August 12, 2011

Looking Back

Published August 03, 2011, issue of August 12, 2011.
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100 Years Ago in The Forward

Strange things are afoot at the synagogue on Lombard Street, in Philadelphia. One day, after the cantor’s choir rehearsal, the shamus was closing up the place when he heard a knocking noise in the sanctuary. Calling out to see what it was, the caretaker suddenly heard a loud voice growling in the synagogue. He and his wife thought it might be a thief, so they called the police. When they arrived, the police did a thorough search but found nothing. They were about to leave, when they heard the growling, as well. Again, they began to look around. When a neighbor who happened by to see what the commotion was said, “That must be a thief,” the mysterious voice growled: “No! We will not steal!” The police continued to search, but found nothing. Locals are saying there are ghosts in the synagogue.

75 Years Ago in The Forward

Based on comments from Jewish leaders like former Polish parliamentarian Yitzhak Grinboim, who has said that Poland has “too many Jews,” the Polish Foreign Ministry has stated that the “Jewish problem” must be solved by a “mass emigration” of Jews from Poland. The ministry further added that because the British colony of Palestine has severely restricted Jewish immigration, the League of Nations should take on the task of finding a country to which the Jews can emigrate. The ministry is hoping to participate in a discussion as to where the Jews may emigrate. It is also formulating a plan that will allow 100,000 Polish Jews to leave each year. Within 10 years, the ministry says, Poland’s Jewish problem will be solved.

50 Years Ago in The Forward

Israeli police have determined that 9-year-old Yossele Schumacher, who was kidnapped by his religious grandfather Nahman Shtarkes, out of fear that his parents would not give him a proper traditional education, has been held in the ultra-Orthodox, Agudat Yisrael-run settlement of Komemiyut, in the Negev desert. The grandfather, who has been serving prison time for the kidnapping, claims to no longer know the whereabouts of the boy. In fact, when the police arrived at Komemiyut, the boy was gone. They arrested the family with whom he stayed, but when they attempted to arrest the community’s rabbi, residents surrounded them saying, “You’ll only take our rabbi over our dead bodies.” The policed settled for searching the rabbi’s home. At this point, the boy’s whereabouts are still unknown, but it is suspected that he has been flown to England.


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