January 10 In History

49 BCE: Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signaling the start of civil war. Caesar’s opposition was led by Pompey, the Roman who defiled the Holy of Holies, mocked the Jewish religion and shipped thousands of Jewish slaves to Rome. On the other hand, once Caesar had won the war, he allowed the walls of Jerusalem to be rebuilt, instituted a taxation system that took the sabbatical year into consideration and made it possible for the Jews living in the Italian peninsula to form into communities. The Jews living under Caesar must have thought him to be at least the “lesser of two evils” if not a “good guy” since Romans of the time took note of the unusual grief displayed by the Jews when he was assassinated by Brutus and his cohorts.

1072: Robert Guiscard conquers Palermo, Sicily. His new subjects certainly included at least some Jews. By the time the Norman warrior took control of the Sicilian city, Jews had been living on the island for at least 400 hundred years since records exist of letters being written to Pope Gregory I whose papacy ended in 604, about the conditions of the Jews living in Sicily. Conditions for the Jews would later deteriorate when the Crusaders stopped at the Island and by the start of the 15th century Jews would be living in Ghettos.

1276: Pope Gregory X passed away. During his papacy Gregory acquiesced to a request by the Jews and issued a bull “which ordained that they were not to be made by brute force to undergo baptism, and that no injury was to be inflicted upon their person or their property.”

1728(Tevet, 5488): Rabbi David Nieto passed away in London. Born in Venice in 1654, Nieto was the Haham of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community in London, later succeeded in this capacity by his son, Isaac Nieto. He first practiced as a physician and officiated as a Jewish preacher at Livorno, Italy. There he wrote in Italian a work entitled "Paschologia" (Cologne, 1702), in which he dealt with the differences of calculation in the calendars of the Greek, Roman, and Jewish churches, and demonstrated the errors which had crept into the calendar from the First Council of Nicaea until 1692. In 1702 Nieto succeeded Solomon Ayllon as ecclesiastical chief of the Portuguese Jews in London; and two years after his settlement in that city he published his theological treatise, Della Divina Providencia, ó sea Naturalezza Universal, ó Natura Naturante (London, 1704). This work provoked much opposition against him; and it was used by his opponents as ground for accusing him openly of Spinozism, which at that period was equivalent to atheism. However, Tzvi Ashkenazi, who was called in as arbitrator, decided in his favor (Hakham Tzvi, Responsa, No. 18). Nieto was a powerful controversialist. In his Matteh Dan, or Kuzari Heleq Sheni (London, 1714), written in Hebrew and Spanish on the model of the Kuzari of Judah ha-Levi he defended the Oral Torah against the Karaites, and showed that the contradictions of the Talmud lay not in essentials but in externals. ("Karaites" here does not refer to the historic Jewish sect of that name, of whom there were none in Western Europe, but to Jewish dissidents such as Uriel Acosta who cast doubt on the Oral Torah.) He waged war untiringly on the supporters of the Shabbethaian heresies, which he regarded as dangerous to the best interests of Judaism, and in this connection wrote his Esh Dat (London, 1715) against Hayyun (who supported Shabbetai Zevi). Nieto was one of the most accomplished Jews of his time and was equally distinguished as philosopher, physician, poet, mathematician, astronomer, and theologian. A prolific writer, his intercourse with Christian scholars was extensive, especially with Ungar, the bibliographer. Nieto was the first to fix the time for the beginning of Sabbath eve for the latitude of England.

1784: Louis XVI of France abolished the poll-tax on Jews in Alsace-Lorraine. This tariff, the same as for market animals was paid by Jews who wished to enter certain cities. The poll tax had been instituted in many countries in Europe, dating back as far as the Roman Emperor Domitian (93CE) though it was only adopted in Europe in the 14th century.

1791: King Leopold II of Hungary approved the bill passed by the Diet protecting the rights of the Jews.

1798: Anti-Jewish riots took place in Ancona, Italy

1801: Birthdate of Isaac ben Jacob Benjacob, Russian born “bibliographer, author, and publisher/”

1807: In London, Rabbi Solomon Hirschel delivered a sermon today warning Jews against sending their children to a free school that had been opened by the London Missionary.

1833 Felix Mendelssohn's "Die erste Walpurgisnacht" premiered in Berlin. While this may have been a grand day for the world of music, it was a sad one for the Jews. Felix Mendelssohn was the Lutheran grandson of Moses Mendelssohn. For some, the fate of Felix Mendelssohn was proof of the dangers of the teachings of Moses Mendelssohn.

1845: Birthdate of William Henry Hechler, the Anglican minister who fought against anti-Semitism, promoted Zionism and was a close personal friend and advisor to Theodor Herzl.

