September 19, 2003

100 YEARS AGO

• In the Bund’s latest report from the front lines of the coming revolution in Russia, one notable item is that the czarist police have tried to frighten the Jews of Kiev by informing them that revolutionary forces are planning to attack them on the first of May, the holiday for all intelligent workers. The same thing also happened in Baku: The police tried to persuade striking Christian workers to attack the Jews, but these workers refused to do it and beat up the police spies sent in to instigate the workers into making a pogrom. And the mood is tense in Kiev: A general strike reigns over the city, and some soldiers are beginning to mutiny — those guarding Brodsky’s sugar plant refused the command to shoot at striking workers.

75 YEARS AGO

• Three sons of a melamed, or teacher, from Lomzhe are now some of the biggest machers in Hollywood. In addition to owning their own movie studio, the three just bought another studio for $125 million. If all their deals go through, they stand to gain control of more than 4,000 theaters nationwide, an empire worth billions. The brothers are the Warners, all of whom came to America from the shtetl of Lomzhe, where their father was a shoemaker and part-time Hebrew teacher. The eldest brother, Harry, was the first to get into the movie business after selling his small repair shop in Ohio to buy a movie theater. He then brought his younger brothers into the business and began making a number of unsuccessful films. In 1917, after reading former American ambassador James Gerard’s “My Four Years in Germany,” Harry hopped a train to California. Gerard was on the train and Harry convinced him to sell the rights to a movie version of the book for $2,000. The Warners made the movie for $20,000, and the film earned more than a million at the box office. This was the beginning of the Warner empire.

50 YEARS AGO

• By now, everyone is familiar with the Kinsey report on female sexuality. While it has been discussed extensively, not much has been said about how the report portrays Jewish women. According to Dr. Kinsey, Jewish women are less sexually active than non-Jewish women. There seems, however, to be a flaw in Kinsey’s methodology: Of the more than 5,000 women interviewed, nearly 30% were Jewish. This is hardly an accurate picture of the percentage of Jews in America. The reason for the flaw may stem from the fact that Kinsey mostly interviewed college-educated women, of which there are certainly a high percentage of Jewish women.

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September 19, 2003

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