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August 17, 2007

100 Years Ago In the Forward

Last night, as 14-year-old Joseph Mintzer was playing with his friends in front of his building at 42 Delancey Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a car came whizzing by, smashing into Mintzer and flinging his body far down the sidewalk. Hundreds of Jews came out onto the street after hearing Mintzer’s anguished screams, surrounding the car that hit him. They threatened to drag out the driver and kill him. The one policeman that happened to be on the scene couldn’t calm the angry crowd and had to shoot his pistol in the air to get the people’s attention. Finally, an elderly Jew climbed up onto a barrel and convinced the crowd not to attack the driver, who was eventually arrested.

75 Years Ago In the Forward

If we ever have pogroms in America, they will be directed against “The Yiddish Hour” on the radio. Every idiot, every bonehead that can put two words together is an announcer. It is a disgrace to the Jewish people, these Yiddish Hours with which they festoon the airwaves. You tune into a “Yiddish Hour” maybe for an old-time niggun, some cantorial music, or just a fine old Yiddish tune. You are not destined to have any luck in this lifetime, because the Yiddish announcer, who comes from a place where they don’t know how to pronounce ‘l’s or ‘r’s, comes on the air in a hoarse and tinny voice: “Gweetings, deaw wistenews, we have been bwessed to bwing you a mewody that will mewt youw heawt. Pwease, don’t fowget our sponsows.” With an accent like that, this guy would be shot on a gentile street. The bands on Yiddish radio are also odd. Individually, the musicians are talented. But once they get together, they pump out screechy, horrible music. And people think this is Jewish music. It’s enough to make you an antisemite.

50 Years Ago In the Forward

Raphael Ayalon, an Israeli seaman who was working on a Danish ship, was taken into Egyptian custody after his ship tried to pass through the Suez Canal. Ayalon was freed this week after weeks of imprisonment in Egyptian jails. He reported being tortured, brutally at times, by his prison guards, especially during the first days of captivity. Subsequently, Ayalon was shuttled between various prisons and even taken to a variety of places in Cairo, including a radio station. At that station he recorded an interview, which he said the Egyptians manipulated for their own benefit.


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