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Culture

August 5, 2011

100 Years Ago in The Forward

It’s never a good idea to fall asleep on the train. Just ask Charles Cohen, a fish peddler on New York City’s Essex Street. Recently, Cohen zonked out on the Second Avenue Elevated Line and got a lesson he’ll never forget. After a hard day of selling fish on the Lower East Side, Cohen was on his way home to Harlem. But after falling asleep, he missed his stop at 111th Street and ended up at the end of the line, on 129th Street. The conductor woke up Cohen, who asked to get on a downtown train without paying again, since he missed his stop. The conductor refused to let him on for free, and when Cohen reached into his pocket to get money to pay, he discovered that all his money — $200 —was missing. Apparently it had been removed while he was asleep on the uptown train. Cohen became hysterical, and the police arrested him for disturbing the peace.

75 Years Ago in The Forward

The latest sensation in the fight game is 7-foot-2-inch Leon Ketchell, who was brought to the United States by famed London boxing manager Harry Levene. Ketchell is considered an excellent match for the Italian giant, Primo Carnera. Born in Katowicz, Poland, Ketchell was a soccer player and a wrestler before he took up boxing. He also speaks passable Yiddish — much better, in fact, than most American-born Jews. The thing is, though, he isn’t actually Jewish. Because so many Jews are involved in boxing, and because there are so many Jewish boxing fans, his managers are saying that his mother comes from a Jewish family. Anything to bring the Jews to the match.

50 Years Ago in The Forward

According to a recently arrived Egyptian-Jewish refugee in London, President Gamal Abdel Nasser is essentially holding the Egyptian-Jewish community hostage in case of a war with Israel. Despite official government statements that Egypt’s Jews are not being harassed, all evidence indicates otherwise. For example, Jews are supposedly permitted to attend synagogue so that they can pray unmolested, but Egyptian police are always inside, keeping a watchful eye on the congregation. The authorities claim that the reason for the police presence is “in case a fire breaks out.” Jews who have fungible businesses, this refugee said, are tolerated because they make money for the regime. But those who do not are hounded out of the country.

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