March 20, 2009

Looking Back

Published March 11, 2009, issue of March 20, 2009.
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100 Years Ago in the forward

When Joseph Leibel, a Jewish fruit peddler from Hartford, Conn., met Becky Betsalel, he fell for her. She felt the same, and together they were destined to go under the wedding canopy. But Leibel traveled in the state to Meriden on business, and there he made the acquaintance of Fanny Perry and decided that it was not Betsalel but Perry who was his bashert. And so, Leibel began to visit Perry regularly, giving her expensive gifts. Betsalel knew about it but kept quiet. Just as Leibel made the move to Perry from Betsael, Perry made the move to another young man from Meriden (it’s that kind of town), Edward Stamler. She returned the wedding dress and jewelry Leibel had bought her. Still in the market for marriage, Leibel went back to Betsalel and gave her the dress and jewels he bought for Perry. It worked, and the two were happily married in Hartford. But Stamler dumped Perry and left her in Meriden. (Ed. Note: Meriden means “hemorrhoids” in Yiddish, which makes the name of the town quite humorous for Yiddish readers).

75 Years Ago in the forward

The sport of boxing is in big trouble. Only a few years ago, boxing was one of the most popular sports, with gates bringing in upward of $1 million. But boxing has fallen on hard times: It’s palace, New York City’s Madison Square Garden, used to have fights every week. But the Garden has stopped this because the fans have stopped coming. Much of this has to do with the scandals that arise — the fixes and the dives that fighters take. Case in point: the recent fight between Kingfish Levinsky and German fighter Walter Neusel. The Kingfish clearly won the 10 rounder, but the fight was called for Neusel. Levinsky was the favorite going into it, and word in the stands from the gambling crowd was sheer joy as the fight progressed. But when Neusel came out the winner, furious bettors wanted to know who had paid off the judges.

50 Years Ago in the forward

Egypt has moved to ban all movies that star famed American actress Elizabeth Taylor. According to Egyptian film censor Mohammed Ali Nassef, movies starring the actress will be stringently banned in Egypt and Syria (currently united as the United Arab Republic) because it was discovered that Taylor had purchased $100,000 worth of Israel bonds. Nassef added that the United Arab Republic will ban any movie that stars an actor who “helps the Zionists.” Taylor purchased the bonds at a recent fundraiser in Beverly Hills, Calif., that netted more than $1 million for Israel. Among the other attendees were Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Milton Berle, George Burns, Nat King Cole, Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra and Danny Thomas.

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