1846: Today, Shabbat, Dr. Max Lilienthal was installed as Chief Rabbi of the three congregations of German Jews, (Anshay Chessed, Shaaray Shamayim, Rodef Shalom) in New York City at the Henry Street Synagogue

1847: Birthdate of Jakob Heinrich Schiff, the native of Germany who gained fame as Jacob Henry Schiff, the New York City financier and philanthropist.1854(10th of Tevet, 5614): Asara B'Tevet

1860: Today's City Intelligence column reported that “The efforts which have been made to raise a fund for the suffering Jews and Protestants at Gibraltar have met with great success. It is estimated that $10,000 will be sufficient to load a vessel at this port with such provisions and clothing as would be most acceptable to the destitute multitude which is so badly in need of food and clothing.” Those being helped were probably refugees from the fighting that resulted from Spain’s invasion of Morocco in 1859.

1861: Florida seceded from the Union. At the time of secession, David Levy Yulee, one of the Senators representing the Sunshine State and the first Jew elected to the U.S. Senate withdrew from that body and joined a similar institution of the Confederacy. Yulee married a Christian and his children were raised in the faith of his wife. David Camden DeLeon, who gained famed in the Florida’s Seminole Wars, would leave the U.S. Army and be named the first Surgeon General of the CSA.

1875: The New York Times featured a review of “Remains of Lost Empires” by P.V.N. Myers and H.M. Myers that includes a sketch of Palmyra which owes it creation to King Solomon. Known in the Bible as “Tadmor in the Wilderness, the “City of Palms” has a more interesting and chequered history than such famous ancient cities as Babylon or Ninveh.

1881: Birthdate of Irma R.M. Peixotto, the native New Yorker who was the daughter of Daniel Levy Maduro Peixotto and the granddaughter of Moses Levy Maduor Peixotto.

1883: Publication of the first edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette. (Editor’s note – 130 years later the Gazettewould continue to be a locally owned independent newspaper providing, among other things, the kinds of stories about religion and culture that dispel ignorance and promote harmony and understanding.  The Gazette has a history of covering stories about Jewish customs and ceremonies on the local level.  For example, when the Gazette did a story about the foods of Passover, an editor came to a Seder hosted by a local family and then published reminisces and recipes.  The Editorial Page publishes letters, guest columns and op-ed pieces on the dangers of anti-Semitism and the dangerous challenges faced by Israel.  Jews and non-Jews alike are the beneficiaries of the efforts of those who work so hard to provide a vanishing treasure – independent, locally owner, quality journalism.)

1884: Father Marie Theodor Ratisbonne, who had converted to Christianity at the age of 22 passed away today.  His conversion was an extreme example of changes in religion by western European Jews who felt the baptismal font was the only path to full acceptance.

1884: “Will of Julius Hallgarten” published today described the various bequests made by the late Jewish financer. The estate was valued at over three million dollars. Besides making providing for the financial needs of his family, he left bequests to a variety of educational institutions including Yale, Harvard and Columbia as well as Mt. Sinai Hospital and the Hebrew Benevolent Orphan Asylum Society.  In a move that was unique in its day (and even more unique today), Hallgarten made provision for each of the clerks working for his company to receive an amount equal to 20% of their annual salary

1886: The Passover Relief Society sponsored a ball in Tammany Hall as a fund raiser under the direction of Mrs. Rosendorff.

1890: Birthdate of Russian born physicist Grigori Landsberg. Landsberg graduated from Moscow University in 1913. His primary scientific contribution was in the fields of optics and spectroscopy. He was a co-discoverer of inelastic scattering of light used in Raman spectroscopy. He passed away in 1957.

1892: James J. Hoffman, President of the Board of Trustees presided over the annual meeting of the Hebrew Technical Institute today.

1892: It was reported today that London has become so cosmopolitan that “a Russian Jew…dressed in his native garb is hardly noticed…”

1894: Birthdate of Uri Zvi Greenberg. Born in Poland to a Chasidic family, Greenberg gained fame as a poet who wrote in both Yiddish and Hebrew. Originally a favorite of the Labor Zionists, Greenberg became a supporter of Jabotinsky. During the thirties, he was one of those who warned the Jews of the dangers presented by Hitler and the Nazis. While he was able to escape his family perished. He was a right wing member of the Knesset. While his political views were viewed as extreme, his value as a poet was unquestioned. In 1957 he was honored with the Israel Prize. Greenberg’s belief that the Covenant with Abraham, later renewed with the Jews at Sinai, is the basis of Jewish being” infused both his art and his politics. He passed away in 1981.

1896: It was reported today that during December of 1895, the United Hebrew Charities spent over fourteen thousand dollars to meet needs of those who applied for aid. In addition to providing clothing, shoes and lodging, the Employment Division found employment for 531 of its 750 applicants and training in sewing and dressmaking for 234 young ladies.

1896: As part of the ongoing attempt by some to convert Jews to Christianity, the American Mission to the Jews will open a new mission house today in New York City.

1897: German born, British financer and businessman Gustav Christian Schwabe passed away. At the age of six he was forcibly converted to the Lutheran religion.

1897: It was reported today that $38,537.12 had been donated to the Hebrew Technical Institute during its first year of operation and expenses were $34,658.66 for the same period.  The school offered six classes in various vocational courses which had an average attendance of 86 boys.

1897: Jacob H. Schiff presented the Young Men’s Hebrew Association with a new home at 861 Lexington Avenue, New York.

