March 9, 2007

100 Years Ago in the Forward

Police arrested Leon Schwartz and Louis Green, the owners of a shirt-and-pants factory in Philadelphia, after fire marshals charged them with intentionally igniting their factory in order to get an $8,000 claim from their insurance company. Because one worker died after jumping from the fourth floor, there is a chance that the duo will be charged with murder, as well. In their defense, Schwartz and Green said that the fire was a result of a gas pipe explosion on the second floor and that they are innocent.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

More than 400 Jewish delicatessen owners packed Little Oriental Hall in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn to protest the “Kashruth Bill” currently before the New York State Legislature. The deli owners, who likened the bill to the korobka, the tsarist tax on kosher meat, say that the bill will turn over kashruth certification to a small group of politicians and rabbis, who will use their powers to exploit small-store and restaurant owners. The deli owners’ union president, Sam Cesar, spoke rousingly, saying, “We Jewish delicatessen owners were all once shop workers. We are radical people with progressive ideals. Ninety percent of us belong to the Workmen’s Circle. How can we permit the passage of a law that will give a small group of rabbis the right to force Orthodox Judaism on us?”

The New York Yiddish theater world is in chaos. As a result of the current Depression, three Yiddish theaters have been shuttered, including the famed Second Avenue Theatre. Though production costs have basically stayed the same, the economic situations of the regular Yiddish theater audiences no longer enable them to pay for tickets. Hundreds of Jewish families, including those of managers, actors, writers and stagehands, are now out of work with no way to pay for their basic necessities.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

Tens of thousands of Arabs took to Gaza’s streets protesting the possible occupation of the area by United Nations troops. They demanded that Egypt retake Gaza. Carrying banners bearing Egyptian strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser’s image, the protesters, who comprise both residents and refugees, marched passed the U.N. chief’s offices. E.L.M. Burns, Canada’s major general and the U.N.’s point man in Gaza, stood by, surrounded by a phalanx of guards, and calmly watched as the marchers passed. Some of the banners carried by the protesters welcomed the U.N. forces as “guests” but not as “occupiers.”

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March 9, 2007

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