OCTOBER 12 In History

: The Persian armies of Cyrus the Great captured


.  Within the year, Cyrus would make it possible for the Jews to return to their homeland.

1285: The Jews of Munich (


) were caught in a claim of blood libel which resulted in the death of most the Jewish community.  When 180 Jewish survivors refused baptism, they were burned alive in their synagogue.

1366:  In


, Jews were forbidden to decorate the outside of their houses of worship.

1492: After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition, including Hebrew speaker Luis de Torres (the translator) went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to




, and the fabled gold and Spice Islands of Asia. Louis de Torres, a Marrano, was the first member of


’ expedition to set foot in the
Western Hemisphere
. He discovered and introduced tobacco into
. He saw a bird he thought to be a peacock and called it a "tuki" (Hebrew for peacock - I Kings X22). Today that bird is known as a turkey. (There are those who say that the story of the Turkey is pure fiction.  All that I can say is “Of this I do not know.”)

1576:  Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor passed away. Maximilian reversed the decree that had banished the Jews from Prague. Furthermore, he allowed them to return to other towns in Bohemia and to settle in Austria.  The life of the Jews in these domains was far from tranquil thanks to pressure from the Catholic Church.  But under Maximilian II it was better than it had been under his predecessor Ferdinand.

1759(21stof Tishrei, 5520): Hoshanah Rabah

1775: The Continental Congress creates the United States Navy. Some of the famous Jews to serve in the U.S. Navy include: Commodore Uriah P. Levy who played a key role in ending flogging as a punishment for seamen; Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the Nuclear Navy; Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda, Chief of Naval Operations.

1789(22ndof Tishrei, 5550): Shemini Atzeret

1793:  The cornerstone of Old East the oldest state university building in the

United States

is laid on the campus of the

North Carolina

Chapel Hill
.  This is an important date in Jewish history because my sister, Judy Sharon (Levin) Rosenstein, of blessed memory was a Tar Heel Grad.  She met her husband, Larry Rosenstein of blessed memory, at Chapel Hill.  All three of their sons are also


grads. Of such moments are real Jewish history made.

1797(22ndof Tishrei, 5558): Shemini Atzeret

1800(23rdof Tishrei, 5561): Simchat Torah

1822: Birthdate of Seligman Solomon, the German born American businessman and philanthropist best known for his support of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York City.

1830: Birthdate of Antony Mayer de Worms, a London born descendant of Amschel Moses Rothschild and Schoenche Lechnich

1848(15thof Tishrei, 5609): Sukkoth

1853(10th of Tishrei, 5614): Yom Kippur

1864: The General News column reported today, Wednesday, that Monday’s livestock market was fairly active despite “the absence of the Hebrews, who” were “observing the Day of the Atonement, one of their principal fasts.” Tuesday’s market was more active than usual, in part, because “on account of the numbers of Jews present.”

1865: In a column styled “Our London Correspondence,” The New York Times reported that, “If you want a present proof that Mammon rules here, take the fact that yesterday Mr. PHILLIPS, a gentleman of the Hebrew persuasion, was elected Lord Mayor of London. Not that a Jew has not teeth, hands, organs, dimensions, and all that, as well as any other man; but, in the face of English prejudice, money and money alone could make a man who is a Jew by birth and religion, member of Parliament or Lord Mayor.” “Mr. Phillips” referred to Benjamin Samuel Phillips, a prominent British citizen and leader of the Agnlo-Jewish community who had been elected Lord Mayor in September of 1865.  He served with such distinction that Queen Victoria knighted him for his service. Phillips was the second the Jew to hold the post; the first being David Salomons.  His son, Sir George, would also served as Lord Mayor. The level of anti-Semitism displayed in this items stands in stark contrast with the detailed and sympathetic description of Jewish holidays that this paper was publishing in the 19th century.

1865(22nd of Tishrei, 5626): Shmini Atzeret

1872(10thof Tishrei, 5633): Yom Kippur

1873(21stof Tishrei, 5634): Hoshanah Rabah

1873: An article entitled “Curiosities of Superstition” published today traces the history of “host desecration” including a description of the 38 Jews who were burned to death in 1510 “because they had tortured the consecrated host until bled.”

