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December 14, 2007

100 Years Ago in the forward

This week began with a giant whimper and not a bang, because of a new ruling that legally designates Sunday as a day of rest. And they mean it: Between the ultra-religious Catholicism of Judge O’Gorman and the club of Police Chief Bingham, nary a peep was heard out of weddings, parties, theaters, movies, dance halls, concert halls or saloons this past Sunday in New York City. The town was dead; it was like a terrible Yom Kippur. The city’s streets were packed with people who had nothing to do but wander about. And at weddings in Manhattan and Brooklyn, they danced without klezmorim.

75 Years Ago in the forward

One of San Francisco’s Jewish high-society families, the Fleischackers, shares ownership of the San Francisco Chronicle with a Christian high-society family, the Camerons. But the Fleischackers’ real businesses are the lumber and paper industries, just as the Cameron’s money comes from oil. The two families maintain a close relationship, and if it could be said that they are a paragon of bridge building between Jews and Christians, it would be true. Moreover, the two families’ current project involves literal bridge building: they have a plan to build a giant bridge that will connect San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to the city of Oakland across the bay.

Two Jewish criminals, 20-year-old Joseph Brown and 21-year-old Charles Markowitz, were executed this week in the electric chair at Sing Sing. The pair was convicted of murdering a police officer, Sergeant O’Shaughnessy, when the officer entered the Manhattan restaurant, on Lenox Avenue and 127th Street, that they were in the process of robbing. Both robbers shot the sergeant. Brown and Markowitz were sentenced to die in the electric chair. Their executions had been postponed once but were carried out this week.

50 Years Ago in the forward

In an exclusive interview with the Forward, great humanist and recent Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus said that he supported the existence of a Jewish state. When asked if he thought that a Jewish state in the Middle East would “Orientalize” the Jews — an argument currently popular in France against the existence of the State of Israel — Camus replied that the fact that millions of Jews had just been murdered in Europe dictated that the Jews need their own country. When asked if he was at all familiar with Yiddish literature, he mentioned having read the works of Sholem Asch, many of which have been translated into French.

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