-Zernike theory (named after Ornstein and Frederik Zernike) concerning correlation functions. Together with Gilles Holst, director of Philips Research Laboratories (Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium), he was the driving force behind establishing the Dutch Physical Society (Nederlands Natuurkundig Vereniging, NNV) in 1921. From 1939 until November 1940 he was Chairman of this Society. From 1918 until 1922 Ornstein was Chairman of the Dutch Zionist Society (Nederlandse Zionistische Vereniging). Immediately after the involvement of the Netherlands in the World War II (see Battle of the Netherlands), a friend from the United States of America, the astronomer Peter van de Kamp, offered to bring Ornstein and his family to America. However, Ornstein did not accept this offer, since, as he put it, he would not leave his laboratory in Utrecht. Owing to his Jewish heritage, Ornstein was summarily dismissed from University in September 1940; he was even barred from entering his own laboratory. In November 1940, he was officially dismissed from University. On his own initiative, in 1940, Ornstein withdrew his membership of the Dutch Physical Society. During this period he increasingly distanced himself from public life, to the degree that he no longer wished to receive guests at home. Ornstein died six months after being barred from University. One of the five buildings of Department of Physics of University of Utrecht, Ornstein Laboratorium, is named in his honor.

    1941: In France, more laws were put into place restricting Jewish movements in all aspects of life. Jews are prohibited from engaging in wholesale and retail trade.  They cannot own banks, hotels, or restaurants

    1941: Goering commanded that no Jew would be allowed to emigrate from any occupied territory..."in view of the imminent final solution". This was the first official reference of THE FINAL SOLUTION.

    1942:  Three hundred train cars of clothing taken from those who had been killed Chelmo arrived in Lodz for sorting by Jewish workers. Ironically this meant that the death of Jews gave the Lodz Jews work which meant they got to live.  

    1944(27th of Iyar, 5704): Reportedly the day on which Salomon Gluck, a French doctor and leader of the French Resistance was assassinated in Kaunaus.  He had been shipped from Drancy on convoy 73 along with 878 other men all of whom were murdered.

    1944: In Jerusalem, Zev and Esther Vilnay gave birth to Matan Vilnai.  Zev had been born in Kishinev and moved with his parents to Haifa at age 6.  He worked as a topographer for the Haganah and the IDF.  He pursued a career as leading geographer, author and lecturer. Mata joined the IDF where he served with the paratroopers, the Sayeret Matkal and deputy commander of the assault force for the Entebbe Raid. He rose to the rank of Major General and served as Deputy Chief of Staff before retiring to civilian life where he served in the Knesset and as Minister for Home Front Defense. 

    1945: Between today and May 27, four Polish Jews who return to their hometown of Dzialoszyce are murdered by Poles.

    1948: First appearance of the Israeli Air Force.  Real combat aircraft bearing the Star of David would not appear until later in the week.

    1948: Heavy Syrian shelling of Degania Alef started at about 04:00 this morning from the Tzemah police station, by means of 75 mm cannons, and 60 and 81 mm mortars. The barrage lasted about half an hour. At 04:30 the Syrian army began its advance on the Deganias and the bridge over the Jordan River north of Degania Alef. Unlike the attack on Tzemah, this action saw the participation of nearly all of the Syrian forces stationed at Tel al-Qasr, including infantry, armor and artillery. The Israeli defenders numbered about 70 persons (67 according to Aharon Israeli's head count), most of them not regular fighters, with some Haganah and Palmach members. Their orders were to fight to the death. They had support from three 20 mm guns at Beit Yerah, deployed along the road from Samakh to Degania Alef. They also had a Davidka mortar, which exploded during the battle, and a PIAT with fifteen projectiles. At night, a Syrian expeditionary force attempted to infiltrate Degania Bet, but was caught and warded off, which caused the main Syrian force to attack Degania Alef first. At 06:00, the Syrians started a frontal armored attack, consisting of 5 tanks, a number of armored vehicles and an infantry company.[5] The Syrians pierced the Israeli defense, but their infantry was at some distance behind the tanks. The Israelis knocked out four Syrian tanks and four armored cars with 20 mm cannons, PIATs and Molotov cocktails.[33] Meanwhile, other defenders kept small arms fire on the Syrian infantry, who stopped in citrus groves a few hundred meters from the settlements. The surviving Syrian tanks withdrew back to the Golan.At 07:45, the Syrians halted their assault and dug in, still holding most of the territory between Degania Alef's fence and Samakh's police fort. They left behind a number of lightly damaged or otherwise inoperable tanks that the Israelis managed to repair.

    1948:  Jewish fighters scored their first victory over the Syrians at Deganya.  At in the morning, Syrian troops crossed the Jordan and attacked the Kibbutz with tanks and flamethrowers.  By the tanks were inside the perimeter of Deganya when two 65 mm. howitzers and additional fighters under the command of Moshe Dyan arrived. When they went into action, the Syrians were so startled that they retreated.  One of the Syrian tanks that had penetrated the kibbutz and was destroyed remains to this day at Deganya as a memorial to the bravery of the defenders.  What seemed like a miracle was the result of a bold gamble by Yigal Yadin, the man who sent the guns in the first place.

    1948: The siege of Gesher ended when the two field pieces that had saved Deganya from the Syrians were rushed southwards.  The guns opened fire on the Iraqi forces besieging the Jewish fighters.  Faced with modern weapons, the Iraqis fled rather than fight.

    1948: Foreign Minister Moshe Sharet informed Secretary-General Trygve Lie that Abba Eban was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

    1948: Mordechai "Modi" Alon and the rest of the Jewish pilots who have been training in Czechoslovakia board a DC-54 transport plane and begin their flight back to Israel.  Although they have not completed their training, the pilots are anxious to get home since they have heard that the Egyptian Air Force has been attacking the newly created Jewish state.

    1948: Operation Balak officially begins with its first flight from a Czech airfield code named ‘Etzion.’ Operation Balak was the name given to secret program for purchasing and shipping arms to the infant Jewish state.

    1948: The United Nations named Count Folke Bernadotte to serve as mediator between the Jewish and Arab states.

    1950: Hedda Sterne signed a letter to President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 20 to protest aesthetically conservative group-exhibition juries. Born into a Jewish home in Bucharest, she was theonly woman in a group of Abstract Expressionists known as "The Irascibles.”

    1953(6th of Sivan, 5713) First Day of Shavuot

    1954(7th of Iyar, 5714):Selig Brodetsky, “a British Professor of Mathematics, a member of the World Zionist Executive, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the second president of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem” passed away today.

    1957: Birthdate of Steven Leiber, a San Francisco art dealer and collector who became an expert in artists’ ephemera and built an archive that became an important resource for scholars and curators. (As reported by Roberta Smith)

    1960: Birthdate of actor Tony Goldwyn

    1966: Birthdate of actress Mindy Cohn, who played Natalie on the sitcom “Facts of Life.”

    19720(7thof Sivan): Second Day of Shavuot

    1973(18th of Iyar, 5733): Lag B’Omer

    1974(28th of Iyar, 5734): Leontine Sagan, Austrian born actress and founder of the National Theatre of Johannesburg passed away at the age of 85.

    1974(28th of Iyyar, 5734): Yom Yerushalayim

    1977: JTA reported that “The Senate has confirmed President Carter's appointment of Manuel Plotkin, 53, a marketing research expert and executive of Sears Roebuck and Co., to be director of the Census Bureau. He will be the first Jew to hold that office of which Thomas Jefferson was the original incumbent in 1790. Senate approval of the appointment was without dissent. Plotkin, who was born in Irkutsk, Siberia, was taken by his parents to Mexico City at the age of three. The family moved to Chicago in 1929 where they have lived ever since. Plotkin and his wife, the former Dianne Weiss, are members of Temple Sholom in that city. As head of the Census Bureau, which is part of the Department of Commerce, Plotkin will oversee about 8000 employees, more than half in Washington and the rest in various points around the U.S. They comprise the field force for monthly population surveys including employment figures for the Department of Labor. Plotkin had been for two years the price economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics at its Chicago regional office and a year as survey coordinator in the Bureou's Washington office.”

    1978: Three members of the PFLP (Peoples Front for the Liberation of Palestine) a terrorist organization, killed a policeman  near El Al airlines at Orly Airport outside of Paris, France.

    1981:The Israeli Cabinet reportedly will meet today to discuss proposals made by Philip C. Habib, President Reagan's envoy who has been meeting with the President of Syria over the threat posed by his missiles located in Lebanaon.

    1985: Israel exchanges 1150 Palestinian prisoners for 3 Israeli soldiers

    1989(15th of Iyyar, 5749): Comedienne Gilda Radner famed for her roles on Saturday Night Live dies of ovarian cancer at 42

    1993: The Jerusalem Post reported that in her 43rd State Comptroller's Annual Report, the State Comptroller, Dr. Miriam Porat, warned that pension funds may soon begin defaulting on payments, if urgent steps are not taken to reduce their huge actuarial deficits. The problem, she disclosed, was compounded by the abuses of the Histadrut, whose funds represented 93 per cent of all fund members. The Histadrut, she pointed out, often forces workers to sign up for its funds via collective wage agreements, and then assigns them to these with large actuarial deficits.

    1994:Staff Sgt. Moshe Bukra, age 30 and Cpl. Erez Ben-Baruch, age 24 were shot dead by HAMAS terrorists at a roadblock one kilometer south of the Erez checkpoint in the Gaza Strip

    2001:The New York Times featured books by Jewish writers and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “Tell Me A Story: Fifty Years and 60 Minutes in Television” by Don Hewitt the son of German Jewish and Russian Jewish immigrant who transformed television journalism.

    2002(9th of Sivan, 5762):Stephen Jay Gould an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation” passed away today.

    2002: Yitzhak Vaknin left the position of Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Welfare.

    2007: In New York City, rededication of Kehila Kedosha Janina. Eighty years ago, Kehila Kedosha Janina opened its doors to serve the small Romaniote Jewish community on the Lower East Side joining hundreds of other Jewish houses of worship in the neighborhood. By the 1940’s there would be other Romaniote synagogues in the New York area. Today this is the only Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphereand one of only five original Jewish houses of worship on the Lower East Side that still functions as an active synagogue.

    2007: The Upper Mid West Region of Hadassah presents “Zay Gesunt – You Should Live and Be Well” in Bloomington, Minnesota.

    2007: The New York Times features reviews of books written by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson and Einstein: A Biography by Jürgen Neffep; translated by Shelley Frisch.

    2007: The Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Washington Post each feature a review of Shakespeare’s Kitchen by Lore Segal. “The protagonist of Shakespeare's Kitchen is Ilka Weisz, a scrappy, opinionated Jewish refugee who has appeared in slightly different guises in Segal's earlier novels, Her First American and Other People's Houses.

    2007: Herzalyia Mayor Yael German presented Eliahu Hacohen with the Herzl Award, “the high priest of research into Israeli songs, who has dedicated his life to strengthening the link with our cultural heritage.”

    2007(3rd of Sivan, 5767): Ben Wiesman a classically trained pianist, who helped write nearly 60 songs for Elvis Presley, passed away at the age of 85.

    2007(3rd of Sivan, 5767): Barcuh Kimmerling, Professor of Sociology at Hebrew University and author of The Invention and Decline of Israeliness:State, Society and the Military, passed away.

    2007: In Cleveland, Ohio, CaseWestern ReserveUniversityconfers an honorary Doctor of Humanities on Morton Mandel who served as a CaseWestern ReserveUniversitytrustee from 1977 through 1992, and is now an honorary trustee. In addition, he is a recipient of the university's Newton D. Baker Distinguished Alumni Award. Mandel has been involved in numerous national and international activities, the Council of Jewish Federations, the Mandel Leadership Institute, and the World Conference of Jewish Community Centers.

    2008: Mashina is an Israeli pop rock band considered by many to be Israel's most important and influential rock band. Their musical style took inspiration from ska and hard rock, among others. Mashina is an Israeli pop rock band considered by many to be Israel's most important and influential rock band. Their musical style took inspiration from ska and hard rock, among others.Mashina, one of Israel’s most influential pop rock bands plays at Webster Hall in New York.

    2008: At Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, Michael Levin successfully defends his dissertation.  “A Doctor Is Born.”

    2009:John Simon Bercow officially announced that he was seeking the Speakership of the House of Commons.  Victory would make him the first Jew to serve in this position

    2009:  Final day for The Tel Aviv Centennial Multimedia Exhibit at Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Station, NY

    2009: In New York, City Winery celebrates Israel’s 61st Year of Independence with a tasting featuring wines from over 15 Israeli Wineries paired with Israeli singing sensation David Broza for the post-tasting entertainment.  The event would appear to show tjat Jews have gained their independence from the syrupy taste of the Concord grape concoction that was the staple of Jewish homes for decades.

    2009: For the last time Lt. Col. Shawn M. Pine mailed a box of scarves to his sister Michelle Lefkowitz. He purchased the scarves on a weekly basis from a little girl in Afghanistan who sold them to support her family.

    2009(26th of Iyar, 5769): Fifty-one year old Army Lt. Colonel Shawn M. Pine was killed today when a vehicle in which he was riding in was struck by an explosive device near Kabul, Afghanistan.  A second generation soldier, Pine served six years in the IDF before graduating from Georgetown University and pursuing a career in the U.S. Army.  He is buried next to his father at Arlington National Cemetery. (As reported by Maia Efrem)

    2009(26th of Iyar, 5769): Twenty-one year old USAF First Lieutenant Roslyn L. Schulte Pine was killed today when a vehicle in which she was riding in was struck by an explosive device near Kabul, Afghanistan. An intelligence officer, she was the first female USAF Academy graduate to have died in combat.  She was killed in the same attack that took the life of Lt. Col. Pine. (As reported by Maia Efrem)

    2009:Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced today that Iran has successfully test-fired a new advanced missile with a range of about 1,200 miles, far enough to strike Israel and southeastern Europe as well as U.S. bases in the Gulf.

    2009:Four men arrested were arrested tonight, shortly after planting a 16.78-kilogram mock explosive device in the trunk of a car outside the Riverdale Temple and two mock bombs in the backseat of a car outside the Riverdale Jewish Center, another synagogue a few blocks away, authorities said. Police blocked their escape with an 18-wheel truck, smashing their tinted Sport Utility Vehicle windows and apprehending the unarmed suspects. Authorities said the men also plotted to shoot down a military plane. James Cromitie, 55; David Williams, 28; Onta Williams, 32; and Laguerre Payen, all of Newburgh, were charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles. An official told The Associated Press that three of the men are converts to Islam. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

    2010(7th of Sivan, 5770): Second Day of Shavuot

    2010(7th of Sivan, 5770): Eighty-two year old Leonard Wolfson (Baron Wolfson) passed away today.

    2010: The First Festival of Israeli Jazz NY is scheduled to open at The Stone in the East Village.

    2010:The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum reopened parts of its grounds to visitors on today after floodwaters from the nearby Vistula and Sola rivers seemed to peak and begin to recede.

    2011:Cedar Village in Mason, Ohio is scheduled to host an event entitled “Memory and Jewish Identity” during which Dr. Adrian Parr, associate professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and affiliate faculty, Department of Philosophy and Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati will use the narrative of her grandmother’s survival of the Holocaust and her own subsequent discovery of her Jewish identity to explore the importance of Jewish cultural memory for keeping Jewish identity alive amidst adversity.

    2011:Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with President Obama the White House today.

    2011:Violin virtuoso Gil Shaham is scheduled to play “Walton’s sublime and rarely performed Violin Concerto, a masterpiece of the violin literature commissioned and debuted by Jascha Heifetz in 1936, with one of the world's greatest ensembles, The Philadelphia Orchestra.”


    2011: In “Perched in Berlin With Hitler Rising,” Janet Maslin reviewed In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson.  Just when you thought you knew all you needed to know about the Hitler era, along comes Larson who provides a fascinating, informative snapshot of the pre-war world focusing on the life of William E. Dodd, FDR’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Berlin and his exotic daughter.

    2011: Despite political unrest, pilgrims are scheduled to celebrate Lag B’Omer at the El Ghriba synagogue.  The normally vibrant celebrations will take a more muted form because of the unstable conditions in Tunisia.

    2011(16th of Iyar, 57771): Just a week before his 96th birthday, Arieh Handler, on the founders of the Religious Zionist movement and the last living person to have present at when Israel declared her independence passed away today.

    2012: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the family and friends of Dr. Todd Burstain, a hameshah mensch who has raised four fantastic sons, celebrted his birthday today.
    2012: In Flushing, NY, the Free Synagogue is scheduled to host the Second Annual Sacred Sites Open House organized by The New York Landmarks Conservancy

    2012: Dr. Hal Lewis, President and CEO of Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago, is scheduled to deliver the keynote address as part of Let My People Know, an afternoon of Jewish education at the Mayerson JCC in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    2012: A Jerusalem Day family celebration featuring a concert by Peter Himmelman is scheduled to take place at Ohev Shalom in Washington, D.C.

    2012: Schmekel, “Brooklyn's only 100% transgender, 100% Jewish, schtick-rock sensation” is scheduled to appear at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room in Washington, DC

    2012:JSSA (Jewish Social Service Agency) is scheduled to hold its largest annual fundraiser, Gala 2012, in Washington, DC.  JSSA Gala 2012 – An Evening of Passion and Purpose – will feature performance artist, David Garibaldi.

    2012: The NMAJMH and the JSC are scheduled to devote a special afternoon to “Family Stories: Daughters, Mothers and Bubbes.”

    2012: In Cleveland Ohio, the Hadassah chapter will host a celebratory Centennial Birthday brunch to honor the accomplishments of the largest Jewish volunteer organization in America and present the Centennial Award to life member, Moreland Hills resident Roz Abraham.

    2012: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Cause co-authored by Eric Alterman and Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen

    2012: Security forces intercepted a Palestinian squad that attempted to kidnap Israeli citizens in the West Bank, the Shin Bet indicated today, adding that the squad's purpose was to negotiate the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jail.

    2012(28th of Iyar, 5772): Celebration of Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Reunification Day – 45years of Jerusalem being undivided and under control of the rightful owners.


    2013: Dr. Ted Merwin, associate professor and director, Religion and Judaic Studies at Dickinson College will speak on the topic "American Jews in Entertainment" at JFK Airport as part of the US Customs and Border Protection service’s celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month.



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    May 21 In History

    383: As the emperor struggles to make Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire he promulgates a law that denies anybody who converts from Christianity to another religion the right to make a will.  This law may have had some impact on the Jews but the real target were the Romans who sought to become pagans or Manichaens, followers of the Persian prophet Mani.  (Sometimes Jews are just “collateral damage” in other people’s struggles for power)

    878: Syracuse is captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily. This change from Christian to Muslim rulers seems to have had little effect on the Jews of Syracuse. Israelite traders who visited the ancient colony when it was ruled by the Greeks were probably the fist Jews to settle in Syracuse. The Jewish population grew after the destruction of the Second Temple when the Romans brought Jewish slaves to Sicily.  Life for the Jews of Syracuse would take a negative turn in 1492 when Sicily came under Spanish domination.

    996: Otto III begins his reign as Holy Roman Emperor which included modern day Germany.  Records exist that show Jews had been living in Cologne during the reign of Otto’s predecessor, Otto II and the community grew enough so that a synagogue was constructed in the first decade of the 11th century.

    1577: Portuguese Marranos were granted permission to settle in Brazil

    1671: Frederick William the Hohenzollern the Margrave of Brandenburg readmitted the Jews to his domain including the capital at Berlin. Although they were permitted to live and trade where they wished they had to pay a protection tax of 8 Thalers, and a gold florin for every wedding and funeral. In addition, Jews were not allowed to sell their houses to other Jews and were only permitted to have prayer rooms but no Synagogues

    1674: John Sobieski was elected by the nobility to be the King of Poland. The Jews of the Polish town of Przemysl had suffered economic reverses and had been forced to borrow from nobles prior to John Sobieski’s coming to the throne.  In 1678, there was a major fire in the Jewish section of Premysl and the King John granted them special dispensation from their debt re-payment so that they could rebuild their portion of the town. King John would make further extensions for his Jewish subjects because he was concerned that they would leave the kingdom and take their mercantile and managerial skills with them.

    1760(6th of Sivan, 5520): As England and France clash during the Seven Years War, British Jews observe the First Day of Shavuot.  The Jews had been expelled from France so there was nobody in Paris to observe the festival.

    1798(6th of Sivan, 5558): Two days before the Society of United Irishman, a group including Protestants and Catholics start a rebellion against British rule, Jews observe the First Day of Shavuot

    1799: French troops under Napoleon retreated from Acre thus ending a two months siege of the Ottoman held city.  The retreat marked the end of Napoleon’s dream of an eastern empire which included a promise to the local Jews that Palestine would become their home.

    1809(6th of Sivan): As the Napoleon faces the Austrians on the first day of the Battle of Aspern-Essling, Jews observe the first day of Shavuot

    1814(2nd of Sivan): Rabbi Aryeh Leib Berlin passed away

    1817(6th of Sivan, 5577): For the first time during the Presidency of the newly inaugurated James Monroe, Jews in the United States observe Shavuot

    1820 (NS): Birthdate of Nikolaus von Giers, who served as Foreign Minister while Alexander III promulgated the infamous May Laws. 

    1832: In Charleston, SC, Abraham Moise and Caroline Moses gave birth to Edwin Warren Moise. A Sephardic Jew whose family had made its way from Alsace to the French Caribbean before settling in South Carolina’s major seaport, pursued a career as a lawyer, soldier in the CSA and adjutant general in the post-Civil War Palmetto State. (As reported by Robert N. Rosen)

    1847(6th of Sivan, 5607): Shavuot

    1852: The New York Timesreported that in Germany “the citizens of ‘Luboc’ have referred to a committee a decree of the Senate” that would place Jews on an equal footing  with other citizens.”

    1853: The New York Timesreported that the Trieste Gazette had published a letter from Jerusalem dated March 27 in which it described the outbreak of violence between English missionaries and a group of Jews on March 24.  The missionaries had gathered in front of the Great Synagogue and while the Jews were praying inside they began giving “speeches against the Jews and the Talmud.  A Jew threw a cat at one of the missionaries which sparked a fight between the two groups.  Eventually, the English retreated and the Chief Rabbi went to the European consular officials to protest the offensive behavior.

    1854: The Washington Sentinel printed an editorial entitled “The Jews as Citizens” which said that the “the absence of applications for relief was…not an index of Jewish affluence” but a result of the Jewish community providing for the financial needs of their co-religionist. After noting that Jews were absent from the jails and poorhouses, the editorialist concluded that Jews “are among the best, most orderly well disposed of our citizens.
    1866: The New York Timesfeatures a review of “Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church Part II” by Arthur P. Stanley in which the author traces the history of the Jews from Samuel to the Captivity.

    1868: Birthdate of Heinrich Brody (German) or Bródy Henrik (Hungarian) “a Hungarian (after 1918 Czechoslovakian) rabbi. He was born in Ungvár, a town historically part of Hungary, now of the Ukraine. He was a descendant of Abraham Broda. Educated in the public schools of his native town and at the rabbinical colleges of Tolcsva and Pressburg, Hungary, Brody also studied at the Hildesheimer Theological Seminary and at the University of Berlin, being an enthusiastic scholar of the Hebrew language and literature. He was for some time secretary of the literary society Mekiẓe Nirdamim, and in 1896 founded the "Zeitschrift für Hebräische Bibliographie", of which he was coeditor with A. Freiman. Brody was the rabbi of the congregation of Náchod, Bohemia and chief rabbi of Prague (both cities then part of Austria-Hungary), before moving to Palestine. In Czechoslovakia, he was the leader of the Mizrachi movement. He passed away in 1942.

    1870: Birthdate of Sarah Vasen, the first Jewish woman doctor in Los Angeles and first superintendent and resident physician of Kaspare Cohn Hospital (later Cedars-Sinai Hospital) (As reported by Julie Beardsle

    1871: Reverend Howard Crosby delivered an address to group interested in the exploration of the Holy Land.  During his speech he described plans for an upcoming expedition that hoped to find “the actual tombs of the Kings, the ark of the covenant and the tables of stone written on by the fingers of God…”

    1872:It was reported today that the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a motion by Mr. Cox, requesting the President to join with the Italian government in its protest against the intolerance and cruelty practiced towards the Jews of Romania.

    1872:Mr. Benjamin J. Hart presided over tonight’s annual meeting of the Convention of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites which was held at the Forty-fourth-street Synagogue in New York City. The deteriorating condition of the Jews of Romania dominated most of the evening’s discussion.  A letter that Secretary of State Hamilton Fish had sent to the United States Consul at Bucharest instructing him to intercede with Romanian government was read to the convention.  The delegates outlined a plan of action to help bring pressure on the Romanians and created a Committee on Immigration to help those who had been forced to flee to the United States due to the persecution in Eastern Europe.  The delegates voted to hold the next annual convention in Washington, D.C.

    1872: The Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin reported that General Henry C. Wayne who had served the Confederacy as the Adjutant-General of Georgia during the Civil War, was supporting Grant over Horace Greely in the upcoming Presidential election. In explaining Southern support for the General who defeated them he wrote, “We cannot stand being carried in the pockets of a foreign Jew banker though Tammany finds it a profitable investment.”  [The “foreign Jew banker may have been a reference to August Belmont, who was Chairman of the Democratic Party after the Civil War.  He resigned the post following the Presidential election of 1872.]

    1872: Charles Netter wrote a letter today describing how pupils from Mikveh Israel who had spent Passover with their parents in Jerusalem “were subject to persecutions and publicly vilified.”  According to Netter, the parents were urged to withdraw their children by Rabbis who did not object to Jewish children being sent to schools run by Protestant missionaries. The rabbinic objection to attendance at Mikveh Israel, was based on a fear that they would get less in the way of Halukkah funds. Halukkah refers to funds collected in the galut to support Jews living in Palestine; a collection that dated back to the Middle Ages.  Founded in 1870, Mikveh Israel was the first agricultural school operated by the Alliance Israelite Universelle.

    1876: According to an article entitled “The Temple At Jerusalem,” more has been written about The Temple in Jerusalem than any other building in history and that most of it has been totally inaccurate.  The article included references to modern efforts to map the Temple Mount including Frederick Catherwood’s survey in 1833 and the even more accurate work done by Captain Charles Wilson in 1864 and 1865.

    1876: Judge P.J. Joachimsen of New York presided over today’s annual convention of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites in Philadelphia, PA.  The report of the executive committee dealt primarily with the conditions of the Jews of Palestine and Roumania. During the afternoon, the delegates visited a Jewish hospital and in the evening elected officers to serve during the coming year. 

    1878(18th of Iyar, 5638): Lag B'Omer

    1881: The American Red Cross is established by Clara Barton. Washington business man Adolphus Simeon Solomons, a member of a prominent Sephardic family, played a key role in the founding of the humanitarian organization.  In fact Clara Barton called him her "good vice president and kind counselor."

    1885(7th of Sivan, 5645): 2ndday of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1886: Construction was begun today for a new Sephardic synagogue to be used by the Moses Montefiore Congregation.

    1886(16th of Iyar): David Gordon passed away.  Born in Vilna in 1831 he was a supporter of Hibbat Zion and was an editor for HaMaggid, the first Hebrew newspaper.

    1890: The Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorized the transfer of $30,000 from last year’s balances to be used for the furnishing of the new school to be opened in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum Building on 77th Street near 3rd Avenue.

