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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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    January 25

    41: Claudius is accepted as Roman Emperor by the Senate. “Claudius rescinded Caligula’s provocative decrees affecting Judean and reaffirmed Jewish rights throughout the rest of the Roman world.”  Claudius supported the cause of the Jews when they were attacked in separate incidents by the Greeks of Alexandria and the Samaritans.  He maintained a life-long friendship with the Agrippa the last Jewish king in Eretz Israel.

    681: The Twelfth Council of Toledo which approved several canons aimed at punishing the Jews including on that prohibited conversos from returning to Judaism and allowed for the confiscation of Jewish owned goods came to a close.

    749: Birthdate Leo IV (the Khazar).  He was Byzantine emperor from 775 through 780.  He was known as “the Khazar” because his mother was a Khazar Princess.  If the Khazars were Jewish, does this mean that at least one Byzantine emperor was Jewish?

    1138: Anacletus II passed away. Known as Pietro Pierleone before his elevation to the Papacy in 1130, Anacletus II was referred to as the Jewish anti-pope because he came from a family that had converted from Judaism to Christianity. The appellation of anti-pope is one that is hung on several popes who were elected under controversial circumstances.

    1327: Edward III becomes King of England. During his reign King Edward III would re-apply the Edict of Expulsion of 1290 because there were reports of “secret Jews” or conversos who had remained in England and were practicing “the faith of their fathers.”

    1494: Alfonso II became King of Naples. Alfonso continued to rely on the services of Don Isaac Abravanal the refugee from the Spanish expulsion who had acted as an advisor to his predecessor on the throne, King Ferdinand. Alfonso also continued the policy of his predecessor of allowing Jews fleeing the Inquisition to settle in his kingdom.

    1533: Henry VIII of England secretly marries his second wife Anne Boleyn. Henry had failed in his attempt to enlist the support of Italian rabbis in his futile attempt to get the Pope to annul his first marriage.  His marriage to Anne helped move England into the Protestant camp which proved to be beneficial in the Jews’ attempt to return to the British Isles.

    1554: Founding of São Paulo, Brazil.  As was the case in so many other parts of Latin America, the first Jews to inhabit Sao Paulo were New Christians or Conversos. The first openly Jewish residents of the city arrived from Alsace-Lorraine in the 19th century. Today São Paulo is home to the largest Jewish community in Brazil with about 130,000 people,

    1569: Phillip II of Spainissued the order to set up an inquisition in the New World. Mexicowould be the first five years later.

    1648: The Khmelnytsky or Chmielnicki Rebellion against the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania began in earnest when Bohdan Khmelnytsky brought a contingent of 300-500 Cossacks to the Zaporizhian Sich and quickly dispatched the guards assigned by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth to protect the entrance. His defeat of the counterattacking Commonwealth forces coupled with is oratorical skills brought thousands of rebels including the Ruthenians to join his uprising.  Jews, who served as the middle-man and administrators for the absentee Polish landlords were an easy target for the rebels. The bloody uprising will mark the long, slow disintegration of the Polish state.  The slaughter of the Jews was so great that it would not be surpassed until the time of the Nazis. 

    1782(10th of Shevat): Rabbi Shalom Sharabi Kabbalist, author of Emet ve-Shalom passed away today

    1844:Congregation Shaarai Shomayim u-Maskil el Dol was chartered today in Mobile, Alabama. “Israel I. Jones  a London Jew who arrived early in the 1830s, was president of the congregation for most of his life; one of his daughters married the well-known New Orleans rabbi, James Koppel Gutheim . An auctioneer and tobacco merchant, Jones was active in politics, served as an alderman, was president of the Mobile Musical Association, and introduced streetcars to Mobile”

    1849: The West End Synagogue of British which had been formed by Jews who left Bevis Marks in 1841 dedicated its new facility in Upper Berkeley Street.

    1852: Achille Fould resigned as the French Minister of Finance

    1852: French political leader Achille Fould was appointed as a Senator and later rejoined the government as a Minister of State.

    1854(25th of Tevet, 5614):Filosseno Luzzatto passed away. Born at Trieste in 1829; he was an Italian Jewish scholar; son of Samuel David Luzzatto. His name is the Italian equivalent of the title of one of his father's principal works, "Oheb Ger," which was written at the time of Filosseno's birth. “He showed from childhood linguistic aptitude, and having mastered several European languages, he devoted himself to the study of Semitic languages and Sanskrit.” At the age of thirteen he deciphered some old inscriptions on the tombstones of Padua which had puzzled older scholars. Two years later, happening to read D'Abbadie's narrative of his travels in Abyssinia, he resolved to write a history of the Falashas. In addition to writing several original works, he “translated into Italian eighteen chapters of the Book of Ezekiel, adding a Hebrew commentary. Luzzatto contributed to many periodicals, mostly on philological or exegetical subjects.”

    1854: “The Will of Judah Touro”  published today described the terms of the late philanthopist and businessman’s final testamentary document.  The will was dated January 6, 1854, 7 days before his death.   The will appointed four executors, three of whom were to receive $10,000 and a four, R.D. Shepperd who is the “residuary legatee.  Touro bequeathed approximately $450,000 to different Jewish and non-Jewish institutions and charities.  Among them were  $20,000 left to the Jew’s Hospital Society of New York; $10,000 left to the New York Relief Society for Indigent Jews in Palestine; $50,000 left for the agent of “a society dedicated to ameliorating the condition of the Jews in the Holy Land and the securing the enjoyment of their religion”  as well as bequests left to Jewish congregations throughout the United States including, but not limited to $5,000 to a Jewish congregation in Boston, $5,000 to a Jewish congregation in  Hartford, $5,000 to a Jewish congregation in  New Haven, $5,000 to a Jewish congregation in New York, $5,000 to a Jewish congregation in Charleston and $5,000 to a Jewish congregation in Savannah

    1858:The Wedding Marchby Felix Mendelssohn becomes a popular wedding recessional after it is played on this day at the marriage of Queen Victoria's daughter, Victoria, and Friedrich of Prussia. Felix Mendelssohn is the grandson of Moses Mendelssohn.  Felix Mendelssohn was born to Jewish parents in 1809, Felix’s father, Abraham, had the famous composer baptized as aLutheran in 1816.

    1861: Charles Dyte laid the foundation stone for the historic Ballarat Synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue on the Australian mainland.

    1861: In a letter that an unidentified resident of New Orleans, LA, wrote to a friend in Boston, he described the voting patterns of various groups in the recent election. If you believe his description, most groups voted for one of the Unionist or Compromise candidates. Only "The Jews voted for secession."

    1865: Dr. William H. Thomson read a paper entitled "What we have to learn in the East" at tonight’s meeting of the American Ethnological Society.  A long time resident of Syria, who traveled extensively in throughout the Middle East, Dr. Thomson reported on “the importance of extensive investigations among the innumerable mounds” found in the area.  Examination of similar mounds has provided information about early inhabitants including the Hebrews, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans.  [Ed. Note – What the doctor was describing are the innumerable “tels” that would become the focal point of archaeological interest in modern day Israel.] 

    1868(1st of Shevat, 5628): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

    1872: The United States confirmed M.A. Shaffenburg as U.S. Marshall for the Territory of Colorado.

    1870: The New York Times published an editorial defending itself against charges by “a Jewish newspaper” that the paper is paying too much attention to the “Reform party within the ancient sect.” The editorial cites the creation of Temple Israel in Brooklyn as proof of that there is a significant segment of the Jews that “are anxious to make great and fundamental changes in their doctrines and faith.”  The editorial finished by saying that it would publish information about any sect within Judaism that are based on “facts.” [Editor’s note: It is significant that a leading metropolitan daily was publishing stories about Jewish culture and religion that were generally informative at a time when the Jewish population was a rather infittesimal part of the general population

    1874: “The second constitutional convention of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith” opened today in Chicago, Illinois at the Kingsbury Music Hall. Simon Wolf of Washington, D.C. was elected President.  During the afternoon session, a massive gold medal was presented in memory of A.E. Frankland, the Memphis, TN, Jew who worked to ameliorate the suffering in that city’s Yellow Fever Epidemic.

    1874: Reverend Samuel Alman was installed today as the pastor of the Second Mission Baptist Church. Before converting, Alman had been a member of the Stanton Street Jewish Congregation.

    1879(1stof Shevat, 5639): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

    1879: The Pioneers, a St. Louis literary club for Jewish women, meet for the first time today.


    1882: Bilu was founded at Kharkov

    1885: Herman Ahlwardt wrote a letter today in he said, "Antisemitism is illogical; I have always condemned it, and shall continue to condemn religious intolerance until my last breath." (Ahlwardt would change his views when he failed to find political success among the Conservatives and become notorious anti-Semitic pamphleteer, agitator and member of the Reichstag.

    1887: Birthdate of Berl Katznelson the Russian native who “ was one the intellectual founders of Labor Zionism, instrumental to the establishment of the modern State of Israel, and the editor of Davar, the first daily newspaper of the workers' movement.”
    1891: Rabbi Gustav Gustav Gottheil delivered an address entitled “An Earnest Word To Christians” at Temple Emanu-El in New York.

    1891: Based on information that first appeared in the London Daily Telegraph it was reported today that Baron Hirsch has donated £500,000 for education of “indigent Jews” in various parts of Austria, including Lemberg and Czernowitz.  Although intended to provide education for Jewish children, “the Hirsch school open to Christian children” as well.

    1892: It was reported today that the delegates from the Hebrew Trades Union would join with others in calling for all labor organizations in the United States “to send delegates to an international labor congress” scheduled “to be held in Chicago in 1893.” 

    1894: Isaac Bergman, a 30 year old homeless tailor was arrested and imprisoned after he attempted to commit suicide today at the offices of the United Hebrew Charities because he had been told “that there was no work” available for tailors.
    1895: The Young Ladies and Gentlemen's League of the Montefiore Home hosted a ball at the Carnegie Music Hall to raise fund for the Montefiore Home for Chronic Invalids. 

    1895: The Monte Relief Society, a charitable and social organization founded by a small group of Jewish women under the leadership of Mrs. Sofia Monte-Loebinger two years ago, is scheduled to host a party at the Terrace Garden designed to raise funds to relieve “distress among the Hebrew poor.”

    1896: A sub-committee of Board of Alderman in New York met today to discuss whether or not to accept a fountain dedicated to the memory of Heinrich Heine.

    1897: Starting today, and lasting for the rest of the week Civil Service examinations were administered in New York for the position of Court Interpreter.  Hebrew was one of the six languages in which applicants could be tested. (The test for Hebrew would seem to have been a misguided attempt to cope with the large surge of Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe.  In reality, most of these immigrants spoke Yiddish, not Hebrew.)

    1898: Cleveland, Ohio, liquor dealer Saul Jacobs was convicted of larceny in the first degree for his part in a scheme to swindle Max Bernstein.

    1898: It was reported today that troops were called out to help the police respond to anti-Jewish riots in St. Malo. (This was part of the on-going anti-Dreyfus violence sweeping France)

    1898: It was reported today that in Algiers, “the Governor General narrowly escaped a chair which was thrown at him”  as he tried to disperse anti-Jewish mobs.  The mob now included “a number of natives” whose only interest was looting and pillaging.

    1898: At least one hundred people went trial today for their part in the anti-Jewish riots in Algiers, the capital of Algeria which was a French colony. “Eighty of the rioters were condemned to terms of imprisonment varying from three months to year…One who was caught in the act of pillaging was sentenced to five years in prison.”

    1899:  Birthdate of Goodman Ace. Born Goodman Aiskowitz, Kansas City, Missouri, he was a writer and comedian who created Easy Aces.  The scripts for this long running radio hit would be the source for television shows in the 1970’s.  He also created the “You Are There,” the pseudo-news show that helped to launch the career of Walter Cronkite.

    1902:Herzl proposes to Franz Oppenheimer the creation of a model cooperative colony in El Arish.

    1904: Herzl met Pope Pius X and tried to convince him to support the vision of Zionism without any success. The pope totally rejected the idea that Jerusalemwould be in Jewish hands.  (The papacy still clings to this notion.)Herzl is received by Pope Pius X, who declares, he cannot support the return of the infidel Jews to the Holy Land. ("If you come to Palestineand settle your people there, we want to have churches and priests ready to baptize all of you.")

    1909: German composer Richard Strauss' opera “Elektra” receives its debut performance at the Dresden State Opera. Strauss was born in 1864 and passed away in 1949 which means that his last years as an active composer coincided with the rise and fall of Hitler and the Nazis.  Many have been critical of his close association with the Third Reich.  His defenders claim that Strauss’ behavior was determined by his need to protect his son and daughter-in-law who was Jewish, In fact, the couple was arrested in Vienna during the war and it took all of Strauss’ best efforts to save them.

    1912: The Savannah Section withdraws from the Council of Jewish Women.

    1913(17th of Shevat, 5673): Wilhelm Bacher, a Hungarian rabbi and scholar passed away in Budapest.  Born in 1850, he was “a major contributor” to the “Jewish Encyclopedia” as well as close friend of many Jewish intellectuals notably Chaim Nachman Bialik

    1918: In New London, Annie Rifkin and Barnett Lubow gave birth to Sylvia Lubow who became Sylvia Lubow Rindskopf when she married future Admiral and decorated war hero Maurice Rindskopf.

    1918:Vilmos Vázsonyi, the Hungarian leader who fought to gain “official recognition for the Jewish religion” began serving his second term as Minister of Justice.

    1919: Birthdate of NBC newsman Edwin Newman.

    1919: Awni Abdul Hadi and Ahmad Qadri met with an unnamed Zionist representative at the Hotel Meurice

    1919: The League of Nations was founded.  British control over Palestine would take its legal form from a Mandate by the League of Nations.  The failure of the League to halt the aggression of Japan in China, Italy in Abyssinia and the fascists in Spain is listed as one of the causes of World War II and therefore the Shoah.  The League failed as a peace keeper, in part, because the United States refused to join, a mistake it would not repeat at the end of WW II when it joined the United Nations.

    1921: In Brooklyn, Lazarus and Jenny Cohen gave birth to Samuel Theodore Cohen, the Father of the Neutron Bomb.

    1922: A committee chaired by Rabbi Louis Feinberg of Cincinnati, Ohio, will deliver a report to Rabbinical Assembly of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) on the acceptability of using unfermented grape juice for sacramental purposes.

    1922: Temple Beth El held its 10th Annual Ball at the Elmwood Music Hall in Buffalo, New York.

    1925: The former Hahambashi of Turkey, Rabbi Haim Nahoum was elected Chief Rabbi of Cairo, Egypt.

    1925: Birthdate of John Livingston Weinberg, American banker and businessman.

    1928: Birthdate of Rabbi Sherwin Wine, founder the Birmingham Temple in suburban Detroit in 1963. He also was the driving force behind the creation of the Society for Humanistic Judaism in 1969.  He died in auto accident at the age of 79 in 2007.

    1929: Birthdate of Robert Faurisson who denies the suffering of Elie Weisel, the Diary of Anne Frank and the reality of the Final Solution.

    1932: “Warburg a Leader in Banking Reform” published today provided a detailed account of the financier’s life and accomplishment including his criticism of “the present orgies of unrestrained speculation” months before the Crash of 1929 and his role as trustee of Tuskegee College, the “all black college”  which was an educational beacon of hope to African-Americans in the days of Segregation
    1932: Degrees were awarded to 13 graduates at the first commencement exercises of Hebrew University which was opened in 1925.

    1938: In “Miami’s Anti-Semitic Jews” published today Robert Gessner describes a resort where “eighty-percent of all its hotels are owned and operated by Jews” and where “it’s almost impossible for a Jewish boy to get a job.”

    1940: Birthdate of Lt. Col. Avraham "Avi" Lanir one of the most accomplished and bravest pilots in the IAF.  On the first day of the Yom Kippur War, Lanir joined with Colonel Oded Marom flew their Mirage jets to the Golan where they engaged four MiGs, shooting down one a piece.  Tragically, Colonel Lanir would be shot down by the Syrians who tortured him to death.

    1940: The Nazi decreed the establishment of Jewish ghetto in Lodz, Poland

    1944: Hans Frank, governor-general of Occupied Poland, notes in his diary that approximately 100,000 Jews remain in the region under his control, down by 3,400,000 from the end of 1941.
    1945: Labor camp prisoners from Blechhammer began their five day march to Bergen-Belsen during which about 20% of them died.

    1945: The Nazis begin the evacuation of the Stutthof concentration camp. In yet another Death March prisoners are sent westward in the middle of driving snow storm.. Many would die from freezing. Others were shot or thrown into the icy Baltic Sea.

    1949: Nathan Yellin-Mor and Matityahu Shmuelevitch both of whom were members of Lehi were found guilty of having been leaders of a terrorist organization today.

    1949: On the same day that he was found guilty Lehi leader Nathan Yellin-Mor, the founder of the Fighters List, was elected to the first Knesset

    1949: Ben-Gurion's Mapai party was the top vote getter in Israel’s first election after the creation of the Jewish state. However, the party only gained 35.7% of the vote which translated into 46 seats in the Knesset leaving Ben-Gurion 15 seats short of the majority he would need in the parliament that has 120 seats.  This would necessitate the formation of a coalition. This would set the stage for a joining of strange bedfellows which some see as detrimental to the long term stability of the Jewish state.

    1954: Birthdate of Israeli author David Grossman whose work included Her Body Knows, a collection of two novellas.

    1958: Birthdate of actress Dinah Manoff.  She is the daughter of screenwriter Arnold Manoff and LeeGrant who was Lyova Haskell Rosenthal before she began her acting career.

    1959:  Pope John XXIII proclaims Second Vatican Council. This would lead to the greatest improvement in relations between the Church and the Jewish People since the days of Constantine.

    1959: Contributions of $132 were received by the annual appeal of the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund from the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York.

    1960: Yitzhak Rabin flew to IDF Southern Headquarters to ascertain the military situation as Egyptian forces stood on the border with Israel.  The crisis would pass since neither side was prepared for war.  But the crisis of 1960 did help to set the stage for Israel’s response to Egypt’s next foray into the Sinai in 1967.

    1960: David Susskind produced and Henry Kaplan directed two plays by August Strindberg – “Miss Julie” and “The Stronger” – as part of the Play of the Week.

    1961 (8th of Shevat 5721):  Bar Mitzvah of Yissachar Dov Rokeach. Born in 1948 he is the fifth and present Rebbe of the Hasidic dynasty of Belz. He has led Belz since 1966.

    1965: Sheldon Cohen began serving as Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

    1966(4thof Shevat, 5726):  Seventy-seven year old Dr. Saul Adler, the expert on parasites who translated Darwin’s The Origin of Species into Hebrew, passed away today in Jerusalem.

    1968: Last transmission is received from the Israeli submarine, Dakar.
    1971: Idi Amin led a coup deposing Milton Obote and became Uganda's president. In his younger days, Amin was favorably disposed towards the Israelis who trained him as a paratrooper.  However, in 1976, he would prove himself to be a strong supporter of the PLO as he gave refuge to the terrorists who landed their high jacked aircraft at Entebbe.

    1975: Birthdate of Canadian actress Mia Kirshner, granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and the daughter of a Canadian Jewish journalist.

    1976(23rdof Shevat, 5736): Eighty-four year old German-born English historian Victor Ehrenberg, the borth of Hans Ehrenberg and the nephew of Victor Ehrenberg passed away in London.

    1981: In “Words of a Fallen Soldier,” Hillel Halkin reviewed Self-Portrait of a Hero: The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu (1963-1976).

    1983: Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie arrested in Bolivia

    1985: Release date for “The Falco and the Snowman” directed by John Schlesinger, the product of a middle-class Anglo-Jewish family.

    1987: Neil Diamond sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XXI.

    1988: As the latest round of Arab terrorism escalates, Yehuda Genyan, a tailor, seems to be expressing the frustration of many Israelis when he said today of the terrorists, “They walk around here like kings, but a Jew goes to pray at the wall and he gets stabbed.'' In the wake of international criticism over Israel’s response to Palestine protesters, Prime Minister Shamir seems to echoing Genyan when he states, ''We are not allowed to kill, we are not allowed to expel, we are not allowed to beat,'' Prime Minister Shamir said. What are Jews allowed to do - Only to be killed, only to be wounded, only to be defeated.''

    1992: Singer Ofra Haza and the Amka Oshrat Yeminite Dance Troupe appear in concert as part of “Israel: The Next Generation.”

    1993: The New York Times reported that a United States Senator from Hawaii, the Brooklyn-born chief rabbi of an Israeli West Bank community, and an organization of disabled Israeli war veterans will receive the 10th annual Defender of Jerusalem Awards. The $100,000 prize that will be divided among the recipients will be presented by the Jabotinsky Foundation Thursday at the Plaza Hotel. The foundation is named for Vladimir Jabotinsky, a Zionist, philosopher and mentor of many Israeli leaders. Being honored this year are Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, founder of the settlement of Efrat on the West Bank, where he is described as a peace-keeper and arbitrator between Jews and Palestinians, and the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, which operates two sports, rehabilitation and social centers in Tel Aviv and Haifa and is building a facility in Jerusalem. The purpose of the prize, said Eryk Spektor, founder and chairman of the Jabotinsky Foundation, "is to honor people who have stood up in the defense of Jewish rights."

    1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of interest to Jewish readers including Hitler’s Banker: Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht by John Weitz and Shadows on the Hudson by Isaac Bashevis Singer; translated by Joseph Sherman.

    1999:Yitzhak Mordechai completed his service as Minister of Defense.

    2001: Israel's state-owned power utility said today that it planned to buy more than half of its $3 billion supply of natural gas over the next decade from Egypt, after receiving an offer that was 20 to 30 percent lower than domestic prices. Israel Electric said it would enter detailed negotiations to buy the gas from Eastern Mediterranean Group, which involves Israel's Merhav Group and Egypt's state-owned oil company. Other gas will come from an Israeli supplier. The purchase could establish the strongest economic tie between the two nations since they signed a peace treaty in 1978.

    2001:After a 48-hour hiatus, Israelis and Palestinians resumed their peace talks today still hoping for a diplomatic breakthrough, though increasingly dubious about a full-fledged agreement before the February 6 election in Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Barak told an Israeli business group today that he did not believe there would be an agreement before the election, in which he is being challenged by the hawkish Ariel Sharon. But Israeli and Palestinian negotiators greeted each other warmly after a two-day suspension of talks and immediately began more intensive bargaining.

    2002:A Palestinian suicide bomber wounded more than two dozen people when he blew himself up today in a pedestrian mall in a Tel Aviv neighborhood of populated largely by immigrant workers.

    2003:On the first day of his trial, an Israeli Arab student denied that he had tried to hijack an El Al jetliner and force it to slam into a skyscraper in Tel Aviv. Tawfiq Foqara, 23, told the court that during the November 17 flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul he had a dispute with a flight attendant who yelled at him. He said he had been humiliated by the flight attendant who he said picked on him because he was an Arab. He testified that he pulled a penknife out of his pocket and grabbed her arm when the plane approached Istanbul, but was immediately overpowered by passengers. Mr. Foqara faces up to five years in prison if convicted of attempted hijacking.

    2003: The Guardian published an article entitled “Solzhenitsyn breaks last taboo of the revolution; Nobel laureate under fire for new book on the role of Jews in Soviet-era,” in which Nick Paton reviews Two Hundred Years Together by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
     [Ed. Note: The article is reproduced in its entirety to provide a sense of what one of the most acclaimed writers of the 20th century had to say about Jews. He seemed to comprehend the fact that Communists like Trotsky had rejected Judaism and to remind us that for Jews, Russia is a good place “to be from” regardless of who is in charge]

    2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Bubble of American Supremacy: Correcting the Misuse of American Power by George Soros, Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates, Collect Poems by Paul Auster and a newly released paperback edition of A Saint, More or Less by Henry Grunwald.

    2004:Today Israel's high court suspended for 30 days the state's efforts to expel the Palestinian father of an Israeli soldier, pending a hearing on granting him the right to remain in Israel.

    2005(15th of Shevat, 5765): Tu B'Shevat

    2006:The Tenafly Jewish community has won a six-year battle with local officials over the right to place symbolic plastic strips on utility poles to create an enclosure that would allow them to perform certain restricted activities on the Sabbath.  By a 5-0 vote, the Borough Council of Tenafly agreed to allow the strips to be used to create an enclosure known as an eruv.

    2007(6th of Sh'vat, 5767):Sydney Simon Shulemson, DFC, died today in Florida. Born in 1915, he “was a Canadian fighter pilot, and Canada's highest decorated Jewish soldier, during World War II .Growing up in Montreal, Shulemson attended McGill University. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on September 10, 1939, and graduated from flight school in 1942. He joined RCAF 404 Squadron in Wick in Scotland, flying a Bristol Beaufighter. Shulemson downed a German flying boat on his first sortie. He pioneered techniques for rocket attacks on Axis ships in the North Atlantic. After the war, Shulemson located aircraft and recruited pilots for Israel's growing Israeli Air Force.”

    2007: In Derby, UK, Holocaust Memorial Day Service

    2007: Speaker of the Knesset Dalia Itzik became acting President of Israel when President Moshe Katzav took a three month long leave of absence.

    2008: In Iowa Citythe funeral is held for orthopedic surgeon Dr. Webster B. Gelman, recipient of the 1985 University of Iowa Alumnae Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award who passed away at the age of 89.

    2008: First Musical Shabbat Service at TempleJudah in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

    2008: Rami Zuari, a 20 year old Border Police officer killed during a terrorist attack at an East Jerusalem checkpoint was buried in the military cemetery at Be’er Sheva, his home town.

    2008: In Great Britainat Friday Prayers the community of Ahmadi Muslims in the UKsay the following prayer in commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day. "Sunday 27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day in UK. We pray that people learn to recognize, accept and respect their differences. People of all races and faiths are God’s people. May everyone accept this truth so that the world can look forward to a peaceful future. May God enable people to remain close to their Creator, follow His teachings of peace, and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Amen."

    2009: Politics and Prose Bookstore hosts a reading from Words that Burn Within Me: Faith, Values, Survival, a collection of notebooks by Hilda Stern Cohen containing poetry and recollections of life in 1930s Germany, which was discovered by her husband, Werner Cohen, after her death in 1997.

    2009: The 5th annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival closes this evening with a showing of “Children of the Sun,” written and directed by Ran Tal and the winner of Israel's Academy Award for Best Documentary. 

    2009: The New York Timesincludes reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Benjamin Disraeli by Adam Kirsch and Ballet’s Magic: Selected Writings on Dance in Russia, 1911-1925by Akim Volynsky; edited and translated by Stanley J. Rabinowitz. Akim Volynsky was the pen name of Chaim Leib Flekser who was born in 1861 into an Orthodox Jewish family of booksellers in Ukraine.

    2009: The New York Timesreports that the kosher symbol, intended to show consumers that the contents adhere to Jewish dietary laws, was mistakenly left off 14 million boxes of Thin Mints, the variety that accounts for roughly 25 percent of Girl Scout cookie sales, said Raymond Baxter, president and chief executive of Interbake Foods, the parent company of ABC Bakers of Richmond, Va., one of two approved manufacturers of the cookies. Proofreaders missed the mistake. But a customer noticed in November that the symbol — a circled U accompanied by a D for dairy — was missing, said Brian Crawford, an executive at the Scouts’ New York headquarters. (Some troops sell cookies in the fall, though most sales are held January through March.) ABC Bakers quickly sent letters explaining the oversight (and showing proof of kosher certification from the Orthodox Union) to Scout councils. Rabbi Yisroel Bendelstein of the Orthodox Union, who has fielded perhaps a half-dozen calls about the cookies, said he hoped the letters would “obviate any concerns.” Thin Mints, the rabbi said, are his favorite Girl Scout cookie.

    2009 (29 Tevet 5769):Rabbi Leon Klenicki, a pioneer in interfaith relations passed away today according to an announcement from the Anti-Defamation League, where he served as director emeritus of interfaith affairs. A leading figure in efforts to promote Jewish-Christian understanding, Klenicki was made a Papal Knight by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 in recognition of his historic contributions to improving relations between Catholics and Jews. He worked for the ADL for 28 years before his retirement in 2001. Klenicki, a renowned scholar and theologian, wrote numerous books and articles on Catholic-Jewish issues. A native of Argentina, Klenicki was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati. He was a member of an Argentine government commission to investigate Nazi activities in Argentina from 1933 to 1945.  

    2010: The 19th annual New York Jewish Film Festival is scheduled to present the New York premiere “Leap of Faith,” a documentary about the difficulties that four families face when they abandons their traditions and embrace Judaism.

    2010: The Brooklyn Israel Film Festival is scheduled to close this evening with a screening of the 2008 Israel Academy Award for Best Documentary, ‘Children of the Sun.”

    2010 (10th of Tevet): Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok Schneersohn, sixth Rebbe of the Chabad Lubavitch movement who was also known as the Friediker Rebbe or "Previous Rebbe."One year later, to the day, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Rebbe assumed the leadership position of the worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch movement.


    2010: At the Sundance Festival the first screening of “A Film Unfinished.”Yael Hersonski’s powerful documentary achieves a remarkable feat through its penetrating look at another film—the now-infamous Nazi-produced film about the Warsaw Ghetto. Discovered after the war, the unfinished work, with no soundtrack, quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record, despite its elaborate propagandistic construction. The later discovery of a long-missing reel complicated earlier readings, showing the manipulations of camera crews in these “everyday” scenes. Well-heeled Jews attending elegant dinners and theatricals (while callously stepping over the dead bodies of compatriots) now appeared as unwilling, but complicit, actors, alternately fearful and in denial of their looming fate. Hersonski relentlessly screens each reel as ghetto survivors and (amazingly) one of the original cameramen recall actual events, investing the cryptic scenes with detail, complexity, and authority. Rigorous in its regard for human tragedy and the power of images, A Film Unfinished indicts both the evil and the astounding narcissism of the Nazi state.

    2010: The week after Miep Gies, passed away, Elie Wiesel wrote the following about her in Time magazine.

     Miep Gies entered history without wanting to. She did what many others were too afraid to do: she risked her freedom, her life, in her determination to save Jews from deportation and death.From 1942 to '44, Gies, who died Jan. 11 at 100, helped shelter and feed Anne Frank and her family in an attic in Amsterdam, where at that time Jews were being branded, humiliated and condemned just because they were Jews. Her life remains a moral example for millions to follow. I met Gies much later and was impressed by her sincerity, the simplicity of her comments and the moving quality of her smile. Calm, soft and reserved, she radiated nobility and strength of character. She talked little and quietly, reflecting on the significance of every word. When speaking of the past, she seemed to relive it. Naturally, I knew much about her life. Anne's immortal diary, which Gies found and gave to Otto Frank after the war, was filled with praise for her devotion and sacrifice.I asked her where she had found the courage to defy the Gestapo during the dark days of the occupation, and she protested. "I did nothing heroic or extraordinary," she said. "Human beings were in peril, and I had to care for them." But for the Franks, she represented all that is good and generous. She was the incarnation of hope.

    2011: The New York Premiere of Black Bus, which “tells story of two young women who chose to leave their close-knit Haredi communities in Israel and are, as a consequence, estranged from their families” is scheduled to take place at The New York Jewish Film Festival.

    2011:David Makovsky and Ghaith al-Omari with Jane Eisner are scheduled to lead a discussion entitled “Israelis and Palestinians: Poised Between Crisis and Opportunity” at the 92nd Street Y.  

    2011:To mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2011, the Wiener Library is scheduled to hold a special lecture by Prof Clare Ungerson on The Kitchener Camp, a largely forgotten camp established in 1939 for 4000 male Jewish refugees situated near Sandwich in East Kent. “The Kitchener camp, a derelict site which had previously been an army camp, was taken over by the Council for German Jewry at the beginning of 1939 as a result of pressure from the Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland to rescue threatened Jews from Germany and Austria. Conditions for admission were that inmates must be aged between 18 and 40 and that they have a definite prospect of emigration overseas. The camp began receiving refugees in February 1939 and ended with the outbreak of war in September after which most of the inmates chose to enlist in the British army. Three young English Jews, Jonas and Phineas May and M Banks, who were later to become commissioned officers in the Pioneer Corps, were put in charge of the management of the camp.”  Located in London, the Wiener Library describes itself “The World’s Oldest Holocaust Memorial Institution.” 

    2011: Police Commissioner David Cohen said today that he was concerned by the possibility of ideology-based murders against public officials in Israel.

    2011: The international department of the prosecution services failed to obtain the extradition from Peru of former judge Dan Cohen, wanted in Israel on charges of bribery, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of justice, the government informed the department today.

    2011:After a preliminary hearing today determined that the issue should be handled in the courts, the Jerusalem Labor Court will be deciding over the next few months whether rabbinic ordination should be recognized as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, vis-à-vis the Civil Service Commission’s prerequisites for the position of a supervisor in the haredi educational system. .


    2011:Nominations for the 83rd annual Academy Awards, announced this morning, were good for the Jews. Shoo-ins Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) and Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”) got Best Actress and Actor nods, respectively. James Franco, whose mother is Jewish, also scored a Best Actor nod for his role in “127 Hours.” “Black Swan” director Darren Aronofsky earned a Best Director nomination, along with “True Grit” helmers Joel and Ethan Coen. “The Fighter” director David O. Russell, son of a Jewish father and Italian-American mother, also got a Best Director nomination. Jews also ruled the screenwriting categories. Debra Granik scored a nod in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for the brutal “Winter’s Bone,” while Hollywood vet Aaron Sorkin earned his for Facebook docudrama “The Social Network,” as did fellow A-lister Scott Silver for scrappy Boston epic “The Fighter.” In the same category, the Coen Brothers won the Academy’s attention for their highly acclaimed adaptation of Charles Portis’ 1968 novel “True Grit.” British improv-drama icon Mike Leigh was nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for “Another Year,” his sobering look at happiness — and the lack thereof — among the British chattering classes. And British-born, Long Island-raised David Seidler got his first Oscar nomination — in the Original Screenplay slot — for “The King’s Speech”. Semites didn’t fare as well in the Best Supporting Actor or Actress categories, though 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld — reportedly the daughter of a Jewish dad and black/Filipino mom — got a nod for her widely lauded turn as vengeful tween Mattie Ross in “True Grit.”


    2011:Misaskim reported that Nazi-era RIF soap was handed over to the organization for burial.

    2011:A Jewish hockey player has sued the National Hockey League's Anaheim Ducks for religious discrimination and harassment based on religion. Jason Bailey, 23, in a lawsuit filed today in California's Orange County Superior Court, accused the coaches of one of the Ducks' affiliate teams of making anti-Semitic remarks and harassment. Bailey said he was subjected to "a barrage of anti-Semitic, offensive and degrading verbal attacks regarding his Jewish faith" by Martin Raymond, head coach of the Bakersfield Condors. The suit says assistant head coach Mark Pederson also made anti-Semitic remarks about Bailey.The suit claims that Bailey was the victim of religious discrimination, harassment based on religion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and retaliation. It asserts that he lost income, benefits and suffered humiliation, according to CNN. Bailey was drafted by the Ducks in 2005, but has not played in the NHL. He was traded last year and now plays right wing for the Binghamton Senators, a farm team for the Ottawa Senators. (As reported by JTA)

    2011(20th of Shevat, 5771): Ninety-one year old Daniel Bell, the writer, editor, sociologist and teacher who over seven decades came to epitomize the engaged intellectual as he struggled to reveal the past, comprehend the present and anticipate the future, died today at his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 91. (As reported by Michael T. Kaufman)


    2012: The David Harris & David Harris Comedy and Variety Show with Special Guests, The Chosen Few are scheduled to appear at the Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival.

    2012: At the New York Jewish Film Festival “The Silent Historian” is scheduled to have its U.S. Premiere and “Joann Sfar Draws From Memory” is scheduled to have its World Premiere.

    2012(1st of Shevat, 5772): Rosh Chodesh Shevat


    2012:Palestinian Authority officials said today that a fifth meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Amman scheduled for later in the day would be the final meeting, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.


    2012: Hackers attacked the websites of two Israeli hospitals today, managing to bring down the sites for several hours in the latest round of the ongoing cyber war between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian hackers.

    2012: Representative “Gabby” Giffords officially resigned from the House of Representatives.


    2013:The Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm officially announced that Jeffrey Jacob “J.J.”Abrams would be the director and producer of Star Wars Episode VII, the latest entry in the Star Wars film saga

    2013: “Yossi,” a sequel to Eytan Fox’s “Yossi and Jagger” is scheduled to open in New York City.

    2013: The Alexandria Kleztet is scheduled to perform at Old Town Hall in Fairfax, VA.

    2013: As an indication of the vitality of Yiddishkeit in the Heartland, the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Hadassah Chapter is scheduled to sponsor a Tu B’Shevat Seder and Soup Supper preceding Shabbat Services at Temple Judah. 

    2013:Austrian parliamentarians and invited guests gathered today to watch the premiere of an opera depicting how Nazis methodically killed mentally or physically deficient children at a Vienna hospital during World War II.

    2013:Rabbis in Winnipeg have criticized a decision by the Jewish community center in the Canadian city to open earlier on Shabbat.

    2014: The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston is scheduled to host the Houston Choreographers X6 Concert.

    2014: In Rockville, MD, Congregation Tikvat Israel is scheduled to show “Hunting Elephants” as part of its Israeli Film Festival.


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    January 26

    1531: Three tremors shake Portugal and numerous houses are destroyed in Lisbon by an earthquake which the Pope and others believe confirm the prediction of suffering made by Solomon Molcho who was seeking relief for Jews and Marranos.

    1654: MAJOR DATE IN THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMUNITY.  With the capture of Pernambuco (Recife) from the Dutch, Portugal retook Peru and Brazil. The Jews, (numbering approximately 5,000) having fought on the side of the Dutch, fled for the most part to Amsterdam. Hundreds also escaped to North America, with 23 eventually arriving in New Amsterdam

    1664(28th of Tevet): Rabbi Berechiah Berakh ben Isaac Shapiro of Cracow author of Zera Beirakh passed away

    1689:Jean Racine's "Esther" premieres in Saint-Cyr.Racine's last plays, “Esther” (1689) and “Athalie” (1691), each of which were based on Biblical figures were commissioned by King Louis XIV's wife.

    1736: As the Kingdom of Poland continues to unravel, Stanislaus I abdicated his throne during a period of increasing anti-Semitism.  Twenty eight years after the abdication, the Austrians, Prussians and Russians would begin to partition Poland much to the detriment of the Jewish people who had originally been “invited” to settle in Poland.

    1755 (14th of Shevat, 5515): Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua Falk Katz passed away. Born in 1680, he was the author of the Talmudic work "P'nei Yehoshua." He served as rabbi of Lemberg (Lvov) in 1718, Berlinin 1730, Metz in 1734 and Frankfurt in 1740.

    1761(21st of Shevat): Rabbi Judah Navon, author of KIryat Melekh Rav passed away.

    1788: The British First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson, Australia with the goal of establishing the first permanent English settlement in “the land down under.” According to at least one source there 15 Jews on board including Esther Abrahams.

    1804: Birthdate of Eugane "Marie Joseph" Sue France, novelist and author of The Wandering Jew. It is a tale of good and evil. This time the villain was a Jesuit clerk, Rodin, who is after the Wandering Jew's treasure, which has been gathering interest over the centuries. The descendants of a man, who once aided the cursed wanderer, are summoned to Paris to receive the fortune. Rodin represents the oppression of Church, the Jew stands for dispossessed laborers and his female counterpart Herodias for downtrodden womankind.

    1808: In Australia, the Rum Rebellion began today when troops under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel George Johnston deposed Governor William Bligh. Esther Abrahams, who had come to the land down under as part of the First Fleet was Johnston’s common-law wife. (Bligh was the captain of the infamous HMS Bounty)

    1814: Edmund Kean opened in the role of Shylock at Drury Lane Theatre rousing “the audience to almost uncontrollable enthusiasm.”

    1837:  Michigan is admitted as the 26th state in the Union.  By the time Michigan joined the union, Jews had been living there for at least three quarters of a century.  The first known Jewish settler, Ezekiel Solomon arrived in what is now Mackinaw city in 1761. Chapman Abraham arrived in Detroit a year later.  Abraham was a Loyalist who fought on the side of the British during the Revolutionary War.  Other early Jewish residents of what would become the Wolverine state were Louis Benjamin who suffered a loss during Detroit’s great fire in 1805 and Frederick E. Cohen, the portrait painter, who had arrived in Michigan by 1837. In reality there were only a handful of Jews living in Michigan at the time of statehood.  . The real growth of the Michigan Jewish community began in the 1840’s with the arrival of German Jews the most prominent group of which was the forty-eighters. The first synagogue would be formed in 1850, as Congregation Beth El.  For more about the Michigan Jewish community you might consider reading Jews In Michigan by Judith Levin Cantor.

    1841: British forces occupy Hong Kong.  Hong Kong would not formally become a possession of the crown for another year at which time Jewish merchants including members of the Sassoon and Kadoorie families, opened offices and established a community that would build a Jewish Club and the Ohel Leah Synagouge.

    1851(23rd of Shevat, 5611):Leon Vita Saraval passed away. Born at Triest in 1771, he was a bibliophile and author whose “entire library” was purchased for the Breslau seminary in 1853.

    1856: “Charitable Bequest of the Late Baron Rothschild” an article published today described the fortune of the Rothschild family, paying special attention to the spending habits and will of the late Amschel Mayer Rothschild, the second child and oldest son of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the founding father of the banking dynasty.  While Rothschild’s personal habits “were extremely simple” he shared his wealth with Jews and Gentiles.  During his life time he distributed at least 50,000 florins per year to 2,600 Christian families.  While his mother was alive, he visited her daily in the original family home on “The Street of the Jews’; a home he was never able to convince her to leave so she could take up residence in a dwelling more fitting with her economic status .  The Baron’s will which was written in 1849, was intended to dispose of a fortune calculated at sixty million florins when he passed away in 1855.  Among other bequests, he left 1,200,000 florins for the establishment of a foundation for the poor of Frankfort intended “to keep up the weekly distribution of alms at the ‘Old Rothschild ‘ house in the Street of the Jews,”  25,000 florins for Jewish hospitals, 5,000 florins for Jewish schools and 20,000 florins “for various Christian charitable institutions.”  Two of his bequests have special meaning for those aware of Jewish laws and customs.  In an apparent attempt to follow the rules of Maimonides on charity he gave 10,000 florins “to the society for encouraging Jewish traders and workmen.  And in an echo of the morning prayer  which says that “participating in making a wedding”  is one of the things to be done while waiting for the World-to-Come,  he bequeathed the interest on 50,000 florins to be used as perpetual fund “to furnish dowers to Jewish maidens.”  Baron Rothschild was not the only member of his family to know financial success.  According to the article, Baron Charles left an estate of 17 million florins and Baron Solomon left an estate of 48 million florins.

    1862:An Imperial ukase was published in St. Petersburg, Russia,  “permitting Jews to enter every branch of the State service; permitting Jewish merchants to reside anywhere, and granting other concessions to the Jews.”

    1863(6thof Shevat, 5623): A. Robinson, a soldier serving with the 15thGeorgia passed away today. His passing was later commemorated by the Hebrew Ladies Memorial Association of Richmond, VA.

    1868(2nd of Shevat, 5628):Jacob Raphael De Cordova, Texas land agent and colonizer passed away.


    1881: In Leadville, CO, Morris and Rosa Altman were married.

    1884: Birthdate of Edward Sapir, German-born anthropologist and linguist.  He was on the faculty of the University of Chicago and Yale until his death until 1939.

    1890: The annual convention of the Grand Lodge of District No. 1, of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith will open this morning at New York in Vienna Hall (more for 2014)

    1891: It was reported today that a story persists that the Jews’ desire to buy the Vatican’s copy of the Hebrew Bible goes back to the 16thcentury.  In 1512, the Jews offered to buy the book from Pope Julius for a sum equivalent to $100,000 and may have recently made an offer of $200,000 for the holy book. (More for 2014)

    1891: Birthdate of Ilya G Ehrenburgprolific Russian writer and journalist.  Born into a middle class Jewish family living in Kiev, Ehrenburg was able to navigate the treacherous waters of the Soviet Union pursuing his career even during the days of Stalin’s anti-Semitic outbursts and dying peacefully in 1967. 

