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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  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • 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.
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