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August 15, 2008

100 Years Ago in the forward

Sweatshop romances are not uncommon among the Jews of New York City, but it looked like trouble when 19-year-old Sarah Bennett fell in love with an Italian worker, Jim Troyano, at the paper box factory on the Bowery, where they both worked. Both of them having been in America for about eight years, the attractive couple ran off to Connecticut and were married by a judge. But when they got back, Sarah’s mother wasn’t happy. She told Jim that unless he converts, he’s out. “What do I gotta do?” Jim asked. “You have to get circumcised,” was the reply. “Dat’s nuttin,’” said Jim, who immediately made arrangements for a brit milah. So, in a fourth floor apartment on Clinton Street, it took place. As this was a major neighborhood event, people filled the windows of adjacent buildings and lined the rooftops and fire escapes, as well, to watch. Famed meat manufacturer Isaac Gellis served as the mohel, and Stanton Street’s Dr. Simberg handled the anesthesia. The operation a success, Jim was renamed “Avrom ben Avrom” and relaxed on a lounge chair as guests celebrated.

75 Years Ago in the forward

When Polish police found young Sholem Unger hanging from a tree in the Staszowicz forest, they initially suspected suicide. But when they went to his home to inform his parents, the boy’s father reacted with complete indifference to the news that his son was dead. As a result, the 54-year-old religious fanatic, wood salesman Yeshaya Unger, was arrested. During the course of the investigation, Unger admitted that he killed his son, but he explained that he did it because of an argument that had occurred between the two. According to Unger, his son was a sloppy dresser and he told him to dress more nicely. This led to an argument, which escalated to fisticuffs. During the fight, Unger claims, he accidentally choked his son to death. The police are not entirely convinced that it was an accident, particularly after Unger said in court that the Talmud permits a man to kill a son who has raised his hand against him. The Polish court is now consulting with rabbinical scholars to see if Unger’s comments are accurate.

50 Years Ago in the forward According to the Soviet Union, portions of the State of Israel, including East and West Jerusalem, belong to Jordan. Government geographers are studying the map, which arrived in Israel a few weeks ago. The Soviets claim that the map was drawn up according to the 1947 United Nations partition plan, but their geographers gave sections of what was designated as a Palestinian state to Jordan. Moreover, areas that are part of Israel, such as the Western Galilee, parts of the Negev and Gaza, are designated as belonging to Egypt. It seems as though the Soviet cartographers have some explaining to do.


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