May 20, 2005

100 YEARS AGO

• Two Jewish youths, 18-year-old Max Dender and 20-year-old Harry Levi, were arrested for consorting with streetwalkers on Manhattan’s Bowery. After the police appeared and arrested the two streetwalkers, Dender and Levi took off running. The two young men ran to a house on 9th Street and began shouting, “Goldberg! Goldberg!” A second-floor window opened up and revealed Goldberg, who asked, “What’s the problem?” Goldberg, a neighborhood criminal who is already known to the police, was brought in with the other two boys. After a stern warning from the judge not to hang around the Bowery, Levi was freed after proving that he is gainfully employed. Dender and Goldberg are still being held.

75 YEARS AGO

• Sidney Fishman, recently announced to be the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Art, had already gone downtown to look for a job when a Forward reporter arrived at his apartment in the Bronx. So the reporter interviewed the artist’s parents, Harry and Sarah Fishman, instead. Although the Fishmans apologized for their son’s absence, Mr. Fishman commented: “We’re not rich, you know. Now that he’s done with school he has free time. So what’s he supposed to do?… He’s not getting any more money from us.” “But he just won an $1,800 prize,” the reporter said. “That money is for traveling around Europe, and he only gets it when he’s ready to go,” Mr. Fishman explained. Harry Fishman is an insurance salesman and a dedicated socialist, though he proudly says his son is the real radical. Sidney is also totally dedicated to his art and, according to his father, will sit and paint for 18 hours at a time. The walls of the Fishmans’ apartment are covered with Sidney’s paintings. “His kindergarten teacher told us he would be a great artist,” his father said.

50 YEARS AGO

• The Forward received a number of letters in response to a recent article that described a new project to create an English-language Jewish theater. One writer commented: “This kind of theater has nothing to do with the word Jewish. The words Anglo and Jewish go together like a slap in the face as a greeting for Shabbos, or like asking a gentile to join a minyan. If you take a Yiddish book and translate it into English, or any other language, it loses the values that the Yiddish language gives it. A book tells the story, and it’s the same with a play, but it has no Jewish flavor, spirit or character. It comes out completely foreign.” Other writers noted that eventually there may be a need for such a theater, when Yiddish theater actors can speak English decently. Until then, an English-language Jewish theater will simply be a “joke.”

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May 20, 2005

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