March 24, 2006

Published March 24, 2006, issue of March 24, 2006.
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100 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

The courtroom was packed with both supporters and detractors of the 17th Street “Jewish Mystic,” Julius Benjamin, who was on trial for practicing medicine without a license. While some people called him a charlatan, others said he performed miracles. Max Zaks testified that he was crippled in one leg until Benjamin cured him. Muska Gotlieb said the mystic cured her blindness. For his part, Benjamin argued that he isn’t a doctor and doesn’t even believe in medical treatment: He only prays for his “clients.” He also said he was a Christian Scientist, a fact that was confirmed by the director of that group’s organization.

75 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

In a thrilling Oriental ceremony, a treaty was signed this week celebrating “eternal peace” between the Jewish settlement of Motsa and its Arab neighbors of the village of Koloniya. Among the Arabs who signed the pact were those who participated in the attacks on Motsa in the summer of 1929, when anti-Jewish riots engulfed much of Palestine. The person who initiated talks between the two groups was Shimon Broza, a resident of Motsa who was arrested in 1929 for killing an Arab during the attacks on the town. After he was freed, he decided that it would be best if he worked for peace between the two villages.

The main drag of Jewish life in New York, also known as the Jerusalem of America, is no longer downtown. It now can be found on what’s called “Upper Broadway,” between 72nd and 110th Streets, and is the new Delancey Street of the city. The truth is, Jews have moved from the Lower East Side to all different neighborhoods: Brooklyn, the Bronx and the West Side. But everyone also knows that the Upper West Side is where the “Alrightniks” — the fancy Jews — live. And they want to move on up, too. Those with the most pretensions move to Riverside Drive and West End Avenue. Those with less economic wherewithal settle elsewhere on the West Side.

50 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

The Middle East staff of the British army stated that tensions are so high, war could break out between Israel and its neighbors “at any minute.” The British said that if war does break out, their army is prepared to intervene via its base in Cyprus. A British diplomat said that he hopes the United States also understands the gravity of the situation and that war in the Middle East could have devastating consequences. They are, however, worried by mixed messages from the Eisenhower administration. They also mentioned how problematic war would be in regard to the question of oil in Europe.






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