1877: An application was made to Judge Barrett on behalf of the two children of the late Abraham Weisberg to order the Public Administrator to turn the two hundred dollars that constituted his estates to Rabbi Ash of the Ludlow-Street Synagogue so that he could send the money to the children living in Poland.  Weisberg was a Jewish peddler who had been murdered two years ago in New York’s Westchester Country.  The judge denied the application saying a guardian for the minor children would have to be appointed before going forward with the dispersal of funds.

1878(15thof Tishrei, 5639): Sukkoth

1879: An article published today devoted to the describing the rich variety of shell-fish used by cooks in Morocco pointed out that these are “utterly tabooed” when it comes to the local Jewish population.

1882: It was reported today that the Prime Minister told members of the Hungarian Chamber of Deputies, that the recent anti-Jewish riots in Pressburg “might …degenerate into” an event “of a socialistic character.” He declared that would he would not tolerate “such excesses.”

1884(23rdof Tishrei, 5645): Simchat Torah

1884: As the effects of the sever economic recession, which has necessitated the closing of many major employers, including the Falls Cotton Mills, grip New England, it is reported that the Polish Jews living in Baltic, a city 8 miles north of Norwich, Conn, are reduced to begging from door to door.

1884: Roderick Waters, who is Christian and Michael Hauman, who is Jewish nearly came to blows today as they vied for the affections of Jewish widow in St. Mark’s Place.

1884: “News of the World” published today described the change in fortunes for Mahmoud Pasha, aka Jacob Freund   The Sultan has brought him back from the Island of Rhodes where he had been living in exile since 1876 and restored him to his former position of prominence.  Mahmoud Pasha was a Polish born Jew named Jacob Freund who had fled Hungary after the revolution there failed and, after converting, became “the ablest of Turkish Generals.

1885: “The Only One In America” published today described the opening of the first and only “Hebrew-Christian Church” in the United States.  Located in New York, it is the only congregation that has been established by Jewish converts to Christianity. (Editor’s note – Jews for Jesus type movements are obviously note a creation of the late 20thcentury.)

1886: “The Anchroia’s Long Trip” described the perilous ocean crossing of a steamer that that had its propeller shaft brake causing havoc among the crew and passengers. Fortunately, only two passengers died in the chaos, one of whom was an unnamed Polish Jew who was buried at sea.

1888: “The Fifteenth Season” published today described the first event of 1888-1889 season sponsored by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.  Among those who addressed those attending the gala at Chickering Hall was Chauncey M. Depew. (Depew was not Jewish. He was an attorney who became President of the New York Central Railroad and U.S. Senator from New York. His willingness to speak at the YMHA gathering gives an indication of the importance of the organization.)  The speeches were followed by an evening of choral music with violin accompaniment.

1889: Max Maretzek, the Moravian born American opera conductor and composer, celebrated his Golden Jubilee

1891(10th of Tishrei, 5652): Yom Kippur

1891: In Columbus, GA, more than fifty Jewish owned stores closed because of the Day of Atonement.

1891:  Birthdate of Edith Stein.  Stein converted to Catholicism.  When she became a nun she took the name "Teresia Benedicta ac Cruce."  Sister Teresia left




after the Nazis came to power.  In 1942, the Nazis ordered the arrest of Catholics of Jewish origin living in


.  This included clergy like Sister Teresia.  Sister Teresia was once again Edith Stein.  She died in
in August of 1942.  If people who converted to Catholicism are really Catholics it is hard to understand how the Pope gave up these members of his flock. Eventually, Edith Stein would be made Saint.  Cynics would say that in one respect the Church has remained consistent.  It loves Jews, as long as they are dead. The fate of Edith Stein gave those studying in Cedar Rapids something to discuss when they studied the Papal response to Hitler and the Holocaust.

1892(21stof Tishrei, 5653): Hoshana Rabah

1903(21stof Tishrei, 5664): Hoshana Rabah

1906(23rdof Tishrei, 5667): Simchat Torah

1906: In Australia, Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs began serving as Puisne Justice of the High Court of Australia.

1910(9thof Tishrei, 5671): Erev Yom Kippur

1911: Multiple telegrams were received in




, Gabes and Djerba, appealing for help for the many thousands of Jewish refugees who had come from



1914(22ndof Tishrei, 5675): Shemini Atzeret

1914: Birthdate of Mauricio Leib Lasansky, “an Argentine-born master printmaker who was equally well known for a series of drawings depicting the horrors of Nazism…” (As reported by Margalit Fox)

1918: Upon hearing that the German government had accepted President Wilson’s condition for negotiation, “the German born Zionist Arthur Ruppin noted in his diary how he ‘went for a long walk and continuously repeated to myself the one word: Peace! How much it means.’” Ruppin’s joy was premature and it would be another month before Peace would become a reality.