1897: It was reported today that Judge M.S. Isaacs complimented the graduating class of the Baron de Hirsch Trade Schools on their work after which each of the youngsters received his own set of tools and a tool-chest that had been made by the carpentry students.

1898: Birthdate of Russian film director Sergei M Eisenstein.

1899: Dr. Waldemar Mordecai Haffkine, an orthodox Jewish Russian scientist from the Pasteur Institute, established the Haffkine Institue  which is located in Mumbai, India.

1904: Savannah’s Mickve Israel joined the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

1912: The New York Jewish community made arrangements for a course of lectures to be given by Miss Dona Saruya on Jewish dietary laws at Teachers' College.

1917: Birthdate of music producer Jerry Wexler. Yes, the man who brought you music all the way from Aretha Franklin to Bob Dylan is Jewish.

1917: Jacob H. Schiff, banker and philanthropist celebrated his seventieth birthday today.

1919: Birthdate of Milton Parker who will bring long lines and renown to the Carnegie Deli in Manhattan with towering pastrami sandwiches and who, as a voluble partner will kibitz with common folk and celebrities alike. He will record his exploits in How to Feed Friends and Influence People: The Carnegie Deli – A giant sandwich, a little deli, a huge success.

1920: The U.S. House of Representatives refused to all Victor L. Berger take his seat as the elected Congressman from Wisconsin’s 5th District. The refusal was based on the fact that Berger was a member of the Socialist Party.

1920: The League of Nations holds its first meeting, and ratifies the Treaty of Versailles, therefore ending World War I. The most significant fact of the day was the absence of the United States from the League. This absence was proof positive of America’s retreat to a policy of Isolationism that was a contributing factor to the start of World War II.

1920: Birthdate of Max Patkin known as “the Clown Prince of Baseball.” Patkin, who passed away in 1999, is honored with a place in the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

1922(10th of Tevet, 5682): Asara B'Tevet

1923: Lithuania seizes and annexes Memel. Memel had been part of the German Empire before WWI. The Germans lost control under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. How Lithuanian came to control Memel is too convoluted a tale for this blog. The Jews of Memel who would number 9.000 by the start of World War II, were trapped between the Lithuanians, who ran the city's government, and the Germans, who were a majority. After Hitler rose to national power in Germany in 1933, the Nazis began campaigning for the city's return to Germany. This campaign included anti-Jewish riots and other anti-Semitic actions. In October 1938 the local Nazis called for the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws in Memel; at the end of that year the Nazis won 26 of 29 seats in the city's parliament, effectively making Memel part of Germany. German troops entered Memel in March 1939. Many of the Lithuanians and almost all of the city's Jews had managed to escape to Kovno and other nearby towns before the invasion. However, after the Nazis took over Lithuania in mid-1941, they destroyed those Jews along with the rest of Lithuanian Jewry. When Memel was liberated by the Soviet army in January 1945, not one Jew remained.

1924 (4th of Shevat, 5684): The former Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Elyachar Haim Moshe, passed away at the age of 80.

1927: Fritz Lang's “Metropolis” premieres. German born film director Lang had a Catholic father and a Jewish mother. His mother converted to Catholicism and he was raised as a Catholic. When Hitler came to power, Lang was offered a prominent position in the German film industry. Lang turned down the offer and eventually fled Germany. He felt that the regime would eventually turn on him because he was “half-Jewish.” This experience led him to become a staunch anti-fascist and anti-Nazi.

1928: Birthdate of Philip Levine, two time winner of the National Book Award for Poetry and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1995 for “Simple Truth.”

1928: The Soviet Union ordered the exile of Leon Trotsky.

1928: George and Ira Gershwin’s musical "Rosalie" premiered in New York City

1929: “Street Scene,” a play by Elmer Rice (born Elmer Leopold Reizenstein), opened at the Playhouse Theatre in New York City on and ran for a total of 601 performances. The action of this ambitious, groundbreaking play takes place entirely on the front stoop of a New York City brownstone and in the adjacent street in the early part of the 20th century. It studies the daily and complex lives of the people living in the building (and surrounding neighborhood) and their sad, often tragic interactions. It won the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The main characters are Anna Maurrant, dealing with issues of infidelity; Rose Maurrant, her daughter, who struggles with the demands of her job and boss and her attraction to a Jewish neighbor, Sam Kaplan; Frank Maurrant, the domineering and sometimes abusive husband and father of Anna and Rose; Sam, a caring and concerned neighbor in love with Rose; and many other neighbors and passersby.

1932: In Brooklyn, Rabbi Simon R. Cohen celebrated his 25th anniversary as the spiritual leader of Union Temple.

1936: Birthdate of Alvin "Al" Goldstein “an American publisher and pornographer who founded the pornographic magazine Screw in 1968.” “In his book XXX-Communicated: A Rebel Without a Shul, Luke Ford writes about a conversation he had with Goldstein. During this conversation he asked Goldstein why the porn industry contained so many Jews. Goldstein answered, "The only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks. Catholicism sucks. We don't believe in authoritarianism." Ford then asked, "What does it mean to you to be a Jew?" To which Goldstein responded, "It doesn't mean shit. It means that I'm called a kike." Ford also asked, "Do you believe in God?" Goldstein said, "I believe in me. I'm God. Fuck God. God is your need to believe in some super being. I am the super being. I am your God, admit it. We're random. We're the flea on the ass of the dog."

