Forward Looking Back brings you the stories that were making news in the Forward’s Yiddish paper 100, 75, and 50 years ago. Check back each week for a new set of illluminating, edifying and sometimes wacky clippings from the Jewish past.
1913 •100 years ago
An Affair in the Bronx
David and Bessie Aberman and their four children lived in the Bronx. He, a building superintendent, made the acquaintance of one Sam Citron, a plumber, whom he hired one day to fix a pipe in his home. But Citron fixed more than pipes. Apparently, while David Aberman was out on the job, Citron was coming over regularly to rendezvous with his wife. Aberman found out about the affair only after his 12-year-old son informed him of it. He asked his wife if it was true, and she didn’t deny it. In order to protect the children, Aberman moved the family to Harlem, but Bessie Aberman and her plumber couldn’t be kept apart. Citron apparently rented a room in Harlem so that they could meet. When Mrs. Citron found out about the continuing affair, she confronted the couple in front of an ice cream parlor they frequented and splashed carbolic acid in their faces. Citron was blinded, and Bessie Aberman received burns on half her face. Mrs. Citron was arrested.
1938 •75 years ago
Massive Bombing in Haifa Market
As tensions in Palestine continue to increase, a massive bomb went off in Haifa’s vegetable market, killing at least 35 Arabs. Apparently the bomb was planted out of revenge for the numerous attacks made recently on Jews. Arabs quickly retaliated by burning down a number of nearby Jewish shops. Haifa’s hospitals and clinics are packed with wounded victims, among them women and children. The British authorities believe that this is the largest terrorist bomb ever to have been set in Palestine. As a result, the British have increased the number of police in the city and have also sent in soldiers and Marines. News of the bombing spread quickly, and the British authorities immediately instituted a curfew.
1963 •50 years ago
Jews in the Fight for Civil Rights
A powerful sense has arisen among American Jews that they must actively help fight for equal rights for blacks. This message was declared by Reform Jewish leader Rabbi Balfour Brickner, who said that Jews are both theologically and morally required to take part in the fight for civil rights. Speaking at a meeting of the National Catholic Conference for Equal Rights Between Races, Brickner said: “The security of the Jewish community is connected in a way which is inseparable from the security of other groups. Discrimination and segregation of others places the situation of the Jewish community in direct danger.”