Crown Heights Jews Defending Themselves Against Hooligans

Albert Einstein Speaks at World's Fair in New York

Splash: Coney Island was a popular destination for Jewish families escaping the New York heat. Those who could not afford the Catskills enjoyed the summer bungalows of Manhattan Beach.
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Splash: Coney Island was a popular destination for Jewish families escaping the New York heat. Those who could not afford the Catskills enjoyed the summer bungalows of Manhattan Beach.

By Eddy Portnoy

Published May 24, 2014, issue of May 30, 2014.
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1914 • 100 years ago

From Pogroms to Ellis Island

As many readers already know, 800 Jewish families were expelled from Kiev about five weeks ago. The first of these unhappy immigrants landed recently on Ellis Island. An immigration official presented one of them, a cantor by the name of Eliyahu Teller, to reporters as an example of how Jews are treated in Russia. “Since the Beilis Blood Libel trial,” Teller explained, “the Jews of Kiev have suffered numerous, terrible attacks. Our lives were made so difficult that it was clear we were being forced out. It was an open secret that many Kiev Jews were permitted to live there because their children were in Russian schools, but after Beilis they began arresting Jews and putting them in jail with common criminals. Permission to live in the city was simply taken away. We had no choice but to leave.”

1939 • 75 years ago

** World’s Fair Brings Jews Together**

“Only our people, a people that has carried thousands of years of terrible history, can build a pavilion that exhibits a quiet refinement,” physicist Albert Einstein said at the opening of the Palestine Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Queens. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia added, “No people has given the world so much and received so little.” A huge crowd was in attendance — hundreds of thousands of them, young and old. According to official figures provided by the organizers of the fair, at least 300,000 visited the pavilion, only half of them Jewish. Many speeches were given, mostly about how important Palestine is for the Jews of today. There was a mass oath-taking by many in attendance, the traditional oath of “If I forget thee, Oh Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.” The hundreds of thousands of Jews swore their allegiance to a Jewish homeland.

1964 • 50 years ago

Brooklyn Jews Protect Themselves

A Jewish defense organization in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, has announced that it will continue to protect local Jews from the hooligans that are attacking them and, as long as the New York City Police will not protect the residents, the organization will step in and do so with frequent patrols. Supported by a number of rabbis and yeshiva principals, the organization has also received support from a number of Christian clergy, among them, the Rev. Griswold, a black preacher. However, there was backlash against the group, notably from a Crown Heights reverend, William Jones, who claimed that the organization accused all black residents of Crown Heights of being anti-Semites.


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