1919: The New York Times includes a review of Past and Present: A Collection of Essays by Dr. Israel Friedlander, a noted member of the faculty of the Jewish Theological Seminary and an author of several volumes on Jewish history.

1921: According to New York City political leaders yesterday's drop in voter registration, as compared with both the first day's registration and that of last year was mainly due to the fact that the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur began yesterday evening.  “In many instances Jewish registration inspectors left their booths at sundown” which delayed registration for those waiting in line.  “The Jewish holiday kept the registration down on the East side of
” and other East side locations because Jews did not come out to register on the eve of Yom Kippur.  The importance of observing Yom Kippur was a universal factor among Jews regardless of affiliation as can be sen by the fact that Jacob Schiff, who was serving as Chairman of one of the registration boards and a co-religionist serving on the board “quit work at sunset.”  When Schiff was challenged by waiting voters he replied, “We are sorry, but you observe your holidays and we must observe ours.”  The Board of Elections admitted that it had not even considered the disruption that would take place when voter registration coincided with the most important holiday on the Jewish calendar.

1923:  Birthdate of Jean Nidetch, founder of Weight Watchers. “The story of the establishment of Weight Watchers International begins with the personal story of a New York housewife who wanted to succeed at losing weight. In 1963, Mrs. Jean Nidetch , a Jewish woman in her forties, who had experienced many failed attempts at losing weight and gaining weight, decided to lose weight forever.”  So begins the saga as described by the Weight Watchers Program.  There are those who say the program is very Jewish.  Like Moses, Ms. Nidetch started with a list of foods you could not eat and book.

1925: Birthdate of Julius Bronstein, a 34 for year veteran of the Chicago Police Department

1926: Birthdate of Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein, a National Institutes of Health pathologist who helped develop and refine tests to ensure the safety of vaccines for polio and measles, organized the NIH response to the AIDS epidemic, and became the first woman appointed director of an NIH institute.”

1927: Anna Boudin, Mrs. Jacob Panken and Florence Dolowitz organized the first meeting of the Women's American ORT (WAO). Originally founded in Tsarist Russia in the 1880s, ORT (the Russian acronym stands for Organization for the Distribution of Artisanal and Agricultural Skills) was organized to provide vocational training to help impoverished Russian Jews become more economically self-sufficient. The American arm of ORT, founded in 1922, was only open to men. Dolowitz and Boudin, who were married to ORT officers, founded WAO to assist in funding ORT programs intended to help Eastern European Jews devastated by World War I. Starting with fundraising concerts and bazaars, WAO grew in response to the rise of Nazism and the plight of Jewish refugees. Women's American ORT became an independent organization in 1940, helping to fund International ORT's growing number of vocational high schools in Europe, India, Israel, and North Africa. Today WAO focuses primarily on fundraising for ORT schools and programs around the world, including schools in

New York


Los Angeles

, and


. These programs assist disadvantaged individuals and communities to be self- sufficient by providing education and training in employment skills. The organization also maintains a public policy platform advocating for quality public education, increased literacy and women's rights, the separation of church and state, the elimination of anti-Semitism, and the fostering of Jewish communities worldwide. (As reported by the Jewish Women’s Archives)

1929: The British High Commissioner sends a telegram to the government in


warning that the Arabs of Palestine had recently obtained a considerable number of arms from
and the
which they intended to use in attacks on the Jewish population.

1930: Birthdate of New Rochelle native Jack Gottlieb, a noted composer who “served as President of the ASJM for a number of years.”


1933(23rd of Tishrei, 5694): Simchat Torah

1933: William E. Dodd, FDR’s newly appointed Ambassador to Germany, defied the conventional wisdom and gave a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Berlin in which he was highly critical of the Nazi regime.  Among the high-ranking Nazis in attendance were Goebbels and Alfred Rosenberg.

1934: Birthdate of architect, Richard Meier.

1935(15thof Tishrei, 5695): Sukkoth

1939: The first Jewish deportees left





1939: Hans Frank is appointed governor-general of Occupied Poland.

