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November 16, 2007

100 Years Ago in the forward

New York’s Jewish neighborhoods are becoming more and more like the Land of Israel. The only thing missing is a king. This week, steps were taken toward the goal of obtaining one when Police Chief Bingham appointed Isaac Frank as Liberty Street’s Police Captain in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Frank, who started out walking a beat and eventually became a lieutenant, will now be in charge of keeping order among 300,000 citizens, 250,000 of whom are Jewish. In addition to this, we can say that Judge Steiner of the Essex Market Court on the Lower East Side frequently addresses his court in Yiddish, making everyone, from criminals to lawyers, feel like he or she is in an old-time bet din.

75 Years Ago in the forward

The citizens of Spain often get a mixed message on the topic of Jews. On the one hand, generations of priests have inculcated their followers with bizarre superstitions about Jews, and many think that Jews are like wild animals. On the other, the Spanish government has recently said that the exile of the Jews during the Inquisition was one of the worst tragedies in Spanish history. Although there are not a lot of Jews in Spain, the Jewish issue is an important one. For example, for those Spaniards who are anti-clerical, the Jews serve as an important symbol in their attempts to present the church as evil. As a result, they have much praise for the Jews. The Republicans tend to oppose the church, which has sided with the Nationalists, and they praise the Jews to high heaven. Basically, if someone praises the Jews, he is considered to be progressive. The Republicans complain that the church was very much responsible for the downfall of Spain, and the fact that they were instrumental in exiling the Jews is mentioned frequently. But they really don’t know much about Jews. They think that the Jewish people are made up entirely of intellectuals and artists and do not have any common folk.

50 Years Ago in the forward

Israeli scientists have discovered that the secret to the rocket fuel used to power the launch of the mysterious Russian “Sputnik” satellite is magnesium based. Well-known rocket scientist Aleksander Zarkhin said in an interview in the Hebrew daily Ha’aretz that magnesium-based fuels have been used in Soviet military experiments. Zarkhin, who has been in Israel for a little longer than 10 years, previously worked at the laboratory in Leningrad, where such magnesium fuel experiments took place. Recently, Zarkhin has developed technologies to draw magnesium and other chemicals from the Dead Sea.

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