This Day, January 2, In Jewish History, by Mitchell A and Deb Levin Z"L

January 2

438: Empress Eudocia, the wife of Byzantine Emperor Theodius II, who spent the last years of her life in the Holy Land allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and pray at the site of the Temple at the same time her husband was “announcing legislation to exclude Jews from all political and military functions” in his Empire. Aelia Eudocia, a pagan Greek aristocrat who converted to Christianity in 421 when she married the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II, was declared ‘Augusta’ by her husband on this date in 423, a title that elevated her power in the royal court. In 438, Eudocia Augusta journeyed to Jerusalem, where she would ultimately live the final years of her life after being banished by Theodosius five years later. On this first visit, while he was back home announcing legislation to exclude Jews from all political and military functions in lands under Byzantine rule, she arranged for Jews to be able to pray at the site of the Jerusalem Temple for the first time since its destruction by Rome in 70 CE. Her action, however, encouraged the migration of several thousand Jews to Jerusalem in hope of seeing the city resurrected as a Jewish homeland. They were subjected to stoning and stabbing by Christian monks, who killed several of the Jews. The eighteen monks who were brought to trial were acquitted when witnesses testified that the killing stones had fallen from heaven. “At her palace in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem,” according to De Imperatoribus Romanis, “[Eudocia] continued to receive petitions and sought to alleviate the persecution of the Jews, in spite of the unpopularity of such a stance. With her wealth she endowed the city of Jerusalem with a new set of walls and erected numerous other buildings throughout the Near East.” “Byzantine history offers few so strange or picturesque stories as that of the little pagan Athenian who, after having been mistress of the civilized world, ended her days as an ardent mystic, almost a nun, by the tomb of Christ. Eudocia wrote much poetry. As empress she composed a poem in honour of her husband’s victory over the Persians; later at Jerusalem she wrote religious verse…”

1012: Jewish mourners were attacked at a funeral in Egypt.

1235: In Germany “a Christian body was found between” Lauda and Tauberbischofsheim which resulted in three days of attacks by mobs in both cities during which “eight leaders from both towns were put on trial, tortured, convicted and executed. (As reported by “The History of the Jewish People”)

1266Conquest of Murcia (1265–66): James the Conqueror laid siege to Murcia.

1412: Paul of Burgos, the Jewish convert to Catholicism drafted an edict as the Spanish chancellor which was promulgated in the name of the regent, the widowed queen mother Catherine of Lancaster, at Valladolid today, was the conversion of the Jews through twenty-four articles which “was designed to separate the Jews entirely from the Christians, to paralyze their commerce, to humiliate them, and to expose them to contempt, requiring them either to live within the close quarters of their ghetto or to accept baptism.:

1481: An edict was handed down in Spain calling for all persons to aid in apprehending and accusing suspects who are guilty of heresy. This was said to be issued because persons of nobility in Andalusia were not true to the teachings of the Church.

1481: The officers of the Inquisition issued an edict to the governor of Cadiz and other officials to seize the possessions of the Marranos and to turn these conversos over to them or suffer excommunication, confiscation of their goods and deprivation of public office.

1481: After having established “their court in the Dominican convent of St. Paul of Seville “issued their first edict by which they ordered the rest of several “New Christians as they were styled, who were strongly suspected of heresy and the sequestration of their property, denouncing the pain of excommunication against those who favored or abetted them.”

1492: The Reconquista was completed as the emirate of Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, surrendered to the forces under the command of Ferdinand and Isabella. The fall of Granada added even more Jews to Catholic Spain. Under the terms of surrender, the Jewish inhabitants were promised protection by the King and Queen. Within a few months these most Catholic Monarchs would break their word when Ferdinand ordered “the razing of the Jewish quarter. Nine months from the fall of Granada, the Sephardim will be banned from their ancestral homeland.

1554: A mandate promulgated today ordered that the Jews should leave the territory of Lower Austria at the end of six months.

1661(2nd of Shevat): Rabbi Menahem Mendel ben Abraham Krochmal, author of Zemah Zedek passed away

1642: Birthdate of Mehmed IV during whose reign as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Safed, the home to numerous Jewish mystics and sages “was destroyed by Arabs” and the Jews of Yemen were banished to Mawza Desert. At the same time he appointed Moses Beben as ambassador to Sweden and when Moses passed away, the Sultan appointed his son Yehuda to serve in his place.  At the time, Sweden was a major European power.  Mehmed is also the Sultan who dealt with Sabbait Zivi, giving him the choice of conversion or death.

1711: In New York City, Abraham Haim de Lucena and his wife gave birth to Samuel de Lucena, the New York and Philadelphia merchant who during the Revolution searched for sulfur that could be used by the Continentals to make gunpowder.

1712: Clement XI issued “Salvatoris nostri vices,” a Papal Bull that transferred the work of catechumens to Pii Operai (Holy Works). [Pii Operai was an offshoot of The College of Neophytes, a Roman Catholic College founded for training Jewish converts]

1743: In London Judith and Rabbi Joseph Raphael Alexander gave birth to Abraham Alexander R. the husband of Ann Sarah Hugenin Irby, his second wife who was a convert and with whom he had two sons Moses and Abraham, Jr.  and who was the Chazan of Congregation of Beth Elohim in Charleston as well as a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary Army.

1744: Birthdate of Jacob I. Cohen, the native of Bavaria who came to the United States in 1773 and “by 1781 had formed a partnership with his fellow militia man Isaiah Isaacs, one of Richmond’s earliest known Jewish residents whose land business led them to hire Daniel Boone as a surveyor.

1745: Maria Theresa threatened Moravian Jewry with expulsion but rescinded her order, permitting them to remain for another ten years. (As reported by the Jewish Virtual Library)

1758: A letter was written to David Franks by a business associate today asking that he insure the goods on board the Charming Rachel which is setting sale from Liverpool and valued at four hundred pounds.

1765: Aaron Gomes Da Costa, the Portuguese born son of Abram and Abigail Gomes da Costa and his wife Miriam De Solomon Gomes Da Costa gave birth to Isaac Gomes Da Costa, the husband of Esther Gomes Da Costa.

1768: In New York, Eva Esther Gomez and Uriah Hendricks gave birth to Hannah Hendricks the wife of Jamaica native Jacob De Leon with whom she had eight children.

1770: The Crown Prince of Brunswick "expressed his admiration" for the "great tact and high degree of humanitarianism" that Moses Mendelssohn had shown in responding to the writings of Charles Bonnett that had been sent to him by Johann Lavater.

1776(10th of Tevet, 5536): Asara B’Tevet

1776: As Jews on both sides of the Atlantic fasted “The Continental Congress published the “Tory Act” resolution today which described how colonies should handle those Americans who remained loyal to the British and King George.”

1779(14th of Tevet, 5539): Parashat Vayechi

1779: Today, during the American Revolution, following the British capture of Savannah, GA, Mordecai Sheftall was told he and his son would be imprisoned aboard about Raven sloop of war for his “refusal to supply the King’s ships.”

1782: The Tolerance Edict (Toleranzpatent) guaranteeing existing rights and obligation of the Jewish population, was enacted by Joseph II of Austria, the son of Maria Theresa. Joseph II was influenced by Wilhelm von Dohn, a friend of Mendelssohn's and beginning with this edict, followed a generally enlightened attitude toward the Jews. The Edict (with the final edict less liberal than the original), received mixed reviews by Jewish leaders including Ezekiel Landau and Moss Mendelssohn. They realized that the real intention of the edict was not the emancipation of the Jews but their assimilation. As further proof the new freedoms being granted to the Jews of Austria, Emperor Joseph II "permitted Jewish wholesale merchants, notables and their sons to wear swords" and "insisted that Christians should behave in a friendly matter towards Jews."

 1788: Georgia becomes the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.  A year later, Georgia became the third state to remove religious discrimination from the political process.  According to one reliable source, Jews had “held public office in Georgia even before the revision of the oath which included the words ‘upon the faith of a Christian.’”  Jews had been a part of Georgia from the earliest colonial settlement with the first families arriving in July of 1733.  Two years before the ratification vote, the Jewish community of Savannah had stabilized enough to re-organize Congregation Mikve Israel, elect officers and rent a house from Ann Morgan to be used as a synagogue. 

1788: In Lancaster, PA, Rachel Simon and Solomon Etting gave birth to Joseph Etting.

1789: In Charleston, SC, Rachel Andrews and Solomon Woolf gave birth to Cecilia Woolf, the wife of Hattian native Hyam Moise and the mother of Theodore and Edwin Moise.

1798: In Frankfurt am Main, Gusta Nedustadt and Gumpertz Seligmann Edmden gave girth to Sophie Sarah Caroline Emden, the wife of Adolph Amschel Moses Oppenheim and the mother of Jacques, Eugenie, Cornelie and Clementine Oppenheim.

1799: Richea Myers and Joseph Marx gave birth to Judith Marx, the wife of Myer Meyers.

1801: In Bachau, Germany, Eleanore Maendle and Lazarus Heilbronner gave birth to David Heilbronner.

1801: Birthdate of Jonas Ennery a native of Nancy who was affiliated with the Jewish school at Strasbourg for twenty-six years.

1804(18th of Tevet, 5564): Judah Alexander, the London-born son of Joseph Raphael Alexander passed away today in Charleston, SC.

1807(22nd of Tevet, 5567): Isaac Eliezer, a Newport merchant who was the husband of Richa Isaacs and, for a while, a partner of Samuel Moses passed away today in Charleston, SC.

1810: In Charleston, SC, Hyam and Cecilia Francis [Woolf] Moïse, gave birth to Charleston Medical College graduate Edwin Warren Moise, the physician turned Louisiana lawyer who married Louise Hubert after the death of his first wife, Priscilla Lopez, the daughter of David Lopes,

1816(1st of Tevet, 5576): Rosh Chodesh Tevet; Seventh Day of Chanukah

1816: Birthdate of Shmuel Salant, the native of Bialystok, who “served as the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem for almost 70 years.”

1818: In the United Kingdom, the Institution Of Civil Engineers (ICE) which Joseph d’Aguilar Samuda joined in 1862 was founded today.

1819: Birthdate of Pas, German native Friederike Jaffe, the wife of Daniel Joseph Jaffe and the mother of Martin, John, Alfred and Otto Jaffe.

1820: Lewis Durlacher married Susannah Levy at the Western Synagogue today.

1821: Emanuel Levie Goldsmith, the Dutch born son of Levie Emanuel Goudsmit and Magdalena Hartog Goudsmit and his wife Alijda Joseph Joel Goldsmith gave birth to Elizabeth Cohen, the wife of Moses Cohen.

1822: In Munchweiler, Palatine, Simon Felsenthal and his wife gave birth to Bernhard Felsenthal, American Rabbi who was a leader in the Reform Movement and served as the leader of Zion Congregation in Chicago from 1864 to 1887. reported by Adler & Stolz)


1822: the Jewish Censorship Committee under the Chairmanship of Ludwik Chiarni, “the author an anti-Talmud diatribe” began meeting with a staff consisting of Adam Chmielewski, Abraham Stern and Jacob Tugenhold, among others.

1823: Esther Isaac Abraham and 31-year-old Samuel Gabriel Israel were married today at Bevis Marks.