    1891: The manager of a “‘Shelter,’ an institution established for the reception” of Russian Jews arriving in England disputed claims that a large number destitute refugees are arriving in his country.  According to him, on average, only 20 destitute Jews arrive each week and nine-tenths of them move on to the United States “or the English colonies.” The Shelter provides them with enough funds so that they can show they are capable of earning a living once they arrive at their final destinations.

    1892: Among the bills that the Governor Flowers of New York allowed to die today was one introduced by Assemblyman Stein that would have provided a tax exemption for the Hebrew Children’s Sanitarium at Rockaway Beach.

    1892: Max Cohen has just released by the annual report of the Maimonides Library.

    1893(6th of Sivan, 5653): Shavuot

    1893: There were a number of Polish and Russian Jews among the three hundred steerage passengers aboard the SS Amalfi which had sailed from Hamburg and arrived at Ellis Island today.

    1895: It was reported today that a congregation that has been worshipping at 116 Seigel Street in Brookly for several years has been ordered to pay its back rent to the landlord.

    1898: The will of Aaron Hershfield, which contained bequests to numerous Jewish charities was executed today naming his son-in-law Daniel P. Hays and his sons Levi N. and Mitchell Hershfield as executors.

    1898: Birthdate of businessman Armand Hammer

    1899: Dr. Felix Adler is scheduled to officiate at the funeral of Julius Hirsch, a native of Germany who was a partner in the tobacco firm of Hirsch, Victorious & Co.

    1899: The Hebrew Technical Institute was among the many organizations that endorsed the Women’s Memorial presented to the just completed Peace Conference held in New York City.

    1899: The Hebrew Free School Associated hosted the confirmation exercises today for the 118 boys and girls who had completed the six year course of study.

    1900: Herzl turns to Prime Minister Ernest von Koerber to intervene for the Rumanian Jews who have no permission to cross the border to Austria.

    1901:Herzl dictates the résumé "for the special benefit of the weak understanding of His Imperial Majesty of the Khalifate."

    1901: Birthdate of producer and agent Sam Jaffe.

    1903:During a conversation on this date, Dr. Cyrus Adler of the Smithsonian Institution, Secretary of the International Jewish Association, and editor of the Jewish Year Book, discussed the massacre of Jews in Russia, including the official utterances on the subject by Count Cassinf, the Russian Ambassador.

    1904(7th of Sivan, 5664): Second day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1904: Herzl returns to Vienna after an unsuccessful therapy in Franzensbad.

    1907: The proprietors of the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel in Atlantic City apologized to Bertha Rayner Frank for her experience with anti-Jewish discrimination at their hotel.

    1909: Birthdate of Guy Édouard Alphonse Paul de Rothschild the Parisian who was the son of Baron Édouard de Rothschild, who had headed the bank before Baron Guy, and the great-grandson of James, who founded the French branch of the Rothschild empire in 1812 (As reported by Paul Lewis)

    1912: David Defilipov, a chemist who was born in the Ukraine, immigrated to the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century and Sonia née Gerdstein, gave birth to “singer, director, producer and impresario Edis De Philippe, who founded the Israel National Opera Company in 1947 and ran it with an iron hand until her death.” (Jewish Women’s Archives)

    1915: Rabbi Leventhal is scheduled to deliver a talk at the semi-annual examinations of the Hebrew Free School in Camden, NJ. 

    1916: Birthdate of novelist Harold Robbins author of a series of bestsellers including Moneychangers, Carpetbaggersand Betsy.

    1917: The Great Atlanta Fire destroyed over 300 acres and 2,000 homes in Georgia and the South’s leading metropolis. The fire was confined primarily to the city’s Fourth Ward, which had a significant Jewish population on its north side. Following the fire Rich’s, the Jewish owned department store “assisted bereaved customers financially, even providing burial clothes for many of the victims” without regard to whom they were.

    1921(11th of Iyar): Author Akiva Fleischman passed away

    1921: Birthdate of Harold Lane David, the son of Jewish immigrant who owned a Brooklyn delicatessen owner, later known as Hal David the award winning lyricist who created such musical questions as What’s it all about?,” “What’s new, pussycat?,” “Do you know the way to San Jose?” and “What do you get when you fall in love?,” (As reported by Rob Hoerburger)

    1921:Birthdate of Eugene Harold Ehrlich, a self-educated lexicographer who wrote 40 dictionaries, thesauruses and phrase books for the “extraordinarily literate,” not to mention people just hoping to sound that way. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

    1923: For the first time (but not the last) Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain following the resignation of Arthur Bonar Law.  Baldwin will serve in this capacity, off and one throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s.  He is viewed as one of those politicians who turned a blind eye to the rise of Hitler and Mussolini and thus helped to bring on World War II with all that that would mean for the Jewish people.  On the other hand, in 1938, a year after he left office, Baldwin “led a major appeal to provide financial assistance for Jewish refugees from Nazi brutality.”

    1924: University of Chicago students Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. murder 14-year-old Bobby Franks in a "thrill killing."  The two killers and their victim are all Jewish.

    1925: Lord Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer is named High Commissioner in Palestine. Born in 1857, Plumer had a long, distinguished career in the British Army.  He actually was one of the few competent commanding officers on the Western Front during World War I and was promoted to the rank of Field Marshall after the Armistice.  The appointment to Palestine came when he was 68 and lasted until 1928.  He proved to be a capable administrator who resisted Arab attempts to undermine the terms of the Mandate.  The economic down turn that occurred during his tenure was not of his making. He returned to England where he served in the House of Lords until his death in 1932.

    1927: National Jewish Book is scheduled to begin today.

    1927: On the day that Charles Lindbergh completed his trans-Atlantic flight, Jewish businessman and airplane enthusiast Charles Levin announced that his airplane would fly farther on a $15,000 transatlantic flight challenge from America to Germany and carry a passenger.”  Levine’s plane had been sitting the hanger, grounded because of a court battle, when Lindbergh had taken off for Paris.  Levine would accomplish his goal the following when he flew aboard the Columbia, as a passenger while Clarence Chamberlin was at the controls.

    1928: A dinner honoring Dr. H. Peretra Mendes was to have been held this evening.  The dinner was postponed until October.

    1928: The House of Representatives is schedule to consider the Jenkins Bill which is designed to grant enlarged preference within the quota to the wives and children of aliens

    1934(7th of Sivan, 5694): Second Day of Shavuot

    1934: The New York Council of Mizrachi Youth of America is scheduled to hold a Shavuot celebration tonight at 224 Henry Street with proceeds going toward the Hachshara farm, a Mizrachi training camp for Palestinian pioneers.

    1934: Dr. I. Mortimer Bloom is scheduled to deliver a sermons today entitled "Pilgrims of Eternity" at Temple Oheb Sholom on West 93rd Street.

    1934: Rabbi Milton Steinberg is scheduled to deliver a sermon entitled "Time and Religion" at the Park Avenue Synagogue.

    1934: Dr. Samuel Benjamin is scheduled to deliver a sermon entitled "Jews Without Memory;" at Congregation Hope of Israel in the Bronx.

    1934: Rabbi Solomon Reichman is scheduled to deliver a sermon entitled "Sinai-a Symbol of Israel" at the Bronx Y. M. and Y. W. H. A.

    1934: Rabbi Robert Gordis is scheduled to officiate at Yizkor services today at Temple Beth-El, Rockaway Park.

    1934: Rabbi Henry Fisher is schedule to deliver a sermon entitled “Belief and Practice” at Congregation Derech Emunoh.

    1936: A crowd of Arabs fired from the hilltops on a Jewish-operated bus coming from Tel Aviv seriously wounding a Jewish man and girl.  According to officials at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital, dum-dum bullets had been used by the Arab attackers.

    1938:  In Poland, the ruling party adopted "13 articles pertaining to Jewish affairs," stating that the Jews are 'an element which hinders the normal development of the forces of the Polish nation and state."

    1939: In a column published in Davar the pro-labor Hebrew language newspaper, David Ben Gurion said of the White Paper, “This document is not the final word of the British people.  This document meanwhile is only a proposal of their government.  The conscience of Britain and the whole world still can be awakened.” [Ed. Note: This time B-G got it wrong]

    1939:The British arrest the Irgun leadership, including Commander David Raziel. In February, 1938 the Revisionists under Jabotinsky had held a Zionist Congress in Prague.  They rejected the notion that Jews could not settle on either side of the Jordan.  More importantly, after two years of Arab violence they decided that the Jewish Agency’s policy of restraint was not working.  The Irgun was to respond to each act of Arab violence with force and alacrity.   The increased tempo of attacks against the British and Arabs must be viewed against the backdrop of the times: the worsening situation of the Jews in Europe, the issuance of the White Paper that would close Palestine to the Jews and guarantee a permanent Arab majority and the unabated violence of the Arabs.  The Irgun and the Revisionists did not reflect the majority view of the Jewish population.  Finally, in 1948, Ben Gurion took military action to bring the Irgun under control.  Ironically, Menachem Begin, the leader of Irgun, would be the right wing politician who broke the hold of the Labor Zionists on the Israeli government.

    1940: Chairman Willem Vogt fired all Jewish employees at AVRO, the Dutch broadcasting company

    1941: Dutch Singer and Nazi collaborator Johan Heesters visited Dachau concentration camp.

    1941: A collaborationist group, Nederlandse Arbeids Dienst (Dutch Labor Service), is established in Holland.

    1942(5th of Sivan, 5702): Erev Shavuot

    1942(5th of Sivan, 5702): In Koritz, on the eve of Shavuot, 2,200 Jews were taken to the edge of town and shot into pre-dug pits. The dead included the wife and 13 year old daughter of Moshe Gildenman who was soon to become famous as the partisan “Uncle (Dyadya) Misha”. Gildenman succeeded in escaping with his son, Simcha, and a few others with one pistol and five rounds of ammunition. His groups slowly grew in strength and were eventually absorbed into Saburov’s brigade group. They were always known as Uncle Misha’s Jewish groups. During the war, Gildenman received the Order of the Red Star and finished the war with his son in Berlin. After the war, his son returned to Koretz and upon meeting the Ukrainian who killed his mother and sister - shot him.

    1943(16th of Iyar, 5703):  Three thousand Jews driven from Brody, Ukraine, to a waiting transport train revolt, killing four Ukrainians and a few Germans. Many of the Jews break free after being put on the train, only to be machine-gunned. The remainder is killed upon arrival at the Majdanek death camp.

    1943(16th of Iyar, 5703):  Members of the Jewish community at Drogobych, Ukraine, are exterminated in the Bronica Forest

    1944: The SS President Warfield, a packet steamer built in the 1920’s to carry passengers and cargo between Norfolk and Baltimore (sheltered waters), was returned by the British so she could serve in the U.S. Navy.  The Warfield would become famous as the SS Exodus.

    1944: The Gestapo imprisons all 260 Jews of Canea, Crete, at Rethymnon, Crete

    1945: Today, many liberated survivors continue to live at the Dachau concentration camp two weeks after the end of the war.

    1945: German war criminal Heinrich Himmler was captured

    1945: Lauren Bacall (born Betty Pinsker) and Humphrey Bogart were married. (She was Jewish; Bogy was not.)

    1946:One of several post-war Hungarian pogroms took place today at Kunadaras where peasants murdered two Jews and wounded eighteen others.

    1948: For the second time in two days, the 53rd and 54th battalions attacked the Egyptian-held fort of Iraq Suwayden which the British had handed over to Muslim Brotherhood as they departed Palestine.  The irony is that the British had built the fort in the 1930’s to help quell the infamous Arab Revolt.

    1948:Today, “at dawn the Golani staff reported that the enemy was repelled but that they were expecting another attack. The full report read:

    Our forces repelled yesterday a heavy attack of tanks, armored vehicles and infantry that lasted about 8 hours. The attack was repelled by the brave stand of our men, who used Molotov cocktails and their hands against the tanks. 3" mortars and heavy machinery took their toll on the enemy. Field cannons caused a panicked retreat of the enemy, who yesterday left Tzemah. This morning our forces entered Tzemah and took a large amount of booty of French ammunition and light artillery ammunition. We have captured 2 tanks and an armored vehicle of the enemy. The enemy is amassing large reinforcements. We are expecting a renewal of the attack.’”

    1948:Haganah troops returned to Tzemah today “and set up fortifications, the damaged tanks and armored cars were gathered and taken to the rear. The settlers returned that night to identify the bodies of their comrades in the fields and buried them in a common grave in Degania”

    1948: Abba Eban names Arthur Louie, Jacob Robinson, Moshe Tov, Michael Comay and Gideon Rafael as his alternates and advisers at the United Nations and names I.L. Kene as the delegation’s spokesman.

    1950: As a sign that Israel was taking its place among the family of nations, the government announced that Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett will meet with South African Prime Minister Daniel F. Malan during his upcoming trip to the African state.

    1951: Birthdate of comedian turned U.S. Senator, Al Franken

    1952(26th of Iyar, 5712):  Actor and film star John Garfield passed away at the age of 39. Born Jacob Julius Garfinkle in New York City, he was sent to a school for problem children after the early death of his mother. It was there that he was introduced to boxing and acting. He won a scholarship to an acting school hosted by Maria Ouspenskaya, and made his Broadway debut in 1932. The play Golden Boy that featured a young prize fighter was written for him, but he was passed over for the role. He decided to leave Broadway and try his success in Hollywood. He earned an Academy Award nomination for his role in the 1938 film Four Daughters. He gained further fame as the handyman drifter in the Postman Rings Twice. He appeared in several war movies during WW II, usually playing the part of the wisecracking enlisted man (once as the gunner on a B-17 and once as a seaman aboard a sub) who sees the light and comes to understand why America was in the war.  Garfield’s liberal politics brought him to the attention the McCarthyites during the Red Scare of the late 1940’s and 1950’s.  He was forced to appear before the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee; an appearance which proved detrimental to his career

    1952: During a meeting of HUAC a letter from Lillian Hellman was read that stated "I cannot and will not cute my conscience to fit this year's fashions..."

    1953:The Jerusalem Postreported that upon his return to the U.S., Mr. John Foster Dulles, the U.S. Secretary of State, expressed satisfaction from his first, recent visit to Israel, and recommended to his government a sizeable aid for the country's quick development.

    1953:The Jerusalem Postreported that two marauders who shot at an Israeli patrol in Jerusalem's "Corridor" were killed in an exchange of fire.

    1953(7th of Sivan, 5713: Second Day of Shavuot

    1954(18th of Iyar, 5714): Lag B'Omer

    1963: Birthdate of Richard Appel who tried to follow in the footsteps of his parents, Nina Appel the Dean of Loyola Law School and Alfred Appel  who was a professor of literature at Northwestern.  Appel graduated from law school before turning to a life of writing and producing comedy.
    1969: Israeli planes shot down three Egyptian Mig 21s in the Suez Canal zone during what would become known as the War of Attrition.

    1969: A group of about 10 saboteurs was intercepted today near Nahal Argaman in the Jordan Valley. One saboteur was killed in a clash with an Israeli unit. Another was wounded and a third escaped and joined other members of the gang hiding in caves. After the area was surrounded, the saboteurs were ordered to surrender. Six gave themselves up and two who resisted were killed

    1969: Robert Kennedy's murderer Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death.  At the time, the Jordanian youth said Kennedy had to die because of his support of Israel.

    1974:Elizabeth Holtzman, the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, castigated the government for laxness in allowing Nazi war criminals into the U.S.

    1977: "Fiddler on the Roof" closed at the Winter Garden Theatre in NYC after 167 performances

    1978: The Jerusalem Postreported that Israeli security men and French policemen killed three gunmen who attacked the El Al desk at the Paris Orly airport. One French policeman was killed in this Arab terror attack and three French passengers were wounded. Most El Al passengers were employees of a French insurance company, who later left to tour Israel.

    1980(6th of Sivan, 5740: Shavuot

    1980: Release date of “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” directed by Irvin Kershner.

    1982: In “Housing Surge Alters Borough Park,” Alan Oser described the five year growth in the Brooklyn neighborhood which he attributed to a steady expansion of Borough Park's population of Orthodox Jews, about half of them Hasidim. They require large apartments for large families, and accommodations near synagogues and denominational schools.”  The article provides an interesting snapshot of the needs of this unique community

    1982: Delia Ephron married Jerome Kass.

    1982(28th of Iyar, 5742): Yom Yerushalayim

    1987: James Levine is scheduled to conduct the IPO as part of the orchestra’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

    1988(5th of Sivan, 5748) Erev Shavuot

    1988:Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is scheduled to address a dinner tonight hosted by a group calling itself "Concerned Citizens for New York," an alliance of black businesspeople. The dinner is being held at Terrace in the Park, a kosher catering facility owned by Allen Sherel and Stanley Lewin.  The owners agreed to rent the facility before they found out that Farrakhan was the speaker.  The two Jewish owners promised to donate every penny they make from the dinner to Jewish charities.

    1994: Israeli commandos captured Shiite guerrilla leader Mustafa Dirani

    1998: Jack Lew began serving his as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton.

    1999(6thof Sivan, 5759): Shavuot

    2000: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “The Advent of the Algorithm: The Idea That Rules the World” by David Berlinski.

    2001: Radio broadcast of the annual Alfred Deakin Lecture; this year entitled "My Country – A Personal Journey"in which Robert Mamre describes what it is like for the son of Jewish immigrants to grow up in an Australia that is considered Anglo-Celtic. Author and historian Robert Manne is the Associate Professor of Politics at La Trobe University, a columnist for The Age, The Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, and a regular commentator on ABC Radio and Television

    2001: The Houston Post reports that AmericanJewishCongressv. Bostwould be heard in federal district court. American Jewish Congress v. Bost was an establishment clauselawsuit concerning the separation of church and statebased on events that took place in Brenham, Texas. The case was the first constitutional challenge to a charitable choice contract. In the community of Brenham, Texas, the AmericanJewishCongress and the Texas Civil Rights Project filed a lawsuit against a social services program that they believed used a tax-funded jobs program to support religious practices that violated the separation of church and state. Other accusations include use of funds to proselytize, purchase bibles, and coerce participants to "accept Jesus."  The lawsuit went back and forth between state and federal courts and was twice appealed. In January of 2003, the lawsuit that is believed to be the first constitutional challenge to a "charitable choice" contract, came to a conclusion. The case was finally dismissed "on the ground that there was no live controversy."

    2005: In an article entitled “BioHazards,” New York Books reviews “The History of Love” by Nicole Krauss.  Krauss willingly talks about her second novel but refuses to talk about her husband, the Jewish writer Jonathan Safran Foer.

    2006: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including the recently released paperback editions of Any Place I Hang My Hat” by Susan Isaacs, “The History of Love” by Nicole Krauss and “Indecision” by Benjamin Kunkel.

    2006: Haaretz reported that author A.B. Yehoshua predicted that Diaspora Jews would move to China if it were to become a world power.  Dr. Avrum Ehrlich, a professor at the Center for Judaic and Inter-Religious Studies at the University of Shandong (China) says that this process is actually already under way. ‘The Jewish community in Hong Kong is thriving,’ he explains, ‘and there are at least 300 Jews now living permanently in Beijing alone.’”

    2006: The United Jewish Community/Jewish Federation of Las Vegas hosts its biggest and best Yom Ha’Azma’ut festival at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Jewish Agency arranged a variety of day-long activities to celebrate Israel Independence Day in downtown Budapest. 

    2007: The JCC in Manhattan presents a program entitled “Bernstein & Robbins: Dybbuk in Music & Dance.” Jean-Pierre Frohlich, ballet master and former soloist with the New York City, discusses his work with Robbins in staging the ballets and presents several dancers performing excerpts from Dybbuk. Ellen Sorrin, director of The George Balanchine Trust and advisory council member of The Jerome Robbins Trust, serves as moderator.

    2007(4 Sivan 5767): Shir-El Friedman is killed when a Hamas rocket struck vehicle near a bakery next to shopping mall in Sderot. The35 year old woman was struck by shrapnel and succumbed to her injuries as she was being rushed to the hospital.

    2008:AJHS hosts the 2008 Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award Dinner, commemorating the Jewish Chaplains who led survivors of the Holocaust from DP camps to Israel and the US. Sid Lapidus will be honored for his deep commitment to the American Jewish Historical Society.

    2008:  In Jaffa, System Ali plays on the roof of Mishkenot Ruth Daniel. Over the past year, System Ali has been performing in different venues throughout Jaffa, Tel Aviv and beyond, drawing impressive crowds whose diversity reflects that of the individuals on stage.”

    2008: The 92nd Street Y presents “The Psychology of the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis.”Moises Salinas explores the way psychological factors impede the peace process. 

    2008;Jewish Braille International dinner was held at the Harmonie Club. “Founded in 1931 as the Jewish Braille Institute by Leopold Dubov, the blind son of a rabbi, and Rabbi Michael Aaronson, who had been blinded in World War I, today the JBI library serves 35,000 individuals in 30 countries in eight languages — all at no charge.”

    2009: Michael Sandel delivered the 2009 Reith Lectures on “A New Citizenship” today at Oxford, UK.

     2009:The Center for Jewish History and the Leo Baeck Institute presentedHappy Birthday, Felix: Music of Felix Mendelssohn and His Contemporaries” withPhoenix Chamber Ensemble performing rare arrangements of Felix Mendelssohn's Hebriden, op.26 and Ruy Blas, Op.95 Overtures and Symphony No.1 in C minor for 1 piano-4 hands, violin and cello and Robert Schumann's 12 Four-Hand Piano Pieces for Small and Big Children, Op.85

    2009:Writer and essayist Phillip Lopate discusses “Notes On Sontag,” his reflections on the late Susan Sontag and her role as essayist, novelist and playwright, at Politics and Prose Bookstore, in Washington, D.C.

    2009:Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a speech at Ammunition Hill in memory of soldiers who fell in the Six-Day War in 1967 in which he said, “Jerusalem was always ours, will always be ours, and will never again be divided.”

    2009: The four men arrested last night in what the authorities said was a plot to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes at an Air National Guard base in Newburgh, N.Y. were petty criminals who appeared to be acting alone, not in concert with any terrorist organization, the New York City police commissioner said today. The four men arrested are all Muslim, a law enforcement official said. According to a police informant James Cromitie, one of the four men who was arrested said  that he was upset about the war in Afghanistan and that that he wanted to do “something to America.” and “the best target” — the World Trade Center — “was hit already.” According to the same informant the four men made statements if “Jews were killed in this attack and that would be all right.”

    2010: The 92ndSt Y schedules two events to celebrate Shabbat: in the morning a Shabbat Bakery where participants can bake their own Challah and a Shabbat Rooftop Dinner, an intergenerational family Shabbat dinner experience in a meaningful and welcoming environment.

    2010: As part of her Bat Mitzvah weekend at Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, IA, Shannon Williams and her family will be participating in Friday night services.

    2011: The AJMF Festival is scheduled to host its Closing Night Party at Center Stage.

    2011:Korin Alal and Eran Zur are scheduled present a joint concert at the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, NJ.

    2011:Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today that the differences between Israel and the United States on the peace process are smaller than they seem.

    2011: In “Harold Bloom: An Uncommon Reader,” Sam Tanenhaus reviewed The Anatomy as a Way of Life, the latest literary effort by 80 year Jewish man of letters Harold Bloom.

    2012: In recognition of Jewish American Heritage Month, the DC Public Library is scheduled  to present a lecture entitled “Jewish Civil Life at a Time of Civil War: American Jewry in the Mid-19th Century” during which Dr. Lauren Strauss, assistant professor of History and Judaic Studies at the George Washington University, will discuss the Jewish-American experience before 1870, with a focus on the status of the Jewish community in the decades surrounding the Civil War.

    2012: In a great example of “acts of loving kindness”, The Derfner Judaica Museum located at The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, Bronx, NY is scheduled to offer private group tours for individuals with dementia and their family members or care partners that will focus on select highlights of this fascinating institution. 

    2012: Tefillat HaShlah - the Shlah's Prayer should be recited today before sunset.  The prayers was composed Isaiah Horowoitz, a noted 17th century rabbi who moved to Palestine in the 1620’s, living there until his death ten years later. “Rabbi Horwitz wrote that the eve of the first day of the Hebrew month of Sivan is the most auspicious time to pray for the physical and spiritual welfare of one's children and grandchildren, since Sivan was the month that the Torah was given to the Jewish people. He composed a special prayer to be said on this day, known as the Tefillat HaShlah - the Shlah's Prayer”

    2012: The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Zeev Dorman is scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall

    2012:Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman is among those scheduled to perform at the Good Shepherd Church in New York.

    2012: The Yellow Ticket with Alicia Svigals is scheduled to be the final performance at the 13th Annual Washington Jewish Music Festival.

    2013: The 7thindependent conference for the Hannah Arendt Circle sponsored by The Institute of Jewish Studies and the Centre for Philosophy of Culture at the University of Antwerp in Belgium is scheduled to come to an end.

    2013: The IPO annual Young Leadership concert is scheduled to take place in Manhattan

     2013: Dudu Fisher is scheduled to perform at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ.


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    May 22 In History

    124 BCE :  Simon the Hasmonean, drove the “Greeks” – the Syrians and their Hellenized Jewish allies – out of the citadel which was their last stronghold in Jerusalem. While Jews celebrate Chanukah, it is this victory, 40 years later, under Judah’s youngest brother that marks the defeat of the Syrians that led to an independent Jewish state under the Hasmonean dynasty.

    334 BCE:  The Macedonian army of Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in the Battle of the Granicus. This was the first step of a “journey” that would lead to the turning Egypt and Asia Minor (a territory that included Jerusalem and Judea) into bastions of Hellenistic culture.  This would create a collision course with Jewish values that would lead to the Maccabee Revolt followed by decades of internecine fighting that would really not come to an end until the Second Temple was destroyed.

    337:  Birthdate of Constantine, known as the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Emperor for legalizing the practice of Christianity in the Roman Empire. As the following entry shows, Constantine not only promoted Christianity, he was instrumental in the creation of hostile environment for the Jewish people. “Constantine instituted several legislative measures regarding the Jews: they were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. Conversion of Christians to Judaism was outlawed. Congregations for religious services were restricted, but Jews were allowed to enter Jerusalem on Tisha B'Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple. Constantine also supported the separation of the date of Easter from the Jewish Passover stating in his letter after the First Council of Nicaea: "... it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. ... Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way." Theodoret's Ecclesiastical History 1.9 records the Epistle of the Emperor Constantine addressed to those Bishops who were not present at the Council: "It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. ... Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. ... avoiding all contact with that evil way. ... who, after having compassed the death of the Lord, being out of their minds, are guided not by sound reason, but by an unrestrained passion, wherever their innate madness carries them. ... a people so utterly depraved. ... Therefore, this irregularity must be corrected, in order that we may no more have any thing in common with those parricides and the murderers of our Lord. ... no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews."

    1176:  Murder attempt by the Hashshashin (Assassins) on Saladin near Aleppo. This attempt on the Muslim Warrior-King was part of the on-going clash between sects of Islam.  From the Jewish point of view, Saladin’s survival is good news.  After capturing Jerusalem from the Crusaders, Saladin allowed the Jews to return to the City of David during a century long ban imposed by the Christians.  The event was eloquently described by the Jewish poet Al-harizi in 1190.  Saladin reportedly hired Moses Maimonides to serve as his personal physician.

