Looking Back


Jewish Gangster Lured to Revenge Shooting at Restaurant on E. 14th Street

By Eddy Portnoy

A gangster named Billy Lustig was lured to a 14th St. restaurant and shot 100 years ago. A Brooklyn rabbi was busted for smuggling opium in 1938.Read More


Man Steals Family Photos So Not To Appear Forverts' 'Missing Husbands' Gallery

By Eddy Portnoy

This week in 1913 Becky Sher wanted to put her runaway husband’s picture in the ‘Gallery of Missing Husbands,’ but Mr. Sher was smart and took all the family photographs.Read More


Shakedown Artist 'Red Shirt Abie' Convicted for Poisoning Deliverymen's Horses

By Eddy Portnoy

A century ago, a notorious shakedown artist known as ‘Red Shirt Abie’ was convicted for poisoning delivery horses. Five decades later, Jacob Javits spoke out against the treatment of Soviet Jews.Read More


Moyshe the Shtarker, Jewish Gangster, Stabbed and Shot

By Eddy Portnoy

Few mourned the murder of a gangster dubbed Moyshe the Shtarker a century ago. And 75 years ago, uncomfortable questions about prodigies Yehudi and Hepitza Menuhin.Read More


Lower East Side Physician Arrested for Dealing Cocaine and Opium

By Eddy Portnoy

One hundred years ago, Lower East Side physician Abraham Glickstein was arrested for dealing cocaine and opium. Seventy-five years later Jews were deported from Vienna.Read More


Fraternity Branch Closes To Avoid Jewish Members

By Eddy Portnoy

One hundred years ago, a fraternity revoked a local chapter’s charter to avoid admitting Jews. Fifty years later a Jewish detective was shot in a hotel stake-out.Read More


Bertrand Russell Calls Out Nikita Khrushchev

By Eddy Portnoy

Nikita Khrushchev was criticized by a famed philosopher for denying the reality of anti-Semitism. Twenty-five years earlier, a Jewish gangster was convicted after pleading: ‘I was framed!’Read More


Haman of Ellis Island Resigns

By Eddy Portnoy

One-hundred years ago this week, the “Haman of Ellis Island” resigned. Twenty-five years later, the British government issued a plan to divide Mandate Palestine.Read More


Malcolm X and the Jews

By Eddy Portnoy

100 years ago, a leader of a gang of fake beggars was locked up; 75 years ago Sigmund Freud fled Vienna; 50 years ago Malcolm X drew the ire of Jewish leaders.Read More


Third Century Synagogue Unearthed in Turkey

By Eddy Portnoy

Poland’s Labor Party passed a measure promoting emigration of Jews 75 years ago this week. Twenty-five years later, a third century synagogue was unearthed in eastern Turkey.Read More





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  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
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