1827: Today, on their 4th wedding anniversary Esther Isaac Abraham and Samuel Gabriel Israel Brandon gave birth of Josiah Samuel Brandon.

1829(27th of Tevet): Rabbi Samuel Austerer of Brody, author of Ketav Yosher passed away

1830: Abraham Geiger preached his first sermon.

1834: In Bavaria, Seligmann Pinchas Luchs and Judith Marx Luch gave birth to Anselm Ascher Luchs, the husband of Klara Luch and the father of Sigmund, Moritz, Raffael and Isidor Luchs.

1836:  Birthdate of Mendele Mocher Sforim (מענדעלע מוכר ספֿרים) "Mendele the bookseller," is the pseudonym of Sholem Yakov Abramovich, Jewish author and one of the founders of modern Yiddish and Modern Hebrew literature. He was born to a poor family in Kopyl near Minsk and lost his father, Chaim Moyshe Broyde, shortly after he was bar mitzvahed. He studied in yeshiva in Slucak and Vilna until he was 17; during this time he was a day-boarder under the system of Teg-Essen, barely scraping by, and often hungry. He next travelled extensively around Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania at the mercy of an abusive beggar named Avreml Khromoy (Avreml would later become the source for the title character of Fishke der Krumer, Fishke the Lame). In 1854 he settled in Kamenets-Podolskiy, where he got to know writer and poet Avrom Ber Gotlober, who helped him to learn secular culture, philosophy, literature, history, Russian and other languages. His first article, "Letter on Education", appeared in first Hebrew newspaper, Hamagid, in 1857. At Berdichev in the Ukraine, where he lived in 1858-1869, he began to publish fiction both in Hebrew and Yiddish. Having offended the local powers with his satire, he left Berdichev to train as a rabbi at the relatively theologically liberal, government-sponsored rabbinical school in Zhitomir, where he lived in 1869-1881, and became head of traditional school (Talmud Torah) in Odessa in 1881. He lived in Odessa until his death in 1917. He initially wrote in Hebrew, coining many words in that language, but ultimately switched to Yiddish in order to expand his audience. Like Sholom Aleichem, he used a pseudonym because of the perception at the time that as a ghetto vernacular, Yiddish was not suited to serious literary work — an idea he did much to dispel. His writing strongly bore the mark of the Haskalah. He is considered by many to be the "grandfather of Yiddish literature"; his style in both Hebrew and Yiddish has strongly influenced several generations of later writers. While the tradition of journalism in Yiddish had a bit more of a history than in Hebrew, Kol Mevasser, which he supported from the outset and where he published his first Yiddish story "Dos Kleine Menshele" ("The Little Man") in 1863, is generally seen as the first stable and important Yiddish newspaper. Sol Liptzin writes that in his early Yiddish narratives, Mendele "wanted to be useful to his people rather than gain literary laurels". [Liptzin, 1972, 42] "The Little Man" and the unstaged 1869 drama Die Takse ("The Tax") both condemned the corruption by which religious taxes (in the latter case, specifically the tax on kosher meat) were diverted to benefit community leaders rather than the poor. This satiric tendency continued in Die Klatshe (The Dobbin, 1873) about a prince, a stand-in for the Jewish people, who is bewitched and becomes a much put-upon beast of burden, but maintains his moral superiority throughout his sufferings. His later work became more humane and less satiric, starting with Fishke (written 1868-1888) and continuing with the unfinished Masoes Beniamin Hashlishi (The Wanderings of Benjamin III, 1878), something of a Jewish Don Quixote. As with Fishke, Mendele worked on and off for decades on his long novel Dos Vinshfingeril (The Wishing Ring, 1889); at least two versions preceded the final one. It is the story of a maskil—that is, a supporter of the Haskalah, like Mendele himself—who escapes a poor town, survives miserable to obtain a secular education much like Mendele's own, but is driven by the pogroms of the 1880sfrom his dreams of universal brotherhood to one of Jewish nationalism. His last major work was his autobiography, Shlome Reb Chaims, completed shortly before his death in 1917.

1837: Birthdate of German native Emilie Henrietta, the wife of Julius Levis with whom she had five children, the first two of whom were born in France and the last three were born in England.

1841: The “PS Clonmel,” whose passengers included Michael Cashmore, “the first Jewish settler of Melbourne” and the recently married husband of Elizabeth Solomon, was wrecked today with no loss of life but with the loss of most of its cargo.

1844(10th of Tevet, 5604): Asara B’Tevet

1844: As the Jews of New York fast, the 67th session of the New York State Legislature began today in a Presidential election year that would see Henry Clay lose to James K. Polk

1850: Birthdate of Minsk native and author Henry Iliowizi, the teacher in Alliance Israélite Universelle’s “school at Tetuan, Morocco from 1877 to 1880” who came to the United States where he “was minister of a congregation at Harrisonburg, Virginia; from 1880 to 1888, rabbi of the Congregation Sha'aré Tob in Minneapolis; and from 1888 to 1900, of the Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Philadelphia.”

1852: Today, “the Green Street Hebrew School (officially the B’nai Jeshurun Education Institute) opened with 8 teachers and 88 pupils with” “Dutch Hebrew scholar Simon Eliazer Cohen Noot”  serving as both one of the teachers and as headmaster – a role he must be successful at since “attendance quickly climbed to 142” and two years later, “the school erected itw own building on a vacant lot adjacent to the B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue on Green Street.”

1852: In Paris gave Kalmus Calmann Levy and Pauline Levy birth to Bertha Calman-Levy who became Bertha Propper when she married Siegfried Propper.

1853: Sulzburg, Leopold Dukas, the son of Sara and Baruch Dukas and his wife Magdalena Madel Dukas gave birth to Isaak David Dukas the husband of Mina Dukas.

1854(2nd of Tevet, 5614): 8th Day Chanukah

1856: Aaron Senior Coronel married Rebecca Coelho in Amsterdam today.

1856: “What the Jews Think of New Year’s” published today reported that “in the opinion of our Jewish fellow-citizens New Year’s Day and its accompanying custom of giving presents is a blessed institution. “According to the author, being able to give gifts to their children on New Year’s, makes it possible for Jewish parents to avoid gift giving at Christmas while still being able to bring joy to their youngsters.  Oddly enough, the more recently arrived German Jews still cling to the habit they developed in Europe of gift giving on Christmas.  “The Jewish families of long standing in” New York “universally” prefer the New Year’s gift giving celebration.  The article concludes by reminding readers that ‘our New Year’s, of course, does not correspond with the commencement of the Hebrew year.  That falls in the month of Tishrei, which comprises a part of our September and October, and is celebrated, besides religious ceremonies, by magnificent entertainments and a general wish of ‘Happy New Year.’”

1857: “Mammon Worship,” “which condemned materialism,” “Our Divine Law,” “which commended true religion as the ‘boon and boast of Israel throughout throughout the dispersion,’” and “The Want of Union, “ “which advocated a super board to safeguard Judaism in democratic America,” were among the first three editorials that appeared in The Jewish Messenger which was published for the first time today by Samuel Isaacs.

1857: Birthdate of Lake County, Ohio native Frederick Burr Opper the cartoonist for “Frank Leslie’s Weekly and “Puck” and husband of Nellie Barrett who created “Happy Hooligan,” “Alphonse and Gaston” and “And Her Name Was Withheld.”

1858: Towards midnight, Rachel Felix, who was dying awoke from her sleep and said she wanted to write a letter to her father.  Since she did not have the strength to do so, she began dictating the letter "which contained her last wishes."

1858: In Kingston, Jamaica, Rabbi Alexander B. Davis and his wife gave birth to Ernest Lawton Davis, who was Chairman of the Sydney (Australia) Stock Exchange from 1899 through 1901, Director of the Sydney Jewish Sabbath School, Director of the Sydney Jewish Education Board and the husband of Alice Moss, the youngest daughter of Moses Moss.

1858: Pauline Hirschfeld, the daughter of Simon and Rachel Ausch and the wife of Dr. Jacob Jacques Heinrich Hirschfeld gave birth to Victor Léon

1858: In Baltimore, MD. Sophia and Joseph Sachs gave birth to “the youngest of their five children, Bernard Sachs, the Harvard trained neurologist who is the “Sachs” in “Tay-Sachs

1859: Two days after he had passed away, 21 year old Edward Ely was buried today at the “Brompton (Fulham Road) Jewish Cemetery.

1861: Wilhelm I became King of Prussia.  His repeated clashes “with the liberal Chamber of Deputies” forced legal scholar Ferdinand Lassalle “to make public addresses dealing with the nature of the constitution and its relationship to the social forces within society.”

1862: Corporal Leon Berkowicz began his service with company H of the 59th regiment of the Second Cavalry in the Union Army.

1862: Rabbi Arnold Fischel wrote a letter from Washington, DC to Henry Hart in New York updating him on the progress he was making in having the law changed so that Rabbis could serve as Chaplains in the Union Army.  Fischel also asked Hart to send him the smallest sized prayer book and Tehillim for the use of the Jewish soldiers serving in the Union Army.  He asked for an immediate shipment of 50, the smaller the better since they have to fit into the packs carried by the soldiers.  Fischel said that Joseph Seligman had assured him that the members of Temple Emanu-El would contribute a large sum of money for such a project was would the Jews at the Stanton Street Synagogue.  Finally, Fischel asked Hart to apologize on his behalf to Rabbi S.M. Isaacs for having not written but he, Fischel had been dealing with a bout of Cholera.

1863: The Battle of Stones River in which Colonel Frederick Knefler commanded the 79th Indiana Infantry came to an end with the Rebels being forced to withdraw. 

1863(11th of Tevet, 5623): The Battle of Stones River, in which Major Adolph G. Rosengarten was serving with a cavalry unit from Philadelphia, PA lost his life passed away today.

1863(11th of Tevet, 5623): Shlomo Zalman, the son of Shalom Charif Ullmann, who had been born in 1792, passed away today.

1869: In Charlotte, NC, Bernhard and Johanna Koopman gave birth top Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts trained painter and etcher August Koopman, the husband of Louis Lovett Osgood whose painting was honored with a medal at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.

1871: Birthdate of Nebraska City, Nebraska native and University of Pennsylvania trained lawyer Henry N. Wessel who combined a career as a judge with his philanthropic work including serving as “the treasurer of the Jewish Hospital.”

1873: Three days after he had passed away, Godfrey Lazarus, the son of Mordecai Lazarus, and the Julia Lazarus with whom he had had six children was buried today at the “West Ham Jewish Cemetery.”

1873: It was reported today that an Imperial ukase or proclamation of the Czar has been issued today concerning the rules and regulations surrounding the recruiting program for the navy and army. Among other things, in that part of Poland ruled by Russia, Jews who have converted to Christianity will no longer be exempted from military service.  These converts, like others who have lost their exemption, can purchase one by paying 800 silver rubles to the government. [Considering the treatment of Jews in the Russian Army, conversion may have seemed like the lesser of two evils, especially for those who were too poor to be able to leave the country.]

1874(13th of Tevet, 5634): David Stern, husband of Fanny and brother-in-law of Levi Strauss, passes away.

1874: In Cracow, Bernard and Pauline Bandler gave birth to Rose Bandler who became Rose Victorious when she married Abraham Victor Victorius with whom she had two children – Jeannette and Paul.