1938: The Palestine Post reported that the ongoing citizenship rights revision in Romania could affect the bulk of the Jewish population. It had already deprived many Jewish physicians of their right to practice medicine. An Arab police constable was seriously wounded by an Arab terrorist in the Old City of Jerusalem. Major J.B. Paget, a veteran combatant of the British Armed Forces who once served in Palestine, published in Britain the so-called "Paget Plan," according to which he recommended the establishment of an independent Jewish kingdom in Palestine, under the Duke of Windsor, as hereditary king and ruler. (According to British tradition the Duke of Windsor was the hundredth in direct descent from King David.)

1939: Birthdate of writer William Levy. Known as the Talmudic Wizard of Amsterdam and Dr. Doo-Wop, Levy is the author of such works as The Virgin Sperm Dancer, Wet Dreams, Certain Radio Speeches of Ezra Pound and Natural Jewboy. Mr. Levy attended the University of Maryland and Temple University and taught in the literature department at Shippensburg State College, in Pennsylvania. In 1998, Mr. Levy was awarded the Erotic Oscar for writing at London's Sex Maniac's Ball. Mr. Levy's alter-ego, Dr. Doo Wop, can be heard weekly spinning groovy music across Amsterdam's airwaves. Mr. Levy currently lives in Amsterdam with his wife, the literary translator Susan Janssen

1939: Birthdate of self-described Conservative activist, David Horowitz.

1940: Rabbi Koretz of Salonica, the man who succeeded Rabbi Uziel as chief rabbi of Salonica, was among the candidates who submitted applications to the Tel Aviv committee responsible for selecting a new Chief Sephardic Rabbi. Just three years later Salonica Jewry would be wiped out, and Koretz would be found communally guilty of holding back knowledge of the Germans plan to murder the Jews.

1941: Dutch Jews register with German authorities representing the Nazi occupiers.

1943: In the Generalgouvernement, several thousand Jews who had left forest hiding places on November 10, 1942, after a Nazi promise of safe passage, are betrayed. Most are transported to Treblinka and gassed. The rest of them are sent to labor camps at nearby Sandomierz and Skarzysko Kamienna.

1943: Four hundred Jews who resist their German overseers at the Kopernik camp in Minsk Mazowiecki, Poland, are burned alive in their barracks

1944 (14th of Tevet, 5704): Victor Basch and his wife, Ilona Basch (née Helene Furth) aged 81,were taken from their home in Lyon and assassinated by Joseph Lecussan und Henri Gonnet of the anitisemitic Vichy French Milice Française under orders of the regional chief Paul Touvier. For most of his life he had been a professor at the Sorbonne who support the Zionists and opposed the fascists.

1945: Today, while appearing before Cairo’s supreme military court, two Palestinian Jewish youths, who are generally believed to belong to a right-wing terrorist organization with which a great majority of Zionism vigorously dissociates itself, confessed to the premeditated murder last of Lord Moyne on November 6, 1944. The accused were identified as Eliahu Bet-Tsouri a 23 year old surveyor from Tel Aviv and Eliahu Hakim from Haifa. In court today, the prosecutor demanded that the death sentence be imposed on the two accused.

1946(8th of Sh'vat, 5706): Harry Von Tilzer a very popular United States songwriter born in 1872, passed away today in New York City. Von Tilzer was born in Detroit, Michigan under the name Aaron Gumbinsky which he shortened to Harry Gumm. He ran away and joined a traveling circus at age 14, where he took his new name by adding 'Von' to his mother's maiden name 'Tilzer'. Harry soon proved successful playing piano and calliope and writing new tunes and incidental music for the shows. He continued doing this in Burlesque and Vaudeville shows for some years, writing many tunes which were not published or which he sold to entertainers for 1 or 2 dollars. In 1898 he sold his song "My Old New Hampshire Home" to a publisher for $15, and watched it become a national hit, selling over 2 million copies of the sheet music. This prompted him to become a professional songwriter. He was made a partner of the Shapiro Bernstein Publishing Company. His 1900 number "A Bird In A Gilded Cage" became one of the biggest hits of the age. Von Tilzer became one of the best known Tin Pan Alley songwriters. In 1902 Von Tilzer formed his own publishing company, where he was soon joined by his younger brother Albert Von Tilzer. Harry Von Tilzer's hits included "A Bird in a Gilded Cage", "Cubanola Glide", "Wait 'Til The Sun Shines Nellie", "Old King Tut", "All Alone", "Mariutch", "I Love My Wife, But Oh You Kid!", "They Always Pick On Me", "I Want A Girl Just Like The Girl Who Married Dear Old Dad", And The Green Grass Grew All Around and many others.”

