1913 •100 years ago
Treyf Chicken Sold as Kosher
“About strikes you’re willing to write, but about my slaughtered chicken with the treyf neck, you won’t write? What kind of paper are you? Where is your sense of justice?” It was with these words that Brooklyn resident Rokhl Beinisohn berated the editors of the Forverts. Beinisohn, who had come from Brooklyn to buy a kosher chicken on “holy” Ludlow Street in Manhattan, arrived at home to discover that the chicken she bought never went under the knife. It didn’t even have a mark on its neck. Furious, she took it to a Brooklyn rabbi, who confirmed that it was treyf, or not kosher. She returned to Ludlow Street to chew out the butcher who sold it to her, but she got into a fight with him. This resulted in a struggle over the chicken, which broke in two, the butcher getting the body and Beinisohn the head and neck. She brought the neck right over to our office. We’re not rabbis, but it does look like she wound up with a treyf chicken.
1938 •75 years ago
Wave of Conversion in Italy
Italian Jews are experiencing a massive wave of conversion to Christianity, an attempt on their part to improve the lives of their children under fascist rule. Jewish communal leaders are worried about the startling number of these conversions, particularly in Trieste and outside the large cities, where Jewish communities are small and weak. Many parents are having their children converted, since the only education currently available is through the church. Among those who have recently converted are Senior Pio Toliachosa, the former president of Rome’s Jewish community and one of the community’s most prominent figures. The Jewish community is attempting to organize and stand against what might be the disappearance of Italian Jewry through conversion, and it is looking to the Jews of other countries for help.
1963 •50 years ago
Tough Times for Algerian Jews
A delegation of Algerian Jews arrived in Paris. This is the first time since Algeria gained its independence that such a visit has been made. A dozen years ago, Algeria had a Jewish population of about 130,000, most of whom left after the country became sovereign. There are some 5000 Jews who remained. The five Algerian communal leaders met with their French counterparts and gave them a report on the conditions of the country’s Jews. Economically, they are doing very poorly. It was noted, however, that they were not suffering from anti-Semitism. Jews are free to practice their religion and to organize their communities, as well as to send their children to Hebrew schools. The majority of them live in Algiers and Oran, though there are significant numbers in Colomb-Bechar and in the Sahara Desert region.