1878: “The Merchant of Venice In 1652” which was published today and which was based on information that first appeared in the London Athenaeum speculated on the possibility that the republication of Shakespeare’s play featuring the infamous Shylock was released as part of the campaign against readmitting Jews to England which championed by Cromwell but opposed by a large segment of the population including the merchants in London, the clergy and such notables as William Prynne.

1878: Birthdate of Warsaw born Yiddish playwright Mark Arnshteyn (Arnstein)

1879: Birthdate of St. Louis native and CCNY trained civil engineer Arthur Herbert Diamant the long time vice president of the Rosoff Subway Construction Company who “was in charge of building the first section of Sixth Avenue subway line…”

1879: It was reported today that The Hebrew Book Union has issued a prospectus for a new “Lexcicon to the Talmud, Targum and Midrash” compiled by Dr. F. De Sola Mendes.  It will be issued in four parts and will be the first such work published with an English translation. 

1881: In Budapest, Rabbi Joseph Zeisler, the son of “Eduard and Josefine Zeisler” and Irma Zeisler gave birth to Jeno Abraham Zeisler

1881: In Russia, Max and Leah (Reavin) Gussow gave birth CCNY and Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts trained artis Bernar Gussow, the Art Instructor at the Fawcett School of Industrial Arts and husband of Suzanne K. Cook.

1883: In Koenigsberg, Germany, Jenny Epstein and Jacob Reit gave birth to CCNY graduate and N.Y. Law School trained attorney, the husband of Rae Klausner and partner starting in 1905 in the firm of Reit and Kaminsky who was president of Temple B’nai Israel and Sheerith Judah and president of the Jewish Council of Washington Heights.

1884: Sir Harry Lawson Webster Levy-Lawson, 1st Viscount Burnham “married Olive de Bathe, daughter of General Sir Gerald Henry Perceval de Bathe, 4th Bt. and Charlotte Clare.”

1884: Birthdate of Ben-Zion Dinaburg, who studied to be a rabbi before moving to Palestine in 1921 where he gained fame as Ben-Zion Dinur where he served as head of the Jewish Teachers’ Training College and as an MK in the first Knesset.

1885: Arnold Meyer Epstein, the infant son of Ephraim and Sallie Epstein who had died in in Ozark, AR was buried today in Little Rock, AR.

1886: Alice le Strange, the wife of English philo-semite Laurence Oliphant passed away today after having contracted a fever while traveling along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  Oliphant, who had also contracted the fever, was too sick to attend her funeral.  Oliphant was in Palestine to pursue his dream of helping large numbers of Jews to settle in their ancient homeland.

1886: Birthdate of Moyshe-Leyb Halpern one of “the most innovative and ironic of the modernist Yiddish poets.

1887: The Jewish Theological Seminary Association, the educational and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism opened under the leadership of Saba Morais. Morais, a Rabbi of Congregation Mikve Israel in Philadelphia, sought to train Rabbis who would help preserve Jewish traditions which he felt were being eroded by the “reformers” and their Pittsburgh platform. In 1902 Solomon Schechter reorganized the Seminary and changed the name to JTS or the Jewish Theological Seminary. it was at this point that it became the central foundation for the Conservative Movement, a role that it plays to this day.

1889: Alice Victorine Kann married Abraham Lionel Hart today.

1890(10th of Tevet, 5650): Asara B'Tevet

1890: It was reported today that the Beth Israel Hospital Association, which was recently formed to build a hospital on the Lower East Side for the burgeoning immigrant population has 180 members who have raised $1,200 in pledges and $500 in cash contributions.

1892(2nd of Tevet, 5652): Parashat Miketz and 8th day of Chanukah

1892(2nd of Tevet, 5652): Jacob Goldsmith, a trustee of Temple Emanu-El and director of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, passed away today. Born in Germany in 1821, he moved to the United States at the age of 15.  He successfully operated dry goods stores in Shreveport, Portland and San Francisco.  Finally, he sold his interest in a petroleum refining company to Standard Oil and moved to New York where owned a stationary business.

1892: Birthdate of Warsaw native “Eliash Almi Sheps” known as Eli A. Almi, who began writing Yiddish poetry at the age of 9 and reporting for the Yiddish daily Der Moment at 18 before coming to the United States in 1913 to write for the Yiddish daily Tageblat and writing several of volumes in both Yiddish and English including The Life and Philosophy of Buddha and The Strange Death of Baruch Spinoza

1893: It was reported today that Professor Cyrus Adler of Johns Hopkins University acquired a rare manuscript while in Constantinople that related to Columbus and the New World.

1893: It was reported today that Henry S. Morais is preparing a publication that will cover the history of “the Jews of Philadelphia from the earliest settlements until the present.” 

1893: As the outbreak of typhus that began on December 1st continues to work its way through the city, Henry Mazinsky, an eleven-year-old Jewish boy, who had been under the care of the Ladies’ Deborah Nursery fell victim to typhus today.

1894: Three days after she had passed away, 16 year old Rosie Olga Bauer, the daughter of Gottleib Bauer and Yelda Caecile was buried today at the “Balls Pond Road Jewish Cemetery.”

1894: Birthdate of Robert Gruntal Nathan an American novelist and poet whose works included The Bishop’s Wife which became a hit movie starring Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young.

1895: Birthdate of Count Folke Bernadotte a member of a prominent Swedish family and well-known diplomat whose negotiations with Himmler during World War II saved the lives of thousands of Jews.  As a U.N. representative, Bernadotte negotiated the first truce between the Arabs and the Israelis in 1948.  During the truce, Bernadotte visited Israel where he proposed a peace plan that would have been detrimental to Jewish interests.  In one of the most dastardly deeds in Jewish History, members of the Stern Gang assassinated Bernadotte.  Most Jews were so revolted by the act that the members of the gang were hunted down by authorities and the Stern Gang was forced to disband.  Unfortunately, the leadership of the Stern Gang gained respectability after the war.  Yitzchak Shamir, a prominent Sternist, would later serve as Prime Minister of Israel.

1895: Sir Matthew Nathan “was created a companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George for his services” “as secretary of the Colonial Defense Committee.

1895: Three days after he had passed away, 54-year-old David Nussbaum was buried today at the “West Ham Jewish Cemetery.”

1895(6th of Tevet, 5655): A mother and her two children were burned to death at fire in the tenement house on Pitt Street.  The dead were, Lena Leiman (24), Sadie Leiman (2) and Henry Leiman (2 months)

1896: It was reported that Hirsh Leavitt, a Russian Jew hired by William Rubin as a night watchman for his building on 19th Bleecker Street had suffered a broken leg which would heal and not require amputation.  Leavitt, who speaks no English, had been injured when police mistook him for a burglar.

1896: Birthdate of Bialystok native David Abelevich Kaufman who gained fame as “Soviet pioneer documentary film and newsreel director” Dziga Vertov whose “Man with a Movie Camera” was voted “the 8th best film ever made” according to a poll taken in 2012.

1897: Jacob A. Riss delivered an address at a dinner hosted by the Reform Club in which he described the tenement system as “an invention of Satan” which had the power to overwhelm the scruples of its tenants including Jews as well as Roman Catholics.

1897: It was reported today that “Morris Goodhart, President of the Hebrew Mutual Benefit Society and…the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society is dangerously ill” as a result of “an abcess in the peritoneal cavity.”

1897: “Good-Will to Men” which was published today and which relies on information that first appeared in The Jewish Messenger, notes that “the trend of thought today among our Christian brethren of any culture and enlightenment is against bigotry and hatred for the greater glory of God.”

1898: It was reported today that “an explosion of accumulated gas wrecked the entire first floor of” Israel Cohen’s bathhouse at 23 Hester Street.

1898: It was reported today that the two existing “Jewish colleges” – Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and Jewish Theological Seminary in New York – are about to be joined by a third school located in Philadelphia that will be funded, in part by a legacy created by the late Hyman Gratz which yields $5,000 per year.

1898: Two days after he had passed away James Sim Lyon, the husband of Julia Lyon with whom he had had eight children was buried today at the “Bancroft Road (Maiden Lane) Jewish Cemetery.”

1899: The Noah Benevolent Widows and Orphans’ Association is scheduled to “celebrate its golden jubilee” this “afternoon and evening with a banquet and reception at the Terrace Garden.”

1899: Mrs. Bertha Morgenstern told a reporter that she had celebrated her 106th birthday yesterday drinking “a pint of beer” and eating “three hearty meals” which is how she spends each and every one of her days at the Hebrew Sheltering Home.

1900: Cloak manufacturer Abraham Drusin, “who had sued his brothers Abraham and Harris in the Supreme Court of New York over the dissolution of their firm Drusin Brothers located on Canal Street’ said “I still have more fait in the rabbi’s decision than in the courts and if my brothers will only swear in the Orthodox fashion before the rabbi that they have not wronged I’ll be satisfied.”

1901: In New York Florence (née Lowenstein) Marshall and Louis Marshall gave birth to their third child, Robert "Bob" Marshall “an American forester, writer and wilderness activist.”

1902: Rabbi Pereira Mendes continued in his role as acting head of the Jewish Theological; a role which would end later in the year when Solomon Schecuter became of the “reorganized instituition.

1903: Publication of the first edition of The American Hebrew & Jewish Messenger.

1903: British minister Joseph Chamberlain “found” a wonderful piece of land in East Africa for Jewish settlement.

1904: The Jewish Consumptives’ Relief Society which had offices in Denver was organized today but would not be incorporated until June.

1904: Birthdate of Vilnius born American actor Irving Cohen

1904: The hearings presided over by Judge Davidoff that began on November 19, during which the five hundred civil claims regarding the riots in Kishineff are being heard are scheduled to come to an end today.


1904: Manya Shochat the “Russian Jewish politician and the "mother" of the collective settlement in Palestine, the forerunner of the kibbutz movement” joined her brother Nachum Wilbuszewicz the founder of the Shemen soap factory “on a research expedition to some of the wilder places of Palestine. 

1905:  Japanese General Nogi received from Russian General Stoessel at 9 p.m. a letter formally offering to surrender, ending the Russo-Japanese War. The Russian defeat led to an uprising against the Czar and Pogroms aimed at the Jews.  In an attempt to gain support, Czar Nicholas II agreed to popular elections for the Duma (Russian Parliament).  The reforms were short lived and produced limited results.  Even more significantly, the Russians were unable to reform their military establishment.  This meant that the Russians were ill-suited to fight the Germans in World War I which would break out five years later.  Jews would suffer during World War I and would suffer even more when the Bolsheviks came to power at the end of World War I. As we have discovered in our studies in Cedar Rapids, Jewish History is entwined with the history of all of the civilizations in which they live and have lived. That is part of the challenge and half of the fun.

1905: Birthdate of Russian mathematician Lev Schnirelmann.

1906: “Alliance Work Thriving” published today described the work of the Educational Alliance whose real function was the “Americanizing” of recently arrived Jewish immigrants and which had received donations of $25,000 from Jacob H. Schiff and Louis Stern’; $20,000 from Benjamin Altman; $10,000 from William Saloman and Isidor Straus and $25,000 from Andrew Carnegie.

