April 24, 2009

Looking Back

Published April 15, 2009, issue of April 24, 2009.
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100 Years Ago in the forward

If ever there was a shining light in the depressing darkness of Ellis Island, it was Alexander Harkavy, a brilliant, highly educated man whose love for humanity could be seen in a place where people have no value. Harkavy, who until recently worked for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, greeted immigrants after their long journeys and helped guide them through the bureaucratic maze that is Ellis Island. But recently, Harkavy just quit, because the Tammany Hall connected millionaire, Judge Sanders, who runs his own version of an immigrant aid society, has decided that HIAS should be liquidated and subsumed by his organization. And since the uptown Yahudim have the economic upper hand, HIAS had no choice but to accede. And in doing so, it has lost Harkavy.

75 Years Ago in the forward

The residents of a quiet Bronx community thought their neighbor Harold Rosenzweig was a nice, quiet young man. Rosenzweig, who was known on his block as the manager of a taxi garage, was so well liked that some of his neighbors considered setting him up on dates with their own daughters. Therefore, they were shocked to learn of Rosenzweig’s recent arrest, on charges of participating in a prostitution ring that shipped off girls to Honolulu so that they would work in brothels throughout the South Pacific. According to federal investigators who have been tracking Rosenzweig and his partners for a while, the gang’s tentacles reach from New York to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, although the headquarters is alleged to be in San Francisco and run by a particular “Madam” whose name was not released.

50 Years Ago in the forward

The Jewish organizational world just received a rare visit from one Shehamsi Hekmat, a Jewish activist from Iran who is visiting the United States to become acquainted with the American Jewish community and to acquaint American Jews with Persian Jews. Tragically, Hekmat reported that 90% of Persian Jewry is impoverished; however, since the revolution of Shah Reza Pahlavi, Jews are no longer forced to live in ghettos, and they now have equal rights with other Iranians. Moreover, during the past few years, efforts have been made to provide Jewish children with an education. With funding from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the situation is improving.

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