1947: As part of their on-going program to deny Jews the right to enter Eretz Israel, the British took two ships of "illegal" immigrants to Cyprus.

1948: Birthdate of Mischa Maisky. A native of Riga, Maisky is a cellist who won the 1966 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. In 1970, he was imprisoned in a labor camp near Gorky for 18 months. After his release in 1972, he immigrated to Israel to avoid further persecution by the Soviet regime. Later, he moved to Belgium. In his performing and recording career, Maisky has worked in long-standing partnerships with and conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

1948: The British released casualty figures for the last six weeks (covering the two weeks before the Partition vote and the month since Partition was adopted) showing 1069 Arabs, 769 Jews and 123 British casualties. The percentages are disproportionate given the large number of Arabs.

1948: The Arab Liberation Army, based in Syria invaded Eretz Israel. This was part of the war waged against the Jews by the Arabs between the partition vote in November, 1947 and the actual date of British departure in May, 1948. The Arabs were determined to destroy the Jewish state before it was even born. Nine hundred Arab soldiers attacked the Jewish settlement of far Szold which was defended by a force numbering less than 100. “When the British Ambassador in Damascus protested to the Syrians about their role in the attack on Kfar Szold, the Syrian Prime Minister replied ‘Pretty soon the Arab armies will teach the Jews a lesson they will never forget.’”

1949: “The Goldbergs”, the first television show about a Jewish family premiered on CBS. The show was based on the hit radio program that had begun back in 1929 called The Rise of the Goldbergs. Both shows starred Gertrude Berg in the lead as the “Jewish Mother,” Molly Goldberg. The show took place in Brooklyn and began with Molly calling out the window to her neighbor with the signature line “Yoo hoo Mrs. Bloom.”

1951: American author and Nobel Prize winner, Sinclair Lewis passed away. An anti-totalitarian, he saw the danger in the rise of Hitler. Only a year after the Nazis had reached power by constitutional means in Germany, Lewis wrote It Can’t Happen Here in “which he showed how a similar fascist takeover might very well happen here in the sober, God-fearing USA.”

1957: Louis Lefkowitz begins serving as the 59thNew York State Attorney General

1957: Anthony Eden resigns and Harold Macmillan becomes PM Britain. Eden’s government fell as a result of the British involvement in the ill-fated Suez Crisis when an Anglo-French military force joined with the Israelis to fight Egypt in 1956. The Israelis wanted to end the terrorist attacks coming from Gaza and the Sinai. The Europeans were seeking to regain control of the Suez Canal and unseat the Gamal Nasser, President of Egypt and militant Pan-Arabist. The Soviets and the Americans under President Eisenhower thwarted the British and French efforts. The clumsy, timid British military action ended Eden’s time as Prime Minister.

1960: Delmore Schwartz was awarded the Bollinger Prize for poetry.

1961: Mystery writer Dashell Hammett author died from throat cancer at the age of 66. Hammett was not Jewish but he is the one who took the term “shamus” and moved it into the English language as a term referring to a private detective

1971: "Light, Lively & Yiddish" closed at the Belasco Theater in New York City after 87 performances

1972(23rd of Tevet, 5732): Al Goodman died at the age of 81. This Russian born Jewish musician was best known as the orchestra leader for the NBC Comedy Hour, a live Sunday night television show that was quite popular in the 1950’s

1978: The Jerusalem Post reported that "belt tightening" was the keynote of the annual budget speech, made in the Knesset by Finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich. He made it clear that 1978 would not be an easy year ­ neither for the economy, nor for the individual. He hoped, however, for a brighter 1980. The budget was sharply denounced by the Bank of Israel which said that it must be trimmed, as otherwise it would steeply increase inflationary pressures. In spite of the advanced Israeli-Egyptian peace negotiations which could end in a total surrender of the whole Israel-occupied Sinai area, plots for private housing at Yamit were reported to be selling very fast to numerous prospective investors

1979: Billy Carter, brother of President Jimmy Carter makes allegedly anti-Semitic remarks

1982(15th of Tevet, 5742): Lazar Weiner, prolific composer of Jewish and Yiddish music, died at 84

1987: Israeli jets rocketed Palestinian targets near Sidon today, and shellfire from Christian militiamen shut down the Beirut airport again. Palestinian guerrillas, many loyal to Yasir Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, hold strategic positions around the village of Maghdusheh. The Israeli attack followed the firing of a rocket into northern Israel on Tuesday. The rocket damaged a building, but Israeli military censors did not allow publication of other details about the attack, for which the P.L.O. took responsibility. In Tel Aviv, a military spokesman said today that the targets near Maghdusheh were the ''headquarters of Palestinian organizations used for staging terror attacks.''

1989: During the Intifada 2 Palestinian girls died today of head wounds from Israeli gunfire, bringing to four the number of Palestinian teen-agers who have been killed in the last 36 hours.

