Looking Back


A New York Jewish Man Tries To Commit Suicide by Cocaine

By Eddy Portnoy

This week, 100 years ago, Jacob Haas took cocaine and tried to commit suicide because he couldn’t marry his niece. And, 75 years ago, details of Jewish life in Vienna under the Nazis were surfacing.Read More


Cantors Consider Joining the AFL-CIO

By Eddy Portnoy

This week in history, Kohanim, the Jewish priestly class, went on strike and a federation of cantors considered joining the AFL-CIO.Read More


Paper Lauds Jewish National Home

By Eddy Portnoy

This week in history, a British newspaper promoted the ‘creation of a Jewish national home,’ and two adult Jews from Majorca were circumcised.Read More


American Nazis Arrested

By Eddy Portnoy

This week in history, American Nazis appeared in court after a disturbance at an Israel Independence celebration and unlikely best friends had a joint funeral.Read More


Yitzhak Ben Zvi Memorialized

By Eddy Portnoy

Former Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi was buried in Jerusalem. A Polish man living on the Lower East Side was murdered by his wife, who believed that he sold their son to Jews.Read More


Snatched From Seders To Wash Streets of Vienna

By Eddy Portnoy

As the Nazis tightened their grip on Vienna, Jews were pulled from Passover seders to wash streets. Freed wife-poisoner Morris Lustig was jailed again for participating in a car theft ring.Read More


Anti-Semitism Sweeps Poland and Vienna

By Eddy Portnoy

Anti-Semitism ran rampant in Poland. In Vienna, cellist Jacob Feuerman was forced by Nazis to wash a sidewalk, injuring his hands. Bund leader Raphael Abramovitch’s death was mourned.Read More


Comedian Eddie Cantor Threatened by Nazis

By Eddy Portnoy

In Greece, Easter brought warnings of pogroms. Comedian Eddie Cantor faced threats of Nazi violence and West Germany discouraged scientists from working against Israel.Read More


Philly Peddler's Beard Sliced Off in Attack

By Eddy Portnoy

A Jewish peddler’s beard was cut off in an attack in West Philadelphia. Jews attempted to flee Nazi Vienna and Soviet Jews were arrested for baking matzo at home.Read More


Forverts Prints 150,000 Copies Per Day

The Forverts was the third largest publication in New York 100 years ago. Jews committed suicide in Nazi Austria and an Israeli agent planned to murder a German scientist.Read More





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  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
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