July 1, 2005

100 YEARS AGO

• After hearing reports of families living in terrible poverty, we sent a reporter to visit some of them. One family, the Grossmans, comprises a widow and her three children. They live on the fourth floor of a tenement on Manhattan’s Chrystie Street. Mrs. Grossman, whose late husband worked in a tin factory and died on the job, has no means with which to sustain her family. The second family is that of Mrs. Goldberg and her five children. The Goldbergs live on 6th Street and Avenue C. Mrs. Goldberg’s husband died very recently, and she is pregnant with her sixth child. The poverty of this home is terrible: not even a piece of bread.

75 YEARS AGO

• This week, the Judea Film Company issues a press release announcing the production of the first-ever Yiddish talkies. Part of the statement read that the company’s goal is “to produce Yiddish-language talking pictures, dramas and comedies that reflect Jewish life, legends and historical experiences, as well as dramatized songs, by using the best material in Yiddish literature.” But after having seen their initial efforts at a special showing in a Lower East Side theater on Clinton Street, the Forward reports that though a few of the shorts they showed were not bad, the main attraction, titled, “My Jewish Mother,” was 1,000% trash.

• A pogrom has been occurring all week in the shtetl of Belz in Rumania. Despite orders from the Rumanian government to take action against the attackers, the local police department has kept its distance and has been silent on the matter. Dozens of Jews have been wounded in the attacks and, thus far, two have died. Allegedly the pogrom started when local hooligans attempted to kidnap a young Jewish girl. After hearing her screams, a group of Jews ran to help, wrenching her away from the kidnappers and beating them badly. Friends of the pogromists came to their aid, and a battle ensued. Locals say that the attackers are all well known to the police, who apparently are not willing to consider the matter.

50 YEARS AGO

• With numbers consistently on the rise, more and more Jews are moving out of cities and into suburbs. In some major urban areas, there are already more Jews in the suburbs than in the cities. For example, Cleveland has about 85,000 Jews, most of whom live in the suburbs. This has created a second Jewish center, Mount Pleasant, which competes with that of Jewish neighborhoods that were settled earlier. The same scenario is occurring in cities all over the United States, among them Boston, Philadelphia and Buffalo. This mass movement is changing the face of a once urban Jewry.

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July 1, 2005

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