August 20, 2004

100 YEARS AGO

• A greenhorn has disappeared from Ellis Island. Velvl Koifman (Yerukhem Osher Yankls), of Britshan, Bessarabia, arrived from Europe last Tuesday on the ship Rotterdam and has disappeared without a trace. There is evidence that toughs from the Beef Trust took him, together with a number of other immigrants, directly to Chicago to work in the meat-packing industry as a scab, since there is a large-scale strike currently in progress. As is well known, the Beef Trust has sent wagonloads of new immigrants to Chicago to work as scabs in order to break the strike. Relatives of these immigrants have had a difficult time extricating them from the grip of the trust.

75 YEARS AGO

• A terrible tragedy occurred in Hasidic circles in Galitsia after an 18-year-old granddaughter of the Belzer rebbe declared herself strongly in favor of the Zionist cause, in opposition to her family’s beliefs. As a result, she was chased and badly beaten a number of times by Belzer Hasidim, who are some of the fiercest opponents of Zionism. The girl is currently in the hospital in critical condition and hovering near death after being thrown out of a second-story window. It has not yet been determined who perpetrated this terrible act.

• According to a report from Warsaw, Armenian emissaries have been in the city, secretly visiting Jewish institutions. The reason for their visit is to get to know the religious leaders of Europe’s largest Jewish community in order to arrange for the conversion of up to 3 million Armenians to Judaism. Armenians, the report continues, are a deeply religious people with connections to Judaism. To further these connections, Armenian leaders have founded an organization called “Ararat-Zion,” a name that symbolizes the unity between Mount Ararat in the Armenian homeland and Mount Zion in the Land of Israel.

50 YEARS AGO

• Visitors to the Soviet Union can get a good picture of the downfall of Jewish life there, both secular and religious. There are about 500,000 Jews living in Moscow. There is one large synagogue, along with four small ones. There is only one in Leningrad, where there is also a large Jewish population. In all these shuls, there is nary a young face to be found. Among the large numbers of urban Jews in Russia’s two main cities, it is impossible to know which of them still consider themselves Jewish at all. There are no Jewish publications, books or newspapers; there are no Jewish schools, religious or secular. The only way to get a Jewish education is from one’s parents.

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August 20, 2004

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