1906: The 9th Duke of Marlborough, a cousin of Winston Churchill, expressed his dissatisfaction with a review of Churchill’s newly published biography about his father Randolph by threatening “to administer a good and sound trouncing to that dirty little Hebrew,” Harry Levy-Lawson, the Jewish manager of the paper in which the review appeared. The two cousins had very different views of Jews and the Jewish people.

1907: It was reported today that the “delegates from the Hebrew bakers’ union” have met and made arrangements “for their annual strike in Manhattan and Brooklyn” during which they well be asked for “an increase in wages $13 to $15 a week and the ten-hour workday.”

1907: During a strike at a local bakery in Chicago, “four men said to be members of the Bakers Union were arrested on the charge of putting acid on hundreds of loaves of bread distributed among the Jewish residents” living on the Windy City’s west side.

1908: “After being closed since a few days before Christmas, except for a few hours on New Year's morning,” due to a shortage of funds, “the United Hebrew Charities again threw wide open its doors yesterday morning to the needy, which nowadays usually means the hungry.

1909(9th of Tevet, 5669): Russian born British artist and illustrator Henry Ospovat passed away today.

1909(9th of Tevet, 5669): Louis A. Heinsheimer passed away today due to complications from a recent operation for appendicitis. Born in 1859 in Cincinnati, Ohio, he worked for sixteen years at the investment banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Company before being made a partner in 1894 Heinsheimer was the nephew of one of the firm's founders, Solomon Loeb. He never married and was survived by his mother, brother and two sisters.  A renowned philanthropist, Heinsheimer served as the Treasurer for the United Hebrew Charities. Shortly before his death he completed building a summer home called Breezy Point at Far Rockaway, New York. The estate would be used by the Maimonides Institute for Exceptional Children until it burned down in 1987.

1909: In England, Eva Louis Gold and Philp Uri Solomon Corre gave birth to Bernard Corre who did not live to see his fourth birthday.

1910: A prominent director issued a statement tonight at the Metropolitan Opera which said “any statement that negotiations are under way between Arthur Hammerstein, representing the Manhattan Opera Company and the Metropolitan Opera Company” which would lead to a merger between the two organizations “is without foundation.”

1910: In Richmond,  “the regular business meeting of Hebrew Progressive Library” is scheduled to “be held in the rooms of the of association” today at 4 p.m.

1910: “Fifth Avenue and the lower east side, both represented chiefly by women and girls,” most of whom were Jewish “joined tonight in filling Carnegie Hall to protest against what was called the "continued encroachment of the police and the Police Magistrates" upon the rights of the striking shirtwaist makers and their sympathizers

1911(2nd of Tevet, 5671): Eighth Day of Chanukah

1911: Birthdate of Albany, NY native and Yale undergraduate Ferdinand, Jr., the Harvard trained doctor and executive director of the Nathan Littauer Hospital.

1912: Newly-elected Sheriff Julius Harburger announced “that he would appoint a number of women deputies.”  Only was it later discovered that such appointments were against the law.

1912(12th of Tevet, 5672): Sixty-eight-year-old Leopold Einstein, the German born son of Jacob Leopold Einstein and Luise Neuburger Einstein and father of Jacob and Elliot Einstein passed away today in Cleveland.

1913(23rd of Tevet of 5673): Fifty-six-year-old Buffalo, NY attorney Moses Shire passed away today.

1913: The Intercollegiate Menorah Association which had offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was organized today.

1913(NS): “The first issue of Di Tsayt the St, Petersburg Yiddish weekly, was published today.

1913: Birthdate of English actress Anna Lee was the seventh wife of poet Robert Gruntal Nathan (He was Jewish.  She was not)

1914: Two days after she had passed away, funeral services were scheduled to held this morning for Dorothy Stern, the wife of Charles Stern.

1914: It was reported today that “Go to church Sunday” which is to be held on February 1, “has been indorsed in Chicago by Catholics, Jews and every denomination of Protestants.”

1915(16th of Tevet, 5675): Parashat Vayechi

1915(16th of Tevet, 5675): Karl Goldmark Austria-Hungarian composer passes away at the age of 84.

1915: It was reported today that of the $1,000,000 that has been collected by the Jewish National Fund, three fourths of it has been “invested in farm land in Palestine.”

1915: Philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, a part owner of Sears, Roebuck and Company ‘was indicted in Chicago for a failure to file a personal property tax schedule” following a dispute with the Tax Board of Review over the valuing of his assets – a dispute that would be resolved “in March of 1915 when Rosenwald’s attorneys convinced the Court that the section of law which provided for prosecution of such cases had been repealed.”

1915: James Creelman, the New York American’s Berlin correspondent who had covered the Dreyfus trial and “toured Russia investigating the persecution of the Jews” set sail today for the Nazi capitol.

1916: In Westminster, Lionel Nathan de Rothschild and Marie Louise Eugénie de Rothschild née Beer gave birth to their second child and first son Edmund Leopold de Rothschild

1916: Dr. J.L. Magnes is scheduled to continue his speaking tour by appearing at a mass meeting in Baltimore where he will describe the need to provide aid for the three and half million Jews suffering in Russia.

1916: Tonight, in Baltimore, a mass of seven thousand Jews gathered at the Hippodrome and Palace Theatre where one hundred thousand dollars in cash was donated to the American Jewish Relief Committee with an additional five million dollar in pledges made to the organization raising funds for the suffering Jews in Russia.

1916: Three days after she had passed away, 86 year old Kate Isaacs, the wife of Michael Baber Isaacs and the mother of Sara Isaacs was buried today at the “Balls Pond Road Jewish Cemetery.”

1916: In Chicago, at the 19th annual convention of the Knights of Zion, President Nathan D. Kaplan reported that “in the last year 1,500,000 pounds of foodstuffs were shipped to Palestine for the relief of destitute Jews.”

1916: The Overseas News Agency reported that according to sources in Stockholm “orders have been given to all Jewish refugees at Petrograd to depart immediately.”

1916: In Chicago, this morning’s business session of the Knights of Zion Convention is scheduled to be followed by a kosher banquet for 600 delegates and guests.

1916: In Baltimore, MD, it was estimated that between $50,000 and $75,000 were raised tonight for the relief of Jews stricken by the war at meetings attended by about 5,000 people.

1916: It was reported today that Congressman Meyer London initiated his party’s effort in behalf of the Jews of Europe when he recently introduced a join resolution asking for a congress of neutral nations” that would remove the political and civic disabilities of the Jewish people wherever such disabilities exist.

1916: In Camden, NJ, : Rabbi Max Klein of Philadelphia's Adath Jeshurun Synagogue, Rabbi Bernard Levinthal, Philadelphia's renown Orthodox Jewish leader, Dr. Solomon Solis-Cohen, Rabbi Samuel S. Grossman and Rabbi Abraham Nowak of New York City were scheduled to appear at a mass meeting at the North Broadway Theater at Broadway and Kaighn


1916: “Rabbi Joseph Silverman, preaching at Temple Emanu-El said” today “that the 100,000 Jews fighting in the European armies were a living refutation of the slander that Jews lacking in patriotism.”

1916: Birthdate of Zypora Tannenbaum who gained fame as Zypora Spaisman. Born in Lublin, she was a Polish-American actress and Yiddish theatre empresaria. She emigrated to the United States in 1954 where she helped keep the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre in NYC alive for 42 years (along with Morris Adler), before helping to found the Yiddish Public Theater following a dispute with the Folksbiene's new management.

1917: Twenty-three-year-old Rabbi Henry Raphael Gold, the Lomza born son of “Rabbi Jacob Meyer Gold and Freida Deborah Kravchinsky Gold and grandson of “Rabbi Joshua Memchem Goldwasser” who in 1908 came to the United States where he studied at JTS, earned an Bachelors from Columbia and a Masters from Harvard and served several congregations including Beth Israel in New Orleans married Sylvia Mazur today in Brooklyn.

1917: Abraham and Eva Sabesewitz gave birth to Minnesota resident Maurice J. Sabes.

1917: In Montreal, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies which was founded in 1916, today “launched its first fundraising campaign under the slogan ‘Unity is Strength.’”

1918: A telegraph received in Chicago tonight from Jacob Billikopf of New York said that as of January 1, the Jewish War Relief had received $8,500,000 and that “since Julius Rosenwald’s matching offer” was based on the “cash on hand by that date” his contribution should be $850,000 although, if there is additional cash in the possession of offices in other cities, his contribution would rise accordingly.

1919(1st of Shevat, 5679): Rosh Chodesh Shevat

1919(1st of Shevat, 5679): Samuel Gitlin who was in “domestic service” at Camp Fremont passed away today.

1919: In “what French Foreign Minister Pichon referred to as ‘more recent contracts’” as of today France is to have “control of all of Syria and Lebanon and part of Armenia,” England is to have control of all of Mesopotamia, “Arabia is to be an independent kingdom” and Palestine is to have international administration.” (Editor’s Note - This is at variance with Sykes-Pichot agreements and that disposition of Palestine was of minor importance in the redistribution of the lands of the Ottoman Empire.)

1920: Birthdate of Isaac Asimov.  Born to middle class Jewish parents, Asimov’s family moved to the United States in 1923.  Asimov became one of the 20th century’s greatest science fiction writers.  He also wrote guides to the Bible and Shakespeare.

1920: Rabbis in Jerusalem arranged to have special prayers recited at the Western Wall for the Jews in Damascus who are threatened with violence.

1920: “In a speech in Sunderland…Churchill described Bolshevism as a ‘Jewish movement.’”

1921: Jacob A. Dolgenas who began serving as the Rabbi at Congregation Gates of Prayer in Brooklyn yesterday is scheduled to be formally installed this afternoon.

1921: “R.U.R,” a science fiction play directed by Philip Moeller premiered today,

1921: “The first dance and open meeting of the Bronx Jewish High School Youth” is scheduled to “be held this afternoon at the Community Building Auditorium.

1922(2nd of Tevet, 5682):  8th Day of Chanukah

1923: Rabbi Louis Finkelstein, the Cincinnati, OH born son of Hannah Basha Finkelstein and Simon Finkelstein, and his wife Carmel Finkelstein gave birth to Hadassah N. Davis.

1923: Thirty-one-year-old Rabbi Joseph Harry Aronson, the Kovno born son of Jonah and Tillie Aronson began serving Teferith Israel in New Britain, CT married Ida Isaacson today in Baltimore where he had led Teferith Israel.

1924: “Message From the Holy Land” published today described a letter from two American clergy who are co-chairman of the American Committee on Preservation of the Sacred Places in the Holy Land” which would make the reader think that “holiness” of Palestine was a Christian matter.”

1925: It was reported today that “The Board of Directors of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, re-elected the Rev. Dr. Max Drob of the Washington Heights Congregation to the board” and “also elected the Rev. Dr. Jacob Kohn, rabbi of Congregation Ansche Chesed, as a member of the board to represent the Rabbinical Assembly of the seminary.”

1926(16th of Tevet, 5686): Parashat Vayechi

1926: “According to Dr. David Yellin, President of the Vaad Leumi and Vice Mayor of Jerusalem, the National Council of Palestine is opposed to the acceptance of the resignation of Dr. Stephen S. Wise as Chairman of the United Palestine Appeal.