1991: Israel moved palpably closer to a war footing today as the Defense Ministry and other officials alerted citizens that conflict in the Persian Gulf now appeared likely, and that they should begin preparing for a possible Iraqi attack. The military, already on high alert for the last several months, raised its level of readiness even more by calling up selected reserve air force and intelligence specialists. And civil defense officials began preparing an urgent public information campaign "to start giving more information on what they should do" in case of Iraqi attack, said Dani Naveh, the Defense Ministry spokesman. Across the country today, Israelis flocked to stores, stocking up on canned goods, bottled water, batteries and other war supplies. Repeating a threat Iraq has issued many times, Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz warned on Wednesday night that Iraq would "absolutely" draw Israel into any gulf war. Defense Minister Moshe Arens, asked if he believed that the failed American-Iraqi talks in Geneva made war more likely, said, "I think it is permissible to say that, since there were expectations that something would happen in Geneva." This morning, Israel's large circulation daily newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth, published a main headline declaring, "High Alert!" But Israelis, long hardened to war, were far from panic. Still, across the country, there was clearly heightened concern and a mass effort to prepare. "It's selling fast," a sales clerk, Mirta Lev, said in a Jerusalem office supply store, pointing to a fat roll of heavy plastic sheeting. Israelis are using the material to seal windows against chemical attack. Broadcasting Instructions Mr. Naveh said public service announcements on radio and television would tell people what they should do to insulate a room against poison-gas attack. The ads will also instruct people on the use of the gas masks that have already been distributed to 3.5 million Israelis. In a television appearance, Defense Minister Moshe Arens said, "I'd advise everyone to listen to the radio, through which announcements to the public will be made." Already, Israelis are mobbing grocery stores to stockpile supplies. "People are buying baking soda and canned goods," said Hannah Dani, deputy manager of a Jerusalem grocery store. A baking soda-soaked rag is believed to be an effective filter against gas. "There's an increase in buying, but they aren't panicking," she added. While Israelis are preparing themselves for possible war, foreigners are fleeing. Most hotels are nearly empty, and many embassies are sending nonessential employees home. At the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv, the general manager, Raul Jacoby, said he expected only 30 percent occupancy next week, compared with 70 to 80 percent at this time last year. Other hotels told similar stories. But there was one exception -- the King David in Jerusalem, a favored hotel for American Jewish visitors. "At the moment we are 100 percent full," Joseph Heksch, the general manager, said today. "But most of the guests are Jewish organizations and solidarity groups." Over the last week American Jews in solidarity groups have poured into Israel, to demonstrate their loyalty to Israel. But Mr. Heksch said that "most of these groups plan to leave on the 14th," the day before the United Nations deadline for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait.

1994(27th of Tevet, 5754): Yigal Hurvitz passed away. Born at Hahal Yehuda in 1918, he served as a member of the Jewish Brigade during World War II. A member of Mapia who joined the various parties founded by David Ben Gurion, Hurvitz was an MK who held several ministerial positions including Minister of Finance.

1996: Israel freed hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in return for further assurances from Arafat et al that there would be no return to violence.

1997(2nd of Sh'vat, 5757): Actor, director, producer Sheldon Leonard passes away.

1997: On the second day of the Red Sea International Music Festival, the venue moves across the border from Eilat to Aqaba for the premiere of works commissioned from Charbon Shalayev, a Tagikistani composer, and Oded Zehavi, an Israeli. Also on that program will be Rimsky-Korsakov's ''Scheherazade,'' Mussorgsky's ''Night on Bald Mountain'' and Ippolitov-Ivanov's ''Caucasian Sketches.'' In what the sponsors call a move to foster peace in the Middle East, the Red Sea International Music Festival is being held at sites in both Israel and Jordan.

1999: The New York Times book section included reviews of Murder in the Name of God: The Plot to Kill Yitzhak Rabin by Michael Karpin and Ina Friedman, Brother Against Brother: Violence and Extremism in Israeli Politics From Altalena to the Rabin Assassination by Ehud Sprinzak, Heart of a Wife: The Diary of a Southern Jewish Woman by Helen Jacobus Apite; edited by Marcus D. Rosenbaum and The Jew of New York by Ben Katchor.

2000: One hundred thousand Israelis packed Rabin Square tonight to protest a withdrawal from the Golan Heights that would be part of any peace agreement with Syria.

2000 (3rd of Shevat, 5760): American producer Sam Jaffe passed away at the age of 99. Born in 1901, he “was, at different points in his career in the motion picture industry, an agent, a producer and a studio executive. He was brother-in-law to B.P. Schulberg which no doubt helped him get his first job at Paramount. Jaffe began as an office boy for Paramount-Famous Players-Lasky Company where he worked his way up through the ranks to become the executive in charge of production. In the early 1930s he worked at Columbia Pictures briefly before leaving to start his own talent agency. He successfully represented several stars of the era, including Lauren Bacall, Peter Lorre, Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, David Niven, Zero Mostel, Richard Burton, and Stanley Kubrick, until the 1950s when his business was negatively affected by investigations of many of his clients by Joseph McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.”

2000: A recess takes place today in the U.S. sponsored peace talks between Israel and Syria. The talks are scheduled to resume on January 19, 2000.

2005: Ophir Pines-Paz began serving as Internal Affairs Minister.

