January 23, 2009

Looking Back

Published January 15, 2009, issue of January 23, 2009.
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100 Years Ago in the Forward

“My dear husband! I have decided that I can no longer live with you. I am writing this letter with a wounded heart. My life with you has been unhappy because I do not love you. I am in love with Cohen and the two of us are leaving, far far away. Consider me dead. For you, I am no longer among the living. You will get married again and you will see that you should have taken better care of me.” The preceding letter was left for Mr. Goldstein, a farmer in the Catskills, by his wife, who left town with his former business partner. Not only did she leave her husband, but she also left her two children, the youngest of whom is only 2.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

A priest who rented time on WARD, a Jewish radio station in Brooklyn, launched an antisemitic attack before he was cut off and replaced by Jewish programming. The priest, Homer Thomalson, had read his “speech” to the head of the station beforehand, and it was apparently innocuous. But once he got on the air, he began to let go with all kinds of antisemitic invective. The owner of the station, Rabbi Aaron Kronenberg, says he plans to press charges against the priest. In a related matter, it has been reported that Hitler has been funding antisemitic agitation in the United States. It is not known if Thomalson’s outburst is connected to this.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

It used to be that when a Jew died, his or her children would say Kaddish. But times have changed. Nowadays, there is a Kaddish industry whereby people simply pay a synagogue functionary, or even some lazy Jew willing to make a buck, to say Kaddish for them. Many elderly Jews in America expect that their children will say Kaddish for them when they pass away. That is the least they can expect. But here in America, the Kaddish industry is helping to bury the little bit of Yiddishkeit that keeps people going to synagogue.

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