1927: According to published reports, two plans are being developed for the electrification of Palestine.  One plan “contemplates pumping the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean over a low ridge of mountains between the Palestinian coast and the Jordan Valley, and then through turbines into Lake Tiberius and the Dead Sea.” The other, a more modest plan, calls for using the flow of the Jordan to create mechanical power which could then generate an affordable supply of electricity. 

1927 (28th of Tevet, 5687): “Asher Ginsberg, whose pen name was Achad Ha’am passed away 5 o’clock this morning at Tel Aviv.” Born in 1856 near Kiev, Ginsberg lived in England from 1906 until 1921 when he made Aliyah. While living in England, managed a tea shop owned by one his literary admirers and worked with Chaim Weizmann to create the document known as the Balfour Declaration.  In 1889, Ginsberg caused a stir with “the publication in the Russian Jewish periodical Ha-Meliz of his frist article dealing with the Zionist movement and the future of the Jews.”  Over time he would develop the concept of Cultural Zionism which espouses a belief “in the development of Palestine as intellectual and moral homeland for the Jewish people throughout the word, as well as a place of physical refuge.”  His most famous literary work was a three-volume work called Al Parshat Derachim or The Parting of the Ways.

1928: In Moscow, two doctors gave birth to Oskar Yakovlevich Rabin, the dissident Soviet painter. (As reported by Neil Genzlinger)

1928: The municipality of Tel Aviv is scheduled to start paying the principle on a 75,000 pound bond issue that was offered in December of 1922.

1929: “Figures on immigration and emigration during the month November which have just been made public” showed that 247 immigrants including 185 Jews” entered Palestine while 385 people including 167 Jew” left Palestine.

1930(2nd of Tevet, 5690): Seventh Day of Chanukah

1930: Honorary pallbearers Jascha Heifetz and Josef Hofmann are scheduled to “play violin and piano duets” at this morning’s funeral service for “pianist and music teacher Alexander Lambert” attended by Daniel Frohman, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Efrem Zimbalist.

1931: Birthdate of Holocaust survivor Heinrich Zanger, the native Gelesenkirchen who found refuge in Brooklyn, NY.

1931: “Dr. Herbert Levinstein, of Manchester, the distinguished chemist, has been awarded the medal of the Society of Chemical Industry, a distinction which holds high place among scientific honours, and is one of the most coveted scientific honours of the world.” (JTA)

1931: At the Mansfield the curtain came down on the final performance of the original Broadway production of “The House of Connelly” starring Stella Adler, Morris Carnovsky, J. Edward Bromberg and Clifford Odets which was staged by Lee Strasberg and “was the inaugural production of the Group Theatre.
1932(23rd of Tevet, 5692): Parashat Shemot

1932: In reply to a letter of this date from H.E. Wilder, editor of the Israelite Press written to Dr. Hiram Vineberg of New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, the latter wrote “I am the Dr. Hiram Vineberg who practiced in Portage la Prairie area in 1881, 1882 and 1883. Although I was the only Jew in town, I soon acquired the leading practice. There were four other physicians in the town. I was appointed Board of Health Officer. I was on intimate terms with the ministers (4 or 5) especially the Reverend Mr. Fortin, Minister of the Episcopal Church. I did not encounter any prejudice whatever, and there was no doubt as to my religion from the very first. (When Dr. Hiram N. Vineberg of Cornwall, Ontario, came to practice medicine at Portage la Prairie in 1878 there was only 33 Jews in the province of Manitoba, 21 of whom lived in Winnipeg.)

1932: Maurice J. Karpf was elected President of the American Association of Schools of Social Work.

1933: NBC’s Blue Network the 6th episode of “Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel” starring Groucho and Chico Marx.

1933(4th of Tevet, 5693): Belle Moskowitz the political advisor to New York Governor Al Smith who managed his 1928 presidential campaign died unexpectedly as a result of complications from a fall on the steps in front of her house.


1933: The death of Mrs. Henry (Belle) Moskowitz came as a great shock to those gathered in Albany for today’s inauguration ceremony.  Both Governor Herbert Lehman and former Governor (1928 Presidential candidate) Al Smith were taken aback by the loss of their friend and political ally.

1933: In Brooklyn, Lillian Adler and Joseph Goldberg gave birth to Harvard trained attorney Jay Goldberg, the husband of Regina Hochberg, who “defended celebrity clients including Donald J. Trump, Sean Combs, Willie Nelson, the Rolling Stones and a bevy of mobsters…” (As reported by Sam Roberts)

1933: Birthdate of author Leonard Michaels whose works included Sylvia and The Men’s Club.

1934:  Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope presided at the third annual commencement exercises of the Hebrew University where the seventeen students who received degrees included the father and son “team” of Ephraim and Levi Duvshani who majored in Hebrew Literature and Philosophy.

1934(15th of Tevet, 5694): Sixty-year-old the former New York City paper and twin merchant and husband of Sophia Sakier, Samuel Sakier “ a pioneer Jewish farmer in Palestine where he took part in the student movement of the Biluim forty years ago” passed away today.

1934: New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was among the many prominent civic, academic and religious leaders who attended today’s funeral for Dr. George Alexander Kohut which was held at the deceased’s Park Avenue Home. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of the Free Synagogue and a life-long friend of the Dr. Kohut conducted the service and delivered the eulogy. Internment followed the service at the Linden Hill Cemetery.

1934: Birthdate of Wael Zwaiter a member of Black September who was alleged to have played a role in the Munich Massacre.

1935: “First Message in Hebrew Sent over Telegraph” published today described how Israel Amicam overcame the official objection to his plan for using Hebrew to transmit telegrams because officials said “that it was not feasible to send messages in Hebrew characters over wires and that a heavy expenditure for special machinery would necessary.”

1936: On his 75th birthday, Philadelphian Samuel Bloom announced that he was contributing 3000 pounds for the establishment of a home for “vagrant children” in Tel Aviv.

1937(19th of Tevet, 5697): Parsasaht Shemot

1937(19th of Tevet, 5697): Forty-nine year old Lemberg native and University of Vienna trained physician Dorian Feigenbam, the psychoanalyst and pupil of Freud, who in 1924 came to the United States where he became an “instructor in neurology” at Columbia and co-founded the Psychoanalytic Quarterly while raising two children – Daniel and Lou Esther – with his wife Yaffa Feigenbaum passed away today.

1937: At Temple Emanu-El Rabbi B. Benedict Glazer was scheduled to deliver a sermon on “Making Bricks Without Straw.”

1937: Rabbi Nathan Stern is scheduled to deliver the sermon today at West End Synagouge.

1937: At Rodeph Sholom Synagogue Rabbi Louis I. Newman is scheduled to deliver a sermon “I am who I am: Who is the God of Israel?”

1938: It was reported today that Poland has increased the number of guards along its border with Romania in response to an expected mass of Jews from that country into Poland.

1938: Today, in “an address at the Free Synagogue” meeting at Carnegie Hall, Ludwig Lewisohn declared that “if the Jewish people are to be saved it will not be by blind, mass adherence to any political or religious doctrine but by the great majority of Jewish individuals finding themselves and cooperating as free souls.”

1938: The Palestine Post reported from London that the British Zionist Federation launched a movement, led by Lady Reading, Lord Melchett and Rabbi Perlzweig, for the inclusion of the Jewish National Home in Palestine within the British Empire. They stressed the common ideals and interests in Palestine of both Great Britain and the Jewish people. The High Commissioner, Sir Arthur Wauchope, paid an official visit to Tel Aviv and assured Mayor Israel Rokach that the government would approve a £175,000 loan for the building of a new town hall and other essential developments.


1939: Time magazine names Adolf Hitler “Man of the Year, 1938.”  (This was not a vote of approval; merely acknowledgement of his importance.),9171,760539,00.html

1939: Roman Dmowski, an anti-Semitic Polish politician who co-found the National Democracy movement which sought to counter what it considers unfair “Polish-Jewish economic competition with Catholic Poles” passed away. (Polish anti-Semitism was homegrown which helped to account for why there was no refuge for the Jews of Poland when the Nazis invaded.)

1939: “About 350 persons attended a funeral service this afternoon for Harold Jacobi, president of the Schenley Distillers Corporation and chairman of the Greater New York.”

1939:  Solomon Levitan served his final day in office as state treasurer of Wisconsin

.1940: In Poland, Jews were forbidden to post obituaries by the General Gouvernment

1941: “In the Netherlands, Jews are prohibited from visiting cinemas.”

1941: “The executive committee of the British Zionist Federation today stated that the death of Tel Aviv’s Deputy Mayor Dov Hos was “a terrible tragedy for the Jewish people.” (JTA)1941(3rd of Tevet, 5701): Forty-two-year-old pianist Mischa Levitzki died suddenly of a heart attack in Avon-by-the-Sea, New Jersey. 

1942: Truckloads of deportees were driven around Chelmo, gassed and then buried. The first of 5,000 Gypsies were brought to Chelmo and gassed.

1943(25th of Tevet, 5703): Parashat Shemot

1943: It was reported today that “Sir Harold MacMichael, High Commissioner for Palestine, warned Jews and Arabs in his New Year's message that the Atlantic Charter was a charter of freedom but that it did not mean license.”

1943: It was reported today that The Rev. Dr. Samuel H. Goldenson, rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, Fifth Avenue at Sixty-fifth Street, has a statement in which he declared that he was opposed to the doctrine that by making Palestine a Jewish sovereign State the Jewish problem would be largely, if not wholly, solved”  because “the permanent solution of the Jewish problem must be sought in conjunction with all of the other global efforts to rectify the wrongs afflicting all peoples…”

1944: Eighty-six-year-old Dr. Bernard “Barney” Sachs celebrated his 86th birthday today.

1945: Seventy-one year old Dr. Solly Baron, the Berlin born rabbi who had fled Nazi Germany with his wife arrived in the United States today from Halifax, Canada  thus completing a an ocean trip aboard the S.S. Cavina which originated in Liverpool, England.

1945: Abba Eban ended his tour of duty at the Ministry of State.

1945: Irving L. Levey is scheduled to assume his duties officially as a Justice of the Supreme Court in Manhattan today.

1945: Abba Eban is betrothed to his future wife Suzy.

1946: Holocaust survivors Ann Gilbert (Chana Zylberstajn) Fred Gilbert (Felek Gebotszrajber) were married in Scwabisch Hall, Germany.

1946: At a press conference, British General Frederick Morgan, the director general of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in Europe, disclosed that "thousands of Polish Jews were coming into the U.S. Zone of Occupation assisted by an unknown secret Jewish organization." He further stated that Jewish Holocaust survivors were being forced by that organization to immigrate to Palestine. He clarified this accusation, intimating that most of the survivors preferred to emigrate elsewhere. The organization was Bricha.  But the claim by the British general must be measured against the fact the British government was still committed to the White Paper which barred Jewish immigrants from entering Palestine.

