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
Becky Sher Wants a Get
Becky Sher of Winnipeg wanted to put her runaway husband’s picture in the “Gallery of Missing Husbands,” a regular Forverts column that features photographs and descriptions of men who have abandoned their families, but Mr. Sher was smart and took all the family photographs when he left home, specifically because he did not want his picture to show up in the gallery. He might have known it was coming — he’s run away from his wife and kids at least 10 times. But all Mr. Sher wants is to be treated like the “gentleman” he thinks he is. He wrote to his wife, telling her that he should be treated with respect and, if he is, maybe he’ll come through and send her a get, a Jewish writ of divorce. After six years of this nonsense, Becky Sher is ready to call her husband a gentleman, as long as he divorces her.
1938 •75 years ago
Bomb in Jerusalem
As soon as the police rescued Ya’akov Ross from an Arab lynch mob that was going to kill him in Jerusalem’s Old City, he was arrested on charges of attempted murder. First, however, he was taken in critical condition to Hadassah Hospital, where the stab wounds he received from the mob were dressed; then he was shuttled to a military hospital, where he is being kept under guard. Ross was attacked by Arab vendors in the Old City after they caught him trying to plant a time bomb underneath a green grocer’s stand. The police arrived soon after the melee began, saving Ross from certain death. Vendors pointed out the bomb to police, who disabled it and took it away as evidence. It is alleged that the bomb was similar to the one that exploded in a Haifa market recently.
1963 •50 years ago
Syria Kidnaps Israelis
Speaking in the Knesset, Golda Meir sharply attacked the Syrian government for irresponsibly and provocatively breaking the cease-fire agreement between the two countries. The Syrians kidnapped three Israelis, for whom Meir demanded freedom immediately. The three Israelis were kidnapped July 13, after their motor boat had mechanical difficulties. The boaters wound up drifting toward the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee, where Syrian soldiers and civilians grabbed the six passengers, forced them into a vehicle and took them to Damascus. Three of the passengers were Belgian citizens and were permitted to go free, but the three Israelis have been kept incommunicado in the Syrian capital. Discussions on how to free them are ongoing in the Knesset.