November 21, 2008

Looking Back

Published November 12, 2008, issue of November 21, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

100 Years Ago in the Forward

A massive fire broke out in Beth Elohim, a Reform synagogue on Kip Street in Brooklyn. Joseph Dresher, the synagogue’s next-door neighbor, discovered the blaze. He alerted the shames (synagogue caretaker), who, upon opening the door, saw the entire eastern wall of the synagogue engulfed in flames. It took firefighters awhile to get things under control. Beth Elohim’s rabbi, Simon Cohen, suspected that thieves set the fire to cover their tracks. Firemen, however, thought that faulty wiring behind the ark might have been the cause. It is expected that further investigation will shed some light on what really happened.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

Max Mintzer, a housepainter from Brooklyn, was arrested this week on bigamy charges after it was discovered that he is currently married to six women. Police say that Mintzer keeps getting married in order to get dowries, which apparently net him between $1,000 and $2,000 per bride. Wife No. 5 busted Mintzer when she caught him in a movie theater on Nostrand Avenue with wife No. 6. Mrs. Mintzer No. 5 is 25-year-old Ida Kassel, who married Mintzer in March 1932. No. 6 is Rosa Finkelstein, who tied the knot with Mintzer in December of the same year. The first time Mintzer got married was in 1918, to Reba Grisman, with whom he has two children. Wife No. 2 is Eva Diamond, who got hitched to Max in 1922. Initially, Mintzer denied the charges, claiming he is married to only one woman. Later, however, he came clean, and even admitted to police that wives three and four happened so fast that he couldn’t even remember their names.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

Former Harvard University anthropologist Mark Zborowski was found guilty this week of perjury before a federal grand jury. During the trial, Zborowski admitted that for many years he served as an agent of the Soviet Secret Police, collecting information on Trotskyists, socialists and other anti-communists. The complaint against him, however, dealt with only the perjury charge, which had to do with whether or not he knew convicted Soviet spy Jack Sobel; he claimed not to know him. Sobel, who turned state’s evidence, took the stand and said not only did he and Zborowski know each other, but also that the latter had passed him significant amounts of material to give to the Soviets. Zborowski, who is considered to be a risk for fleeing, was denied bail. With sentencing two weeks away, the anthropologist may get up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love.
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.