May 22, 2009

Looking Back

Published May 13, 2009, issue of May 22, 2009.
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100 Years Ago in the Forward

“I beg of you, tell everyone, I never bought a revolver on that day and I was never even near that pawn shop,” Harry Rosenzweig told the assembled journalists of the Yiddish press just before he went before a Philadelphia grand jury on the charge of murdering his boss, cigar magnate Harry Victor. “I want that my wife and children and my friends shouldn’t lose faith in me. I’m innocent,” he said. Victor, a Philadelphia cigar manufacturer, was found with a bullet in his head on the floor of his shop on South 2nd Street, near downtown Philadelphia. Next to the body was a note in Yiddish, which said: “Rosenzweig: I leave everything to you. Take care of my family. I can live no longer.” While Victor’s wife claims he didn’t know how to write in Yiddish, the coroner claims that the wounds appear to be self-inflicted. In the meantime, Jewish Philadelphia awaits the verdict of the grand jury.

75 YEARS AGO In the Forward

“Jews want to infiltrate the entire Arab world as part of their sick desire for world domination,” claims a flier currently being distributed on the campuses of the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Minnesota by an organization called the Committee of American-Arab Students. “Is it not a fact,” the flier adds, “that in all culturally modern countries, people have recognized the Jews’ sick desire for world domination and are looking for ways in which to stop them.” The text then adds a list of sins on the part of the Jews against the Arabs of Palestine. It is not known what kind of an organization the Committee of American-Arab Students is or how many members it has. But it is clearly a group that has joined an antisemitic chorus of Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

50 Years Ago In the Forward

Over the past year, more than 30,000 young Jews in 19 different countries have received economic help and education in trade schools belonging to ORT. Most important are the ORT schools in Poland — the only ones behind the Iron Curtain — and those in Israel, which are helping train new immigrants. One interesting note becomes clear in ORT’s most recent report: Whereas the organization has focused its efforts on teaching its students traditional Jewish trades and crafts, young Jews now, whether they are in Israel, Morocco or Poland, are less interested in becoming tailors and carpenters and are more interested in embracing new technologies.

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