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October 15, 2010

100 Years Ago in the forward

Four Jewish families — 12 people in all — were asleep in their Harlem tenement on 120th Street and Madison Avenue, when a thief snuck in through a window and chloroformed them all. The thief then proceeded to steal all the cash from the apartments. The Levinskys’ apartment was struck first, and it is thought that the thief crawled in through their second-floor window. After robbing them, he proceeded to the Engelmans’, then to the Shmulevitshs’, and finally he robbed the Spectors of all their money. At one point, a girl who had not been knocked out woke up and screamed, waking others in the building. Based on the incredibly loud snoring coming from the four apartments, a policeman deduced that the victims had been chloroformed. The officer had a difficult time waking them.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Who are the black Jews of Ethiopia, and how did they get there? Calling themselves “Falasha,” which means, “foreigner,” their own legend states that they are the descendants of King Solomon and Queen Sheba, the latter of whom came from Ethiopia. According to this legend, Solomon and Sheba had a son who returned to Ethiopia as a king. More likely, however, is that after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem resulting in the Jews dispersing, some ended up in Ethiopia, where, as in other diasporas, they took locals as their wives and taught them their customs. As it stands, there are currently thousands of these Jews in Ethiopia. In recent centuries, Christian missionaries have attempted to convert them, with occasional success. More recently, Jewish scholars have visited them to study their way of life.

50 Years Ago in the forward

Israel again came under attack in the United Nations, this time by Fuad Amin Lebanon’s U.N. representative. In his speech, Amin took the opportunity to warn all the new African members of the body that Israel has dangerous colonial ambitions and that they should beware. Amin added that Golda Meir’s recent speech in the U.N. was “propaganda worthy of Goebbels.” He noted the fact that it was the Jews who drove the Arabs out of their land and that a map of Israel with borders from the Nile to the Euphrates hangs in the Knesset — and Israeli textbooks show the same map labeled “Israel in the future.” Instead of addressing Meir’s suggestion for peace negotiations with the Arabs, Amin suggested that a U.N. commission be set up to investigate the way in which Israel treats its Arab citizens.

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