    1891: It was reported today that Rabbi Gustav Gottheil had delivered an address in which he noted “the absence of any united effort on the part of Christendom…to prevent…the persecution of the Jews of Russia.” (more for 2014)

    1892: A charity ball sponsored by the Jews of Philadelphia, PA is scheduled to take place tonight. The ball is the third and final of the city’s annual charity balls and “has for years been marked by the lavish display of feminine finery and jewelry of the most gorgeous description.”

    1892: Four thousand people attended the ball sponsored by the Hebrew Orphan Asylum which was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

    1892: “To Aid Russian Refugees” published today described efforts by the Jews of Pittsburg to form a branch of the New York Relief Association which is connected to the Baron Hirsch Fund. The Jews in Pittsburgh plan on collecting sums ranging from $10 to $20 which will help to create a fund to help settle Jewish immigrants in “Western cities” away from New York.
    1893: The members and patrons of the Hebrew Technical Institute held their annual meeting tonight at Temple Emanu-El.

    1894: “The committee appointed by the Trades and Labor Conference to make arrangements for the upcoming mass meeting at Madison Square Garden’ which will be addressed by Samuel Gompers on the subject of find work for the unemployed during the current economic depression” is scheduled to meet today.

    1894: Isaac Bergmann, an unemployed tailor, is being held today after tried to slit his own throat

    1895: During his speech at the monthly meeting of the Democratic Club of the City of New York, Senator David B. Hill acknowledged the growing importance of Jewish voters when in his call for party unity he included “Hebrew Democrats” among the other ethnic groups making up the party’s coalition including the Irish, the Italians, the Germans and those living in Harlem.

    1896: The members of the Hebrew Infantile Asylum Association met today at the synagogue on east 86th Street.

    1896: It was reported this week that Sarah Bernhardt who is returning to the New York stage is “still the same great actress.”

    1896: It was reported today that Sarah Bernhardt will play the role of Marguerite in an upcoming theatrical production in New York.

    1896: Rabbi Gustav Gottheil delivered an address this morning at Temple Emanu-El entitled “The Safe Monroe Doctrine.”

    1896: New York University Law School professor Isaac Franklin Russell delivered a lecture to members of the Russian-American Hebrew Association at the Hebrew Institute.

    1896: “Another Heine Chapter” published today described the History of the Heine Memorial Fountain which has been rejected by “the cities of Mayence and Dusseldorf…for political reasons” and may now be denied a “home” in New York’s Central Park. At least one opponent, Paul Dana denied that “Heine’s works or religion ever figured” in the opposition.

    1898: It was reported today that in Algiers a mob attacked Jews who were riding on an omnibus.

    1898: It was reported today that Mrs. Saul Jacobs fainted outside of a New York court room following her husband’s conviction for having been part of scheme to swindle Max Bernstein out of $13,192.75 by passing off a load of painted brass as gold from Siberia.

    1899(15th of Shevat, 5659): Final celebration of Tu B’Shevat in the 19th century.

    1904(9th of Shevat, 5664): Fifty-five year old Austrian born novelist Karl Emil Franzos passed away.

    1904: Theodor Herzl had an audience with Pope Pius X in the Vatican to seek his support for the Zionist effort to establish a Jewish state in Palestine

    1905: The New York Times publishes a letter from Henry S. Morias reminding readers of Benjamin Disraeli’s support for the Unionduring the Civil War. Rabbi Morias, the son of Sabato Morais was a well-known Jewish journalist who served in the pulpits of numerous east coast congregations.

    1907: A law establishing national quotas in the 515 seat Austrian Parliament would lead to five Jewish deputies (4 Zionist and 1 Jewish Democrat) being chosen in the next national elections.

    1908: The funeral for Leopold Wallach, who studied law at Harvard, was a “senior member of the law firm of Wallach & Cook and the husband of Theresa Lichtenstadter is scheduled to take place at his resident at 9:30 this morning.

    1912:Aaron Hahn, a delegate from CuyahogaCountyto Ohio Constitutional Convention, suggests a provision be made in the state constitution for prohibition of sectarian religious instruction. A Rabbi named Aaron Hahn had served as the spiritual leader of Cleveland’s Tifereth Israelbut we can find no verifiable evidence that these are one and the same person.

    1913: In Boston, Anshe Slavita dedicated a new facility.

    1913: The New York Times reviews The Romance of the Rothschilds by Ignatius Balla a book which the great bankers whose name adorns its title-page allegedly are endeavoring to suppress in Englandand which shortly will be published in this country by G.P. Putnam's Sons. According to Balla, “A passion for old coins and skill as a chess player formed the basis for the most colossal fortune ever conceived in the brain of a romancer or recorded among the facts of history.”

    1914: In New York, Louis and Kate (née Lautkin) Wolkind gave birth to Phoebe Wolkind who married Henry Ephron in 1934 and gained game as writer Phoebe Ephron the mother of Nora, Delia, Hallie and Amy Ephron.

    1916: In Leeds (UK) Lithuanian immigrants Tilly Cohen Newman and Joseph Newman gave birth to Isidore “Izzy” Newman who served with SOE in WW II.

    1916: In New York, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Finkelstein gave birth to “Jerry Finkelstein, who made a fortune in business, real estate and newspapers, including The New York Law Journal and The Hill, and for many years was a self-styled Democratic power broker” (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)

    1916: Jewish Socialist political leader Morris Hillquit was part of a three person delegation to President Wilson to advocate part of the Socialist Party's peace program, which proposed that "the President of the United States convoke a congress of neutral nations, which shall offer mediation to the belligerents and remain in permanent session until the termination of the war." [Editor’s note: For those of you not acquainted with U.S. history, at this point the United States was not a participant in the Great War and most of her citizens wanted it to stay that way.  In the fall, Wilson would be re-elected on a platform of He Kept Us Out of War.  It was only after America entered the war and during the Red Scare of 1919 that what Hillquit and others like him expounded would come to be consider ‘un-American’ or treasonous.)

    1917: Seventy-five years after the opening of the Burton Street Synagogue, The Jewish Chronicle said today that “virtually all the bitterness of the Reform controversy has – Heaven be praised! – passed”, but added a sting in the tail that “Reform has made no important constructive contribution to the religious life of the community”.

    1917: The Italian government sent twelve thousand Lire ($2,400) to the Governor of Tripoli for the Jewish poor.

    1918: Birthdate of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Regardless of his other "shortcomings" from a Jewish point of Ceausescu is memorable for his refusal to break diplomatic relations with Israelafter the June, 1967 War.  Romania was the only Eastern European country to defy the Soviets which had ordered all of her client states to break relations with Israel.

    1919: In Poland, Jewish parties receive about 10% of the votes during the election for the constituent assembly.  But the under the electoral system in use, they get only 11 out of 394 seats

    1920:Amadeo Modigliani's mistress jumps out of a window

    1921: Austrian born violinist Erika Morini made her American debut in New York City.

    1923: Final session of The Golden Jubilee Convention of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations was held at the Hotel Astor in New York City.

    1924: Birthdate of Houston native Annette Strauss who would become the first Jewish female mayor of Dallas, Texas.  She was the second woman elected to the position and the second Jew to serve in that capacity.

    1925: Birthdate of actor Paul Newman.  Newman’s father was Jewish.  His mother wasn’t

    1926: Birthdate of Stuart Etz Hample, a humorist who entertained children (and adults) as an author, playwright, adman, performer and cartoonist

    1928: In Trieste, Italy, an insurance executive named Ottocaro Weiss and the former Ortensia Schmitz, a violinist and a niece of the novelist Italo Svevo, gave birth to Piero Weiss. Weiss fled fascist Italy and came to America in 1940 where he gained fame as a concert pianist and recording artist before turning to musicology where he became an author and co-author of books in the field, including a widely used textbook, and founded the music history department at the Peabody Conservatory. (As reported by James R. Oestreich

    1929(15thof Shevat, 5689): Final Tu B’Shevat celebration of the “roaring 20’s.” (For the next 15 years the holiday would be observed in a period of Depression and World War)

    1929: Birthdate of cartoonist and writer Jules Feiffer. Jules Feiffer's cartoons ran in Playboy and The Village Voice for decades. Feiffer's work appeared often in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Nation, and was nationally syndicated. In 1986, Feiffer won a Pulitzer Prize for political cartoons, and from 1997-2000 he drew monthly op-ed comics in The New York Times.

    1930: Birthdate of A. N. Solomons chairman of Singer & Friedlander.

    1933:The Jack Benny Program is broadcast for the last time on CBS Radio.

    1934: Germany and Poland sign a ten-year nonaggression pact. This was one of the first steps of acceptance of the Hitler regime by the governments of Europe. Five years later, the Poles would find out that Germans did not really mean it.

    1934 Josef Pilsudski signed a ten-year peace pact with Hitler. That same year the Warsaw authorities, observing the impotence of the League of Nations in dealing with the German problem, decided to repudiate the Minorities Treaty signed under duress at Versailles.

    1935: In a speech before 3,800 people at the MeccaTemple, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Zionist Revisionist leader urged his listeners to put the development of a Jewish national state in Palestineahead of all other issues related to economic and political development.

    1938: The Palestine Post reported that Mordecai Uhana, the sole Jewish resident of Ramallah, a cobbler who lived had there for 34 years, was shot while at work and badly wounded. The driver and a passenger of a Givat Shaul bus were shot and hit on their way to Jerusalem. Nissim Dorani, a lorry driver, was killed by a bomb, thrown at him at Km. 5 on the Jaffa-Jerusalem Road. Twenty children, eight women and two men, all of them Jewish, were arrested as illegal immigrants at Safed. Three Arab terrorists were executed at Acre.

    1939: In light of the news that German scientists in Berlinhad split the uranium nucleus, Leo Szilard wired the British Admiralty, the keeper of his 1935 patent on chain reactions, to disregard his earlier letter telling them to cancel his patent. 

    1940: At a prison camp in Siberia, Isaac Babel is found guilty of belonging to an anti-Soviet Trotskyite organization and with spying for France and Austria after a twenty minute trial. He is condemned to death and will be shot tomorrow.

    1940: Nazis denied Polish Jews the right to travel on trains. One cannot help but see a note of irony in this decree.

    1942 (8th of Shevat, 5702):  At Stari Becej, Hungary, 200 Jews and Serbs were slaughtered. At Titel, 35 Jews killed. At Teofipol, 300 Jews marched naked for three miles and then are shot.

    1943:230 women of the French Resistance began “began their internment at Birkenau, the main women’s camp at Auschwitz” (For more see A Train In Winter by Caroline Weber)

    1944: Birthdate of Denise Eisenberg who gained fame as Denise Rich who played a key role in obtaining the “mid-night” pardon for her ex-husband Marc Rich by donating millions to charities controlled by William Jefferson Clinton.

    1945: In England, Derek and Iris du Pré gave birth to classical cellist Jacqueline Mary du Pré who married Daniel Barenboim at the Western Wall.

    1945(12th of Shevat, 5705):Abba Berditchev was murdered by the Nazis. A native of Romania, he was detained by the British when he entered Palestine illegally.  He volunteered for service in the British army and he “parachuted into Yugoslavia with Chana Senesh, Reuven Dafni and Yonah Rosen. Berditchev’s mission was to assist the Jews, gather intelligence and help rescue members of the air forces who were captured or had parachuted into Romania. . After two months of fighting in the mountains, Berditchev was captured by the Germans and transferred in December 1944 to Mauthausen along with other captives, where he was brutally tortured before he was murdered by the Nazis.” (As reported by Yad Vashem)

    1945: The Virgin Island Daily News reported that Peter de Hemmer Gudme, journalist, Oriental scholar and author of two philo-semtic tomes “From Nebuchadnezzar to Hitler” and “A Sketch of the History of Zionism” died while in the hands of the Gestapo in Copenhagen.  Born in 1897, he was the brother of Sten Gudme who has been working in London on behalf of the Free Danish government.  [Ed note: The Gudmes were not Jewish; they were just decent human beings.]

    1945: One thousand Jewish women interned at the Neusalz, Poland, slave-labor camp are set on a month-and-a-half-long forced march to the concentration camp at Flossenbürg, Germany, about 200 miles to the southwest. Along the way, 800 are beaten and shot.

    1946: Birthdate of noted Anglo-Jewish historian Jonathan Irvine Israel.

    1946: Birthdate of movie critic, Gene Siskel.  He was part of the t.v. duo of Siskel and Ebert.

    1947: Joseph B. Levin was assigned to the Office of Opinion Writing at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.  Mr. Levin had joined the SEC in 1942 while it was still located in Washington, DC.  At the time of his appointment, the Commission had not returned to Washington from its wartime headquarters in Philadelphia, PA.

    1948(15th of Shevat, 5708): Tu B’Shevat

    1948 (15th of Shevat, 5708): Composer, Ignaz Friedman passed away at the age of 65. Born in 1882,Ignaz Friedman (also spelled Ignace or Ignacy) was a Polish pianist and composer famous for his Chopin interpretations

    1949: Switzerland recognized Israel.

    1951: Temple Beth Israel of Meridian, Miss.became the first Jewish congregation to allow women to perform the functions of a rabbi.

    1952: In Cairo, the main Cicurel Department Store was destroyed by a fire set either by the Muslim Brotherhood or militant nationalists. The store was part of chain started in 1909 by Moreno Cicurel an Egyptian Jew who was both active in Jewish and Egyptian community affairs.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the unexpected delay in the ratification of the Reparations Agreement with West Germany upset the Ministry of Finance budget calculations.

    1954: Prime Minister Churchill urges the members of his cabinet to support a policy of open navigation through the Suez Canal, which is another way of saying he was calling on the British government to support all measures to force the Egyptian government to open the waterway to ships traveling to and from Israel. 

    1954: David Ben-Gurion steps down as Minister of Defense, a position he had held since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

    1954: Pinchas Lavon becomes the second person to hold the position of Minister of Defense

    1968 (25th of Tevet, 5728): The British Admiralty reported the Dakar, an Israeli submarine, was missing and gave the last known position as 100 miles (160 km) west of Cyprus

    1973 (23rd of Shevat, 5733): Famed actor Edward G. Robinson, born Emanuel Goldenberg, passed away.

    1976: Israelopened the "Good Fence" to Lebanon. 

    1976: David Mamet's "American Buffalo" premiered in New York City.

    1976: Birthdate of William “Willie” Adler, guitarist who played with the Lamb of God.

    1978: In Cairo, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat announced that serious negotiations were going on behind the scenes on the stalled peace talks and that the US officials expressed hope that the current rift with Israel will soon be over.

    1980: Israeland Egypt established diplomatic relations

    1981:Finance Minister Yigal Hurvitz and two other Likud members of the Knesset broke away from the Likud to form Rafi - National List.

    1986: Nine days after Spain and Israel established full diplomatic relations, Jerusalem designated Shmuel Hadas, “its unofficial envoy in Madrid to become its first ambassador to Spain.”  The Madrid government had already designed Pedro Lopez Aguirrebengoa, its former ambassador to Greece “to head the new Spanish Embassy in Tel Aviv.”

    1986:''Between the Wars: The Bronx Express, a Portrait of the Jewish Bronx'' comes to a close at the Bronx Museum of the Arts

    1991: Flaws are becoming apparent in the Patriot air defense system deployed against Iraqi Scud missiles, with some warheads exploding and wreaking damage even though the missiles themselves are shot down. Those flaws were evident today, after Iraq fired four more Scud missiles at Tel Aviv and Haifa. The Israeli military said that Patriot defense missiles destroyed the four Scuds, but that at least one Scud warhead survived the midair collisions and exploded on the ground, causing some damage and slightly wounding two Israelis.

    1992: Final performance of in Rina Yerushalmi's adaptation of "Hamlet" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

    1996: “Rent” with Idina Menzel in the role of Maureen Johnson, moved from the New York Theatre Workshop (off-Broadway) to Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre “due to its popularity.”

    1997: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Moses Mystery: The African Origins of the Jewish People by Gary Greenberg and The Creation of Dr. B: A Biography of Bruno Bettelheimby Richard Pollak and Girls Onlyby Alex Witchel.

    1997: The New York Times published “The Antagonist as Liberator” by Amos Elon

    1997: In “The Man He Always Wanted to Be” Susan Boxer provides a detailed review of The Creation of Dr. B: A Biograph of Bruno Bettelheim by Richard Pollak.

    1998: During what will become known as the Monica Lewinsky Scandal, U.S. President Bill Clinton appeared on national and denied having had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

    2001:''Voyages'', Emmanuel Finkiel's film that deals with the Holocaust opens today at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.

    2001(2nd of Shevat, 5761): Eighty-one year old American political scientist Murray J. Edelman passed away. (As reported by Paul Lewis)

    2003: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish author and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush by David Frum, AMERIKA (The Man Who Disappeared) by Franz Kafka; translated by Michael Hofmann.An Amazing Adventure: Joe and Hadassah's Personal Notes on the 2000 Campaignby Joe Lieberman and Hadassah Lieberman with Sarah Crichton and newly released inpaperback Einstein’s’ Unfinished Symphony: Listening to the Sounds of Space-Time, by MarciaBartusiak. The author, a freelance science writer with a breezy yet careful style, tells of the efforts by scientists to detect and measure gravitational waves, which Einstein predicted would ripple through the fabric of space-time. Her account is ''informative and easy to read,'' DavidGoodstein wrote here in 2000. ''When a gravity wave is first detected, the reader of this book will feel like a participant in the great event.''

    2006: As part of events leading up to Holocaust Memorial Day observances in Poland, Holocaust survivors mixed with the young at the memorial to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto

    2006: The Fifteenth Annual Jewish Film Festival comes to an end in New York.

    2006: Hamas, an organization committed to the creation of a Palestinian state in all of the territory stretching from the Jordan to the Mediterraneanwon 76 of the 132 seats in the first parliamentary elections held in the PA in ten years.  The Hamas victory means that the terrorist organization can form a government without any coalition partners.  For many Israelis who had continued to look for an Arab partner for peace, the election results seemed to doom any hopes of peace.

    2006:  The board of directors of Hudson’s Bay Co., Canada’s largest chain of department stores, agreed to sell the venerable institution to Jerry Zucker.  Born in Israel, Zucker graduated with a triple major from the University of Florida. He is a resident of Charleston, South Carolinaand ranks #346 on the Forbes Four Hundred List of Richest Americans.

    2007: In a sign of growing acceptance of an expanded role for Israelis in international organization, The Jerusalem Post reported that Dr. Margaret Chan, the new director-general of the World Health Organization, has invited Israeli health professionals to contribute their experience and skills to the UN organization. The Chinese born, Canadian educated Chan told the Post that she welcomes from any member country including Israel.

    2008: Shabbat Yitro – The Giving of the Ten Commandments

    2008: In New York City, the 92nd St Y hosts Israeli Folk Dance: Winter Marathon, an “all-night dancing, guaranteed to chase your winter chills away”   as part of the Israel at 60 Celebration.

    2009:The American Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Jewish History present:
     “Stella in the Bois de Boulogne” a dramatic reading of a new play by Jane Wood and Tara Prem that brings alive the historic conflict between Stella Adler of the influential Jewish-American Adler acting dynasty and the controversial artistic director Lee Strasberg, and her subsequent meetings in Paris with Russian director Constantine Stanislavsky in 1934.

    2009: Rosh Chodesh Shevat, 5769.

    2009: Sports Illustratedreports that Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban was fined $25,000 for what the NBA called “improper interactions with Denver Nuggets players” during and a game on January 13.  Cuban has been fined 14 times by the league for fines totaling almost $1.5 million.

    2009:Faced with a decline in their operating budget and a shrinking endowment, the trustees of Brandeis University voted unanimously today to close the Rose Art Museum and sell its collection to help shore up the university’s finances. .

    2009:Brazilian Jack Terpins was unanimously re-elected president of the Latin American Jewish Congress. A longtime activist in Brazil, Terpins, 61, recently finished his term as president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, Brazil's Jewish umbrella organization.

    2009: In an Agriprocessor Doubleheader Leah Rubashkin, 36, wife of former Agriprocessors CEO Sholom Rubashkin, testified in a bail appeal hearing that cash found in their home during a search was used for living expenses, not to escape the country while Soglowek Nahariya Ltd an Israeli food company has made a $40 million  offer for the Postville kosher meatpacking company, which became mired in legal and financial troubles after an immigration raid in May snared about one-third of its work force.

    2010: The 92nd Street Y in New York is scheduled to present a program entitled “The Future of Islam” featuring John L. Esposito and Mahmoud Mamdani.

    2011: The U.S. Premiere of “Inventory,” a film that tells the story three explorers, who painstakingly deciphered inscriptions on gravestones in the lushly overgrown Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, is scheduled to take place at The New York Jewish Film Festival.

    2011:In Columbus, Ohio the Cultural Arts Committee Meeting of Tifereth Israel is scheduled to meet at the home of Cantor Chomsky.

    2011: Historian Lisa Jardin appeared in a BBC documentary investigating her the life of her father Jacob Bronowski the history of science in the 20th century.

    2011:Today, the Jerusalem District Police released details regarding its investigation into a cell of Palestinian militants suspected in two murders and 19 other security incidents since 1997.


    2012: “Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort” is scheduled to have its world premiere on the closing night of the New York Jewish Film Festival.

    2012:Comedian Jeff Applebaum and Ari Hoptman are scheduled to appear at the Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival.

    2012:Israeli hackers brought down Iran's Press TV website and two websites belonging to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education today. The hackers, who call themselves "IDF Team," said their actions were a response to a series of attacks on Israeli sites the previous day.


    2013: “My Australia” is scheduled to be shown at the 9th annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival

    2013: Rabbi Sim Glaser is scheduled to entertain audiences at the Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival with “Material I Can’t Use In Sermons.”

    2013(15thof Shevat, 5773): Tu B’Shevat

    2013:Six incoming members of the 19th Knesset will have to give up their foreign citizenship before they are sworn in as new MKs on February 5.

    2013(15thof Shevat, 5773):Two Ashdod refinery workers were killed this morning after they were exposed to a lethal dose of highly toxic gas.

    2014: Meretz chairman and former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni who passed away on January 24 will be laid to rest this morning at the cemetery in Kfar Shamaryahu (As reported by Tova Dvorin)

    2014: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Why I Read by Wendy Lesser, My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel and Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus

    2014: “The Light Ahead,” a 1939 cinematic version of Fishke der krumer by Mendele Moyker Sforim is scheduled to shown at the Westside Neighborhood School in Los Angeles.

    2014: In New York Temple Israel is scheduled to host “The Complete Guide to the Arab Israeli Conflict” presented by Jonathan Cummings.

    2014: If her health permits, Clair Moncreif will appear in “Golda’s Balcony” at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré which will be a benefit for the Jewish Foundation of Louisiana. (As reported by the Crescent City Jewish News)

    2014: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to present “America’s Enduring Cantorate” featuring Cantors Jack Mendelsohn and Barbara Ostfeld-Hortowitz.

    0 0

    January 27

     98: Trajan becomes Roman Emperor after the death of Nerva. The second of the three Jewish revolts against Roman authority took place at the end of Trajan’s reign.  This second revolt took place in the Diaspora.  It started in 115 and lasted until 117.  The revolt began in Egypt and then spread to other parts of North Africaincluding Libya, Cyrenaica and the Island of Cyprus.  The revolt angered Trajan because it took place while he was campaigning in the East and he saw it as an act of treachery aimed at his rear.  Just as the Jews of the Diaspora remained passive during the two revolts that took place in the land of Israel, so the Jews of Israel took no part in this bloody action which resulted in the destruction of the Cypriot Jewish community and the start of the decline of the Egyptian Jewish community.

    661: The Rashidun Caliphate ends with death of Ali,the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. Begun in 632, the Caliphate marked a period of conquest that gave Islam control over a large swath of North Africa, the old Persian Empire and the modern Middle East.  It was during this period that the forces of Islam defeated the Byzantines thus giving them control over Jerusalem.

    1164(1st of Adar): Poet and philosopher Abraham ibn Ezra passed away

    1186: Henry VI, the son and heir of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, married Constance of Sicily. During Henry’s reign Jews would be massacred from the Rhine districts all the way to the Vienna.

    1197(6th of Adar): Rabbi Samuel ben Natronai, a tosafist, was broken on the wheel and martyred today.

    1349: The Jews were driven out of Burgundy and escorted as far as Montbozon.

    1449: New Christians or Conversos were the targets of a riot in Toledo, Spain. The Conversos especially the wealthy ones, were attacked during a revolt against taxation. Three hundred of them decided to band together and defend themselves. During the attack one Christian were killed. In response, 22 Marranos were murdered and numerous of their houses were destroyed.

    1659: Cornelis Janss Plavier and his wife Geertje Andriesz, who were about to leave for New Amsterdam borrowed 1625 guilders, insurance included, from Amsterdam merchant Abraham Cohen Henriquez. The loan was to be repaid with the sale of beaver shipped in the autumn to Amsterdam. Merchandise and bills of lading for the beaver were to be kept by Asser Levy, or in his absence by Joseph d' Acosta, until proper security could be given by the couple for the shipment for which they were obligated. The borrowers were not Jewish; the others involved were.

    1695:  Mustafa II becomes the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul on the death of Amhed II. Ahmed II had been born in 1643.  During his reign he imprison Doctor Hayati Zadi in the Yedikule prison where he died. During the reign of Mustafa II, Belgrade was reconqured and the Jews were allowed to return to the city in 1690. Also, Doctor Nuh efendi, Doctor Levi, Doctor Tobias Cohen and Doctor Israel Koenigland were appointed palace doctors. Mustafa ruled until 1703.

    1785: Founding of the University of Georgia. According to the January, 2005 issue of “The Jewish Week,” the University of Georgiais emerging as one of the new “hot campuses” for Jewish students. “In 1993 the state of Georgia began paying full tuition to students with a 3.0 average or better in high school who kept a B average or better in college. So now the University of Georgia, which the Chronicle of Higher Education said had been considered a party school 10 years ago, is now a popular destination for in-state Jewish students. It’s 58th on this year’s U.S. News and World Report ranking of state schools for undergraduates, right below Maryland. Now the University of Georgia Hillelgets as many as 130 students at a Shabbat dinner, according to its director Shawn Laing.”

    1788: “The first of England’s flotilla of convict transports dropped anchor at Sydneyharbor, New South Wales.”  There were eight Jews among the eight hundred prisoners one of whom was sixteen-year old  Esther Abrahams of London, sentenced to an Australian penal farm for stealing a piece of lace. 

    1790: In France, active citizenship was extended to the "well born" Sephardic Jews of Bordeaux, who promptly bowed out of the fight for equal rights. They looked upon their poorer brothers in Alsace-Lorraine with contempt.

    1791: The National Assembly grants civil rights to the Jews of Alsace and Lorraine completing the process of emancipation for French Jews.

    1808: Jerome Bonaparte granted full civil rights to the Jews of Westphalia

    1824: Birthdate of Dutch painter Jozef Israëls. “Descended from a poor Jewish family, Jozef Israëls started taking drawing lessons in 1835 at the Academy Minerva in Groningen….In addition to fishermen scenes and portraits, he expanded his subject matter with peasant scenes, and later in his career he returned to the subject of death and old age, as well as treating Jewish and biblical themes.He traveled extensively and was much honored at home and abroad. Israëls was the most acclaimed Dutch painter in his time, eagerly sought after by collectors in Great Britain, the United States, and other countries. Hailed as a second Rembrandt, he participated in many exhibitions, and his work was disseminated through reproductions.”

    1836: Birthdate of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch the Austrian author whose works included Jews and Russians and New Jewish Stories.  “He faithfully described the manners of the Polish Jews but he feared that his affection for them might give the impression that he was an Israelite.”

    1842: During the consecration of the first Reform Synagogue in London, Rabbi David Woolf Marks shocked the traditional Anglo-Jewish community by declaring. “We solemnly deny that a belief in the divinity of those traditions written in the Mishnah and the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud is of equal obligation to the Israelite with the faith in the divinity of the Laws of Moses… These books are human compositions; and, though we are content to accept with reverence, advice and instruction from our post-biblical ancestors, we cannot unconditionally accept their laws. For Israelites there is but One immutable Law – the sacred volume of the Scriptures commanded by God to be written down for the unerring guidance of His people until the end of time.” Every Hebrew congregation must be authorised to take such measures as shall bring the divine services into consonance with the will of the Almighty, as explained to us in the Law and in the Prophets.”

    1850: Birthdate of Samuel Gompers, first president the American Federation of Labor.  When asked what does the American working man want, Gompers responded, “More!”

    1859: Birthdate of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Wilhelm served as German emperor from 1888 until his abdication in 1918. Wilhelm played many complex roles in the lives of the Jews of Europe.  He missed one opportunity to alter Jewish history by not supporting Herzl when he sought the Kaiser’s help in creating a Jewish state in Eretz Israel.

    1860: Birthdate of Sir Charles Solomon Henry, an Australian merchant and businessman who lived mostly in Britain and sat as a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons from 1906-1918.

    1863: Edward Robinson, the American biblical scholar who is considered the “Father of Biblical Geography” passed away.  The American Protestant journeyed to Palestine with Reverend Eli Smith where they identified many of the sites described in the Bible.  Among them was the tunnel dug during the reign of King Hezekiah.  An arch dating back to Herod’s rebuilding of the Second Temple was named Robinson’s Arch in his honor. In 1839, Robinson became the first person to describe Tell el-Hesi., a site later excavated by Flinders Petrie.

    1864:During the American Civil War, the Richmond (VA) Examiner published an article today about those who have are deserting the southern Confederacy for the safety of the North with Jews being the only group identified by their religion.  According to the paper, a “great underground route to the North is now open through to Washington, D.C, via the track of the York River Railroad.  This route, so generously left open by the Confederate Government, is patronized daily by scores of the principal of substitutes in search of more healthful localities -- Jews and blockade-runners carrying out gold and running in goods…”

    1869: Twelve year old Jacob Bibo, the younger brother of Isaac R. Bibo, who had been placed in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in March 1867 after his mother died, “left the institution” today “and went to work with a pawnbroker on the Bowery.

    1873: In Russia, the recently promulgated Ukase concerning recruiting sailors and soldiers for the Czar’s military went into effect.  Among the change in the new law was the termination of the exemption from service that had been given to Jews who had converted to Christianity. This is one of dozens of exemptions that were terminated.  Now an exemption may be purchased upon payment of 800 silver rubles to the government.

    1876(1st of Shevat, 5636): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

    1878: President Henry S. Herman presided over the opening session of District Grand Lodge No. 1 of the Independent Order of the B’nai Brit which was being held at the Nilsson Hall in New York City.  District 1 includes New York States, all the states of New England and the Dominion of Canada.

    1879: A Commission of Investigation was established to examine charges of immoral contact by Monsignor Thomas John Capel.  Capel’s behavior would lead to his being sent to the United States where he became a popular speaker who delivered an address on patriotism to the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.

    1885: Birthdate of Jerome (David) Kern, one of America's foremost composers of music for the theatre and screen. He is best known as the composer of Broadway musicals like The Cat and the Fiddle (1931) and Roberta (1933).

    1885: Birthdate of musician and composer Harry Ruby.

    1887: Henry M. Stanley, the leader of the expedition to save Emin Pasha, the apostate Jew turned Christian, turned Moslem, arrived in Cairo.

    1888:  Birthdate of mineralogist and petrologist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt

    1890: In St. Louis, Rabbi Rosentretter presided at the wedding of Fannie Miller, the daughter of A.A. Miller and Morris Elman.

    1890: In Albany, NY, Davis S. Mann, a Jewish teller, was denied a promotion to cashier of the Albany County Banks.

    1891(NS): Birthdate of Russian and later Soviet author, journalist and activist, Ilya Ehrenburg.

    1891: Joseph Kline, the President of a Hebrew Cemetery Society “was put on trial” today “in the Union County charged with larceny and obtaining money under false pretenses from John Leece

    1892: Birthdate of Ernst Lubitsch “a German-born Jewish film director” whose “urbane comedies of manners gave him the reputation of being Hollywood's most elegant and sophisticated director” which led critics to say that his films had “the Lubitsch touch".

    1892: It was reported today that the recent charity ball hosted at the Brooklyn Academy of Music raised approximately $6,000 for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum.

    1893: It was reported today that the average attendance during 1892 at the Hebrew Technical Institute was 138.  Seventy-five percent of the 32 students who graduated “have obtained desirable positions.

    1894: Approximately 200 delegates attended the opening session of the annual meeting of District Lodge No. 1 of B’nai B’rith a the Lexington Avenue Opera House where they heard an address from the retiring President, Judge Goldfogle of the Fifth Judicial District.

    1895: It was reported today that the  2,000 people who attended a charity ball in Brooklyn last week raised over $10,000 for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum.

    1895: “The Navigator Prince Henry” published today provides a detailed review of Prince Henry The Navigator: The Hero of Portugal and of Modern Discovery in which the author C. Raymond Beazly draws on the accounts of Benjamin of Tudela.

    1896: It was reported today that Mrs. Wallenstein has been re-elected as President of the Hebrew Infantile Asylum Association.  Mrs. Reiser has been re-elected as Vice President.

    1896: Sarah Bernhardt appeared in the role of Marguerite in “La Dame aux Cemelias” at the Abbey Theatre.

    1897: Opening session of the Fifth Annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society took place in Baltimore, MD.

    1897: The Jewish Messenger published a complete report about Henry Herzberg’s speech, “The Soul of Judaism.”

    1897(24thof Shevat, 5657): Dr. Solomon Deutsch, a leading philologist, passed away today in New York.  Deutsch was born in Silesia in 1816 and came to the United States in 1857 after completing his education. He served as a rabbi in several cities including Philadelphia and Hartford before retiring to purse an academic career that included the authorship of Hebrew Grammar, Medical German and Biblical History.

    1897: The Hebrew Union Veteran Association held its annual reception at the Lenox Lyceum in New York City.

    1897: “Condition of the Poor” published today included Superintendent N.S. Rosenau’s of the United Hebrew Charities description of the “suffering among the poor Jewish people on the east side” which is made all the worst with the combination of bad weather and economic depression. The Jewish fund is “broke” having provided half a million dollars to the destitute “In the three years from October 1893 to the close of 1896.”

    1897: During today’s debate on the proposed Immigration Bill being considered by the House of Representative’s, Ohio Congressman Henry Grosvenor said “he would not vote for a measure framed specialty to restrict the Russian Jews” because such a vote would leave him open to charges that he had voted “against a man on account of his religion.”

    1898: It was reported today that a lady was wounded by accident when a Spaniard fired at a French non-commissioned officers during today’s anti-Jewish riots in Algiers.

    1899: A trial opened in the Assize Court in Paris today  Mme. Henry, has sued Joseph Reinach, a member of the Chamber of Deputies and the editor of the Republic Fracaise for libeling her late husband by calling him “a traitor.”  Mme. Henry is the widow of the late Lt. Col. Henry who committed suicide after having confessed to forging documents used against Alfred Dreyfus.

    1899: In Detroit, Leo Franklin “preached his first sermon as Rabbi of Bethel at the Washington Boulevard Temple” today.

    1900: Birthdate of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover. Rickover was the father of the atomic and later nuclear powered Navy.  He, more than any other single individual, was responsible for the creation of the submarine fleet that gave Americaits strategic edge over the Soviet Unionduring the Cold War.

    1902: Birthdate of Yosef Sapir, the native of Jaffa who served as mayor of Petah Tikva , an MK and a member of the government that guided Israel through the Six Day War.

    1904: Herzl received a telegram from Leopold Greenberg that described a definitive offer from the British Government that would allow for a Jewish homeland in Nandi, a territory in the colony of Kenya. Greenberg advised immediate acceptance and the sending of an expedition. Greenberg was a British Zionist and publisher of the Jewish Chronicle.

    1912: In New York City, President Taft attended a ball sponsored by the Daughters of Jacob, an organization established in 1895 to fund a home for aged Jewish citizens.

    1917: As World War I drags on for a third year it is reported that not one home in the Jewish quarter of Belgrade remains standing undamaged. Large numbers of Jews have immigrated to Greece from various areas in the Balkans. The Americans sent $55,000 to help with relief in Serbia and Greece, after receiving a cablegram for help from the Chief Rabbi of Salonica, Jacob Meir.

    1924: Birthdate of Harvey Irwin Shapiro, the Chicago born poet who became an editor of the New York Times (As reported by Margalit Fox)

    1926: Birthdate of journalist, broadcaster and humorist Fritz Spiegl.  Born and educated in Austria, Spiegel and his family fled when the Nazis annexed Austria.  He settled in England where he lived and worked until his death in 2003.

    1929: Birthdate of Richard Ottinger, a New York Democratic Party leader who served in the House of Representatives and then pursued a career with the Pace University School of Law.

    1930: According to reports published today, “there are more than 213,000 volumes in the Hebrew University Library.”  During 1929, 22,000 volumes were added to the library’s collection. The library includes the ‘only medical library of note in the entire region.’” The Library has expanded its locations as well as it collection.  Based on the demand of physicians in Palestine, the library has established a branch medical library at the Nathan Straus Health Center in Jerusalem and another such facility in Tel Aviv.

    1931: Birthdate of author Mordecai Richler.  A native of Montréal many Americans know him as the author The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz which was later turned into a film of the same name. His first novel, The Acrobats (1954), is about a young Canadian painter in Spain with a group of expatriates and revolutionaries. Richler was a sharp cultural critic, and his books The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959), St. Urbain's Horsemen (1971), and Joshua Then andNow (1980) all deal with greed and success. He wrote a collection of humorous essays titled Notes on an Endangered Species and Others (1974), and a series of children's books. He said, "Coming from Canada, being a writer and Jewish as well, I have impeccable paranoia credentials."

    1938: The Palestine Postreported on the plight of the Jews in Romania. Under the new restrictions over 200,000 Jews had lost their trading licenses and one hundred thirty Jewish lawyers at Yassy had been expelled from the bar.

    1938: The Palestine Postreported that Tel Aviv Mayor Israel Rokach opened a picturesque garden on the seven-dunam oval island at Zina Dizengoff Circle.

    1940(17th of Shevat, 5700): Based on information that became public in the 1990’s, today is the day on which author Isaac Babel was shot to death after being found guilty of belonging to an anti-Soviet Trotskyite organization and with spying for France and Austria during a 20 minute trial that had been held the day before. Babel had been arrested by Stalin’s NKVD in 1939 and shipped off to a Siberian labor camp. Two of Babel’s more famous works were Red Cavalry based on his experiences as a cavalry officer fighting against the Whites and Odessa Tales which describes the richly textured Jewish society of Odessa.  Babel was rehabilitated in the 1950’s by Khrushchev.

    1943: Members of the 'Amitié Chrétienne’ held an emergency meeting at the home of Swiss Protestant pastor Roland de Pury to try and find a way to warn Jews that the Gestapo was watching the offices of the Union Générale des Israélites de France (UGIF),where they were going to get false documents.  They decided to have Germaine Ribière pose as a cleaning lady, who, while cleaning the stairs would warn the Jews not to end the building. Germaine Ribière was a Catholic member of the French Resistance who was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem for her efforts to save Jews from the Nazis. The 'Amitié Chrétienne’ was founded in Lyon, France, in 1941 with the goal of saving Jews and others from the Nazis and the Vichy Governments

    1944:SS Morris Hillquit, a liberty ship named after the Jewish Socialist who opposed the United States entering World War I, was launched today. Like so many other supply vessels that survived the war, it would be sold to a private entity in 1947 and finally be scrapped in 1968.  Not bad for a ship that was built in 34 days.

    1945: The Soviet army entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, who were mostly ill and dying. It is estimated that at minimum 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945; of these, at least 1.1 million were murdered

    1945: The Red Army entered Birkenau and found it almost entirely empty of human inhabitants. One survivor found in the hospital was Anne Frank's father, Otto. Anne had died there months earlier from decease. (Otto would return to Amsterdam to find the famed diary.) Though most of the storage facilities were already destroyed, the Russians discover 836,255 women's dresses, 348,000 sets of men's suits and 38,000 pairs of men's shoes.

    1945: After Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz today Salamo Arouch, a Greek-born Jewish boxer who survived the death camp by winning fight after fight against fellow prisoners, began searching other liberated camps for any family members who might have survived. During the search he found Marta Yechiel, a girl from his home in Greece.  The two moved to Palestine, married and raised a family that included four children and 12 children at the time of his death.

    1946:Four hundred people marched 15 miles in the snow to the town of Celle to attend the wedding of Holocaust survivors Lilly and Ludwig Friedman’s wedding.  Lily wore a wedding gown that had been created from a parachute acquired from a former Nazi pilot by an unknown seamstress.  For Lilly “the dress symbolized the innocent, normal life she and her family had once led before the world descended into madness.”  The dress would eventually go on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

    1947: As part of “Aliya Bet,” the Chaim Arlozoroff set sail from Trelleborg, Sweden, carrying 664 survivors of the European death camps.  Most of those on board, who labeled illegal immigrants by the British, were women.  When the ship finally arrived in Haifa, a struggle ensued at the end of which the British transferred the former camp inmates to detention camps at Cyprus.

    1952: Birthdate of Brian Gottfried, Baltimore born tennis star who won the Wimbledon Doubles in 1976

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that over 2,000 frightened refugees, including many Jews, escaped the purges in East Germany and crossed over from East to West Berlin. Israel got an urgently needed one-year loan of $16 million from an American group of banks, headed by the Bank of America.

    1955:At the Boston Medical Library an exhibit of Jewish medical leaders, including medieval manuscripts and awards presented to Jewish physicians.


    1955: “Plain and Fancy,” a musical comedy co-authored by Joseph Stein opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre for the first of 461 performances.

    1956: U.S. release date for “The Court Jester,” a musical comedy starring Danny Kaye

    1959: Birthdate of Keith Olbermann former TV sportscaster and former MSNBC host.

    1964(13th of Sh'vat, 5724): Lieb Glantz, famed chazzan and composer, passed away at the age of 65

    1961: "Sing Along with Mitch" featuring Mitch Miller premiered on NBC TV

    1965:Up the Down Staircase, a best-selling novel written by Bel Kaufman was published today. Writing must be in her blood since she is the granddaughter of Shalom Aleichem, something not mentioned in any of the education classes that I took where this book was mandatory reading.

    1968: A radio station in Nicosia, Cyprus, received a distress call on the frequency of the INS Dakar's “emergency buoy, apparently from south-east of Cyprus, but no further traces of the submarine were found.”

    1969(8th of Shevat, 5729): Nine Jews were publicly executed in Damascus Syria

    1971(1st of Shevat, 5731) Rosh Chodesh Shevat

    1973(24th of Shevat, 5733): Actor John Banner passed away.  Best known for his portrayal of Sgt. Schultz in the television hit “Hogan’s’ Heroes,” Banner was born on this date in 1910.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Egypt embarked on a massive diplomatic effort to explain why it had broken off peace talks with Israel.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that The Jerusalem Municipality had begun the installation of a sewerage network at the Anatot Refugee Camp, despite UNRWA's objections that this would violate the camp's protected status as a "refugee camp of implicitly temporary nature." UNRWA had previously objected to the installation of such a network, despite the 1970 cholera outbreak. (This should provide a slightly different slant on the "refugee problem" and how these poor souls are being exploited.)

    1982:  In an example of “The Bible on Broadway,”  "Joseph & the Amazing Dreamcoat" opened at the Royale in New York City for the first of what would be a total of 747 performances. 

    1986(17thof Shevat, 5746): Eighty-one year old American artist Edward Biberman passed away.

    1991:In the midst of Iraqi attacks on Israel 74 year old Alexander Goldberg, a retired aeronautical engineer from Hempstead, Long Island,  will join more than 100 other Americans, both Jews and Christians, for a flight tonight to Israel, where they will be put to work at army bases, hospitals and collective settlements, or kibbutzim. Some will pick fruit or help maintain army tanks; others will work in a factory that makes protective gear for chemical warfare.  In the midst of Iraqi attacks on Israel

    1992:Singer Ofra Haza and the Amka Oshrat Yemenite Dance Troupe appear in concerted at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

    1993: During the Intifada, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian terrorist.

    1994(15th of Shevat, 5754): Tu B'Shevat

    1996(6thof Shevat, 5756): Eighty-six year old Israel Eldad the native of Galicia who became a leading member of the Irgun and winner of the Bialik Prize passed away.

    1996:  Germany observed its 1st Holocaust Remembrance Day

    1997: It was revealed that French museums had nearly 2,000 pieces of art that were stolen by the  Nazis.