    1370: After killing a rich Jew in Brussels, Belgium, the perpetrators tried to cover their tracks by accusing the Jews of host desecration. The perpetrators escaped in the ensuing confusion. A few hundred Jews were killed and the rest banished from the country. A holiday was declared by the local churches.

    1377: Pope Gregory XI issues five papal bulls to denounce the doctrines of English theologian John Wycliffe. Wycliffe’s doctrines were part of the heresies threatening Papal authority through out northern Europe. This is the same Pope Gregory who had ordered the burning of Jewish books a year earlier in 1376, an act that might be seen more as a way of enforcing Papal authority and the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church.

    1760(7th of Sivan, 5520): Second Day of Shavuot

    1760(7th of Sivan, 5520): Rabbi Israel (Yisroel) ben Eliezer (רבי ישראל בן אליעזר better known as the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chasidic Judaism, passed away. [Hopefully this brief entry will spur readers to find out more about a person who had such an impact on the Jewish people.]

    1793(17th of Iyar 5553): Rabbi Ezekeil Landau passed away. Born in 1713, in Prague, he was a brilliant Talmudist and Halachic authority. Landau was also unusual in that he endorsed the idea of leaning math and science, and supported the traditionalist element within the Maskilim (Enlightenment) movement. Landau helped to establish the first Jewish school in Prague. His magnum opus is called the Nodeh B'Yehuda which is still very popular today. It contains eight hundred and fifty-five Responsa divided into two volumes.

    1799: In Paris, Le Moniteur Universal published a short statement sent from the French forces besieging Acre that: "Buonaparte a fait publier une proclamation, dans laquelle il invite les juifs de l'Asie et de l'Afrique à venir se ranger sous ses drapeaux, pour rétablir l'ancienne Jérusalem; il en a déjà armé un grand nombre, et leurs bataillons menacent Alep." This has been translated in English as: "Bonaparte has published a proclamation in which he invites all the Jews of Asia and Africa to gather under his flag in order to re-establish the ancient Jerusalem. He has already given arms to a great number, and their battalions threaten Aleppo.”  Unbeknownst to the newspaper, Napoleon had already abandoned the siege of the Acre, leaving it in the hands of the Ottomans and surrendering his designs to create a French empire in the Orient.

    1809(7th of Sivan, 5569): Second Day of Shavuot

    1817(7thof Sivan, 5577): Second day of Shavuot; Yizkor

    1820: Birthdate of Isidor Binswanger, a leader of the Philadelphia Jewish community who served as President of Maimonides College, the first Jewish institution of higher learning in the United States and the father of Fanny Binswanger Hoffman.

    1843: “The first major wagon train” heading for that part of the Northwest Territory now known as Oregon…”departs from Elm Grove, Missouri traveling along the Oregon Trail.  According to Scott Cline, author of Community Structure on the Urban Frontier: The Jews of Portland, Oregon Jacob Goldsmith and Lewis May who arrived in Portland, Oregon in 1849. They were the first Jewish settlers in Portland and possibly in all of Oregon.

    1846: A wagon train owned by Albert Speyer left Independence, MO today headed for Santa Fe New Mexico.  A native of Prussia, Speyer had been operating wagon trains since 1843.  Two of the 25 wagons making this trip were reportedly filled with Yager rifles and ammunition that had been ordered by Angel Trias, the governor of Chihuahua, Mexico.  At this time, Santa Fe was still a part of Mexico and Speyer had no way of knowing the United States was about to go to war with its neighbor to the south. 

    1847(7thof Sivan, 5607): 2nd Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1850: The following article published today entitled “Paris—Foundation of a Jewish Hospital” described work being done to establish a Jewish hospital in Paris and provided a snapshot of the French Jewish community.

    The editor of the “Archives Israelites,” in his May number, says: “Among the establishments, the most imperiously demanded is a Jewish hospital. Let the individual opinions of each of us concerning our ceremonies, especially those which concern dietetic laws, be more or less rigid, it is nevertheless the duty of an Israelitish administration to take care of those under their charge, who would sooner die than enter an hospital, where the observance of their religious rules is impossible. Moreover, when we think of the interference of the clergy, who seek to fish for souls, and who often find auxiliaries against the tolerant wishes of the directors of hospitals, in the sisters (of charity) who attend on the sick, no one can deny that a Jewish hospital is necessary.”—After some farther remarks he continues: “Thanks to Mr. James Rothschild, Paris will have a Jewish hospital. He has just purchased a piece of ground in Rue Picpus, Nos. 62, 64, and 66, measuring 7,500 metres, of which 800 are occupied by buildings, and the other 6,700 are laid out in gardens, walks, &c. The buildings consist of three houses contiguous to each other. The price of the purchase, with the expenses and building, will reach nearly 120,000 francs, about $22,800. A large portion of the land can be taken, independently of the hospital, for the use of the poor class.” The consistory of Paris very properly called on Mr. Rothschild, on the 22d of May, to thank him for his generosity. Dr. Cahen, in a few, well-chosen words, expressed the gratitude felt by the whole community, and used this remarkable phrase: “God has given you wealth, but He has also given you a heart to make, so charitable a use of it as this is.” Mr. R. was greatly moved by the act, and the words addressed to him; and made a suitable reply. His wife was present, and active as she is in all that is charitable, she took part in the conversation which afterwards sprang up between them and the deputation, and Mr. R. made particular inquiries after many matters of interest to the congregation, and showed himself ready to continue them his kindness.—It is not often, our readers will confess, that we praise the rich; but such an act of true benevolence as this just exhibited by Mr. Rothschild of Paris richly deserves to be recorded in our magazine; and we hope to hear that he has found imitators in this country; for though we have none who control such ample resources, there is no lack of means among us, if their possessors could once be persuaded that they could devote a considerable portion of their wealth to worthy objects of charity without robbing their families, the usual

    1851(20th of Iyar, 5611): Mordecai Manuel Noah, author, diplomat and one of the most influential Jewish leaders in the first half of the 19th century passed away. Born in 1785, he was a diplomatic representative for the North Africa when the new nation was making its foray into the Moslem world.  In a later episode he gained the support of Adams, Jefferson and Madison (all founding fathers and U.S. Presidents) in reiterating the American belief in the separation of church and state.  He may best be remembered for his attempt to create a utopian refuge for displaced European Jewry on an island on the Niagara River called Ararat.  [Editor’s note: this blog does not have a enough space to do justify to the life of this fascinating Jewish American leader who set the tone for American Jewry – proud to be both Jewish and a citizen of the United States.]

     1851: In Luxembourg, Rabbi Samuel Hirsch and his wife gave birth to Emil Gustav Hirsch, the American Rabbi was a major leader of Reform Judaism.

    1852: Birthdate of Emil Gustav Hirsch the son of Rabbi Samuel Hirsh and the son-in-law of Rabbi David Einhorn who was a major leader in the Reform movement in the United States.

    1859(18th of Iyar, 5619): Lag B’Omer

    1871: Reverend Howard Crosby chaired a meeting at New York’s Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church where plans were discussed to explore the area along the Jordan River this October.  The explorers hoped to find tombs of the Israelite Kings, the Ark of the Covenant and/or the tablets of stone.  Crosby pointed out that a previous expedition had found a large Moabite stone with letters that were more like English than ancient Hebrew.

    1872: “Another Influential Southerner Declares For Grant” published today described the decision of Georgia General Henry C. Wayne to support the man who defeated the Confederacy because he did not want to support a party “being carried in the pockets of a foreign Jew banker” referring to August Belmont.

    1874(6thof Sivan, 5634): Shavuot

    1875: Henrietta Held joined the people of Israel in conversion ceremony held following afternoon services at a the synagogue located on Sixth Street near Second avenue in New York City

    1878: The funeral of Rabbi Samuel M. Isaacs took place this morning at Shaari Tephila on West 44th Street in New York City.  Rabbis A.S. Solomon, Menes and Morais of Philadelphia participated in the service.  Burial took place at Cypress Hill Cemetery

    1883: One hundred thirty houses belonging to Jews were destroyed during a riot tonight at Rostoff.  The riot began after it was reported that an unnamed Jew had murder a Russian.

    1891: Sir Robert Fowler passed.  In 1883 while serving as Lord Mayor of London refused to allow Adolf Stocker, the German “Jew-baiter” to lecture at the Mansion House.

    1892: It was reported today that in 1891 The Maimonides Library circulations amounted to 47,471, an increase of 20 per cent over that of 1890 and 30 per cent over that of 1888.

    1894: The first conference of Hebrew and Christian Workers Israel in the United States and Canada was held today at Park Street Church in Boston, MA.

    1893: A number of the Polish and Russian Jews who arrived yesterday aboard the SS Amalfi are being held at Ellis Island because they are destitute which means they may not be able to enter the United States.

    1894: The first American Congress of Liberal Religious Societies met at Temple Sinai in Chicago, Illinois.

    1895: The Monte Relief Society, which was founded by Mrs. Sofia Monte Loebinger, is scheduled to host a fund raising festival today at the Grand Central Palace

    1898: The Grand Lodge No. 1 of the Independent Order Free Sons of Israel hosted a patriotic service tonight at Temple Rodolph Sholom.

    1898: “In Foreign Lands” published today described the “about-face” taken by French journalist Henri Rochefort, a leading anti-Dreyfus leader.  At first he accused Dreyfus and his family of being responsible for the Spanish-American War.  Now he claims that the Dreyfus family and the Rothschilds are responsible for the support shown by the French press for the cause of Spain.

    1899: The Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls opened its doors on New York's East 63rd Street.

    1899: The widow of Leopold S. Levy who died when ruffians fractured his skills has been hospitalized in New York Hospital following a failed attempt to take her own life.  According to a note that was found, she was despondent and depressed by the death of her husband.

    1906: Birthdate of comic Harry Ritz of the Ritz Brothers. Born Harry Joachim, Harry was the 'middleman' of the Ritz Brothers, and was an inspiration for Danny Kaye and Sid Caesar. In 1934, The Ritz Brothers appeared in their first film, "Hotel Anchovy". The team worked for Fox and later Universal. He died of cancer in 1986

    1912(6thof Sivan, 5672): Shavuot

    1912:  Birthdate of Herbert C. Brown.  Born in England, this son of Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine moved to the United States where he earned both his B.S. and PhD in Chemistry at the University of Chicago.  Brown won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1979, sharing it with Georg Witttig.  He passed away in 2004.

    1914: The Becker-Rosenthal trial in which Charles Becker and members of the Lenox Avenue Gang faced charges for having murdered bookmaker Herman Rosenthal came to a close.

    1916: The Senate Committee on the Judiciary today distributed a letter from Dr. Charles W. Eliot, President Emeritus of Harvard University, endorsing Louis D. Brandeis of Boston for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Dr. Lowell, President of Harvard, had signed a memorial opposing Mr. Brandeis's confirmation on the ground that he was unfit for the Supreme bench. The confirmation process for Brandeis was a bruising affair laced with anti-Semitism.

    1919: The Rumanian government granted citizenship to all native-born Jews.

    1920: The Dearborn Independent, owned by Henry Ford, began publishing the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

    1920:  Birthdate of astrophysicist Thomas Gold. Gold was bron in Austria and educated in Switzerland and Great Britain, In early 1959, when Cornell University offered him the opportunity to set up an interdisciplinary unit for radio-physics and space research, and take charge of the Department of Astronomy, he accepted the appointment. He remained at Cornell until his death.

    1922:  Birthdate of Quinn Martin, head of Quinn Martin Productions

    1922: In Manhattan, Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Klein gave birth to Judith Klein whom the world would come to know as film critic Judith Crist.

    1924: Cornerstone laying ceremony for the construction of the building housing the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva began today.

    1924: In Romania students hired a servant girl to run through the street screaming, "My Jewish employers dragged me down into the cellar and wanted my blood for ritual purposes."  This had the result of causing attacks on Jews in the country. Several months later in Aleppo, Syria, the same charges of "blood ritual" surfaced against the Jews.

    1924: In Chicago, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped and killed Robert Franks. All of the parties in this "Crime of the Century" were Jewish except for the lawyer who would defend Leopold Loeb - Clarence Darrow.  The story provided the basis for the novel (and film by the same name) called Compulsion.

    1926: It was announced today that Mrs. Bertha V. Guggenheimer of Lynchburg, Va., has a established a $50,000 trust fund that will build playgrounds in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv, as well as other cities and farming settlements in Palestine. The playgrounds will operate on a non-sectarian basis meaning they are open to Christian, Moslem and Jewish children.

    1930: The Jewish community in Palestine begins a general strike to protest the blocking of immigration

    1930: Birthdate of Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s first openly homosexual member of the City Council.  Milk and the Mayor of San Francisco were brutally gunned down in 1978 by a political rival who would get off on the Twinkie Defense. 

    1931: Confirmation Services were held today at Congregation Beth-El in Camden, NJ.

    1933(22ndof Iyar, 5693): Fifty-nine year old Sandor Ferenczi, the noted Hungarian psychoanalyst and friend of Sigmund Freud passed away today.

    1932: The Hakoah All-Stars rallied in the second half to gain a tie with the German All-Stars in what was billed as goodwill soccer game at the Polo Grounds. The contest was sponsored by leading Jewish and German citizens as a means of promoting interracial understanding. Mayor Walker, honorary chairman of the sponsoring committee kicked off the ball at the start of play. At half time, Carol Sherman, former Attorney General of New York Stated presented medal to the Americans who had competed in the International Jewish Olympics recently held in Tel Aviv.

    1932: Birthdate of Yosef Haim Yerushalmi, a groundbreaking and wide-ranging scholar of Jewish history whose meditation on the tension between collective memory of a people and the more prosaic factual record of the past influenced a generation of thinkers.

    1934: Birthdate of Ya'acov Ra'anan, the native of Vienna who made Aliyah in 1939, who served as the commander of the INS Dakar on its last voyage.

    1935(19th of Iyar, 5695): Max Hans Kohn, a Jewish student died in Dachau. Reportedly he was the first Jew to die there in 10 months.

    1936(1stof Sivan, 5696): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1936(1stof Sivan, 5696): Seventy-three year old Richard Gottheil the son of Rabbi Gustav Gottheil, passed away. Dr. Gottheil was a noted scholar, Zionist leader and the founder of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT).

    1936: Jewish-operated buses were again fired at today on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road, but there were no casualties and the curfew in Jerusalem was extended starting a half hour earlier (6:30 p.m.) in response to escalating Arab violence.

    1938: Birthdate of actor/ director Richard Benjamin whose work includes Goodbye Columbus and He& She.

    1938: As Arab terrorism escalated, The Palestine Post reported that the Government forces practically occupied Arab villages in Galilee in an effort to check the increasing terror and lawlessness. Jewish settlements of Ein Hazorea and Mishmar Haemek came under a concentrated Arab terrorist fire. The Iraq Petroleum Company pipeline was cut once more and set on fire near Nazareth.

    1938: The Palestine Post published a special, 20-page Palestine-British supplement to mark the Empire Day.

    1938: Birthdate of actress Susan Strasberg whose work includes “In Praise of Older Women” and “Manitou”

    1938(21st of Iyar, 5698): Rabbi Simon Glazer passed away.  Born in 1878 at Kovno Russia, Glazer the Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogues in Montreal (1907-1918); Chief Rabbi of Kansas City (1920-1923); Rabbi of Beth Hamidrash Hagadol in NYC (1923-1927); Temple Beth-El in Brooklyn (1927-1930); Maimonides Synagogue of NYC starting in 1930.  Glazer had also served as President of the Central Council of Rabbis of America and Chairman of its Executive Committee.  He wrote or translated 26 books including a “History of Israel” and translations of the works of Maimonides and the High Holiday prayer books.

    1939: Germany signs a "Pact of Steel" with Italy.  This is one more step on the road to World War II.

    1939(4th of Sivan, 5699): Ernst Toller, a German-Jewish playwright and active anti-fascist, who had fought for the Kaiser in World War I and whose sister and brother had been taken to a concentration camp, hung himself at the Mayflower Hotel.  W.H. Auden memorialized him with a poem entitled “In Memory of Ernst Toller” published in 1940 in an anthology called Another Time.

    1941: Jews in Croatia are forced to wear yellow badges.

    1941: Germans stole a 16th century Torah scroll from the Sephardic community at Salonica.   This Torah was said to have come from Spain. The Germans then burned all the books and three Sefer Torahs. When the chief rabbi returned, he found all of the libraries and Jewish manuscripts destroyed.

    1942(6th of Sivan, 5702): First Day of Shavuot

    1942(6th of Sivan, 5702): In an exercise conducted in a forest outside Mielec, Poland, Gestapo agents "cast" Jews as partisans, beat and mutilate them, and then kill them.

    1942(6th of Sivan, 5702): Three hundred children are taken away and sent to Chelmno where they were gassed to death.

    1944(29th of Iyar, 5704): For five days Jews readied for rail transport from Munkács, Ukraine, and from the Hungarian town of Sátoraljaújhely resist being loaded. Some are shot.  Resistance began on May 22 and ended on May 27.

    1945(10th of Sivan, 5705): Polish freebooters stop a train in the Bialystok region of Poland and beat and abduct a Jew named Mejer Sznajder. This took place after V.E. Day and the end of Holocaust.

    1946: Karl Frank, Nazi protector of Bohemia-Moravia, was executed in Prague.

    1946(21st of Iyar, 5706): Two Jews were killed and another fifteen were injured in pogrom begun because a crowd of Hungarians in Kunmadras believed the Jews had made sausage out of Christian children.

    1948: David Ben-Gurion ordered Yigal Yadin, the Chief of Staff, to launch an attack on the police fort at Laturun “without delay.”  Ben-Gurion wanted Yadin to use the Seventh Brigade for the attack.  Yadin was opposed to the attack.  The brigade was composed of 2,000 troops several hundred of whom were Holocaust survivors who had just gotten off the boat from the Cyprus detention camps.  They had little or no training.  Many of them did not speak Hebrew.  In other words, the Seventh Brigade was a brigade in name only.  Yadin knew they were not a fighting force and sending them to attack a hilltop fortress manned by the Jordanian Arab Legion was a recipe for disaster.  To make matters worse, the Seventh lacked basic equipment, including water bottles or canteens.  Considering the heat, a lack of water would hamper even veteran troops.  Ben-Gurion’s stubborn insistence must be seen against the backdrop of the times.  Despite a great deal of criticism, Ben-Gurion had accepted the partition plan even though it meant Jerusalem would not be part of the Jewish state,  Instead it was to governed by an international body.  The Arabs rejected this concept and turned Jerusalem into a battleground.  They laid siege to the city and sought to cut it off from the rest of the Jewish state.  Ben-Gurion was determined to do whatever it took to ensure that Jerusalem would be Jewish.  The hilltop fortress of Latrun was the main obstacle to opening the road to from the coast to Jerusalem.  Hence his insistence on the attack even if it flew in the face of the best advice from is commanders

    1948: Troops from the Carmeli Brigade took up positions at Masada and Sha'ar HaGolan in expectation of a counter-attack from the Arabs that did not come.  After a week, despite their edge in armor and artillery, apparently, they had had enough.

    1948: The fighting that had begun on May 15 known collectively as the Battles of the Kinarot Valley came to an end. The most memorable fighting took place between the Israelis and the Syrians at Dagania Alef and Degania Bet. Words cannot describe the heroism of the Jewish fighters who stood their ground against overwhelming odds. 

    1950(6th of Sivan, 5710): First Day of Shavuot

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that according to the Jordanian complaint, Israel occupied three Arab villages in the Jordanian-occupied Latrun area and two in the Tulkarm District. Israel denied all such allegations, but claimed frequent Jordanian marauders' infiltration.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Mr. Shimon Peres, the Director-General of the Ministry of Defense, claimed at an exhibition of the locally-manufactured products, that few countries in the world produced as wide a variety of armaments as Israel.

    1954: Bar Mitzvah of Robert Zimmerman who gained famed as Bob Dylan.

    1955: Final broadcast of the “Jack Benny Program” on CBS radio. Benny, whose real name was Benjamin Kubelsky, would continue to broadcast on television until 1965.

    1959: Birthdate of David Blatt, the Princeton graduate who played for and coached several Israeli basketball teams.

    1965: Birthdate of Shlomo Lahiani, the Israeli political leader who has served as mayor of Bat Yam.

    1967: In violation of international agreements, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran, blocking all Israeli shipping from the south, thereby raising tension in the Middle East. In Israel, a broad based coalition was formed under Levi Eshkol with Menachem Begin and Yoseph Sapir and Moshe Dayan who became the Minister of Defense. Under international law, blockade is an act of war and this action by Egypt actually gave Israel the legal right to go to war, a fact conveniently ignored at that time and by the current generation of revisionist historians.

    1969(5th of Sivan, 5729): Erev of Shavuot

    1969: Mayor John V. Lindsay greeted his Jewish constituency today on the eve of Shavuot, which begins tomorrow. Speaking of the Jewish people's receiving of the Torah, which the holiday celebrates, the Mayor said: "From that hallowed event on Mount Sinai, through the ages, from the days of ancient Palestine, and up to our times and the rebirth of the State of Israel, the Torah has been at the very heart of the Jewish experience. Moses...stands as a towering figure not only in the life of the Jewish people but in the life of our civilization."

     1970(16th of Iyar, 5730): Arab terrorists killed 9 children and 3 adults on a school bus

    1972: Time magazine published “Israel: Battle of Flight 517”

    Sabena Flight 517 from Brussels to Tel Aviv was 20 minutes out of Vienna last week when two Arabs waving pistols rushed the cockpit. "As you can see," Captain Reginald Levy calmly informed his 90 passengers, "we have friends aboard." The friends—the men and two women, who produced explosives from under their skirts—were members of a Palestinian guerrilla organization called Black September.* Their audacious plan: to land the Boeing 707 at Tel Aviv and embarrass Israel by threatening to blow up the plane on a Lod Airport runway unless 317 imprisoned fedayeen were released.  Levy's radioed alert that his plane had been commandeered rang top-level alarms in Israel. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Chief of Staff General David Elazar hurried to the airport to supervise the troops mustered to meet the jet. As soon as Levy touched down in the Tel Aviv dusk and rolled to an isolated runway, mechanics at Dayan's orders immobilized the plane by deflating its tires and draining the hydraulic system.  After presenting their demands for the prisoners' release to Lod's control tower, the skyjackers were alarmed to discover that they could not take off again. Emotionally, they kissed one another goodbye and prepared to detonate the explosives. Levy started a conversation to calm them down, and kept on chatting through the night. "I talked about everything under the sun," he said later, "from navigation to sex."  Next morning, in response to Levy's plea, Dayan promised to prepare the plane for takeoff and produce the fedayeen. A group of bogus prisoners were shown to the skyjackers from a distance and Dayan had an airplane taken out to a runway, supposedly to fly the released fedayeen to Cairo. From the control tower, one of the "prisoners"—actually an Arabic-speaking Israeli soldier—lulled the skyjackers: "They tell me I'm being sent to Cairo. Is that true? Praised be Allah." Meanwhile, out of sight, commandos were practicing assault tactics on a 707. When they were able to force the doors, swing aboard and start shooting in 90 seconds, Elazar deemed them ready. His "ground crew" approached the jet, allowed themselves to be frisked by Red Cross negotiators who had been called in at Arab request. No pistols turned up in the search; they had been hidden in boots or tool boxes. Suddenly the "mechanics" burst into the plane with guns blazing. The two male skyjackers died from bullets in the head and one of the two women was wounded. In all, the action took precisely 90 seconds.  Israelis hailed the jet's recapture as a military victory—and as an example of how other nations ought to handle skyjacking. Dayan himself was host at a dinner for Levy, a British citizen with a Jewish father and a Christian mother who was celebrating his 50th birthday. Prime Minister Golda Meir later threw a second dinner for all the participants. She kissed Levy and cried, "We love you." Publicly, Mrs. Meir justified the recapture, citing "the terrible significance of submission" to terrorism.  Elsewhere the response was less enthusiastic. The International Air Line Pilots Association protested the danger to passengers in such go-for-broke shootouts. As it happened, three aboard Flight 517 had been wounded. One 22-year-old Israeli was in critical condition; she had leaped up in panic when the firing started and was shot in the head by a commando who mistook her for one of the Arabs. The International Red Cross angrily cried that it had been duped by the Israelis. Arabs nevertheless accused the agency of complicity. In Beirut, where Red Cross week was in progress, volunteers soliciting donations were attacked on the street by Black September supporters. The leader of the group, who called himself Captain Rafat, was later identified as Ali Tasha, 34, a onetime Jerusalem tour guide and seasoned skyjacker.  In 1968 he helped divert an El Al jet to Algeria.

    1977(5th of Sivan, 5737): Erev of Shavuot

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel empowered the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff to discuss with U.N. and UNIFIL the arrangements aimed to prevent the terrorists in South Lebanon from attacking Israel and harming local inhabitants. The UNIFIL assured the Christian leader, Major Saad Haddad, that it is prepared to recognize his 600-men strong force and that the humanitarian "Good Fence", which allowed Lebanese villagers to receive aid and work in Israel, will continue even after the complete Israeli withdrawal.

    1980(7thof Shavuot, 5740): 2nd day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1981(18th of Iyar, 5741): Lag B’Omer

    1981: Antatole Boyard reviewed Where the Jackals Howl and Other Stories by Israeli author Amos Oz.

    1983: The New York Times featured a review of Art & Ardor by Cynthia Ozick.

    1988(6th of Sivan, 5748): First Day of Shavuot

    1990: In The Los Angeles Times, Sheldon Teitelbuam reviewed A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts With Torturersby Lawrence Weschler, the grandson of Viennese-Jewish émigré composer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Ernst Toch.

    1998: The Times of London included a review ofIsrael by Martin Gilbert which like all of his work is historically accurate while having the flow of a well written novel.  If you read no other book about the history of the Jewish state, this is the one you must read.

    1998: The Baltimore Jewish Times described the New Yorker who is the first rabbi to win honor from pope

    As another in a series of recent Roman Catholic overtures toward the Jewish community, Baltimore's Cardinal William H. Keeler last week presented a papal honor to a New York rabbi long active in Catholic-Jewish relations. In an afternoon ceremony at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, Rabbi Mordecai Waxman of Great Neck, N.Y., became the fifth Jew, and the first rabbi ever, named a Knight Commander of Saint Gregory the Great. Pope John Paul II bestowed the award on Waxman "in recognition of his extraordinary leadership over the past several decades in fostering improved relations between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church," Keeler said. Waxman, 81, is chairman of the National Council of Synagogues and a past chairman of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, where he did much of his work toward healing Catholic-Jewish relations, according to Keeler. In 1987, when Waxman was president of the Synagogue Council of America, the predecessor to the National Council, he and then-Bishop Keeler began a tradition of regular meetings between rabbis and Catholic bishops that continues today, Keeler said. Waxman helped prepare the pope's visits with American Jewish leaders in 1987, and he addressed the pontiff on behalf of the Jewish community in Miami that year. "Over the years, Rabbi Waxman has been a consistent peacemaker and worked for reconciliation between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church," Keeler said. Waxman praised the pontiff for his interest in Catholic-Jewish enterprises, including the Vatican's recent statement of repentance for the Holocaust. "That he has undertaken to honor Jews for such activities and has bestowed such recognition upon several of my co-religionists for their notable contributions is typical of the innovative thinking which he has brought to world affairs," Waxman told an audience of more than 100, including scores of his congregants who traveled from Temple Israel, where the rabbi has presided for 50 years. The Order of St. Gregory the Great was created by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831 in honor of his predecessor, Pope St. Gregory. It has several classes, the highest being the Grand Cross. Previous Jewish recipients include Sir Sigmund Sternberg of London, a recent Templeton Prize winner; the late Joseph Lichten, who was European director of the Anti-Defamation League; Gerhardt Riegner, a former general secretary of the World Jewish Congress; and, most recently, conductor Gilbert Levine, one of Waxman's congregants. For his part, the rabbi acknowledged and tried to assuage the continuing suspicion many Jews hold toward the Catholic Church, despite 30 years of papal teachings against anti-Semitism. But he said future generations will see the fruits of the current efforts. "That perhaps is what the Talmud means when it says, `There are things that take fruit of which a man enjoys in this world...but the capital endures for all time. And among these is the effectings of peace between man and his fellows.'"

