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Looking Back May 12, 2006


Men, women, boys and girls appeared by the dozens at New York City’s Essex Street Police Station, carrying baskets of cats and kittens that they left in the waiting room. Little by little, the felines began to creep out of the baskets and walk around. The station’s sergeant, James Post, was furious and dispatched a number of officers to collect the tiny beasts. Some of the locals also helped put the cats back in their baskets. The reason that people flooded the station with cats was on account of a prank: Someone put an advertisement in one of the Yiddish papers, stating that Post was in need of cats and that people should bring them in.


It was announced in Jerusalem this week that the first group of Jews will be returning to Hebron this week after they were driven out during the brutal anti-Jewish riots of the summer of1929. The group is composed of 20 Sephardic families who will be resettling the Jewish quarter with funds provided by charitable organizations. These families hope that they will be able to return to Hebron and live there in peace. Hebron’s Arab leaders turned to the Jewish leaders of the Yishuv and requested that the Jews driven out of the city be allowed to return. Jewish leaders asked the British high commissioner to provide protection to those Jews returning to the city.

Three thousand Jewish grocery store owners are planning to found a cooperative chain store so that their stores are able to compete with private chain stores, which have begun to put small stores out of business. At its ninth party congress, held this week, the Jewish Grocers Association said that it must fight fire with fire if it is to beat the chain stores, which are able to buy massively in bulk and pass the savings on to the customer. Only through a cooperative can the independent groceryman compete with the chain stores, the association said.


The residents at the Workmen’s Circle Home for the Aged typically divide themselves into two groups: old and young. The old ones are usually those over 80, and the young ones are composed of those in their 60s and 70s. There are some just in their early 60s, who are referred to as “babies” by everyone else. The young ones are very respectful to their elders: A person in his 70s always will give up his chair to a person in his 90s. There are a few local celebrities, like 86-year-old Yisroel Zalkoff, one of the original founders of the Bund, and 84-year old Bernard Fenster, a founder of the Cloakmakers Union. Many of these old folks reminisce fondly about the old days as revolutionary fighters.


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