    1999: Moshe Arens begins serving as Defense Minister.

    2001:Survivors of Auschwitz have gone on a poignant march past the gas chambers which claimed their fellow prisoners as Europe marked Holocaust Memorial Day. Today, Shabbat, 700 people, including camp survivors and local Jewish leaders, walked from the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp's Gate of Death to its giant memorial wall, past the remains of the gas chambers and the crematoria. The Nazis killed 1.5 million people in Auschwitz, the highest number at any camp, before hastily retreating from an advancing Soviet army which liberated Auschwitzon January 27, 1945. The Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, regarded as the world's largest Jewish burial ground, now houses a museum and is little changed from the day Red Army troops freed its last inmates. Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek told the participants in a letter that they were the "guardians of this tragic heritage of mankind." Ceremonies from Londonto Lithuania marked the 56th anniversary of the Auschwitz death camp's liberation. Britain and Italy held their first-ever Holocaust memorial days, while survivors, spiritual leaders and politicians across the continent pledged to remember a grim historical lesson about the consequences of intolerance.

    "Not everyone who survived has the strength to share," said Auschwitz survivor Hedi Fried, speaking at a forum in Stockholm, Sweden. "We who can have an extra obligation. We owe it to our murdered parents, the 6 million Jews, 500,000 Gypsies and countless homosexuals, Russians and Poles who died."Britainobserved its first national Holocaust Memorial Day with ceremonies across the country and a London service that also honours victims of other 20th-century genocides. The guest list for the memorial at Westminster Central Hall in Londonincluded Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair, the archbishops of Canterbury and Westminsterand Britain's chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks. The ceremony included tributes to survivors of violence in Cambodia, Bosniaand Rwanda. In Germany, where a sharp rise this year in violent attacks on minorities gave the annual Day of Remembrance for Victims of Nazism added resonance, Parliament president Wolfgang Thierse issued a warning about the dangers of neo-Nazism. Germans must show "commitment to democracy and against raging right-wing extremism," he told Deutschland Radio. "This isn't about remembrance without consequences."

    Six million Jews and five million others, including communists, homosexuals, gypsies and the mentally retarded, perished under the Nazi regime. Italy also marked Holocaust Memorial Day for the first time, with a ceremony in Milanorganised by Italian unions and a moment of silence during evening soccer games. Padua, in northern Italy, was honoring Giorgio Perlasca, a butcher credited with saving more than 5,000 Italian Jews by pretending to be a Spanish diplomat. Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi acknowledged Italy's blame in the Holocaust, calling Benito Mussolini's racial laws a betrayal of the country's founding principles.

    "But numerous Italians knew how to further the demands of their conscience against the violence of the dictator," he said. About 7,000 Jews were deported from Italy during the Holocaust, and 5,910 of them died. Lithuanian Jews gathered in Vilniusto mark the anniversary, and in Sweden, Prime Minister Goeran Persson was attending a ceremony at a Stockholm synagogue. The Jewish Museum planned a lecture, music and a reading from Anne Frank's diary.

    United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was to give the keynote speech in Sweden on Monday at an international conference on ethnic and religious intolerance.

    2002: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish author and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Responseby Bernard Lewis and Beyond the LastVillage:A Journey of Discovery in Asia's Forbidden Wildernessby Alan Rabinowitz.

    2002:In Great Britain, a Holocaust event, organized by the Holocaust Education Trust, takes place in Bridgewater Hall. Extracts of the event will be broadcast by the Granadagroup of television companies during the week following the event. The second UK Holocaust Memorial Day takes place in Manchesterinvolving the participation of survivors from the Holocaust and victims of contemporary racism and prejudice, young people and a range of community representatives.

    2003: In the United Kingdom the main Holocaust Memorial Day event took place in Edinburgh with a theme of “Children and the Holocaust.

    2003:Polls published today affirmed that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel is likely to retain his post in elections on Tuesday, and then to face the complex challenge of assembling a durable coalition from a fragmented Parliament. Although corruption scandals dented the commanding lead of Mr. Sharon's right-of-center Likud Party and almost 30 parties took part in the campaign, it has generally been pallid -- a reflection, politicians said, of the dismal economy and voter cynicism that any leader can achieve peace with the Palestinians. Mr. Sharon's promises of peace and security remain unfulfilled, but Israelis generally place their trust in him and the blame elsewhere.

    2004: An event on establishing January 27 as memory day for Greek Jews and Holocaust victims was held at the Athens Concert Hall's convention center today, under the auspices of the foreign ministry.  Greece's Parliament had unanimously adopted recently a relevant legislation. Today’s event was attended by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Deputy Interior Minister Nikos Bistis, the New Democracy party's Parliamentary representative Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the Communist Party of Greece's Parliamentary representative Achilleas Kantartzis, Coalition of the Left party Deputy Fotis Kouvelis, a representative of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and many ambassadors in Athens.  Papandreou said in a speech that the unanimous ratification by Parliament of the bill setting a Holocaust anniversary date is ''confirmation of the collective sensitivity of the Greeks and of the fact that Greece is an open society, a society of tolerance and of respect of all its citizens.''  He added that ''democracy must defend the citizen. Exclusion of any kind constitutes our moral failure. The decision we took honors us all. It helps us to keep historical memory alive and it will serve as valuable help for the generations to come.''  Emerging from the Concert Hall, the foreign minister said ''we must remember the past and be taught by it'' and reiterated the need for ''respect for the right to be different.'' 

    2004:Israel honored 9 Greeks for their efforts to save Jews during WWII. Today, Israel’s ambassador to Athens presented that country’s influential “Righteous Among the Nations” award to nine Greek nationals who saved persecuted Jewish compatriots during the Nazi occupation of Greece (1941-44). Ambassador Ram Aviram presented the awards the same day as the recently enacted Greek Holocaust Memorial Day (Jan. 27), with a relevant event held at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) as well. According to a press release by the Israeli embassy in Athens, the “Righteous among the Nations” awards are given by “Yad Vashem”, an institute created by the Israeli state to perpetuate the memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust. They are bestowed to individuals who risked their lives to save Jews during the Second World War. More than 200 Greek citizens have been honored by the Yad Vashem Institute, including the late Archbishop of Greece during the occupation, Damaskinos, the Greek chief of police at the time, Angelos Evert, the Metropolitans of Zakynthos and Dimitrias at the time, Chrysostomos and Loakeim, respectively, the one-time mayor of Zakynthos, Loukas Karrer, and many other unsung Greek heroes of World War II. This year’s awardees are Dimos and Theodora Vevelekos, Michalis and Eleni Mavridis, Smaragda Sarafianou, Ioannis and Tasia Spentzos as well as Ilias and Angeliki Kazantzis. The president of the Central Board of Greek Jewish Communities, Moses Konstantinis, also participated at the ceremony.

    2005: The Fourteenth Annual New York Jewish Film Festival comes to an end.

    2005: Arno Lustiger, the historian who documented “Jewish resistance under Nazi rule” and Wolf Bierman whose father was a member of the resistance who was murdered because he was Jewish spoke before the German Bundestag.

    2005: At a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the former Foreign Minister of Poland Władysław Bartoszewski delivered a speech in which he paid honor to Jan Karski when he said, "The Polish resistance movement kept informing and alerting the free world to the situation. In the last quarter of 1942, thanks to the Polish emissary Jan Karski and his mission, and also by other means, the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the United States were well informed about what was going on in Auschwitz.” (While his comments about Karski are true, there are those who would say he provided a distorted picture of the Polish Resistance movement’s treatment of the Jews.)

    2005: Holocaust Memorial Day in Great Britain. Holocaust Memorial Day is a national event in the United Kingdom dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust. It was first held in January 2001, and has been hold on 27 January every year since. The chosen date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union in 1945. This year’s major event took place in London with a theme of “Survivors, Liberation and Rebuilding Lives.

    2006: The following column in the Jerusalem Post explains the importance of the First annual "International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

    Last November the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as an annual "International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust." With 104 co-sponsors, including Israel, the historic UN resolution selected that date as it is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. During the 1950s the Knesset debated which date to establish as Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Chief Rabbinate had already designated the 10th of Tevet - an existing fast day marking the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem that culminated in the destruction of the Temple - as the date of "General Kaddish" for Holocaust survivors who did not know the date of death of their fallen family members. The ultra-Orthodox rabbinate suggested adding - as had been done to signify the destruction of Jewish communities by marauding Crusaders - additional piyyutim (liturgical poems) relating to the Holocaust to the lamentations recited on Tisha B'Av itself, the solemn fast day commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temples. While incorporating the Holocaust within existing fast days marking national calamities reflected the traditional view that the Holocaust was yet another chapter in a long story of Jewish suffering through the ages, others argued that the Holocaust needed to be commemorated on its own.After long debate, the Knesset established the 27th day of Nisan as "Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevura," literally "Holocaust and Heroism Day." The date marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which in fact began on the 15th day of Nisan (April 19, 1943). Since the actual beginning of the uprising coincided with Pessah, the Knesset, as a compromise, chose a date that falls a week after the end of Pessah and a week before Yom Hazikaron, our Memorial Day for fallen soldiers, and Independence Day - but within the span of the nearly month-long uprising. As a further compromise, the legislation provided that if the 27th day of Nisan impinged upon Shabbat (i.e. fell on a Friday or a Saturday), the commemoration would be moved to the following Sunday. In effect, both sides of the debate in Israel in the 1950s wanted to place the Holocaust within an established context, either the traditional suffering of the Jew or the heroic Zionist model of the "new" Jew. Neither wanted to face the enormity and senselessness of the tragedy, especially in the first decade after World War II.In its infancy, Israel could not bear the image of Jews as victims being "led like sheep to the slaughter" and, accordingly, latched on to the heroic (if doomed) resisters in the Warsaw Ghetto as the proper "Israeli" model on which to base Holocaust remembrance. Moreover, the placement of Holocaust Memorial Day as a prelude to Independence Day conveyed the "Israel-centric" message that the Holocaust was a stepping stone in the founding of the State of Israel, the proverbial "darkness before the light" of national redemption. But this focus on the perceived heroic aspects of the Holocaust to fit our tough (but vulnerable) sabra self-image, together with the implicit message that the Holocaust's true significance lies in its happy ending - Israel's establishment - has had unfortunate repercussions. Sadly, most Israelis don't mark Yom Hashoah in any meaningful way.

    For its part, the ultra-Orthodox community has always opposed, on halachic grounds, the imposition of a day of mourning during the joyous month of Nisan, which commemorates the birth of the Jewish nation and its exodus from bondage in Egypt. Sandwiched between Pessah and, to most Israelis, the more significant Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars and Independence Day, Holocaust Memorial Day has traditionally not been given the undivided attention it deserves. The Holocaust deserves to be viewed honestly and in depth as a unique historic event. Adopting January 27 as Israel's Holocaust Memorial Day would:

      signify Israel's appreciation of the unusual step taken by the UN;  ensure that the worldwide Holocaust Memorial Day will not be a passing fad since Israel's annual ceremonies can serve as the focus of global attention and as a model for other national commemorative events;  indicate that Israel has "grown up" since the 1950s to appreciate that Jewish victimhood in the Holocaust is not something shameful that must be obscured in the celebration of Jewish heroism;  unite the Jews in Israel, both observant and secular, to commemorate, discuss and ponder in an unhurried and thoughtful manner the manifold aspects of a tragedy that does not easily fit into any previous category of Jewish or world history. The UN has finally acknowledged the global historical significance of the Holocaust. Israel should support this development for its own good as well as that of the world.

    2006: In Poland, as part of Holocaust Memorial Day observances a 1940’s tram marked with the Star of David - like the ones that used to travel through the ghetto - is seen again on the streets of Warsaw.  It is empty, with nobody getting on or off. It will be empty. Nobody will get on or off.

    2006:Rick Recht takes Cedar Rapidsby storm as he leads the Jewish Community in a celebration of “Shabbat Alive.”

    2007: “Dirty Girl,” a play based on the experiences of Ronnie Koenig, the former editor in chief of Playgirl Magazine, finished its initial run in New York City.

    2007: In the UK, the main National Holocaust Memorial Day event is hosted at Newcastlewith a theme of “The Dignity of Difference.”

    2008: In “The Capa Cache,” Randy Kennedy described the discovery of “three flimsy cardboard valises that “contained thousands of negatives of pictures that Robert Capa, one of the pioneers of modern war photography, took during the Spanish Civil War before he fled Europe for America in 1939, leaving behind the contents of his Paris darkroom.”

    2008: The New York Timesfeatures reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Alfred Kazin: A Biography by Richard Cook. “Whenever anyone writes about the “New Yorkintellectuals” — the group of male Jewish writers who came to prominence in the years after the Second World War — Kazin’s name is near the top of the list. And yet he wasn’t a typical member of the tribe. If you were drawing a composite sketch of a model New Yorkintellectual, you’d make him an atheist, largely unconcerned with spiritual questions; a partisan of European literary modernism; and a creature whose political thinking had been forever marked by 1930s debates about socialism and Communism. Kazin, by contrast, was God-haunted (“I want my God back” is the next-to-last sentence of his 1978 memoir, “New York Jew”); unquenchably fascinated by American literature and American history; and politically radical, but in a fashion that owed less to Marx than to Whitman — Kazin’s radicalism was democratic, generous, angry and thoroughly in the American grain.”

    2008: International Holocaust Memorial Day – light a light, kindle a candle – Holocaust Memorial Trust website

    2009: In Manhattan’s EastVillage, third part of a four part seriesThe Comedy and Kabbalah of Relationships”featuring Rabbi YY Jacobson

    2009:As part of Holocaust Remembrance Day, The Centro Primo Levi, the Consulate General of Italy and the Italian academic institutions in NY under the auspices of the United Nations present Giorno della Memoria (Day of Memory)including areading the names of the Jews deported from Italy and the Italian territories on Park Avenue at 68th Street in front of the Consulate General of Italy and a discussion of the Fascist Racial Laws and the socio-political conditions, the indifference, and collaborationism that allowed their promulgation in 1938.

    2009: In his new book We Must Rise From Its Ashes, Avraham Burg advocates commemorating the Holocaust three times during the year. “By observing it on January 27, the international day of Holocaust remembrance, Israelis would never lose sight of the fact that the Shoah was a crime against humanity, not just against the Jews, and that preventing further genocide is the business of the entire world. Commemorating it May 9, the day on which the former Soviet republics — and Israel’s immigrants from those countries — mark the victory over Nazi Germany, would symbolically embrace the many immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not Jewish under Jewish law. Finally, celebrating it on the Ninth of Av would express the Jewish particularity of the genocide, while incorporating the Shoah into that day’s remembrance of the destruction of the Templeswould place it within the historical continuum of Jewish suffering rather than consider it wholly unprecedented.

    2009: Former Agriprocessors official Sholom Rubashkin can be released from jail, a federal judge ruled. Judge Linda Reade of U.S. District Court in Northern Iowa ruled today that although Rubashkin is a flight risk, reasonable measures could be taken to ensure his appearance at trial, the Des Moines Register reported. Reade required that Rubashkin post $500,000 bail and confine himself to Allamakee County, Iowa. She also barred him from any contact with potential witnesses in the case.

    2009:The Massachusetts attorney general’s office said today that it planned to conduct a detailed review of BrandeisUniversity’s surprise decision to sell off the entire holdings of its RoseArt Museum, one of the most important collections of postwar art in New England.


    2010: Sara Hurwitz was given the title of “rabbah,” (sometimes spelled “rabba”) the feminine form of rabbi

    2010: Dorit  “Beinisch was moderately hurt when a 52-year-old man named Pinchas Cohen hurled his sneaker at her during a hearing on medical marijuana, hitting her between the eyes, breaking her glasses and knocking her off her chair.”

    2010:The recently discovered 29 blueprints depicting the layout of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in chilling detail, with gas chambers, crematoria, delousing facilities and watch towers drawn to scale are scheduled to go on display in Jerusalem today.

    2010:Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to be at Auschwitz to take part in a ceremony marking the 65th liberation of the death camp by the Soviet Red Army.

    2010: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Hadassah Book Club is scheduled to meet at Temple Judah where attendees will discuss Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. De Rosnay's novel is set against a backdrop of the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, and then transported to Auschwitz.

    2010: International Holocaust Memorial Day.

    2010:Bundled tightly against the cold and snow, elderly Auschwitz survivors walked among the barracks and watchtowers of Auschwitz and Birkenau on today, many clad in scarves bearing the gray and blue stripes of their Nazi prison garments decades ago. Moving later into a heated tent to escape the minus 12 Celsius (10 Fahrenheit) temperatures, they heard Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vow that his country would never allow anyone to erase the memory of the victims of Nazi Germany's death camps. ''We sit in a warm tent and remember those who shivered to death, and if they didn't freeze to death, they were gassed and burned,'' Netanyahu said in a solemn ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet army. Some 150 Auschwitz survivors and European leaders were on hand for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, one of scores around the world marking the global day of commemoration established by the United Nations in 2005. ''From this damned ground of Auschwitz and Birkenau and the other death camps rise the voices of millions of our brothers and sisters of our people who were suffocated, burned and tortured in a thousand different and unusual deaths,'' Netanyahu told the crowd in Hebrew. After brief remarks in English, Netanyahu switched into Hebrew, saying he wanted to use ''the newborn language of the people whom the Nazis sought to exterminate'' and chanting the first line of the Jewish prayer for the dead. ''My murdered brothers and sisters and brothers who survived the inferno, I came here today from Jerusalem to say to you we will never forget,'' Netanyahu said. ''We will not allow Holocaust deniers and desecrators of grave stones to erase or distort the memory.'' Netanyahu's remarks were a clear reference to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinajad, who has called for Israel's demise and questioned the extent of the Holocaust. In Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation's supreme leader, predicted the destruction of Israel in comments posted on his Web site Wednesday, in some of his strongest remarks about the Jewish state in years. ''Definitely, the day will come when nations of the region will witness the destruction of the Zionist regime,'' Khamenei was quoted as saying. ''How soon or late (Israel's demise) will happen depends on how Islamic countries and Muslim nations approach the issue.'' President Barack Obama, in a video message, thanked Holocaust survivors for finding ''the strength to come back again, so many years later, despite the horror you saw here, the suffering you endured here, and the loved ones you lost here.''''We have a sacred duty to remember the twisted thinking that led here -- how a great society of culture and science succumbed to the worst instincts of man and rationalized mass murder and one of the most barbaric acts in history,'' Obama said. Obama also thanked Polish leaders and the people ''for preserving a place of such great pain for the Polish people, but a place of remembrance and learning for the world.'' Poland's President Lech Kaczynski recalled the pain of the Polish nation, which was occupied by Nazi Germany throughout the war, but also acknowledged the unique suffering of Jews, who were targeted for extermination. ''Jews were being murdered only because they were Jews,'' said Kaczynski, a strong supporter of Poland's reviving Jewish community. ''Many others were killed only because they were Poles or Russians, Ukrainians or Belarusians. But there was no death sentence for the whole nation.'' Survivors passed under a replica of the infamous sign at the main entrance to Auschwitz, which bears the Nazi slogan ''Arbeit Macht Frei'' -- or ''Work Sets You Free.'' The original sign was stolen last month but recovered by police in a nationwide hunt after three days. The thieves had cut the sign into three pieces, however, and it is undergoing repairs. Jadwiga Bogucka, an 84-year-old non-Jewish Pole, was sent to Auschwitz in 1944 for taking part in the Warsaw uprising against the Germans. Before the ceremony, she told The Associated Press that Wednesday's weather was similar to that on Jan. 27, 1945, when she woke up and found the Nazis had fled the camp. ''It was all covered in snow and it was very cold. There was no gong as usual for breakfast that morning, but the previous night there had been the usual terror, or even worse -- the roll call, the screaming of the SS men,'' said Bogucka, who was 19 at the time. ''I left the barrack to see what was going on (and) there were dead bodies everywhere, because the Germans had shot anyone still able to move or who tried to flee,'' she said. The Nazis opened Auschwitz as a concentration camp in the summer of 1940 after they invaded and occupied Poland. Its first prisoners were non-Jewish Poles and others. Because of its central location, Germany soon turned it into a center for implementing the ''Final Solution,'' the plan to kill Europe's Jews. By the end of World War II, at least 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, but also non-Jewish Poles, Gypsies and others, had died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau or from starvation, disease and forced labor. Some 6 million Jews overall were killed in the Holocaust. In other commemorations, German-born Pope Benedict XVI spoke at the Vatican of ''the horror of crimes of unheard-of brutality that were committed in the death camps created by Nazi Germany.'' Israeli President Shimon Peres addressed the German parliament, calling for the surviving perpetrators of the Holocaust to be brought to justice. ''Across the world, survivors of the Holocaust are gradually departing from the world of the living,'' Peres said. ''At the same time, men and women who took part in the most odious activity on earth -- that of genocide -- still live on German and European soil, and in other parts of the world,'' he added. ''My request of you is: Please do everything to bring them to justice.'' In Hungary, government officials promised to pursue efforts to criminalize Holocaust denial and drew parallels between the rise of pro-Nazi groups in the 1930s and the current strengthening of far-right parties. ''The struggle against extremists begins with remembrance,'' said Csaba Molnar, head of the prime minister's office. Historians say about a third of those killed in Auschwitz were Hungarians.

    2010(12 Shevat, 5770):J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most important American writer to emerge since World War II but who then turned his back on success and adulation, becoming the Garbo of letters, famous for not wanting to be famous, died today at his home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. He was 91.

    2010 (12 Shevat, 5770):Howard Zinn, historian and shipyard worker, civil rights activist and World War II bombardier, and author of “A People’s History of the United States,” a best seller that inspired a generation of high school and college students to rethink American history, died today in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87 and lived in Auburndale, Mass.

    2011: The Seventh Annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival is scheduled to open tonight “with three episodes from Season 2 of Srugim, the very popular Israeli television series about the lives and loves of five young Jewish singles living in the hip Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, as they navigate the frequently contradictory worlds of contemporary Israeli romance and traditional observance.”

    2011: ASF is scheduled to present “Behind the Scenes: An Intimate Video Visit to Morocco”which is part of the year-long series, "2,000 Years of Jewish Life in Morocco: An Epic Journey", presented Under the High Patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, and made possible through the generous support of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation.

    2011:A program entitledThe Holocaust and Justice: How Do You Prosecute Unprecedented Crimes is scheduled to be held at the University of Iowa Law School.  The program will included a screening of the film “Night and Fog” followed by a discussion by UI Law Professor Mark Osiel

    2011: International Holocaust Memorial Day

    2011: In Italy, observance of Giorno della Memoria (Day of Memory)

    2011: Holocaust Memorial Day (UK)

    2011:The memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II was honored around the world today, the day which marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day. German President Christian Wulff paid his respects on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the biggest Nazi concentration camp, where about a million Jews were murdered during the war, accompanied by World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder and his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski. "On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Jewish community and the survivors of the Shoah welcome the fact that President Wulff - who has only been in office for a few months and has already been to Israel - is visibly giving the issue of the Holocaust remembrance such a high political priority,” Lauder declared ahead of the ceremonies in Auschwitz and Birkenau. “Clearly, Germany's political leaders have learnt the lessons of the past, but much remains to be done throughout Europe to keep the memory of the darkest chapter in history alive, in order to prevent a future Holocaust.” Wulff's official delegation also comprises several Holocaust survivors, the leaders of Germany's Jewish community, and members of parliament. Together with his Komorowski, Wulff will visit the International Youth Meeting Center at Auschwitz. Events were held in capitals across the world. In Rome, a ceremony was set to take place this evening at Rome's Great synagogue, organised by the local Jewish community and Jewish youth movements including World Bnei Akiva. At least 1000 people, Jews and non-Jews, participated including Rome's Mayor, Minister and Representatives of the Italian Prime Minister will participate, together with the Chief Rabbi and Jewish community leaders. At the same time, a study published today that showed Israeli, Polish and German citizens believed that Israel should take part in funding the preservation of the former Nazi camp, whose buildings and artifacts are in need of restoration.  “All the participants were very supportive of preservation,” Gila Oren of the College of Management said. “Both Israelis and non-Israelis believe Israel should take part in the preservation, which to date it has not even though former Prime Minister Yitzhack Rabin promised NIS 100,000 years ago and that’s been forgotten. The question is whether Israel should or shouldn’t have to pay to preserve the former Nazi concentration camp, and that’s an interesting question.” The data was collected from a survey of 310 participants in major cities in Israel, Poland and Germany. In particular, the study attempted to identify financial aspects relevant to the site preservation. Additionally, the findings highlight participants’ positive response towards personally donating towards the site's preservation. The average amount of money people are willing to donate is close to $10. Israelis are willing to donate up to $16, while Germans and Polish are willing to donate on average $ 8.5.

    2011: “Copenhagen”a (high) drama with considerable comedy concerning the two Nobel physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg and Bohr's wife Margrethe, opened tonight at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  The play features performances by Steve and Barbara Feller, pillars of the Temple Judah community.

    2011:Four hundred rabbis will submit a letter today, demanding Fox News sanction host Glenn Beck for his repeated airing of Nazi and Holocaust imagery, and for putting on his show attacks on WWII survivor George Soros, Reuters reported. The letter also urged Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp which owns Fox, to get an apology from Roger Ailes, the Fox News.  In the letter, which the rabbis paid $100,00 to have published in News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal, the rabbis claimed that Beck unfairly attacked Soros, a billionaire financier who grew up in Nazi-occupied Hungary. According to the rabbis, Beck has made "literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterizing people with whom he disagrees," calling American politicians he disagrees with Nazis and saying that putting the "common good" first leads to "death camps.""You diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit an individual or organization you disagree with," the letter said. "That is is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only 'left-wing rabbis' who think so."

    2011:In excerpts of Ehud Olmert’s new memoirs that were published today, the former Jewish leaders says that he and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, were very close to a peace deal two years ago, but Mr. Abbas’s hesitation killed the deal.  According to Olmert, at their last meeting, Abbas “said that he could not decide and that he needed more time.” (As reported by Ethan Bronner)

    2011(22nd of Shevat, 5771): Ninety-year old Joseph Lefkowoitz a native of Patterson, NJ, a World War II veteran who had retired from the Social Security Administration passed away today in Crossville, TN.

    2012: “With a French Flavor” featuring the wind and string Ensembles from the Buchmann Mehta Music School at Tel Aviv University is scheduled to begin at noon in the Ein Kerem Music Center.

    2012: Jack Lew completed his service as Director of the OMB began serving as the 25th White House Chief of Staff

    2012: Today, "I Honor Wall" - Online virtual event on Yad Vashem's Facebook page, invites people to honor the Righteous Among the Nations. When particpants agree to attend the online event, their names and Facebook profile pictures will be automatically connected to the name and story of a Righteous Among the Nations.

    2012: International Holocaust Memorial Day

    2012:Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today the world must quickly stop Iran from reaching the point where even a "surgical" military strike could not block it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

    2012:Israeli officials and academic experts think that Iran’s threats of retaliation to a possible strike against it are a bluff, the New York Times reported today.
    2012: Today, authorities leveled additional charges against a teenager accused in the firebombings of two New Jersey synagogues, saying he had plotted a similar attack on a Jewish community center and had conducted Internet searches for building Molotov cocktails and instructions on blowing up buildings.

    2013: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Insurgents: David Patraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War by Fred Kaplan and the recently released paperback edition of  Shalom Auslander’s first novel, Hope: A Tragedy

    2013(16th of Shevat, 5773): Eighty-seven year old Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and historian Stanley Karnow passed away today. (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)


    2013: “The Jews of Algeria,” an exhibition that retraces the history of the Algerian Jews since Antiquity, is scheduled to come to a close at the Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme

    2013: The Center for Jewish History is scheduled to sponsor “Superman at 75: Celebrating America’s Most Enduring Hero” who was the creation of Joe Shuster and Jerry Seigel.

    2013:In Recognition of the International Day of Holocaust Remembrance, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is scheduled to present “ I'm Not Leaving: The Power of Presence, Our Most Valuable Weapon.”

    2013: Rabbi Sidney Kleiman of Congregation Adereth El in Murray Hill turned 100

    2013: The World Zionist Organization’s Department for Activities in Israel & Countering Anti-Semitism is scheduled to mark the International Day for Countering Anti-Semitism (International Day for Commemorating the Holocaust) with a special conference on countering Anti-Semitism which will take place at the Mediatheque Theater in Holon.

    2013: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

    2013: In the UK, observance of Brent Holocaust Memorial Day.

    2013:The IDF confirmed the deployment of Iron Dome missile defense batteries in the North today, amid an escalation in the Syrian civil war and concerns over Syria’s sizeable chemical weapons falling into radical Islamic hands.

    2013: Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi triggered outrage from Italy's political left today with comments defending fascist wartime leader Benito Mussolini at a ceremony commemorating victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Speaking at the margins of the event in Milan, Berlusconi said Mussolini had been wrong to follow Nazi Germany's lead in passing anti-Jewish laws but that he had in other respects been a good leader.

    2014: While she celebrates the arrival of her grandchild, the friends and family of Debbie Rosenbloom including her husband David Levin celebrate the natal day of the Director of Programs for Jewish Woman International

    2014: As it has every year since 2006, the United Nations is scheduled to remember the Holocaust that affected many people of Jewish origin during World War II on the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

    2014: As part of the 2014 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust” is promoting “The Path to Nazi Genocide” a film “using rare footage that examines the Nazi’s rise and consolidation of power in Germany and explores their ideology, propaganda and persecution of the Jews.

    2014: “Documents from the Nuremberg Trials recently found in a flea market in Israel are to go on display at the Chabad Jewish Educational Center in Berlin as part of events marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.” (As reported by JTA and Times of Israel)

    2014: “The largest ever delegation of Knesset members will convene overseas, on the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau, together with Holocaust survivors, for a historic gathering on combating anti-Semitism and preservation of death camps.

    2014: As a way to observe International Holocaust Memorial Day, the Reform Movement recommends visiting The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration and Complicity in the Holocaust,”

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    January 28

    814: Charlemagne passed away. The grandson of Charles Martel was one of the greatest European rulers during the Dark Ages.  There was nothing Dark about his treatment of the Jews.  For the most part, he ignored canon law and the wishes of the Pope and treated the Jews of his realm rather decently. 

    1077: As a result of an event called the Walk to Canossa, Pope Gregory VII lifted he excommunication of Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor. This was part of the struggle between the Church and the temporal rulers as to who would be the final voice of authority in Europe. Jews could not have taken comfort in this apparent success of Gregory over Henry. Gregory was hostile to Jewish interest.  This can be seen in his letter to King Alfonso forbidding Jews to hold public office or to “have power over Christians.”  Furthermore, he ordered the King to have the Jews pay special “Jew Taxes” throughout his kingdom.  Henry was protective of his Jewish subjects. He issued charters to the Jews of Speyer and Worms allowing them to trade in these cities and to practice their religion according to their laws and practices. Furthermore, during the Crusades, he defied Christian doctrine and the Pope, by supporting the right of Jews who had been forced to convert “to disregard their baptism and return to Judaism.”

    1167(4927):Poet and philosopher Abraham Ibn Ezra, hero of the golden age of Spain, passed away.There is some disagreement about when this sage actually passed away.  Some say he passed away in 1164.  Others say that he passed away on January 23.  Although specificity as to the date of his death may not be possible, there is no doubt about his greatness.  This brief blog cannot do him justice so here are two sites where you can at least gain a nodding acquaintance with the life and work of this sage.

    1225: Birthdate of Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic Saint who expressed his views on Jews in a “Letter on the Treatment of Jews” written in 1271.
    For more, see Aquinas and the Jews by John Y.B. Hood and Thomas Aquinas on the Jews Steven C. Boguslawski

    1547: King Henry VIII of England passed away.  When seeking to divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn, Henry sought to make use of Biblical law in his fight with Rome. He thought that Rabbis, learned in the matter, might be of some help.  Since Jews were not supposed to be living in England, Henry was forced to seek out Rabbis living in Italy.  While the Rabbis offered some help, they were loathe to give too much assistance to a monarch in far away England lest they offend and anger the Pope who could make miserable for the Jews of Italy.

    1573: Articles of the Warsaw Confederation are signed, sanctioning freedom of religion in Poland. The primary beneficiaries of the document were competing Christian groups – Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox. Jews continued to enjoy the benefits of The General Charter of Jewish Liberties known as the Statute of Kalisz that had been promulgated at the end of the 13th century.

    1594(5354):Elia Levita passed away. Born in 1469, he was “also known as Elijah Levita, Elias Levita, Eliahu Bakhur ("Eliahu the Bachelor"). He “was a Renaissance-period Hebrew grammarian, poet and one of the first writers in the Yiddish language. He was the author of the Bovo-Bukh the most popular chivalric romance written in Yiddish, which, according to Sol Liptzin, is ‘generally regarded as the most outstanding poetic work in Old Yiddish.’”

    1668: Pope Clement IX canceled the humiliating forced races known as the Palio. During the Plaio near naked Jews were forced to run through the streets of Rome during carnival time. In return for the revocation the Jews of Rome had to pay a special cancellation tax of 200 ducats. This tax was paid for almost 200 years.

    1717: Birthdate of Mustafa III. During his reign, the Ottoman Empire continued to decline as a world power and became less accepting of non-Moslems. Mustafa personally helped to enforce the decrees regarding clothing that could be worn by his subjects. “In 1758, he was walking incognito in Istanbul and ordered the beheading of a Jew and an Armenian seen dressed in forbidden attire.”

    1721: A fire broke out in the Judengasse at Frankfort which destroyed over a hundred homes. Christian looters took advantage of the situation and it took the intervention of Emperor Charles VI for the Jews to be compensated for their losses.  The fire gave Jews a chance to legally live outside of the Ghetto for 8 years.  By 1729, they had all been forced back into their narrow confines.

    1789: Lieutenant Colonel David Salisbury Franks, one of the highest ranking Jewish officers to serve in the American Army during the revolution was granted four hundred acres in recognition of his military service. Franks was one of the founders of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of Revolutionary war veterans.

    1790: The French National Assembly granted full and equal citizenship to the Portuguese and Avignonese Jews. The Jews of Alsace would have to wait until 1791 to be granted these same rights. France was the first European country to pass such liberal legislation.

    1793: Lord George Gordon, the English nobleman who converted to Judaism and took the name Yisrael bar Avraham Gordon was returned to his prison cell today because would not accept his character witnesses at the hearing where he should have been freed because they were Jewish.

    1800 (2nd of Shevat, 5560): Chasidic Master Rabbi Meshulam Zusha of Anipoli passed away.  While there is much to say about this sage, most know him because of the following story or one of its variants. “Reb Zusha was on his deathbed surrounded by his disciples. He was crying and no one could comfort him. One student asked his Rebbe, "Why do you cry? You were almost as wise as Moses and as kind as Abraham."  Reb Zusha answered, "When I pass from this world and appear before the Heavenly Tribunal, they won't ask me, 'Zusha, why weren't you as wise as Moses or as kind as Abraham,' rather, they will ask me, 'Zusha, why weren't you Zusha?'”
    1814(7th of Shevat, 5574): Rabbi Dovid of Lelov passed away. He was the first Grand Rabbi of the Lelover Dynasty.  The Lelovers moved from Poland to Jerusalem in the late 1840’s or early 1850’s.

    1849:Isaac Noah Mannheimer delivered a speech in the Austrian Reichstag on the abolition of capital punishment.

    1851: Emma and Philip Salomons gave birth to Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Stern-Salomons, who gained fame as an author, scientist and barrister.  

    1851: Northwestern University becomes the first chartered university in the state of Illinois. For our family, the two most famous graduates of Northwestern are Dr. Jacob Levin of blessed memory who earned his masters and Ph.d. from the Evanston institution and Betty Levin. 

    1860: The community of Kingston, Jamaica, “which is composed chiefly of Jews” have been making contributions for the relief of their suffering brethren of Morocco. They have managed to collect large sums in spite of the prevailing poverty.

    1860: An article entitled “Relief of the Jews in Austria” published today reported that “from Austria, amid the echoes of Hungarian dissatisfaction, and Tyrolese boldness, come the reports of promised reform. It is stated as a certain fact that in a few days the Emperor will issue a decree, relieving the Jews from many disabilities under which they now lie. The law which forbade a Jew to have a Christian servant is already repealed; and the emancipated Israelite can now rejoice in the possession of a cook who hasn't a conscientious objection to getting up and making a fire, of a Saturday morning. The expected decree will abolish the old law, by which no one of the three witnesses required for a Christian's will could be a Jew -- a blind provision, which has been the source of more trouble to Christians than Jews. Then the rule, still on the statute-books in Austria, that a Jew's evidence in a civil case against a Christian should be considered as "doubtful," will be done away; as also the present prohibition, which prevents any but a Christian from filling the office of Notary. This last provision is no older than 1855. Before that year Jews were allowed to be Notaries, and it is said that there is a Jewish Notary in Prague, who was appointed under the old law, and holds his office still. It is proper that the Government should concede these rights to an oppressed class; but one cannot but notice how, through these reforms, it hopes to escape more pressing and important demands from its subjects. Hungary demands her constitutional rights, and the Emperor grants a couple of reforms to Venice. Tyrol desires her ancient and guaranteed privileges, and he emancipates the Jews at Prague! No matter -- the day is coming.”

    1862:Birthdate of Hannah Bachman Einstein, an activist for child welfare in both Jewish and secular settings. Einstein “was raised in New York City's Temple Emanu-El, a German Reform congregation. As an adult, she remained active in the Temple, and in 1897, she became president of the sisterhood, a position she held for twenty-five years. One of Einstein's activities as sisterhood president was visiting the homes of recent immigrants. She soon became convinced that the private relief provided by the Temple would never be sufficient to alleviate the problems of this group. Only government action, she decided, could address the myriad social problems that immigrants and other impoverished people faced. Joining with other activists, Einstein lobbied the New York State legislature for widowed mothers' pensions, which would enable widowed women to care for their children without working outside the home. In 1913, she was appointed chair of the state committee to investigate the issue. Her committee wrote what became the Child Welfare Law of 1915, which became the national model. By 1920, nearly all the states had passed similar legislation. In the wake of her committee's success, Einstein became president of the New York State Association of Child Welfare Boards, served as the first woman on the board of the United Hebrew Charities, and helped found the National Union of Public Child Welfare Officers. Einstein died in New York City in 1929.

    1865(1stof Shevat, 5625): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

    1865: Birthdate of Emma Eckstein, the native of Vienna who was a patient of Sigmund Freud and who became the first female psychoanalyst.

    1867(22ndof Shevat, 5627): Seventy year old Philip Salomons, the eldest son of Levi Salomons passed away today.  A resident of Brighton, he married Emma Montefiore, the daughter of Jacob Montefiore, one of the leaders of the Sydney Jewish community.

    1871: Paris surrendered to the Prussians.  This marked the end of the Franco-Prussian War.  From the point of view of history, this was the first of a three act play.  The second act was World War I and the third act was World War II, including the Holocaust. 

    1873: Lewis J. Cohen and Henry Lehman, the Jewish proprietors of a store on Chatham Street, were sentenced to a month in the Blackwell’s Island Penitentiary after having been convicted of verbally abusing a visitor to their shop named Robert J. Quinlan.
    1873: B’nai B’rith held its annual meeting at Masonic Hall in Manhattan tonight.  According to the treasurer’s report, the society has $58, 961.76 in assets. Founded 14 years ago, the society has 6,096 members.

    1874: Rabbi S.M. Isaacs officiated at the wedding of Jacob Schnizter and Cordelia Menken, the daughter of the lat Solomon Menken.

    1874: In Chicago, Illinois, The B’nai B’rith adjourned the third day of its national convention at 7 o’clock this evening.

    1874: In Chicago, Illinois, delegates to the national B’nai B’rith convention attended a banquet at the Sherman House.

    1875: Gratz Nathan, a prominent 30 year old New York lawyer who had served as the Assistant Corporation Attorney, attempted to commit suicide in his office tonight.  Nathan gained a certain kind of unwanted notoriety when his uncle, Judge Cardozo, was impeached.

    1876: Birthdate of Irving Lehman, New York lawyer and jurist.

    1877: The New York Times featured a review of John Peter Lange’s “Commentary of the Holy Scriptures” which focuses on the period of Persian rule when the exiles returned from Babylonia.  The commentaries are tied to the books of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther
    1878: The annual convention of the District Grand Lodge No.1 of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rit came to a close today after a second day of meetings. The delegates will attend a banquet at  Nilsson Hall this evening to mark the end of the event.

    1880(15th of Shevat, 5640): Tu B’Shevat

    1880: Birthdate of Herbert Max Finlay Freudnlich, the German chemist who served the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry from 1919 until his forced retirement in 1933. His father was Jewish.  His mother was not. He passed away in 1941 in Minneapolis, MN.

    1887: Birthdate of pianist Arthur Rubinstein

    1888(15th of Shevat, 5648): Tu B’Shevat

    1890: Rabbi Mendes of Shearith Israel officiated at the wedding of Corinna Friedman, the daughter of Colonel Max Friedman to Leo Strassburger, the son of the former Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama.

    1890: Rabbi Gottheil of Temple Emanu-El officiated at the wedding of Belle Strouse, the daughter of Abraham Stouse and Hugo H. Hahlo which took place this evening at Delmonico’s.

    1890: Several hundred thousand dollars in deposits, including $180,000 belong to the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company will be withdrawn from the Albany County Bank today in response to the Board of Directors decision to choose a local lumber deal over Davis S. Mann as Cashier of the bank.  Mann has worked for the bank and his supporters attribute his rejection to the fact that he is Jewish.

    1890: It was reported today that David Saltzman, a Jew who converted to Christianity, refused to A.A. Miller’s demand that he leave his daughter’s wedding.  The enraged father responded by beating him with his fists and his cane.

    1891: In New Jersey, the trial of Joseph Kline, the President of a Jewish cemetery society, who is charged with larceny and obtaining money under false pretenses entered into its second day.

    1892: Birthdate of German –born American director Ernst Lubitsch.


    1893: Birthdate of Abba Hillel Silver, the native of Lithuania, who became a leading Reform Rabbi, Zionist and champion of the rights of the American working man.

    1894: The annual meeting of District Lodge No.1 of B’nai B’rith was scheduled to end today.

    1894:  It was reported today that the new officers for B’nai Brith are: President – Samuel D. Sewards; First Vice President – Joshua Kantrowitz; Second Vice President – Bernard Metzgar; Treasurer – Solomon Sulzberger.

    1894: A musical competition designed to raise money for charities including the United Hebrew Society that will include John Phillips Sousa’s band will take place today at the Madison Square Garden.

    1896 “Bernhardt as Marguerite” published today described Sarah Bernhardt’s performance in “La Dame Aux Camelias” as “a veritable triumph….Bernhardt has rarely given a more careful or more inspired portrayal in this great role.”

    1896: “New Theatrical Bills” published today described the successful performance of “A Woman’s Reason” produced by Charles Frohman which is now appearing at the Empire Theatre in New York.

    1897: It was reported today that Mindel Brown, acting on behalf of the Ladies’ Auxiliary Corps, has presented a set of colors to the Hebrew Union Veteran Association.

    1897: It was reported today that the newly elected officers of the Hebrew Mutual Benefit Society are: President – Morris Goodhartz; Vice President – Maurice A. Hertz; Treasurer – Isaac K. Cohn; (check for more names)

    1897: “Oldest Benefit Society” published today provides a brief history of the early Jewish community in New York and the Hebrew Mutual Benefit Society which was organized in 1826 when there approximately 300 Jewish families living in the city most of whom “lived below Canal Street and east of the Bowery.”

    1897 The closing session of the Fifth Annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society to place today in Baltimore, MD.


    1897: Using information that first appeared in The Hebrew Journal, “Too Much Reform” published today described what is seen as a retreat from “the work of iconoclasm” by the reformers and turn towards “preaching and teaching what thye consider good and praiseworthy in rabbinical Judaism.”

    1899: Governor Theodore Roosevelt addressed today’s meeting of the University Settlement Society today.  During his speech TR  that “there is nothing better than the way in which the Jew and Gentile…are striving together to accomplish just such things as this society set out to accomplish.”  Roosevelt’s positive view of Jews stands in stark contrast with the European experience (anti-Semitic riots in France and the anti-Jewish policies of the Czar) and are all the more significant since within the next couple of years he would be Vice President and then President of the U.S.

