December 30, 2005

100 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

Max Cohen, a 21-year-old resident of New York City’s Harlem area, was arrested on the charge of burglary. He stands accused of robbing more than 30 homes in a unique way: by posing as a window shade repairman. When Cohen appeared at the door of the Holland home, he told Mrs. Holland that the landlord had sent him to fix the shades, which he apparently had done. However, right after he left, she noticed that $7 was missing from her pocketbook and called for help. Cohen was apprehended and brought into the police station, where he was arrested. He is being held on $1,500 bail.

75 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

Mohels in Warsaw are furious after the city’s Jewish Community Council published a list of regulations for their profession. The regulations were the result of a two-year study by the council after many years of complaints regarding the hygiene and practice of Warsaw’s mohels. They include the following: Practicing mohelim must be over the age of 25 and under the age of 65; their nails must be neatly trimmed; they must brush their teeth prior to performing brit milah; they must wash their hands with soap and a brush; they must dry their hands with a sterilized towel; their tools must be sterilized; they must be supervised by a doctor, and they must perform oral suction using a glass tube. Warsaw’s mohels also will be subject to examinations by a medical board.

After Montreal’s City Hall built a number of newsstands in prime locations and subsequently leased them to well-connected businessmen, Jewish news dealers complained privately that something fishy was going on. When signs went up on these same newsstands that said “Buy your newspaper from French-Canadians, don’t buy from Jews,” they knew their intuition was right. One city alderman even said that a law should be passed requiring news dealers to speak both French and English. Jewish news dealers are very bitter about this openly antisemitic boycott, which is apparently sanctioned by Montreal’s city fathers, and have lodged strong protests.

50 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

Famed Yiddish literary critic and writer Shmuel Niger collapsed and died of a heart attack on the 125th Street subway platform in Harlem. Niger, 72, was one of the Yiddish world’s greatest cultural figures and one if its major literary critics. He had been returning home from a meeting of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research’s board. Niger’s death has called forth great sorrow in Yiddish cultural circles, among writers, teachers, his readers and his many friends. His real name was Shmuel Charney, and he produced critical works on such great writers of the Yiddish world as S.Y. Abramovitsh, Y.L. Peretz and Sholom Aleichem.

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December 30, 2005

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