    1998(26th of Iyar, 5758): Seventy-two year old Yitzhak Moda’I passed away. Born in Tel Aviv in 1926, he became an Israeli political leader who served in the Knesset and who held several cabinet positions including Minister of Justice and Minister of Economics which is fitting for a man who studied both at the London School of Economics.

    1999(7thof Sivan, 5758): Shavuot is observed for the last time in the 20thcentury.

    2005: The Wolf Prizes were awarded by the President of the State of Israel Mr. Moshe Katzav at the Chagall Hall at the Knesset, in the presence of the Minister of Education and Chairperson of the Wolf Foundation Council, Mrs. Limor Livnat, the Speaker of the Knesset MK Reuven Rivlin and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Zeev Schleisner

    2005: The New York Times included reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Good, The Bad, And Me In My Anecdotageby Eli Wallach and The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman, an appealing and inventive novel about Peter van Daan, one of Anne Frank’s companions in the secret annex that imagines what his life might have been like if he'd survived to take on a new identity as a gentile in postwar America.

    2006: Haaretz reported that the Dan David Prizes went to cellist Yo-Yo Ma, four journalist and two medical researchers.  The Dan David Prizes are distributed annually to people who embody realms of human achievement related to the past, present and future.  They are endowed by the Dan David Foundation headquartered at Tel Aviv University.

    2007: Nineteen tombstones were toppled in the Jewish cemetery in Chernigov, an eastern Ukraine city.

    2007: As part of Jewish Heritage Month, the National Archives presents a lecture entitled “Einstein: His Life and Universe” during which Walter Isaacson will discuss his latest work, Einstein: His Life and Universe. Albert Einstein was the most influential scientist of the 20th century, and Isaacson’s book is the first full biography of this great icon of our age since all of his papers have become available. Isaacson looks at Einstein’s science, personal life, and politics and explains how his mind worked, what he was really like, and the mysteries of the universe that he discovered. Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time magazine.

    2007(5th of Sivan, 5767): Erev of Shavuot – Confirmation Ceremony at Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Those reaching this milestone are Zach Burstain, son of Jennifer and Todd Burstain; Nathan Cooper, son of Mary and Bob Cooper; Kelsey Fisher, daughter of Ann Hagie; Joel Gasway, son of Julie and Scott Gasway; Cassy Novick, daughter of Denise Novick and Don Novick of blessed memory; Josh Siegel, son of Kris and Ken Siegel.  This is an impressive number for a “small community” on the banks of the Cedar River.  Am Yisroail Chai – The Jewish People Lives!

    2007: A rare Torah scroll fragment from the Book of Exodus dating back to the 7th century that includes the famous “Song of the Sea” is put on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, The manuscript, which is a fragment of a Torah scroll from the Book of Exodus (13:19-16:1), comes from the six-hundred year period from the 3rd through 8th centuries known as the "silent era," from which almost no Hebrew manuscripts have survived.

    2008: The JCC Manhattan and The Museum of Biblical Art in New York presents “The History and Legacy of Greek Jews” during which Steve Bowman, Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Cincinnati Professor Bowman looks at the history of Jews in Greece - their ancient origins, their contribution to Jewish culture, and fate within the larger Christian community.

    2008: As part of the celebrations of Israel at 60, The Quad Cities Jewish Federation sponsors a recital by Carmel Harel, Israeli Shlicha of New Hampshire. A graduate of Israel Art and Science Academy in Jerusalem, she will play the piano and sing Israeli songs from the last 60 years.

    2008: In Israel's answer to the Woodstock Festival, nearly half a million people gather on a Galilee mountaintop, where they pitch tents and engage in 24 hours of feasting, singing and ecstatic dancing. They are taking part in the annual celebrations held on the Yahrzeit of second-century sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai at his burial place on Mount Meron, near the northern Israeli city of Safed. The Yahrzeit coincides with the minor festival of Lag B’Omer. The celebrations are widely viewed as a resounding display of Jewish unity. "All shades of the rainbow come. There are Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Hasidim and knitted kippah-wearers, religious and secular," said Shlomo Shalvash, head of the Sephardic trust for the upkeep of the site. What makes bar Yohai such a crowd pleaser is the fact that he did not merely rule on matters of Jewish law. He is believed to have left the answers to life, the universe and everything, making him a figure of fascination for all these people. Bar Yohai is the purported author of the “Zohar,” the central text of Kabbalah.

    2008: The Cedar Rapids Jewish community watches with pride as Ben Handler and Vanezzia Levi take part in the graduation ceremonies at Washington High School.

    2009(28th of Iyar, 5769): Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Reunification Day

    2009: Opening of Conference 2009 hosted by The Philadelphia Kehila for Secular Jews

    2009(28th of Iyar, 5769: Funeral services are held at Temple B’nai Israel in Little Rock, AR, for Mrs. Joyce Ehrenberg, “dear and loving wife of Mr. Harry L. Ehrenberg, Sr. of blessed memory, and deeply proud mother of Harry L. Jr., and his sisters Linda and Terry. A consummate promoter in helping those that were less fortunate, Mrs. Ehrenberg lived a richly meaningful life.”

    2009: IDF forces killed two armed terrorists who approached a security fence in southern Gaza before dawn today. The terrorists intended to plant bombs, which were to be detonated as IDF troops passed through on patrol.

    2010(9th of Sivan, 5770): At Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids, IA, Shannon Williams is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.

    2010: “Jacob’s House” August Schulenburg’s play based on the life of the Biblical character is scheduled to have its final performance the Access Theater in New York.

    2011: To avoid desecration of Shabbat, the traditional Sephardi bonfire in Meron marking Lag B’Omer will be lit tonight instead of last night.

    2011: The AIPAC Policy Conference is scheduled to open today in Washington, D.C.

    2011; The Jewish community of metropolitan Washington, DC, is scheduled to celebrate Israel’s birthday at Israel@63.

    2011: In Cincinnati, Ohio, Rabbi David Ellenson, president of HUC-JIR, is scheduled to speak about the important place of the Jewish seminary in American life and scholarship in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month and the 100th anniversary of the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

    2011: Chabad Lubavitch of Iowa City is scheduled to hold the grand opening of Iowa City’s Kosher Co-op, the first such emporium in the Iowa City – Cedar Rapids Corridor.

    2011(18th of Iyar, 5771): Lag B’Omer

    2011: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life” by Harold Bloom, “2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America” by Albert Brooks and “The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism” by Deborah Baker which tells the story of “how a Jewish girl from Larchmont became an Islamic polemicist.”

    2011: President Obama addressed American Israel Public Affairs Committee this morning.

    2012: The annual meeting of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan featuring a speech by Arthur Horwitz, President of Renaissance Media and former publisher of the Detroit Jewish News and presentation of the Leonard N. Simons History Award is scheduled to take place this evening at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, MI.

    2012: In recognition of the contributions of Jewish Americans to literature, poet Jody Bolz, editor of Poet Lore, America's oldest poetry magazine, is scheduled to read her work in Washington, DC.

    2012(1st of Sivan, 5772): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    2012: “The Bad Guys” featuring Raviv “Ricky” Ullman opened at a theatre on the Upper West Side in New York City.

    2012(1stof Sivan, 5772): Fifty-three year old Aharon Zandi a mechanic from Sarna and “a pillar of Yemen’s dwindling Jewish community” was murdered today. (As reported by Elhanan Miller)

    2012: Israeli radio reported today that 24 year old Nadav Ben Yehuda went to the aid of a stranded climber which put an end to attempt to become the youngest Israel to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

    2012: Israel responded with immediate skepticism to reports that the UN had concluded an agreement with Iran to probe that country’s suspected nuclear site.

    2013: The American Jewish Historical Society and Beta Israel of North America are scheduled to present a screening of “Leah,” a documentary that depicts the experiences of Ethiopian Jews trying to adjust to life in Israel.

    2013: In Denver, CO, the Mizel Institute is scheduled to present Pat Bowlen, the owner of the Denver Broncos with its 2013 Community Enrichment Award.

    2013: The Matlz Museum of Jewish Heritage is scheduled to host a panel discussion entitled “How We Survive.”

    2013: “Juadica,” the first ever Jewish film festival to be held in Lisbon is scheduled to open today.


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    May 23 In History

    1052: Birthdate of Philip I, King of France who passed away in 1108.   Philip’s life overlapped that of Rashi (1040-1105).  In his day, Philip certainly was more powerful than the wine merchant of Troyes. But how many people study Philip today and how many Rashi read.  Philip was the king during the First Crusade.  However, he was not allowed to participate because Pope Urban II had excommunicated him. This may account, to some extent, why the Jews of France did not suffer in the same as did their Germanic co-religionist during what turned out to be the start of one of the deadliest periods of Jewish history.

    1275: King Edward I of England ordered the cessation of persecution of Jews of Bordeaux, France.  This was at a time when English kings still had holdings in France and dreams of sitting on the French throne. This is the same Edward who will eventually banish the Jews from England after draining them of all of their wealth.

    1420: Albert V (Austria) accused a rich Jew, Israel of Enns, of purchasing a wafer in order to desecrate it. All the Jews in the territory were jailed, dispossessed of their property, separated from their families and then subjected to attempts at forced conversion.

    1420: At the behest of the Church, Duke Albrecht ordered the forcible conversion of the Jews of Austria. Those that had not converted or escaped or been sent off in the boats were burned at the stake on March 12, 1421, and their beautiful synagogue destroyed.

    1421: Those Jews still remaining in Austria were imprisoned and/or expelled.

    1423:Benedict XIII, the Avignon-based "antipope" known for his relentless persecution of the Jews died today.

    1498: Girolamo Savonarola, a Dominican monk who was a violent opponent of the comparatively philo-Semitic Pope Alexander VI was convicted as a heretic and burned at the stake on the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

    1510: Emperor Maximilian of Germanyrescinded a previously issued order to burn all Hebrew books.

    1524:Ismail I, Shah of Persia and founder of the Safavid dynasty passed away. Conditions for the Jews of Persia declined under the Safavids when they adopted Shia Islam as the state religion.Shi'ism assigns importance to the issues of ritual purity ― tahara. Non-Muslims, including Jews, are deemed to be ritually unclean ― najis. Any physical contact would require Shi'as to undertake ritual purification before doing regular prayers. Thus, Persian rulers, and the general populace, sought to limit physical contact between Muslims and Jews. Jews were excluded from public baths used by Muslims. They were forbidden to go outside during rain or snow, as an "impurity" could be washed from them upon a Muslim.”

    1533: The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void. As a condition to their marriage, Henry’s father promised Catherine’s Spanish parents that Jews would never be allowed to settle in England.  When Henry decided to divorce Catherine he claimed that the marriage had taken place in violation of biblical law.  He sought the support of Italian rabbis in making this claim.  The Rabbis did not support the English monarch, probably figuring that there was no reason to antagonize the Pope (who was a lot closer) than a distant English monarch.

    1536: In Portugal, Pope Paul III acting upon the petition of King John III, issued a Bull providing for the establishment of the inquisition based on the Spanish archetype. It lasted until September 1774 with the last auto da fe held in October 1765.

    1552: Sebastian Munster, the first Christian to publish a complete edition of the Bible in Hebrew passed away.

    1555: Paul IV began his Papacy during which he issued Dudum postquam, the papal bull that expanded a 10-ducat tax on Jewish synagogues to help finance catechumen houses in Rome

    1568: Netherlands declared independence from Spain. Protestant Dutch rebels led by Louis of Nassau, brother of William I of Orange, defeat Jean de Ligne, Duke of Aremberg and his loyalist troops in the Battle of Heiligerlee, opening the Eighty Years' War. The conflict combined politics and religion as Protestant Dutchmen rebelled against Catholic Spain.  Holland had provided a haven for Sepharidic Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition.  A community of Portuguese merchants had settled in Amsterdam prior to the outbreak of hostilities.  The Protestant clergy were not exactly thrilled about the Jews settling in the country and it took several decades for the Jews of Holland to gain full acceptance.

    1572 (18 Iyar 5332): On Lag B’Omer Moses Isserles, also known as the Rama passed away  Born sometime between 1520 and 1525, he was the son of Israel Isserles, “ a wealthy leader of the Cracow community who, in 1553, received royal dispensation to build a synagogue in memory of his wife which is known as the Ream Synagogue.”  Moses Isserles served as Rosh (Head of the) Yeshiva in Krakow. His main work was called Mappah Hashulchan ("The Tablecloth") which adapted Caro’sShulchan Aruch to the needs and customs of Ashkenazi Jewry, It was called the “The Tablecloth” because it “covered” the Shulchan Aruch which is translated as “the prepared table.” In other words he covered Caro’s Sephardic Table with an Ashkenazic Tablecloth.  An earlier work, Darke Moshe Hakatzar (The Ways of Moses Abridged) was written in response to Caro’s comprehensive book on Jewish law called Beit Yoseph.He was known as well for the almost 100 Responsa he published. Isserles tried to strengthen the stature of many customs, elevating them almost to the level of Halachah (Jewish Law). On the other hand he was very lenient when it came to cases of stress or financial loss.

    1578: The Ottoman Sultan rescinded the order to deport the wealthy Jews of Safed to the island of Cyprus. He did this because the Jews of Safed were said to be paying taxes which were used to help maintain the Dome of the Rock.

    1618: In Prague, an assembly of Protestants threw three Catholic officials out of the window after they had found them guilty of violating a law concerning religious expression.  This event precipitated the Thirty Years War, so called because it lasted from 1618 to 1648.  Much of the war was fought in the Germanic principalities.  During the war Jews suffered at the hands of both sides with pogroms taking place in Frankfort, Worms and Jena.

    1633: The French government issues an edict allowing only Catholics to settle in Canada.  The target of the ban was the Huguenots but it applied to the Jews as well.  Jews would not be able to settle in Canada until after the British were victorious in what Americans call the French-Indian War

    1637(28th of Iyar): Seven Jews, including Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac, were murdered today in Cracow.

    1708(4th of Sivan): Rabbi Solomon ben David de Oliveria, author of “Ez Hayyim” passed away today.

    1749(7th of Sivan, 5509): Second Day of Shavuot

    1749(7th of Sivan, 5509): Abraham ben Abraham, who had been a Polish noble named Count Valentine Potocki  before he converted to Judaism, was burned at the stake because he had renounced Catholicism and becoming a practicing Jew.

    1773: Distinctions between Old Christians and New Christians were banned in Portugal. It was said this was because of a huge bribe from the Jews, but either way, this ban became law.

    1788: South Carolina becomes the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Thanks to John Locke who wrote South Carolina’s original constitution Jews, along with heathens and dissenters were guaranteed “freedom of conscience.” Jews began voting in the colony’s elections in 1702.  By 1750, there were enough Jews in the colony to warrant the building of the first synagogue in Charleston “which called itself “Beth Elohim” (House of God).  Francis Salvador was the most prominent Jewish leader when the Revolution began in 1775.  In 1790, South Carolina enacted legislation that was intended to abolish religious discrimination.

    1825(6thof Sivan, 5585): First Day of Shavuot

    1846: In Fürth, Bavaria, Joel and Babette (Elsasser) Krakauer gave birth to Adolph Krakauer who came to New  York in 1865 and then to Texas where became a successful merchant and leading businessman in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas before his death in 1914.        

    1848:  Birthdate of Otto Lilienthal German born aviation pioneer.  He died in 1896 after one of his gliders failed to work properly.

    1851:Richard Lalor Sheil an Irish writer, orator, and Member of Parliament passed away. Jews should remember Sheil as a supporter of measures to allow Jews to sit as members of Parliament in the United Kingdom. Following the Rothschild’s election to the House of Commons Sheil delivered a speech entitled “On Disabilities of the Jews” that began included these words in the opening paragraph, “A British subject ought in every regard to be considered a British citizen; and inasmuch as the professors of the most ancient religion in the world, which, as far as it goes, we not only admit to be true, but hold to be the foundation of our own, are bound to the performance of every duty which attaches to a British subject, to a full fruition of every right which belongs to a British citizen, they have, I think, an irrefragable title. A Jew born in England can not transfer his allegiance from his sovereign and his country; if he were to enter the service of a foreign power engaged in hostilities with England and were taken in arms he would be accounted a traitor. Is a Jew an Englishman for no other purposes than those of condemnation? I am not aware of a single obligation to which other Englishmen are liable from which a Jew is exempt; and if his religion confers on him no sort of immunity it ought not to affect him with any kind of disqualification.”

    1859: Two Polish Jews, Philip Moses and Samuel Preiss filed a complaint today claiming that a tailor name William Meyer had attacked Preiss and stolen his watch while Preiss was in his store. The two plaintiffs gave such contradictory stories that it led the Judge to believe that Meyer was actually the victim of blackmail attempt.  He charged Moses and Preiss with attempted blackmail and filing a false police report.  The two complaining witnesses are now defendants and since they could make bail they are awaiting trial in the city jail. [So all of our ancestors weren’t Kohanim or psalmists, so what?]

    1863: Ferdinand Lasalle formed the General German Workers ’Association (ADAV), Germany’s first labor party today.  He also began serving as its President, a position he would hold until his death in August of 1863.

    1870: The annual meeting of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites was held this evening at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. The report of the Executive Committee included a comprehensive look at conditions of Jews in a various communities. The committee reported that the Governor of Syria had agreed to allow the purchase of land for a Jewish agricultural school.  Construction will begin as soon as the government at Constantinople gives its approval.  Romanian Jews, including those living in Bucharest, Vacco and Salatz have been the victims of violent attacks.  Jews continued to suffer in Russia and they continue to subject to laws prohibiting them from living near the frontier. Halevy has not begun his trip to China where he is to gain information on the condition of the Jews living there. At its recent meeting in Paris, the Universal Alliance reported that it had 12,000 members around the world. The committee urged that other states adopt laws similar to the one in New York that allows Jews who observe the Sabbath to work on Sunday, despite the existence of “Blue Laws.” The committee urged the Jewish population to support Maimonides College.  The committee credited “the good sense of the American public” that organizations attempting to Christianitize the U.S. Constitution had meant with little success. 

    1871: An Imperial Ukase (proclamation) has been issued order the Jews of Poland to change their appearance by doing away with their long black coats and trimming their beards and side-curls.

    1873: Birthdate of Rabbi Leo Baeck. His most famous work was The Essence of Judaism. He believed in ethical monotheism as part of the core of Judaism. Unlike contemporary rationalists, he also acknowledged that the mystery of God was also essential to Jewish belief. He saw the need for the experiencing God at the emotional level. This experience would lead to the ethical behavior. Also, Baeck saw the need for ritual as an affirmation of the concept of people hood. Baeck chose not to leave Germany. He was imprisoned at Terezienstadt. His faith survived the experience. He passed away in 1956.

    1874(7th of Sivan, 5634): Second Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1875: “An Interesting Jewish Ceremony” published today described the conversion ceremony of Henrietta Held at which Rabbi Marx Cohn officiated.

    1875:  “Michel Levy: The Life of a Great French Publisher” published today described the shock in Paris at the death of this 54 year old literary leader and provided a detailed account of his life and accomplishments.

    1877: In Paterson, NJ, Judge Barkalow will begin to hear evidence in divorce case involving Moses Fananholz (or Tananholz) originally from Chicago and his wife the former Rachel Blumenthal from Montreal.  The wife claims that her husband only married her for her money; that she that the ceremony was only for a betrothal under Jewish custom and not a marriage ceremony; and that since she was under the age of 18 (the age of consent) when the ceremony was performed the marriage was illegal.

    1879: An article published today entitled “Proposed Hebrew Convention” described the preparations that are being made for the upcoming meeting in New York of delegates representing the “various branches of he Union of American Hebrew Congregations.  Agenda items will include a report on charitable activities and a report on the activities at the college the Union controls which trains young men to serve as rabbis.  One major topic of discussion will be the proposed to change Jewish Sabbath services from Saturday to Sunday.

    1879(1st of Sivan, 5639): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1886: Birthdate of Moshe David Drabkin known as David Remez the native of Belarus who made Aliyah in 1913 with his wife Liba. At the end of his long, rich career he was one of those who signed  the Declaration of Independence in 1948 and served as cabinet minister in Ben-Gurion’s first two governments.

    1887: Oscar S. Straus, the new United States Minister to Turkey and his family arrived in Constantinople today.  They had been expected ten days earlier but were delayed when their daughter became ill in Vienna.

    1890: It was reported today Mrs. Charles Peterson claims an unnamed Jewish peddler had pitched her nine month old daughter into a tub of water.  The mother claims she “was absent at the time” and has not offered a basis for the claim.

    1890: All of the children of the late Herman Frohman “applied for and secured from the Court of Common Please a writ de lunatic” which will force their mother, Mary Frohman, to answer charges that she is “a lunatic.”  This is part of a dispute over the estate of the deceased Jewish butcher.

    1891: A fire broke early today at tenement house at 38 Ludlow Street which is home to 18 Jewish families.

    1892: “A resolution of sympathy for the Jews of Russia was introduced and passed” at today’s session of a conference of Methodist leaders being held in Omaha, Nebraska. “The resolution declared that it was the sense of the conference that the Jews in Russia were being unmercifully persecuted” and that “it was the hope of the conference that Russian Jews would soon enjoy the same rights as other people.”

    1893: It was reported today there are only two Jewish murderers imprisoned at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Sixty year old Adolph Reich is serving a life sentence for having killed his wife.  He had been sentenced to death, but the Governor commuted his sentence. Charles Lovitz was found guilty of murder in the second degree after having shot his wife.

    1894: On the second day of the First American Conference of Hebrew and Christian Workers for Israel, Reverend James Adler delivered a talk on “Dry Bones” which included a recitation of his problems in trying to convert Jews.

    1894: “Congress of Liberal Religionists” published today described meetings being held at Temple Sinia in Chicago, Illinois that include representatives of Reform Movement and other denominations such as the Unitarians and the Ethical Cultural Movement with the hope “of securing closer cooperation between the denominations of liberal religious societies.”  The congress is an outgrowth of the Parliament of Religions which was held in Chicago during the World’s Fair.

    1895: It was reported today that Max Casten, alias “Jew Sam” has been arrested in St. Louis, MO, on charges of stealing $2,500 worth of diamonds

    1898: Martin Beir, the Rochester fire insurance agent, was in New York on business today

    1898: “Patriotism of the Jews” published today included a declaration by Rabbi Rudolph Grossman that the United States war with Spain “was of Divine ordering” and that Spain’s kingdom in the western hemisphere is “finished

    1898: It was reported today that there one thousand Jewish officers in the Austro-Hungary Army, that one further of the officers in the French Army are Jews and that there were 10,000 Jews in the Union Army.

    1899: Charles Latimer who has been accused of being one of the men who attacked Leopold Levy is being held by police.  Levy has died of from the wounds that Latimer and his unknown compatriots inflicted on the 49 year old salesman.

    1900: Birthdate of Franz Leopold Neumann “a German-Jewish left-wing political activist and labor lawyer, who …is considered to be among the founders of modern political science in the Federal Republic of Germany.”

    1900: Herzl seeks support at a meeting with Ernest von Koerber, Austrian political leader who served as Prime Minister from 1900 to 1904.

    1903: Following the Kishinev Pogrom Wenzel von Plehve, Russian Minister of the Interior “rebuffed a Jewish delegation that asked for a condemnation of the massacre and relaxation of anti-Jewish rules.”

    1903: Herzl writes to Wenzel von Plehve, Russian Minister of the Interior and to Konstantin Pobiedonostzev asking them to arrange an audience with the Czar. Herzl also turned to Bertha von Suttner and asks for her assistance in this matter. Von Sutter was an Austrian writer, pacifist and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Peace.

    1907: “Apology to Mrs. Frank” published today described events surrounding the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel’s refusal of service to Mrs. Bertha Rayner Franks and her two nieces because they were Jewish and the subsequent apology by Josiah White & Sons, the Atlantic City hotel’s owner.

    1908: Birthdate of architect Max Abramovitz. Two of his most famous designs were LincolnCenterand the UN building.

    1909(3rd of Sivan, 5669):Elias Solomon, an Australian politician, passed away. Born in 1839, in London, England, he migrated to Australia as a child. He had no formal education, but in 1868 became a clerk and auctioneer in Fremantle in Western Australia. In 1877 he was elected to the Fremantle City Council. In 1892, he was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly as the member for South Fremantle, where he remained until 1901. In that year, he transferred to federal politics, winning the Australian House of Representatives seat of Fremantle for the Free Trade Party. He was defeated by Labor's William Carpenter in 1903.

    1910: Birthdate of bandleader Artie Shaw. Born Arthur Jacob Arshawsky in New York, he became a popular "big band" bandleader whose hits included "Come'on my House".

    1911: Dedication ceremony of the New York Public Library.  Over the next century, the library would provide countless generations of Jews a variety of cultural and educational opportunities.  The library’s “Dorot Jewish Division is one of the great collections of Judaica in the world and the most accessible for both scholarly and personal use. While the collection offers commentary on all aspects of Jewish life it also includes Hebrew and Yiddish-language texts on general subjects.”

    1912(7th of Sivan, 5672): Second Day of Shavuot, Yizkor

    1912:Tonight,at a meeting of the American Immigration and Distribution League at the Hotel Manhattan, Montefiore G. Kahn, Acting Secretary of the organization, announced that he would give the league 13,000 acres of farming and clay lands in New Jersey, valued by the donor at more than $2,600,000. The land was to be parceled out free to deserving immigrants who desire to become farmers.

    1914: Birthdate of actor and critic Leo Lerman, author and editor for style setting magazines including Mademoiselle, Vogue and Vanity Fair.

    1922: Premier of "Abie's Irish Rose."  This was the first of over 2,500 performances seen by an estimated fifty million attendees.

    1925: Birthdate of Dr. Joshua Lederberg “an American molecular biologist who is known for his work in genetics, artificial intelligence, and space exploration. He was awarded half of the Nobel Prize in 1958 for his research in genetic structure and function in microorganisms. The other half of that year's prize was shared by Edward Lawrie Tatum and George Wells Beadle. In addition to his contributions to biology, Lederberg did extensive research in artificial intelligence. This included work in the NASA experimental programs seeking life on Mars and the chemistry expert system Dendral. Lederberg’s parents had moved to the United States from Palestine in 1924.  His father was an Orthodox Rabbi. Fortunately for the world of science when Lederberg was Bar Mitzvahed in 1938 he received a copy of Bodansky's” Introduction to Physiological Chemistry,” a book that he said had a tremendous impact on his scientific development.

    1926: Birthdate of Amos Degani, the Tel Aviv native whose political career included serving as an MK from 1957 to 1969.

