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August 27, 2010

100 Years Ago in the Forward

It’s amazing how new technologies from America and Western Europe have made their way into Eastern Europe and are already being used by Jews. The business of bringing new technological developments such as bicycles, phonographs and moving pictures to this region is almost entirely in the hands of Jews. On the other hand, Christians deal with the sale of such things as new technologies in agricultural equipment. Whatever the case, these new arrivals have broadened the field of Jewish trades, something that has been limited frequently by the czarist government. One of the most important of these new technologies is the moving picture. For example, Jews own nearly all of the 2,000 electric movie houses in St. Petersburg. The situation throughout the Pale is similar and has provided gainful employment for thousands of Jews.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

Moises Ville, in the pampas of Argentina, is a curious little town. Jews inhabit it almost exclusively, with a couple of Shabbos goyim thrown into the mix. The women wrap up their hair like our grandmothers used to, and the town even looks a bit like the old shtetls in Poland and Lithuania. One supposes it’s more like a Jewish farming village, but there are a few unusual items that such villages don’t have. For one thing, there’s a big library, and for another, it’s actually filled with Yiddish, Hebrew and Spanish books. And there’s a school, as well — no, make that three: There’s an old-style Talmud Torah, a Yiddishist school and a Hebrew school. Moises Ville has an old-shtetl feel, but it’s modern, as well.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

Stanley Weyman, a 69-year-old Brooklyn resident, was shot to death during a robbery of the Yonkers, N.Y., motel at which he was employed as a clerk. Weyman, whose real name was Stephen Weinberg, had an amazing career as a confidence man and grifter and was famed for his numerous disguises as doctors, lawyers and even a United Nations ambassador. Known as Baron Munchausen of Brooklyn, Weyman began disguising himself when he was only 20. He managed to sneak into the White House by posing as Lt. Col. Sterling Weyman. He later snuck onto the American warship Wyoming during an inspection, as Lt. Cmdr. Ethan Allen Weinberg. He was caught and subsequently jailed.

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