March 27, 2009

Looking Back

Published March 18, 2009, issue of March 27, 2009.
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100 Years Ago in the forward

Only about five years ago, Bathgate Avenue in the Bronx was a beautiful, dreamy, Garden of Eden of a street, populated by little wooden houses and surrounded by beautiful trees. The street’s residents were no doubt shocked by how quickly their neighborhood changed when the Jews began moving in. It all started when one local real estate entrepreneur built a tenement house. Like moths to the flame, Jews moved into it. And in a flash, all the quaint little wooden houses were demolished and tenements were put up. All the beautiful trees were uprooted as Jews continued to stream into the neighborhood. It’s no wonder the remaining gentiles murmur antisemitic comments when they see us. Where they once had an Eden now hangs our laundry. Jewish mothers openly nurse the plethora of Jewish babies on furniture dragged out onto the sidewalks, and half-naked Jewish children hang from the fire escapes.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Well-known American author Louis Brown recently returned from a trip to the Pacific Isles, where he encountered some unusual Jewish natives. While in Tahiti, Brown made the acquaintance of one King Solomon, leader of a group of savage natives. The king claims that he is a Jew, the descendent of an English Jew, also named Solomon, who traveled here 100 years ago and married a native girl. The king’s daughter, a brown-skinned beauty, walked up to Brown and told him, “We Jews must be united, and we must boycott all German goods.” Brown reported that he met many Jews on the island, some of them light skinned and some of them dark. And in Fiji, Brown met a trader by the name of Noel Levy, who suggested he hold a mass meeting against Hitler. Ironically, Brown had gone to the South Pacific to try and forget about the current issues facing the Jews.

50 Years Ago in the forward

Pope John XXIII has moved to strike portions of the Catholic liturgy, particularly one prayer recited on Good Friday, that are insulting to Jews. The prayer in question has to do with the crucifixion. It says, “Let us pray for the perfidious Jews.” The prayer has been in use for hundreds of years, but the previous pope, Pious XII, decided it was insulting to Jews, and so he arranged to have it changed to “Let us pray for the non-believing Jews.” The current pope has decided to remove the word “perfidious” and let the prayer read simply, “Let us pray for the Jews.”

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