1946: Ruth Seid, writing under the ethnically neutral and gender-ambiguous pen name Jo Sinclair, won the $10,000 Harper Prize for new writers. “Seid had supported her writing through the generosity of a local patron. She shared her $10 a week stipend with her parents, Russian immigrants living in Cleveland. Like most of Seid's later fiction, Wasteland puts questions of Jewish and gender identity at its core. The novel, whose main character is a Jewish photojournalist who passes as a gentile in order to gain social and professional acceptance, explores Seid's own mixed feelings about her Jewish identity and is partially based on her own family. The book's sympathetic portrayal of the photographer's apparently lesbian sister further explores central questions of identity and belonging that reflected Seid's own experience. When she won the Harper prize, Seid was already hard at work on a second novel. In this and her later works, she consistently focused on the theme of oppression in its many forms: anti-Semitism, racism, Jewish self-hatred, poverty, homophobia, and marginalization. Her most well-known novel, The Changelings, depicts a Jewish neighborhood in the process of becoming an African-American neighborhood. It takes the long history of Jewish oppression as a touchstone for exploring the prejudice faced by African Americans. Published in 1955, The Changelings won the 1956 Jewish Book Council of America annual fiction award and was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Seid later published several more novels and a memoir, The Seasons: Death and Transfiguration (1992). Growing scholarly and popular interest in women's and ethnic literature in the 1980s and 1990s has revived interest in Seid's work. Ruth Seid died in 1995.”

1946: The Women’s League for Palestine holds an open meeting and tea to plan a campaign for raising funds for enlarging and maintain the league’s other homes in Jerusalem and Haifa.

1946: Eleanor Florence Rathbone, a member of the British House of Commons and advocate for the rights of women passed away.  In the House of Commons, the courageous Eleanor Rathbone attacked the British government for the defeatist attitudes expressed at the Bermuda Conference and noted that the Allies are responsible for the deaths of any Jews if they refuse to help.

1947(10th of Tevet, 5707): Asara B'Tevet

1947: Jewish underground staged bombings and machine gun attacks in five cities. Casualties were low. Pamphlets seized warned that the Irgun had again declared war against the British.

1947: “Admiral Nakhimov” a Russian made biopic starring Aleksei Dikiy was released today in the Soviet Union.

1948: Birthdate of Tony Robert Judt who went from being an ardent Zionist to one who was so critical of the Jewish state that he might classified as an anti-Zionist.

1948: In New York City, nightclub owner Bill Miller and his wife gave birth to Pulitzer Prize winning writer and FOX commentator Judith Miller.

1949(1st of Tevet, 5709): Rosh Chodesh Tevet; Seventh Day of Chanukah

1949: In the aftermath of the War of Independence, the last Israeli troops left the Sinai Peninsula completing a withdrawal that had been worked out between Ben Gurion and Britain.

1949: In an example of what difference a year makes, two Israeli Spitfires attacked an Egyptian train traveling in violation of the withdrawal agreement. 

1949: An Egyptian plan flew over Jerusalem injuring seven people when it dropped its bombs.

1949: A Revision on the Discourse on Method by Alfred E. Cohn appeared on the list of “Sundry Books That Might, or Should, Appear in the Months That Lie Ahead.”

1949: As part of Bill Paley’s “great raid” the Jack Benny Program returned to CBS radio where it will remain until its last broadcast in 1955.

1952(4th of Tevet, 5712): Sixty-eighty-year-old sculptor Jo Davidson who “had recently returned to France from Israel where he completed plaster casts for busts of Chaim Wiezmann, David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett “to record the birth of that nation, passed away today.

1951: The North American tour of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra sponsored by the American Fund for Israeli Institutions began with a concert in Washington, D.C. conducted by Dr. Serge Koussevitzky,

1952(4th of Tevet, 5712): Sixty-eight-year-old Jo Davidson, the Lower East Side born son of Russian Jewish immigrants who went to become one of the most famous sculptors of his time passed away today in Tours, France.

1953: The Jerusalem Post reported that on the first day on which price control was lifted from poultry, prices rose from IL 2 to IL 6 a kilo. The Norwegian s.s. Rimfort passed through the Suez Canal and arrived with a cargo of 150 tons of meat from Ethiopia, assuring the distribution of the monthly meat ration. The Ministry of Commerce started planning further substantial meat purchases from Brazil and Argentina.

1953: In Atlantic City, Wilma “Billie” Stein and Laurence Tisch, the co-chairman of Loews Corporation gave birth to Cornell and University of Pennsylvania businessman James S. Tisch the husband of Merryl Hiat who became CEO of Loews in 199.


1953: Birthdate of Egyptian born American author Andre Aciman who wrote the autobiographical Out of Egypt.

1954: Herman Wouk’s "Caine Mutiny" premiered in New York City.

1954: After 344 performances on Broadway at the Morosco Theatre, the curtain came down “My Three Angels,” “a comedy play by Samuel and Bella Spewack” with “scenic designs by Boris Aronson.

1955:  Arab militant gunmen attacked and killed 2 hikers in the Judean Desert.

1955: First broadcast of “The Bob Cummings Show” for which Stanley Frazen served as Supervising Editor.

1956: Sydney Fine resigned from his position as member of the House of Representatives for New York’s 22nd congressional district so that he could join the New York Supreme Court.

1957(29th of Tevet, 5717): Six-eight-year-old Isaac Nachman Steinberg passed away.

1959: Final broadcast of “Nora Drake,” the long-running soap opera written by Milton Lewis.

1960(2nd of Tevet, 5720): Parashat Miketz and 8th Day of Chanukah

1960: Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. Kennedy was quite popular with a significant segment of Jewish voters.  Unlike others, Jews had no problem supporting a Catholic running for President.  As President, Kennedy appointed Jews to his Cabinet and to the Supreme Court.  He also supported the state of Israel when the survival of the Jewish state was still at risk.

1961(14th of Tevet, 5721): Eighty-one-year-old Constance Amberg Sporborg, the widow of attorney of William Dick Sporborg, who served was a leader of “the New York City and State Federations of Women’s Clubs, the National Council of Jewish Women’s Clubs and the National Council of Jewish Women” passed away today.

1961: Birthdate of Representative Rob Wexler, who represented Florida’s 19th congressional district starting in 1997.

1962: Look magazine features photographs of JFK and his family which were the work of photojournalist Stanley Tretick

1963(6th of Tevet, 5723): Seventy-six-year-old Minnie K. Kooler Lapidus, the wife of Lithuania native and Omaha businessman Harry Lapidus, the president of the Omaha Fixture Supply Company and leader of the Jewish community who “was a member of the American Jewish National Council of Americanization and a member of the executive committee of the United Palestine Appeal and the mother of Estelle and Earl Lapidus passed away today after which she was buried at the Fisher Farm Cemetery in Bellevue, Nebraska.

1964: Israeli footballer Mordechai “Motaleh” Spiegler “made his international debut for Israel today against Hong Kong.

1965: Gary Lewis and the Playboys’ version of “This Diamond Ring” a song written by Al Kooper and Irwin Levin charted first, #101 on today’s Billboard "Bubbling Under" chart

1966(10th of Tevet, 5726): Asara B’Tevet

1966: First native Jewish child was born in Spain since the expulsion in 1492

1966)10th of Tevet, 5726): Seventy-nine-year-old NYU trained attorney, Max Levy, he husband of Josephine Mendelson with whom he had two children – Jack and Ralene – who was “a founder and first president of the Jewish community Center of Staten Island” passed away today.

1966: “The Trefa Banquet” published today described the famous dinner given in Cincinnati in 1883 which proved to be a decisive moment in the separation of the Reform movement from traditional Judaism.

1967: Yisrael Yeshayahu replaced Eliyahu Sasson as Communications Minister.

1967: Eliyahu Sasson replaced Bechor Shalom Sheetrit as Minister of Public Security.

1967: An exhibition of the works of Gertrude Schaefler began today at the Bodley Gallery in New York City.

1967(20th of Tevet, 5727): Seventy-five-year Ira Louis Quiat, the Colorado born son of “Phillip and Anna (Shames) Quiat and Denver University trained attorney who was the husband of Esther Greenblatt Quiat and the father of Marshall and Gerald Quiat passed away today after which he was buried at the Congregation Emanuel Cemetery in Denver, CO.

1968(1st of Tevet, 5728): Rosh Chodesh Tevet; Seventh Day of Chanukah

1968: In Tel Aviv, “Dr. Nahum Goldman, the president of the World Zionist Organization disclosed at a press conference today that the Jewish Agency executive has agreed that Zionist leader in the Diaspora will be able to retain his position unless he immigrates to Israel.”

1968: Today, South African Jewish dentist Philip Blaiberg became “the third person to receive a heart transplant.

1968: “Funeral services were held today New York for Dr. Joseph Kissman, attorney, journalist, president of the Jewish Labor Bund of Rumania from 1930 to 1937, and a former member of the presidium of the Jewish National Committee of Austria. He died here Sunday, at the age of 78. Born in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. he received a doctorate in law at the University of Vienna in 1913.”

1969: Opening of “The Fig Leaves Are Falling” with script and lyrics by Allan Sherman

1970: “State Supreme Court Justice Charles Marks, who in 32 years on the bench dealt vigorously with the courtroom conduct of defense and prosecution lawyers and unruly spectators,” retired today.

1970: In Operation Double Bass 10, The Golani Brigade took part in a retaliatory raid on Kfar Kila in response to the kidnapping of an elderly guard from Metula by Fatah two days earlier.


1970: During the War of Attrition, Hagi Zamir, together with two other soldiers - including Aharon Danziger - were hurt while entering the island of Shaduan with Zamir’s wounds resulting in the amputation of his left leg. Zamir, a native of Kibbutz Zikim, overcame his loss by turning to volleyball where he took part in seven Paralympic Games.

1971: A team of Israeli scholars announced the discovery in Jerusalem of a 2,000-year-old skeleton of a crucified male. Found in a cave-tomb, it was the first direct physical evidence of the well-documented Roman method of execution.

1971(5th of Tevet, 5731): A family of new immigrants from England – David and Pretty Arroyo and their two babies, Mark and Abigail - visit Gaza. They park their car in a main street and a minute later a terrorist throws a hand grenade through the open rear window. The babies are killed on the spot and their mom is severely wounded. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Chief of Staff Bar Lev assign Ariel Sharon, Head of the Southern Command, to eliminate the terror in the Gaza Strip.

1972: Opening of “Fun City,” the first Broadway play by--and starring--Joan Rivers.

1974: Diplomatic sources in Moscow said the USSR allowed a record 34,750 Jews to emigrate in 1973 as opposed to 31,500 in 1972” but these “emigrants were mainly from Southern Ukraine, Byelorussia, the Baltic States and Georgia” with few Jews from Moscow or Leningrad receiving exit permits.

1975(19th of Tevet, 5735): Seventy-eight-year-old Rochester NY born producer Jules Levey, the husband of Mae Ann Wolf suffered an apparent fatal heart attack today.

1976(29th of Tevet,5736): Seventy-nine year old economist and political scientist Sterling D. Spero, the Brooklyn born son of Joseph and Sarah Lewis Spero and  the holder of a doctorate from Columbia best known for “co-authoring a famous study of African-American labor history entitled The Black Worker, the Negro & the Labor Movement” passed away today.

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that during the current Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations, Mustafa Amin, a well-known Egyptian journalist, described Prime Minister Menachem Begin as a "Shylock," determined to get his pound of flesh from his people. Residents of the Yamit area were "more disappointed than ever" by the government decision to allow Egyptian sovereignty over the entire Rafiah Approaches.