    1899: It was reported today that in his recently published Story of France, Thomas Watson includes a description of the Christian massacre of the Jews in response to “the frightful ravages of the bubonic plague in 1348.”

    1899: It was reported today that Monseiur Guerin, the President of the Ant-Semite League led a mob that entered the Place Dauphine at the back of the Palace of Justice where the libel trial brought by Mme. Henry was being heard.  The mob roared with shouts of “Death to the Jews!” After being dispersed by the police the mob re-formed on the Place du Chatelet where it howled “Spit on the Jews!” (All of this stemmed from the attempts to reverse the conviction of Dreyfus)

    1899: A proposal was made today in the Chamber of Deputies “to have the Dreyfus Cased heared by a Supreme Court of Appeals, with all three chambers sitting jointly.”

    1901: Count Ioseif (Joseph) Gurko, who while serving as the military commander of the region around Warsaw in the 1890’s sought permission to expel the Jews from the western zones of Poland, passed away

    1903: Herzl appoints Leopold Kessler as leader of the commission "for the exploration of the feasibility of settling in the northern half of the Sinai Peninsula.

    1904(11thof Shevat, 5664): Fifty-five year old Austrian novelist Karl Emil Franzos, passed away today.

    1905: Birthdate of Barnett Newmann, an American artist who is seen as one of the major figures in abstract expressionism and one of the foremost of the color field painters

    1912: The New York Times published a description of President Taft’s appearance as guest of honor at The Daughter of Jacobs Ball. The President was greeted by a throng of between 12,000 and 15,000 who had come together to raise funds for the Infirmary of the Daughters of Jacob on East Broadway. In his speech, Taft praised the Jewish people for “their perfect system of charitable institutions to look after their poor and infirm.”  The President left the ball as the band played Boola-Boola. 

    1912: Birthdate of comedian “Professor” Irwin Corey.

    1914(1st of Sh'vat, 5674): Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat

    1915: An act of Congress merged the Revenue Cutter Service with the Life-Saving Service creating the United States Coast Guard. Some of the Jews were members of, or associated with this valiant force were: musician and vocalist, Mel Torme,; Arthur Fiedlerwho “volunteered during the early days of World War II for the Temporary Reserve of the U.S. Coast Guard and was later a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary” and comedian and television star Sid Caear who joined  the Coast Guard in 1939. This proved to be a boon to his carrer. Assigned to play in military shows, he caught the attention of producer Max Liebman, who was impressed by his ability to make other musicians laugh.  Liebman took him out of the orchestra and cast him as a comedian, jump-starting his career upon release from the Coast Guard in 1945. And the rest is show biz history.  When Sid Caesar was celebrating his 80thbirthday, The Coast Guard presented him with a public service award that read as follows:

    "The Commandant of the United Stated Coast Guard takes great pleasure in wishing a joyous 80th birthday to Coast Guard veteran Sid Caesar and presenting to him this Coast Guard Certificate of Appreciation, in recognition of his public support of the Coast Guard, most notably in the early days of his career as an actor, musician and comedian and more recently as public spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard. Mr. Caesar joined the Coast Guard in 1939, after studying saxophone at the Julliard School of Music and playing in a number of prominent big bands. In the Coast Guard, he was assigned to play in military revues and shows, such as "Tars and Spars," but he showed a natural penchant for comedy by entertaining other band members with his improvised routines, prompting show producer Max Liebman to move him from the orchestra and cast him as a stand-up comedian to entertain troops, jump-starting his career upon his release from the Coast Guard in 1945. After leaving the Coast Guard, Mr. Caesar went on to perform his "war routine" in both the stage and movie versions of the revue, and continued under Liebman's guidance after the war, in theatrical performances in the Catskills and Florida, but he never forgot the service that launched his career. Mr. Caesar's performance distinguished the Coast Guard as an honorable and valuable service. Friends and acquaintances say he always kept the Coast Guard close to his heart, especially its hardworking enlisted members. Each and every time the Coast Guard asked Mr. Caesar for a favor, he came through for us, whether it was speaking before the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association or recording audio public service announcements for Coast Guard recruiting campaigns. His respect, admiration and fondness for our service shines bright. Mr. Caesar's years of generosity, concern and dedication to the Coast Guard family are deeply appreciated and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard and public service."

    1916: President Woodrow Wilson appointed Louis D. Brandeis to the Supreme Court.  Brandeis was the first Jewish member of the court.  Although there was opposition to a Jewish justice in some quarters, Brandeis was followed by two more distinguished Jewish Supremes - Benjamin Cardozo and Felix Frankfurter.  Brandeis was an active member of the American Jewish Community.  He was an early an ardent Zionist.  Unfortunately he did not live to see the creation of the modern state of Israel.

    1917: James Malcom, an Armenian businessman and advocate for an independent Armenian state, introduces Chaim Weitzman to Sir Mark Sykes.  Sykes is a protégé of Lord Kichner and a dominant, if not the dominant, force in forming British policy in the Middle East.  Weitzman is seeking Sykes’ support for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine after World War I.

    1918(15th of Shevat, 5678):Tu B'Shvat

    1918 In Jerusalem, the cornerstone is laid for Hebrew University.

    1918: Leon Trotsky (born Lev Davidovich Bronstein) became leader of “the Reds.”

    1923: The First "Reich’s Party" (NSDAP) forms in Munich.  These are the Nazis.

    1926(13th of Shevat, 5686): Kaufman Kohler, the German born American leader who was one of the great leaders of Reform Judaism, passed away today in New York at the age of 83.

    1928: Birthdate of HalPrince, American stage producer and director.

    1929: The British government is reportedly planning on building a road to the Megiddo Excavation which is being funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

    1934 (12th of Shevat, 5694): German Chemist Fritz Haber passed away at the age of 65.  Haber won the Nobel Prize in 1918.

    1938: Collier’s magazine published “The Fall in America 1937” H.G. Wells laudatory article about “I’d Rather Be Right “a musical with a book by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, and music by Richard Rodgers.

    1938: The Palestine Post published a major study on the extent of the 'Octopus of Nazi Propaganda in Syria.' There were two major German propaganda centers in the Middle East: one in Cairo for Egypt, Sudan, Palestine and Transjordan, and the second in Baghdad, for Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The Germans proved to be masters in the art of propaganda and anti-Semitic incitement spread by their well-trained agents and maintained a number of exclusive, influential clubs in major cities. Large bribes were handed over for the 'Arab victims of the Jewish aggression in Palestine. 

    1939(8th of Shevat, 5699):Louis Cohen a New York mobster who murdered labor racketeer "Kid Dropper" Nathan Kaplan and was an associate of labor racketeer Louis "Lepke" Buchalter was killed today shortly before he was to testify against Buchalter.

    1939(8thof Shevat, 5699): Irving Friedman, alias Danny Field, a New York mobster, was murdered shortly before he was testify against Louis “Lepke” Buchalter  as part of deal with D.A. Thomas Dewey.

    1941: Edward L. Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud and one of the “fathers of modern public relations,” writes a letter to the New York Times opposing a proposal by Dr. Harwood L. Childs of Princeton University that the U.S. should create a national propaganda ministry. 

    1943: Over the next 3 days, ten thousand Jews from Pruzhany, Belorussia, are deported to Auschwitz.

    1944:Leonard Bernstein's "Jeremiah" premiered in Pittsburg.

    1945: The weekly internal report of the War Refugee Board, states that the United States would permanently close its War Refugee office in Turkey. The outgoing representative stated, "Inadequate sources of information and communication channels render impossible the orderly organization or direction from Turkey of any rescue activities...."

    1947: Arlene Francis and Martin Gabel gave birth to Dr. Peter Gabel the associate editor of Tikkun.

    1948: Birthdate of Shimon Ullman the Jerusalem born professor of computer science and co-founder of Orbotech

    1949: Israel was recognized (diplomatically) by Australia, Belgium, Chile, Great Britain, Holland, Luxembourg, and New Zealand.

    1950: Birthdate of Barbara Klein who gain fame as Barbi Benton, friend of Hugh Hefner, Playboy Bunny and regular on the television country comedy hit, “Hee Haw.”

    1950 (10th of Shevat, 5710): On the secular calendar the date on which Joseph Isaac Schneersohn (Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn or Friyerdikker Rebbe ("Previous Rebbe" in Yiddish) or Rayatz) passed away.  There is no way that this blog can do justice to his life of accomplishments.

    1952(1st of Shevat, 5712): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Soviet-controlled Hungarian regime was deporting Jews to work camps in a Soviet-inspired anti-Semitic campaign, resembling that of the Nazi era. In a similar manner Czechoslovakia started purging Jewish doctors in order 'to prevent the threat of a repetition of the murder of Soviet leaders.' The Knesset approved vastly increased customs duties on a series of commodities, including the food parcels sent to Israelis by their relatives from abroad. This increase was expected to cover at least a part of the budget deficit, which stood at IL 5.6 million, as claimed by the government, or IL 25m. as claimed by the opposition

    1958:Dore Schary's "Sunrise at Campobello" premieres in New York City

    1959 (19th of Shevat, 5719): Joseph Sprinzak, Speaker of Israel Knesset from 1949 until 1959, passed away. A dedicated Labor Zionist Sprinzak was one of the unsung founders of the early Zionist movement who dedicated their lives to creation of the Jewish homeland.

    1965: Three days after the death of Winston Churchill, “Halina Neuman, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, wrote to The New York Times” expressing her feelings about Britain’s war time leader.  To Neuman, for those trapped in the darkness of Nazi Europe, Churchill’s speeches and the sound of his voice were a light, a beacon of hope and proof “that the world was not coming to an end.”

    1967(17thof Shevat, 5727): Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit, the native of Tiberias  who was the only Sabra to signed the Israeli declaration of independence and served as the Minister of Police from 1948 until he passed away today.

    1968: Ya’acov Ra’anan, commander of the INS Dakar, had wanted to enter his home port today but was told to stick to the original schedule and dock the boat on January 29 as planned.

    1969: In the ever shifting sands of Israeli party politics, the Labor Party and Mapam created a political allicance called the Alignment.

    1983(14thof Shevat, 5743): Forty-eight year old Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan passed away today.

    1984: A month-long show featuring 43 painting by expressionist Chaim Soutine is scheduled to come to an end at the Galleri Bellman in New York City.

    1986 (18th of Shevat, 5746): The space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, killing all seven crew members: flight commander Francis R. "Dick" Scobee; pilot Michael J. Smith; Ronald E. McNair; Ellison S. Onizuka; Judith A. Resnik; Gregory B. Jarvis; and schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. “Among the seven crewmembers killed was Judith Resnik, the first American Jewish astronaut in space. Resnik joined the space program in 1978 after graduating from Carnegie-Mellon with a B.S. in electrical engineering and the University of Maryland with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Prior to the 1986 Challenger tragedy, Resnik served as the mission specialist on Discovery's maiden voyage in 1984, logging 144 hours 57 minutes in space. Resnik was the second American woman in space (after Sally Ride) and the fourth worldwide. Before joining the space program, Resnik worked in the radar division of RCA, as a biomedical engineer in neurophysics at the National Institute of Health, and finally for the Xerox corporation. She was accepted into the NASA program, along with five other women, in 1978. An Akron, Ohio, native, Resnik was a classical pianist and a gourmet cook, and also enjoyed running and bicycling. She was active in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the IEEE Committee on Professional Opportunities for Women, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Association of University Women.”

    1987: Valerian Trifa, the Iron Guard leader who later served as archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church in America and Canada died today. Trifa was exposed and brought to justice thanks to the efforts of Zev Golan

    1991: Iraq fired another missile with a conventional warhead at Tel Aviv tonight, the seventh attack in 12 days. But this time the army said the Scud was defective and disintegrated as it fell back to earth. No one was hurt, and there was no property damage. The missile had fallen apart even before any Patriot air-defense missiles could be fired at it.

    1992: As part of “Israel: The Next Generation,” a performance is given of “‘Jabar’s Head, a cabaret show presented in Arabic, Hebrew, and English by the Beit Hagefen Theatre”

    1992(23rd of Shevat, 5752): Nahman Avigad, Israeli archaeologist, passed away at the age of 86.  Avigad led the team that found the Cardo in the Jewish Quarter.

    1993:At New York’s Plaza Hotel, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, which operates two sports rehabilitation and social centers in Tel Aviv and Haifa and is building a facility in Jerusalem, receive the 10th annual Defender of Jerusalem Awards from the Jabotinsky Foundation.

    1996 (7th of Shevat, 5756): Jerry Siegel noted cartoonist and creator of Superman passed away at the age of 81. Whether it is highbrow (see next entry) or lowbrow, there always seems to be a Jew somewhere creating American Culture.

    1996(7th of Shevat, 5756):  Joseph Brodsky passes away at the age of 55.  Born in Russia in 1940, the famed poet would survive persecution in his native and exile to the United States to win the 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature and become Poet Laureate of the United States in 1991.

    1996: A revival of David Merrick’s “Hello Dolly” closed at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre after 116 performances

    2001: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers includingThe Newest Place in the World by Suzanne Ruta, Rethinking the Holocaust by Yehuda Bauer and the Jewish Confederates by Robert N. Rosen.

    2002(15th of Shevat, 5762) Tu B'Shevat

    2002:Today Mark Sokolow, who escaped without injury from the second tower of the World Trade Center during the attack on September 11, was walking with his family in the scarred central shopping district here when a Palestinian bomber set off an explosion that resounded throughout Jerusalem, killing herself and an 81-year-old man and wounding 113, most of them slightly. ''I was a lot luckier last time,'' Mr. Sokolow, a 43-year-old lawyer from Woodmere, N.Y., said as he recovered in a hospital here from shrapnel wounds to his face and leg. ''This one involved my whole family.'' After a frantic search for his wife and two of his daughters, he learned at the hospital that most of their wounds were also slight, though one girl, Jamie, 12, had shrapnel in her right eye. She was likely to retain her sight, doctors said.

    2003: Ariel Sharon emerges victorious in Israeli elections today which included the defeat of Amram Mitzna, the leader of the Labor Party.


    2004: The memory day for Greek Jews who lost their lives in the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau was honored by the Jewish community in Thessalonica.

    2006(28th of Tevet, 5766): Kabbalah sage Rabbi Yitzhak Kedouri passed away at the Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem. His precise age was unknown, but estimated to be somewhere between 106 and 113 years old. Rabbi Kedouri was born in Iraq at the turn of the 20th century. He began his studies in Jewish mysticism in his youth, before coming to Israel in 1923. Kaduri, known as "the senior Kabbalist," is the last of a generation of Sephardic Jewish mystics. His close circle of friends and family say he was one of the few known living Kabbalist who used "practical Kabbalah," a type of Jewish magic aimed at affecting a change in the world. More rational schools of Judaism are skeptical about Kaduri's powers. Nevertheless, few doubted Kaduri's righteousness and vast knowledge of both conventional and more esoteric Jewish thought and law. For most of his life Kaduri was unknown to the general public. He led a modest life of study and prayer and worked as a bookbinder. During the past decade and a half he served as the head of Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva in Jerusalem's Bukharan quarter.

    2007: Maccabiah U.S.A. (MUSA) held its annual meeting in Newark, New Jersey.

    2007: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the PresentbyMichael B. Oren.

    2007: The Washington Postfeatured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for Godby the late Carl Sagan.

    2007: Raleb Majadele was appointed Minister without Portfolio making him Israel’s first Muslim cabinet officer.

    2007:The Los Angeles Times book section featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Little Book of Plagiarism byJudge Richard A. Posner.

    2007: The Times of London featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including of Imposture by Benjamin Markovits.

    2008: In Seattle, Washington, the final performance of “The Westerbork Serenade.” “The Westerbork Serenade” is a one-person play which tells the true story of Jewish cabaret performers held by the Nazis in the Dutch transit camp of Westerbork. From 1942-1944, some of Berlin's greatest stars performed at Westerbork, thereby delaying their transport to death camps. Most, however, were killed before the end of the war. The play contains period songs, sketches and accounts. “The Westerbork Serenade” is the title of an acerbic love song about camp life written by Dutch singing duo, Johnny and Jones, in 1944, just months before their deportation to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen death camps.

    2008: U.S. News & World Reportfeatures an article entitled “New Taste for Kosher Food” that begins “Not only Jews look for the kosher symbol on food these days. In a surprising turn of events, "kosher" has become the most popular claim on new food products, trouncing "organic" and "no additives or preservatives," according to a recent report. A noteworthy 4,719 new kosher items were launched in the United States last year—nearly double the number of new "all natural" products, which placed second in the report, issued last month by Mintel, a Chicago-based market research firm. In fact, sales of kosher foods have risen an estimated 15 percent a year for the past decade. Yet Jews, whose religious doctrine mandates the observance of kosher dietary laws, make up only 20 percent of those buying kosher products. What gives? "It's the belief among all consumers that kosher food is safer, a critical thing right now with worries about the integrity of the food supply," says Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior analyst at Mintel a Chicago based market research firm.

    2008: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama saidPalestinian refugees belong in their own state and do not have a "literal" right of return to Israel. "The outlines of any agreement would involve ensuring that Israel remains a Jewish state.” He reiterated his support for a two-state solution, but said, "We cannot move forward until there is some confidence that the Palestinians are able to provide the security apparatus that would prevent constant attacks against Israel from taking place." His statements of support for the Israeli position on refugees came on the heels of scurrilous charges that Obama is secretly a Muslim who received a radical Wahabi education.

    2008: Israeli officials said today that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak held talks in Paris last week with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf even though their countries have no diplomatic relations. The two men first met by chance in the hotel where Barak was staying and spoke briefly, a spokeswoman from his ministry told AFP. The following day, Musharraf invited Barak for a meeting and the two talked for about an hour, focusing on Iran s nuclear program, she said.

    2008 (21st of Shevat, 5768): In Iowa City Dr. Michael Balch, Associate Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Iowa and a longtime member of the Jewish community passed away. Michael earned a BS in Engineering Science from Pratt Institute in 1960 an MS from New York University in 1962 and a PhD in Mathematics from New York University in1965.  His areas of expertise were Economic behavior under uncertainty and Theories of deterrence, arms control, and war.

    2009: Jack Lew began serving as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.

    2009:The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research presents a lecture by Yedid Kanfter entitled:The Lodz Towers of Babel: Industry and Religious Politics in Lodz Before the First World War” in which the Yale University professor  explores the link between Lodz and religious infrastructure, between industry and Orthodox politics.  In the years before WWI, the industrial city of Lodz was a center of Jewish religion in Russian Poland.

    2009: The Jerusalem Conference a unique annual forum co-sponsored by Arutz Sheva for the discussion of Israel's national priorities, social values, and aspirations hosts its concluding session. 


    2009: “Stumbling Stone,” a documentary study of the artist Gunter Demnig and his continuing Holocaust memorial project is shown at the New York Jewish Film Festival

    2009: “Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh” opens today in Manhattan.

    2009:Israel's chief rabbinate severed ties with the Vatican today to protest a papal decision to reinstate a bishop, Richard Williamson, who publicly denied 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.
    2010: In New York City, closing day of "Laba’s Guests" at Laba Gallery, New York 

    2010: Walter Isaacson is scheduled to discuss and sign his new book, American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane, at Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, Md.

    2010:  Novelist Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season and Wickett's Remedy, is scheduled to “chat” about "The Story Behind the Stories" at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. This event, co-sponsored with George Washington University, is the launch of the JCC's new series, "Authors Out Loud."

    2010: Elisa New is scheduled to discuss and sign her new memoir, "Jacob's Cane: A Jewish Family's Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore," at Barnes & Noble in Rockville, Md.

    2010:Israeli drip irrigation giant Netafim opened a new factory in Turkey today despite recent diplomatic tensions between the two countries.


    2010(13th of Shevat, 5770)Seymour Bernard Sarason, professor emeritus of psychology at Yale University passed away in New Haven, Connecticut, at the age of 91. (As reported by William Grimes)

    2011: The 92nd St Y is scheduled to host its Shababa Bakery where children of all ages can “squish, roll and braid” their own challah to take home and bake for Shabbat.

    2011: Ezra Rosenfeld is scheduled to lead a guided tour of “the amazing mountain palace and fortress of Herodion” that many consider King Herod's "Piece de Resistance."

    2011: Rabbi Edward Feld, the senior editor of the new Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative) High Holy Day Mahzor was not able to deliver his lecutre about “Why Words?”—a discussion of how we relate to words in a prayer book at Congregation Olam Tikvah in Fairfax, VA because of a snow storm and power outage.

    2011:Paraguay has joined a string of South American nations in recognizing an independent Palestinian state.

    2011(22nd of Shevat, 5771):Gerry Faier, a longtime gay activist in New York who returned to Jewish practice in her later years, passed away today at 102.

    2012: “Ahead of Time: The Extraordinary Journey of Ruth Gruber”  is scheduled to be shown at the Brotherhood Film Festival sponsored by Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York and the Virginia Peninsula Jewish Film Festival in Williamsburg, Va.

    2012:Rachel Feinstein is scheduled perform on the final night of the Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival.

    2012: In Iowa City, IA, Agudas Achim is scheduled to host “Support Mitzvah Day 2012” a fund raiser sponsored by the Tikkun Olam Committee.

    2012:Opposition leader and Kadima party head Tzipi Livni called for tougher sanctions against Iran on today, saying that it is the responsibility of the entire world to stop Tehran’s quest for the bomb. .

    2012:Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said today that “Israeli intransigence” was behind the failure of the January Israeli-Palestinian talks in Jordan. He made his remarks in Ramallah during a conversation with visiting Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, who is expected to meet tomorrow with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

    2012(4th of Shevat, 5772): Fifty four year old Steven Leiber, “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” passed away today. (As reported by Roberta Smith)

    2013: The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present “Laughing All the Way to Freedom” featuring Professor Emil Draitser, author of Taking Penguins to the Movies.

    2013: This evening “a suspicious object” was found on the road leading to Erfat, which turned out to be “a fake bomb” that “had been planted on the road.

    2013: Jerusalem expressed "surprise and astonishment" today at a decision by Iran and Argentina to set up a "truth committee" to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center that killed 85 people.

    2014: “When You Listen to a Witness, You Become a Witness,” an exhibition that “documents the experiences of students while visiting the former Nazi concentration camps established in Poland during WW II,  is scheduled to open at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library

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    January 29

    904: Sergius III began his papacy during which Jews first began settling at Mayence, Germany in 906.

    1421(17th of Shevat, 5181):The Jews of Sargossa, Spain were spared from slaughter at the hands of King Alfonso V , thanks to the fact that a handful of synagogues beadles had acted on the advice given to them by the Prophet Elijah in a dream  shared by each of them.  The resulting salvation on the 17th of Shevat was celebrated by Saragossan Jews, and dubbed "Purim Saragossa." A Hebrew Megillah (scroll) was penned, describing the details of the miraculous story. To this day, this scroll is read in certain communities on Purim Saragossa.

    1478: “The Washington Haggadah,” the creation of Joel Ben Simeon was completed today. “In addition to the full text of the Passover night liturgy, the Washington Haggadah features stunningly intricate illuminated panels and a series of Passover illustrations that include depictions of "The Four Sons,""The Search for Leaven," and "The Messiah Heralded." The enduring popularity of Joel ben Simeon's miniatures is reflected in the many reproductions of his work that have appeared over the years in anthologies of Jewish art and manuscript painting. In 1991, the Library of Congress published a facsimile edition of the Washington Haggadah, accompanied by a companion volume with a detailed scholarly description, analysis, and assessment of the manuscript.”

    1482: Pope Sixtus V addresses a “severe letter” to Ferdinand and Isabella censuring the conduct of the Inquisition.  “In this letter the pope admitted that he had issued the bull for the institution of the Inquisition without due consideration.”

    1676(OS): Tsar Alexis I of Russia passed away.“During his reign a considerable number of Jews lived in Moscow and the interior of Russia. In a work of travels, written at that time, but published later, and bearing the title, Reise nach dem Norden the author states that, owing to the influence of a certain Stephan von Gaden, the czar's Jewish physician, the number of Jews considerably increased in Moscow. The same information is contained in the work, The Present State of Russia by Samuel Collins, who was also a physician at the court of the czar. From the edicts issued by Alexis Mikhailovich, it appears that the czar often granted the Jews passports with red seals (gosudarevy zhalovannyya gramoty), without which no foreigners could be admitted to the interior; and that they traveled without restriction to Moscow, dealing in cloth and jewelry, and even received from his court commissions to procure various articles of merchandise. Thus, in 1672, the Jewish merchants Samuel Jakovlev and his companions were commissioned at Moscow to go abroad and buy Hungarian wine.” Another edict “instructed a party of Lithuanian Jews to proceed from Kaluga to Nijni-Novgorod, and as a protection they received an escort of twenty sharpshooters.” The Czar’s attitude towards the Jews was a mixed bag as can be seen from his expulsion of “the Jews from the newly acquired Lithuanian and Polish cities” – Mohilev, Wilna, and Kiev. Altogether, taking into consideration the hatred of foreigners among the Russian population of his time, it is evident that Alexis was kindly disposed toward the Jews.”

    1689: The Convention Parliament adopted a resolution declaring England to be “a Protestant Kingdom” and that only a Protestant could be King.  This effectively removed James II from the throne and paved the way for William and Mary to come to the throne. The Jews had already returned to the British Isles, but the Protestant monarchs would prove to be sympathetic to their cause which helped with the peaceful growth of the nascent Anglo-Jewish community.

    1735: Sixty-eight year old George Granville, the British playwright who adapted “The Merchant of Venice” into the “Jew of Venice” in 1701 passed away today.

    1790:"The Jews of Paris obtained a certificate, couched in most flattering terms, and testifying to their excellent reputation, from the inhabitants of the district of the Carmelites, where most Jews dwelt at this time.”

    1791: During the French Revolution, a Jewish delegation dressed in their uniforms as National Guardsmen and bearing certificates of ‘good behavior’ from the Christian citizens of Paris appeared before the Commune seeking support for their demand to be granted full rights as citizens of France.

    1794: Ezekiel Hart, one of the early leaders of the Canadian-Jewish community married Frances Lazarus. She was the niece of Frances Noah and her husband Ephraim Hart, a successful New York merchant.

    1803(6th of Shevat, 5563):Jonas Phillips passed away. Born in Germany in 1736, he was the first of the Phillips family to settle in America. A founder of Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, Phillips was the father of twenty-two children and the grandfather of Uriah Phillips Levy, the first Jewish Commodore in the United States Navy.

    1803: Birthdate of Anselm Salomon von Rothschild, who was an Austrian banker, and a member of the Vienna branch of the Rothschild family, born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany to baron Salomon Mayer von Rothschild and his wife Caroline.

    1808:  Ezekiel Hart was elected to the Canadian parliament but was prevented from taking his seat because as a Jew he could not take the oath "on the true faith of a Christian." Though reelected in May 1808, and in April 1809, he was again prevented from being seated. Only in 1832 was legislation passed allowing Jews to hold public office and giving them full civil rights. Born in 1767, Hart passed away in 1843.

    1819: Sir Stamford Raffles establishes at a post at Singapore. By 1830, there at least 9 Jewish traders living at the British outpost and by 1840, the Sassoon family with all that that meant for the growth of the colony and the Jewish community.

    1820: King George III, whose life had been saved by a Jew in 1800 and who had his first conversation with a Jew when he spoke to boxer Daniel Mendoza, passed away

    1830: The date for the congregation charter for Nidce Israel, in Baltimore which became the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

    1848: In a speech at the annual Thomas Paine Dinner, suffragist and anti-slavery activist Ernestine Rose declared "superstition keeps women ignorant, dependent, and enslaved beings. Knowledge will make them free."

    1849: Isaac Noah Mannheimer delivered a speech in the Austrian Reichstag where he called for the abolition of capital punishment.

    1852: Birthdate of Frederick Hyman Cohen, the native of Kingston Jamaica, who would gain fame as the Composer, Conductor, and Pianist, Sir Fredrick H. Cowen.

    1856:  Queen Victoria institutes the Victoria Cross. Frank de Pass was the first Jew to be awarded Britain’s highest award for valor.  He earned it for action on the Western Front on November 24, 1917.  The award was made posthumously since he was killed the next day.

    1859 (24th of Shevat, 5619):Passing of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. Born in 1787, he was renowned Chassidic leader, and forerunner of the "Ger" Chassidic dynasty.

    1860: Birthdate of Russian author Anton Chekhov. Unlike other Russian literary lions, Chekhov fully opposed anti-Semitism.  He was a supporter of Dreyfus, publicly declaring his innocence and supporting Zola when he came to the defense of the French Colonel.  When Alexsi Suvorin, his long time friend and literary colleague, attacked Zola as an agent of the Jews, Chekhov ended their professional and personal relationship.

    1861: Kansas became the 34th state of the Union. One of the unique aspects of the history of the Jews of Kansas was the Jewish agricultural colonies that were established on the High Plains during the 1880’s. The Jewish Agriculturists' Aid Society of America seven Jewish agricultural colonies in places with such Biblical and or Jewish names as Beersheba, Montefiore, Lasker, Leeser, and Touro, Gilead and Hebron. For more about this interesting attempt to create what Zionist would come to call The New Jew in America’s heartland see "Jewish Farming Communities Enriched Kansas Cultural Heritage" at Today there is a thriving Jewish Community in Kansas, much of it centered in Overland, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb.

    1877(15thof Shevat, 5637): Tu B’Shevat

    1877: After studying at the Jewish Theological Seminary at Breslau, David Kaufmann was ordained as a Rabbi.  He had received his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig 3 years before his ordinated.

    1877: It was reported today that according to an unconfirmed rumor, the Ottoman government is so desperate for money that it has offered to sell the Pashaluk of the Holy Land, which is effectively Palestine, to any candidate acceptable to the Jews in return for a loan.  If the Jews are not interested, the Turks might make a similar offer to Brigham Young since agents of the Mormon have been reported making similar inquiries during the past year.

    1878: Birthdate of Dr. Alexander Marx, the native of Elberfield, Germany who became the director of libraries and Jacob H. Schiff Professor of History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

    1890: It was reported today that Professor Felix Adler officiated at the wedding of Gertrude Hiller and Gustave Leve in New York City.

    1891: It was reported today that the 200 year old Wells Mansion which is believed to be the oldest house still standing in Boston, MA, has been purchased by a Jewish millionaire named Ratchesky. (This may be Abraham “Cap” Rashesky who founded the A.C. Ratchesky Foundation.

    1892(29thof Tevet, 5652): Sixty-three year old Benjamin Russak, a partner in Harris & Russak, a “fur-manufacturing house” passed away today.  A native of Posen, he came to the United States in 1848 and opened a retail hat, cap and fur store with his brother-in-law, Henry Harris. The firm prospered and was one of the first to enter into the fur-seal trade.  Russak was active in several organizations including the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the United Hebrew Charities and the Hebrew Technical Institute.

    1893: It was reported today that Oscar Hammerstein has announced the upcoming concerts that will be performed at the Manhattan Opera House including a performance of “The Jewess.”

    1895: It was reported today that the mid-year exams, including tests in Hebrew, will begin this week at Columbia College in New York,

    1896: It was reported today that the American Jewish Historical Society will be holding its fourth annual meeting in Philadelphia.

    1897: Captain Ferdinand Forzinetti, the commandant of military prison, who was “one of the first to be convincedof the innocent of Dreyfus” received a letter of commendation from the Ministry of War “for having taken part in a panel that reviewed the regulations concerning the serving of military justice.” Later in the year, he would be relieved of duty when the his support for Dreyfus became a matter of public record.

    1897: “Our Jewish Population” published today included a summary of paper presented by Philadelphian David Sulzberger at the annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society which described the growth of Jewish population in the United from 3,000 in 1812 to its present level of 500,000 “of whom 140,000” live in New York City. 

    1897: Rabbis Kohler and Kleeberg will co-officiate today at the funeral of Dr. Solomon Deutsch, the author of Essays on the Talmud
    1898: Lucien Millevoye delivered an anti-Dreyfus speech tonight in Bordeaux.

    1898: “Fortunes in Antiquity” provided a review of The Art of Getting Rich in which Henry Hardwicke uses the story of Cain and Able as evidence that “the first occupations of mankind were sheep industry and tillage.”  Furthermore, as can be seen from the fact that “the wealth of the patriarchs…consisted principally in their flocks” the “pastoral life…seems to have been more…profitable among the Hebrews than tillage.”  (more for 2014)

    1899: “Homer and Jewish Rites” published today noted the similarity between the Jewish rituals concerning the washing of the hands and the prayer uttered in the Iliad, “Now pray to Jove what Greece demands: Pray in deep silence and with the purest hands.”

    1899:The meeting of the Zionist Actions Committee in Vienna came to an end.

    1899: Mr. Green introduced a bill in Albany today that would exempt “the real property of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association of New York City from all taxes commonly known as ‘land taxes.’”

    1899: It was reported today that Governor Theodore Roosevelt has chosen Jastrow Alexendar to serve as State Inspector of Gas Meters.  “In Mr. Alexander, the Governor believed he had found another Maccabee – a Jews who had come to this country from Germany while a young man, had become thoroughy imbued with the American spirit, had enlisted when the civil war broke out, and by reason of conspicuous courage had been advanced to be an Adjutant General.”

    1903: Herzl and the Actions Committee in Vienna work out the outline of a Charter which is taken to Cairo by the expedition and delivered to Leopold Greenberg.

    1903: Birthdate of Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the Riga born intellectual who made Aliyah in 1935 and whose career both in depth in breadth is beyond my ability to even begin to describe.

    1904: In Warsaw Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, the originator of Esperanto and his wife gave birth to their youngest daughter Lidia Zamenhof who died in Teblinka.


    1905: Carl Jung made an entry in the records of the Burgholzli Hospital in which he described his treatment of Sabina Spielrein  whom he described as “oriental” and “voluptuous.”  The young Jewess went from being a patient of Freud and Jung to being a pioneer in the field of psychoanalysis. (As reported by Karen Hall)

    1911: Birthdate of composer Bernard Herrmann.  Among other works, he composed the music for “Citizens Kane,” “Torn Curtain,”  “The Trouble With Harry” and “Psycho.”

    1913: The British Consul in Jerusalem, P.J.C. McGregor wrote a dispatch assuring his government that he had talked to one of the leading Zionists in Palestine who denied reports in some British papers that the Palestinian Jews were pro Turk and pro German. This un-named leader assured the British diplomat that the Zionist sought the protection of the Union Jack since it was the only force that would support their goal of a Jewish home in Palestine.

    1913: Birthdate of Nina Zimet Schneider.  A native of Antwerp, Belgium, Schneider grew up in the United States where she combined forces with her Husband Herman to write dozens of books for children “that deftly explained the intricacies of stars, plants, the human body and even the networks of pipes and cables below the city streets…” 

    1913: Churchill sends a letter to the Reform Club announcing his resignation because Baron de Forest, his Jewish friend and Member of Parliament had been blackballed in his bid for membership.

    1916:The opposition in the Senate yesterday to the nomination of Louis D. Brandeis of Boston to the Supreme Court of the United States appears to have been softened overnight. One Democratic Senator, who is especially well placed for knowing the drift of sentiment on the subject, said today that twenty-four hours ago he would have estimated that two-thirds of the Senate was against Mr. Brandeis.

    1918: Hugo Guttman, a German-Jewish Lieutenant in the Kaiser’s Army began serving as “Adolf Hitler’s direct superior.”

    1918: Two days before his death, Zionist leader Dr. Jechiel Tchlenow wrote a letter to the convention of the English Zionist Federation which was to take place four days later in which he stated that the convention was of the greatest historical importance; that Great Britain is the traditional friend of the small nations and that history would record in letters of gold the English promise to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national homeland in Palestine.

    1921: Birthdate of Eugene V. Klein the American businessman, supporter of candidates as varied as Pierre Salinger and Richard Nixon whose sport’s endeavors include ownership of the Seattle Supersonics and San Diego Chargers.

    1923: Birthdate of writer Paddy Chayevsky.  Chayevsky created works both for the big screen and television. Some of his more famous efforts included Marty, Hospital and Network.  “Television is democracy at its worst.”

    1928: The New York Times reported on improving economic conditions in Palestine.  For example, at Petakh Tikvah, an additional fifty Jewish workers have been hired and “the Arab lessees of local orange groves have promised to take on 200 more Jews within the next few days.”

    1929:Birthdate of Richard Lawrence Ottinger who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from New York before he went on to pursue a career as a law school professor.

    1928: When asked by an interviewer in an article published two days before his 80thbirthday “When should one commence giving?” Nathan Straus replied, “As soon as one has a little more than he actually needs.  At first it is hard.  But afterwards it grows into a pleasure and there is nothing more satisfying, nothing to make one happier than to give in order to relieve the distress of others.” By “others” Mr. Straus means “men women and children of all races and creeds.”  He has “the deep seated feeling that all humanity is one blood whatever the accident of birth or the circumstances of religious faith.  We are all brothers and should help each other to the full extent of the opportunities that the one God of all mankind gives to each of us.
    1932: French premiere of “Comradeship” the Franco (La Tragédie de la mine)-German(Kameradschaft) film starring Alexander Granach as “Kasper.”

    1932:The American Hebrewappeared for the last time. It would merge with the New York Jewish Tribuneand re-appear as American Hebrew and Jewish Tribune

    1932: In London, England, celebration of the 80th anniversary of the birth of famed composer, conductor and pianist Sir Frederic H. Cowen.

    1933: Paul von Hindenburg, President of Germany appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.  The Nazis did not come to power through a coup or putsch.  They came to power legally, using the German political and electoral processes.

    1937: American release date of “The Good Earth” the cinematic treatment of Nobel Prize winning author Pearl Buck’s novel of the same name starring Jewish actor Paul Muni. The Jewish connection continued with Luise Rainer winning the Oscar for Best Actress  and Karl Freund winning the Oscar for Best Cinematography.

    1941(1st of Shevat, 5701): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

    1941(1st of Shevat, 5701): At the Lodz Ghetto, Bluma Lichtensztajn committed suicide and painter Maurycy Trebacz died of hunger. (He was one of five thousand Jews who will die of hunger over the next six months.)

    1943: Germans execute 15 Poles at the village of Wierzbica for aiding three Jews. One of the victims is a two-year-old girl.

    1944: In Trieste, the Nazis conduct a roundup of Jews aimed the old and sick people including those living in facilities for the aged. 

    1944: A Nazi court in Kraków, Poland, sentences five Poles to death for aiding Jews. One of the accused, Kazimierz Jozefek, is hanged in the public square.

    1944: In Lithuania, Soviet led partisans including Jews from the Kovno and Vilnius ghettos attacked Koniuchy which was later described a pro-Nazi town from which Germans launched attacks against partisans.  According to various reports several civilians were killed in the action which has led to it being described as a “massacre.”

    1945(15thof Shevat, 5705): Tu B’Shevat

    1945: Birthdate of Paysach J. Krohn, rabbi, mohel and author of the “Maggid” series of books for ArtScroll.

    1947: Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" premiered in New York City

    1948: Birthdate of Canadian Gerald Barry Falovtich who gained fame as singer-songwriter Yank Berry, “the philanthropist who along with his friend and partner Muhammad Ali has fed over 954,000,000 documented meals to the needy around the world over the last twenty years.”

    1948: The colleagues and friends of Dr. Alexander Marx will hold a reception in the reading room of the JTS Library so that they can celebrate his 70thbirthday and congratulate him on his 45 years of service to the academic institution which is the flagship of Conservative Judaism.

    1948: At its annual meeting in the Commodore Hotel, the board of governors of the Hebrew Union College approved an $8,000,000 "Blueprint for the Future."

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Mapam, by a vote of 228 to 22, expelled from the party one of its veteran Zionist leaders, Dr. Moshe Sneh. According to the Post's leading article there was no room in Mapam for two groups which justified the new Soviet anti-Semitic policy and this explained why Sneh, and his more extreme "Left Faction," were expelled. They were expected to join the Communists. 

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that President Juan Peron said that the gates of Argentina stood wide open to any Soviet Jew who wished to find shelter there. The offer was also valid for Jews from other Soviet-dominated countries.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that The Ministry of Interior closed the Communist daily Kol Ha'am for 10 days for publishing articles threatening the public peace.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that arson damaged the Russian bookshop in Jerusalem.

    1954: Dr. Robert Oppenheimer sent a telegram requesting a hearing before the Atomic Energy Commission which had suspended his security clearance in response to charges that he was untrustworthy because of associations with Communists.

    1962:  Violinist Fritz Kreisler passed away.  According to at least one source, Kreisler’s father was Jewish, but he was not.  Reportedly Kreisler’s wife was an Austrian anti-Semite whose reactions to Kreisler’s ethnic origins have helped to cloud the issue.  At least one of Kreisler’s brothers is reported to have said that he was Jewish but the same could not be said of Fritz.

    1964(15th of Shevat, 5724): Tu B'Shevat

    1964: Birthdate of Ruhama Avraham, the Sephardi native of Rishon LeZion who was first elected to the Knesset in 2003.

    1964: Premiere of Stanley Kubrick's anti-war dark comedy, "Dr Strangelove"

    1967 "Let's Sing Yiddish" closed at Brooks Atkinson in New York City NY after 107 performances.

    1968(28thof Tevet, 5728): Eighty-five year old J. B. S. Hardman, born Jacob Benjamin Salutsky who was a leader of the Jewish Socialist Federation of the Socialist Party passed away today.

    1969: Birthdate of Dov Charney CEO of the garment company American Apparel.

    1969(10th of Shevat): Max Weinrich a founder of the Yiddish Institue (YIVO) and author of History of the Yiddish Language passed away

    1970(22ndof Shevat, 5730): Areyh Ben-Eliezer, the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, a member of several pre-state organizations including Hebrew Committee for National Liberation, The American League for a Free Palestine and the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe, passed away

    1970:Gideon Patt, a sabra born in Jerusalem during the British Mandate, began serving in the Knesset following the death of Areyh Ben-Eliezer.

    1975: Alan King hosted the First Annual Comedy Awards of the Year.  Considering the number of Jewish comedians going back to the early days of vaudeville, the choice of the Jewish King is doubly appropriate.

    1975: Birthdate of actress Sara Gilbert.  Sara is the younger sister of Melissa Gilbert who starred in “Little House on the Prairie.”  Sara starred in the sitcom “Roseanne” a twentieth century version of the family unit which provides a interesting counterpoint to the 19th version of the family shown on Little House on the Prairie.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Prime Minister Menachem Begin had reversed his earlier decision and recommended to the cabinet that the Israeli military delegation return to Cairo to resume negotiations. He hoped that the joint Egyptian-Israeli Political Committee would eventually resume its meetings in Jerusalem. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made a direct appeal to US Jewry and complained "that the behavior of the Israeli government had been negative and disappointing." Egypt, according to its Foreign Ministry statements, would never bargain over its territory and will always defend the rights of the Palestinians.

    1983(15thof Shevat, 5743): Tu B’Shevat

    1989: The New York Times reported that a Holocaust museum is to be built on the National Mall in Washington, DC has received thousands of artifacts, including letters, diaries, arm bands and secret coded communications between inmates.

    1989: The New York Times reported that a Jewish institute plans to donate $100,000 for training black South African medical workers. The grant will be presented to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

    1990: Yuli M. Vorontsov, the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister, met with the head of Israel's consular delegation in Moscow, Aryeh Levin. Mr. Vorontsov was quoted as saying, ''We oppose any use of citizens' leaving the Soviet Union, at great risk to them, to push Palestinians off land belonging to them.'' Soviet displeasure over the settlement debate is also threatening an agreement reached between El Al and Aeroflot for direct flights between Moscow and Tel Aviv. The head of the Soviet consular mission in Israel, Georgi Martirosov, told reporters on Monday that ''recent Israeli statements have hindered any possibility of moving this process forward.''

    1991: After several days of growing frustration over the slow pace of allied efforts to eliminate Iraq's Scud missile launchers, Israeli officials warned today that Israel may not wait much longer before it attacks. An Israeli television interviewer offered a sentiment common among Israelis when he told Defense Minister Moshe Arens this evening: "The Americans keep bombing launchers but haven't been terribly effective. Meanwhile, Americans are watching the Super Bowl, and Israelis are sitting in shelters and sealed rooms." Mr. Arens responded: "The situation you described isn't going to continue -- not two months, and not a month. I simply estimate that a situation in which we'll be neutral or not active, and their ability to launch missiles against us isn't eliminated, it won't continue for a long time."

