November 11, 2005

Published November 11, 2005, issue of November 11, 2005.
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The Forward received an emergency telegram from the Bund in Russia: “The forces of reaction are stretching us to the ends of our strength. The Black Hundreds have organized all over Russia. Jews are being murdered by the thousands. Entire towns and villages have been set ablaze: Akerman, Gaydiatsh, Zolotonashna and parts of Kremantshuk, Kisheniev, Odessa and others. Bloody riots. Help arm the people for self-defense! Collect guns and weapons.”


Hasidim from all over Poland came to celebrate Simchat Torah with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who has been living in Riga for the past year-and-a-half. The Jews of Riga, who are mostly modern and secular, looked at the Hasidim as if they were a primitive species. And those who attended the festivities in the rebbe’s court were not disappointed. First the rebbe announced that he wanted all clean-shaven, non-tefillin-wearing men and non-mikveh-going women out of his court. When no one moved, the rebbe said: “If the people who I have just identified do not leave, they will not live to see next year. Get out!” He also attacked religious Zionists, screaming: “All the members of Mizrahi should have their beards and peyes cut off and should be thrown into a monastery! They will burn in hell! When the messiah comes, Jesus Christ will be resurrected, but those who send their children to Mizrahi schools will not!” The rebbe’s comments upset everyone there, except for the Hasidim, who drank, sang and danced wildly until dawn. The Jews of Riga, who previously considered the rebbe to be a learned, intelligent man, now see only a wild fundamentalist.


The Syrian government has arrested 10 people on charges that they spied for Israel. One of the 10 is an Israeli citizen and an Arab member of the Knesset named Sheik Jabber Dahish. The Syrian prosecutor has requested the death penalty for all the accused. Dahish, who crossed into Syria bearing proper documentation, was arrested immediately on entry on the charge that he was a spy. In related news, Syria and Egypt have signed a mutual defense pact guaranteeing that one will protect the other in case of attack by Israel.

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