1978(22nd of Tevet, 5738): Seventy-nine-year-old Max Asocli, the Ferrara, Italy born son of Enrico Ascoli, a coal and lumber merchant, and Adriana Finzi gained fame as a dean of the New School for Social Research and publishereditor of the magazine The Reporter passed away today. (As reported by John L. Hess)

1979(3rd of Tevet, 5739): Seventy-seven Lithuanian born Rabbi Chaim Leib Halevi Shmuelevitz passed away today in Jerusalem.

1981: As of today, Helen Reddy and Jeff Wald “had separated with Wald moving into a Beverly Hills rehad facility to treat an eight-year addiction to cocaine.”  Reddy had “converted Judaism before marrying Wald.”

1981: “Nadezhda Mandelstam, widow of Osip Mandelstam, the poet who died in a Stalinist purge, was buried today on the outskirts of Moscow” (As reported by Anthony Austin)

1985: Funeral services are scheduled to be held in Chicago today for food importer Max H. Ries, the founder of Reese Finer Foods.

1987(1st of Tevet, 5747): Rosh Chodesh Tevet

1987: During the Intifada, Israel stopped another Junieh-bound ferry, the Sunny Boat, and turned it back to Larnaca after the Cypriot captain refused an Israeli demand that he hand over Palestinian passengers suspected of being terrorists.

1988(12th of Tevet, 5748) Parashat Vayehci

1988(12th of Tevet, 5748): Eighty-nine year old “solicitor and Australian Jewish Community leader,” Alec Masel, the Russian born son of the former Leah Cohen and Esor Masel, and the husband of Marie Schwartz with whom he had two sons, passed away today.

1989: In an article entitled “Israel, Hardly the Monaco of the Middle East,” Abba Eban explained why Israel must negotiate with the Arabs and why her “friends” must not be alarmed at this turn of events.  Since Eban may be considered as “the dean of Israeli foreign policy and one of those who got it more right than most, the article is worth reading in its entirety.

1990: The Likud and Labor parties averted a breakup of their governing coalition today with a compromise under which Ezer Weizmann, the independent-minded Labor Party Science Minister, would keep his post but be suspended from the Government's decision-making core.

1990: In an article entitled “From Letter Writer to Starting Forward,” Jack Cavanugh described the unique approach followed by Nadav Henefield as he transitioned from being one of the best basketball players in Israel to a scholarship and starting role with the University of Connecticut.

1992: Tonight, Israel announced that it would expel 12 Palestinians who were involved with known terrorists following the murder of a Jewish settler.

1992: Jerusalem struggled with its worst snowstorm in four decades. Across the Israeli capital, tree branches, and even entire trees, snapped with rifle-shot cracks under

 1993: The New York Times published the following letter to the editor from David L. Gold; President of the Association of the Study of Jewish Languages disputing early claims that that the word “turkey” had a Hebrew root.


“Harold M. Kamsler's attempt to trace English "turkey" to Hebrew "tuki" (letter, Dec. 13) makes etymology seem as easy as finding like-sounding words in other languages.

To set the record straight: The English word is a shortening of "Turkey-cock" and "Turkey-hen," which were originally the names of the guinea fowl (so called because the guinea fowl was sometimes imported into Europe through Turkey). Because people misidentified the turkey with the guinea fowl or mistakenly considered it to be a species of that bird, these English names came to designate the turkey. Furthermore, the word "Turkey-cock" is not attested until 1541, that is, almost a half-century after Columbus's voyages. "Turkey-hen and "turkey" are not attested until even later. Rabbi Kamsler's explanation, not original with him, is an old yarn spun in uninformed Jewish circles. Along with countless other pseudoscientific claims about supposed Hebrew influence on English and other languages, the myth of the Hebrew origin of "turkey" was quietly exploded in volume 2 of Jewish Linguistic Studies (1990).”


1994: “A Coat of Many Colors: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada” comes to a close today at the Jewish Museum in NYC

1994: Final day for showing "A Coat of Many Colors: Two Centuries of Jewish Life in Canada" at the Jewish Museum in New York City.

1994: “Jane’s House” a made for television dramatic film with a teleplay by Eric Roth, music by David Shire and produced by Aaron Spelling was broadcast for the first time tonight on CBS.

1994: At the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the curtain came down on a revival production of “Abe Lincoln in Illinois” which had been directed by Elmer Rice in its initial Broadway production

1994: The last in a series of three family tours sponsored by American Jewish Congress are scheduled to come to an end.

1996(10th of Tevet, 5756): Asara B’Tevet

1997: The governor of Colorado appointed Michael Bender to serve as an associate Justice of the Colorado State Supreme Court He was the son of basketball legend and former U.S. Attorney Lou Bender,

1997(23rd of Tevet, 5757): Eighty-six-year-old Moshe Vilenski, the native of Warsaw who is considered a pioneer of Israeli music and who wrote the music for “Kalaniyot” passed away today.

1997(23rd of Tevet, 5757): Forty-five-year-old Randy California (Randy Craig Wolfe) “a guitarist, singer and songwriter and one of the original members of the rock group Spirit” passed away today in Hawaii.

 1998: In an article entitled “Are yeshiva students dumb?” author Jonathan Rosenblum quoted the following story in explaining why yeshivot are important to the survival of the Jewish people. “At the cornerstone-laying of Ponevezh Yeshiva, nearly 50 years ago, many were surprised by the presence of Mapai stalwart Pinhas Lavon. Asked what an avowed secularist was doing there, Lavon replied in all seriousness, 'The leaders of the Jewish people have always come from the yeshivas. If we have no yeshivas, where will the leaders come from?"

1998(4th of Tevet, 5758): Ninety-two-year-old writer and lyricist Max Coplet passed away today

1999: “Seeking donations from an audience sympathetic to his view that too many Federal policies favor blacks, Jews and other minorities over whites, David Duke arrived in the Washington area today to drum up support for his latest political endeavor.” (Editor’s note – two decades later this marginalized mentality is mainstream in many political arenas.)

2000: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including And the Sea Is Never Full: Memoirs, 1969 by Elie Wiesel, Arthur Kosetler: The Homeless Mind by David Cesarani and The Multiple Identities of the Middle East by Bernard Lewis.

2001: Yasir Arafat was scheduled to meet with President Clinton this afternoon following Arafat’s emergency flight to Washington from Gaza coming in the wake of a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on New Year’s Day.

2002: “In an indication that it sees a new determination on the part of Yasir Arafat to rein in militant Palestinian factions, the United States said today that it would send its envoy back to the Middle East to try to end 15 months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.”

2003: Today Israeli soldiers found the charred body of a 73-year-old Israeli man near a West Bank village hours after his family had reported him missing. The grisly discovery came after the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group linked to Yasir Arafat's Fatah faction, issued a statement declaring it had killed an Israeli in the Jordan Valley near Tubas.

2004: It was reported today that Osama el-Baz, “an Egyptian government envoy” met with Yasir Arafat “and urged him to work with rival Palestinian factions to end attacks against Israel.”

2005: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Catastrophe: Risk and Response by Richard A. Posner and the recently published paperback editions of Nobody’s Perfect: Billy Wilder: A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler, Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s by Gerald Nachman, Who Killed Daniel Pearl? by Bernard-Henri Levy; translated by James X. Mitchell and A Mighty Heart The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Danny Pearl by Mariane Pearl with Sarah Crichton.

2005: In “Shalom, y’all a smile from South’s Jews” published today the Chicago Tribune reported on “an archive opening soon in South Carolina that salutes 300 years of immigrants’ history.” The archive located on the campus of the College of Charleston will shed light on Jewish Southern history and its role in society.  The focus will be the Jews of Charleston which was once the leading port of entry for Jews coming to the United States.

2006: In “Satire That Spares Nothing, Not Even God and Country” published today Dina Kraft described Israel's hit spoof news show, "A Wonderful Country" which drew inspiration in part from "Saturday Night Live" and "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart."

2007: “All the Best from Denis Norden,” “a special show that was recorded as a ‘farewell tour’ to all his shows was shown” today.

2007: Police Inspector - General Karadi has decided to appoint a special national police task force to combat the attacks and threats against Israeli mayors.

2007(17 Shevat 5767):  Ninety-five-year-old Teddy Kolleck, Jerusalem’s most famous mayor, passed away.

2008: In Buenos Aires, Argentina the 11th Annual Maccabiah Games came to an end.

2008: The Film Forum in Manhattan started a sixteen-day showing of 23 of the films of producer-director Otto Preminger.  The Viennese born refugee from Hitler’s Europe; Preminger’s accomplishments transcended those of a movie mogul.  The crusading liberal challenged racism by directing “Porgy and Bess” and “Carmen Jones.”  He challenged McCarthyism and the Red Baiting Right Wing by hiring Dalton Trumbo one of the jailed Hollywood 10 as the writer screenwriter for the film “Exodus.”

2008: The New York Times features a review of Richard Cook’s Alfred Kazin a biography of the literary critic who was “a proud Jew” and “a champion of writers like Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow and Philip Roth.”

2008: Representative Tom Lantos a California Democrat and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced that he will not seek re-election because he has cancer of the esophagus.  Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1944, Lantos was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress.

2009: As the impact of Bernard L. Madoff’s con game spreads, the management of the Bank Medici, the small Austrian merchant bank that emerged as one of its largest victims resigned making room for a government appointed accountant to temporarily take over day-to-day management of the bank’s operations.  The bank, based in Vienna, had invested $2.1 billion in client funds with Madoff.

2009: As Jews around the world prepared for Shabbat, the following names would be added to the Yahrzeit Lists read at more than one synagogue or temple:


December 27, 2008 (30 Kislev 5769): Beber Vaknin, aged 57, was killed by missile in his hometown Netivot when he went out of his house on Saturday morning.


December 29 2008 (2 Tevet 5769): Irit Shitrit, a 36 year old mother of four who had sought shelter in a bus station was killed by a rocket in downtown Ashdod


December 29, 2008 (2 Tevet 5769): First Staff Sgt. Lutfi Nasraldin, 38, from the Israeli Druze village of Daliyat al-Karmel was killed when two mortar shells landed in the brigade headquarters near Nachal Oz.


December 29, 2008 (2 Tevet 5769) : Hani al Mahdi a 27-year-old construction worker, from the Bedouin village of Aroer was killed when a Palestinian Grad missile exploded near a construction site in the coastal town of Ashkelon.


2010:  Jews around the world complete the reading of Bereshit (Genesis) – one down, four to go.

2010: Jerusalem native Dan Aran leads the Dan Aran Trio, as it performs at The Bar Next Door in New York.

2010: In Cedar Rapids, the traditional Saturday Morning Minyan at Temple Judah entered its ninth year. Despite sub-zero temperatures and the New Year’s weekend, our small congregation produced a number in excess of the basic prayer quorum. Per the request of our youngest attendee, Gabriella Thalblum Deb Levin saw to it that we had Pizza as part of the Kiddush following services. 

2010: A hacker attacked Jewish Web sites in Boulder, Colo., posting anti-Semitic messages.