    1991: In a meeting with a visiting French politician today, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir is reported to have said that Israel wants to play an active role in the battle against Iraq but is constrained by limits imposed by the United States. Mr. Shamir said he hoped the limits would be lifted soon. Iraq has fired 26 missiles at Haifa or Tel Aviv on seven occasions over the last 12 days, killing four people and wounding nearly 200. More than 2,000 apartments have been seriously damaged or destroyed. Elementary schools remain closed because there are too few teachers to help children put on gas masks quickly when the missile alert sounds. Productivity in business and industry is off. Much of the nation is traumatized. For the first time, Israel is under attack and unable to respond.

    1991: Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman will share a stage in New York today when they team up to honor Zubin Mehta. The three violinists will appear at the annual lunch that benefits the orchestra. Last week, Mr. Mehta turned around en route to New York from Europe and flew to Tel Aviv on the eve of the war in the Persian Gulf as a show of support for Israel, where he is musical director of the national orchestra.

    1992: Gila Almajor, performed a one-woman play entitled “The Summer of Aviya” which she wrote as part of “Israel: The Next Generation.”

    1992: The daughter of Abie Nathan the Israeli philanthropist and peace campaigner, Sharona Nathan El Saieh, accepted the Abraham Joshua Heschel Peace Award from the Jewish Peace Fellowship today on behalf of her father because Mr. Nathan is in prison in Israel. In October, he was sentenced to 18 months for violating an Israeli law prohibiting contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization. He had met with the P.L.O. chairman, in Tunis in July. The award, named for the late theologian and educator, also went to Yehudi Menuhin,the violinist, and Dr. Jane Evans D, executive director emeritus of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. The Jewish Peace Fellowship was founded 50 years ago to promote conscientious objection among Jews.

    1993: Feeling bolstered by a seal of approval from the country's High Court of Justice, Israel renewed its diplomatic offensive today to stave off United Nations sanctions over its deportation of more than 400 Palestinians to Lebanon.

    2000(22nd of Shevat, 5760):Harold H. Greene a federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia who was nominated by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 passed away.

    2001: Eric Edelman completed his service as U.S. Ambassador to Finland.

    2001: Prime Minister Ehud Barak campaigned inside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, where he spoke to a small group of disabled Israelis and some youth advocates.

    2002: In the battered center of Jerusalem, beefed-up police squads guarded sidewalks and street corners today as weary shopkeepers opened for business and workers repaired the stores damaged by a bomb set off yesterday by a Palestinian woman. Along the main street, Jaffa Road, where two terrorist attacks in six days have killed three Israelis and wounded dozens, the routines of daily life became a test of bravery. Shmuel Kapash waited for customers in his empty shoe shop as an employee peered warily out the front door. Going back to work this morning was no easy matter, they said. ''I'm scared, but I have to make a living,'' Mr. Kapash said. ''I can't stay home, but I think twice before going out of the store for some fresh air. I try not to step out.'' After yesterday’s  attack, the Israeli Merchants Association demanded that the government give shopkeepers in urban centers that have been targets of attacks tax breaks similar to those granted to businesses in communities along Israel's borders. In downtown Jerusalem, the disappearance of tourists and many shoppers has drastically cut sales. At the Freiman & Bein shoe store, a Jerusalem institution for more than 50 years, Yoach Freiman stood in the debris left by the bomb, which went off just outside the front door. The store has functioned continuously on Jaffa Road, through war and peace, since 1947, and it was not about to close now, Mr. Freiman asserted. ''We don't have the right to close down or to be frightened by such incidents,'' he said of the latest bombing. ''We owe it to our customers, who have been coming here for four generations. The principle is to continue our normal lives.''

    2004: A Palestinian suicide bomber killed 10 Israelis in Jerusalem today.

    2004: As she was returning to her home in Rehavia after having left her child at kindergarten, award winning-Israeli author Zeruya Shalev was severely injured when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a near-by bus.  Shalev is the daughter-in-law of Israeli playwright Aharon Megged and the cousin of award winning author Meir Shalev. [Meir Shalev’s latest literary effort is “Beginnings,” a must read for anybody interested in the TaNaCh and Jewish philosophy and history]

    2004: Israel and the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah carried through with their deal to exchange prisoners and war dead today, in a trade greeted in Israel by a spare ceremony for three fallen soldiers and in Lebanon by a day of national celebration. Besides the soldiers -- Adi Avitan, Benny Avraham and Omar Sawayed -- Hezbollah also freed an Israeli businessman, Elhanan Tannenbaum, kidnapped by Hezbollah in October 2000. Unlike the returning Lebanese, Mr. Tannenbaum, who said he had been treated well in captivity, did not receive a hero's welcome. He was permitted a brief reunion with his family at the airport, and was then taken away for a medical check and questioning by the Israeli authorities about possible illegal activities, Israeli officials said.

    2004: The Thirteenth Annual New York Jewish Film Festival comes to an end.

    2005(19thof Shevat, 5765): Eighty- year old Ephraim Kishon passed away

    2006:  A day after International Holocaust Memorial Day, the new Chancellor of Germany met with the acting Prime Minister of Israel.  In one of those amazing turnabouts in history German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany would have no contact with Hamas until it disavowed terrorism and recognized Israel and all agreements signed with it. This declaration comes in the face of the recent electoral victory by Hamas, an organization dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel and death to the Jewish people.

    2006: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including American Vertigo:Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocquevilleby Bernard-Henri Lévy

    2007: Haaretz reported that according to the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism this past year saw a substantial rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, Austria and the Scandinavian countries. In an annual press conference, the forum explained that 2006 was characterized by escalation in the number and violent nature of attacks on Jews, proliferation of Holocaust denial and increased comparison of Israel to the Nazi regime. The Global Forum - a joint effort of the Jewish Agency, the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office - counted 360 anti-Semitic incidents in France in 2006, compared to 300 in 2005. In the United Kingdom, the report listed a yearly decrease from 321 incidents in 2005 to 312 incidents in 2006. Russia recorded 300 incidents in 2006 compared to 250 the preceding year, and Austria saw a jump from 50 incidents to 83 last year. The Scandinavian countries saw 53 incidents in 2006, substantially more than the previous year's 35. The report cited a 60-percent rise in incidents in the Berlin area, although it did not include figures for all of Germany.

    2007(10thof Shevat): A Palestinian from the Gaza Strip blew himself up today inside a bakery in the Israeli resort city of Eilat, killing all three people inside. The two owners of the bakery, Amil Elimelech, 32, and Michael Ben Sa'adon, 27 were killed in the attack as well as one of their employees, Israel Samolia, 26. Elimelech was married with two children while Ben Sa'adon was married with one child. Samolia was an immigrant from Peru. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, each took credit for the bombing.

    2008: In New York City, the 92nd St Y hosts “Commando Krva Maga: Israeli Self Defense” where attendees learn defense skills developed by the Israeli military, now popular with civilians.

    2008: In Iowa City, the funeral is held for Dr. Michael Balch, Associate Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Iowa and a long time member of the Jewish community. Michael earned a BS in Engineering Science from Pratt Institute in 1960 an MS from New York University in 1962 and a PhD in Mathematics from New York University in1965.  His areas of expertise were Economic behavior under uncertainty and Theories of deterrence, arms control, and war.  He passed away on January 28, 2008 (21 Shevat, 5768).

    2008: Barnard College named as its next president Debora L. Spar, a Harvard Business School professor who has written about the economics of the human fertility industry and the evolution of the Internet but has not previously been affiliated with a women’s college. Professor Spar, 44, whose appointment is effective July 1, will succeed Judith R. Shapiro, president since 1994, the college announced. “We never expected to have anybody until March or April or May, but she was too good to pass up,” said Helene L. Kaplan, a Barnard trustee and one of two leaders of its presidential search committee. “She’s bright, she’s lively, she’s young and she’s very energetic.”

    2009:Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, the former (now emeritus) president of George Washington University, discusses and signs Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks Out on Higher Educationat the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md.

    2009: An American appeals court today dismissed a lawsuit by Holocaust survivors who alleged the Vatican bank accepted millions of dollars of their valuables stolen by Nazi sympathizers. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a lower court ruling that said the Vatican bank was immune from such a lawsuit under the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which generally protects foreign countries from being sued in U.S. courts. Holocaust survivors from Croatia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia had filed suit against the Vatican bank in 1999, alleging that it stored and laundered the looted assets of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Gypsies who were killed or captured by the Nazi-backed Ustasha regime that controlled Croatia. They sought an accounting from the Vatican, as well as restitution and damages. The court didn't rule on the allegations.


    2009: “The Wedding Song,” Karin Albou’s story of a friendship between a Muslim man and a Jewish woman, set in Tunisia during the Nazi occupation is featured tonight at the New York Jewish Film Festival.

    2010: An exhibition entitled Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin is scheduled to have its final showing at the JCC in Washington, D.C.  Siona Benjamin is a painter originally from the Bombay Jewish (Bene Israel) community now living in the United States.

    2010:The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem is scheduled to celebrate Tu Bishvat from a bit of a different angle, with parents and children and having a chance to learn about the connection between planting trees and global warming.


    2010: The Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Chapter of Hadassah is scheduled to sponsor a Tu B'Shevat Seder and Shabbat Services at Temple Judah.

    2010:US President Barack Obama's national security adviser cited a heightened risk that Iran will respond to growing pressure over its nuclear program by stoking violence against Israel. The adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, said today that history shows that when regimes are feeling pressure they can lash out through surrogates. He said that in Iran's case that would mean facilitating attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas

    2010: Pei Xiong provides a description of the academic efforts of Jane Eisner in “Jane Eisner ’77 Teaching a New Generation of Writers.”

    2011: A screening of The Matchmaker directed by Avi Nesher is scheduled to take place at the Seventh Annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival.

    2011:Internationally recognized rising star, Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman is scheduled to join Orpheus for the first time in a performance of Prokofiev’s hauntingly beautiful second violin concerto at Carnegie Hall.

    2011: “A Musical Mitzvah Evening” the Mitzvah Day fundraiser for Agudas Achim is scheduled to take place in Iowa City, IA.

    2011: Israel watched fearfully today as anti-government unrest roiled Egypt, one of its most important allies and a bridge to the wider Arab world. The Israeli prime minister ordered government spokesmen to keep silent. Officials speaking anonymously nonethless expressed concern violence could threaten ties with Egypt and spread to the Palestinian Authority.
    2011:An official at Cairo International Airport said today that El Al was trying to arrange a special flight Saturday to take roughly 200 Israeli tourists out of Egypt. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

    2011: At Coe College in Cedar Rapids, the final performance of “Copenhagen” in which Barb Feller played Margrethe Bohr and her husband Steve played Niels Bohr

    2011: Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”

    2012: “The Religion Thing” is scheduled to have its final performance at Theatre J in Washington, D.C.

    2012: A display featuring a selection of 32 Chanukah lamps selected by Maurice Sendak is scheduled to come to a close today at the Jewish Museum in New York.

    2012: “Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray” is scheduled to be shown at the Boulder JCC in Boulder, CO.

    2012: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including “Ida” by Gertrude Stein, “Stanzas in Meditation: The Corrected Edition” by Gertrude Stein, “Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition” by Marni Davis, “The Street Sweeper” by Elliot Perlman and “God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World.”

    2012:An Israel Defense Forces Heron-class drone crashed in central Israel, Army Radio reported today, with no injuries reported. According to initial reports, the drone went down near Kibbutz Hafetz Haim located by the town of Gedera.

    2012: Anger and despair gripped many residents of the town of Harish today, the day after a local synagogue was found completely gutted by a fire that broke out early yesterday morning on Shabbat. While police said today they are sure the fire was caused by an electrical short, some residents say they believe it was intentionally set by unknown assailants looking to threaten the Breslov hassidic community that worships at the synagogue.
    2013: In London, The Wiener Library’s Young Volunteers are scheduled to host a special interactive discussion workshop for 16-25 years during which they will discuss the advantages and disadvantages in using Social Media to raise awareness and promote learning about the Holocaust and Genocide.

    2013: “Numbered,” a film directed by Urial Sinai and Doan Doron is scheduled to be shown at the JCC in Manhattan

    2013: Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today that he will step down as Israel's central banker on June 30, two years before the end of his second five-year term.

    2014: The Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at NYU is scheduled to present its inaugural Fritzi Weitzmann Owens memorial lecture with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, titled "Dignifying Difference: The Next Generation of Multifaith Leadership."

    0 0

    January 30

    1349: The Jews of Freilsburg Germany were massacred.

    1592: Clement VIII began his papacy during which enacted numerous anti-Jews moving including the issuance of Cum Saepe Accidere, a papal bull that “forbade the Jewish community of the Comtat Venaissin of Avignon, a papal enclave, to sell new goods, putting them at an economic disadvantage”  and Caeca et Obdurata, a papal bull that “banned Jews from living in the Papal states outside the cities of Rome, Ancona, and Avignon” which among other things had the effect of expelling the Jews from Umbria and Bologna. Last but not least, he issued Cum Hebraeorum militia a papal bull that “forbade the reading of the Talmud.”

    1648: Spain and the United Netherlands sign The Treaty of Münster and Osnabrück marking the end of the eighty yearlong Dutch revolt against Spanish rule.  The treaty guarantees the independence of the Protestant Netherlands from the rule of Catholic Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.  It means that the Jewish community in the Netherlands, which includes many Sephardic refugees and Marranos, will be able to grow and flourish.

    1649: King Charles I was beheaded.  One of those who took part in the trial was Isaac Dorislaus, the son of Dutch Reform minister who has been misidentified by some as being Jews. There was a “converso community” living in England but the Jews would not be formally re-admitted until after Oliver Cromwell came to power following the King’s death.

    1667: The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ceded Kiev, Smolensk, and left-bank Ukraine to the Tsardom of Russia in the Treaty of Andrusovo. According “to the treaty...arranged with John the Jews, who then lived in the towns and districts that became Russian territory, were permitted to remain "on the side of the Russian czar," under Russian rule, if they did not choose to remain under Polish rule. Jewish wives of Greek Orthodox Russians were permitted to remain with their husbands without being forced to change their religion.

    1807: Sir Robert Grant was “called to the bar” and began the practice of law. This was but one step on the ladder that led to Grant’s successful career as a member of the House of Commons.  Grant was not Jewish.  Robert Grant was a strenuous advocate for the removal of the disabilities of the Jews, and twice carried bills on the subject through the House of Commons. They were, however, rejected in the Upper House, which did not yield on the question until 1858, twenty years after Grant’s death. 

    1817(13th of Shevat): Rabbi Yom Tov Netel, author of Tehor Ra’ayonim passed away

    1831: In Paris Edmond Rochefort and his wife gave birth to Victor Henri Rochefort allied himself with anti-Semite Edouard Drumont and the infamous Hubert-Joseph Henry during the campaign to convict Dreyfus and then to destroy as much of the Jewish community as possible.
    1839(15thof Shevat, 5599): Tu B’Shevat

    1852: The horribly mutilated body of Jacob Lehman was found today in the Delaware River. Lehman was the son of Aaron Lehman, a German Jewish peddler living in Philadelphia.  When last seen, Jacob had in his possession $200 worth of watches, jewelry and other items that constituted most of his father's inventory. 

    1852: A jury in Philadelphia rendered the following verdict: "That the lad Jacob Lehman came to his death at the hand or hands of some person or person to the Jury unknown."  Lehman was the son of a German Jewish peddler whose gruesomely dismembered body had been found floating in the Delaware River

    1854(1st of Shevat, 5614): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

    1855: Henry Fitzroy, the husband of Hannah Rothschild and the son-in-law of Nathan Mayer Rothschild completed his term as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department.

    1857: The will of Marcus Cone was offered for probate today. Included in the will were instructions for establishing Cone's German Human Benevolent Society of New York, Cone's German Human Benevolent Society of Syracuse and Cone's German Human Benevolent Society of Albersweiller, the Germany city in which he was born.  Cone wanted to establish the two societies in the United States because neither of these cities had any organized way to provide aid for their indigent Jewish citizens.

    1860: The New York Times reported that "In England, astonishment is expressed” that Emperor Napoleon has not appointed the Duc de Persigny to the Foreign Ministry. Unbeknown to the public M de Persigny will not join the cabinet because he refuses to serve with Achille Fould, the Minister of State. M Fould is a favorite of the Empress who “absolutely clings” to him “as the only man competent to” serve as “Minister of State and of the Household of the Emperor.” Furthermore, M Fould is Jewish, a millionaire and is connected to “other rich Jews” through his banking connections.(“Nearly all the millionaires of Paris at this moment are Jews.”) The Emperor is reportedly “afraid to offend so important” a component needed to ensure the stability of his government.  “There are people malicious enough to suggest that the Empress' wish in the matter goes for very little, however, and that she is made to bear the blame because that is more convenient in these personal matters than a reason of State.”

    1863(10thof Shevat, 5623): Phineas Mendel Heilprin passed away today in Washington, D.C.  Born at Lublin in 1801, he moved to Hungary in 1842 and then left in 1848 when the revolutionary movement failed.  He arrived in the United States where he gained a reputation as a scholar and author.  His son Michael, who was born in 1823 came to the United States after the failure of the Kossuth led revolution.  On the eve of the Civil War, he refuted Rabbi Raphall’s position on slavery in the United States describing itas being immoral and contrary to the teachings of Judaism. He continued to espouse liberal cause until his death in 1888.

    1875: The London Punch has a cartoon of Disraeli shaking hands with Gladstone and saying: "Sorry to lose you. I began with books; you’re ending with them. Perhaps you're the wiser of the two." Disraeli is Benjamin Disraeli the English Prime Minister who began as an author.  Gladstone was his political opponent who held the post of Prime Minister.]

    1876: It was reported today that Jews had joined with Gentiles to raise twelve thousand dollars for the Woman’s Christian Home in St. Louis, MO. 
    1876: It was reported today that a "Jewish synagogue" has been opened in Toronto, Canada.

    1877: The Downtown Hebrew Benevolent Society is schedule to host a ball tonight as part of the New York City 1876-1877 Ball Season.

    1878: It was reported today Marcuse Woodle has been elected President of the Literary Society of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association and Samson Lachman has been elected Vice President.

    1889: In Kiel, Germany, Jewish businessman and communal leader Julius Frankenthal and his wife Cäcilie, née Goldmann., gave birth to Käte Frankenthal who gained fame as a psychiatrist and a socialist political leader who served on the Berlin City Council and in the Prussian State Parliament during the days of the Weimar Republic.

    1882: Birthdate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States.  Roosevelt’s New Deal created a variety of career opportunities for a whole generation of newly college educated generation of Jewish professionals. For several generations of Jews, FDR was a near-saint.  Starting in the 1970’s, questions were raised about Roosevelt’s failure to do more to rescue the Jews of Europe.  The problem with criticizing Roosevelt is the need to come to grips with the level of anti-Semitism that existed before, during and after the war.  This reality played a part in Roosevelt’s dealing with the furor of the Holocaust. Also, the critics apparently have no sense that until 1943 the Allies were losing the war and hard as it may be to come to grips with, the need to defeat the Axis including the Japanese was the primary driver behind all behavior.

    1892: The SS Massilia arrived in New York with “250 Russian Jews among her steerage passengers.”  After having been expelled from Russia they sailed to Palestine where the Ottoman authorities issued orders banning them from landing at Jaffa.  A Jewish society then paid for their passage to America.  The Superintendent of immigration said that the refusal of the Turks to let them land would not influence his decision as to whether or not they can enter the United States.

    1893: Birthdate of Rabbi Yitzhak-Meir Levin a Haredi, politician, member of the Kensett and one of 37 people to sign the Israeli declaration of independence.

    1893: Charles Barton’s production of “The Outsider,” a play whose villain is a Cockney Jew, is scheduled to open at the Park Theatre in New York

    1894: In Pennsylvania, Isadore Engel and Emelia (Molly) Schwartz gave birth to Dorothy Engel, the future wife of Herman Maltz who owned and operated Maltz Furniture Store in Los Angeles.

    1894: Samuel Gompers and Henry Weisman are scheduled to address a mass meeting at Madison Square Garden sponsored by the Trades and Labor Conference.

    1894: Members of the Hebrew Typographical Union No. 317 are among those who will join in a march led by the E.H. Wade Post of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic, whose members were all Civil War veterans)  which is scheduled to held this evening in New York City to call attention to the plight of the unemployed during the worst economic depression to hit the United States that started in 1893.

    1896(15thof Shevat, 5656): Tu B’Shevat

    1896: “What’s In A Name” published today described campaign being conducted by the sister of the late Abraham Hayward to disprove “the damnatory suspicion” that the two of them have “some mixture of Jewish blood.”  The efforts which have included a letter writing campaign to the London Athenaeum are proof that there “is the existence of …prejudices in the British Islands.”

    1896: In Philadelphia, President Oscar Straus is scheduled to preside over the opening session of the 4th annual meeting of the American Jewish Historical Society

    1897: It was reported today that the Municipal Library at Leipzig has a manuscript entitled “The Tree of Life” written by Jacob Ben Judah.  The manuscript is date 1287 and “it contains the liturgy of the Jews in England and their hymns.

    1897: Rabbi de Sola Mendes is scheduled to deliver a sermon at West End Synagogue entitled “The Truth About Jonah”


    1897: Based on information that first appeared in The American Hebrew, it was reported today that Rodef Shalom has selected Dr. Rudolph Grossman to serve as it next Rabbi, a move “that seems strange for an old conservative congregation” since he was trained at the Hebrew Union College, the Cinncinnati based school that trains Reform rabbis.

    1898: It was reported today that police had to be called when a riot broke out following an anti-Jewish speech by Lucien Millevoye in Bordeaux.

    1898: The Young Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Circle of the Auxiliary Society of the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Social Orphan Asylum held its regular monthly meeting this afternoon.

    1898: The Hebrew Infant Asylum Association held its third annual meeting this afternoon.

    1898: It was reported today that next month’s Purim Ball sponsored by the Purim Association  will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria

    1898: Doctors Richards, Greenfield, Taubenhaus and Singer were among those who addressed a group of Jews in Brooklyn tonight as part of a campaign to gain support for the construction of a Jewish hospital in Brooklyn

    1899: Rabbi Gustav Gottheil preached a sermon at Temple Emanu-El this morning in which he praised the value and role of daily newspapers.

    1899: “The Jews in Palestine” published today provides a summary of the report submitted in December of 1898 by U.S. Consul General B. Bie Randal in which he said that “960 families, numbering 5,000 souls inhabit 22 Jewish colonies in Palestine which have been founded and subsidized by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, representing the Alliance Israelite Universelle..”  Jacob’s Memorial (Zikhron Ya'akon) is the largest of the colonies with a population of 1,600 people.  The colony includes a synagogue, a school with five teachers and 4,000 acres on which the settles are growing fruit, mostly grapes, honey and mulberry leaves which is part of a plan to raise silkworms. (More 2014)

    1899: It was reported today that of the four bills introduced in the New York legislature seeking a exemption from property tax, on was seeking such relief for the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.

    1899: Rabbi Isaac C. Noot, principal of the Hebrew Free Schools delivered a lecture today at Temple Beth-El on “Thou shalt not bear false witness against the neighbor.”

    1900: Birthdate of Russian composer Isaak Iosifovich Dunayevsky.

    1902: Birthdate of Nikolaus Pevsner, the native of Leipzig who became a noted British expert on art and architecture.

    1903: Leopold Greenberg, Herzl's representative in London, left for Cairo to carry on political negotiations.

    1904: Herzl finished his visit to Italy.

    1907(15thof Shevat, 5667): Tu B’Shevat

    1908: Caught up in the dispute between the Territorialists and the Jews who will only settle for a homeland in Palestine, Churchill drafted a letter at the behest of British Zionist, Rabbi Dr. Moses Gaster.  Seeking not to offend either party, Churchill expressed his support for the Zionist dream of settling in Palestine while allowing that a temporary refuge may have to be found if such is the wish of the Jewish people.  The Territoralists were those Jews were willing to accept the British offer of a homeland in Uganda or Kenya as an immediate solution to the suffering of the Jews in Russia.  The Russian Jews were among those who were the strongest opponents of the solution.

    1909:  Birthdate of activist and author Saul David Alinsky

    1912:In response to an appeal by Dr. J. L. Magnes the New York City Jewish community announces subscriptions amounting to over sixty thousand dollars annually for five years for Jewish education in New York City.

    1912: In Brooklyn, N. Y, The Atlantic Union Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist convention adopts resolutions protesting against the recent massacres of Jews in Russia and outbreaks of anti-Jewish feeling in so-called Christian countries as un-Christian and affirming their belief that the Jew is entitled to religious and civil rights.

     1912: Birthdate of Barbara Tuchman.  Ms. Tuchman was a prolific popular historian who won a Pulitzer Prize for The Guns of August a book that President Kennedy urged people to read so that his generation might avoid the folly which led to World War I.  Ms. Tuchman won a second Pulitzer for Stillwell and the American Experience in China, a very readable tome that uses the experiences of Stillwell's career in Asia to explain the events that would ultimately lead to the victory of the Communist Chinese.  Although she was Jewish, Ms. Tuchman wrote only one book related to Jewish History - Bible and Sword (England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour).  Ms. Tuchman passed away in 1989 at the age of 77.Born in New York City, New York she is best known for her book The Guns of August (1962), a history of the outbreak of World War I, and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, (1970). She won Pulitzer Prizes for both books. Tuchman's father was a one-time owner and publisher of The Nation, as well as the founder of the Theatre Guild. Her maternal grandfather was the ambassador to Constantinople under President Woodrow Wilson, and her uncle was the Secretary of the Treasury under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She said, "The unrecorded past is none other than our old friend, the tree in the primeval forest which fell without being heard." Tuchman never went to graduate school, and never took a single course in writing. In deciding to write, she said, "The single most formative experience, I think, was the stacks at Widener Library where I was allowed to have as my own one of those little cubicles with a table under a window, queerly called, as I have since learned, 'carrels,' a word I never knew when I sat in one. Mine was deep in among the 940's (British History,that is) and I could roam at liberty through the rich stacks, taking whatever I wanted. The experience was marvelous, a word I use in its exact sense meaning full of marvels. It gave me a lifelong affinity for libraries, where I find happiness, refuge, not to mention the material for making books of my own."Tuchman said, "Nothing sickens me more than the closed door of a library." She also said, "Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill."

    1916(25th of Shevat, 5676): Joseph Jacobs passed away. Born in 1854, he “was an Australian literary and Jewish historian who was a writer for the Jewish Encyclopedia and a notable folklorist, creating several noteworthy collections of fairy tales.

    1915(15thof Shevat, 5675): Tu B’Shevat

    1918: Birthdate of actor David Opatoshu.

    1919: The Versailles Conference decided that the Arab provinces should be wholly separated from the Ottoman Empire and the newly conceived mandate-system applied to them. This decision clashed with the expectation of Faisal's Arab delegation that his state would include Palestine, and the conditional understandings reached in the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement.

    1922(1st of Shevat, 5682): Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat

    1923: In Newark, NJ, Jacob Israel Gersten and Henrietta (Henig) Gersten gave birth to Bernard Gersten, the Executive Producer of Lincoln Center Theater.

    1926(15thof Shevat, 5686): Tu B’Shevat

    1927: Birthdate of Zeev (Heinz) Raphael, a native of Germany who escaped to safety in Sweden three days before the German invasion of Poland.

    1928: Birthdate of Harold “Hal” Prince, Tony Award winning theatrical producer and director.

    1930: Simcha Hinkas, a Jewish policeman, went on trial in Tel Aviv. He is accused of leading a crowd of Jews who reportedly killed five adults and wounded two children in an Arab family on August 25, 1929 during the Arab Uprising.  According to the government, while Hinkas was on duty at a crossroad on Herzl Street during the Arab riots he saw a truck filled with Jews fired on by Arabs who killed four and wounded five.  Hinkas allegedly went back to his barracks, got his rifle and led a Jewish mob in an attack on an Arab house.  A government witness identified the bullets in the dead Arabs as having come from a government issued rifle, but could not tie them to the gun belonging to Hinkas.  Two Arabs later identified Hinkas from a group of 13 Constables, but other Arabs identified different Constables.  Alfred Riggs, assistant superintendant of the police “declared that Hinkas was one of the mildest and best of the police” but, “for reasons of his own,” the British police official seemed certain that the Jewish policeman was guilty.

    1931: Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" premieres at Los Angeles Theater.

    1933: Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany.

    1933: On the day that Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Eli Boschwitz, a judicial abriter came home and told his wife, 'We are leaving Germany forever.'"  Boshwitz was the father of  5 year old Rudy Boschwitz the future Republican leader who would eventually serve 12 years as U.S. Senator from Minn. 

    1933: Youth Aliyah opens its offices in Berlin. The previous year Recha Freier, a rabbi's wife decided it would be a good idea to send young people from Germany to Kibbutzim. She founded the Juedische Jugendhilfe organization to help facilitate the work. That same year it became a department of the World Zionist Organization under Henrietta Szold.  Five thousand adolescents were rescued before the war and another 15,000 after the war.

    1934: Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Chasan of the Bronx announce the engagement of their daughter Shulamith Chasan to Theodore S. Chazin, son of Cantor and Mrs. Hirsch L. Chazin.  Mr. Chazin is a practicing attorney and the secretary of the Jersey City Zionist District.

    1934: Moses Mendel Penn, the oldest patient ever cared for at Montefiore Hospital for Chronic Diseases, will observe his 109th birthday there today. He has partly recovered from a stroke that paralyzed one side of his body eight months ago. Mr. Penn entered the hospital on the application of the Bronx Young Men's Hebrew Association, of which he is the oldest living member.

    1937: Rabbi Samuel Goldenson delivers a sermon entitled “The Ten Commandments and Social Problems” during Saturday morning services at New York’s Temple Emanu-El.

    1938: The Palestine Post reported that a Jewish constable, Mordechai Schwartz, who was charged with the premeditated murder of Police Constable Mustapha Khoury, was sentenced to death. The court refused to accept evidence that the previous murder by Arabs of two Jews in Karkur had influenced Schwartz to an immediate act of reprisal. Schwartz continued to claim his innocence.

    1939: Hitler, in his anniversary speech in Berlin, talked about the event of war, "The result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe." Hitler also spoke in warm terms about its friendship with Poland.

    1940: The Dominican Republic Settlement Association (DORSA), a special committee created by the Joint Distribution Committee signed a contract with the Trujillo regime that was part of plan to settle Jewish refugees in that Central American country.

    1942: In a speech at the Sports Palace in Berlin, Hitler told of his confidence in victory and his hatred for the Jews. "The hour will come when the most evil universal enemy of all time will be finished, at least for a thousand years." By the spring, four labor camps would be converted to death camps for the purpose of extinguishing the Jews; joining Chelmno were Belzec, Treblinka, Sobibor, and Auschwitz.

    1942: Birthdate of Marty Balin of the Jefferson Airplane.

    1943 (24th of Shevat, 5703):In Letychiv, Ukraine, German Gestapo commences mass shootings of Jews from Letychiv Ghetto. 200 surviving Jews from Letychiv slave labor camp were ordered to undress and were shot with machine-gun into a ravine. Some 7,000 Jews were murdered in Letychiv.  For those with a sense of irony, this was Shabbat and the Torah reading was Yitro.

    1943: The SS Pierre Soule, a liberty ship, was launched today 45 days after its keel was laid. The ship was named after Pierre Soule a Louisiana political leader who was an ally of Judah P. Benjamin, and according to one story in the New York Times, was Jewish. 

    1944: Seven hundred Jews are deported from Milan, Italy, to Auschwitz.

    1945: Hitler gives his last ever public address; a radio address on the 12th anniversary of his coming to power.

    1948: Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu extremist.  While Gandhi was a figure revered by many, some Jews have their reservations about this proponent of civil disobedience and non-violence no matter what the threat.  After Kristallnacht Gandhi wrote, "If the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary sacrifice, even the massacre I have imagined by Nazis could be turned into a day of thanksgiving that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of a tyrant...the German Jews will score a lasting victory over the German gentiles in the sense that they will have converted the latter to an appreciation of human dignity."  Apparently Ghandi lacked any concept of the evil that was Hitler.  But even after the war when the total horror was known, Gandhi said that the Holocaust was "the greatest crime of our time, but the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife.  They should have thrown themselves into the sea from the cliffs....It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany." 

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported from Bonn that the West German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, assured Israel that his country would pay the first installment of 47 million marks of the German-Israeli Reparation Agreement within the next two months.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that IDF patrols had beaten back two attacks by Jordanian marauders at two points along the armistice lines, inflicting heavy casualties. Jordan falsely claimed that a number of Israeli soldiers were killed in both encounters. Both sides complained to the UN Israeli-Jordanian Mixed Armistice Commission.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that traces of copper were found near Jenin.

    1958: “Sunrise at Campabello” the play written by Dore Schary that provided a dramatic depiction of FDR’s struggle with Polio premiered at the Cort Theatre in New York City.

    1964(16thof Shevat, 4724): Writer and theatrical producer Allen A. Adler passed away today in New York City at the age of 47. Adler was part of a famous Jewish theatrical family.  His grandfather was actor and producer Jacob Adler.  His father was theatre manager and owner, Adolph Adler.  His uncle was Luther Adler and his aunt was Stella Adler.

    1971: Carole King's “Tapestry” album is released. This recording by Brooklyn born Jewess Carol Klien would become the longest charting album by a female solo artist and sell 24 million copies worldwide.

    1974: The Mayor and City of West Berlin hosted a reception to mark the 85thbirthday of Dr. Kate Frankenthal. A psychiatrist and socialist political leader during the Weimar Republic she fled Germany in 1933 and settled in the United States in 1936 where she became a consultant to the Jewish Family Service of New York.

    1975: The final part of the Agranat Commission’s report was published today. The commission had been set up after the Yom Kippur War to find out why the IDF had failed to perform as expected prior to, and during, the hostilities.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that US President Jimmy Carter sent a sharp note to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, complaining over the plan to establish Shilo, a new West Bank settlement.

    1978(22nd of Shevat, 5738): Mordechai Yehuel, 27, of Ramat Gan was stabbed and killed in Ramallah.

    1979: The civilian government of Iran announced it had decided to allow Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to return from exile in France. The subsequent Islamist revolution would end the reign of the Shah, a regime which was much friendlier to Israel than the government that would follow. In retrospect, one can draw a straight line between the French decision and the Iranian nuclear threat that the West and Israel face in the 21st century.

    1982: U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig “filed a report with President Reagan  that revealed” his “fear that Israel might, at the slightest provocation, start a war against Lebanon.”

    1990: The Israeli Government said today that it had no official policy of settling Soviet Jewish immigrants in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir dismissed the debate over the issue as an ''artificial storm'' created by panicked Arab leaders.

    1991(15th of Shevat, 5751): Tu B'Shvat

    1991: The New York Times reviews The Smile of the Lamb by David Grossman; translated by Betsy Rosenberg.

    1991: In Amman, around 3,000 Jordanians demonstrated in favor of Iraq, burned American and Israeli flags and urged Mr. Hussein to fire chemical weapons at Israel. The demonstration reflected Jordan's tilt toward Baghdad throughout the gulf crisis. "O Saddam, hit, hit Tel Aviv!" some chanted. "With chemical weapons, O Saddam!" others replied. Jordan's population is more than half Palestinian, and many have voiced support for the Iraqi leader as a champion who will lead them to statehood.

    1991: The Young Professionals of the American Friends of Tel Aviv University is sponsoring a black-tie cocktail party and dance, at Stringfellows to benefit the Adopt-a-Student Endowment Fund at the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University.

    1992: "ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD," by Tom Stoppard, adapted by Yosef Brodski, staged by Yevgeny Arye and featuring the Gesher Theater Company is scheduled to be performed in Brooklyn, NY.

    1992: As Israel presses the United States for loan guarantees to cope with a projected huge influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, officials here said today that the immigrant flow this month had sunk to its lowest in almost two years and could dwindle even further. According to the agency's provisional figures, 5,800 immigrants from the former Soviet Union have arrived so far this month, with 600 more expected before the start of February, a lower figure than those recorded during the Persian Gulf war, when Iraqi Scud missiles fell on Tel Aviv and other places. The last time the figure fell below 7,000 was in February 1990. Since late 1989, when the wave of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union began, some 350,000 immigrants have arrived in Israel. The wave peaked in December 1990, when, according to the Jewish Agency, more than 35,000 arrived, making 1990 a record year.

    1998: Premier performance of Paul Simon's "The Capeman."

    1999(13thof Shevat, 5659): Ninety-three year old Professor Mirra Komarovksy the Russian born daughter of “Zionists and land owning Jews” who came to the United States where she became a leading authority in the field of Women’s Studies passed away today. (As reported by Eric Pace)

    2000: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Einstein’s German World by Fritz Stern and The Greenspan Effect:Words That Move the World's Marketsby David B. Sicilia and Jeffrey L. Cruikshank.

    2001: Prime Minister Ehud Barak saw 20 immigrants' representatives inside his Jerusalem office and then presided tonight over a modest support rally at the city's convention center as he continued his campaign against Ariel Sharon.

    2003: In an article entitled “A Burst of Light Provides Privacy,” Elaine Louie discusses the work of Ayala Sefaty of Tel Aviv who designed her own underwater restaurant in Eilat.

    2003: “The Israeli experiment aboard the space shuttle Columbia has accomplished its goals of studying the effects of dust storms on weather and recording electrical phenomena atop storm clouds, scientists said today. Researchers from Tel Aviv University said their Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment had gathered solid information on the plumes of dust and other aerosol particles blown from deserts by storms before being carried worldwide by high winds. The particles affect rain production in clouds, deposit minerals in the ocean and scatter sunlight that affects global warming, the scientists said.. Aside from the successful science, the mission is important to Dr. Joachim Joseph because Colonel Ian Ramon is carrying a keepsake, a small Torah scroll used at Dr. Joseph's bar mitzvah almost 60 years ago while he was in a concentration camp in Germany. The elderly rabbi performing the ceremony, who died soon afterward in the camp, gave the Torah to the boy and told him to tell people what had occurred there. Dr. Joseph said Colonel Ramon saw the Torah when visiting his house and was so moved by the history that he asked to take it into space as a tribute. In an interview from space last week with Israeli officials, the astronaut displayed the Torah. ''This represents more than anything the ability of the Jewish people to survive despite everything from horrible periods, black days, to reach periods of hope and belief in the future,'' the colonel said. Because of the gesture from space, Dr. Joseph said, he feels he has finally fulfilled his promise to the rabbi.”

    2004: Airing of the 13th episode of “Boston Public” co-starring Fyvush Finkel, Michael David Rapaport, Anthony Heald, Jessalyn Gilsig and Joey Slotnick following which it was announced that the series would be cancelled due to low ratings.

    2005: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Lot’s Daughters: Sex, Redemption, and Women's Quest for Authority by Robert M. Polhemus and the newly released paperback editions of Growing Up Fast by Joanna Lipper and Oracle Night by Paul Auster

    2005: In “The Observant Reader,” Wendy Shalit provides a prescient synopsis of the varying ways in which Orthodoxy is portrayed in contemporary literature.

    2005: In an article entitled “The Nation; One Clear Conscience, 60 Years After Auschwitz,” Roger Cohen tells the story of Miecyslaw Kasprzyk, an unsung hero of the Holocaust.

    2006(1st of Shevat, 5766): Playwright Wendy Wasserstein, author of the Heidi Chronicles and The Sisters Rosensweig passed away at the age of 55.

    2007: It was announced today that Michael Abraham Levy who had been named Baron Levy, had been “arrested by police on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice regarding the cash for peerages investigation and immediately released on bail”  Six months later he would be cleared of charges related to a scandal regarding charges of granting life peerages in exchange for political contributions.

    2007: The House of Love and Prayer, a new multi-lingual musical based on the life of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, had its final performance at the JCC in Manhattan

    2007: In Derby, UK, as part of Holocaust Memorial Day observances a screening of 'Into the Arms of Strangers,” for students from the Millennium Centre, with a Q&A session to follow with Steven Mendelsson who traveled on the “Kindertransports.”

    2008: In Manhattan, the 92nd St Y presents Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in debating “Does God Exist?” Two of today’s most provocative voices as debate the ultimate religious question: Is there a God? Best-selling authors Christopher Hitchens and Shmuley Boteach pull no punches as they discuss organized religion and its place in American life.

    2009: Maira Kalman started a new illustrated blog in the New York Times called “And the Pursuit of Happiness” about American democracy today. The first entry chronicled her visit to Washington, D.C. for President Barack Obama's inauguration. Kalman's work is also featured on Rosenbach Museum and Library's 21st Century Abe project. Maira Kalman, born in 1949, is an American illustrator, author, artist, and designer. Born in Tel Aviv, Kalman came to New York City with her family at age 4.
    2009: Lillian Hellman’s “Scoundrel Time” opens at the City Lit Theatre in Chicago.

    2009:Batsheva Dance Company, one of the most inspirational and sought-after companies in the dance world, presents its acclaimed production, ‘Three’ at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase, New York.  Three, choreographed by Artistic Director Ohad Naharin,is a collection of three dances: "Bellus,""Humus" and "Seccus."

    2009: A swastika was discovered today at an Orthodox synagogue in Portland, Maine which claims to be Portland's oldest Jewish congregation.
    2009 (5th of Shevat 5769): Milton Parker, who brought long lines and renown to the Carnegie Deli in Manhattan with towering pastrami sandwiches and a voluble partner who kibitzed with common folk and celebrities alike, passed away today at the age of 90. (As reported by Dennis Hevesi)

    2010: The Museum of Modern Art is scheduled to present a musical event featuring Israeli pianist Menahem Pressler with the New York Chamber Soloists.

    2010: The JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, NJ, is scheduled to observe Tu B’Shevat with a program  of stories and songs led by Miki Rahav, of Kibbutz Yagur entitled “Celebrating 100 years of Kibbutz Life with Stories and Songs.”

    2010(15thof Shevat, 5770): Tu B’Shevat
    2010(15thof Shevat, 5770): Aaron Ruben, who was a producer, writer and director for some of the most popular television comedies of the 1960s and ’70s, notably “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” and “Sanford and Son,” passed away today at his home in Beverly Hills, at the age of 95. (As reported by William Grimes)

    2010: Joëlle Alexis won the World Cinema Documentary prize for Editing tonight at Sundance for her work on Yael Hersonski's “A Film Unfinished.”  The movie examines an unfinished Nazi propaganda film about life in the Warsaw ghetto.
    2011: Blood Relation, a documentary film by Noa Ben Hagai is scheduled to shown on the final day of the Seventh Annual Brooklyn Israel Film Festival.
    2011:  At the 92nd Street Y Drawing on a compendium of more than 600 New York Times articles on the Civil War, Harold Holzer and Craig L. Symonds are scheduled to discuss revelations about America’s great conflict that are still affecting Americans today.
    2011: Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit is scheduled to sponsor Super Sunday, the community wide telethon to benefit the Federation's 2011 Campaign.
    2011: “Return to Haifa” is scheduled to have its last performance at the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater, Washington DCJCC

    2011: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Neoconservative Persuasion: Selected Essays, 1942-2009 by Irving Kristol, Panoramaby H.G. Adler and Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxietyby Gideon Rachman

    2011:Cyprus has recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said on today, following similar recent declarations coming mostly from South American states.