2005: Binyamin Ben-Eliezer began serving as Minister of National Infrastructure

2005: Avrhaham Hirschson replaced Gideon Ezra as Minister of Tourism.

2005: Dalia Itzik replaced Ehud Olmert as Communications Minister.

2005: Isaac Herzog replace Tzipi Livini was Housing and Construction Minister.

2005: Shimon Peres begins serving as Vice Prime Minister.

200610th of Tevet, 5766): Asara B'Tevet: Observance of the Tenth of Tevet, a minor fast day marking the start of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem that would end on the ninth day of Av with the destruction of the Temple.

2006 (10 Tevet): On the secular calendar Judith Sharon Rosenstein (nee Levin) passed away. Known to one and all as Judy, she truly was an Ashit Chayil, “A Woman of Valor.” A devoted wife, loving mother, doting grandmother, faithful friend as well as daughter and sister extraordinaire, Judy is a gift to all who are fortunate enough to be part of her life. “And her children called her ‘Blessed’.” May her name always be remembered!

2007: Alejandro Springall’s film “My Mexican Shivah” or “Morirse esta en hebreo” based on a novella by Ilan Stavans premieres at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater as the opening entry of the New York Jewish Film Festival.

2007(20th of Tevet, 5767): "Bubbe" Maryasha Garelik, who lived through the entire 20th century, surviving the pogroms of czarist Russia, Soviet anti-Semitism and Nazi terror and then dispensing her wisdom to thousands of Lubavitch Jews, passed away at the age of 106. "She was small in size - less than 5 feet tall - but a giant in stature," Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky said.For decades, the bubbe (grandmother in Yiddish) dispensed wisdom to thousands in her Brooklyn neighborhood who came seeking her guidance. Her advice came from decades of trial by fire. According to a Lubavitch biography of Bubbe Maryasha, her father was killed in a pogrom, or organized massacre, in Czarist Russia when she was 5, and her grandparents, with whom she and her mother lived, were subsequently executed. Years later, under Soviet rule, Garelik, her husband and their small children were evicted from their apartment into the deep snow because he refused to do factory work on the Jewish Sabbath. As a Jewish underground operative, he was arrested in the 1930s during Stalin's rule, then shot. (His wife did not know exactly what happened to him until 1998, when his fate was revealed in an unsealed Soviet secret police file). "She was a lone person who stood up to a regime that shot her husband in cold blood in a field," Kotlarsky said. "She was left with six children, ages 1 to 14, and she persevered and raised them by herself, with ethical and moral integrity." When authorities warned her against lighting the Sabbath candles, Garelik fled with her children. The family moved six times in three years due to harassment from Soviet authorities; one home was a stable. But she was resourceful, growing potatoes in back of a synagogue to feed her family - with enough left over to pay for the dilapidated synagogue to be fixed. When an acquaintance tried to persuade her to send her children to the Communist public school, she said emphatically: "Stalin will be torn down before my children are indoctrinated that way," as quoted by her granddaughter Henya Laine, who is now herself a grandmother in Brooklyn. By 1941, when the Germans advanced onto Soviet soil, Garelik and her brood escaped to Uzbekistan, where she made and sold socks to survive. In 1946, they ended up in a detention camp in Germany. After the war, she moved to Paris, where she established a Lubavitch Jewish girls' school that still exists. She immigrated to the United States in 1953, helping to start a Brooklyn organization whose members visited the sick, and a boys' school for which she collected money into old age. God gave her "two healthy feet," she would say. "I can walk; I can take care of myself and help others."

2008: In Kensington, Maryland, Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks reads from her new novel, People of the Book, a work of historic fiction built around The Sarajevo Haggadah.

2008: After leaving Israel, President George W. Bush visits the Palestinian city of Ramallah where he said that refugees should receive compensation for the loss of homes they fled or were forced to flee during the establishment of Israel and declared that should be an end to Israel’s “occupation” of lands seized in war four decades ago.

2009: With the reading of “Vayechi,” completion of the reading of Bereshit (Genesis).

2009: Vandals struck four Chicago-area synagogues early this morning, shattering glass doors and windows with bricks and rocks and spray-painting anti-Israel graffiti. The caretakers at Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation in the normally quiet village of Lincolnwood just outside Chicago woke up to the sound of shattering glass and saw two adults running through the synagogue's parking lot in ski masks. Four bricks were thrown through the building's front doors, but the vandals were unable to gain entry. "Death to Israel Free Palestine," was the message left behind on the walls in bright orange spray paint. Similar incidents occurred around the same time not far away at three synagogues and schools in Chicago's West Rogers Park, a neighborhood dominated by Orthodox Jews. Two windows were shattered at Young Israel of West Rogers Park, "Death to Israel" was spray-painted on the wall of Congregation Anshe Motele and rocks broke a glass window at the Lubavitch Mesivta School. Lubavitch Mesivta's Rabbi Moshe Perlstein told the Chicago Sun-Times that cameras captured video of the men damaging his school at around 4:40 a.m. The footage shows one man spray-painting the side of the building while the other ran around to the front and threw rocks at the front door, breaking a glass window, he said. The video has been turned over to police. Lincolnwood and Chicago police and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force will check whether there was a connection between Saturday's incidents and the December 29 throwing of a Molotov cocktail into Temple Sholom, one of Chicago's oldest and most ornate synagogues, in the Lakeview neighborhood. The city's Ida Crown Jewish Academy high school received a mailed bomb threat two weeks ago that warned of attacks at other Chicago-area Jewish institutions, including day schools.