2010(16th of Tevet, 5770): David Gerber, an Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning television producer who brought forward-thinking series like “Police Story” and “Police Woman” to prime time in the 1970s and produced more than 50 television films and mini-series during a four-decade career, died today in Los Angeles at the age of 86. (As reported by Anita Gates)

2011: A Judaica book sale -- the largest of its kind in the Greater Washington area -- with an estimated 1,600 titles is scheduled to take place at Congregation Tikvat Israel in Rockville, Md.

2011: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Memory Chalet by Tony Judt

2011: The funeral of Rabbi Yissachar Meir, who passed away on Shabbat, was held today at Netiviot, Israel.

2011: In the week ending today the London, Broadway, and both North American touring productions of “Wicked,} the Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman musical “simultaneously broke their respective records for the highest weekly gross/”

2011: Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh is one of two winners of Israel’s Media Watch’s 2011 award for media criticism, the organization announced today.

2011: As of today, Deborah Shapiro and Michael Rieber who have been friends, political allies, and fellow members of Congregation Etz Chaim in Livingston for several years enjoy another distinction. Together, they form the Republican minority on the five-person Livingston Township Council.

2012: In Jerusalem, local talent is scheduled to have a chance to shine at Open Mic Night at Mike’s Place

2012: Rabbi Chaim Sabato and Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein are scheduled to appear at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue in a program is in celebration of the recently published book "Mevakshay Panecha" by Rabbis Sabato and Lichtenstein.  “Adjusting Sites” and “Aleppo Tales” by Chaim Sabato are available in English and are a must read for everybody.

2012: The Knesset approved today in second and third readings the so-called Grunis bill, which is expected to pave the way for Supreme Court Justice Asher Dan Grunis, a conservative judge popular with right-wing politicians, to be named the next court president.

2012: The IDF General Staff forum has decided to adopt a special committee's recommendation to excuse religious soldiers from informal events which include women's singing, Ynet learned today.

2013: “Aya” is scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.

2013: “Israel’s prestigious Wolf Prize will honor American, German and Austrian scientists as well as an architect from Portugal this year, the Wolf Foundation announced today.” (As reported by Michal Shumlovich)

2013: Ruth Goodman, Yossi Almani and the Hilulim team from Israel featuring Gadi Bitton, Yaron Ben Simchon, Yaron Carmel are scheduled to lead an evening of Israeli Dancing at the 92nd Street Y

2013(20th of Tevet, 5773): Ninety-two-year-old scholar and author Gerda Lerner passed away today. (As reported by William Grimes)

2013: Clashes broke out for the second day running between Palestinians and settlers outside the West Bank outpost of Esh Kodesh near the Shiloh settlement this morning, Army Radio reported.

2013: The IDF Prosecutor today filed an indictment against the alleged “mastermind” of the Tel Aviv bus bombing which injured 24 passengers during Operation Pillar of Defense with the West Bank Military Court of Yehuda.

2014: “Sage of a Photo” and “Behind the Candelabra” are scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival.

2014(1st of Shevat, 5774): Rosh Chodesh Shevat


2014: Menachem “Max” Stark “a Jewish Chassidic American real estate developer in New York City. Stark was abducted outside his office at 331 Rutledge Street in Brooklyn” today.

2014: “An internal Palestinian Authority document” “whose contents were reported by…Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel Radio this morning” predicted a “third intifada” if the Kerry Peace talks fail.

2014: A 16-year-old Gaza terrorist, who was trying to destroy the security fence, was shot in the leg by the IDF today after he refused orders to desist. (As reported by Ari Yashir)

2014: The IDF expects Israeli born Seton Hall basketball player Tom Maayan to return to fulfill his military obligation.

2014: The gag order was removed on Shin Bet’s arrest of “14 terrorists some from the Islamic Jihad organization, on suspicion that they were involved in the bombing of a bus in Bat Yam two weeks ago.” (As reported by Gil Ronen)

2015: In Washington, DC, the historic sixth and I synagogue is scheduled to host a “Good Soul Shabbat” featuring Rabbi Scott, Kevin Snider of DeLeon, percussionist Guy Irlander, and Michal Bilick

2015: “Several settlers hurled rocks at personnel from Jerusalem’s US Consulate near an illegal West Bank outpost.” (As reported by Itmar Sharon)

2015: The IDF arrested Mohammed al-Ajlounin, an East Jerusalem resident “on suspicion that he was behind dthe stabbing of two Border Police officers last week in Jerusalem’s Old City.” (As reported by Lazar Berman)

2015(11th of Tevet, 5775):  Ruth Popkin, the former Hadassah President and President of the Jewish National Fund passed away today at the age of 101.

2015: Marc Weisman, Iowa’s “Hebrew Hammer” played his final college football game.

2016: This evening, Temple Judah is scheduled to host the fourth annual Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre Recital featuring a performance of selections from “La Traviata.”

2016: “A Brief History of Humankind” an exhibit based on Sapiens: A Brief History by Yuval Noah Harari is scheduled to come to a close at the Israel Museum.

2016: “The Kid” and “Rust and Bones” are scheduled to be shown at The Jerusalem Cinematheque 

2016(21st of Tevet, 5776): Shabbat Shemot – Start of the New Year coincides with the start of the second book of the Torah. 

2016(21st of Tevet, 5776): Seventy-nine-year-old television host Stanley Siegel passed away today. (As reported by Sam Roberts.)

2017: As they recover from ringing the New Year, friends and family Judith Miller are scheduled to celebrate the birthday of the Pulitzer Prize winning FOX commentator.

2017: Ninety-year-old multi-talented John Peter Berge the son of a non-observant Jew who had converted to Catholicism and the author of the novel G which won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1972 passed away today. (As reported by Randy Kennedy)

2017: “Israeli police investigators questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for three hours at his official residence this evening on suspicion of receiving illicit gifts and favors from business executives.”

2017: Friends and family mourn the death of 19-year-old Israeli Lian Zahar Hassan who was murdered by a terrorist as she celebrated the New Year in Istanbul.

2017: “Angeliquca Tompkins, 19, and Matthew Terry, 20 and a female juvenile charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing in connection with the vandalism of the headstone of a Jewish couple buried in the cemetery of Scottsburg, a small Indiana town” (JTA)

2017: This evening in Cedar Rapids, Temple Judah is scheduled to host the fifth annual Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre Recital featuring “principal singers from Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliaceci.”

2018: Israel’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Gadi Eizenhot, said that Iran’s outlay for helping allies, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, is increasing from the millions already being spent for that purpose.

2018(15th of Tevet, 5778): Eight-seven-year-old “ceramic artist Elizabeth Woodman” and the wife of fellow artist George Woodman passed away today. (As reported by Richard Sandomir)

2018: U.VA, trained attorney Michael Signer, the son of Marjorie and Robert Signer, completed his term as Mayor of Charlottesville, VA during which the infamous 2016 Nazi March occurred whose participants Donald Trump said included some “good” people.

2018: Night Spectacular Sound and Light Show is scheduled to illuminate the walls of the Citadel in Jerusalem.

2018: “The Israeli Parliament, after a late-night debate, voted early today to enact stiff new obstacles to any potential land-for-peace deal involving Jerusalem, while abandoning at the last minute a measure that would have eased the way to rid the city of several overwhelmingly Palestinian neighborhoods.”

2018: In Jerusalem, the First Station is scheduled to host a calorie burning Zumba Party.

2018: Today, “Neshama Carlebach, daughter of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, in her first public comments since the start of the #MeToo movement said she is angry with her father over allegations of sexual misconduct but that he was more than just his faults.”

2018: In New York, the Jewish Museum is scheduled to host several tours “of the exhibition Modigliani Unmasked.”

2019: Syria and Iran were on the agenda when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met today in Brasilia against the backdrop of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration (As reported by Itamar Eichner)

2019: In Rochester, NY, Mike Miller and Leah Sherman are scheduled provided musical instruction in an evening sponsored by Temple Beth El, Temple B’rith Kodesh and Temple Sinai.

2019(25th of Tevet, 5779): On the Jewish calendar, Yahrzeit of Moses Levi Ehrenreich, the chief rabbi of Rome. (As reported by Aish)

2020: The Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia is scheduled to host “Book Buddies” at the Chantilly, VA, Regional Library this moring.

2020: The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City is Alan Edelman is scheduled to facility a discussion of “Hot Topics: Jewish News, Ideas and Culture.”

2020: In Albany, NY, at Congregation Ohav Shalom, Rabbi Rena Kieval is scheduled to lead “Many Voices: Ta Shma – Come and Hear Class,” “an exploration of classic Jewish texts which teach the values of pluralism.

2020: It was reported today that Prime Minister Netanyahu has asked the Knesset for immunity from prosecution in the criminal case involving charges of fraud and breach of trust which will effectively mean that Bibi can avoid facing the “bar of justice” until after the March elections.

2021: In Cleveland, B’nai Jeshurun Congregation is scheduled to host “Starbucks, Breach and Torah” online.

2021: Temple Israel of Boston is scheduled to present “Clergy Havdalah, Cocktails and Mocktails,” which offers a “spiritual connection as we say goodbye to Shabbat and welcome the new week..”

2021: While “Israel is leading the world in per capita vaccinations,” as Israelis observe Shabbat, they will be dealing with “HMO’s taking a two-week pause” in inoculating new people following the Health Ministry’s admission “that vaccine supplies aren’t enough to keep up with demand.”

2021(18th of Tevet, 57801):  Parashat Vayechi; Starting the New Year by finishing the first book of the Torah.

2022: Religious Service Minister recommended that Rabbi Moshe Willer should continue in his position as head of the Conversion Authority as of today because he follows the instruction Rabbi David Lau who is an opponent of governments proposed reforms to the system for Jewish conversion.(As reported by Zvi Joffree

2022: Malik Faisal Akram who was on his way to take hostages at the synagogue in Colleyville, TX was captured on video being dropped off at a homeless shelter in Dallas.

2022: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane by Paul Auster, Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months That Transformed the Supreme Court by Linda Greenhouse and the recently released paperback edition of Religion and the Rise of Capitalism by Benjamin Friedman.

2023: Ghost Army: The Combat Con Artists of World War II an exhibition that tells the heroic tale of the top-secret U.S. Army’s 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, known as the “Ghost Army,” and their covert operations across Europe that helped win the war, armed with nothing heavier than .50 caliber machine guns” is scheduled to come to an end today at the Illinois Holocaust Museum.

2023: In case of déjà vu all over again, for the second time in its history Tulane is scheduled to play USC in a bowl game, the first time being in 1932 when Tulane led by Louis “Lou” Boasberg who played both tackled and end and later found the New Orleans Novelty Company. 

2024: In New Orleans, the National Council of Jewish Women is scheduled to hold its board meeting today.

2024: Jewish Gateways is scheduled to present “Here All Along: The Torah: Questioning, Debating, and Interpreting,” during which Rabbi Bridget Wynee will lead an exploration of Sarah Hurwitz’s novel, subtitled “Meaning, Spirituality and Deeper Connection in Judaism.”

2024: Temple Judea is scheduled to host “Modern Mussar with Michael Ross.”

2024: As January 2nd begins in Israel, the Hamas held hostages begin day 88 in captivity.  (Editor’s note: this situation is too fluid for this blog to cover so we are just providing a snapshot as of the posting at midnight Israeli time