1940(10th of Tishrei, 5701): Yom Kippur; it is also Shabbat.


1940: For the first time in 940 years, non-Christian religious services were held in Iceland. Approximately twenty five Jewish soldiers from England, Scotland and Canada gathered with eight Jewish refugees and Hendrik Ottósson, who had married a Jewish woman to observe Yom Kippur. Ottósson, served as their Shammash. The Icelandic authorities offered a chapel in Reykjavík's old cemetery. Ottósson found the suggestion insulting and rented a hall of the Good Templars' Lodge. They borrowed the only Torah scroll available in town.

1940: On this Jewish Day of Atonement, German loudspeakers in Warsaw, Poland, announce that all Jews in the city must move to the Jewish ghetto by the end of the month.

1940(10th of Tishrei, 5701): The Nazis executed 3,400 Jews in Galicia.

1941: InStanislawow, Eastern Galicia, all of the Jews living in the district, were driven out of their homes into the center of the town where massive graves had been dug. SS troops and Ukrainian militia commence machine gunning of the gathered populace. Estimates of the number of Jews murdered range from a low of 6,000 to a high of 12,000. For the Jews, it was Hoshanah Rabbah, (the Great Prayer day.) The Ukrainian and German killers throw a "Bloody Sunday" victory celebration.

1941: At


, hundreds of Gypsies are murdered. Jews were the primary victims of genocide, but not the only victims.

1941: The head of the


expresses his gratitude for a bequest by the late Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandies to the school’s Law Library.  About two decades ago, Justice. Brandies selected the



of the


as beneficiary of specific current gifts from him because, in his judgment, this university is much less liable to political influence than institutions under complete public control.

1941(21stof Tishrei, 5702): Hoshanah Rabah

1945: Forty women rescued from Nazi concentration camps were the first to be sheltered in the new sixty-bed wing opened” today “at the Women’s League for Palestine home at Haifa.  In New York, “Mrs. David L. Isaacs, who head the Palestine committee of the league” described “the welcome given the group rescued from Bergen-Belsen, Buchwald and Auschwitz.”

1945: British authorities continued their search of a secret radio that was “attempting to rally Jewish resistance forces.”  Shortly before a secret radio station “that was attempting to rally Jewish resistance forces…broadcast the announcement ‘Listen to the voice of Israel!  This is not a terrorist station.  This is the station of Hebrew resistance. Never again will Jews be deported from their homeland.  Our patience is over.  No power in the world shall break our determination.”







recognize the All Palestine Government.


’s King Abdullah had already refused to grant this entity any power in territory seized by his Arab Legion.  In other words, there was to be no Palestinian control over what is now called the
West Bank
and the



section of



1953:  The “Caine Mutiny Court Martial” opened at the Plymouth Theatre in New York.  This Broadway dramatic hit was based on the novel The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk.  Wouk has had a successful writing career dealing with both non-Jewish and Jewish themes.  More to the point, he has been successful without compromising his very strong belief in traditional Judaism and the state of



1955(26th of Tishrei, 5716): Arthur Hammerstein passed away. Born in 1872, this son of Oscar Hammerstein I and uncle of Oscar Hammerstein II, “was an opera producer and one of the writers of the song "Because of You," a major hit (#1 for 10 weeks) for Tony Bennett in 1951. Hammerstein wrote the song in 1940. It was used in the film I Was an American Spy (1951). He was the producer of the musical comedies The Firefly (1912), and Rose Marie (1924), which he did along with his nephew. He also was the producer of the film The Lottery Bride (1930), and made an appearance as himself in an episode of the film series Popular Science in 1949. Arthur Hammerstein was born and educated in New York City. Arthur's daughter, Elaine Hammerstein was a well-known stage and film actress.”

1956: In response to a request from a very worried Jordanian King, the British government informed


that, in accordance with the treaties with






would go to the aid of both these countries if they were attacked by


.  The irony was that


was negotiating with




over plans to attack


and seize the
Suez Canal

1957: Publication of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged which, in 2007, will be described as one of the most influential business books ever written.

1958: Fifty sticks of dynamite exploded in the entryway of


's Hebrew Benevolent Society -- the oldest and largest Reform congregation, commonly known as the


. Five men, all associated with white separatist groups like the National States' Rights Party, were tried and acquitted. No one was ever convicted for the crime. The bombing came as Rabbi Jacob Rothschild was becoming increasingly active in the Civil Rights movement.