    1926: The United Jewish Campaign in New York is scheduled to come to an end today.

    1927: Birthdate of Dieter Hildebrandt, the German non-Jew who directed the Academy Award nominated documentary “The Yellow Star – The Persecution of the Jews in Europe 1933-45.”

    1929: Birthdate of Marvin J. Chomsky who won Emmy Awards for his direction “Holocaust” in `978 and “Inside the Third Reich” in 1982.

    1929: In Palestine, the leaders of Ahdut HaAvoda and Hapoel HaTzair, the two major labor parties signan agreement that will merge the two parties into one.  The merger is slated to take place on July 25.

    1933: The all-Jewish Platoon of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps was expanded to an all-Jewish company under the command of Captain Noel S. Jacobs. While the unit’s chaplain was Rabbi Mendel Brown, the leader of the Sephardic community, most of the members were Russian Jews

    1934:The Palestine Jewish National Assembly orchestrated a general strike against the immigration ban that was scheduled to last from noon until 7 p.m. this evening. During the strike, fifty Jewish strikers in Tel Aviv were wounded in clashes with the police. Twenty of the wounded were described as being in serious condition.  

    1935:Joseph "Yosky" Toblinsky participated in the hijacking of a truck while driving through Sullivan County today escaping with $8,000 worth of pharmaceutical drugs.  He also kidnapped the driver and his assistant.  Born in 1879, Toblinsky “was a New York City racketeer who, as head of an independent gang on East Side Manhattan, was involved in extortion and poisoning horses with the Yiddish Black Hand during the early 1900s. He was… sent to Sing Sing Prison for cruelty to animals in 1902.”

    1937: Birthdate of Jerome Rosenberg who would hold the dubious distinction of being the longest serving prisoner in New York State when he died.

    1938: As Arab violence continued unabated, The Palestine Post reported that Yitzhak Yitzhaki, 55, was attacked and stabbed to death by two Arabs near the Beit Vegan quarter of Jerusalem. Ezekiel Muncik, 25, a supernumerary constable from Kfar Yona was shot and killed during one of the Arab attacks on Hanita. Another young settler, Abraham Katz was severely wounded only one hour later and it was impossible to Ctake him to hospital. A police sergeant, injured in an earlier attack, died of his wounds in the Haifa hospital. Two Arabs were injured by a bomb explosion in Tiberias.

    1939: Following the adoption of the infamous MacDonald White Paper which all but put an end to Jewish immigration in Palestine, Winston Churchill, who was still a political outcast, spoke in favor of Jewish immigration telling the House of Commons, "So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population.  Now are being asked to decree that all this is to come to an end.  We are now asked to submit, and this is what rankles most with me, to an agitation which fed with foreign money and ceaselessly inflamed by Nazi and by Fascist propaganda."  (According to Martin Gilbert, Churchill was right. "Between 1922 and 1939 more Arabs had entered Palestine than Jews."  Many of these immigrants were drawn to Palestine by the improving economic conditions which were often a product of Jewish settlement.  Ironically, these Moslems who came from a variety of North African and Middle Eastern countries would be counted among the "Palestinian refugees" that are with us to this date.)

    1939: During a debate on the Peel Commission’s White Paper, Winston Churchill defends the Balfour Declaration and criticizes Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for betraying the Zionists and turning his back on a document he had so ardently supported twenty years before.  “They (the Jewish settlers) have fulfilled his (Chamberlain) hopes.  How can he find it in his heart to strike them this mortal blow?” Upon hearing of the speech, Weizmann telegraphed Churchill” “Your magnificent speech may yet destroy this policy.  Words fail me to express thanks.”

    1939: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Long, criticized the McDonald White Paper in a speech in the House of Lords.

    1939: In Palestine, on the eve of the Shavuot holiday, seven new settlements are established simultaneously. In all, twelve new settlements are established in May, expressing the faith that even in the grim new circumstances of the White Paper, settlement was one of the essential means of fighting for the Zionist aim.

    1940: Archibald Henry Maule Ramsay the anti-Semitic, pro-fascist Member of Parliament was arrested and lodged in Brixton Prison on an order under Defence Regulation 18B

    1940: As French forces flee from the attacking German Army, Margaret and Hans Rey returned to Paris from Normandy.

    1940:  Frustrated by "illegal" immigration into Palestine, British High Commissioner for Palestine Sir Harold MacMichael insists that Hungary accept the return of two Jews who had left Hungaryand settled in Palestinein 1934 on tourist visas. The Hungarian government replies that there are an "excessive" number of Jews in their country and the government's aim is "that as many as possible should be encouraged to emigrate."

    1940: Lord Lloyd, the Secretary of State for Colonies express his opposition to Prime Minister Churchill’s plan to arm the Jews of Palestine so that he could bring the 20,000 British troops stationed in Palestine home to defend against a possible German invasion.  Lloyd feared the reaction of the Arabs to what Churchill saw as a way of providing for self-defense while meeting the Nazi menace.

    1941: Birthdate of Zalman King Lefkowitz  who as Zalman King gained fame as “a filmmaker who mixed artistic aspiration, a professed empathy for female sexuality and gauzy photography to bring soft-core pornography to cable television — particularly with his Showtime series “Red Shoe Diaries” in the 1990s…´(As reported by Douglas Martin)

    1942(7th of Sivan, 5702): Second Day of Shavuot

    1942: The Nazis deported the Jews from Stopkov, Slovakia, including the Findling family today and sent them to Auschwitz

    1943: Nazi Aktionen kill thousands of Ukrainian Jews at Przemyslany and Lvov.

    1944(1st of Sivan, 5704): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1944: In New York, Rabbi Samuel Belkin was inaugurated as President of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Yeshiva College. An honorary degree of Doctor of Law was conferred upon Supreme Court Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone and an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on Rabbi Isaac Rubinstein, former Chief Rabi of Vilna and a twenty six year member of the Sejm (the Polish Senate.) 

    1944: In Peekskill, NY, June and David Polis gave birth to Susan Polis who gained fame as Susan Polis Schultz an American poet, producer of greeting cards and the mother of Colorado Congressman Jared Polis.

    1945: Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler committed suicide.

    1945: Two weeks after the German surrender, Chaim Weizmann writes to Prime Minister Winston Churchill appealing for an end to the White Paper and restrictions on Jewish immigration to Eretz Israel.  The appeal would fall on deaf ears.

    1946:A mob of rioting Poles attacked Zypora Frank and her family today which was Zypora’s birthday. According to Mrs. Frank, ''They threw stones, they were yelling, 'You take our coal and give us the Jews,' and somebody threw a grenade.'' Two people were killed, one right next to the 11-year-old girl, spattering her birthday dress with blood.  Following another pogrom in July, Mrs. Frank’s parents would decide to send their children to Palestine. They were sure that the Poles would finish what the Germans had begun.

    1947: The British intercepted a three-masted Italian schooner today off the shore of Palestine containing 1,457 Jews who were trying to enter the country.  The Jews, most of whom were Polish, Russian or Hungarian, had been on the ship for over two weeks.  They had named the vessel Mordei Hagetaoth (Ghetto Fighters) and placed a sign on the deck, written in English proclaiming “From the ruins of the ghetto to our own country – our only refuge – Open the gates.

    1948: The only advance of the Arab Legion beyond the OldCity walls into "Jewish Jerusalem" was halted in front of Notre Dame. The commander of the Arab Legion, Sir John Bagot Glubb (Glubb Pasha), considered that battle to be the worst defeat suffered by the legion throughout the war.

    1948: The settlement of Allonei Abba was established by Holocaust survivors from Czechoslovakia, Romania and Germany. Even as the war with the Arabs was heating up, Jewish settlements were being started.  When you consider the conditions in Israelat the time, this hast to make the Jews “the eternal optimists” in the truest sense of the term.  The name of the settlement came from two Hebrew words.  Allonei is a form of the Hebrew word Allon, meaning Oak which served as a reminder of the Tabor Oaks that grew nearby.  Abba was the first name of Abba Berdichev.  Berdichev had parachuted into Czechoslovakiain 1943 with orders to assist British clandestine forces and aid Jews trapped in Hitler’s death trap.  Like so many of the others sent on such missions, Abba Berdichev was captured and killed.

    1948: Egyptian forces began its attack on the Jewish settlement of Negba with an artillery barrage. The Egyptian force consisted of 2,000 well armed troops as well as support from the Egyptians Air Force.  The Jewish force at Negba consisted of 70 soldiers from the Haganah and 75 members of the settlement.  They lacked artillery, air cover and pretty much anything else that a modern might need.  Negba had to be held to keep the Egyptians from reaching Tel Aviv.  The fight would last for nine days.

    1949: The Federal Republic of Germany (also known as West Germany) is established.  There was a great deal of apprehension among Jews around the world to see an independent German nation rise four years after Hitler’s defeat.  During the 1950’s West Germany would pay reparations to the Jews and the state of Israel.  Additionally, Germany would provide military and economic support to the Jewish state despite pressure from a wide array of Arab states. 

    1950(7th of Sivan, 5710): Second Day of Shavuot

    1958: Birthdate of Mitch Albom

    1960(26th of Iyar): Rabbi Joshua Chaim Kasovsky, editor of “Mishnah Concordance” passed away.

    1960: Prime Minister David Ben Gurion announces in the Knesset that Adolf Eichmann, an Nazi SS officer, was abducted from Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Israeli agents and flown to Israel to stand trial for crimes against the Jewish people.

    1960: In an article published in Life magazine, cartoonist Al Capp wrote "The secret of how to live without resentment or embarrassment in a world in which I was different from everyone else was to be indifferent to that difference.

    1967:  Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran and blockades the port of Eilat at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping, laying the foundations for the Six Day War.  A blockade like this is an act of war under international law.  In addition to which, it was a violation of the U.N. agreements that had ended the Suez Crisis in 1956-57.  After the Six Day War, there was a lot of nit-picking about whose planes attacked first i.e. who fired the first shot.  The fact of the matter is that this blockade was an act of war and anything the Israelis did afterwards was an act of self-defense.

    1969(6th of Sivan, 5729): First Day of Shavuot

    1969: As Israelis were celebrating Shavuot, Israeli security forces arrested numerous terrorists as they foiled attacks in on both sides of what had been the Green Line.

    1970: Birthdate of Yigal Amir, the coward who murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

    1977(6th of Sivan, 5737): First Day of Shavuot

    1978:  The Jerusalem Post reported that the Army Ombudsman, Rav-Aluf (Res.) Haim Laskov, complained that the cruel harassment of recruits by their non-commissioned officers and officers was still a recurrent phenomenon in Israel Defense Forces.

    1979:Joseph BrodskyRussian born Jewish poet and essayist who would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and would be chosen Poet Laureate of the United States(1991-1992) was inducted as a member of the AmericanAcademyand Institute of Arts and Letters.

    1981(19th of Iyar, 5741): Entertainer George Jessel passed away.

    1981(19th of Iyar, 5741): Russian-born Canadian lawyer and political leader David Lewis passed away. His son is an official with the UN dealing with AIDS in Africaand his grandson Avi Lewis is a broadcast journalist.

    1981: Syria claimed that it had shot two Israeli drones while Israel admitted the loss of only one pilotless plane.  The aircraft which were flying a recon mission over eastern Lebanon fell victim to Syrian missile batteries stationed in the Syrian occupied portion of that country.

    1981: U.S. Presidential envoy Philip Habib arrived in Beirut on a mission designed to keep the situation on the Syrian-Lebanon –Israel border from exploding into war.

    1981:Rabbi Ronald B. Sobel, senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El officiated at the wedding of Sheryl E. Israel and Barry J. Spiegel. The bride’s father is Kenneth M. Israel, president of Cinema Shares International Television Ltd., and chairman and chief executive officer of the Excel Video International Corporation,

    1982(1st of Sivan, 5742): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1982:  The New York Times featured a review ofBronxPrimitive: Portraits in a Childhood by Kate Simon who “grew up Jewish in the
    Tremont Avenue
    section of the Bronx, having been brought there by her young immigrant parents direct from the Warsaw Ghetto, with only a brief stopover on the Lower East Side.”

    1987: As part of the IPO’s 50th anniversary celebration, James Levine conducts the orchestra for a second time.

    1988(7th of Sivan, 5748): Second Day of Shavuot; Yizkor

    1990(28th of Iyar, 5750): Yom Yerushalayim

    1996(5th of Sivan, 5756): Erev Shavuot

    1999: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers includingAnother Life: A Memoir of Other Peopleby Michael Korda.
    2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including ''Still Life With Bombers: Israel in the Age of Terrorism'' by David Horovitz and ''How Israel Lost: The Four Questions” by Richard Ben Cramer.

    2004: “Regarding the Torture of Others” by Susan Sontag was published today in the New York Times Magazine.

    2006: In an article entitled “In Israel, New Reflections on Holocaust” The New York Times reported on evolving Jewish methods of remembering the Shoah.

    2007(6th of Sivan, 5767): First Day of Shavuot.

    2007: The two day Tel Aviv Poetry Festival comes to an end.

    2007: Amy Barrett and novelist Jonathan Lethem whose mother was Jewish gave birth to Everett Barrett Latham.

    2008:Norman Finkelstein was denied entry to Israel today “because, according to unnamed Israeli security officials, of suspicions that ‘he had contact with elements 'hostile' to Israel" including’ a top Hezbollah commander in Lebanon.” Finkelstein “visited south Lebanon and met with Lebanese families during the 2006 Lebanon War.” While ther he said: “Hizbullah represents the hope. They are fighting to defend their homeland, they are fighting to defend the independence of their country, they are defending themselves against foreign marauders, vandals and murderers and I consider it to be genuinely to be an honor to be in their presence.”

    2008(18th of Iyar, 5768): Lag B’Omer.

    2008: Bradlee Birchansky leads Friday Night Services at TempleJudah in Cedar Rapids, Iowaas part of his Bar Mitzvah weekend.

    2008: In Plymouth (UK), police detained two men linked to the bombing of a Giraffe’s restaurant that had taken police yesterday. According to authorities, 22-year-old Nicky Reilly, a recent convert to Islam who police said had a history of mental illness, was wounded when a bomb went off in the Giraffe restaurant at a shopping center in Exeter, Devon.Giraffe, which has 25 restaurants around the UK, is owned by Jewish partners.

    2008: In a story entitled “Public allowed rare chance to view Dead Scrolls,” The Columbia Dispatch reports on the public display of the 2,100 year old 24 foot scroll with the text of the bible’s book of Isaiah at the Israel Museum.Israel put the Dead Sea scroll containing the Book of Isaiah on display for the first time since 1967. The calfskin parchment was locked away because of deterioration. It will be available to the public for three months as part of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state.

    2009: Day 2 of “Conference 2009” hosted by the Philadelphia Kehilla For Jews at Aracadia University in Glenside, PA.

    2009:A 24-year-old man was diagnosed with the swine flu on today, becoming the eighth person in the Jewish State to come down with the virus. He had recently returned from the United States and was presumed to have contracted the illness there. A second man had also been hospitalized due to concerns that he may have the virus as well.

    2009:Franklin H. Littell, a father of Holocaust studies who traced his engagement with the subject to the revulsion he felt as a young Methodist minister while witnessing a big Nazi rally in Nuremberg in 1939, died today at his home in Merion Station, Pa., outside Philadelphia today at the age of 91. Dr. Littell also became an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, in part because he believed that its very existence refuted theologies that foresaw or favored the withering away of the Jewish people. He rejected the theology of some Christian backers of Israel that Jews must ultimately become Christian…” (NYT)

    2010: “Dancing Alfonso” and “Ida’s Dance Club” are scheduled to be shown at the Israeli Film Night sponsored by Magen David Sephardic Congregation in Rockville, MD.

    2010(10thof Sivan, 5770):Irwin Rosten, an award-winning documentary filmmaker perhaps best known for "The Incredible Machine," which took PBS viewers on a revolutionary voyage inside the human body in 1975, passed away today at the age of 85.,
    2010(10thof Sivan, 5770):David Ginsburg, a liberal lawyer and longtime Washington insider who helped found the Americans for Democratic Action and led the presidential commission on race relations whose report, in 1968, warned that the United States was “moving toward two societies — one black, one white, separate and unequal,” died today at his home in Alexandria, VA at the age of 98
    2010:Despite gray skies that threatened rain, tens of thousands of people turned out for a massive celebration of Israel today, at the annual Salute to Israel Parade on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
    2011:The Ellis Island Old World Folk Band is scheduled to perform at the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville, CA

    2011:Phyllis Newman, who was married to Adolph Green for over four decades is scheduled to take part in program entitled “Carried Away: Being Comden and Green” that highlights the work of the team of Adloph Green and Betty Comden that created such hits as “On the Town,” “ Wonderful Town,” “ Bells are Ringing” and “Singin' in the Rain.”

    2011:El Al flight 027 carrying 279 passengers landed safely at Ben Gurion Airport this morning after it was forced to make an emergency landing when a technical fault was found in one of its left wheels. The plane took off en route to New York late last night but was forced to turn back and perform an emergency landing when the pilots noticed that one of the left wheels had become jammed.  

    2012: Dr. Leo Hershkowitz, Adjunct Professor of History at New York University and CUNY Queens College (ret.) is scheduled to deliver a lecture about the early history of Jews in New York City at the NYC Department of Small Business Services

    2012: In London, The Wiener Library is scheduled to host a screening of “SS-3: The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich,” a film about the British inspired plan to kill the ruthless ruler of Bohemia, person favorite of Hitler and a key planner of the Final Solution

    2012: Film critic Aviva Kempner who was the founder of the Washington DC Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to deliver a lecture on a documentary film on which she is working that traces the life of Jules Rosenwald, the man who led Sears, Robebuck & Co during its glory days and was one of the nation’s leading philanthropists.

    2012: Nancy Margulies, the daughter of Joan Thaler – the doyen of the Cedar Rapids Jewish Community- is scheduled to perform her one-woman show “Deaf Poets Society” at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Her most recent book, a spook entitled Klassic Koalas: The Koala Museum of Modern Art Catalogue is on sale at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

    2013: The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present 'Jews, You Should Fight to the Bitter End:' Bogoraz's Literary Response to the Gomel' Pogrom

    2013: The Israel Festival, an annual showing drama, theatre, dance and music is scheduled to open in Jerusalem.






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    May 24 In History

    1218:  The Fifth Crusade leaves Acre for Egypt. The driving forces behind the crusade were two Popes who broke new ground in the mistreatment of the Jews – Innocent III and his successor, Honorius III.   One of their most infamous innovations was the creation of “the Jew Badge,” which usually took the form of circle or square of saffron yellow cloth.  The Crusade itself was a debacle and the forces of Islam continued to hold onto Jerusalem.  Given a choice, at this time, for the Jews this outcome was the lesser of two evils.

    1241(6th of Sivan, 5001): Shavuot

    1241(6th of Sivan, 5001): The community of Frankfort-on-Main was attacked after Jews tried to prevent a child from being baptized. As a result, a number of townspeople were killed. Seeing no option the Jews set fire to their houses. The fire spread to the rest of the community destroying nearly half the city. One hundred and eighty Jews died while twenty-four agreed to be baptized.

    1293 (5053): Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg passed away. Born circa 1225, he was the last of the Tosophists and the leading Rabbi in Germany. Convinced that there was no future in Germany, he agreed to lead a large contingent of families to Eretz-Israel. While waiting for the other families, he was seized by the Bishop of Bas. The Emperor ordered him held in prison as a lesson to any of "his Jews" who would try to leave Germany and thus cause him financial loss. He refused to be ransomed, saying that it would serve as an impetus for further extortion. He died in a prison near Colmar, and his body was held there until it was ransomed some years later.

    1588(14th of Sivan): 24 Jews lost their lives in an auto-da-fe in Barcelona

    1738: On a day now celebrated annually by Methodists as Aldersgate Day, John Wesley is converted, essentially launching the Methodist movement. According to Building New Bridges in Hope  the official statement of the United Methodist Church on Christian-Jewish relations, “Christians and Jews are bound to God though biblical covenants that are eternally valid that God has continued, and continues today, to work through Judaism and the Jewish people

    1749(7th of Sivan):Abraham Valentine Potocki was burned at the stake

    1776(6th of Sivan, 5536): As the Founding Fathers debate the question of declaring independence from Great Britain, Jews observe the first day of Shavuot.

    1810: Birthdate of Rabbi Abraham Geiger.  Born in Germany, Geiger became an early leader of the movement that became Reform Judaism. He passed away in 1874.

    1825(7th of Sivan, 5585): Second Day of Shavuot

    1850: The Jewish Chronicle reported that Rabbi Jacobs delivered a sermon on Shavuot based on Deuteronomy, Chapter 16, verse 9.

    1856: Abolitionist John Brown and his men killed five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas. Three of his followers - August Bondi, Jacob Benjamin and Theodore Weinter – have been identified as Jews according to the historian Rufus Learsi.

    1861: Major Mordecai and his family left the arsenal at Watervliet, NY.  For reasons of personal safety they left in the evening without any fanfare since there were those who felt that Mordecai had betrayed his country. Mordecai was one of the most prominent Jewish officers serving with the U.S. Army prior to the Civil War.  A Southerner by birth, he had tried to arrange a transfer to a post in the West that would enable him to serve his country without having to actually fight family and friends.  When this attempt failed, Mordecai resigned.  But unlike other Southerners, he refused all of the offers to join the Confederate Army.  He entered civilian life and never wore a uniform again.

    1863(6th of Sivan, 5623): As the Civil War rages in the United States American Jews on both sides of the conflict observe Shavuot

    1864(18th of Iyar, 5624): As Grant perused Lee across northern Virginia in a series of battles called the Wilderness Campaign, Jews observed Lag B’Omer.

    1868:A public meeting of Hebrew Christians was held at Room No. 24, Cooper Institute, this evening, for the purpose of presenting the claims of the Messiah to their inquiring brethren.[Editor’s Note – this is a 19thcentury version of the Jews for Jesus]

    1870:  Birthdate of Benjamin Cardozo.  A legal scholar and jurist, Cardozo was the second Jew appointed as an American Supreme Court Justice.  He served from 1932 until 1938.  He passed away in July of that year.

    1870:A house at No. 215 West Seventeenth in Manhattan was dedicated today as a Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews. It is the first such institution in New York State.  The home is for those over the age of 60 who, for reasons beyond their control, are not able to receive care and treatment anywhere else. When the Home opened, it cared for only three people. (By 1876 that number would grow to 57)

    1876: Delegates from fifteen congregations representing New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Baltimore and Brooklyn met in New York today to plan for the establishment of Jewish theological seminary or college.  Mr. Lewis May was chosen to preside over the group and M.S. Isaacs served as secretary.  Mr. May informed the group that Temple Emanuel had already voted to spend $2,000 a year to support any Jewish school that was established as a result of these meetings.

    1876: Today, at the sixth session of Presbyterian General Conference being held in Brooklyn, the delegates adopted the recommendation that the “mission to English speaking Jews” should be discontinued. This unique action came amidst a flurry of other motions to continue or expand missionary efforts a wide group of people including Native Americans and citizens of China.

    1877: In Patterson, NJ, Judge Barkalow heard further testimony regarding an application for the annulment of the marriage of Moses Tanneholz and Rachel Blumenthal.  Tanneholz is a cigar dealer living in Patterson.  Miss Blumenthal, who is seeking the annulment, is the eighteen year old daughter of well to-do resident of Montreal, Canada.  Blumenthal claims that she had not wanted to marry Tanneholz; that she thought the marriage ceremony was only a betrothal ceremony; and that she was only 17 at the time of the “marriage” which meant that she was under-age according to New Jersey Law. Furthermore, she had gone to New York right after the ceremony and the couple had never consummated the marriage.  The Justice who performed the ceremony testified today that the bridge seemed to be fully cognizant of the fact that it was a marriage ceremony.  The matter of her age only became important when he had been told after the ceremony that this was a “runaway marriage” and he told the groom that he would need affidavit signed by the bride saying that she was at least 18 years of age.  Because of the prominence of the families involved, this case has generated interested among the Jewish communities in the both New Jersey and Montreal.

    1882(6th of Sivan, 5642): Shavuot

    1882: A Pogrom began in Rostov, Russia

    1891: Birthdate of archeologist and Bible scholar William F Albright.  Albright was not Jewish.  But much of what we know about the history of ancient Israelwas a result of his archeological studies or the studies of those whom he inspired.

    1891: It was reported that Joseph Roth was responsible for preventing a major fire at a tenement house on Ludlow Street.  Roth discovered a bundle of smoldering rags under the staircase which he stomped on to keep them from breaking into flames, thus saving the building that is home to 18 Jewish families  including Max Rudolf, a tailor who lived in the building with his family.

    1892(27th of Iyar, 5652): This morning in Budapest a wealthy Jewish land owner named Karsay was mortally wounded in a duel.

    1892: “A special train left Long Island City carrying over 100 people left Long Island City bound for Rockaway Park where they would attend the formal opening of the new sanitarium that has been built for Jewish children.

    1892: It was reported today that Reverend Johnson of Sweden expressed his opposition to a resolution adopted by a conference of Methodist ministers that called upon the Czar to end the persecution of the Jews in Russia.  He contended that the resolution would “tend to aggravate the Russian Government against the Methodist Church” and jeopardize the Methodist missions in that country.

    1894: Moses and Julia Levy, who used to own a millinery store on Broadway are being held in the Tombs Police Court having been charged with “secreting goods with intent to defraud.”

    1894: “Theodore Seligman, an executor and trustee under the will of his father, Jesse Seligman filed a petition with the Surrogate’s Court” that was one of the preliminary actions necessary to presenting the will for probate.

    1894: It was reported that the American Conference of Hebrew and Christian Workers for Israel has formed a committee “to discuss the proper methods of teaching Christianity to the Jews.”

    1895: Birthdate of Marcel Janco “a Romanian-born Israeli painter and architect” who was “one of the founders of the Dada movement.”

    1895: A written request for a meeting from Theodor Herzl is received by French railroad tycoon and philanthropist Baron Moritz de Hirsch.

    1895: A Jew named Samuel Samuelson who lives with his wife and family in Miles Alley was shot this afternoon by an unknown assailant.

    1895: Birthdate of Samuel Irving Newhouse, American publisher and philanthropist.  Some of his publications included Parade Magazine, Vogue and Glamour.

    1896: The New York Times describes the various provisions of the last will and testament of the late Baron Hirsch.  The big winner is his wife who is named as “universal heiress.”  In one sense, the biggest loser is the Jewish Colonization Association which would have come into possession of the inheritance had the Baroness predeceased the Baron.

    1898: It was reported today that an insurance agent named Martin Beir has been elected Governor for the New York State chapter of B’nai B’rith

    1901(6th of Sivan, 5661): Shavuot

    1904(10th of Sivan, 5664):Eighty year oldKalonymus Wissotzky, “the largest tea manufacturer in Russia, noted philanthropist and leading member of Choveve Zion” passed away today in Moscow.