2009 (14 Tevet, 5769): Edmund de Rothschild, a merchant banker from the renowned banking family’s British branch who led the development of a major hydroelectric project in Labrador while helping his firm expand globally and opening it to people outside his family, passed away at his home at the age of 93. Mr. de Rothschild helped put together what in the early 1950s was the largest project ever undertaken by private enterprise, the giant hydroelectric development. The story began when Joseph R. Smallwood, premier of Newfoundland, which governs Labrador, personally asked Winston Churchill to help arrange for British investment in the project in 1953. Mr. Smallwood said he hoped the British would develop something like the East India Company or the Hudson’s Bay Company. Mr. Smallwood next met with Anthony de Rothschild, who then headed the British Rothschilds’ business, and with Edmund, Anthony’s nephew. As a result, Edmund put together a consortium of seven Canadian and American companies to develop mineral, timber and hydroelectric power resources in an area bigger than England and Wales combined. After many years of political and economic twists and turns, the project, at Churchill Falls (originally named Hamilton Falls), began operating in 1971 as the second-largest hydroelectric plant in North America. Edmund de Rothschild made more than 400 trips to Canada in pushing the project to completion. Mr. de Rothschild also changed the corporate structure of the Rothschild partnership to open it to people from outside the family. He made Rothschild a significant factor in the birth of the Eurobond market, and oversaw the firm’s considerable expansion internationally, particularly to Japan. Edmund Leopold de Rothschild was born on Jan. 2, 1916, in London, and was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. After he graduated, his father, Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, paid for an 18-month trip around the world, The Daily Telegraph reported in its obituary. Edmund went big-game hunting in Africa and rode horseback over the Andes, and told of his adventures in a book, “Window on the World” (1949).He returned from the trip to work at the family firm until World War II. He joined an artillery regiment in the British Army, and served in France, North Africa and Italy, where he was injured. Mr. de Rothschild returned to the firm, where, since the death of his father, his uncle Anthony had been the sole partner. “My knowledge of banking was nonexistent,” The Telegraph quoted him as saying. When Anthony had a stroke in 1955, Edmund effectively took over. He headed both Rothschild Continuation Holdings, the Rothschilds’ holding company based in Switzerland, and the family’s London operation, N. M. Rothschild &; Sons.

2010: The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington is scheduled to present “How Ain't Misbehavin' Became a Broadway Classic” with guest speaker Murray Horwitz ,playwright, co-writer of hit Broadway show Ain't Misbehavin', and a commentator for National Public Radio.

2010: As part of the History of Genocide Initiative, The Center for Jewish History and American Society for Jewish Music is scheduled to present: Imagination and Catastrophe: Art and the Aftermath of Genocide, co-sponsored by American Jewish Historical Society and Yeshiva University Museum.

2010: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Citizen’s Constitution: An Annotated Guide by Seth Lipsky and the recently released paperback edition of Hitler’s Private Library: The Books That Shaped His Life by Timothy W. Ryback.

2010: Opening Route 443 to Palestinian traffic could lead to the "total collapse" of Highway 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, a Transportation Ministry representative told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today.

2010: Two sisters from Tel Aviv, now in their 80s, were given Franz Kafka's manuscripts by their mother, who received them as a gift from Kafka's good friend Max Brod, according to a report submitted to the court today by the executor of the estate of the mother, Esther Hoffe.

2011: NOA who is Achinoam Nini, Israel's leading international concert and recording artist, is scheduled to perform at The City Winery in New York City.

2010: Karen Armstrong, author of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life and A History of God, Islam, and Buddha is scheduled to speak at the Historic 6th & I Synagogue in Washington, D.C.

2011: Israel's leading international concert and recording artist, Tel Aviv native Achinoam Nini, who performs under the name of NOA, is scheduled to appear at The Winery in New York City.

2011: Contemporary Dance Workshop with Israeli born dancer and choreographer Dana Ruttenberg is scheduled to take place at the Peridance Capezio Center in New York.

2011: People of decency and conscience mourn those murdered and wounded in Tucson, Arizona, including Gabriel “Gabby” Giffords, the Jewish congresswoman from Arizona who was the target of the assassination. Others, who have published maps targeting the congresswoman with a gun-sight and calling on their followers not to retreat but “to reload” claim that there is no connection between their rhetoric and this latest act of violence.

2011: Three Kassam rockets were fired into Israeli territory and exploded in the Hof Ashkelon Regional this evening. The rockets fell in an open area and did not cause any injuries or damage.

2011: It was revealed today that the overall moratorium on legal actions that could change the status quo of conversions in Isr

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