1959(10thof Tishrei, 5720): Yom Kippur

1960(21stof Tishrei, 5721): Hoshanah Rabah

1963: Archaeological digs began at


was the site of the famous “last stand” during the “War Against Rome” that ended with the destruction of the



.  The archaeological dig was important because it gave credence to Jewish history.  Of course the debate continues to this day as to who was right – the Jews of Masada or the Jews of Yavnah.

1967:  In discussing his latest archeological finds, Dr. Yigael Yadin,


's leading archeologist contends that King Solomon may have indulged a passion for building during his long reign from 960 to 922 B.C., but he did not build the stables at Megiddo

1973: Moshe Koren safely ejected from his F-4E Phantom Jet after it fell victim to Lebanese anti-aircraft fire and was recovered by IDF forces.

1973: Ran Goren and Micha Oren were safely recovered by IDF forces after their F-4E Phantom Jet was shot down by an Egyptian MiG-21.

1973: A week after the Yom Kippur War began, Avraham Lanir scored his third and last aerial kill, downing a Syrian MiG-17 in the vicinity of Kuneitra while flying Mirage 5

1973: As many as 15,000 Iraqi troops had reached the Syrian front and were prepared to attack Israeli forces. The Israelis lucked out and spotted a lead contingent of fifty Iraqi tanks. When the Iraqis reached to within three yards of the outnumbered Israelis, the IDF tanks opened fire destroying 17 tanks and halting the assault The Soviets completed a twenty-four hour air lift during which eighty large Soviet transport planes landed in Syria filled with a wide variety of arms that more than compensated for the Syrian losses during the first week of fighting. On the southern front, Egyptian tanks and troops continued to pour across the
Suez Canal
posing a new threat to the Israelis.

1973:  In the midst of the perilous first week of the Yom Kippur War a dispute broke out between the Sephardic Chief Rabbi and his Ashkenazi counterpart.
October 12, 1973
was a Friday.  As the sun was setting the Sephardic Rabbi announced that it was a sin to bake bread on Shabbat, even in war time.  The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Goren, the man who had been chief rabbi of the IDF in the 1967 war said that it was perfectly permissible to break the rules of Shabbat and bake bread during war time.  Doesn’t this remind you of


during the Roman Siege?

1975: Birthdate of Aharon Mordechai Rokeach the only child and heir of the current Rebbe of Belz, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach. Born in Jerusalem, Israel, he was named after his father's uncle, Rabbi Aharon Rokeach, the fourth Belzer Rebbe, and his father's father, Rabbi Mordechai of Bilgorai.

1978: Representatives of Israel and Egypt opened peace talks in Washington, D.C.

1984: It was reported today that memoirs of Jaroslav Seifert, the newly named Nobel Prize winner in Literature, contain a “selection, titled 'Russian Bliny,' is about Roman Jakobson, a Russian born Jewish scholar who emigrated to Czechoslovakia after World War I and came to the United States during World War II.”

1987(20th of Tishrei, 5748): Sixth Day of Sukkoth

1987(20th of Tishrei, 5748): Oliver Louis Zangwill an influential British neuropsychologist passed away today. Born in 1913, he was Professor of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, 1952-81, then Professor Emeritus. He was the son of Israel Zangwill and the grandson of William Edward Ayrton. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1977





signed a trade agreement and made plans for establishing diplomatic relations.

1989:A Syrian Air Force major flying a Soviet-made fighter-bomber landed in


today, stunning Israeli officials who said the pilot had asked for political asylum..

1990(23rdof Tishrei, 5751): Simchat Torah

1997: In an entitled “Neighborhood Report: Corona –New Worshipers Are Bane, Not Balm, for Old Synagogue,” Charlie Leduff describes the challenges faced at Tifereth Israel as an influx of  Bukharan Jews face the aging members of the nine decades old synagogue.

1997: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or about topics of special interest to Jews including The Myth of Rescue: Why the Democracies Could Not Have Saved More Jews From the Nazisy by William D. Rubinstein, Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews by Eva Hoffman and God & The American Writer by Alfred Kazin.

2000: Ben Weider received the French Legion of Honor.  A successful body builder and businessman, Weider was a student of history who worked to prove that Napoleon had been poisoned.