    1904(10th of Sivan, 5664):Myer S. Isaacs, for years President of the Baron de Hirsch Fund and leader in many other charitable and philanthropic movements of the Jewish people, died in the Equitable Building, 120 Broadway, this afternoon from heart disease, a condition that had afflicted him for an extended period of time.  Born in 1841 at New York City, he was the oldest son of Rabbi Samuel M. Isaacs.  He graduated from University of the City of New York in 1859 and graduated from its law school in 1862.  He passed the bar exam on May 8, 1862. His successful business and legal career included serving as vice President of the Real Estate Exchange (1867), serving as Justice of the Marine Court (1880), Justice of the Superior Court (1891) and State Supreme Court Justice (1895). He was active in Jewish affairs.  In 1857, he and his father founded the Jewish Messenger. He served as President of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites and the Hebrews Free School Association.  He also played a key role in establishing the United Hebrew Charities, the Montefiore Home, the Hebrew Technical Institution and the Hebrew Orphan Asylum. He was preceded in death by his wife the former Marie Solomon and is survived by 6 children including I.S. Isaacs and Louis Isaacs

    1907: “Bill To Protect Jews In Hotels” published today described legislation that has been introduced by New York State Martin Saxe to see to it that nobody is banned from a hotel because of their religion as happened to Mrs. Berth Rayner-Frank  of Baltimore.  She and her nieces were turned away from a hotel in Atlantic City because they were Jewish.  Legislators in the Empire State who were unmoved by what happened to the Seligman family at Saratoga Springs in the 1870’s now want to take action.

    1911: The New York Public Library opened. Abraham Solomon Freidus was the first head of the library’s Jewish Division.

    1912:Montefiore G. Kahn's mother publicly addresses her concern that the reports her son has given 13,000 to the American Immigration and Distribution Leagueare not accurate.  She fears that her son misspoke himself orwas misunderstood.

    1912(8thof Sivan, 5672): Less than a month before his 56th birthday,  Sir Edward Albert Sassoon, the eldest surviving son of Sir Albert Sassoon, who was a successful British businessman and political leader passed away today.

    1913: A murder indictment was returned against Leon Frank by a grand jury in the death of Mary Phagan.

    1913: As the police continue to look for the person who had strangled Mary Phagan, Jim Conley, the pencil factory's janitor, who was a suspect in the case, continued to give conflicting testimony as to what had happened. By now, he was attempting to implicate Leo Frank in the murder

    1914: Birthdate of Budapest native George Tabori playwright and director.  Tabori would flee to England in 1936.  Like so many other Hungarian Jews, his parents died at Auschwitz.  He died in 2007 at the age of 93. His film credits include Alfred Hitchcock’s “I Confess” and the 1955 BFTA award winning “The Young Lovers.”

    1917: The Turkish minister at The Hague, Netherlands, issued a statement regarding deportation of the Jews in Palestine and denied reports that they were being slaughtered..

    1917:The Times of London published an anti-Zionist manifesto issued by the Conjoint Foreign Committee of British Jews.Lucien Wolf, historian, author and advocate for Jewish rights was a leading member of the Conjoint Foreign Committee of British Jews. He had already written to James de Rothschild, arguing against Zionism which he believes sees "Jews as aliens in foreign lands" thus making it similar to anti-Semitism in insisting that Jews will never be integrated into other cultures. David Lindo Alexander and Claude Montefiore, the president of the Anglo Jewish Association were co-signatories of this document.

    1918: Birthdate of Samuel M. Rubinwho was known as "Sam the Popcorn Man" for making popcorn almost as popular in New York City movie theaters as jokes and kisses. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

    1921: Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti began.  Harvard law professor and future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter would play an active role in what would ultimately be their futile defense.

    1923: Birthdate of Stanley H. Biber, the Des Moines, Iowa, native and graduate of the U of I Medical School  who became the internationally renowned  dean of sex-change surgery. (As reported by Margalit Fox)

    1923: In New York City, Albert Israel Becker and Miriam Rosner Becker gave birth to “David V. Becker, a pioneer in using radioactive materials to diagnose and treat thyroid disease and an expert on the thyroid damage caused by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in 1986.”  He passed away in 2010 at the age of 86.

    1925: A law was put into force in Salonica demanding Sunday as a day of rest. The Jewish community formally disputed this, and in the end the Council of the Jewish Community at Salonica resigned to the governor general of Salonica.

    1926: In an article in its Religion Section entitled “Jew and Jew”, Time Magazine describes the philanthropic activities of some of the America’s leading civic and business leaders.

    Greek wars with Greek; Jew helps Jew ..." a procurator wrote to his Emperor, Trajan. He was not the first to observe what he expressed so pithily: the racial loyalty of the Jewish people, a loyalty that has kept them together, like a colossal freemasonry, while other nations light the world for a while, then crumble down. For some weeks past the Jews in various U.S. cities, animated by this tradition, have been working to raise money for the relief of the Jews in Eastern Europe. Felix Warburg, Louis Marshall, William Fox and other rich Jews are on the committee which, with headquarters in Biltmore Hotel, Manhattan, has sent its representatives and its publicity up and down the country — the most intense activity being in Greater New York. "There is one hope for the Jews in Eastern Europe," great posters state; "that hope is in the drive for fifteen million dollars. . . ." Speakers have outlined the purposes, the causes of the campaign: "Women and children are dropping dead of hunger on the streets in Bessarabia. Many others are found dead in their homes in Poland. A horrible scourge of typhus is sweeping over the Jews in both lands. . . Children eat what they can find in garbage cans . . . sleep in alleys, in cellars. . . . Hundreds are killing themselves . . . the Jews of America must respond. . . ." To emphasize this appeal, posters in streetcars, on the pillars of subway stations, the billboards of vacant lots, present the picture of a woman in a shawl. Her chin is pressed to the pivot of her wrist; her eyes are smeared with black. She might be any age, this sad, sharpened Jewess; the thing that has pointed her bones and thinned her flesh is not age but weariness; she is the incarnation of the most desolate of physical woes, fatigue. "Are You Tired of Giving?" asks the caption. "You Don't Know What It Is to Be Tired. . . ." Money came in fast. Felix Warburg gave $400,000, Herbert Lehman, Mrs. S. W. Straus, Mortimer Schiff gave $50,000 each; Louis Marshall, William Fox, Benjamin Winter made big contributions, and a disabled veteran sent $28 (government allowance for war wounds). Advertisers, art-goods makers, bag-makers, bankers, butter, egg, and dairy firms; chain stores, crockery companies, cloak and suit houses; the dental, the funeral, the grocery, the hosiery, the laundry, millinery, musical and neckwear trades; opticians, pawnbrokers, petticoat cutters, physicians, rubber-goods makers, rabbis, underwear and umbrella manufacturers — all were appraised for definite amounts, all came near to filling their quotas. Adolph S. Ochs, genius of the New York Times, by many revered as the greatest U. S. newspaper proprietor and the greatest U. S. Jew, swung into the campaign handsomely. His paper advocated the fund far more than any other Manhattan journal, exhorted, reported extensively, published stimulating daily lists of contributors. Nor were Jews the only people to help Jews. Onetime Ambassador James Gerard spoke at a meeting, and a bellboy contributed $5 that he had won on a baseball game. Senator James W. Wadsworth composed a plea, Governor Alfred Smith of New York sent a check by messenger, a Negro elevator man gave two dollars, and Thomas Burke, editor of the official organ of the Irish Temperance Society, wrote "I'm an Irishman . . . but I've advised my race to imitate the good qualities of yours." Meanwhile, reflective Jews and Gentiles asked: "What is the matter with the Jews in Eastern Europe? Are they any worse off than the Christians there? Do they really need 15 million dollars?" They do need their $15,000,000 and untold millions more.* Indeed, when the leaders of the Fund Campaign and of the cooperating organizations† realized that the sum fixed would be oversubscribed in the two weeks allotted (April 25 -May 9), they raised the goal to $25,000,000 and extended the formal collection period another week, well knowing that the donation momentum would continue. The whole country and Canada besides have contributed — not only the cities of close Jewish concentration — New York City, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia — but also the hamlets where a stray Jewish family persists in traditional pioneering. The whole $25,000,000 more than the original goal was not reached, yet was approximated. There will be no cessation of ingathering or of giving. Fertile lands, of high Jewish concentration appropriated after the War from Tsarist Russia by Romania. In the past $60,000,000 have been donated and spent for East European Jews.

    1928: The resumption of State Attorney General Albert Ottinger's investigation into the conduct of certain Jewish cemeteries brought out testimony in support of charges that the Baron Hirsch Cemetery of Port Richmond, S.I. charged unjust fees, barred cars from the burial ground forcing mourners to walk to gravesites and fees for grass cutting had been raised from fifty cents to two dollars a lot.

    1929: The Marx Brothers made cinematic history with the opening of their first film, The Cocoanuts

    1932: In London, Leah and Joseph Wesker gave birth to British dramatist Sir Arnold Wesker. Dr. Samuel Sacks, the father of Oliver Sacks delivered the youngster.

    1933(28th of Iyar, 5693): Dr. Alfred Strauss was murdered at Dachau today.

    1933: Birthdate of Aharon Lichtenstein the Paris born American Orthodox rabbi and rosh yeshiva.

    1935: Birthdate of acclaimed screenwriter and director Joan Micklin Silver.Born in Omaha, Nebraska, on to Russian Jewish parents Maurice David and Doris (Shoshone) Micklin, she graduated from Omaha Central High School in 1952 and Sarah Lawrence College in 1956. Fresh out of college, she married Raphael D. Silver, son of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland. The Silvers lived in Cleveland from 1956 to 1967 and raised three daughters there: Dina, Marisa, and Claudia. Two of the three daughters now work in film, Marisa as a director and Dina as a producer.

    1939: After reading about Churchill’s speech opposing the White Paper, Nathan Laski wrote to him from Manchester: “May I congratulate you upon the great and statesmanlike speech you made on the Palestine questions last night.  I think it is not exaggerating to say that you will get the blessings of millions of Jews all over the world.”

    1940: Birthdate of the Russian born, American poet Joseph Brodsky.  Brodsky won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987 and was U.S. Poet Laureate in 1991.

    1941:  Birthdate of Bob Dylan.  Born Robert Zimmerman in DuluthMN, Dylan has enjoyed a successful career as a singer and songwriter while bouncing back and forth between Judaism and other religions.

    1942: Birthdate of Aron "Ali" Bacher, the native of Johannesburg who “is an administrator of the United Cricket Board of South Africa. He was born to Lithuanian-Jewish parents who emigrated to South Africa and got his nickname "Ali" at the age of seven from Ali Baba. Ali married Shira Teeger, and they have two daughters and one son. His nephew Adam Bacher played for South Africa in the 1990s. Ali started playing cricket while at school and represented Transvaal at the age of 17. He played in 12 Tests for South Africa, three against England and nine against Australia; he was captain in the last four. In a first-class match for Transvaal against the visiting Australian cricket team in 1966/67, he made a high score of 235 in the second innings. He captained the national team in only one series: in 1969/70 against Australia at home in which the South Africans won all the Tests in the four match series. He studied at the University of the Witwatersrand and became a general practitioner. In 1981 he had heart bypass surgery.”

    1943:  Birthdate of British conductor James Levine

    1943: While training at an Army boot camp in South Carolina, future Mayor Ed Koch wrote in his diary “Had an argument with several of the boys over anti-Negro prejudice, this led to arguments over Jews and the usual line. It’s a pity that there are so few liberals in the land and so many ignorant people.”

    1943: Dr. Josef Mengele arrived at Auschwitz shortly after celebrating his thirty-second birthday. He began conducting horrific medical experiments on the Jews. Aside from his ‘experiments' he would also personally inject his victims with phenol, gasoline, chloroform or air. With a waive of his hand, Mengele dispatched the old, injured, crippled, children, and pregnant women to their death in the gas chambers because they were not fit for work.

    1943:  A Jewish partisan group organized by Judith Nowogrodzka escapes from the Bialystok (Poland) Ghetto. The escape is led by Szymon Datner.

    1944(11th of Sivan, 5770):  At Auschwitz, Hungarian Jews being led to the gas chamber scatter but are shot down by the SS

    1944: The deportations from Hungary to Birkenau are now averaging 13,000 Jews per day.

    1947:Jewish underground fighters, believed to be Stern Gang members, raided two bridge clubs in the all-Jewish city of Tel Aviv early today and escaped with $3,200 in cash from one of them.

    1947: The British loaded 1,457 Jewish refugees onto a ship that would take them to detention camps on Cyprus.  According to the British, some of the Jews used crowbars in an attempt to break down the barbed-wire enclosures in the hold of the vessel but the Tommies were able to subdue them with water hoses and the firing of weapons in the air. The Jews had been caught the day before trying to enter Palestine in violation of the British blockade.

    1948: South Africa recognized Israel.

    1948: The Egyptian army captured Yad Mordecai. Yad Mordecai was one of the kibbutzim blocking the road to Tel Aviv. The Egyptian army and air force had attacked Yad Mordecai on May 19. The Jewish force was the size of a company composed of farmers and handful of Haganah troops.  For five days the Jews fought off the Egyptians.  Before dawn, on May 24 the final Egyptian assault began with two infantry battalions, one armored battalion and one artillery regiment. That night, having used all of their ammunition, the defenders snuck through the Egyptian lines carrying their wounded with them.  Four hundred Egyptian soldiers lay dead.  More importantly the defenders of Yad Mordecai had bought the Israelis five precious days to strengthen their position at Ashdodand Tel Aviv.  According to at least one expert, those five days saved Tel Aviv. 

    1948: Yitzhak Rabin, commander of the Jewish forces in Jerusalemsends Ben Gurion a desperate plea for help.  While the Israelis had been able to thwart an attack by Jordanian armored forces at the New Gate, Rabin feared they could not beat back an additional attack.  Also, the city was faced with Egyptian forces to the south which had attacked Ramat Rahel.

    1948:  In the evening, the Seventh Brigade begins its attack on the fortress at Latrun that is blocking the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  One of the first companies into the fray was led by a sabra named Ariel Sheinermann.  Sheinermann would survive the wounds he suffered that day and as Ariel Sharon, would become one of Israel’s most daring and controversial generals.

    1950: “An authoritative source said today that Israel would pay an indemnity of $54,000 to the family of Count Folke Bernadotte, United Nations Mediator who was assassinated in Jerusalem in September, 1948.”  Israel “was also expected to pay $3,000 to the United Nations as a special premium on war risk insurance carried by the Swedish mediator and other United Nations in personnel in Israel.”

    1950: Foreign Minister Moshe Sharret leaves Israel today on a “good-will” mission to South African Jewry.

    1950: According to Health Minister Moshe Shapiro the Polio outbreak continues to spread with 191 cases reported in May as opposed to 83 cases in April.  The outbreak in Israel follows the pattern seen in nations in Western Europe and the United States.

    1961: Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion left Israel for a visit to the United States that would include his first meeting with President John Kennedy who had assumed office in January of 1961.

    1963(1stof Sivan, 5723): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1967: CIA Director Richard Helms reports that there are no nuclear weapons in the eastern Mediterranean or the adjacent territory.  The report was in error since the Soviets had ships in the area armed with nuclear weapons and instruction to use them against Israel if need be to support the Arabs.

    1969(7th of Sivan, 5729): Second Day of Shavuot

    1970: During the “War of Attrition” Abba Eban and Yitzchak Rabin meet with Nixon and Kissinger to discuss ways of ending the violence between Egypt and Israel.

    1977(7th of Sivan, 5737): Second Day of Shavuot

    1981: It was reported today that Ukrainian Jewish activist Kim Friedman was sentenced to year in prison for “parasitism.” He would be released in 1982 but would have to wait another six years before he could make Aliyah.

    1982: Psychologist Carol Gilligan published In a Different Voice, the first book to argue that women's psychological development could not be understood by studying men.

    1987: In an article entitled “An English Rainbow,” Annasue McCleave Wilson portrays the history of Exbury, the estate originally created by Lionel de Rothschild and describes the postwar rejuvenation undertaken by Major Edmund de Rothschild, which has turned the estate into one of the ten most visited properties in England.

    1991:Israel conducts Operation Solomon, evacuating Ethiopian Jews to Israel. “Operation Solomon was a 1991 covert Israeli military operation to take Ethiopian Jews to Israel. In 1991, the sitting Ethiopian government, the Mariam regime, was close to being toppled with the recent military successes of Eritrean and Tigrean rebels, threatening Ethiopia with dangerous political destabilization. Several Jewish organizations, including the state of Israel were concerned about the well-being of the sizable population of Ethiopian Jews, properly referred to as Beta Israel, residing in Ethiopia. Also, the Mariam regime had made mass emigration difficult for Beta Israel residing in Ethiopia, and the regime's dwindling power presented a promising opportunity for those Beta Israel who had been wanting to emigrate to Israel. In the previous year, 1990, the Israeli government and Israeli Defense Forces, aware of Mariam's worsening political situation, made covert plans to airlift the Beta Israel population in Ethiopia to Israel. This became the largest emigration of Beta Israel to date. In 36 hours, non-stop flights of 34 El Al C-130s, filled to absolute capacity with seats transported 14,325 Beta Israel émigrés from Ethiopia to Israel, where they were given food and shelter. After it was over, Operation Solomon took twice as many Beta Israel émigrés to their spiritual homeland as Operation Moses and Operation Joshua combined.”

    1991:During Operation Solomon a world record was set for single-flight passenger load when an El Al 747 carried 1,122 passengers to Israel(1,087 passengers were registered, but dozens of children hid in their mothers' robes). "Planners expected to fill the aircraft with 760 passengers. Because the passengers were so slight, many more were squeezed in. Two babies were born during the flight. Operation Solomon was a 1991 covert Israeli military operation to take Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

    1994(14th of Sivan, 5754): Yehuda Mor-Mirkovsky Israeli kibbutz-founder passed away at the age of 96.

    1994: The INS Eilat, a Sa’ar 5 class corvette was commissioned today.

    1996(6th of Sivan, 5756): First Day of Shavuot

    1996:Jews praying in an egalitarian minyan at the Western Wall in the early hours of Shavuot morning were verbally and physically attacked by Orthodox men and boys, according to participants in the prayer group. The group of about 50 men and women, some of whom were from the Conservative and Reform movement's rabbinical seminaries in Jerusalem, had studied throughout the night, as is customary on Shavuot. Before dawn, they, along with thousands of other Jews, walked from other parts of Jerusalem to the Wall. Members of the egalitarian minyan began praying shortly after 5 a.m. in the rear right-hand corner of the plaza that fronts the wall, near the flagpoles that stand at the back.A few guys in tallitot stood in the front so that others could not see the women wearing tallitot and kipot and to prevent any possible problems. As they finished the morning prayer on Shavuot, the minyan swelled to about 125 people, and as they continued by reading the Book of Ruth, most of the minyan sat down. It was at that time that the trouble began as Haredi men soon walked up and began to curse and shout at members of the egalitarian minyan. An Orthodox woman who had been part of a prayer group next to the egalitarian minyan approached the haredi men to ask them to be quiet, because they were disturbing other prayers besides those of the mixed group. They spit on her and threw rocks at the man chanting haftarah.

    1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Soldier of Peace: The Life of Yitzhak Rabin, 1922-1995 by Dan Kurzman and Crossing the Jordan: Israel's Hard Road to Peaceby Sameul Segev.

    1998(28th of Iyar, 5758): Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day

    1999: Congressman Paul Ryan identifies Ayn Rand as one of the two authors who has the most influence on him.  The other is the “author” of the Bible. (Rand is Jewish.  Ryan is not)

    1999: A joint U.S.–Israeli team which was searching for the remains of the INS Dakar used information received from U.S. intelligence sources that led to the detection a large body on the seabed between Crete and Cyprus, at a depth of some 3000 meters (9800 ft). The team was led by subcontractor Thomas Kent Dettweiler of the American Nauticos Corporation,

    2000:  Israeli troops leave southern Lebanonafter 18 years.

    2005: IDF soldier Majde Halabi was reported missing. He was assumed to have been taken hostage or killed by Arab terrorist.

    2005: Opening session of Biotech-Israel 2005

    2006: An exhibit entitled “Dear Dr. Janzow” opened at the Sydney(Australia) Jewish Museum. “
    Dear Dr.
    Janzow is an exhibition of original letters from the Lutheran Archives in Adelaide, curated by Dr Peter Monteath, Senior Lecturer in History at FlindersUniversity. In 1938 the Lutheran Churches in Australia announced they would help European Jews escape the clutches of Nazi Germany. The announcement appeared in the London Times November 18 edition. Such was the intensity of their despair at that time that many Jews responded to the offer by writing to the General President of the Australian Lutheran Synod, Dr. William Janzow. Altogether 73 letters were received, extraordinary moving testimonies to those bleak times.”

    2007(7th of Sivan, 5767): Second Day of Shavuot – Yizkor

    2007: The Hekhal Haness Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Geneva was severely damaged by a fire today. Nessim Gaon, the Sudanese born Swiss financier who created the Noga Company, and has served as President of the World Sephardi Federation is one of the congregation’s most prominent members.

    2007: The three day Metula Poetry Festival comes to an end.

    2007(7th of Sivan, 5767): Ninety-three year old Philip M. Kaiser, a retired diplomat and high-ranking Labor Department official who served as an ambassador to four nations passed away today.

    2008: Bradlee Birchansky celebrates his Bar Mitzvah at Shabbat Morning Services at TempleJudahin Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

    2008 (5768): Finish Vayikra, Book of Leviticus

    2008: The Cedar RapidsJewish community watches with pride as Dan Abramson takes part in the graduation ceremonies at KennedyHigh School.

    2009(1st of Sivan, 5769): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    2009: Seventh season of “A Star is Born” begins on Israeli television.

    2009: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict” by Benny Morris, “The American Future: A History” by Simon Schama, “Rhyming Life and Death” by Amos Oz; translated by Nicholas de Lange and “The Amos Oz Reader”selected and edited y Nitza Ben-Dov; translated by Nicholas de Lange and others.

    2009: As he ended a four-day trip to Israel today, Canada's minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism warned against a "new anti-Semitism" that emanates from an alliance of Western leftists and Islamic extremists is more dangerous than the "old European" form of Jew-hatred."The existential threat faced by Israel on a daily basis is ultimately a threat to the broader Western civilization," said Jason Kenney, explaining the staunchly pro-Israel positions of his government, led by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    2010: Fifth anniversary of Majdi Halabi, the druse IDF soldier who disappeared while hitchhiking from his home at Daliyat al-Karmel to the military base where he was serving on active duty.

    2010: In New York, the YIVO is scheduled to present a lecture entitled “Coming to America?  Max Weinreich and the Making of YIVO in New York, 1939-41.”

    2011:The AIPAC Policy Conference is scheduled to come to a close in Washington, DC.

    2011:In celebration of Jewish-American Heritage Month, the Frequency String Quartet is scheduled to perform a program entitled “Different Trains: Stories From the Holocaust Told Through Music” at   the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH.

    2011:YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present a lecture by Lecture Natan M. Meir, Lorry I. Lokey Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies, Portland State University entitled "A ‘Russian Zion,’ or a Jewish Nightmare?:  Jewish Life in Tsarist Kiev.”

    2011: "Jews, Slavery, and the Civil War" a program sponsored by The Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program, The Center for Southern Jewish History at the College of Charleston and The Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina is scheduled to open this evening with a screening of “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray.”

    2011:"Marseille Port", “a work by Romanian born artist Marcel Janco, one of the founders of Dadaism who later in life moved here and established the Ein Hod artist village, is the top lot in Bonhams Israeli Art & Judaica auction in London which is scheduled to take place today.  The painting is estimated to sell for £120,000-180,000 at Bonhams. “Born in 1895, Janco was among the principal founders of the Dada Movement which was opposed to war, aggression and the changing world culture.

    2011: “Jerusalem, City Center” a work painted by Israel Hershberg in 1989-1990 is scheduled to go on sale at Bonham’s in London. It is expected to sell for anywhere from £100,000 to £150,000. Hershberg is an Israeli realist painter and who founded the Jerusalem Studio School . He “was born in 1948 in a displaced persons camp in Linz, Austria. In 1949 he was brought to Israel but at the age of nine he immigrated to the United States. Following an extensive program of studies in the US Hershberg moved back to Israel with his wife and family in 1984. In 1991, he was awarded the Sandberg Prize for Israeli Art and in 1998 the Tel Aviv Museum of Art Prize for Israeli Art.

    2011(20th of Iyar, 5771): Eighty-two year old Arthur Goldreich, a native of South Africa who was an ally of Nelson Mandela in the fight to end apartheid, passed away today in Tel Aviv. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

    2011: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress this morning.

    2012: Israeli composer Guy Barash’s musical series “Eavesdropping” is scheduled to return to The Tank in NYC.

    2012: As his mother Debbie looked on with pride, Josh Rosenbloom graduated from medical school today.

    2012: NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced that man was in custody who had implicated himself in the disappearance of Etan Patz.

    2012: Anouk Markovits, the author of I Am Forbidden, is scheduled to do a reading at Corner Bookstore in New York.

    2012(3rdof Sivan, 5772): Sixty-three year old Kathi Kamen Goldmark passed away today.

    2013: In London, The Wiener Library is scheduled to host a presentation by Dr. Helen Roche entitled “Why we knew nothing about Auschwitz”  in which she will explore the diverse reactions to the trouble legacy of the Holocaust demonstrated by those who had attended an elite Nazi school.

    2013: The IPO Patron Trip to Israel is scheduled to begin today.

    2013: In Portugal, the Lisbon Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to come to an end

    2013: Opening of “No Place On Earth” in Coral Gables, FL and Tulsa, OK

    2013: A Carlebach-inspired service honoring the Jewish Fallen Heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan is scheduled to be held at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC.


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    May 25 In History

    1085: Pope Gregory VI passed away.  Gregory opposed Henry IV, the Holy Roman Emperor who saw himself as a protector of the Jews.  Henry contended that the Jews, regardless of where they lived, were his subjects.  He granted them special dispensations and exemptions in matters of trade and taxes.

    1085: Alfonso VI of Castile took Toledo back from the Moors. As Moslem Spain came under the control of increasingly intolerant religious leaders, Jews and liberal Moslems found refuge in the tolerant world of Christian Toledo.  As many as 40,000 Jews are reported to have fought in the armies of Alfonso against the Almoravides.  Ironically, there were thousands of Jews fighting with the Almoravides as well.

    1096: Massacre of the Jews of Worms who took refuge in the city's castle during the First Crusade. Simcha Bar Isaac haKohen was "torn to bits" by Crusaders in a church for stabbing the bishop's nephew while pretending to submit to compulsory baptism.  (Editorial comment: I’ll bet that scene is in not in any of the blockbuster hits about the noble Crusaders and their noble Moslem opponents.)

    1241: First attack on Jewish community of Frankfort-on-the-Main Germany.

    1261: The Papacy of Alexander IV, who brought the Inquisition to France, ended today.

    1648: Chmielnicki's pogroms, which resulted in the massacre of more than 300,000 Jews, broke out.  This slaughter took place in the Ukraine.  This was the worst slaughter of Jews until the Holocaust.

    1710(5th of Iyar ): Rabbi Benjamin Ozer of Zolkiev, author of “Even ha-Ozer” passed away

    1759: Judah Lob Ben Nathan Krysa, an 18thcentury Frankist leader from Galacia “declared that the cross symbolized the "holy trinity" spoken of in the Zohar, and the seal of the Messiah.”  Krysa also “asserted before the ecclesiastical dignitaries that the Talmud prescribes the use of Christian blood. Like his master Jacob Frank and most of the Frankists, Krysa” would later embrace Christianity.