    2011(25thof Shevat, 5771): Eugene Lubin, whose men and boys clothing store in suburban New York provided bar mitzvah suits for decades, and who was a longtime leader in Jewish organizations, passed away today at the age of 88. The store, Lubin's Men's World, has operated in several locations throughout Westchester County, just north of New York City. In 2010 it opened an operation within Rothman’s, an upscale men’s clothier in Scarsdale. “What happens when upscale specialty men’s clothier Rothman’s invites Lubin’s, the 56-year-old young men’s clothing institution (it has dressed generations of bar mitzvah boys), to move into his Scarsdale shop? Y-chromosome clothing kismet. From boys to men, all are suitably attired here at this brilliant -- and stylish -- pairing of retail roomies,” a Westchester magazine raved. Eric Schoen, who is active with the Jewish Council of Yonkers, said that “Gene Lubin was a man who cared greatly about the city of Yonkers and was involved in its business, civic, religious and philanthropic community." But, like others, Schoen also returned to Lubin’s bar mitzvah suits. "He also cared that bar mitzvah boys and anyone celebrating a special occasion looked perfect," Schoen said. "People traveled far and wide to get that perfect fit." Lubin was a former president of the Westchester Jewish Council and was a member of the Yonkers citizen budget commission in 1993. (As reported by the Eulogizer)

    2011(25thof Shevat, 5771): Meyer O'hayon Tapiero, a Morocco native who was among the founders of the new Jewish community of Marbella in Andalusia, Spain, passed away at the age of 94. Tapiero and and his wife came to the resort town of Marbella in 1955 on a holiday from their home in Casablanca, where they had a successful men’s clothing business, and decided to set up their home and family in the Spanish region because he “felt the political change coming in Morocco and decided to look at new prospects beyond its borders.” His wife had come to Morocco from Berlin, which she fled in 1942. Tapiero convinced two brothers to join him in Spain, and they and other family members from Morocco built a synagogue and helped redevelop the community, which had been devoid of Jews since the Inquisition. The community is now a popular destination for Jewish tourism and has a Chabad house and other Jewish services (As reported by the Eulogizer)

    2012: The 92nd Street Y is scheduled to host “Terezin Between Celebration and Investigation” a frank and challenging discussion about the dual function of the art of Terezín led by Hanna Arie-Faifman and Michael Beckerman.

    2012: The Israel Prisons Service parole board decided today to reduce the sentence of former minister Shlomo Benizri, a member of the Shas party who was recently sentenced to four years in prison for bribery and other offenses. The parole board decided to cut Benizri's sentence down by a year and four months, so the former minister is due to be released in April. The board made the decision after seeing his behavior and lifestyle during his imprisonment, ruling that he is not a problematic inmate.

    2012: The Jewish Federation of Arkansas announced that President Bill Clinton will receive the Tikkun Olam Lifetime Achievement Award of the Jewish Federation of Arkansas which  will bestow the honor at a February 4 ceremony in Little Rock marking its 100th anniversary celebration dinner. “[President Clinton] has exemplified tikkun olam in Arkansas and throughout the world,” said Scott Levine, the federation's president. “He has been a strong advocate for the State of Israel and for justice for all people. He is most deserving of this honor, and we are grateful for his commitment to improve global health, strengthen economies worldwide, promote healthier childhoods and protect the environment.” Clinton, who will be attending the dinner, will join 12 other community members in receiving the annual tikkun olam award. (It was not announced if Marc Rich or his ex-wife will be attending the event)

    2013: The Library of Congress is scheduled to host a presentation on the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design featuring Professor Ezri Tabari, the founder and former chair of the Bezalel MA degree program in industrial design

    2013: Jori Slodki is scheduled to teach a two hour class “Oy Vay! A History of Yiddish” at (of all places) Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City, Iowa.

    2013: The ORT Braude Academic College of Engineering in Karmiel is scheduled to host the opening session of “From There to Here,” a month long event that will give 15 Oleh artists living in northern Israel showcase their works.

    2013: Yeshiva University Museum with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and Jewish Theological Seminary are scheduled to present a panel discussion featuring David G. Roskeis and Naomi Diament, the co-authors of the newly published  Holocaust Literature: A History & Guide

    2013: Former Representative Gabby Giffords gave a brief emotiaonal opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee that was holding hearings on gun violence.

    2013: Israeli forces attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border today, sources told Reuters, after Israelis warned their Lebanese enemy Hezbollah against using chaos in Syria to acquire anti-aircraft missiles or chemical weapons.

    2013: Beitar Jerusalem soccer club welcomed Muslim Chechen players Zaur Sadayev and Gabriel Kadiev to the team in a press conference  today attended by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and dozens of foreign reporters.

    2014: “Nazi-looted paintings recovered by the Allies platoon known as the Monuments Men are scheduled to be sold at auction in New York” today. The four lots will go on the block at Sotheby’s in New as part of a sale of Old Master paintings and sculpture. Some of the works were owned by the Rothschild family. Two of the family’s paintings to be auctioned were placed in the private collection of Nazi leader Hermann Goering, Reuters reported.” (As reported by JTA)

    2014:Joan Dodek (Past President, Washington Committee for Soviet Jewry) and Marcia Weinberg (Former Chair, Soviet Jewry Committee of Jewish Community Council) are scheduled to discuss their daring trips to visit refuseniks in the Soviet Union and involvement in the struggle to free Soviet Jewry at Washington Hebrew Congregation.

    2014: In New York, the Jewish Museum is scheduled to host an evening of entertainment “featuring a live performance by Mirah” to mark the upcoming closing of “Chagall: Love, War and Exile.


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    January 31

    314: Sylvester I whose name is “the Israeli term for New Year’s night celebrations”  began his papacy
    “The Israeli term for New Year’s night celebrations, “Sylvester,” was the name of the “Saint” and Roman Pope who reigned during the Council of Nicaea (325 C.E.). The year before the Council of Nicaea convened, Sylvester convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem. At the Council of Nicaea, Sylvester arranged for the passage of a host of viciously anti-Semitic legislation. All Catholic “Saints” are awarded a day on which Christians celebrate and pay tribute to that Saint’s memory. December 31 is Saint Sylvester Day – hence celebrations on the night of December 31 are dedicated to Sylvester’s memory. (As reported by Jewlicious)

    439: Promulgation of the Code of Theodosius II in the Byzantine Empire. This was the first imperial compilation of anti- Jewish laws since Constantine. Jews were prohibited from holding important positions involving money including judicial and executive offices and the ban against building new synagogues was reinstated. Theodosius was the Roman emperor of the East (408–450) The Code was readily accepted as well by Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III (425-455).

    1253: Henry III of England ordered that Jewish worship in Synagogues must be held quietly so that Christians should not have to hear it when passing by. In addition Jews were not to employ Christian nurses or maids, nor was any Jew allowed to prevent another Jew from converting to Christianity.

    1419: Pope Martin V issued a Bull that abolished the oppressive laws promulgated by antipope Benedict XIII and granted the Jews those privileges which had been accorded them under previous popes.

    1493: Jews fleeing Spain were no longer allowed to enter to enter Genoa. During the previous year Jews fleeing Spain were allowed to land in Genoa for three days. As of this date the special consideration was cancelled due to the “fear” that the Jews may introduce the Plague.

    1504: France ceded Naples to Aragon. Jews had lived in Naples in comparative freedom but began to suffer persecution when the French conquered the kingdom in 1495.  Conditions worsened when the Spanish began to rule the southern Italian land and by 1541 the Jewish community ceased to exist.

    1674(24th of Shevat): Rabbi Abraham Auerbach of Coesfeld, Germany instituted an annual fast in commemoration of his expulsion on this date.

    1813: Birthdate of Dutch physician, pharmacist and philanthropist, Samuel Sarphati. “One of the great Amsterdammers of the 19th century,” Sarphati, was a promoter of public housing, an organizer of municipal services such as garbage collecting, and the builder of a bread factory that provided better and cheaper bread for the city. He also built the Amstel hotel. Sarphati is seen by Dutch history as a great philanthropist. Nobody ever knew he was Jewish—until the Germans authorities changed the name
    Sarphati Street
    into “Muiderschans”.

    1820(15thof Shevat, 5580): Tu B’Shevat

    1845: The government Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler permission to leave Hanover so that he could move to London and assume the position of Chief Rabbi.

    1846: After the Milwaukee Bridge War, Juneautown and Kilbourntown were incorporated to form the modern city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Four years prior to this, the families of Solomon Adler, Isaac Neustadt, and Moses Weil settled in the city.  As proof of the vibrancy of the young community, during the 1840’s the first Rosh Hashanah services were held at the home of Henry Newhouse and the first Yom Kippur Services were held in a building containing Pereles grocery store.  For more about the history of the Jews of Milwaukee consider a visit to the Jewish Museum of Milwaukee or reading "One People, Many Paths: A History of Jewish Milwaukee," by John Gurda.

    1848: Birthdate of Nathan Straus who the wealthy American businessman and philanthropist who owned R.H. Macy & Company and Abraham and Straus. Born in Otterberg, Germany, Strauss moved to the United States with his family in 1854 where they first settled in Georgiabefore moving to New York Cityafter the Civil War where young Nathan worked in his father’s firms L Straus & Sons.  In the 1880’s he began a life of philanthropy and public service that included leading the fight against tuberculosis and a major effort to improve the public libraries.  His philanthropy extended to developing a Jewish homeland in Eretz Israelfollowing his first visit to the area in 1912.  His support is memorialized by the fact that a street in the Jerusalem is  called “Rehov Straus” and that the city of The modern Israeli city of Netanya, founded in 1927, was named in his honor

    1851(28th of Shevat, 5611): David Spangler Kaufman passed away. Born in 1813,Kaufman was the first Jewish United States Congressman from Texas. No other Jewish Texan served in Congress until Martin Frost in 1979. He was born in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. After graduating with high honors from Princeton College in 1830, he studied law under John A. Quitman in Natchez, Mississippi, and was admitted to the bar. He began his legal career in Natchitoches, Louisiana, five years later. In 1837 Kaufman settled in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he practiced law and participated in military campaigns against the Cherokee Indians. He was wounded in a encounter in 1839. Between 1838 and 1845 he was a member of the Republic of Texas's congress. He served in the Republic's House of Representatives from 1838 to 1842, and was Speaker of the House in the last two years. He was a member of the Texas Senate from 1843 to 1845, when president of Texas Anson Jones named him chargé d'affaires to the United States in February 1845. After the Texas Annexation, Kaufman represented the Eastern District (District 1 of Texas in the United States House of Representatives from 1845 to 1851. While in Congress, Kaufman argued unsuccessfully that Texas owned lands that are now parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. He encouraged Governor of Texas Peter Hansborough Bell to have Texas troops seize Santa Fe, New Mexico, which never occurred. He also played a role in the Compromise of 1850, as one result of which the national government assumed the debts of the former republic. Kaufman was a Freemason and a charter member of the Philosophical Society of Texas. He died in Washington, D.C. while attending the Congress, and was originally buried in the Congressional Cemetery there. In 1932 his remains were moved to the State Cemetery in Austin, Texas. Kaufman County, Texas and the city of Kaufman, Texas are named for him.

    1856: F.W. Evans delivered a lecture tonight entitled "Shakerism" during which he described numerous similarities in the beliefs and/or practices of the Shakers and those of the Jews. This positive view Jews may be one of the reasons that systemic European style anti-Semitism never took firm root in the United States.

    1865: The House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment today paving the way for it to be sent to the States for ratification. 

    1871: It was reported today that the Russian government has issued an imperial decree exempting Jews from military service once they reach the age of 32.  Christians are exempt once they reach the age of 23. Any Jew who converts will not have to serve in the military – another example of “proselytism by main force.”

    1886: Birthdate of Lev Shestov.Lev Isaakovich Shestov, born Yehuda Leyb Schwarzmann was a Russian - Jewish existentialist philosopher. The Kiev native fled to France in 1921 seeking to escape the society created by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution.  He lived in Paris until his death in 1938.

    1890: Henry A. Jackson, the Secretary of the Emigration Commission received a letter from Charles Frank, the Superintendent of the United Hebrew Charities attesting to the ability of Moses Gershonfeldt to be able to provide for his wife and four children who were being held at Ward’s Island because Commissioner Stephenson had arbitrarily denied them admission even though Moses, a butcher who earned $12 a week and his son Joseph who earned $9 a week had come to his office, described their financial condition and sought to leave with his wife and remaining children whose passage he had paid so that the family could be reunited.

    1892: In New York City, Meta and Mechel Iskowitz gave birth to Edward Israel Iskowitz the orphan who was raised by his grandmother Esther Kantrowtiz and gained fame as Eddie Cantor.

    1892: It was reported today that six members of the senior class at Rutgers are studying Hebrew, “the study of which is increasing in” the United States

    1892: Rabbi Henry S. Jacobs of B’nai Jeshrun officiated at the funeral of Benjamin Russak which was held at his home and followed by burial at Cypress Hills. The police were on hand to deal with the large number of carriages that brought a throng of the city’s leading business leaders and prominent members of the Jewish community.

    1892: Charles Spurgeon, the English Reformed Baptist Minister who expressed his discuss for the Czar’s treatment of his Jewish subjects, passed away. “If I had all the health and strength that could fall to the lot of man, I should be quite unable to express my feelings on reading of Russia’s intolerance of the Jews…The Czar is greatly injuring his own country by driving out God’s ancient people.  No country can trample with impunity.”

    1892: “The Russian Exiles” published today described efforts by the Jewish community to meet the needs of the swelling tide of immigrants that is arriving from Europe.  According to the United Hebrew Charities 62,574 Jews arrived in New York last with five-sixths or 54,194 of them coming from Russia.  The total included 26,891 men, 16,393 women and 19,290 children.  Only 195 of the immigrants were sent back to Europe by the U.S. government while 46,029 have remained in the city with the rest having been provided transportation to other cities.

    1893: The Jewish community of Philadelphia is scheduled to host a charity ball today to which President-elect Grover Cleveland was invited by A.E. Greenwald and Chapman Raphael.

    1893: “L’Amico Fritz” Mascagni’s second opera is scheduled to be performed at the Music Hall tonight under the direction of Walter Damrosch with the proceeds going to the Hebrew Educational Institute.

    1895: Isaac Spectosky of the Hebrew Institute was among those who attended today’s meeting of the Federation of East Side Workers.

    1896: In Philadelphia PA, the American Jewish Historical Society held the final day of it fourth annual conference during which Dr. Cyrus Adler present a paper on “Notes on the Inquisition in Mexico and the Jews”; Max Kohler presented a paper on “The Jews and the American Anti-Slavery Movement” and Professor Morris Jastrow presented a paper on “Documents Relating to the Career of Colonel Isaac Franks.”

    1897: Dr. Emil G. Hirsch was among those who attended a conference of South Side Charities in Chicago, Illinois.

    1897: Rabbi Gustav Gottheil preached a sermon entitled “Rights and Wrongs of Rich and Poor” at Temple Emanu-El this morning.

    1897: The Jewish Socialists’ Convention continued its meeting for another day at the Walhalla Hall on Orchard Street.

    1897: Professor Richard J.H. Gottheil “delivered the fifth and last course of his on ‘The Geography of Palestine’ at Temple Emanu-El” this evening.  Gottheil is the son of the congregation’s rabbi and the college professor who helped found Zeta Beta Tau.

    1898: It was reported today that Mrs. Esther Wallenstein has been elected President of the Hebrew Infant Asylum Association and that Maurice Untermyer has been elected Vice President

    1898: It was reported today that arrangements are being completed for a debated between representatives of the Jewish Technical School, the Hebrew Institute and the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.

    1898: It was reported today that Rabbi Gustav Gottheil views newspapers “as the recorders and distributors of the world’s daily history” which provide information that will break down prejudice.(for 2014 quote last paragraph

    1898: It was reported today that the committee that is trying to building the first Jewish hospital in Brooklyn has selected four potential sites. The committee’s officers are: President – Robert Strahl; Vice President – Sigmund Wechsler; Secretary – Charles Levy

    1899: The seventh annual meeting of the Hebrew Free Loan Association was held this evening at the Educational Alliance on East Broadway

    1899: It was reported today that the officers of the Union of Jewish Religious Schools are: President-Richard Gottheil; Vice Presidents – Miss Julia Rachman and Dr. Kaufmann Kohler; Honorary Treasurer – A.F. Hochstader; Honorary Secretary – Rabbi Stephen O. Wise

    1899: Daniel P. Hays presided over a dinner given by the Judeans to honor Dr. Cyrus Adler who is the newly elected President of the American Jewish Historical Society.

    1906: Birthdate of composer Benjamin Frankel.

    1909: Birthdate Yosef Burg, “a seminal Israeli political figure who was a Cabinet Minister for 35 years as a head of the religious Zionist movement…” (As reported by Deborah Sontag)

    1911(2ndof Shevat, 5671): Sixty-seven year old Paul Singer, a leading German Marxist and a co-chairman of the Social Democratic Party passed away.

    1916:While developments today with respect to the nomination of Louis D. Brandeis to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court did not change the rather general opinion among Senators that the nomination would be confirmed, it became more apparent that confirmation would not be accomplished without a struggle.

    1916: Sendel and Riva Grynszpan, the parents of Herschel Grynsapan (the alleged assassin of Ernst von Rath)  gave birth to their third child and second daughter, Esther.

    1917: Germany announces its U-boats will engage in unrestricted submarine warfare.

    1918(18th of Shevat, 5678): Dr. Jechiel Tchlenow, the Moscowphysician who was a major leader of the Zionist movement passed away. In 1917, Tchlenow had come to London “where he took an active part in the diplomatic negotiations that have resulted in official declarations by Great Britain” favoring the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

    1919: Birthdate of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in major league baseball when he played with the Brooklyn Dodgers. . Robinson was befriended by Hank Greenberg, the Jewish slugger who had had to deal with bigotry during his career.  According to Jonathan Eig, the only friends that Robinson had in Brooklyn during his first year “were Jewish people.” “The Jewish community clearly recognized a kindred spirit here, someone who had to prove himself. The war had just ended, [and] anti-Semitism was running high. Blacks and Jews both, after the war, felt they had some work to do to establish more respect."

    1921: The Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Victor Berger. Berger had been convicted of violating the Espionage Act and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. In overturning the conviction the Supreme Court found that the presiding Judge, Kennesaw Landis (the future Baseball Commissioner) had improperly presided over the case after the filing of an affidavit of prejudice.

    1923: Birthdate of author Norman Mailer. Born in Long Branch, NJ, The future Pulitzer Prize winner’s family soon moved to Brooklyn “later described by Mailer as ‘the most secure Jewish environment in America.’”

    1925: Birthdate of Charles Eliot Silberman, the native of Des Moines, Iowa, who gained fame as “a journalist whose books addressed vast, turbulent social subjects including race, education, crime and the state of American Jewry.” (As reported by Margalit Fox)

    1928: Nathan Straus, prominent philanthropist, celebrated the eightieth anniversary of his birthday today at his home, 580 West End Avenue.  He will spend the day quietly with members of his immediate family. Among those sending congratulatory communications are President Calvin Coolidge and New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker. While Straus has gained great honor for his humanitarian efforts, he was proud of his business acumen and some of his unique accomplishments which, according to him, included the introduction of rest rooms and medical care employees.  His philanthropic contributions in Palestine were made with the understanding that they would be available to all regardless of race, religion, creed or nationality.  Everybody knows about his support of Jewish settlers, but how many people are aware of the fact that he gave funds that were to be used by Arabs so that they buy modern agricultural equipment?  How many people known that when Palestine was struck by an earthquake, and Arabs were the chief victims, he sent a substantial sum earmarked for their use?  

    1928: Mrs. Hertha Fuerth Lasker, a Viennese artist who was married last August to Edward Lasker, one of the leading chess players in the United States and a cousin of Albert Lasker, former Chairman of the United States Shipping Board, was a passenger on the Hamburg-American liner which arrived in New York tonight.

    1929:Stalin expelled Leon Trotsky Russia.  Trotsky took refuge in Turkey.

    1930: The Golden Ring, a romantic operetta, set in Tel Aviv, premiered at the National Theatre on Second Avenue in New York City.

    1930:The trial of Simcha Hinkas, the Jewish policeman charged with leading a Jewish crowd which killed a family of Arabs in Jaffa on Aug. 25, 1929 continued today in Jaffa with the prosecution presenting what it consider to be its strongest witnesses.  

    1931: Dr. William H. Hechler, a Protestant clergyman and teacher who was an early supporter of Theodore Herzl and his Zionist program passed away today at the age of 86.  Among other things, Hechler arranged for Herzl to meet Kaiser Wilhelm in those pre-war days when it was thought that the German monarch could persuade the Ottomans to support a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

    1932: The New York Times reported that Miss Freda Berson of Warsaw who is one of the best discus throwers in Poland and Miss Heda Bienenfeld of the Vienna Hokah, an outstanding Austrian swimmer will be competing in the upcoming Maccabiah.

    1934: Birthdate of “Alfred Appel Jr., a scholarly expert on Vladimir Nabokov, whose lecture course he attended at Cornell and the author of wide-ranging interpretive books on modern art and jazz.” (As reported by William Grimes)

    1934(15th of Shevat, 5694): Tu B'Shevat

    1935 (27th of Shevat, 5695); David Trietsch, an expert on the agriculture and economy of Palestine, as well as “one of the founders of the Zionist movement” passed away today.  The 65 year old native of Germany died of heart failure at Rmat Ayim, near Tel Aviv.  Trietsch believed that a Jewish homeland would be created through “practical colonization” as opposed to political negotiations.  When the Ottomans sought to halt Jewish settlement in Palestine, Trietsch supported the settlement of Jews in Cyprus so that they would be poised to move to Palestine quickly as soon as there was a change in the political climate.

    1935: In Croatia, Mane and Helen Hochwald gave birth to Branko Hochwald, who would come to United States in 1944 where he gained fame as Raymond B. Harding, the leader of New York State’s Liberal Party. (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)

    1937: In Baltimore, MD Ida (née Gouline) and Benjamin Charles Glass, a record store owner, gave birth to composer Philip Morris Glass.

    1937: Ben-Zion Mossinson of Tel Aviv delivered an address at New York’s Rodeph Sholom entitled “Is There A Solution for the Jewish Problem?”

    1938:Muriel Rukeyser established herself as a poet of enduring impact with the publication of U.S.1, her second book of poems.

    1938: The Palestine Post reported that three large Arab bands abducted nine Arab supernumerary policemen from their police post near Acre, and shot their corporal dead in cold blood. The Arab policemen were disarmed and beaten, warned to leave the force and released. At another police post in the South arms and ammunition were stolen.

    1938: The Palestine Post reported that Romania officially denounced the Minorities Treaty into which it had entered upon gaining independence at the Peace Conference at Versailles, and claimed that the Jewish question was now "a purely internal matter" over which the League of Nations had no more jurisdiction. This meant that Romania now felt free to implement still more severe anti-Semitic discriminatory measures. 

    1938: The Palestine Post reported on the rise of anti-Jewish feelings and vandalism in Yugoslavia including the fact that "local Nazis" had smashed the windows out of the Sephardic synagogue of Belgrade.

    1940: In New York, Dr. Eugene Hevesi, a Hungarian-born leader in the American Jewish community who served as foreign affairs secretary for the American Jewish Committee and as representative to the United Nations for several Jewish NGOs and his wife gave birth to Alan Hevesi, the New York Democrat who served as Comptroller of New York City and State Comptroller for the state of New York. He is also the brother of New York Timesman Dennis Hevesi who creates literary gems for the obituary page.

    1941: Three thousand Jews were taken from their villages and moved into the Warsaw Ghetto. Another 70,000 Jews would be uprooted and moved into the Warsaw Ghetto by the end of March.

    1942 (13th of Shevat, 5702):Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah passed away in New York. Wife of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneerson, and mother of the sixth Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah lived through the upheavals of the first half of the 20th century. She fled the advancing front of World War I from Lubavitch to Rostov, where her husband passed away in 1920 at age 59. In 1927, she witnessed the arrest of her son by Stalin's henchmen the night he was taken away and sentenced to death, G-d forbid, for his efforts to keep Judaism alive throughout the Soviet empire. After Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak's release, the family resettled in Latvia and later, Poland; in 1940, they survived the bombing of Warsaw, were rescued from Nazi-occupied city, and immigrated to the United States.

    1942: Einsatzgruppe A commanding officer, Franz W. Stahlecker, sent a detailed report about activities in the Baltic and White Russian countries. It stated that between July 23 and October 15, 1941, 135,567 Jews were killed. Eichmann sent out a letter making official the conclusions of the Wannsee Conference, "The evacuation of the Jews . . . is the beginning of the final solution of the Jewish problem."

    1945 (17th of Shevat, 5705): Fritz Freund, husband of Mathilde Freund, died at Buchenwald just three months before the camp was liberated.  In the first decade of the 21st century Mathilde Freund would sue France’s government owned railroad, Societe National des Chemins de Fer Francais over its role in the deportation of her husband and thousands of other French Jews to the death camps.

    1946: Having resigned from the RAF Mordechai "Modi" Alon returned to Palestine and enrolled as an architecture student at the Technion. Allon would gain fame as one of the first fighter pilots in the IAf and the first one to shoot down an enemy aircraft.

    1947: In the House of Commons, during a debate about Britain marinating the Mandate in Palestine, Churchill, leading the Opposition, calls for the Government to end the Mandate.  Two weeks later, the Labor Government will adopt this as policy. 

    1948: Birthdate of poet Albert Goldbarth.

    1948:J D Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Banana Fish" appears in New York City.

    1949: After hearing Churchill’s speech in Parliament denouncing the logic of the Labor Government’s policy towards Israel and calling for recognition of the new Jewish state, Sir Simon Marks, a leading Jewish businessman and philanthropist, wrote to the former PM assuring him that Chaim Weizmann would find great comfort in his words.

    1950: President Truman revealed that he had ordered the Atomic Energy Commission to develop the hydrogen bomb.  This decision might have been called Dueling Jewish Physicists.  On one side was Dr. Oppenheimer father of the A-Bomb who opposed building the hydrogen bomb.  On the other side was Dr. Teller who had worked on the A-Bomb and favored building the H-Bomb.  Teller won out.  Oppenheimer’s opposition was one of the causes of him losing his security clearance during the 1950’s. This was an injustice that Teller did not support and that President Kennedy would rectify.

    1954: Birthdate of Rabbi Michael Melchior, the native of Copenhagen who made Aliyah in 1986.

    1955: Egyptian authorities hanged two Jews in Cairo– Dr. Moshe Marzouk and Samuel (Shmeul) Azar – who had been found guilty of spying for Israel.  Eight other Jews had been given long prison sentences for the same reason.

    1957: Martin Landau married Barbara Bain today.

    1958: Lieutenant General Haim Laskov is serving as IDF Chief of Staff as the Egyptians and Syrians prepare to form the United Arab Republic which will increase the threat faced by the Jewish state.

    1960: World Sephardi Federation meets in Madrid, Spain. Some members complain they did not want Spain to be the site of the meeting, as they did not want to return to Spain for any reason.

    1960:Songwriter Adolph Green marries actress/singer Phyllis Newman in New York City.

    1961: David Ben-Gurion resigned as premier of Israel.

    1961: A 3.5 kilometer tract of land southwest of Mount Kidod was chosen today as the site for the city of Arad.

    1968: At sunset, all non-Israeli military units gave up the search for the INS Dakar, an Israeli submarine that had been first been reported missing on January 26.

    1974 (8th of Shevat, 5734):  Samuel Goldwyn, a major force in the creation of the motion picture industry, passed away at the age of 91. The evolution of Goldwyn’s name is microcosm of the experience of European Jews who came to America.  Born Schmuel Gelbfisz, he changed his name to Samuel Goldfish when he moved to Great Britain because that sounded more English.  After he moved to America he went into partnership with two Broadway producers whose names were Selwyn.  In naming their partnership they combined their two last names to create Goldwyn.  Sam liked the American sound of it so much that he changed his name for the third and last time.  What is amazing is the role that this Jewish immigrant from Poland played in creating modern American culture.  Among other things, he discovered that quintessential American hero, Gary Cooper and won the Oscar for best picture with his production “The Best Years of Our Lives.” Goldwyn may have been.  When Louis B Mayer a former partner turned commented on Goldwyn’s death he said, “The reason so many people turned up at his funeral is that they wanted to make sure he was dead."  However Goldwyn’s last production marked him as a man of moral fiber. In his final film made in 1959, Samuel Goldwyn brought together African-American actors Sidney Poitier Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr. and singer Pearl Bailey in a film rendition of the George Gershwin Opera, Porgy and Bess. The film won three Oscars. Samuel Goldwyn's lack of English language skills led to many of his malapropisms being frequently quoted such as:

    • "A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."

    • "Include me out."

    • "What we need now is some new, fresh clichés."

    • "Anyone who would go to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined!"

    • "Every director bites the hand that lays the golden egg."

    • "Flashbacks are a thing of the past."

    • "A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad."
    1978: Israel turned 3 military outposts in the West Bank into civilian settlements

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Defense Minister Ezer Weizmann left for Cairo for the second round of the interrupted military discussions. One of his specific aims was reported to be to influence the Egyptians so that they would modify their position of "not giving up even one inch of Sinai."

    1979(3rd of Shevat, 5739): Celia Adler passed away today at the age of 89.  Known as the “First Lady of the Yiddish Theatre” she was part of Jewish theatrical dynasty that included her parents, Jacob and Dinah Shtettin, her half-sister Stella Adler and her half-brother Luther Adler.

    1981: Jean-Marie Lustiger was enthroned as Archbishop of Paris.  He had been born Aaron Lustiger and converted at the age of 13 in 1940.  His mother died at Auschwitz.

    1987: As more information came out about what would be known as The Iran-Contra Affair, Yaacov Nimrodi, said today that Israel's Defense Ministry had approved the sale of $50 million worth of Israeli-made weapons to Iran almost two months before the first reported American request for Israel's help in approaching Teheran.

    1988: A Jewish settler was severely burned today when his car was firebombed in an area near the Ofra settlement north of Jerusalem.

    1990: Yuval Ne'eman resigned from the Knesset today and was replaced by Gershon Shafat.

    1992: Tonight’ performance of the Gershwin musical "Crazy for You" at the Shubert Theater is a benefit designed to raised funds for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

    1995(30THof Shevat, 5755) Rosh Chodesh Adar I

    1996: Alan Binder completed his service as the 15th Vice Chairperson of the Federal Reserve.

    1996 (10th of Shevat, 5756): Mathematician Gustave Solomon passed away at the age of 65.

    1999: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or topics of special interest to Jewish readers including Playing For Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made by David Halbestram and The Burden of Responsibility:Blum, Camus, Aron and the French Twentieth Century by Tony Judt. 

    2004:Talmud: in the Art of Ben-Zion and Marc Chagall,” an exhibit at the Center Art Gallery at Calvin College that brings together the Biblical work of two of the most important Jewish artists of the 20th Century that features 18 intaglio prints by Ben-Zion and 25 color lithographs by Marc Chagall comes to an end.

    2004: Joelle Fishman, the daughter of Jewish immigrants who was born in 1946, “addressed the Communist Party’s conference on the 2004 elections in New York.

    2007: Haim Ramon was convicted of “indecent assault” and sentenced to community service.

    2007: The Times of Londonreported that Lord Levy (Michael Levy) the Prime Minister's personal friend and fundraiser, is the second person close to No 10 Downing Street to be questioned by police under suspicion of perverting the course of justice in the ongoing cash-for-honors investigation. After amassing a fortune in the recording industry, Levy became a major fundraiser for the Labor Party and Tony Blair as well as various Jewish and Israeli charities.

    2007: The Jerusalem Post reported that the recently launched Yad Vashem Farsi site has been well received by the target audience. Since the Persian site went on-line last week, some 11,000 hits have been recorded, including 2,242 visits from Iran. That figure is just 1,000 hits short of the total number of visits the Yad Vashem Web site received from Iranians in the whole of 2006. Yad Vashem spokeswoman Estee Yaari said that none of the Farsi-language posts translated so far had been negative”

    2008: June Muriel Brown “made history by being the first and so far only actress to carry an entire episode single handed in the history of British soap, with a monologue looking back over her past life, dictated to a cassette machine for her husband Jim to listen to in hospital following a stroke.”

    2008: In Manhattan, the
    92nd St
    Y presents “Praise, Grumble, Schmooze, Lament: The Voices of 21st Century Jewish Poetry.” The program features readings by established and emerging Jewish poets, including Alicia Ostriker, Rodger Kamenetz, Robin Becker, Jacqueline Osherow, Dan Bellm, Patty Seyburn, Philip Terman, Scott Cairns, Jay Michaelson and Richard Chess. 

    2008: The Washington Postfeatured a review of Sacha Baron Cohen the Unauthorized Biography: from Cambridge to Kazakhstan by Kathleen Tracy

    2008: It was announced that Neil Diamond will appear at the upcoming Glastonbury Festival in the UK.

    2009: The
    92nd St
    Y presents a musical evening featuring the Tokyo String Quartet and Jerusalem born pianist Benjamin Hochman.

    2009: The Jewish Federation of Howard County (MD) presents Yom Hadash Community Concert.

    2010:Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) said today that Israel would allow the ultra-Orthodox community to continue to run their private bus lines segregated by gender, but could not officially recognize the practice on public bus lines. .

    2010: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Blood and Faith:The Purging of Muslim Spain by Matthew Carr and 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

    2010:The Tenth Herzliya Conference is scheduled to open this afternoon on the Campus of the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya in Israel.

    2010:The Israel Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Museum Milwaukee invite the Jewish community to attend “Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible: A Jewish Night at the Museum” which will include a tour of the “Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible” exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum and recitation by Museum President and CEO Daniel Finley of the real story of how the exhibit came to the Museum.

    2010: Opening session of The Tenth Herzliya Conference, “Israel‘s primary global policy annual gathering, drawing together Israeli and international participants from the highest levels of government, business, and academia to address pressing national, regional and world strategic issues.”

    2010: An exhibition at the Krasdale Gallery in White Plains, NY, entitled “Pages de Guerre” featuring the works of Avigdor Arikha comes to an end.

    2010(16th of Sh'vat, 5770):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, passed away  at his home in Manhattan. (As reported by Mathew Wald)

    2011: Dr. Ron Taffel is scheduled to present a program entitled “Childhood Unbound: Confident Parenting in a World of Change” at the 92nd Street Y in NYC.

    2011:Rami Feinstein is scheduled to presents a concert featuring songs from his two albums—a combination of rock, folk, and funk- in Jerusalem.

    2011:NYC based Israeli choreographers Deganit Shemy and Netta Yerushalmy, are scheduled to perform this evening in an event intended to raise funds for the 1st Contemporary Israeli Dance Festival in New York, coming in June 2011.

    2011: Last day for submitting recipesfor the 2011 Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off.

    2011: The Jerusalem Post reported today that “The Sundance independent film festival over the weekend followed the Oscars and Golden Globes in recognizing the Jewish and Israeli contribution to world cinema by handing out awards to two Israeli filmmakers. The world cinema dramatic screenwriting award went to Erez Kav-El for his film, Restoration. "Thank you to the shuttles in Sundance," Kav-El joked on receiving the award. Restoration depicts the rich texture of modern Israeli society telling the story of Yakov Fidelman who is forced to deal with his estranged son when he discovers his antique furniture-restoration shop is in grave financial difficulty. Talya Lavie received an Inaugural Sundance Institute Mahindra Global Film-making award which recognizes and supports emerging independent filmmakers from around the world. Her film, Zero Motivation, is a sometimes comic, often dramatic look at the power struggles of three female clerks over one year in an administrative office at a remote army base in the Israeli desert.”

    2011:Right-wing activists have exploited Facebook's protocol that prohibits organizations from opening personal profiles to report and block the profiles of several leftist groups, Haaretz learned on today. The move, initiated by activists linked to the far-right leader Baruch Marzel, has thus far led to the blocking of the profile pages of left-wing groups including Machsom Watch, Yesh Gvul, and Anarchists against the Wall.

    2011: Grad rockets landed near the cities of Netivot and Ofakim in the western Negev today, causing damage to a car and leading to four people being treated for shock. One rocket hit Netivot, which is 9 miles east of Gaza, and the second exploded in Ofakim, 15 miles from Gaza.

    2011:American Sephardi Federation presents an evening with Edwin Black author of “The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust.”

    2011: Thanks to the efforts of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation and the British Christian Zionist Movement an appropriate tombstone was placed what had been the unmarked gravesite of Reverend William Henry Hechler, a Protestant clergyman who was an early ally of Herzl  and a supporter of the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine.

    2012: “Jewish Soldiers in Blue Gray” is scheduled to be shown at the Southwest Florida Jewish Film Festival in Fort Meyers, FL.

    2012: “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg” is scheduled to be shown at Beth Tikvah Synagogue in Toronto, Canada.

    2012: Alan Zweibel will be signing copies of “Lunatics,” a nove, he co-authored with Dave Barry, following his scheduled interview with Mo Rocca at Buttenwieser  Hall at the 92nd Street Y

    2012:Iran's "evil" leaders cannot be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, President Shimon Peres said today, calling the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions the world's single most important issue.
    2012:Turnout for the Likud party's primary elections was unusually low today.

    2013(20th of Shevat, 5773): Seventy year old children’s author Diane Wolkstein passed away.(As reported by Paul Vitello)


    2013: PBS is scheduled to broadcast a documentary entitled “Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope” which ”tells the remarkable true story of Colonel Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut, and the miniature Torah scroll he carried from the depths of Hell to the heights of Space.”

    2013: “Cartoonists Against the Holocaust: Art in the Service of Humanity” is scheduled to come to an end today.

    2013: Award-winning, bestselling author Edwin Black is scheduled to chronicle the centuries of intersection between Islam and Jewry that led to the Farhud pogrom in Baghdad in 1941 and the ensuing Arab-Nazi alliance in the Holocaust in a major address at Fordham University this evening.  ”Black's presentation is based on his recent bestselling and critically acclaimed book, The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust

    2013: Rabbi Gil Marks, “noted chef and cookbook author” is scheduled to deliver a lecture “From Schmear To Eternity” at Agudas Achim in Iowa City.

    2013: Composer Phillip Glass turns 75.

    2013: The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) was once again the beneficiary of a winter storm today as rain poured down upon the Land of Israel, causing power outages around the country.

    2013:Mt Hermon will be closed to the public today as well. Hermon Administration has announced another 20 cm of snow at the bottom of the ski lift. 40 cm have piled up at the bottom of the ski lift since the beginning of the current storm

    2014(30th of Shevat, 5774): Rosh Chodesh Adar I


    0 0

    February 1

    682:  Visigoth King Erwig pressed for the "utter extirpation of the pest of the Jews," and made it illegal to practice any Jewish rites in an area that corresponds to much of modern day Spain. This put further pressure on the Jews to convert or emigrate

    1119: Callixtus II began his papacy. In 1120, Calixtus II issued the first of the bulls called “Sicut Judaeis” (As the Jews) which in his case was intended to protect Jews from the consequences of the First Crusade “during which over five thousand Jews were slaughtered in Europe.”

    1605: Birthdate of Aboab de Fonseca, the Portuguese born Dutch Rabbi and Mystic.  In 1642, when Brazil was under Dutch control the 600 Jews of Recife established a synagogue where they could worship in public.  They recruited de Fonseca, who was living in Amsterdam, to come to Brazil and serve as their Hocham or spiritual leader.  This means that Aboab de Fonseca was the first congregational rabbi in the New World. In 1654, when the Portuguese defeated the Dutch and seized Recife, he joined a group of Jews returning to the Netherlands and successfully said back to Amsterdam. Aboab was held in high esteem by his former Amsterdam congregants, that he was reappointed as hocham in the synagogue and made teacher in the city’s Talmud Torah, principal of its yeshiva and member of the city’s bet din, or rabbinic court. He died in 1693 at the age of 88, having served the Jewish community of Amsterdam for 50 years after his return from Recife. While Aboab spent his final years as a man of letters, engaged in teaching and spiritual contemplation, “the adventuresome Isaac Aboab de Fonseca had been, from 1642 to 1654, America’s first rabbi, first Hebrew poet and a man who risked his life for Jewish religious freedom.” (One can only wonder what would have happened if Aboab had joined the group of Jews who left Recife in 1654 and ended up in New Amsterdam.  Would he have been the first rabbi in New York/)

    1682(5442):  Asser Levy, the "founding father" of North American Jewry passed away.. He was survived by his wife Miriam (aka Maria). Though Levy and the "Levy" family of New York are thought of as Sephardic with roots in Hollandand even further roots in Spain, he might have been the son of Benjamin Levy, an Ashkenazi shochet from Recife, Brazil.

    1733: King Augustus II of Poland passed away.  Born in 1670, Augustus II was the Elector of Saxony (Germany) before gaining Augustus gained the Polish throne.  His rise to power was facilitated by his “court Jew” and financier Issachar Berend Lehmann. August II was a contemporary of the Besht who was making his public personna known at about the same time as the Polish King passed away.

    1765(10th of Shevat, 5525): Rebecca Mendez Furtado, the first wife of Benjamin D’Israeli, the grandfather of his more famous namesake, passed away today.

    1796: The capital of Upper Canada is moved from Newark to York. Jews did not settle in Canada until the British defeated the French in 1760, at which time the French ban on Jewish settlement in the area became null and void.  By the time of this move, the Jews had already built their first synagogue, The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal also known as Shearith Israel which was established in 1768.

    1799: The French army under Napoleon left for Palestine to forestall a Turco-British invasion through the Palestinian land-bridge.

    1810(27 Shevat 5570):Rabbi Mechel Scheuer passed away. He was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1739.  His father was Rabbi David Tebele Scheuer and he led his father's Yeshiva in Mainz as its Rosh Yeshiva during the years 1776 and 1777. In 1778 he became rabbi of Worms and in 1782 was appointed rabbi of Manheim. At the time of his death, he was the rabbi of Coblence.

    1813(The Common Council of New York City passed an ordinance restricting the right to sell kosher meat to butchers licenses by Congregation Shearith Israel.

    1827: Birthdate of Alphonse de Rothschild, French banker, philanthropist and member of the French branch of the fabled Rothschild family.

    1828: Birthdate of Meyer Guggenheim the Swiss born patriarch of the Guggenheim family who came to the United States in 1847.

    1836: Birthdate of Francis Lewis Cardozo, the Charleston, SC native who was the son of Lydia Weston, a free black woman and Isaac a Sephardic (Portuguese) Jews.

    1840: In what would be the opening of the Damascus Blood Libel, “Father Thomas, a Roman Catholic priest and a” long-time resident of Damascus “suddenly disappeared today.

    1856: AuburnUniversity is chartered as the EastAlabamaMaleCollege. Today Auburn has 60 Jewish students out of an undergraduate population of 19,000 students.  Auburndoes not offer Jewish studies classes but does have a Hillel Chapter.  

    1860: Rabbi Morris Raphall becomes the first Jewish clergyman to opena session of the House of Representatives. Raphall’s son-in-law would serve in the Union Army and after he had committed some unspecified infraction, Lincoln pardoned him. Raphall’s letter thanking Lincoln is still in existence today.

    1861: Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise published an article in The Israelite entitled “No Political Preaching” in which he explained why he had refrained from preaching a sermon on January 4, 1861.  President James Buchanan had designated that date “ ‘as a day of feasting and prayer, that God might have mercy upon us and save this Union.’” [This was just about the only action that Buchanan took to preserve the Union!]

    1862(1st of Adar I, 5622): Rosh Chodesh Adar I

    1862: The will of Samuel Samuels was admitted to probate today.  According to the terms of the will, Samuels left $100 to the Jewish congregation, "Bnai Jeshurun," on Greene-street, and $100 for the benefit of the Orphan Asylum under the charge of the Hebrew Benevolent Society.

    1868(8th of Shevat, 5628): Isaac Leeser passed away. Born in 1806, he “was an American Jewish minister of religion, author, translator, editor, and publisher; pioneer of the Jewish pulpit in the United States, and founder of the Jewish press of America. He produced the first Jewish translation of the Bible into English to be published in the United States. He is considered one of the most important American Jewish personalities of the nineteenth century America.”

    1873: Birthdate of historian Israel Zinberg “best known for his nine-volume History of the Literature of the Jews which was published in Vilnus starting in 1929.

    1878: George Cruikshank the British illustrator who created “Fagan” in his cell passed away.

    1879: It was reported today that the Purim Association of New York will resume hosting a masked ball after a hiatus of 10 years.   The ball is scheduled to be held on Purim night.

    1879: Wilhelm Marr, the man who popularized the term “anti-Semitism” publishedhis pamphlet “Der Weg zum Siege des Germanenthums über das Judenthum” (The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism. Toward the end of his life he would publish “Testament of an Antisemite” in which he would renounce the view that the Jews were the corrupters of German and European civilization.

    1880: In St. Louis, the Young Men's Hebrew Association was organized.

    1883: Theodore Hoffman was arrested this evening and charged with the murder of Zife Marks, a Jewish peddler whose body had been on the road outside of Port Chester, NY.  (Hoffman would eventually be found guilty and executed for the murder.)

    1885(16th of Shevat, 5645): Peretz Smolenskin, the Russian born Jewish novelist whose works in Hebrew including A Wander (Ha-toeh be-darkhe ha-Hayyim, התועה בדרכי החיים) on the Path of Life passed away today.

