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July 3, 2009

100 Years Ago in the forward

Like a conquering army, the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side were filled with thousands of white-capped, white-shirted bakers waving red flags and beaming with joy at the final settling of their strike. Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to cheer them on and to listen to the bands that joined in the march. The procession stopped in front of the offices of the Forward on East Broadway, and the marchers cheered the paper that supported them throughout the strike. The leaders of the march entered the Forward’s offices to give the editors a special citation for their support. The bands then launched into “La Marseillaise” before continuing down the street.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Class consciousness does not appear to exist among Polish hooligans, who have recently been attacking Jews — mostly poor Jews — in great numbers of late. For these hooligans, every Jewish chest is good enough for a knife, but it is the poor, whose Jewish appearance isn’t masked in middle-class garb, who are taking the brunt of it. And it is the poor, the workers, the socialists who have put forth the call for Jews to arm themselves. In recent days, it has been the working Jews of Lodz who have put dozens of these hooligans in the hospital and even killed two of them. In Bialystok, militant Polish nationalists now fear entering Jewish neighborhoods. The message being put forth is that those who attack Jews should know that it is a dangerous business.

50 Years Ago in the forward

The Forward received a number of letters in response to an article by its religious correspondent, Rabbi Aaron Shurin, in which the rabbi argued that the law providing for separation of men and women in synagogue should be held to as stringently as the laws of keeping the Sabbath, or that of eating matzot on Passover. Referring to a case that is being heard in the Michigan court system, in which a congregant sued his synagogue after it voted to remove the mehitza, or separation wall, between men and women, readers argued not only that traditional Yiddishkeit will not be possible in modern America, but also that Shurin’s reasoning was based on a faulty reading of the Shulhan Aruch.

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