    1776(7th of Sivan, 5536): Second Day of Shavuot

    1784: Jews are expelled from Warsaw by Marshall Mniszek

    1787: Opening session of the Philadelphia Convention which would become known as the Constitutional Convention because its fifty-five delegates would write the U.S. Convention. While there were no Jewish delegates at the Convention, the framers took action that had a profound effect on the Jewish people that has lasted to the 21st century. Article VI of the document states: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”  In other words, from the beginning of Jews, at least at the federal level, were eligible to hold office.  Lewis Charles Levin would be the first Jew elected to Congress, winning election to the House of Representatives in 1844.

    1800: Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5560

    1817: Birthdate of Saul Solomon the native of St. Helena, the leader of South Africa’s Liberal Party who is called the “Cape Disraeli” because, like Benjamin Disraeli, he converted to Christianity.  And like Disraeli, he retained a sense of pride in his ethnic origins.  He passed away in 1892.

    1821:Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich began serving as 1st State Chancellor of the Austrian Empire. Metternich was an extremely complex character whose treatment of Jews depended on the needs of the Austrian Empire.  Thus he could favor rights for Jews in Germany while opposing them for Jews in Austria. Henry Kissinger, the first Jewish Secretary of State wrote his thesis on Metternich and eventually published A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-22

    1832(25th of Iyar): Rabbi Jacob Lorberbaum of Lissa, author of “Netivot ha-Mishpat” passed away.

    1839: "The British Vice-Counsel in Jerusalem, William Tanner Young, wrote a report comparing the conditions of the Jews in Palestine to that of their counterparts in Egypt.  Young wrote that the Governor of Egypt, Ibrahim Pasha, showed 'more consideration' for the Jews than the Christians did.  Young also wrote that he had heard several Egyptian Jews acknowledge that 'they enjoy more peace and tranquility under this Government, than they have ever enjoyed here before.' But he then observed that, in contrast, 'the Jew in Jerusalem is not estimated in value much above a dog - and scarcely a day passes that I do not hear of some act of tyranny and oppression against a Jew.'" (In Ishmael's House by Martin Gilbert)

    1845: Birthdate of Lipman Emanuel "Lip" Pike who reportedly was the first Jewish baseball player and the first baseball player to play the game for cash meaning he was the first professional baseball.

    1852: In Chicago, fourteen Jews organized B’nai Sholom, the second oldest congregation in the city.

    1852: An article published entitled “Jewish Disabilities” that begins with the sentence “No more accurate gauge for advancing civilization could probably be chosen, than the political condition of the Jews” is worth reading in its entirety for anybody seeking to understand the unique nature of the American Jewish experience.

    1854: Today during the second reading of the Jewish Disabilities Bill sponsored by Lord Russell, Benjamin Disraeli voiced his opposition to the measure.  In part, Disraeli’s opposition was based on a desire to divorce the bill, which is designed to allow Jewish MP’s to sit in Parliament, from a move to provide full rights of citizenship to British Roman Catholics.

    1854: German author Paul Heyse arrived in Munich where he had been appointed professor of Romance philology at the city’s university.  Heyse, who father was not Jewish and whose mother Julie was the daughter of the Prussian court jeweler Jakob Salomon, is considered by some to be the first Jew to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

    1863: Birthdate of Parisian born opera composer Camille Erlanger

    1863(7th of Sivan, 5623): Second Day of Shavuot

    1868: The New York Timesreviewed “The Book of Genesis,” translated from the original Hebrew by Dr. T. J. Conant.  The translation is accompanied “with copious notes and an introduction.”

    1870: At 3 o'clock this afternoon the corner-stone of the Mount Sinai Hospital was laid at the corner of Sixty-sixth-street and Lexington-avenue. The ceremony included addresses by New York Mayor Abraham Hall and Judge Cardozo.

    1871(5th of Sivan, 5631): 49th Day of the Omer; Erev Shavuot

    1873: An article published today entitled “A Jewish Ceremony” described “a very curious ceremony called ‘The Burying of the Law.’”  Such a ceremony which takes place once every eight or ten years recently took place “in the Spanish Synagogue in Jerusalem”  which has a “subterranean cave” in which “every old leaf torn out from any holy book, every old worn-out Bible, Gemara and phylactery” has been deposited “by all the Jewish residents of Jerusalem” regardless of their Minhag. Every 8 to 10 years, these materials are made into bales and then, after following the applicable rituals, the bales are carried out of the Zion Gate by a procession of Jews who descend “into the valley of Jehoshaphat where a very deep well is located.  The bales are then drop into the well “amid the singing of the joyous crowd.

    1875:This evening Professor Felix Adler, of Cornell University, addressed the American Geographical Society at Association Hall in New York City. His topic was "The Influence of the Physical Geography of Palestine on Hebrew Thought." The opening of this address was devoted to the statement and citation of the effects of climate on the character and thoughts of people born in it.

    1876: A meeting of delegates representing Hebrew congregations from various U.S. cities which was being held at The Harvard Rooms in New York City came to an end.  The delegates discussed the possibility of establishing a seminary that would teach Jewish theology and the Hebrew language while preparing students to become Rabbis.

    1877: An article published today entitled “A Romance in Paterson: The Marriage of a Pretty Jewess Under Peculiar Circumstances” described the suit for an annulment that Miss Rachel Blumenthal, the daughter of wealthy Montreal Jew, is bringing against Moses Tannenhoz a cigar dealer from Patterson, NJ. The 18 year old Miss Blumenthal claimed that she was tricked into marrying Tannenhoz and that she was not of the age of consent when the ceremony took place. 

    1879:The yearly meeting of the United Hebrew Charities was held this morning at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, in East Seventy-seventh-street.

    1880: In Amsterdam, a merchant named Jacob Samuel Hillesum and his wife Esther Hillesum-Loeza gave birth to their 4th and youngest child Levie (Louis) Hillesum, the father of Esther "Etty" Hillesum.  Years later, Etty would keep a diary of life under Nazi occupation that would not surface until after her death at the age of 29 in Auschwitz.

    1882(7th of Sivan, 5642): Second Day of Shavuot

    1882(7th of Sivan, 5642): English publisher and convert to Judaism Thomas Jones passed away

    1890(6th of Sivan, 5650): First Day of Shavuot

    1890: At Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Gottheil will officiate at Confirmation Services.

    1890: At Temple Beth-El, Rabbi Kohler will officiate at Confirmation Services.

    1890: At Temple Ahawatch Chesed, Rabbi Kohut will officiate at Confirmation Services.

    1890: At the Temple on East 15th Street, Rabbi Raphael Benjamin will officiate at Confirmation Services.

    1890: Rabbi H.S. Jacobs will lead Shavuot Services today at B’nai Jeshurun.

    1890: Rabbi De Sola Mendes will lead Shavuot Services today at Shaarai-Tephilla.

    1890: The body of Samuel Hotz, a Jewish peddler, was found in an old mining shaft at Wurtsborough, NY.

    1890: “Republican Origins” published today described the reaction to The Origins of the Republican Form of Government in the United States by Oscar Straus which has now been translated into French by Madame Jessie Catherine  Couvreur

    1890: It was reported today that President Carnot’s meeting with the Chief Rabbi of France has “called forth a host of letters on the ‘second Babylonish captivity’ and the freedom of the Jews in modern times.”

    1890: It was reported today that the Republican Club in New York City continues to refuse to admit Jews with several members publicly committed to using the blackball to accomplish this end.

    1890: It was reported today that the Internal Revenue Collector and “boss of one-half of the Republicans of Kings County,” Ernst Nathan began his career as a cigar maker. Today he owns several rows of houses, “has made many thousands of dollars in real estate” and is worth a half-million dollars. His political power stems from his ability to name those who will occupy important elected positions including two state Assembly districts as well as the party candidates for Senator and Third District Congressman.

    1891: It was reported today that resolutions passed six months under the leadership of the Duke of Westminster beseeching the Czar to show some pity for his Jewish subjects have been met with “unseemly contempt” and no let-up in the expulsion of the Jews.  In response, the Hebrew Lovers of Zion has been formed in London with the aim of finding a home for the Jewish refugees in Palestine.  Their attempts have been met approval in England and the United States where anti-immigrant sentiment is growing.

    1891: It was reported today that the flood of refugees is gaining, not losing “headway.” During April 7,501 Russian and Polish immigrants arrived in the United States “an increase over 1890 of 3,291. While German immigrants are described as “sturdy” and Scandinavians are described as “honest, lusty workers” these immigrants are described as being poor, degraded and in “pitiable condition” who would be better settled in the lands of the Sultan (Palestine).

    1892: “Mortally Wounded In A Duel” published today described the circumstances around a duel fought in Hungary Baron Aczel, a member of the Diet and a rich Jewish landowner named Karsay who was denied a chance to participate in the celebration of the jubilee of the coronation of the King because of his religion.

    1892: The building of the new sanitarium for Jewish children located at Rockaway Park which cost $20, 975 was overseen by the Board of Managers whose officers include Nathan Lewis, President; Dr. Horatio Gomez, Vice President; Hezekiah Kohn, Treasurer; Joseph Davis, Secretary.

    1894: “Annoyed by a Sausage Dealer” published today described the store owned by Florian Sicher, the Yorkville butcher which includes signage advertising “Anti-Semitic Sausages” as well as banners on the awning reading “Do Not Buy From Jews” and “No Sales Made to Jews.”

    1894: The Longman publishing company will publish Christopher Columbus and the Participation of the Jews in the Spanish and Portuguese Discoveries by Rabbi Meyer Kayserling today.

    1894(19th of Iyar, 5654): Alexander Kohut, the Hungarian born Rabbi who was elected rabbi of Congregation Ahavath Chesed in New York in 1885 and helped to found the Jewish Theological Seminary passed away. He was the father of the scholar and author George Alexander Kouth.

    1895: Andrew McCran, the next door neighbor of Samuel Samuelson, has been arrested on suspicion of shooting the Jew living in Miles Alley.

    1896: The New York Times reported that Baron Hirsch had left “only” thirty million pounds to his heirs and beneficiaries, the primary one of which is his widow.  While there are rumors floating around London that the Baron had destroyed the IOU’s of a prominent royal personage (possibly the Crown Prince) those in the know do not believe that the Baron was of such a forgiving nature.

    1898: Birthdate of French writer Robert Aron

    1898: Birthdate of publisher Bennett Cerf.  While his real claim to fame was his work at Random House, he was known to most Americans as a panelist on the Sunday night television show, “What’s My Line?”

    1898: Birthdate of Russian-born American composer and concert pianist Mischa Levitzki.

    1899: Dr. Henry M. Leipziger was re-elected as President of the Judeans who held their annual meeting this evening at the Tuxedo. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise spoke of the political progress being made by the Jews as can be seen by the appointment of Oscar S. Straus as U.S. Minister to Turkey and the election of Joseph Simon as U.S. Senator from Oregon, making him the fourth Jew to serve in Upper House of Congress. He compared the Jewish condition in the United States to Russia which is in the grips of the “outrage of anti-Semitism and France where Dreyfus is still not free.

    1899(16th of Sivan, 5659): Rosa Bonheur French realist painter and sculptor passed away. Born in Bordeaux in 1822, she was one of four children all of whom were artists.  According to some reports, as a child she was known as Rosa Mazeltov.

    1900: The four daylong meeting of the Actions Committee and Trust began today. During the meeting a new Bank Commission was appointed and a decision was reached to hold the next Zionist Congress in London.

    1901(7th of Sivan, 5661): Second day of Shavuot

    1901(7th of Sivan, 5661): Samuel Joseph Rubinstein passed away.  Born in Mitau in 1817, his father sent him to the U.K. when he reached the age of 12 – the age at which he would have been forced to join the Russian Army. He traveled with his aunt who was joining her husband in Glasgow.  When Rubinstein reached the Scottish city, he was befriended by the Davis family who members of the local Jewish congregation.  They took him in, gave him work to do so that he could earn some money and treated him as if he were a member of the family.

    1902: In Lisbon, a foundation stone is laid for the first synagogue built in Portugal since the expulsion of the Jews in 1497.

    1903: In Islington, Rosa Enoyce and George Barnes, a Jewish policeman gave birth to English actress Gertrude Maude “Binnie” Barnes.

    1904: “Myer S. Isaacs Dead” published today recounted the life of the recently deceased Judge Myer S. Isaacs who had served as President of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, President of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites and of the Hebrew Free School Association.  A lifelong Republican, Governor Cornell had appointed him to the Marine Court in 1880.  He was nominated to the Superior Court in 1891 and the Supreme Court in 1895.

    1906(1st of Sivan, 5666): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1910: The Chief Rabbi of Salonica protests that despite assurances to the contrary, during his departure, Jews were enrolled in the Army on Saturday. The Minister of Interior telegraphs the Governor General, and instructs him to not let this be repeated. Of 1,908 Jews enrolled at Salonica, 1,719 entered active service; the remaining 189 went into the reserves.

    1913: Birthdate of film and television screenwriter Sidney Carroll

    1917: In Minsk, Russia, Yiddish was recognized as a second official language.

    1918:The Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs announced tonight that an uncensored letter from a correspondent with the British Army in Palestine, reported that General Allenby’s army had renewed its offensive in Palestine and that the campaign will carry these forces beyond the borders of “the Holy Land.”  This marked the end of three month halt in the campaign during which the British troops had plenty of time to establish good relations with the Jewish population including the people of Tel Aviv, the site of a major English encampment.

    1921:  Birthdate of Jack Steinberger, German-born American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988. In talking about his escape from Germany, Steinberger said, “In 1934, the American Jewish charities offered to find homes for 300 German refugee children. We were on the SS Washington, bound for New York by Christmas 1934.”

    1921: Birthdate of lyricist and song writer, Hal David. He is a prolific producer of tunes, many of which were written in collaboration with Burt Bacharach.  "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" won an Academy Award as the score for the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Don't Make Me Over", "Close to You", and "Walk on By" are all in the Grammy Hall of Fame. "What's New Pussycat,” “Alfie” and "The Look of Love" received Oscar nominations. He also wrote many country music hits, including Willie Nelson's "To All The Girls I've Loved Before".

    1923: Britain recognized Transjordan with Abdullah as its leader. In this illegal action, Britainpaid off part of its debt to one Arab family for its part in fighting the Turks during World War I.  There are those who contend that by this act Britaineffectively portioned Palestineand created an Arab state out of it

    1926:"No attempt toward the economic reconstruction of European Jewries will succeed unless we stem the anti-Semitic wave," declared Dr. William Filderman, president of the Union of Rumanian Jews, on the eve of his departure for Europe on the Berengaria today. "There is no use educating Jewish artisans if anti-Semitic prejudice deprives them of any market for their products," he explained.

    1926: Sholom Schwartzbard assassinated Symon Petliura, the head of the Paris-based government-in-exile of Ukrainian People's Republic.  Schwartzbard had lost both of his parents in pogroms and he held Petliura accountable for the anti-Semitic violence that had been part of the war in the Ukraine.  Anti-Semitic violence was part and parcel of life in the Ukraine, as can be seen in the Chmielnicki's pogroms of 1648, the pogroms in Kiev at the start of the 20th century and the slaughter at Babi Yar during World War II.  Schwartzbard’s case was taken up by the French Jewish community and he was acquitted of the charges.

    1927: The United Palestine Appeal in Philadelphia, PA is scheduled to come to an end today.

    1928(6th of Sivan, 5688): Shavuot

    1929: Birthdate of Beverly Sills. Born Belle "Bubbles" Miriam Silverman in BrooklynNY, Sills gained fame as operatic soprano and patroness of the arts.

    1929: According to reports published today “industrial establishments in Palestine have increased to 513, employing 5,000 workers” with a total of $7,500,000 in invested capital.  The actual figures could have been higher but the Ruttenberg Works which has 700 employees was not included in the survey.

    1930: Birthdate of John Strugnell who would become editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1984.  Strungell was not Jewish but he spent a major portion of his academic life working with these texts and his comments about Judaism in Haaretz turned into a major cause célèbre.

    1930: The Peter J. Schweitzer Memorial Hospital, a modern health institution operated at level comparable to those found in an American hospital, opened today in Tiberius in the Valley of the Galilee.

    1931: Birthdate of Herbert Eser Gray, “Canada's first Jewish federal cabinet minister, and  one of only a few Canadians ever granted the title The Right Honourable who was not so entitled by virtue of a position held.

    1931: In Palestinevoting began to select the representatives tothe 17th Zionist Congress to be held in June. When the voting ends, the Yishuv delegation of 36 consists of 24 Mapai and HaShomer HaTzair, 7 Revisionists, 2 Mizrachi, 2 Hapoel HaMizrachi and 1 Yemenite.

    1933(29th of Iyyar, 5693): Louis Schloss, a Jewish lawyer was murdered in Dachau.

    1934: Ernest Peixotto of the Fontainebleau School arrived in New York after having crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the same liner that carried the chairman of the board of the French Line.  Peixotto reported that he had offered American student of the Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts the honor of decorating one of the cabins on the Normandie,the largest ship in the world which is now under construction.

    1936: The Jewish Auxiliary Police, "Ghaffirs", is established to guard Jewish settlements and rural roads.

    1938: In Brooklyn Jack and Rose Israel gave birth to “living theatre performance artist” Steven Ben Israel (As reported by Paul Vitello)

    1938: As Arab violence continued unabated The Palestine Post reported that inJerusalem 30 year old Moshe Proper was killed and there were other casualties including 12 Arab victims and seven Jewishvictims. A curfew was imposed to stop stoning and shooting incidents. A number of Jewish youths were arrested and a 120 pounds fine was imposed on the Jewish quarter of Montefiore. A number of Revisionists, just released from the Acreprison, were rearrested. Nahum Bibi, a Jewish laborer was fatally shot at Safed and a Bedouin sheikh was murdered by an Arab gang roaming Galilee.

    1939(7th of Sivan, 5699): Second Day of Shavuot

    1939(7th of Sivan, 5699): Sir Joseph Duveen passed away. The son of Sir Joseph Joel Duveen who had 13 children, he followed in the footsteps of his father and his uncle Henry J. Duveen, and became one of the leading art dealers of his time.

    1940: As the Allied position in Western Europe crumbles before Hitler’s Blitzkrieg, Churchill’s War Cabinet meets to decide if Britain should continue to the fight against Germany.  The ‘peace party’ is led by Foreign Minister Lord Halifax who will make a strong case for a deal with Germany as the debate rages for three days.

    1940: Hans Biebow today issued orders for factories to be set up in the ghetto (called Arbeitsressorte, or work sections). Provided with very cheap labor, these factories were to serve the Nazis as a source of easy profits and exploitation. The Jews in the ghetto, cut off as they were from all other possible sources of livelihood, were prepared to work for no more than a loaf of bread and some soup. The exploitation of the Jews imprisoned in the ghetto yielded a profit to the ghetto administration estimated at 350 million reichsmarks ($14 million). (As reported by Yad Vashem)

    1941: Koestler’s anti-­Soviet novel “Darkness at Noon” received a rave cover review in the New York Times Book Review Section: “A splendid novel,” Harold Strauss declared, “written with such dramatic power, with such warmth of feeling and with such persuasive simplicity that it is as absorbing as melodrama. It is a far cry from the bleak topical commentaries that sometimes pass as novels.”

    1943: Four deportations of Jews from Hollandto the death camps at Auschwitz and Sobibór total 8000 people.

    1943: The expulsion of the Jews from Sofia, Bulgaria, began today. 

    1944: Birthdate of Actor Frank Oz

    1944: In Budapest, the German representative, General Edmund Veesnmayer reported that 138,870 Jews had been deported in the past 10 days.

    1944: Hundreds of fleeing Hungarian Jews are killed during a revolt at Auschwitz.

    1945: Just three weeks after the surrender of the German capital, pharmacist Erich Zwilsky became the Berlin Jewish Hospital’s managing director, assuming responsibility for the only Jewish institution that had remained in operation throughout World War II.

    1946:  Abdullah I becomes King of the Kingdom of Transjordan. From 1921 until 1946 Abdullah had been Emir of the Emirate of Transjordan.On the eve of the creation of state of Israel in 1948, Abdullah met secretly with Golda Meir.  Meir sought to keep the Jordanians from attacking the soon to be created Jewish state when the British withdrew.  Abdullah offered to let the Jews peacefully as subjects of JordanianKingdom that would include all the land of the Palestinemandate.  Abdullah’s army invaded Israel, seized what is called the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem.  In 1951, Abdullah would be assassinated by an Arab fanatic at the Al Aqsa Mosque. He thought Abdullah was involved in secret peace talks with the Israelis

    1947: Perry Belmont, the former Congressman and diplomat who was the son of August Belmont passed away.  The Belmonts had passed out of the Jewish world when August married Caroline Slidell, the daughter of a Confederate diplomat and descendant of American naval hero Matthew C. Perry, the man who “opened up Japan.”

    1946: Switzerland signs the Washington Agreement, under which the Swiss government will voluntarily contribute $58.1 million in gold to an Allied commission established to help rebuild Europe. The Allies are aware that this payment will come from Swiss stores of looted gold taken from Jews and other victims of Nazi persecution. Regardless, the Allies agree not to press the Swiss for additional claims. At this time, Switzerlandholds between $300 and $400 million in looted gold;

    1948: The Old City of Jerusalem falls. Defended by local residents, Etzel members and about 80 Haganah soldiers, they were outnumbered and out-gunned by the Arab legionaries. After weeks of desperate fighting it was decided to surrender and save the almost 2000 mostly elderly Jews who were still living in the OldCity.

    1948: British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin says that the Negev should not be included in a Jewish state because no Jews lived there and that Jaffa and Acre“should be given back to the Arabs” because they were “purely Arab towns.

    1948:  The attack on Latrun, begun the night before continues.  The forces of the Arab Legion are able to fire down on the attacking Jews.  As the Jews fall victim to the barrage of bullets, they are forced to confront a second enemy, the searing heat which many of these recent refugees from Europe are not used to.  To make matters worse, many of them went into battle without canteens.  Their pleas for water are met by sniper fire from the Arabs.  Realizing that the attack has failed, the Israelis withdraw with eighty dead and uncounted others wounded.  Among the dead is Reuven Oppenheim who had survived the Holocaust.  He fought with partisan forces in that part of the Soviet Union known as White Russia.  Miraculously, Oppenheim’s immediate family (mother, father and sister) survived with him and came to Palestinein 1947.  The price for a Jewish state was high indeed.

    1948: The government of Egypt "issued a proclamation stipulating that no Jew could leave Egypt with a special visa from the Ministry of the Interior.  This...applied to the many thousands of Jews who held foreign passports."  (In Ishmael's House by Martin Gilbert)

    1949: Chaim Weizmann went to the White House as President of Israel at the invitation of President Harry Truman.

    1950: “Israel's mounting immigration troubles became more apparent today with the interim report of Malben, which handles the country's hard core cases. This organization has discovered that its six month-old budget of $17,500,000 is about half what it needs to handle the handicapped immigrants under its care.”

    1950: Tonight, “The decision of the United States, Britain and France to include Israel in their over-all plan for supplying the countries in the Middle East with arms for defense purposes was greeted” in Israel “with satisfaction by a Foreign Ministry spokesman.”

    1951: In a handwritten letter proposes, Abba Eban proposed periodic meetings between himself and the leaders of major American Jewish organizations “to exchange views and impressions about the American-Israeli relationship.”

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Cabinet was discussing the deteriorating security situation in border areas.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Thomas Harlan, son of Veit Harlan, a notorious Nazi film producer, was in Israel working on a film which would "atone" for the sins of his father.

    1954(22nd of Iyar, 5714): Robert Capa, possibly the most famous photo journalist of the 20th century was killed while on assignment cover the French- Indochina War.  The Jewish native of Hungary waded ashore with the first wave of troops at OmahaBeach, providing the first photographic record of the assault.

    From the Spanish Civil War, “Death of Loyalist Soldier”

    D-Day Landing – 1944

    1958(6th of Sivan, 5718): Shavuot

    1963: During his Shabbat Sermon, at Tremont Temple in the Bronx, Rabbi Maurice J. Bloom declared that because of his divorce and recent remarriage Governor Rockefeller is morally obligated to press for an easing of New York State's divorce laws.  If New York State had a proper marriage and divorce code neither the Governor nor his first wife, nor his current wife would be forced to participate in actions that are variance with the laws that the Governor is sworn to uphold as the state’s chief executive.  Furthermore, the Rabbi contended that it is not fair that divorce is only open to the wealthy who can afford to take up temporary residence in other states with more lenient laws related to terminating a marriage.  Tying the contemporary issue to Jewish tradition, Rabbi Bloom said, “Judaism believes in making strict marriage laws to safeguard marriage and easy divorce laws to make it possible to repair mistakes made by the application of those strict laws. Judaism stresses the sanctity of marriage, and for that reason it does not condemn people to live together where strife and incompatibility would mar good family life.”

    1965: Shimon Peres completed his term as Deputy Minister of Defense.

    1969: Release date of “Midnight Cowboy” directed by John Schlesinger and starring Dustin Hoffman.

    1969:An Israeli vehicle was damaged Sunday night after hitting a mine near Maoz Chaim in the valley. There were no casualties

    1977: Star Wars opened.  This would be the first in a whole series of films that would include the villain Darth Vader. According to Adams Walls, “Even though it's too small to see on screen, part of Darth Vader's chestplate features three lines of Hebrew, one of which appears to be upside down. What the lines say is a matter of much online debate among Jewish "Star Wars" fans. On, which features photos of the Hebrew script in question, one blogger believes it's a play on a section from Exodus 16 about repentance, while another thinks the lines read: "His actions/deeds will not be forgiven until he is proven innocent" and "One shall be regarded innocent until he is proven guilty."

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported the official denial of reports that Israel sought control over the West Bank's absentee property owned by Arabs residing abroad, and that there were plans to establish a Jewish urban quarter near Nablus. Officials of the Land Administration were instructed to lift a ban on transactions affecting property owned by local Arab residents, residing abroad.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that The Knesset Speaker, Mr. Yitzhak Shamir, accepted an invitation to visit Germany at the head of the Knesset delegation.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that a six-lane divided highway, which would cut through the Sacher Park and expand the Kirya, was approved in Jerusalem.

    1978(18th of Iyar, 5738): Lag B’Omer

    1979(28th of Iyar, 5739:) Yom Yerushalayim

    1979: Israel begins to return the Sinai to Egypt as part of the Camp David Peace Accords.

    1979: Six year old Etan Kalil Patz disappeared in Lower Manhattan, New York City as he walked to catch the school bus. .  He would be the first missing child to be pictured on the side of a milk carton.

    1983:Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was released to the public.  The script was co-authored by a Jew from Miami, FL, Lawrence E. Kasdan.

    1985(5th of Sivan, 5745): Erev of Shavuot

    1985(5th of Sivan, 5745):Robert Gruntal Nathan “an American novelist and poet” passed away. “Nathan was born into a prominent New York family. He was educated in the United States and Switzerland and attended Harvard University for several years beginning in 1912. It was there that he began writing short fiction and poetry. However, he never graduated, choosing instead to drop out and take a job at an advertising firm to support his family (he married while a junior at Harvard). It was while working in 1919 that he wrote his first novel—the semi-autobiographical work Peter Kindred—which was a critical failure. But his luck soon changed during the 1920s, when he wrote seven more novels, including The Bishop's Wife, which was later made into a successful film starring Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young. During the 1930s, his success continued with more works, including fictional pieces and poetry. In 1940, he wrote his most successful book, Portrait of Jennie, about a Depression-era artist and the woman he is painting, who is slipping through time. Portrait of Jennie is considered a modern masterpiece of fantasy fiction and was made into a film, starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten. In January 1956 the author wrote, as well as narrated, an episode of the CBS Radio Workshop, called "A Pride of Carrots or Venus Well-Served." Nathan's seventh wife was the British actress Anna Lee, to whom he was married from 1970 until his death. He came from a talented family — the activist Maud Nathan and author Annie Nathan Meyer were his aunts, and the poet Emma Lazarus and Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo his cousins.”

