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September 26, 2008

100 Years Ago in the forward

In the wake of New York City Police Commissioner Theodore Bingham’s accusation that Jews commit the majority of crime in the city, the Forward received a letter from an actual thief who is currently imprisoned in “The Tombs.” The imprisoned man’s friends brought him copies of the Forward, and he informed us that our reaction — that Bingham should be fired — was the correct one, because the commissioner is a liar. Our incarcerated correspondent, who signed his letter “A Thief From the Tombs,” claims to have worked as a thief for nine years. He knows the profession well, and argues that the police arrest far more Jewish criminals than, for example, Italian criminals, as the police fear that the Italians will attack them. He says the police know that Jews tend not to be violent and will go quietly if caught. Italians, on the other hand, might stab them, so they often look the other way if they catch one committing a crime.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Heavyweight champion Barney Ross beat former champion Tony Canzoneri at New York City’s Polo Grounds in front of 35,000 spectators. Ross, who took Canzoneri’s belt last June, was clearly the winner of this fight, even in the eyes of Canzoneri’s fans. The vast majority of spectators were Italians and Jews, and a number of them got into fistfights of their own while defending their respective champions before the main event began. Also attending the fight was Ross’s mother, Mrs. Rosofsky, who for good luck gave her son a mezuza before the fight. Ross showed the mezuza to the press corps covering the fight and explained to the gentile reporters what it was. When Ross spied the Forward’s reporter after the fight, he said, “That’s my mother’s paper!” He added that he has always been very proud to be written about in the Yiddish paper.

50 Years Ago in the forward

The Forward has received Rosh Hashanah greetings from a variety of important people. Among those from the United States are President Eisenhower and Governor W. Averell Harriman. From Israel, greetings came from President Ben-Tsvi, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Ambassador Abba Eban. Eisenhower’s greeting read: “From ancient times, Jews have passed the call from father to son to serve the Lord with all of their hearts, all of their souls and all of their strength. Their loyalty to this oath created their community, enriched their people and deeply influenced their beliefs. It is a privilege to send yearly greetings to those who celebrate the holidays and to wish them all a happy new year.”


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