    1887: Birthdate of Harry Scherman, American economist, author and co-founder of the Book of the Month Club.

    1897: As of this date, the officers of the United Hebrew Charities of the City of New York say they will no long be able to respond to all of the demands of the needy without additional funds.  They received 250 applications a day, many of which come from people who have never applied before and they need at least $15,000 just to provide minimal aid.

    1890: Mrs. Moses Gersohnfeldt and her four young children ranging in age from two to eleven continue to languish in the custody of the immigration authorities because the Immigration Commissioner has decided that they might become pubic charges despite the fact that her husband and oldest son have come forth and shown that they are employed and earning enough money to see to it that they are properly cared for.

    1890: “Castle Garden’s Autocrat” published today described Commissioner Edmund Stephenson’s capricious and semi-dictatorial control over the lives of immigrants, including Jews escaping the Czar’s tyranny, to whom he showed distinct hostility.

    1891: It was reported today that Mr. Rheinherz an agent of the United Hebrew Charities was among those who testified before the Congressional Committee investigating the operation of the Barge Office which was the main immigrant processing center in New York City.

    1892: It was reported today that Moritz Cohn, Morris Hertz, Max Jacob, Ignatz Boskowitz, Henry Rice and Simon L. Duetsch had served as pall bearers at the funeral of Benjamin Russak.

    1893(15th of Shevat, 5653): Tu B’Shevat

    1893: “Theatrical Gossip” published today described the success of “The Girl I Left Behind Me” which is being produced by Charles Frohman at the Standard Theatre.

    1895: It was reported today that the Federation of East Side Workers “consisting of the pastors, priests and rabbis of the churches and congregations in New York south of 14th Street and east of Broadax…expresses its grateful appreciation to the chairman and members of the Tenement House Committee…” (Compare the active , positive role played by Rabbis in the United States with the anti-Semitism found at the same time in Russia, Germany and France).

    1897: “The Future of Palestine” published today provided the views of Professor Richard J.H. Gottheil’s views on the Jewish settlement in this part of the Ottoman Empire.  Gottheil contended the Jews could again become “agriculturists” and that Palestine could “support a large agricultural and industrial population.”

    1897: “Harm Done By Alarmists” published today includes the views of Rabbi Gustav Gottheil who expressed his sympathy for the working man, opposition to Socialism and defense of the expendiures of the wealthy as exemplified by the upcoming Bradley Martin-Ball

    1897: It was reported today that Dr. Emil G. Hirsch said the work of  the Jewish charities in Chicago has been complicated by the problems created by the influx of Jews flee the Czar who have taken “refuge in the larger cities of America.”

    1897: It was reported today the delegates attending the Jewish Socialists Convention had voted to start a newspaper of their own after the managers of the Abendblatt, a Jewish socialist paper that had been founded in 1894, had made known their decision not relinquish control of the paper.

    1899: It was reported today that Professor Richard J.H. Gottheil of Columbia University read a “paper by Albert Ulmann on the Jews in New York during the Dutch colonial period. Mr. Ulmann gave as the earliest date when Jews this city as 1652, when some Jewish farmers were sent over from Holland to serve a year’s time a soldiers…”  He also “described the fight the Jews had to make against the religious bigotry of Stuyvesant.”  

    1899: “Dr. Gottheheil’s Successor” published today relied on information that first appeared in the New York Tribune to report that Dr. Gustav Gottheil is preparing to retire after serving as Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El for the past 25 years and that went to provide a brief history of the Reform movement in the United States.

    1901: A Memorial Service for Queen Victoria was held at the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Samuel Salant officiated at the service which was so well attended that local police were called to control the crowd. 

    1904:  Birthdate of Sidney Joseph Perelman. Better known as S. J. Perelman, he was a humorist, author, and screenwriter. He is primarily known for his humorous short pieces written over many years for The New Yorker magazine. His most famous cinematic venture was writing the script for the Academy Award-winning screenplay Around the World in Eighty Days starring David Niven.

    1905: Birthdate of Emilio Segre.  The Italian born physicist worked on the Manhattan Project and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1959.

    1910: Birthdate of Michael Kanin, the native of Rochester, NY who shared an Oscar with Ring Lardner Jr for writing the script for Woman of the Year” and was nominated along with his wife Fay for an Oscar for the script for “Teacher’s Pet.”

    1915: A dispatch from the London Daily Newsdatelined Cairo, based, in part on reports from “Vladimir Jabotinsky, a well-known Moscow journalist” describes the deteriorating conditions faced by the Jews living under Ottoman rule in Eretz Israel.  Mr. Jabotinksy “entertains the graves fears for the safety of the 15,000 colonists in Galilee, Judea and Samaria should the Turkish army in Syria” suffer a defeat since the Turkish government will blame it on the Jews.  The government “is doing its utmost to stir up feelings against the Zionists.  The Turks have declared Zionism to a be a revolutionary, anti-Turkish movement “which must be stamped out.”  The Anglo-Palestine bank has been liquidated which will lead to ruin for many of the Jewish settlers.  A large number of Jewish refugees have fled to Alexandria among them “1,000 young men who have have declared their eagerness to join the British army.”  The report closes with expression of concern for the 5,000 Jews and 12,000 Christians living in Jerusalem who are trying to survive on American relief supplies described as “insufficient to maintain life.”

    1918: Russia adopted the Gregorian Calendar. Russia’s comparatively late adoption of the calendar used by most of the western world makes precise dating of certain events all the more difficult.

    1919: The First Congress of Muslim-Christian Assocations began its deliberations in Jerusalem.

    1923:Birthdate of Canadian businessman Benjamin Weider who “was the co-founder of the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (IFBB).”

    1924: Automobile magnet Henry Ford who bankrolled the anti-Semitic Dearborn Independent which published the Protocols of the Elders of Zion entertained Nazi Kurt Ludecke at his Michigan home.

    1921 First German translation of The International Jew

    1925: Today, Sophie Udin and six other women who had been active in the labor Zionist organization Poale Zion, created the Pioneer Women’s Organization of America


    1925: WMCA which Peter Straus took over in the late 1950’s began regular transmissions today.

    1927(29th of Shevat, 5687): Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel (Nathan Zevi Finkel) the native of Lithuania known as the Alter of Slabodka passed away in Jerusalem

    1928: Birthdate of Representative Tom Lantos.  This California Democrat took his seat in Congress in 1981.  He is the only survivor of the Holocaust serving in Congress.

    1930: Birthdate of PingPong or Table Tennis Champion, Marty Reisman.

    1932: Birthdate of Batsheva Esther Eliashiv, the Jerusalem native who was the daughter of Rabbi Shalom Elisahiv and who became Rebbetzin Batsheva Esther Kanievskey when she married Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.

    1935:At the annual convention of the Palestine Jewish Farmers Federation, Moshe Smilansky, veteran farmer economist, poet, writer and journalist, shocked the assembled gathering when in his opening address as president he announced that in the present circumstances in Palestine Jewish farmers and colonists should employ Jewish labor only

    1941: Prime Minister Churchill instructed his Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden, to send a warning to Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu telling him “that we will hold him and immediate circle personally responsible in life and limb” if the Iron Cross did not stop their murderous attacks on the Jews.

    1943: Most of the 1,500 Jews remaining in Buczacz who had not been sent to Belzac were murdered. One survivor, Netka Goldberg, lost three sisters, two brothers and her mother. Her father would be killed seven months later.

    1946: Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations. Lie was head of the U.N. when Israel was created and was supportive of creating the Jewish state.

    1947:  Birthdate of American television journalist Jessica Savitch.

    1948: The Arabs bombed the Palestine Post (a.k.a. Jerusalem Post) building in Jerusalem

    1950(14th of Shevat, 5710):French sociologist. Marcel Mauss passed away.

    1951: During the Presidency of Harry Truman, Monnett B. Davis was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

    1952: SN (Samuel Nathaniel) Behrman's "Jane" premiered in New York City.  Behrman, was a popular and prolific dramatist who tackled a number of topics in his works including what it was like to grow up Jewish in a small town as the 19th gave way to the 20thcentury.

    1955: Lord Rothschild wrote to Churchill “thanking him for the fact that in Jerusalemin 1921 ‘you laid the foundation of the Jewish State by separating Abdullah’s Kingdom from the rest of Palestine.  Without this much-opposed prophetic foresight there would not have been an Israeltoday.’”

    1958: Egypt and Syria announced plans to merge into United Arab Republic.  This was one of those failed attempts at pan-Arabism that was really a military alliance designed to destroy Israel.  The U.A.R. was neither united or a real republic.  The Syrians pulled out in 1961, but the name lingered on for many years after.

    1959(23rd of Sh'vat, 5719):Rabbi Jonah Bondi Wise passed away. He “was an American Rabbi and leader of the Reform Judaism movement, who served for over thirty years as rabbi of the Central Synagogue in Manhattan and was a founder of the United Jewish Appeal, serving as its chairman from its creation in 1939 until 1958.”

    1968:  Birthdate of comedic actor Pauly Shore best known for his role in “Encino Man.”

    1969:  Birthdate of jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman son of a legendary jazz musician and Jewish dancer from Russia.

    1967: As part of their confrontation with the unionized bagel bakers, owners shut the doors to their bakeries claiming “that they did not have enough work.”

    1970: Oil was pumped for the first time in the newly completed 42 inch Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline

    1970: The New York Times includes a review of Mr. Sammler’s Planet by Saul Bellow.

    1976: "Rich Man, Poor Man" mini-series based on the work of Irwin Shaw, premieres on ABCTV.

    1978: Director Roman Polanski skipped bail and fled to Franceafter pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl.  The father of the Polish born director was Jewish.  His mother died in a concentration camp.  Polanski avoided being trapped in the ghetto and spent the war wandering the woods of Poland.

    1979: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 years in exile.  This marked a major turning point in the Islamic world as religious fundamentalists began coming to power.  There are those who would say that there is a direct line between the success of Khomeini and the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections in 2006. After 28 years, Iran boasts a leader who denies the Holocaust happened and calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

    1984: Daniel Stern became NBA commissioner.

    1985:Morton I. Abramowitz began serving as President Reagan’s Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

    1985: In Leadville, CO, The Harvey/Martin Construction Company convey the Temple Israel property to William H. Copper whose family trust would convey it to the Temple Israel Foundation

    1988:Two Palestinians were shot dead today near Anabta in a fracas on the Nablus road north of Jerusalem that involved demonstrators and settlers. Military authorities said settlers were trapped at roadblocks by stone throwers and drew their guns and opened fire. Soldiers also shot at the demonstrators. Another account said a convoy of 75 settlers returned when the trouble subsided and vandalized a score of Arab cars.

    1989(26thof Shevat,5749):Eighty-nine year old Marie Syrkin, an author, editor and teacher who was active in the Zionist cause for many decades, died of cancer today at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. (As reported by Glenn Fowler)

    1992(27th of Shevat, 5752):U.S. District Court Judge Irving R Kaufman, who presided at the Rosenberg Spy Case, passed away at the age of 81.

    1993: Gary Bettman becomes the NHL's first commissioner

    1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including On the Possibility of Jewish Mysticism in Our Time by Gershom Scholem and Selected Poems by Harvey Shapiro

    1999(15thof Shevat, 5759): Last celebration of Tu B’Shevat in the 20thcentury.

    2002(19thof Shevat, 5762): Daniel Pearl, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal was beheaded today.

    2003(25th of Tevet, 5771): The Space Shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere killing the crew of six including Israel’s first man in space, Ilan Ramon. Ilan Ramon was born in 1954.  He was a combat pilot in the Israeli Air Force. He was a graduate of Tel Aviv University and held the rank of Colonel at the time of his death. Ramon was a veteran of the Yom Kippur War, one of the first Israeli pilots to fly the then new F-16 jet and was part of the group that destroyed the Iraqi nueclar reactor before it could go on line.

    2004: Jonathan Andrew Kaye won the FBR Open

    2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Liberated Bride by A.B. Yehoshua; translated by Hillel Halkin and The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neillby Ron Suskind.

    2005: One of the highlights of the completion of the most recent Talmud cyle of study was the Siyum HaShas celebration at Madison Square Garden. At Madison Square Garden this evening, “a handful of the 25,000 people there taking part in the 11th Siyum HaShas Daf Yomi celebration recalled some of the more unusual settings in which they have demonstrated their commitment to the daily study of Talmud, which was completed — and renewed for a new seven-and-a-half-year cycle — this week.Daf Yomi, or daily page, was introduced in 1923 at the First International Congress of Agudath Israel in Vienna by a young Polish rabbi, Meir Shapiro, as a way to bring uniformity to the worldwide study of Shas, an acronym for the names of the six orders of the Mishna, on which the Talmudic sages recorded their commentaries around 200 C.E. Agudah said 120,000 North American Jews were taking part in the celebration this year.”

    2006:  Despite violent protests, Israel successfully completed the evacuation of the West Bank outpost of Amona.  This is in line with the policy of the Sharon government provide security for the state of Israel and ensuring that Israel remains both a democratic nation and a Jewish homeland.  The withdrawal policy has the support of the majority of Israelis.

    2007: The Sarah Silverman Program premiered on Comedy Central

    2007: The first exhibition of female architects in the history of Israeli architecture entitled "The feminine presence in Israeli architecture," opened at the gallery of the Union of Architects in Jaffa. Twenty-two female architects participated and displayed works they have planned in the past few years and which have since been built.

    2007: As part of a kosher cooking contest, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation naming this date as Simply Manischewitz Cook-off Day.  Candace McMenamin, a non-Jew from Lexington, S.C. won with her sweet potato encrusted chicken.  Only in America

    2008: In New Jersey, Barnet Hospital which had been founded in 1908 by Nathan Barnet announced that it would closing due to a lack of funding

    2008:Six gunmen opened fire on the Israeli Embassy inMauritania early this morning, trading fire with guards before fleeing screaming "Allah Akbar," witnesses said. The six men arrived by car and regrouped in front of a discotheque that is just beside the embassy, said Hamza Ould Bilal, a taxi driver who was parked outside the club, called the VIP. He saw them pull out their automatic weapons and scream "God is Great!" in Arabic, before assailing the embassy, he said.

    2008: “Praying With Lior,” a new documentary about a Philadelphiaboy with Down syndrome preparing for his bar mitzvah opens at the CinemaVillagein New York.

    2009:  At YaleUniversity, CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in Americapresents “Palestinian Issues in Israeli Journalism: A conversation with Khalid Abu Toameh, a journalist who writes for the Jerusalem Post

    2009: The New York Times and the Washington Posteach featured a review of Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle Eastby Martin Indyk, the assistant secretary of state for near east affairs during the Clinton Administration and the first Jewish American to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

    2010: The Center for Jewish History and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation is scheduled to present “Diplomacy and Genocide: Challenges for the Future” during which a distinguished panel of policy makers, diplomats, and scholars discuss the issues and opportunities in diplomatic approaches to the prevention of genocide in the contemporary international community.

    2010: Yehuda Weinstein replaced Menachem Mazuz as Attorney General of Israel.

    2010:Two barrels of explosives were discovered on Israeli beaches today, which were dispatched into the sea as part of a large-scale Palestinian terror attack against Israeli navy ships. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) was investigating the discovery of the explosive devices, described as barrels of explosives, with a particular emphasis on the detonator and type of explosives.

    2010:Seven American and European scientists were named winners of Israel's prestigious $100,000 Wolf Prize today. The Wolf Foundation said its prize in medicine went to Axel Ullrich of Germany for groundbreaking cancer research that has led to development of new drugs. Sir David Baulcombe of Cambridge University was awarded Wolf Prize for agriculture research in defending plants against viruses. The physics prize was shared by US professor John F. Clauser, Alain Aspect of France and Anton Zeilinger of Austria for their work in quantum physics. The mathematics prize was shared by two US-based professors: Shing-Tung Yau for geometric analysis, and Dennis Sullivan for contributions to algebraic topology and conformal dynamics. Each category carries a $100,000 prize, which is then divided if there is more than one recipient. The Wolf Foundation said that 38 past winners have gone on to win Nobel prizes. The winners will receive the awards in a ceremony on May 13. The Wolf Foundation was founded by the late German-born Dr. Ricardo Wolf, an inventor, philanthropist and former Cuban ambassador to Israel. The private nonprofit foundation's council is chaired by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar. Ninety-two year old

    2010(17th of Shevat): Ninety-two year oldSelma G. Hirsh, a humanitarian and an author who was associated with the American Jewish Committee for many years, passed away today  at her home in Stamford, Conn.

    2011: Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day is scheduled to take placed in Richmond, VA.

    2011: The Leo Baeck Institute and American Council on Germany are scheduled to present a lecture by Joschka Fischer and Norbert Frei entitled "The German Foreign Office and the Nazi Past"

    2011: At Tulane University, Dean Carole Haber announced that Prof. Ronna Burger, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, has been appointed at the Catherine and Henry J. Gaisman Chair in Judeo-Christian Studies. This chair was endowed through of generous gift of Catherine and Henry J. Gaisman. Prof. Burger’s intellectual path has taken her from an early interest in the Bible and its interpretation to Greek philosophy and most recently to the question of the relation between them. This path is reflected in her scholarly pursuits and her teaching at Tulane, where she has found an intellectual home for over three decades. After receiving her PhD in philosophy from the New School for Social Research in 1975, a Mellon Fellowship in New York, followed by a Humboldt Fellowship in Tübingen allowed Burger to turn her dissertation into her first book, on Plato’s Phaedrus (Alabama 1980), and go on to her second book, on Plato’s Phaedo (Yale, 1984; St. Augustine’s Press, 1999). Over many years of study and teaching, Burger became increasingly struck by the deep Platonic roots of Aristotle’s thought, and a fellowship at the Siemens Foundation in Munich offered the opportunity to bring that understanding to fruition in Aristotle’s Dialogue with Socrates: on the Nicomachean Ethics (Chicago, 2008). Plato and Aristotle provided a foundation for Burger to explore the thought of Maimonides and his response to the confrontation between Greek philosophy and the Bible, which she has addressed on several occasions, including two papers presented at the American Philosophical Association. Burger’s philosophic background has enabled her at the same time to open up new lines of interpretation of the Bible, from a Platonic reading of the story of Adam and Eve to reflections on the biblical account of Moses as legislator and founder, which she has presented at numerous college campuses. Her interests converged in a recent lecture Burger gave in Munich on the problem of the holy in Plato’s Euthyphro, soon to be published in English with a German translation. Burger was the recipient of Tulane’s SLA Faculty Research Award in May 2010.

    2011: Six Senate Democrats rejected a deficit-driven proposal by a new Republican senator to cut United States aid to Israel. In a letter sent today to the top House Republicans on the Appropriations and Budget committees, the Democrats said aid to Israel, the only democratic nation in the Middle East, is imperative. They backed the $3 billion in foreign military assistance that the U.S. provides annually to Israel. Republican Sen. Rand Paul said last week that the nation faces a fiscal crisis and argued that the U.S. cannot give money away, even to allies, as the debt grows.

    2011: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak informed Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant today that they have cancelled his upcoming appointment to the post of Israel Defense Forces chief.

    2011:A Tunisian Jewish leader said today that the burning of a building that served as a synagogue in the South of the country was not an attack on the local Jewish community. Roger Bismuth, the president of the Jewish community in Tunisia, told The Jerusalem Post that the fire that broke out at a makeshift Jewish place of worship in the town of Ghabes was probably not an act of anti-Semitism, but one of vandalism.

    2011(27th of Shevat, 5771): Seventeen year old Mitchell Perlmeter, the son of rabbi Rex Perlmeter and Rabbi Rachel Hertzman, passed away today in his home at Montclair, NJ.

    2012: “Mamele” is scheduled to be shown at Congregation Etz Chaim in Toledo, Ohio.

    2012: “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg” is scheduled to be shown at temple Jeremiah in Northfield, Illinois.

    2012: Liel Leibovitz is scheduled to moderate a presentation by New York Times columnist David Brooks at the 92ndStreet Y.

    2012: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told President Shimon Peres today he was worried about the possible military aspects of Iran's nuclear program, laid out in a recent IAEA report, and called on Iran to prove that the program is peaceful. Peres told Ban that the problem with Iran extends beyond its nuclear program, noting that weapons from the Islamic Republic were making their way into Gaza.

    2012:Israelis are in danger of waking up one morning to a different Israel, Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni said at the Herzliya Conference today. Livni asserted that Israelis today are not debating the true issue - that the state's minority will impose its will on the Zionist majority. Due to a fear of opening this debate, she stated, "we are in danger of waking up one morning" to a different type of state. "The worst part is that this group, the Zionist majority, that talks about threats from outside, and also about reaching an agreement with the Palestinians - a group that understands that the Jewish State of Israel is Jewish and Zionist and not haredi (ultra-orthodox) - this group is disappearing, and we are left with a small window of opportunity to make decisions and create a vision that represents the essence of Zionism," warned Livni. Differentiating between two groups, she explained that in Israel there exist two visions for the state, that are entirely different to each other. One of these states is a "national home for a Jewish nation...where citizens are equal, a Jewish state that respects all its citizens, all streams of Judaism, where anyone can exercise their Jewishness with the understanding that Israel is a state of law." This type of state, she added, is part of the free world, and is not isolated.

    2012(8thof Shevat, 5772): Eighty-six year old Robert B. Cohen, the president of the Hudson County News Company passed away today.  (As reported by Denis Hevesi)

     2013: Students and members of the Jewish community are scheduled to present poems by Jewish poets including works by Yehuda Acmichai following a Friday night Shabbat dinner at the Hillel at the University of Iowa.

    2013: Tenth anniversary of the Columbia Shuttle disaster which claimed the lives of all on board including Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon.  The event is the subject of a special documentary entitled "Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope" which is scheduled to be aired today on Iowa Public Television.

    2013: “Not By Bread Alone” is scheduled to be performed at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

    2013: On the secular calendar, 11thanniversary of the beheading of Daniel Pearl.

    2013(22nd of Shevat, 2013): Eighty-eight year old Edward Koch, three-time mayor of New York passed away today (As reported by Robert D. McFadden)
    He passed away on the same day that a documentary on his life arrived in U.S. Theaters (as reported by Renee Ghert Zand)

    2013: “The Gatekeepers” opened in U.S. movie theatres

    2014: David Stern is scheduled to step down as NBA Commissioner.

     2014: In Rockville, MD, Tikvat Israel is scheduled to show “Lost Islands” as part of its Israeli Film Festival.

    2014: In Olney, MD, Shaare Tefila, is scheduled to host its Third Annual Comedy night of “Sweet Laughter.”

    2014(1st of Adar 1, 5774): Rosh Chodesh Adar I



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    February 2

    506: Alaric II, eighth king of the Visigoths promulgated The Breviary of Alaric (Breviarium Alaricianum or Lex Romana Visigothorum) a collection of Roman law that included thesixteen books of the Codex Theodosianus complete with all of its anti-Semitic laws.

    962: Pope John XII crowns Otto I, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Gershom ben Judah, who will gain fame as Rabbeinu Gershom Me'Or Hagolah ("Our teacher Gershom the light of the exile") had been born two years earlier in Metz.  Mainz, the city he would move to as an adult, was already the center of Talmudic learning in this part of the Holy Roman Empire with Yehuda ben Meir serving as its leading scholar at this time.

    1208: Birthdate of James I of Aragon.King James I of Aragonwas the monarch who forced Nachmanides, Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, to participate in a public debate, with the Jewish convert to Christianity, Pablo Christiani.  Unlike what usually happened, Nachmanides chose to respond aggressively. His brilliant defense of Judaism and refutations of Christianity's claims served as the basis of many such future disputations through the generations. Because his victory was an insult to the king's religion, Nachmanides was forced to flee Spain. There were those who wanted the sage killed, but James let him escape; a silent acknowledgement of the strength of the Rabbi’s arguments.

    1484: The first printed edition of tractate Bezah of the Babylonian Talmud was published in Soncino Italy

    1536: Spaniard Pedro de Mendoza founds Buenos Aires, Argentina.  As in so much of the rest of Latin America, the first Jews to settle in Argentina were conversos.  When Argentina gained its independence in 1810, the Inquisition was abolished and this marked the beginning of the development of the modern Argentinean Jewish Community.  The first Jewish wedding in Buenos Aires took place in 1860.  Today Buenos Aires has a Jewish population of about 200,000 souls.  The city supports a variety of Jewish institutions including a campus of the Convservative JTS and one of the last remaining daily Yiddish newspapers.  Unfortunately, Buenos Aires was also the site of one of the worst terrorist attacks outside of Eretz Israel.

    1648(17th of Shevat, 5408): Rabbi Chaim ben Benjamin Bechner of Cracow, author of Or Hadash passed away.

    1653: Incorporation of the city of New Amsterdam under Dutch rule. The first Jews would arrive in 1654.  In other words, there really is a valid reason for thinking New York and New York Jew in the same breath.  (New Amsterdam became New York when the English took the colony and named the city in honor of the Duke of York.)  
    1697: In Great Britain, a site is acquired for the first Ashkenazi cemetery.

    1709: In London, Elias Lindo and Rachel Lopes Ferreira were married at Bevis Marks Synagogue – a moment which was celebrated by the creation of a silver Chanukah menorah by John Ruslen known as the Lindo Lamp, the “earliest known English menorah.”

    1718(1st of Adar, 5478): Rabbi Gabriel ben Judah Loew Eskeles of Nikolsburg, Moravia passed away. He was the great-grandson of Rabbi Sinai Liva, the brother of the Maharal of Prague and the patriarch of the Eskeles “clan.”

    1790: The United States Supreme Court meets for the first time.  It would be one hundred and twenty six years before a Jewish jurist would be named to the High Court. 

    1814: Gershom Mendes Seixas of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York gave a sermon saying that because the United States has declared war, it is the duty of Jewish Americans to "act as true and faithful citizens, to support and preserve the honor, the dignity, and the independence of the United States of America!" Gershom asked the people to pray to God for protection and a strengthening of faith and to get rid of the evil that is around them.  He discusses the horrible conditions that many people have been faced with and the numerous deaths that have occurred.

    1827: Birthdate of Jewish scholar Solomon Buber the Lemberg native who was the son of Isaiah Abraham Buber and the grandfather of Martin Buber.

    1840: “A report was spread” in Damascus that Father Thomas and his servant “were last seen in the Jewish quarter of the city” which “was sufficient to excite the wrath of” those “who had long nourished a bitter animosity against the Jews” and resulted in the arrest of Jewish barber.  After having received “500 blows” and the promise of a pardon “if he would disclose the names of his co-religionists who had” murdered the pair, the barber “denounced seven persons who had required human blood for the Passover festival.”  (Modern versions date these events as having begun on February 5. This is based on an account published in 1883)

    1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed ending the Mexican-American War.  There are limited records of colorful Jewish characters who showed up at different places where the war was fought (Remember, it covered a swath of territory including California, New Mexico, Arizona and the Republic of Mexico).  They include: Jacob Frankfort a tailor living at Taos, New Mexico; Nathan Appel, a trooper with Phil Kearny’s Dragoons, Solomon and Thomas Farnham who were with the American Army at the Battle of Chapultepec (and later made their fortune in California) and Jacob Frankfort, a tailor living in Los Angeles who went to work for the U.S. Army when the troops arrived.

    1852: An article published today entitled “Shocking Murder Near Philadelphia” described the discovery of the mutilated body of Jacob Lehman, a German Jew, who had been robbed before he was killed and dumped into the Delaware River.

    1854:  A second dinner was held in Philadelphia designed to raise funds for Jewish charities.

    1860: "Oliver Twist," a dramatization of Dickens' novel by the same name, was performed at the Winter Garden in New York City.  J.W. Wallack played the part of Fagin the Jew

    1861: Birthdate of Solomon R Guggenheim.  A second generation member of the Guggenheim family that made its fortune mining and metallurgy, Guggenheim is best remembered for endowing the Guggenheim Foundation which funds and runs the Guggenheim Museum. Guggenheim’s brother Benjamin died on the Titanic and it was his daughter Peggy who joined her uncle as a patron of the arts.

    1862: Birthdate of Rabbi Joshua A. Joffe.Joshua A. Joffe was The Jewish Theological Seminary's second Talmud instructor. He joined the Seminary as Preceptor of Mishna and Gemara in 1893, and retired in 1917. As one of only two full time paid instructors at the Seminary when he arrived (the other was Bible instructor Bernard Drachman) Joffe taught all of the Seminary's early graduates. He was also in charge of the library, and he took part in the students' Literary Society, lecturing in Hebrew to the group that met every other Saturday evening. In addition to his work at the Seminary, Joffe taught students in his home (one of these private students was Stephen Wise), and from 1893 to around 1908 he taught Hebrew and Jewish ethics at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum on Amsterdam Avenue between West 136th and 138th Streets. Joffe was born in Nesvizh, Minsk, Russia on February 2, 1862. He studied at the Volozhin Yeshiva, and received smicha(Orthodox rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Isaac J. Reines in 1881. He then went to Berlin and attended the liberal Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums from which he received a second rabbinic ordination in 1888. Joffe's education also included a period, 1886-1890, at the University of Berlin where he studied philosophy, history, and Semitics. He served as rabbi to congregations in Vishnove, Russia, in 1880, and Moabit, a suburb of Berlin, 1889-1892. In 1892 Joffe left Germany and came to the United States. After twenty-four years at the Seminary, Joshua Joffe retired in 1917 after a period of ill health. He then returned to Europe with his wife and daughter and died in Freiburg, Germany on December 23, 1935. His family returned to the United States after his death.

    1869: The will of the late James Disraeli “was proved” today by Benjamin Israeli.

    1871: Baron Jozsef Eotvos, Hungarian statesman and emancipator of the Jews passed way.

    1871: Gustavus Cardozo, Chief of the Ordinance Bureau in New York City has issued orders to all householders to immediately clear the snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of their houses and from their rooftops.

    1873: It was reported today that a benefit performance has raised $5,200 for the Home for Aged and Infirmed Hebrews.

    1874(15th of Shevat, 5634): Tu B’Shevat

    1875: Birthdate of violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler.  There are several different views as to whether or not Kreisler was Jewish.  As the following note shows, even his family did not agree on the answer to the question. “Amy Biancolli's recent biography Fritz Kreisler: Love's Sorrow, Love's Joy  (Amadeus Press, Portland Oregon, 1998) contains an extensive discussion  of Kreisler's Jewish background, which he never acknowledged and which his wife adamantly denied (see Chapter 8: "Kreisler the Catholic, Kreisler the Jew").    Biancolli cites a 1992 interview by David Sackson of Franz Rupp, Fritz Kreisler's piano accompanist in the 1930s.  Rupp states that he once asked Kreisler's brother, the cellist Hugo Kreisler, about their Jewish background, to which Hugo responded simply, "I'm a Jew, but my brother, I don't know."  According to Biancolli, Kreisler's father, Salomon Severin Kreisler (also called Samuel Severin Kreisler), a physician and amateur violinist from Krakow, was almost certainly Jewish.  Fritz's mother, Anna, was a Roman Catholic, and probably an "Aryan."  According to Louis Lochner's 1950 biography Fritz Kreisler, Kreisler was reared as a Roman Catholic.  However, according to unpublished parts of the manuscript uncovered by Biancolli in the Library of Congress, he was baptized only at the age of twelve.  The bottom line seems to be that Kreisler was at least half-Jewish and his reticence on the subject primarily an attempt to placate his highly anti-Semitic wife Harriet.  ("Fritz hasn't a drop of Jewish blood in his veins!" she is said to have vehemently responded to an inquiry from Leopold Godowsky.  Godowsky retorted: "He must be very anemic.")”

    1876: The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs of Major League Baseball which we know simply as the National League, the first and oldest of baseball’s two Major Leagues is formed. Lip Pike may have been the first Jewish major leaguer.  He had begun playing before the creation of the National League.  Reportedly, his first stint was with the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1876 he played with the National League team in St. Louis, thus making him the first Jewish baseball player to play in baseball’s senior circuit.

    1878:  It was reported today the Jewish Messenger has taken issue with those who feel they must respond every time somebody expresses negativity regarding Hebrews  as individuals are as a group.  Those making these statements are “petty assailants” from whom the Hebrews need no defense.

    1882: Birthdate of Irish author James Joyce. Joyce was not Jewish, but Bloom the protagonist in his most famous novel, Ulysseswas Jewish.

    1883(25th of Shevat, 5643): Seventy-two year old Rabbi Yisroel Salanter passed away. He was the father of the Mussar movement in Orthodox Judaism and a famed Rosh yeshiva and Talmudist. The epithet Salanter was added to his name due to the influence on his thinking by Rabbi Yosef Zundel of Salant.

    1884: Birthdate of S. Z. Sakall.  Born Eugene Gero Szakall in BudapestHungary, he used the first two initials of his last name to create his professional persona.  The chubby cheeked actor was also known as “Cuddles.”  One of his most famous roles was as the round faced waiter in Casablanca who tells Rick that he could “kiss him” after he lets a desperate young couple win enough at the casino to avoid the clutches of the lecherous Claude Raines.

    1890: At Neuilly, France, verbal attacks were made against the Jews in general and the House of Rothschild in particular which was denounced for its “German origins” and its alleged role in the collapse of the l'Union Générale.  More 2015

    1890: “Religious Census” published today described the denominational makeup of Hartford, CN, a city of 48,179 which includes 1,158 Jews.

    1890: “Gods Who Are Kinsmen” published today provided a detailed review of Lectures on the Religion of the Semites by Cambridge professor W. Robertson Smith.

    1891(24thof Shevat, 5651): Philadelphian Ellen M. Phillips who was a benefactress of various Jewish charities including the Jewish Theological Seminary, passed away today.

    1891: “Art Notes” published today described exhibition at the Hotel Cluny in Paris of “a collection of objects” used by Jewish during the 13th, 14thand 15th centuries.  The collection had been donated to the Cluny Museum by Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild and was made up of items that had originally belong to Isaac Strauss, who served as conductor during the reign of Napoleon III (more for 2014)

    1893: “The Century for February” published today described the articles in this month’s edition of the magazine including “A Voice From Russia” in which Pierre Botkine, the secretary to the Russian Legation in Washington, DC provides his government’s version of its treatment of the Jews.

    1896: The Young Ladies and Gentlemen’s Circle of the Auxiliary Society of the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Orphan Asylum was formed today in New York City.

    1897(30thof Shevat, 5657): Rosh Chodesh Adar I

    1897(30thof Shevat, 5657): Author Abraham Kaplan passed away

    1897: The Young People’s Association of the West Synagogue is scheduled to meet today at the home of Dr. H.P. Mendes. 

    1898: During today’s court session where the libel suit that Joseph Reinach has brought against Henri Rochefort, the audience began shouting “Down with the Jews!”

    1899: Based on information that first appeared in La Presse it was reported today that Captain Alfred Dreyfus was so angry when he learned that Captain Lebrun-Renault had claimed that he had confessed at the time of his trial that he refused to answer any more of the questions put to him by the Court Cassation unless he is returned to France.

    1899:  Birthdate of Benny Rubin.  The Bostonborn Rubin’s career as an actor, comic and writer would span over 70 years and include work on the stage, film and television.

    1899: It was reported today that “the latest victim of the anti-Dreyfus party is the Grand Rabbi, Zadok Kahn, who is being denounced as ‘the ringleader of the infamous Jewish conspiracy against France…’”

    1901: Birthdate of famed violinist, Yasha Heifetz.  Born in Russia, Heifetz was a child prodigy. He soloed for the first time at the age of four.  Considering the fact that he died in 1987, this means that Heifitz was a performer for eighty-two years.  He became "a violin virtuoso  of worldwide acclaim."  He won several Grammies in the 1960s for his recordings of chamber music.  Heifetz is one of a long list of Jewish violin virtuosos including Yehudi Menuhin and Conductor Eugene Ormandy.  There are those who think of the violin as “the Jewish instrument.” Why, the comedian asked, do so many Jews play the violin?  Because, the violinist answered, it is a lot easier to carry than the bass fiddle when you are being chased out of a country.

    1902:  Birthdate of Israeli political leader and government official Eliyahu Sasson

    1903(5thof Shevat, 5663): Morris Tuska who had served as Vice President of the United Hebrew Charities of the city of New York passed away

    1905:  Birthdate of author and philosopher Ayn Rand. Born Alissa Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg, Rand was the daughter of a pharmacist – a professional and member of the middle class which was quite an accomplishment in the anti-Semitic world of Czarist Russia.  The family lost everything in the Bolshevik Revolution.  She managed to finish her education in the early days of Lenin’s Soviet Union and the immigrated to the United States.  It was during the immigration process that she took the first name of Ayn (rhymes with Pine) and the last name of Rand as in Remington Rand, name of her favorite typewriter.  After a checkered career, Ms. Rand published her two famous novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. These novels and the film made from one of them espoused her philosophy of “Objectivism.”  Rand“glorified the self-made man who aggressively demonstrated his superiority over the masses through his business acumen.”  Her personal life was at odds with her philosophy when you consider the fact that her husband was a financial failure and much of her financial base came from her unconventional relationship with Nathan Blumenthal.  The name “John Galt”, the hero of the Fountainhead became a code word among her followers in the 1950’s.  She was the philosopher to a movement that found its voice in the Goldwater wing of the Republican Party.  Alan Greenspan, the current Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, is a great fan of her philosophy.  Although Randdied in 1982, her books continue to sell well and her philosophy which, according to some, glorifies selfishness as a virtue and condemns altruism as a vice enjoys periodic periods of revival and popularity.

    1906: In Volkovysk , Yerucham Warhaftig and Rivka Fainstein gave birth to Rabbi Zorach Warhaftig who made Aliyah in 1947 and served in Israel’s first nine Knessets.   Most important of all he worked with he worked with Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese Vice-Counsel in Kaunas to save the entire Mir Yeishva.

    1909: Adolf Stoecker, a prominent Lutheran theologian and court chaplain to Kaiser Wilhelm II who was a leading anti-Semite passed away today.

    1912: Chief Rabbi Franco of Jerusalem protests to the Turkish Minister of Justice and Public Worship over the removal of seats at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The Governor ignores his protest.

    1913: Rae D. Landy, the Cleveland trained nurse arrived in Palestine today after having been recruited by Henrietta Szold “to begin a visiting nurse program in Palestine.”

    1915: Birthdate of Abba Eban.  Born Aubrey Solomon Eban (he would later Hebracize his name after the creation of the state of Israel), in South Africa, raised in England and educated at Cambridge, Eban was a major figure in the creation of the Jewish state.  At Cambridge he “read” Classics and Oriental language.  This educational background meant he knew Arabic and had an appreciation of Arab culture, knowledge that would be useful during World War II when he served as an intelligence officer with the British Army.  It was while serving with the British Army in Egypt that he met his future wife.  She came from a prominent Sephardic family.  There are those who contend Eban’s political fortunes would later suffer because of his marriage to a Sephardic Jew.  Eban served at the United Nations during the Partition Debate and worked to gain early American recognition for the Jewish state.  After the War for Independence Eban was both Amabassador to the U.N. and Israeli Amabassador to the United States.  In these dual roles, Eban played a critical role in gaining popular and diplomatic support for the embattled state of Israel.  This sophisticated, Cambridge educated intellectual speaking English in the same oratorical tones as Winston Churchill was a one-man public relations machine, the value of which we can hardly comprehend today.  After his time in Washington, Eban returned to the rough and tumble world of Israeli politics.  He held a number of responsible positions, including Foreign Minister, but the top job of Prime Minister always eluded.  Eban produced several works on Jewish History and Civilization including Heritage which was the basis for PBS series narrated by Eban.  Yes, what you have read is biased.  I heard and saw Eban several times as youngster growing up in Washington.  In a post-Holocaust world, with the survival of Israel a daily question-mark, and genteel anti-Semitism still an accepted part of the American landscape, the voice and presence of Abba Eban was a source of pride and comfort to a whole generation of Jews.  Regardless of what his critics might say, in his case, the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.

    1918: Margaret Seligman married Sam A. Lewisohn, son of Adolph Lewisohn, benefactor of City College and other major New York cultural institutions

    1918:As it prepares to embark for the Front, The British Legion, a Jewish military unit serving in His Majesty’s forces, was ordered to London to march through the East End before proceeding to Southampton.

    1919: Birthdate of Tullia Zevi, Italian journalist, writer and who was the daughter of an anti-fascist Jewish lawyer.

    1920:  France occupies Memel. Memel was one of those cities that had changed hands many times throughout the centuries.  In the 20th century it was passed back and forth between Germany and re-born Lithuania. “The French Governor, who ruled the region on behalf of the Entente, cancelled all restrictions which had been imposed upon the Jews, and thus all the Jewish inhabitants of Memel and the region received citizenship. The Governor nominated a committee of four members, two of them Jews, Moritz Altschul and Leon Rostovsky, as well as one German and a French officer as chairman, to deal with requests for citizenship, as a result of which the number of Jews in Memelincreased quickly. The port, the developing commerce, the convenient conditions for developing industry, the possibility to learn a trade and the easing of permission to leave for the west and to Eretz-Israel, motivated many Jews to settle in Memel. The Lithuanian Government, having annexed Memel and the region to Lithuania in 1923, was pleased with the increase of the Jewish population, because the Jews together with the Lithuanians reduced the influence of the German majority.”

    1922: In Jerusalem, Priscilla Lee, daughter of Dr. Henry J. and Josie Wolfe married Joshua Lipavsky.

    1922: Birthdate Shmuel Agmon, the Tel Aviv born mathematician “known for his work in analysis and partial differential equations.”

    1923: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of the modern TurkishRepublic declared, “Our country has some elements who gave the proof of their fidelity to the motherland. Among them I have to quote the Jewish element; up to now the Jews have lived in happiness and from now they will rejoice and will be happy.”

    1927: The Ziegfeld Theater opened at 6th Ave & 54th Street in New York City. After Flo Ziegfeld’s death, Jewish showman Billie Rose would buy the theatre and turn in into his headquarters.  In 1927, the Ziegfeld was the site of the premiere performance of “Showboat”, the musical which owed its lyrics, tunes and literary inspiration to American Jews.

    1927: Birthdate of jazz great, Stan Getz, premier tenor “sax man.” The son of Jewish immigrants from Russia, Getz was born in Philadelphiabut raised in New York.  His father bought Getz his first saxophone at the age of thirteen. Getz gained fame among mainstream music fans when he won a Grammy for his recording of "The Girl from Ipanema" in 1963. 

    1927: Birthdate of Herbert Kaplow, the Manhattan born son of Jewish immigrants who became a leading reporter for NBC and ABC television news

    1928: In Tel Aviv, Sir Alfred Mond, the Jewish chemist who became a Member of Parliament, says that despite the current level of unemployment, there is no economic crisis in Palestine, since the rate of unemployment is “constantly decreasing.”  After noting growth in the agricultural sector, Mond predicted that the construction of the Haifa harbor would have a positive impact on the country’s economy.  Others living in Palestine do not share Mond’s optimism, claiming that without an infusion of capital to develop the country’s industrial capacity, the employment situation will worsen.

    1929(22nd of Shevat, 5689): Albert Steinrück who played Rabbi Lowe in the early German film classic Golem passed away at the age of 56.  Considering what was about to happen to the Jews of Europe, there is a certain sense of irony in this choice of material for a film.

    1931: Birthdate of author Judith Viorst who is best known for her children’s books.

    1931: The first Siyyum of the Talmud celebrated by Daf Yomi students.

    1931: An announcement was made today at a meeting of “Jewish athletic clubs and youth organizations” held at the 92ndStreet Y.M.H.A., that the “first world-wide Jewish Olympic games will be held in Tel Aviv next summer and that these groups had come together to “organize the first American chapter of the World Maccabee Union.”

    1933: Hitler met the high command of Germany's officer corps for the first time.  Hitler needed the support of the Army.  The Prussian officer corps looked upon Hitler as an untrustworthy upstart.  They also feared that he would replace the army with the SA, his private army of brown shirted thugs.  Hitler would later make a deal with the high command.  He would get rid of the SA and they would support him.  This gave rise to the Night of Long Knives when Hitler literally killed off the SA and the German military machine embraced Hitler.  Neither World War II nor the Final Solution could have taken place without this alliance of Hitler and the High Command.

    1933: In response to Hindenburg’s appointing Hitler to the post of Chancellor, theFamilienblatt  a Jewish weekly newspaper, “declared, that it can hardly stand the idea, that an outspoken anti-Semite is appointed head of government.”