    1987: James Levine is scheduled to conduct the IPO tonight in a performance that will include Mahler’s Third Symphony.

    1990(1st of Sivan, 5750): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1991: Israel began the evacuation 14,000 Ethiopian Jews. This was done as a secret operation and served as a reminder of the role of Israelas a haven for all Jews.

    1993(5th of Sivan, 5753):Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Friedman, the founder and former spiritual leader of the Garment Center Synagogue in Manhattan, passed away today at the age of 95. He was a rabbinical graduate of Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1921 and, a decade later, founded the Garment Center Synagogue. The synagogue, at 205 West 40th Street, was established primarily to serve the many Jews who worked in the garment trade. Born on Nov. 13, 1897, in Jerusalem, Rabbi Friedman came to the United States with his mother and brother in 1918 to escape famine in his homeland. His father had arrived a year earlier. Trained as a scribe, Rabbi Friedman began his rabbinical studies in 1919. After his ordination, he was appointed rabbi of Congregation Ezrath Israel in Ellenville, N.Y., a position he held for four years before moving to Brooklyn. In 1931, after serving at several synagogues in New York City, Rabbi Friedman founded the Garment Center Synagogue. In the mid-1950's, he was named rabbi emeritus. Rabbi Friedman's wife, Charlotte, died in 1980.

    1996(7th of Sivan, 5756): Second Day of Shavuot

    1997: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Actual by Saul Bellow and the Wisdom of the Body by Sherwin B. Nuland

    2000: Israel withdraws the last of its forces from Lebanon.

    2002:  An exhibition opens at the Tate in London entitled “Ori Gersht: Afterglow” which features the work of Israeli artist Ori Gersht.

    2003:The New York Timesfeatured books by Jewish writers and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Last Good Season by Michael Shapiro.

    2004(5th of Sivan, 5764): Roger Williams Straus, Jr. passed away. Born in 1917, “Strauss was co-founder of Farrar, StrausandGiroux a NewYork book publishing company. Straus, along with John Farrar, began the influential firm of Farrar and Straus in 1945. In 1955, the company hired editor Robert Giroux away from rival Harcourt, Brace, who brought along authors such as T. S. Eliot and Flannery O'Connor, among others. Ultimately, in 1994, twenty years after his partner Farrar had died, Straus determined he could no longer run the company, retired, and sold the business to a German publishing conglomerate, Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, the type of company he had long disdained and spoke out against. Straus was regarded as one of the last, old-fashioned publishers, faithful to his company and tight with his money, but emphasizing quality over commercial success. His dedication to the publishing business earned him several Nobel Prize-winning authors, including Isaac Bashevis Singer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Joseph Brodsky, Nadine Gordime, Czeslaw Milosz and T. S. Eliot, and Pulitzer Prize authors such as Robert Lowell, John McPhee, Philip Roth, and Bernard Malamud. Straus grew up in a wealthy and influential family. His mother was Gladys Guggenheim, heir to one of the largest fortunes in America. His father, Roger W. Straus, was chairman of the American Smelting and Refining Co., which was owned by his wife's family. Straus' paternal grandfather, Oscar S. Straus, served as Secretary of Commerce and Labor under President Theodore Roosevelt.”

    2004:In Israel, striking lifeguard returned to work today as part of what they called “a goodwill gesture” for Shavuot which begins this evening.

    2005: At U.C Santa Cruz, The Jewish Studies Program is scheduled to present a lecture by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, titled “Seduced into Eden: The Beginning of Desire.” Zornberg's first book, Genesis: The Beginning of Desire won the National Jewish Book Award for nonfiction in 1995.

    2006: During the Sydney Writers’ Festival at the Sydney (Australia) Jewish Museum Professor Konrad Kwiet leads a discussion with editors and journalists from major Sydney newspapers where they examine the role of free press in a democratic society including the need, if ever, for limits on freedom of the press and the need for the media to demonstrate a sense social responsibility.

     Books can be entertaining, insightful and at their best, life changing. But are there some books that just should not be read? Are they indeed dangerous? Books like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, have spawned some of the most evil Books can be entertaining, insightful and at their best, life changing. But are there some regimes the world has known. Yet should we limit our access to these ideas? The intrinsic virtues of free speech are often touted throughout the West, however in countries such as Australia Anti Racial Vilification Legislation limits what can and cannot be said in public forums. What can or should be the role of the media in these kinds of debates? A free press is one of the basic tenets of a democratic society, but are there times when this freedom is taken too far? Does the press have a social responsibility and if so, what is it?

    2007:In Israel,Avner Itai the lead Israel Chamber Orchestra oboist, one of the greatest conductors in Israel and a professor for choir conducting  joins Ora Seitner and guitarist Oded Schub in performing folk songs and works from Catalonia and France at the Abu Gosh Festival.  He will play an oboe d'amore that he bought this year. Itai will conduct instrumentalists from the Philharmonic and his choir, Collegium Tel Aviv, in Bach's "Mass in B Minor."

    2008: The Wolf Prizes were awarded today at the Chagall Hall by the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, in the presence of the Minister of Education and Chairperson of the Wolf Foundation Council, Prof. Yuli Tamir, and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Zeev Schleisner.

    2008: Barry Levinson's tale of an embattled Hollywood producer entitled “What Just Happened?” closes this year's Festival de Cannes. The movie isbased on his memoir about his experiences as a producer.

    2008: The winner of the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award is announced in New Orleans at the 62nd Reuben Awards Ceremony. Mad Magazine Veteran Al Jaffee is one nominees for this year's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. The Reuben Award (a statuette designed by and named after the NCS' first president, Rube Goldberg is presented to the "Cartoonist of the Year." This is one more example of Jewish involvement with the comic and cartoon industry.

    2008: The Cedar RapidsJewish community watches with pride as Daniel DeClue takes part in the graduation ceremonies at PrairieHigh School.  A dedicated student of Judaica, a regular at Saturday morning services and an all around great guy, he will be truly missed while he is away at college.

    2009: As Americans gather to observe Memorial Day, the following we are remineded of the role that Jews have played in defense of this country from Asher Levy in New Amsterdam to Corporal Mark Evnin, the first Jewish casualty in Iraq.

    2009:Israel is likely to face simultaneous missile strikes and terror attacks across the country in the event of a war breaking out, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said today. Vilnai made the comments during a session of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, in which he said the Home Front Command would simulate defending against such an assault as part of a large-scale drill to be held next week.

    2009(2nd of Sivan, 5769): Amos Elon, author of “The Israelis: Founders and Sons,” passed away at the age of 82.

    2010:"The Adventures of Hershele Ostropolyer," a new musical adaptation of the classic Yiddish play by Moyshe Gershenson, is scheduled to premiere tonight at The Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City.

    2009: Conference 2009 hosted by The Philadelphia Kehilla For Secular Jews came to an end.

    2010: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., officially reopened the Etan Patz case today.

    2010: The 49th Israel Festival, arguably one of Israel's most important cultural and artistic events, will commence with performances by Nuevo Tango, Ahavat Olamim, a tribute to Charlie Parker by Anchipolosvky, the King's Singers, and a dance performance entitled Vertigo, Birth of the Phoenix. 


    2011: Jonathan D. Sarna is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “That Obnoxious Order”: Ulysses S. Grant and the Jews at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston, SC.

    2011: Joan Nathan is scheduled to sign copies of Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous” at the National Archives following a presentation that “explores the rich tapestry of more than three centuries of Jewish cooking in America.

    2011:The New England Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society is scheduled to present a lecture, “Among Mishpocha: At Home in the Boston Jewish Community” by Dr. Michael Feldberg in the Education Center of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston.

    2011:Ken Spiro is scheduled to deliver a lecture on the accomplishments of the Jews throughout history entitled “What Would the World be Like without the Jews?” in Greenwich, CT.

    2011:Six Israeli women from Beit Shemesh-Mateh Yehuda are scheduled be at the JCCNV to cook foods from different origins (Moroccan, Kurdish -Iraqi, Persian, Russian and Yemenite) as part of “Taste of Israel: Ethnic Cooking at its Best.”

    2011: Opening of “Jews, Slavery and the Civil War” a conference hosted by the College of Charleston.

    2011:US President Barack Obama said today that a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was "more urgent than ever." And while expressing confidence that a two-state solution was achievable, the US president made it clear that seeking Palestinian statehood in the United Nations would be "a mistake." Speaking alongside UK Prime Minister David Cameron at a press conference in London after the two met privately, Obama stated that the Palestinians must understand "they have obligations as well."

    2012: Gil Shohat is scheduled to conduct a Brahms Marathon at the Henry Crown Concert Hall as part of the Israel Festival.

    2012: The Centre Daily Times reported that Graham Spanier “is suing” Penn State University in order to force them the school to turn over some e-mails related to the Jerry Sandusky scandal.  The paper also reported that Spanier “was listed as one of four officials at the center of the school’s faiure to respond to Sandusky’s predatory behavior.”  Spanier had been President of Penn State until he was forced to resign for his failure to act to react to reports of Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of young boys. (Spanier is Jewish, Sandusky is not)

    2012: As Americans begin their Memorial Day Weekend by Cantor Larry Paul and musician Robyn Helzner are scheduled to lead a special Shabbat Eve service at the Historic 6th& I Synagogue honoring the memory of the Jewish Fallen Heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan. National Museum of American Jewish Military History President, Norman Rosenshein, is scheduled to deliver the opening remarks. During the service, the names of the more than 40 fallen heroes will be read as a sign of solemn remembrance

    2012: The confirmands and their families attended Shabbat evening services at Plum Street Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    2013: Zubin Mehta is scheduled to conduct the IPO at a gala concert in Israel featuring Itzhak Perlman.

    2013: The Alexandria Kleztet is scheduled to perform at the Potomac Overlook Regional Park in Arlington, VA.





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    May 26 In History

    1096(1st of Sivan): The Crusaders massacred the Jews of Neuss, Germany

    1135:  Alfonso VII of León and Castile was crowned in the Cathedral of Leon as Imperator totius Hispaniae, "Emperor of all of Spain". At the start of his reign he curtailed “the rights and liberties which his father had granted the Jews. He ordered that neither a Jew nor a convert might exercise legal authority over Christians, and he held the Jews responsible for the collection of the royal taxes.” After a few years, he adopted a more positive policy towards his Jewish subject.  He restored the rights granted by his father and then granted new ones including the granting of a special fuero (charter) in 1136 that permitted the Jews of Guadalajara to outfit themselves like the Christian Knights of his kingdom. Judah ben Joseph ibn Ezra (Nasi) was one of the King’s most influential advisors.  After the conquest of Calatrava in 1147, the king placed Judah in command of the fortress, later making him his court chamberlain. The king held Judah ben Joseph stood in such high esteem that he granted Judah’s request to let the Jews who had fled from the Almohades to settle in Toledo.  The reigns of Alfonso and his father are proof that Jews prospered, and suffered, under both Catholic and Moslem rule, depending upon the ruler and the time period.

    1171: The first ritual murder accusation in Europe occurred in Blois, France. Fifty-one Jews were burned, seventeen of them women. As they were burning, they chanted the hymn 'Aleinu' (composed in Talmudic times). Rabbenu Tam declared a day of fasting and prayer in England, France and the Rhineland. One of those killed was Pulcinella (Puncelina), a favorite of Count Theobald, who tried to use her position to convince the count to release the Jews. The count decided to expel all the Jews left in his county but "allowed" himself to be persuaded to change his mind by a payment of 2000 pounds.

    1232: Pope Gregory IX began the Inquisition in Aragon

    1512: Bayezid II, the Ottoman Sultan who welcomed the Jews to his realm after the expulsion from Spain passed away. He not only sent a fleet under the command of Admiral Kemal Reis to evacuate the Jews, he sent a firman to all provinces telling the leaders to welcome the Jews.  When you consider the large swath of territory he controlled (including much of southeastern Europe) this was quite gift. His Jewish subjects included Mordecai Comtino, Solomon ben Elijah Sharbit ha-Zahab, Shabbbethai ben Malkiel Cohen and poet Menahem Tamar.

    1566: Birthdate of Sultan Mehmed III. During the reign of Sultan Mehmed III, Gabriel Buonaventura was appointed ambassador and established contacts with Spain. Solomon Eskenazi, Doctor Benveniste and Doctor Moshe Korina held positions at the palace. In 1597 Solomon Abenyaes (Marrano Name: Alvaro Mendez) prepared a treaty that was intended to ally the Ottoman Empire with England in the fight against king Philip of Spain.

    1615(27th of Iyar): Abraham Samuel Bacharach, a leading Rabbi in Worms, passed away. Born in the Grand Duchy of Hesse in 1575, he had married Eva Bacharach, the daughter of Isaac ben Simson ha-Kohen and the granddaughter of Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel.  She was the mother of Rabbi Moses Samson Bacharach and the grandmother of Rabbi Yair Bacharach, author of “Hawwot Yair.”

    1648:As the Cossack uprising continued to gain momentuma force of Cossacks and Crimean Tatars attacked and defeated Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces at the Battle of Korsun. The defeat of the Polish-Lithuanian forces followed the pattern seen at the battle at Zhovti Vody. The Poles retreated and the Cossacks continued moving westward gaining support as they went The slaughter of the Jews was about to begin in earnest.

    1697: The British colony of South Carolina issued naturalization papers to Simon Valentine.

    1712: The leaders of the Dutch Jewish community decided to dismiss Tzvi Hirsch ben Yaakov Ashkenazi as the Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi congregation of Amsterdam at the end of the three year term described in the letter of appointment he had been given in January of 1710. Ashkenazi vowed to fight the dismissal which apparently had been orchestrated by Aaron Polak Gokkes.

    1724: Beginning of the papacy of Benedict XIII, the pope who issued “Emanavit nuper,” a Papal Bull, dealing with “the necessary conditions for imposing Baptism on a Jew.”

    1753: In Zhitomir, the castle court under the influence of Bishop Solik of Kiev sentenced 33 Jews to death for the "ritual murder" of a Christian child. The entire evidence was based on the "confessions" of the innkeeper and his wife which had been made after being tortured, although they later retracted their statements. Thirteen of them were released upon converting. Many others, including the local Rabbi, were quartered alive. One couple converted on the spot and was granted a beheading.

    1757(7th of Sivan): Rabbi Jacob Daniel of Ferrara author of “Eden Arukh” passed away.

    1820: Birthdate of Dr. Samuel Kristeller

    1848: As part of its policy to force the Jews to assimilate, the Russian government issued a decree providing for the establishment of a rabbinical committee to be attached to the Ministry of Interior.

    1841(6th of Sivan, 5601): Shavuot

    1854: Birthdate of Samuel Morais Hyneman a Philadelphia born lawyer who “was a member of the board of managers of Mikve Israel congregation, a member of the board of trustees the  Jewish Theological Seminary at New York, and of the board of trustees of Gratz College, Philadelphia. He also served as president of the Young Men's Hebrew Association in Philadelphia, and served as an officer of The Hebrew Education Society in Philadelphia

    1865(1st of Sivan, 5625): Rosh Chodesh Sivan

    1869: Boston University is chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. BU was founded by three Methodist businessmen who had been active in the abolitionist movement. “From the day of its opening, Boston University has admitted students of both sexes and every race and religion.”  According to one source, BU has the second largest enrollment (by percentage) of any private university in the United States.  According to the Hillel Foundation, which has a chapter on campus, three thousand of the school’s twenty thousand undergrads are Jewish and five hundred of the ten thousand grad students are Jewish. The school offers approximately thirty Jewish studies courses.  The school offers both a major and a minor in Jewish Studies.

    1871(6th of Sivan, 5631): First Day of Shavuot

    1871: An article entitled “The Pentecost Festival” gives an amazingly detailed description of the Jewish festival of Shavuot.

    1871: The New York Times reported that “the feast of Pentecost, in Jewish parlance,” Shavuot, “or, as the German Jews call it” Shavuos, “began last evening and will be observed in all Jewish houses of prayer today.

    1874: Judge P.J. Joachimsen presided over the annual meeting of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites which was being held tonight at New York’s Temple Shaaray Tefillah. The Executive Committee recommended sending funds to aid the Jews of Romania and to support an agricultural school in Jaffa. (The funds for Romania reflected the concern of western Jewry for the worsening conditions of their co-religionists in that newly independent eastern European country.  Funding for the school in Jaffa is one of the earliest examples of American Jewish support for what became the Zionist movement).

    1876: It was reported today that at a recently adjourned meeting of delegates representing Hebrew congregations from various U.S. cities the possibility was discussed  of establishing a seminary that would teach Jewish theology and the Hebrew language while preparing students to become Rabbis.

    1881(27th of Iyar, 5641):Jakob Bernays a German philologist and philosophical writer passed away. The native of Hamburg German was born in 1824. His father, Isaac Bernays the first orthodox German rabbi to preach in the vernacular (German) his brother, Michael Bernays, was also a distinguished scholar. “Jakob studied from 1844 to 1848 at the University of Bonn, whose philological school, under Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker and Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl was the best in Germany. In 1853 he accepted the chair of classical philology at the newly founded Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau, where he formed a close friendship with Theodor Mommsen. In 1866, when Ritschl left Bonn for Leipzig, Bernays returned to his old university as extraordinary professor and chief librarian. He remained at Bonn until his death.”

    1881: Birthdate of Sophie Munk, who gained fame as Austrian-American therapist and write Sophie Lazarsfeld, the wife of attorney Robert Lazarsfeld and the mother of Paul Lazarsfeld.

    1886: Birthdate of Asa Yoelson, better known as Al Jolson.  Jolson's father was a cantor at B'nai Israel Synagogue at Fifth and Eye Street in Washington, D.C.  Instead of following in his father's footsteps, Jolson ran away to New York where he began his career in show business.  His greatest claim to fame was his starring role in The Jazz Singer, the first talking motion picture.  Although Jolson never served in the Army (he was turned down when he tried to enlist during the Spanish American War for being too young) Jolson was an active participant in Bond Drives during subsequent wars.  He also entertained the troops during World War I and Korea.  In fact, he died after a trip to Koreain 1950. 

    1890(7th of Sivan, 5650): Second Day of Shavuot

    1890(7th of Sivan, 5650): Hirschel Eliazer Kann, one of the co-founders of  the Dutch banking house Lissa & Kann passed away today.

    1890: “New Publications” published today included a detailed review of Jeremiah and His Times by Dr. T.K. Chenye a Professor at Oxford.  He divided his work into two parts: “Judah’s Tragedy Down to the Death of Josiah” and “The Close of Judah’s Tragedy”

    1890: It was reported today that Rabbi Kaufman Kohler will be officiating at the upcoming confirmation services for the students at the Hebrew Free School.

    1890: At a dinner held this evening by the Grand Army of the Republic in Lowell, MA, General Benjamin Butler delivered a speech in which he claimed that during the Civil War the soldiers had been paid “in depreciated currency while Jew bankers were paid in gold with interest.” During the Civil War, Lincoln had tolerated Butler as a general because he needed his political support.  He was a politician, not a general as could be seen by his inept performance in the field.

    1891: “Russia Home Policy” published today described the various aspects of the Czar’s anti-Semitic policies.  Police are being sent throughout St. Petersburg with orders to arrest an Jews they find and ship them back to the Pale. Conditions are so bad in Kiev that even Jews who have a legal right to live there are allowing themselves to be expelled.  The governor of Kiev has said “I will make Kiev too hot for the whole brood of rascals, rights or no rights.”

    1892: Opposition was expressed today in the House of Representatives to an appropriation for the upcoming World’s Fair since exhibits would be open on Sunday in violation of the Christian Sabbath.  No such concern was expressed for being open on Saturday.

    1892: “Rome and the Hebrews” published today described the recent meeting that Jesse Seligman and Dr. O’Connell rector of the American College had with Cardinal Rampolla, Papal Secretary of State.  In response to a request for protection of the Jews by the Catholic Church, Rampolla said that “the Popes…had always been the protectors of the Jews.”  (Considering the behavior of the Popes following the revolts of 1848, this statement can best be described as, at best, “disingenuous”

    1893: “Paulus Meyer Arrested” published today described the arrest of Paulus Meyer a Jewish convert and ex-Russian Talmudist “who asserted that he was an eye witness to a terrible massacre of Jews in Russia.  He was arrested at the request of the German Supreme Tribunal at Leipzig.

    1894: Emanuel Lasker became a World Champion chess player.  Born in Germany, Lasker’s father was a cantor who feared that his son’s love of chess would take him away from his studies.  Lasker won the championship when he was 26 which made him the youngest champion of his time.

    1894: Theodore Seligman who is one of the executors of the will of his father, the late Jesse Seligman, filed “a statement of the condition of the estate” and “an itemized list of the bequests to the family and charitable societies in the Surrogate’s Office.

    1895: “In The World Of Art” published today acknowledgement is made of the generosity of the men who arranged the East Side Art Exhibition in the auditorium of the Hebrew Institute which attracted a large throng of the less fortunate for whom this was the first opportunity to see such works.

    1895: Birthdate of Professor Salo Wittmayer Baron, the author of a sweeping multivolume history of the Jews who “was undoubtedly the greatest Jewish historian of the 20th century…” (As reported by Peter Steinfels)

    1895: Rabbi Joseph Silverman will deliver the opening prayer at today’s ceremony dedicating the new Hebrew Infant Asylum. Following remarks by New York City Mayor Strong, Rabbi Kaufman Kohler and N.S. Rosenau will address the attendees. Cecilia Goldsmith is among those responsible for providing refreshments at the end of the event.

    1896: Eben Israel Cemetery, the Jewish Cemetery in Cedar Rapids that served both the Orthodox Beth Jacob and Reform Temple Judah congregations opened.  Max Oshman was one of the founders of the cemetery which is still in use at the start of the 21st century.

    1896: Nicholas II becomes Tsar of Russia.  Nicholas was the last of the Tsars.  He was a weak man who lacked the skill to rule.  He was also totally out of touch with what was going on in his country.  The fact that he had three rabbis at his coronation did not mean that his views about Jews were any different from those of his predecessors.  There were Pogroms both before and after the first uprising against the Tsar in 1905.  The Tsar spent a great deal of money on anti-Semitic literature including mass distribution of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  He also supported the trumped up charges in the Bellis Case, the scandalous trumped charges in one of the last “Ritual Murder” of the 20th century.  During his reign, the Tsar declared,” During my reign Jews in Russia will not enjoy equal rights.” 

    1890: The Chicago Jewish Courier has opened a drive to help defray the expenses of a newly formed Jewish military organization that is volunteering to serve in an Illinois Regiment that will probably join the fight against Spain.

    1899: The Hebrew Union Veterans’ Association held its annual memorial service tonight at Temple Emanu-El.  The event, which was well attended, began with the veterans marching en masse to house of worship by a drum and bugle corps.

    1899: A list published today of the institutions receiving aid from the state of New York and the amount they are getting included: Sanitarium for Hebrew Children - $5,080; Hebrew Benevolent Society - $100,000; Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society - $99,500;

    1903: Herzl meets the Portuguese ambassador in Vienna to ask for a territory habitable and cultivable by Europeans.

    1905(21st of Iyar, 5665): French banker Mayer Alphonse de Rothschild passed away.  Born in 1827, Alphonse was the son of James, the founder of the French branch of the House of Rothschild.  He succeeded his father just before the Franco-Prussian War.  After the French were defeated, Alphonse arranged the financing to pay for the indemnity the Germans extracted from the French as part of the peace settlement.  The loan was a key to the re-emergence of France as a major European power.  Rothschild also served as head of the French Jewish Community and was famed for his generous philanthropy.  As a patron of the arts, he donated major works of art to over two hundred museums and galleries throughout France.

    1905: A pogrom broke out in Minsk, Russia.

    1908: At Masjid-al-Salaman in southwest Persia (Iran), the first major commercial oil strike in the Middle East is made. The rights to the resource are quickly acquired by the United Kingdom.  The connection between the oil strike the quest to establish a Jewish homeland in Eretz Israel is too obvious to have to explain.

    1909(6th of Sivan, 5669): Shavuot

    1910:Political trailblazer Belle Moskowitz wins passage of bill regulating New York dance halls

    1911: In the Bronx, Gittle “Gussie” Weinstein and Yithak Asher “Isaac” Ephron gave birth to Henry Ephron.  While he was a noted playwright , screenwriter and producer, his greatest claim to may be that he was the father of four daughter – Nora, Dilia, Hallie and Amy – who became famous writers in their own right.

    1911: In Wilkes-Barre, PA, Jacob and Bessie Kushner gave birth to Aid Kushner, the Oak Park, Michigan, resident “who for many years…constructed models of famous synagogues from around the world including the state of Michigan as well as a model of President Truman’s home in Independence and an early British fort built at Detroit before it became part of the United States.

    1912: The annual meeting of the Jewish Publication Society of America was held this evening at Keneseth Israel Temple in Philadelphia, PA.  Edwin Wolfe, the president of the society, called the meeting to order.  Oscar Solomon was the only member from Cedar Rapids, IA.

    1914: Anglo-Jewish art dealer said today “that dispatches from New York were his first intimation that a syndicate of dealers heady by Duveens would hold a sale of the Morgan art treasures in London.”  He said that in his opinion, “the story is false.”

    1915: Herbert Samuel, 1stViscount Samuel, began serving as Postmaster-General under Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith.

    1916: The Zion Mule Corps was disbanded after the end of the Gallipoli Campaign.  The disbanding of this Jewish group did not represent a failure.  The British were impressed with the bravery and diligence of the Jews and this led to the formation of a Jewish combat force in the British Army later in World War I.  This was one more of the halting steps that would lead to the creation of the modern IDF.

    1918:The GeorgianRepublic declared its independence. With independence came freedom of speech, press, and organization, which improved the economic situation of the Jews of Georgia.

    1920: Dr. H. Pereira Mendes resigns as Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in New York after 43 years.

    1920: Birthdate of Jan Wiener, a Czech Jew who fought in the British air force during World War II after fleeing Nazis in Germany and Czechoslovakia.

    1920(9th of Sivan, 5680): Julius J. Lyons, the son of the late Rabbi Jacques J Lyons, who had served as Director and legal counsel to the State Bank passed away at San Diego, CA.  He was born in New York in 1843 and was active in several Jewish institutions including the Montefiore Home, Mount Sinai Hospital and the Hebrew Technical Institute.  He had gone to California a year ago to stay at the ranch of his son Edwin where he had hoped to regain his health.

    1921(18th of Iyar, 5681):Lag B'Omer

    1925: In Bayonne, NJ, Isaac and Lillian Goodman Cohen gave birth to Robert B. Cohen whose chain of Hudson News shops at airports, bus terminals and railroad stations across the country offered untold numbers of people a respite from the tedium of travel…(As reported by Dennis Hevesi)

    1926: “Ten students received their degrees tonight at the first graduation exercises of the Jewish Institute of Religio