2000(13thof Tishrei, 5761): Vadim Nurhitz and Yossi Avrahami, two Israeli reservists who entered Ramallah by mistake were arrested by the PA. While in the custody of the PA, a mob savagely murdered them and then mutilated their bodies.


2002: In Massachusetts, Boston College, a Catholic institution of higher learning, installed “a copy of the Torah in the worship center, where it is expected to be used” for future Friday and Saturday services.

2003: The New York Timesfeatured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or about topics of special interest to Jews including Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright with Bill Woodward and Why


Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11 by Gerald Posner.

2005(9th of Tishrei, 5766): Erev Yom Kippur: In the evening, Jews all over the world gather to hear Kol Nidre marking the start of Yom Kippur

2006: In New York, the Albany County District Attorney acknowledged that he was investigating the hiring of a chauffeur by the Comptroller of New York, Alan Hevesi.

2007(30th of Tishrei, 5768): Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan

2007: The film “Jewish Life in


”is screened at the




New York City

2007: Yaakov Katz the military correspondent and defense analyst for The Jerusalem Post, the Middle East's leading English daily speaks at the Hillel House at the University of Iowa

2007: Some of the world's best klezmer musicians gathered in a

New York

neighborhood that was once home to poor immigrant Jews for a 10-day festival of the music rooted in their Eastern European cultures.

2008: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or about topics of special interest to Jews including My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for His Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq by Ariel Sabar and The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs by Charles D. Ellis.

2008: The Washington Post featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or about topics of special interest to Jews including Hitler’s Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe by Mark Mazower and two paperback offering: A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich; Translated from the German by Caroline Mustill and Just Say Nu Yiddish for Every Occasion (When English Just Won't Do) by Michael Wex.

2008: In


, members of The Temple gathered for the blast's 50th anniversary, recalling its terrifying aftermath and the way it changed their congregation's mission to promote racial equality. The bombing of a prominent


synagogue in 1958 claimed no lives, but the community outrage that it prompted helped galvanize the city's nervous Jewish community to embrace the civil rights movement."What could have been a terribly tragic event had the effect of making the congregation more confident, and more willing to get involved in controversial events," said Ellen Rafshoon, who curated an exhibit on the bombing at Emory University's rare manuscripts library. The Reform congregation, housed in a handsome cluster of buildings on one of Atlanta's busiest streets, had for years discouraged conflicts with Atlanta's dominant Christian community. But the synagogue's message changed when it hired Rabbi Jacob Rothschild to lead the congregation in 1946. Sermons encouraging racial equality soon became an annual tradition on Jewish holidays, and the rabbi slowly pushed his congregants to work for integration. "He suspected all along that he was endangering the congregation and his family," said Rothschild's widow, Janice Rothschild Blumberg, who remarried after the rabbi's death in 1973. "But he felt he had to do it, that this was his duty — as a rabbi and a human being." On the early morning of

Oct. 12, 19
, some 50 sticks of dynamite exploded in the synagogue's entryway, destroying a part of the building. At least six other synagogues around the nation had been targeted by bombs in the previous year. But it was a particular shock for congregants who believed


— whose leaders fostered a reputation as a bustling, progressive city — was immune from the hate crimes spreading across other parts of the South. "We were so naive at the time," said Jill Shapiro Thornton, a


member and a ninth-grade student at the time of the bombing. The city's Jewish community worried the bombing would be met with a halfhearted response, as had happened in the aftermath of the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank, a


member who was killed by a white mob. Instead, the


was flooded with letters and donations, messages of support from Girl Scout troops, concerned clergy — even a white citizens council in


. Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield visited the


and quickly went on television to condemn the bombers and the politicians who he said should share the blame. "Whether they like it or not, every political rabble-rouser is the godfather of these cross burners and dynamiters who sneak about in the dark and give a bad name to the South," he said. "It is high time the decent people of the South rise and take charge." Dozens of city, state and federal investigators fanned out across the area, arresting five suspects with ties to anti-Semitic groups. One suspect, George Bright, was acquitted in a high-profile trial, and charges against the other four co-defendants were dropped. Rothschild, meanwhile, continued to urge his flock to embrace racial equality. Among his proudest accomplishments was co-hosting an integrated dinner after Martin Luther King Jr. had won the Nobel Prize in 1964. Some 20 percent of the event's donors were Jewish, Rafshoon said. "Jews had become complacent and afraid, reluctan

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