June 3, 2005

Published June 03, 2005, issue of June 03, 2005.
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100 YEARS AGO

• A wild episode occurred this week in Max Solomon’s 19th Street skirt factory, located in New York City. The factory employs 400 workers. One of them, a presser, walked into the boss’s office to ask for his paycheck. When the boss said he didn’t have it, the presser demanded his pay. The boss responded by beating up the worker, and then he rang the elevator bell to call the elevator boy to come and throw out the man. The presser continued to yell, and his fellow pressers ran to help him. The boss then called the cutters and the foremen to his aid. As a result, a huge brawl broke out. The sewing machine operators stopped working and ran over to watch the pressers and the cutters duke it out, but did not participate in the brawl. Eventually the boss called the police, who put an end to the fight. Two pressers were arrested.

75 YEARS AGO

• The famed German airship, the Graf Zeppelin, landed in America this past Saturday in Lakehurst, N.J. With the precision of a modern ship, the zeppelin landed almost to the minute, and actually arrived earlier than its scheduled 7:30 a.m. arrival time. The trip on the Graf Zeppelin from Germany to the East Coast of the United States took an amazing 204 hours to Lakehurst. One notable episode on this particular trip was that when the airship landed, one passenger refused to disembark. An Orthodox Jew, who had made the trip from Germany to America, thought that he would be desecrating the Sabbath if he got off the ship. He was forcibly removed.

• Just last week, a group of press agents organized a tour of the Catskills. Among their guests were three Jewish businessmen, paper salesmen Herman Kopelman, Harry Breiloff and Michael Goodman. After taking a boat ride up the Hudson, they attended a banquet. One of the speakers was a local Catholic clergyman from the town of Cairo, N.Y., named Francis Kelly. Father Kelly lamented the fact that his poor congregation had only 17 families and that the church did not even have an organ. After hearing the priest’s lament, the three Jewish businessmen pulled out their checkbooks and gave him $1,500 for an organ. Now, when Cairo’s Catholics pray to music, they have three Jews to thank for it.

50 YEARS AGO

• A recent series of articles on the creation of an “Anglo-Jewish” theater company, one that would present Jewish theatrical material in English, created a small storm. Some argue that assimilated English-speaking Jews neither need nor want such a theater. Others say that the purpose is to provide Jewish youth with Yiddish classics in a language they understand. Still others say it is an insult to all the Yiddish theater actors and writers who have devoted their lives to presenting drama in that language.






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