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July 9, 2010

100 Years Ago in the forward

Leo Hirshfield, a saloonkeeper in Haverstraw, N.Y., was shot to death by a former employee. Hirshfield, a well-liked local man with a wife and two daughters, was in the basement of his saloon corking beer bottles, when he was surprised by the appearance of John Zipeth, a bartender whom he recently had fired for failing to show up for work. Apparently, Zipeth was furious at being let go, and upon hearing the news he packed his trunk, brought it to the depot and then made his way to Hirshfield’s saloon, where he shot Hirshfield three times, killing him. After wounding another employee, Zipeth tried to escape, but a large crowd followed him. Officer Sheridan appeared, with his revolver drawn, but Zipeth shot at him, too. Sheridan returned fire, hitting Zipeth three times and killing him. But the surrounding crowd was still furious and tried to attack Zipeth’s body. Ironically, Sheridan had to protect the body of the man he had just killed from the angry mob.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Before the revolution in Turkey, things weren’t bad for the Jews there. In fact, they were generally free to live as they wanted, were left alone by the Sultan and his authorities and even had a special fondness for the Turks, remembering how they welcomed their ancestors from Spain 500 years earlier. But under the new secular-national dictatorship of Kemal Pasha, things have changed. Jews are still free to practice their religion, but in all other realms of life, they must now be “Turks.” This means that they can no longer speak Ladino. Some Jews have reportedly been beaten in the streets for doing so. And in some synagogues, what used to be the sound of Hebrew prayer has been replaced with Turkish translations. Names have also become a problem: Those from foreign languages are no longer acceptable, so Jews are changing their names to Turkish ones.

50 Years Ago in the forward

After the debate in the United Nations over Argentina’s dispute with Israel regarding the capture of Adolf Eichmann, the result of which determined that Israel was within its rights to make the Nazi henchman stand trial in Jerusalem, it was thought that the matter was concluded. But to the dismay of many leaders in the West, and even in Eastern Europe, pro-Nazi forces in Argentina are again attempting to force the issue, with the country’s foreign minister now claiming that Eichmann should be returned and that those who captured him should be punished. This is odd, since Argentina’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mario Amadeo, never made this request during the debate. In the meantime, Argentina has added that its ambassador to Israel will not be returning.

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