    1934: In a letter published in today’s New York Times, Zionist leader Louis Lipsky criticizes an article published in the Good Gray Lady on January 21 which endorsed the proposal to create Arab and Jewish cantons as the solution to the problems in Palestine.  The Arab canton would include Jerusalem, Jaffa and Haifa while the Jewish canton would be limited to Tel Aviv and a narrow strip of land that would include the malarial swamps around Lake Hula.  Furthermore, Lipsky contends that the details of the plan which had been published in the Palestine Arab newspaper, Falstin, violate the spirit and letter of the Balfour Declaration to a point where it whittles it down to meaninglessness.

    1938: The Palestine Post reported that British troops, assisted by aircraft and police, started a major anti-terrorist campaign in the hills around Jenin. Two British soldiers and some 45 Arab brigands were killed. There were also various shooting incidents in Jerusalem.

    1938: The Palestine Post reported that at the Revisionist Conference, held in Prague, Vladimir Jabotinsky opposed partition and urged Britain to recognize the whole of Palestine as a Jewish country. "There is plenty of room," he argued, "for both Jews and Arabs to live together."

    1938: The Palestine Post reported that The Association of Romanian Architects and Engineers expelled all Jewish members.

    1942: Churchill ordered Lord Moyne to release the 793 illegal immigrants on board the Darienand allow them to settle in Palestine. 

    1942: Birthdate of Barry Diller former head of Paramount Studios and founder of Fox Television Network.

    1943: Final surrender of German forces at Stalingrad.  This marked the turning point in the war on Eastern Front.  Now the Soviets would go on the offensive.  One of the by-products of the Soviet advances over the next two years would the liberation of several concentration camps including Auschwitz. The defeat at Stalingrad had a negative impact on Hitler’s relationship with the General Staff.  Ideological steadfastness would now become more important than military skill. 

    1944:  Thirty-four days its keel was laid down, the SS Morris Sigman was launched today.  The ship was named after Morris Sigman who served as president of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union from 1923 to 1928.

    1944: Edward Chodorov's "Decision" premieres in New York City

    1944: Allied planes drop bombs on a German shipping port and accidentally kill Jews on the Island of Rhodesin the Jewish quarter.

    1945: An unknown number of inmates attempted to escape from Mauthausen concentration camp.  Located in Austria, Mauthausen was opened in 1938.  It was liberated in May, 1945.  As to the risks and consequences of escaping consider the following account from a camp survivor, ““When someone tried to escape from Mauthausen during the winter, people were forced to march to the camp center where they were forced to stand outside all night in their ragged clothing. Other times when the person who tried to escape was caught, during the winter they would pour water over him and force him to stay out in the freezing cold weather.” When I asked my grandfather if his father ever tried to escape, he replied, “No, he didn’t escape - nor did he try. There was practically no way to escape from those camps, and if they did escape, then the Sudetenpeople would chase them through the fields. Most of the time they would catch them.”

    1949: The Israeli Government in Tel Aviv announced that West Jerusalem was no longer ‘occupied territory’ but an integral part of Israel under civil administration.

    1949: Immigration fever reached its height with approximately one thousand new immigrants a day reaching the shores of Israel.

    1949: Birthdate of Brent Spiner, the actor who plays Commander Data on “Star Trek.”

    1949: "The British military administration in Libya allowed Libyan Jews to travel to Israel.  This brought an end to travel restrictions that had been in force since the start of the Israel War of Independence.  According to Haim Abravanel "on the first day of legal emigration: 'It was snowing for the first time in Tripoli and under the white flakes blown by the wind thousands of poor Jewish wretches ran towards the street where the polices get their passports at last" and sold all of their possessions including "furniture, businesses assets and work tools."  In the next few days, 8,000 passports were issued to Jews who had no idea how they would reach Israel.

    1950(15th of Shevat, 5710): Tu B'Shevat

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Jordan, following a border clash during which an Israeli patrol expelled marauders, accused Israel of "aggression” and invoked the Jordanian-British Treaty of 1948 for protection.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that the Soviet media embarked on a concentrated “spy and saboteurs hunt," and a "merciless struggle" against the Ukrainian "Jewish bourgeois nationalism and Zionism." (One thing that was left our during the memorial ceremonies commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz last week was any mention of the virulent ant-Semitism that gripped the Soviet Union almost immediately after the war.  If Stalin had not died, the fate of Russian Jewry would have been much different,)

    1954: President Eisenhower reports detonation of 1st H-bomb.  The debate over whether or not to build the H-bomb featured two famous Jewish physicists; each leading a different faction.  Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the A-bomb opposed the building of the H-bomb.  Edward Teller, who was Oppenheimer’s junior and not nearly as illustrious a scientist led those in favor of building the bomb.  Teller’s side won and the rest is history.

    1955: Pinchas Lavon resigned as Israeli Minister of Defense after bitter disagreements with David Ben Gurion, chief of staff Moshe Dayan, and Director General of his office, Shimon Peres. What became known as the Lavon affair concerned a controversial Israeli operation within Egypt. The question of who had prior knowledge was to plague the Israeli political establishment and Ben Gurion in particular for years to come. The Lavon Affair and its investigation commission eventually led to the fall of the government and brought about Ben Gurion's resignation in 1963.

    1957:  Producer Mike Todd and actress Elizabeth Taylor got married.  Ms Taylor converted to Judaism.  Todd was the creator of a form of wide-screen cinema called Todd-A-O.  “Oklahoma” and “Around the World in 80 Days” were both filmed in this manner.

    1957: The UN adopted a resolution calling for Israeli troops to leave Egypt.  This was the beginning of the end of the 1956 Sinai Campaign.  This resolution marked one of the few times in the Cold War when the U.S. and the Soviet Union found common ground.  The Eisenhower Administration resurrected the career of Nasser, the Egyptian dictator by forcing the Israelis to back down.  The Americans would do the same to the British and the French in what would be an example of the law of unintended consequences.  The Americans told their two European Allies that the American nuclear umbrella would not cover them if they did not give into the Russians.  The French gave in, but swore they would never find themselves in this situation again.  This was the driving force behind the French development of their own nuclear weapons and eventual departure from NATO.  As we have said many times before, Jewish history takes place on the stage of world history.

    1960:  Birthdate of Robert Smigel.  Smigel was a writer with “SNL” for twenty years. As a comedy writer, performer, and puppeteer Smigel is best known as the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, a character he created for Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

    1960: David Susskind produced “Juno and the Paycock” broadcast as “The Play of the Week” co-starring Walter Matthau in the role of “Joxer Daly.”

    1962: “Swifty the Great” published today provides a profile Swifty Lazar, the super-agent who beats out MCA, William Morris and General Artists for clients on a regular business.

    1963 (8th of Shevat, 5723): Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel passed away.

    1968: Today, the ill-fated INS Dakar was scheduled to enter her home port; a rendezvous she did not keep.

    1970: The funeral of Frederick Cohen son of Isidore and Leah Cohen is scheduled to take place this afternoon at The Riverside.

    1970: The funeral of Abraham Cahan, husband of Flora Cahan and father of Sanford Cahan and Marjorie Rosenbloom is scheduled to take placed this morning at The Riverside
    1974: As Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sought to bring a truce to the Middle East, Syrian guns shelled Israeli military position and civilian positions near the Golan Heights.

    1974: Barbra Streisand's 1st #1 hit, "The Way We Were"

    1977: After their F-4E Phantom II was hit by an Israeli artillery shell  David Noy and Ilan Erster were recovered  after having ejected from their  aircraft.

     1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Europe was on an alert as Arab terrorists boasted of having poisoned Jaffaoranges.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli seamen extended their two-week strike to ships with vital cargoes.

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that the indirect behind-the-scenes Israeli-Egyptian negotiations and the face-to-face military negotiations came to a halt with both sides remaining far apart in their search for a political

    1980 (15thof Shevat, 5740): Tu B’Shvat

    1980 (15thof Shevat, 5740): William H Stein,US biochemist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1972 passed away at the age of 68.

    1989(27th of Sh'vat, 5749): Marie Syrkin, author, editor, poet, teacher, and outspoken activist for Israel, died at the age of eighty-nine.

    1991: New York Mayor David Dinkins was scheduled to leave on his trip to Israel today.  The trip is designed to show support for Israel during the Persian Gulf War.

    1992:A theater performance benefiting the Tel Aviv Foundation, which helps Russian artists settling in the Tel Aviv area, was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this evening "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," an adaptation of the Tom Stoppard play by Joseph Brodsky, the poet laureate of the United States, was performed in Russian by a Soviet émigré troupe, the Gesher Theater Company, with simultaneous translation into English. A reception honoring Mayor Shlomo Lahat of Tel Aviv followed the performance.

    1997: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers includingBehind the Oval Office Winning the Presidency in the Ninetiesby Dick Morris, For the Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman by Jonah Raskin and Arnon Grunberg’s Blue Mondays about “a jaded young Jewish man gets kicked out of high school and spends his days in bars, getting fired from jobs, rejecting his parents and his religion, and dropping most of his money on whores before deciding to become one himself.”

    2003: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Welcome to Heavenly Heights by Risa Miller and What I Saw Reports From Berlin, 1920-1933 by Joseph Roth; translated with an introduction by Michael Hoffman

    2004: Israel killed a leader of Islamic Jihad and three other terrorists in a Gaza raid.

    2006 (4 Shevat, 5766): Paratrooper Yosef Goodman, a member of the elite Maglan unit died in a training accident. Goodman aged 20, originally from New York, lived in Efrat with his parents and siblings. The price of a Jewish state is indeed expensive.

    2007: Israeli author David Grossman was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

    2007:The Jewish Daily Forward published “The Joys of Cedar Rapids.”

    2008: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at Temple Judah kicks off the weekend with Super Bowl Shabbat.  The traditional minyan combines Tefillah and Tailgating by observing Shabbat Mishpatim followed by a Kiddush featuring pizza and assorted football munchies.

    2009: At NYU, the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership cosponsors “Tribalism in the Middle East,” a lecture by Mordechai Kedar, professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University and an expert on Arabic and Muslim Society.

    2009 (8thof Shevat, 5769): Eighty-nine year old Ralph Kaplowitz, who appeared as a member of the Knicks in what is considered the National Basketball Association’s first game in 1946, when Jewish players were often showered with anti-Semitic catcalls, passed away at his home in Floral Park, Queens today.(As reported by Vincent Mallozzi)

    2009: Opening session of the 9th annual Herzliya Conference

    2010: Members of the Little Rock Jewish Community are scheduled to meet at The Center of Jewish Life under the auspices of Rabbi Pinchas Ciment and join their co-religionists around the world in the second JLI course titled Portraits in Leadership: Timeless Tales for Inspired Living.

    2010: The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan is scheduled to show “Una Storia Romana” (An Italian Story), a documentary that centers on the round-up of Jews in Rome in 1943 and Jewish attempts to raise the 50 kilos of gold that German demanded as ransom.

    2010: Maggie Anton, author of the trilogy about Rashi’s Daughters is scheduled to speak at The Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Ontario.

    2010: A number of Israel’s leading “Wikipedes” came to the Knesset today, where they reaped the laurels of their efforts, but also leveled a certain amount of criticism toward a lack of government cooperation with their efforts to compile a free online Hebrew-language encyclopedia. The Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee invited Wikipedia contributors and users to join in the morning meeting, which was held to mark the publication of the online encyclopedia’s 100,000th Hebrew-language entry.


    2010: First broadcast of PBS’s service documentary “Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness” which examines how Melville J. Herskovits a Jew who grew up in El Paso, TX came to be considered “the inventor of African American Studies.

    2010: Security forces searched Israel's coastline and closed beaches in the south today after two barrels of explosives washed up on the shores of Ashkelon and Ashdod, north of Gaza.


    2011: The 92ndSt Y is scheduled to present “The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry: Pivotal Figures from a Heroic Era” during which political advisor Richard Perle and Gal Beckerman, author of When They Come For Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry, are scheduled to discuss the dramatic Cold War period when American Jewry first became politicized as Jews and Jews behind Russia's Iron Curtain took grave risks in order to win their freedom and emigrate to Israel or the United States.

    2011:Esther Friedman, matriarch of a pro-active Zionist family from Netanya and Jerusalem wh died last night at age 94 after several years of serious illness, was buried today on the Mount of Olives.

    2011:The Knesset Constitution Committee approved a modified version of a bill today that would allow some small communities to maintain admissions committees to screen candidates for residency.
    2012: Professor James Kugel is scheduled to deliver a lecture entitled “In the Valley of the Shadow: Some Thoughts on Serious Illness at Shearith Israel in New York City.

    2012: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is scheduled to present a lecture by Miryem-Khaye Seigel  entitled  “The Broder Singers: Forerunners of the Yiddish Theater.”

    2012: About 200,000 missiles are aimed at Israel at any given time, a top Israel Defense Forces officer said today, adding that Iran's ability to obtain nuclear weapons was solely dependent on the will of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    2012: During his visit to Gaza today, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon urged “the people from Gaza to stop firing rockets into the Israeli side.
    2012(10thof Shevat, 5772): Seventy-year old Zalman King, “a filmmaker who mixed artistic aspiration, a professed empathy for female sexuality and gauzy photography to bring soft-core pornography to cable television” passed away today. (As reported by Douglas Martin)

    2013: Israel’s No. 1 box-office hit, “The World Is Funny” is scheduled to be shown at the opening of  The 13th Annual Broward County Jewish Film Festival, at the Posnack JCC, in Davie
    2013: The Israel String Quartet is scheduled to perform two string quartets by Beethoven at the Eden-Tami Music Center.

    2013: As the בולטימור רייבנס prepare to square off against the סן פרנסיסקו 49, the traditional minyan at Temple Judah is scheduled to host its annual Super Bowl Shabbat service.

    2013:The Syrian state broadcasters showed the aftermath images of last week's alleged Israeli air strike on the sprawling Jamraya site north-west of Damascus.

    2013: The Los Angeles Times reported that the top contenders in the city’s mayoral race “share strong ties to the Jewish community.” (As reported by Seema Mehta)
    2013: Turkey’s foreign minister blasted Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday for not responding to an alleged Israeli strike on targets in Syria. (As reported by Yoel Goldman)

    2014: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including An Officer and a Spy, a novel about the Dreyfus Affair by Robert Harris and Trieste, a novel that focuses on the fate of Jews of this city that has belonged to so many nations by Dasa Drndic as well as a “conversation” with Gary Shteyngart, author of the recently published Little Failure.

    2014: Among the ads scheduled to be shown during the Super Bowl is a commercial for “Noah,” director Darren Aronofsky’s  cinematic treatment of the “the righteous man in his generation.” (It will be interesting to see how his version squares with what he learned growing up Jewish in Brooklyn)
    2014: In the UK, scheduled final showing of “Children of the Sun” a documentary about “the children who were part of Israel’s first kibbutzim.”

    2014: “threeASFOUR: MER KA BA” is scheduled to close today.

    2014: “Chagall: Love, War and Exile” is scheduled to close today



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    February 3

    19(12th of Adar, 3779): According to some sources today marks the dedication of the Temple built by King Herod the Great at Jerusalem

    1112: Ramon Berenguer III of Barcelona and Douce I of Provence marry, uniting the fortunes of those two states.  According to archaeological evidence, Jews had been living in both Barcelona and Provence since the first century of the Common Era.The earliest documentary evidence for the presence of Jews living in Provence dates from the middle of the fifth century in Arles. They were to be found in large numbers in Marseilles at the close of the sixth century.”  The Jewish population in certain parts of Provence would grow in the 14th century when the Jews who had been expelled from France found refuge in Provence which at that time was independent from France.  A group of these refugees would be referred to as the Pope’s Jews. Berenguer would pass away in 1131 the same year that Sheshet Benveniste, the “philosopher, physician, diplomatist, Talmudist and poet” who become the leader of the Barcelona Jewish community until his death in 1210 was born.

    1451: Sultan Mehmed II inherits the throne of the Ottoman Empire. He conquered Constantinoplein 1453. The oppressed Jews were relieved to see him occupy the city. He allowed Jews from today's GreekIslands and Crete to settle in Istanbul. Mehmed II’s declaration read as follows: "Listen sons of the Hebrew who live in my country...May all of you who desire come to Constantinopleand may the rest of your people find here a shelter".  Mehmed II invited the Ashkenazi Jews of Transylvania and Slovakia to settle in the Ottoman Empire. The synagogues Ahrida, Karaferya, Yanbol and Cuhadji which were damaged due to a fire were repaired on his order. Based on surviving documents, the Sultan employed at least five Jewish doctors as palace physicians.

    1468: Johannes Gutenberg, father of modern printing, passed away.  Gutenberg was not Jewish.  But the invention of the printing press was a boon to Jewish study and culture.  The people of the book had much easier access to the World of Books.

    1740: Charles de Bourbon, King of Naples, invited the Jews to return to Sicily in hopes that this would restore flagging trade and commerce industries. Approximately 20 families heeded the call but due in part to an inhospitable welcome by the local community, most soon left.

    1747:A deed dated with today’s date conveyed a half-acre of land in the Township of Lancaster, Pennsylvania from Thomas Cookson to Isaac Nunus Ricus and Joseph Simons "in trust for the society of Jews settled in and about Lancaster, to have and use the same as a burying-ground."“At this time there were about ten Jewish families at Lancaster, including Joseph Simon, Joseph Solomon, and Isaac Cohen, a physician.” The deed is the earliest record of Jewish settlement in Lancaster which was an early and important settlement during the Colonial and post-Revolutionary period of American history.

    1749:  Sicily, invited Jews to return to the island ending a three hundred year ban.  The Sicilians believed that the Jews would restore trade to the island and improve its diminished economic conditions.


    1760(16th of Shevat): Rabbi Jonah Nabon, the son of Hanun Nabon part of a distinguished Turkish and Jerusalemite  family that included Rabbi Ephraim ben Aron Nabon who died at Constinople in 1735 and Rabbi Isaac Nabon son of Judah Nabon and the author of Nepah ba-Kessef passed away today

    1761(29th of Shevat): Eliezer ben Samuel Avila, the nephew of  Talmudist Chaim ben Moses ibn Attar and the rabbi at Rabat Morocco who authored Ozen Shemuel passed away.

    1807(25th of Shevat): Meir Posner of Danzig, the rabbi of the Schottland Congregation in Danzig and the author of Bet Meir a commentary on the Shulchan Aruk  passed away

    1809:   Birthdate of Felix Mendelssohn.  This famous composer was not Jewish and that is what makes him significant in terms of Jewish History.  His grandfather was Moses Mendelssohn, the founder of Reform Judaism.  Felix was baptized and raised as a Protestant. His detractors point out that he wrote oratorios for the Church instead of music for the synagogue.  Others see him clinging to a vestige of his Jewish roots in choosing to write an oratorio called Elijah  and setting Psalm 100 to music.  Ironically, the German composer Richard Wagner cited Mendelssohn when he attacked the Jewish influence on German music.  Hitler and the Nazis were not the first Germans to see the Jews as a race for whom conversion to Christianity was not a solution to "the Jewish Problem."  Regardless of any sentimental attachments Moses Mendelssohn may have felt for the faith of his grandfather, he died in 1847 as a Protestant.  The Jewish line of Mendelssohn had disappeared.

    1810: Birthdate of Ludwig August von Frankl, the Bohemian born Austrian author and poet.

    1816(4th of Shevat): Rabbi David ben Mordecai of Brody, author of Yefe Einayim passed away today.

    1821:The government of the grand duchy of Baden asked Aron Chorin, a Hungarian rabbi who was an advocate for Reform “for his opinion about the duties of a rabbi, and about the reforms in the Austrian states. Chorin answered by writing Iggeret Elasaf, in which he stated that the Torah comprised religious truths and religious laws, the latter partly applicable only in Palestine, partly obligatory everywhere. These may be temporarily suspended, but not entirely abolished, by a competent authority, such as a synod. Only ordinances and precautionary laws which are of human origin may be abrogated in conformity with the circumstances of the time. As for mere customs and usages (minhagim), the government, after having consulted Jewish men of knowledge, may modify or abolish them; but in no other way may it interfere with religious affairs. Chorin also pleaded for the establishment of consistories, schools, a theological seminary, and for the promotion of agriculture and professions among the Jews.


    1830:  The sovereignty of Greece was confirmed in a London Protocol marking the end of the Greek War of Independence which had raged from 1821 until 1829. “By supporting the Ottoman Empire, the Jews curried disfavor with the Christian Orthodox Greeks. Thousands of Jews were massacred alongside the Ottoman Turks. The Jewish communities of Mistras, Tripolis, Kalamata and Patras were completely destroyed. A few survivors moved north to areas still under Ottoman rule.”  The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki dated from the 17th century and would become one of the largest Jewish communities as Greece developed its national identity during the rest of the 19th century.

    1830: Birthdate of Lord Salisbury, who became an ally of Benjamin Disraeli and who as Foreign Secretary represented the UK at the Congress of Berlin where he worked to make sure that Romania honored its commitment to give equal rights of citizenship to the newly created kingdom.

    1834: The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina establishes the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute, today known as Wake Forest University. Based on recent statistics, there are 80 Jewish students among the 4,000 undergraduate student body.  The school offers 21 Jewish studies courses.  Jewish students use the Hillel at UNC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

    1842(23rd of Shevat): Abraham Stern an inventor of mechanical calculators and one of the few it not the only Jewish member of the Warsaw Society of Friends passed away. He is buried at the Bródno Jewish Cemetery which “was opened in 1780 by Szmul Zbytkower, a Polish Jewish merchant and financier, who donated the land for that purpose.”

    1843: Today’s edition of The Voice of Jacob provided information about London financier Levi Salomons who had passed away in January of 1843.

    1851: Brigadier General James Totten and his wife gave birth to Charles A.L. Totten the graduate of West Point and Yale University professor  who “engaged in a genealogical exercise, attempting to prove the Davidic ancestry of the British royal family” and who supported “the project of restoring Palestine to the Jews…through the medium of an international conference.”

    1853: Today, Hyam Joseph, one of the earliest Jewish settlers of the Sandwich Islands, sent a letter with a business order to San Francisco, CA

    1854: In "American Slavery" published today, Henry Ward Beecher draws a distinction between slavery as practiced among Abraham and the Jews and American Slavery. "Hebrew slavery admitted that a slave was a man with all appropriate human responsibilities and made ample provision for his civil and religious instruction."  American slavery stands upon the fundamental idea that a slave is chattel, not a man; and it makes teaching him to read a penitentiary offense."  Beecher was the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.  Slave owners and their supporters used the Bible as one of their defenses for that "peculiar institution" saying that if slavery was acceptable in the Bible it was acceptable today.  People like Beecher, who knew their Bible and something of ancient Israelite culture quickly challenged this bogus comparison.

    1858: "The Last Moments of Rachel" published today quotes a letter from French author Mario Uchard to dramatist Victorien Sardou in which he described the final days and death of Rachel Félix the Alsatian born Jewess better known as Mademoiselle Rachel, the famous  French actress.

    1860: Today's review of "Oliver Twist," the dramatic version of Charles Dickens novel of the same name reported that "the most salient triumph of the play, however, it must be said, is won by" Mr. J.W. Wallack, Jr., "who makes Fagin the Jew the fearful, odious and miserable creature that Dickens, working then in the May-time of his genius, summoned into being. The scene in which the wretched Fagin's driveling despair at the advance of death is painted by Mr. Wallack rises far above the level of melodrama. It is eloquent with the results of close and sincere study, vivified by the intense light of a quick and vigorous imagination." [Dickens'"Fagan" is seen by some of being symptomatic of 19th century British anti-Semitism.]

    1860: The New York Times reported that “The Vienna Gazette has published an Imperial decree, enacting that the testimony of Jews, in future shall be regarded of the same value as that of Christians. The measure is considered preliminary to according them full civil and political rights. "

    1863: During the Civil War,” a fishing smack, containing three Jews,” was seized tonight on Lake Pontchartrain as it made its way to Ponchatoula, a Louisiana town still held by the Confederates. The boat contained “a large quantity of medicines for the rebels” and letters from forty or fifty leading citizens in New-Orleans which were addressed to persons of authority in the Confederate Government.

    1865: Birthdate of Dutch painter Isaac Israëls, the son of Jozef Israëls who was also a Dutch painter.

    1866(18th of Shevat, 5626):Joseph Bach passed away in Budapest. Born in 1784, he was a Hungarian rabbi. After I. N. Mannheimer, he was the first German preacher of a Jewish congregation in Austria-Hungary.mIn Alt-Ofen, his birthplace, he began to ground himself early in life in the study of the Talmud. Without the aid of a teacher he studied several foreign languages; after which he attended the University of Prague, remaining there 12 years. Then he returned to his home town, where he married the daughter of a wealthy family, and settled down as a merchant. It was not long, however, before he lost his entire fortune and was left penniless. Destitute of the means of subsistence, he was constrained to accept a situation as teacher. In 1827, despite having never studied homiletics, and had never heard or read a sermon, he was appointed first preacher at the newly organized synagogue of Pest, where he officiated for over thirty years. Many of his sermons have been published. An autobiography, with a preface by Kayserling, was published by his son in Budapest.

    1872: Salomon Jacobs, a Jewish peddler, was sentenced to six months in the penitentiary for picking the pocket of a sewing girl in New York City.

    1874: Birthdate of American modernist writer Gertrude Stein.

    1875: It was reported today that the committee that has been investigating the management of the Hebrew Benevolent Asylum has concluded that Mr. Meyer Stern and his colleagues were guilty of the charges made against them. While the committee has no legal standing, its investigation has resulted in putting an end to the practices of which they were accused.

    1876: The trial of Pesach N. Rubenstein, a Polish Jew charged with the murder of his cousin Sara Alexander, was scheduled to resume today.

    1878: “Ceremonies of Judaism: Their Meaning and Observance,” a lengthy article that described the ceremonial practices of the Jewish people including their Biblical origins was published in the New York Times. [One could hardly imagine an article like this appearing in major European daily.]

    1879: In New York, the Controller appeared at today’s meeting of the Board of Apportionment and reported that the Hebrew Ladies’ Benevolent Association was one of the charities that had made application to receive a portion of the excise moneys collected in 1878.

    1879: Birthdate of Guy Gillette, the United States Senator from Iowa who became an outspoken supporter of the Zionist cause and served as President of the American League for a Free Palestine. [In those days, references to Palestine were Jewish, not Arab.  I am still researching the path that led a person from the small northwest Iowa town of Cherokee to support the creation of the state of Israel especially when you consider that in Iowa, unlike some of other states,  there was no “Jewish vote” of any major importance.]

    1887: Famed explorer Henry M. Stanley, the man who “found” Dr. Livingston, left Cairo to day so that he could join the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition and assume his role as active leader. Emin Pasah had been born into a German-Jewish family who named him Isaak Eduard Schnitzer.

    1880: It was reported today that the Russian government is planning to change the law so that Jews have the same rights of other citizens as part of measures to be enacted as part of the Silver Anniversary of the Czar’s coming to the throne.

    1880: The German Women’s Society for Aiding Poor and Sick Widows and Orphans held their annual meeting this afternoon at Steinway Hall.  Originally, the organization had been limited to Lutheran members. By the time of this meeting membership had been opened to include Jews as well as members of other Christian denominations.

    1890: “The Jews of France” published today cites claims in Fiagro and Gaulois that anti-Semitism in France  is based on a belief that Republican Government favors the Jews and that the Rothschids were responsible for the “ruin of the Union General.” 

    1891: It was reported today that 160 Jewish families from Russia are scheduled to arrive in the Twin Cities this week.  They are planning on forming an agricultural colony that has the financial backing of Baron Hirsch.

    1891: Sarah Bernhardt and her company are scheduled to open their four week long “American season at the Garden Theatre” this evening with a performance of “La Tosca” which “will be followed by performances of “Cleopatra,” “Theodora,” “Fedora” and “Jeanne d’Arc.”

    1892: Russia closed down Yeshiva of Volozhin.

    1893: The will of the late Simon Davidson, a retired Jewish merchant whose home had been on East 56th Street in Manhattan was filed for probate today.

    1894: A group of unemployed Jews clashed with police outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London today.

    1895: “Russia’s Jewish Problem” published today provides a detailed review of The Russian Jews; Extermination or Emancipation by Leo Errera. (He was a Belgian born Jewish botanist who works on anti-Semitism “under the pseudonym "Un vieux juif” which is German for "an old Jew"

    1898: It was reported today that a decision will not be made for at least week in “the libel suit brought by Joseph Reinach against Henri Rochefort who charged Mousier Reinach with intending to prove Alfred Dreyfus’s innocence by means of forged documents.” The judicial proceedings took place for spectators who quickly turned into a mob of jeering anti-Semites.

    1899: It was reported today Israel Zangwell is expected to speak at the opening session of the Hebrew Fair which will be held at the Tuxedo.

    1899: In New York, founding the Yiddish daily the Jewish Abend-Post

    1901: Herzl sets out on a journey to London and Paris that will last until the 15th of the month.

    1901: The Huvra Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter was the scene of a standing room only memorial service for Queen Victoria led by Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Samuel Salant.

    1902: In London Suzannah and Herbert Bentwich gave birth to Joseph Bentwich who made Aliyah in 1924 when he began teaching the Herzilya Hebrew Gymnasium.  He spent almost three decades at the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa as a teacher and principal. He passed away in 1982.

    1904: Herzl telegraphs back that he can take up the British proposal of new territory in Nandi only after the most careful investigation.

    1906: The American Jewish Committee was formed. It was headed by Judge Mayer Sulzberger, a leader in the fight for liberal immigration laws. Its aims included the protection of civil and religious rights of Jews all over the world. Among its founders were Dr. Cyrus Adler, Louis Marshall and Jacob H. Shiff.

    1907: Birthdate of author James Michener.  Michener was not Jewish.  But his novel, The Source, is one of the least painful ways to gain an overview of Jewish History

    1909: In Paris, two Alsatian Jews – Saolomea and Dr. Bernard Weil gave birth to French mystic and Resistance fighter Simone Weil.

    1910(24th of Shevat, 5670): Sixty-three year old Josephine Lazarus, author of The Spirit of Judaism passed away.

    1912(15th of Shevat, 5672): As the Jews celebrate the New Year of the Trees, American politicians begin to gear up for a New Political Year – the presidential elections of 1912.

    1913: Birthdate of Milton Lipson, a lawyer and investigator who, as a Secret Service agent from 1938 to 1946, was a personal bodyguard for Presidents Roosevelt and Truman

    1915: Ottoman forces attempt to cross the Suez Canal but are repelled by the British. The Turks then turn towards Beershebain Palestineafter suffering near 2000 casualties.

    1915:  In what would prove to be one of the opening rounds in the battle for the control of Palestine, Turkish troops arrive at the Suez Canal after having marched 130 miles through the Sinai Peninsula.

    1917: During the second to the last year of World War I, British troops occupied Baghdad. After suffering heavily by forced conscription, torture and extortion by the Turkish ruled government, local Jews celebrated their freedom by declaring it a holiday (Yom Ness). Their freedom lasted until 1929 when the British granted independence to Iraqand all Zionist activities were prohibited.

    1917: Birthdate of William Frankel, the son of Isaac Franekl, the beadle of an Orthodox London Synagogue, who became editor of the “Jewish Chronicle,” a British weekly newspaper.

    1918:  Birthdate of Joey Bishop.  Bishop's career spans the entire spectrum of a Jewish comic's life - Vaudeville, Burlesque, the Catskills, Las Vegas, Movies, and Television.  Many remember him as one of ABC's attempts to imitate the popular Johnny Carson Show.  The shows only lasting contribution was introducing Regis Philburn to America.  His other claim to fame was being part of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack which included another famous Jewish entertainer, Sammie Davis, Jr.

    1919: Today, Chaim Weizmann, the leader of the Zionist delegation, presented the case for a Jewish homeland together with a map of the proposed entity. The statement supported the creation of a mandate entrusted to Britain and described the Jewish historical connection with the area. It also declared that the proposed borders and resources were “essential for the necessary economic foundation of the country” including “the control of its rivers and their headwaters”.

    1920(14th of Sh'vat, 5680): In New York, Rabbi Isaac C. Noot passed away at the age of 80.

    1921: Birthdate of Ralph Ahser Alpher physics professor at Union College, mathematician and provider of the model for the Big Bang Theory which was the subject of his 1948 Ph.D. dissertation.

    1922: Residents of Bridgeport, CT heard a broadcast carried by WDY and KDKA that included the singing of Eddie Cantor in one of his first, if not his first venture, into the world of Radio.

    1926: Birthdate of Shelly Berman.  Berman was part of a group of early monologists who along with Mort Sahl and Bob Newhart,created a golden age of stand-up comedy.  Berman's specialties included a "series of neurotic schlemiels" and "benign Lenny Bruce characters." He also appeared in a few short-lived comedy series. 

    1926: Birthdate of Vivien Wax Nearing, the New York attorney who dethroned Charles Van Doren as champion on “Twenty-One” the popular quiz show on NBC.  She survived as champion for four weeks.  Ms Nearing was one of fourteen contestants who were exposed for cheating during subsequent investigations into the quiz show scandal.

    1931: In Brooklyn, Arthur Levitt, Sr. and his wife gave birth to Arthur Levitt, Jr. who served as Chairman of the S.E.C. from 1993 to 2001.

    1931: It was reported today that the Zionist Executive Committee has sent a message of condolence to the family of the Reverend William H. Hechler who has just passed away at the age of 86.  Hechler was a Protestant minister who was an early supporter of Zionism and the work of Theodor Herzl.

    1933: Influential art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen, “was raised to the peerage as Baron Duveen.”  He was the oldest child of  Sir Joseph Joel Duveen, the Dutch born Jew who had settled in England where established a firm that dealt in the trading of antiquities. 

    1934: Jesuit Father M. Barbera reviewed Alfred Rosenberg's Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (The Myth of the Twentieth Century) for La Civiltà Cattolica. The book, published in Germany in 1930, had strongly endorsed Article 24 of the Nazi Party Program of 1920, which said that the party "stands for a new `positive Christianity.'" This new cult would abolish the "Jewish" Old Testament, purge the New Testament of humanitarian and pacifist themes, and create a German church anchored in blood, race, and soil. The party program and the book itself constituted a direct challenge to Catholics and Protestants alike, and Father Barbera was not delicate in his response. Because of the book's emphasis on the superiority of the pure "Aryan" race and its distortions of Christian history and teachings, he unequivocally rejected it as a "subversion of the very foundations of Religion and the Christian State." He did not mention Rosenberg's anti-Semitism.

    1935(30thof Sh’vat, 5695): Rosh Chodesh Adar I

    1938: The Palestine Post reported that the third British soldier was killed in the battle near Jenin. While more than 50 Arab terrorists were killed, the number of their wounded could not be estimated. In Safed Arabs refused to attend the funeral of an Arab policeman branded as a traitor and murdered by Arab terrorists. The Palestinegovernment approved the Post's suggestion that both Arab and Jewish buses should be of the same color, to make them indistinguishable and less prone to Arab terrorist snipers.

    1941: Esther "Etty" Hillesum, young Jewish women whose diaries about life in Holland under Nazi occupation were published posthumously, went to serve as "model" to the psycho-chirologist Julius Spier, at the Courbetstraat 27 in Amsterdam.

    1943:  The Allied troopship S.S. Dorchester was torpedoed by a German sub and went down with a loss of 600 lives. As it sank, four chaplains calmly ministered to the needs of their comrades-in-arms and gave up their lifejackets to shipmates, thereby perishing in the icy waters. The bravery of Rabbi Alexander Goode, Father John Washington, Rev. Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed), and Rev. George Lansing Fox (Methodist) led Congress afterward to mark February 3rd as "Four Chaplains Day."

    1944: The 67th train in eighteen months left Drancy for Birkenau. Upon their arrival 985 of the 1,214 deportees were gassed; of them 184 where children under 18 year of age.

    1944: Sydney Shumelson, a 29-year-old junior officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), was part of a Buffalo Beaufighter Squadron that successfully attacked a Nazi convoy off the coast of Norway. On the way back, Shumelson engaged in a running dogfight with a Messerschmitt for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. “Six months later, Sydney participated in another sortie in which he and his comrades sunk two heavily defended warships in the Bay of Biscay. As a result of his service, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and became the highest decorated Canadian Jewish serviceman in World War II.”

    1945: Colonel Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal led the entire Third Division, an armada of 1,000 B-17’s, on a raid on Berlin.

    1946: The Royal Air Force reported that “six uniformed men held up an RAF medical rehabilitation unit in Tel Aviv tonight and stole eighteen weapons.”

    1946: In Jerusalem, “police and military authorities announced today that the curfew that had barred pedestrians from streets in Jewish quarters would be lifted tomorrow.  The curfew has been in effect for sixteen nights.

    1949: The Provisional State Council which acted as the legislature for the state of Israel until the election of the first Knesset held its last meeting today.

    1951: In Philadelphia, President Harry S. Truman dedicated a chapel in the honor of “The Four Chaplains” in Philadelphia.  The chapel was moved to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 2001 and after being repaired in 2004 was renamed “The Chapel of the Four Chaplains.”

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported on the Ministry of Labor plans to develop communications and queries, expand irrigation and agriculture and move people from towns to villages all of which should help in lowering the unemployment rate and hasten the closing of the transit camps for recent immigrants.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Arab states had dropped their plans for a boycott of Germany after the Bonn government has ratified the Israeli Reparations Treaty.

    1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that Czechoslovakia and Hungary joined the Soviet Union in spreading false anti-Semitic accusations and started identifying and purging their Jewish officials.

    1954: The IDF officially began employing “a new doctrine of combining armored and motorized infantry units” developed by Yitzhak Pundak who was promoted the rank of Brigadier General.

    1958(13th of Shevat): Benzion Katz passed away

    1959(25th of Shevat): Joseph Pearlman passed away

    1970: The funeral for Bella Bergoffen, the widow of Samuel Bergoffen is scheduled to take place this afternoon at Riverside Chapel

    1970: The funeral for Dorothy Horowitz Gerber, the widow of Newcomb Germer is scheduled to take placed at the Higgins Home for Funerals followed by internment at the Children of Israel Cemetery in South Plainfield, NJ>

    1971: Birthdate of Tobias Jacob "Toby" Moskowitz “an American financial economist and a professor at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business. He was the winner of the 2007 American Finance Association (AFA) Fischer Black Prize, which is awarded biennially to the top finance scholar under the age of 40 in years when one is deemed deserving.”

    1973: Judge Justine Wise Polier retired from the New York Family Court after 38 years spent trying to use the bench to assist children and redress discrimination.

    1974: After only 65 performances a Broadway revival Adler and Ross’ “The Pajama Game” co-starring Hal Linden, closed today.

    1974: The Syrian Foreign Minister announced that his country was carrying out a ‘continued and real war of attrition’ that aim of which was to keep ‘Israel’s reservers on active duty and paralyzing its economy.’

    1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that mercury was found in Spanish oranges as a poisoning scare cut into sales of Israeli citrus in Europe. In the third week of their almost total strike, Israeli seamen threatened to wreck their ships to prevent their sale, as threatened by the Zim management. The US was contemplating a package deal: a joint sale of American jet fighters to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

    1985: Physicist Frank Oppenheimer, younger brother of Robert Oppenheimer, and veteran of the Manhattan Project, passed away..

    1988: In Yorkton, Saskatchewan Rick and Carol Schwartz gave birth to Mandi Jocelyn Schwartz the Yale hockey player whose struggle with leukemia would inspire thousands of people to volunteer to be bone marrow donors.”  (As reported by Thomas Kaplan)

    1988:Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin visited Nablus today and found the streets deserted except for his own soldiers. He chatted with them in the narrow twisting streets. Some residents could be seen peeking at the minister through the slats of their closed shutters as he walked with bodyguards, a squad of soldiers and an entourage of journalists. ''I more than believe that we are going to put an end to it,'' he said of the protests. ''When, I don't know.''

    1989(28thof Shevat, 5749): Seventy-three year old Academy Award winning American movie music orchestra leader, composer and arranger Lionel Newman, passed away.

    1991:After a long and angry debate, the Israeli Cabinet today voted to accept as a new member of the Government a small right-wing party that advocates expelling all the Palestinians from the occupied territories. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir pushed through the appointment of the Moledet Party -- the Hebrew name means homeland -- over the opposition of senior members of his Government to expand his coalition to 66 seats in the 120-seat Parliament. That is considered a safe governing majority. No longer will any but the very largest of the minor parties have the power to bring the Government down. Several of the most senior members of the Government -- the Ministers of Justice, Health, Finance, Defense and Foreign Affairs -- voted against the new coalition agreement or abstained, participants at the meeting said. Vote totals from the closed meeting were not disclosed. In several cases, dissenting ministers said they considered the Moledet Party to be racist. And they openly worried that the move would jeopardize Israel's new-found international standing as a result of its military restraint in the face of Iraqi missile attacks.

    1991:  The army announced that it had decided to begin large-scale distribution of gas masks to Palestinians in the West Bank.

    1991:Mayor David N. Dinkins arrived in Tel Aviv “today from New York City for a lightning visit to show solidarity with Israel. His Israeli hosts wasted no time pressing a gas mask kit into his hands, and then whisked him away for a discussion on chemical weapons with Israel's Foreign Minister. Israeli officials who greeted Mr. Dinkins in the first rush of meetings during his 24-hour visit had nothing but praise for the Mayor. From the President down, Israelis were pleased with Mr. Dinkins's decision to come here at a time when air-raid sirens are wailing almost every night. But that was in direct contrast to the feelings of some of Mr. Dinkins's black constituents. In New York, some black leaders have accused him of using the trip to bolster his popularity among Jewish voters while neglecting the problems of his black supporters. While Mr. Dinkins's visit to Israel has been praised by Jewish leaders in New York, some blacks have objected to the trip because they believe it may align the Mayor too closely with supporters of the Persian Gulf war and could make him appear too hawkish, particularly among blacks who in some opinion polls have been shown to lag considerably behind whites in support of the war. Since the hastily arranged trip was announced 10 days ago, Mr. Dinkins has repeatedly tried to deflect the criticism by characterizing the visit as a humanitarian gesture of support for Israel at a time of great adversity. But aides who came with Mr. Dinkins acknowledged that, along with the show of solidarity, the Mayor's visit was intended as a modest, if early, pitch for Jewish votes in the 1993 election. This appears to be at least part of the reason that Mr. Dinkins has not scheduled any meetings with Palestinians during his trip, though virtually all visiting American politicians make a point of meeting with prominent Arabs. The Mayor's aides said Mr. Dinkins wanted only to express sympathy for Israel and not to take on larger political issues. Such visible support for Israel could be useful if Andrew J. Stein, the City Council President, who could be expected to have wide Jewish support, decides to run against Mr. Dinkins. After being fitted for a gas mask in the airport arrival lounge, Mr. Dinkins, looking weary from his long flight, said: "Wisdom and prudence dictate that we learn how to put on a gas mask. But I'm not afraid. I'm 63, and God has been good to me and taken care of me over the years."

    1992:Ezer Weizman, the former Israeli Defense Minister and air force commander who became an ardent advocate of peace with the Arabs, announced his retirement from politics today, warning that the Government was leading the country toward war. An architect of the 1978 Camp David peace accords with Egypt and an outspoken supporter of talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Mr. Weizman said he was leaving public life because he could no longer influence national policy. Addressing Parliament, Mr. Weizman, who is 67 years old, said he was resigning as a member of Parliament from the Labor Party. "After serious consideration I have decided to resign my post in the Knesset and to leave political life," he said. "I leave concerned for the fate and image of the State of Israel in the years ahead. I am troubled by the grave feeling that the path we are taking does not lead to peace, but to an impasse behind which is the horror of war." Farewell May Not Be Final Mr. Weizman said later that he felt he could "no longer contribute" to peace efforts. Acquaintances said he had become disillusioned by the Government's conduct of Arab-Israeli negotiations and by what he saw as the inability of his own party to present credible policy alternatives. While he insisted that he was abandoning parliamentary politics, Mr. Weizman did not rule out a proposal by some legislators that he serve as President, a mostly ceremonial post. His uncle, Chaim Weizman, became Israel's first President in 1948.

    1992(29th of Shevat, 5752: Eighty –five year old “Dead Sea Scrolls Scholar” Theodore H. Gaster passed away today.

    1997: Newly installed U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced