December 9, 2005

100 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

In response to the rash of pogroms that has occurred in the wake of the current upheaval in Russia, a massive march of sorrow was held in New York this week in order to bring attention to the plight of Russia’s Jews. Braving freezing temperatures, hundreds of thousands came out to participate in the march. Carrying black flags, the marchers started out at Rutgers Square and made their way to Union Square. Along the route, thousands of people packed the sidewalks, fire escapes and windows to solemnly watch the marchers pass.

75 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

This week, the Forward sent one of its reporters to spend a few days and nights with the thousands of hungry and homeless. He began by waiting for hours with hundreds of people in a breadline. Long, depressing periods of waiting with absolutely nothing to do are described. It is a gray world, with furrowed gray faces, rumpled gray clothing and dusty gray shoes. Even black people seem gray. The monotony of this daily grind is unbearable. Eventually a door opens, and a mob of people is let inside. Everyone is given a bowl and some stew. They eat hurriedly, because there is another shift waiting to come inside.

Judge Mitchell May of the New York State Supreme Court has issued an injunction against Congregation Beit Bnai Avraham, a completely African American synagogue. As a result, the congregation cannot make new purchases. The injunction was made at the request of Rabbi Arnold Yeshaya Ford, who instructs synagogue members in Hebrew, Bible, mathematics, mechanical drawing and automobile repair. The rabbi has accused his assistants of playing with the synagogue’s books and fixing the numbers to their benefit. Due to the dispute, there have been numerous fights during services.

50 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

Famed writer Isaac Bashevis Singer has just returned from a long trip to Israel, with which he was deeply impressed. When asked about the mood in the country, Singer responded: “The mood is wonderful, fantastic. You can sum up the mood in five words: We will not give up! The general feeling in Israel is that if, God forbid, ‘something’ happens, not only will every young man and woman, but even old men and old women and every child, too, will become soldiers. Israel’s army will consist of every Jew in Israel. Jews haven’t had such courage since the days of the Yehoshua bin Nun.”

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December 9, 2005

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