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Looking Back: March 2, 2012

100 Years Ago in the Forward

The worst disgrace is to be a moron. According to the Talmud, a stupid person is like a dead man. So how does one become a knowledgeable, intelligent person? There’s no need to go to college or to night school; some people become educated by reading the kinds of books that provide knowledge and are also enjoyable to read. The best of these are usually history books: those that you can pick up after a hard day’s work and are a pleasure to read. One of the best books of this kind is the newly published, two-volume “History of the United States,” by Forverts editor Ab Cahan. Heavily illustrated with color pictures and maps, it reads like a riveting Yiddish novel.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

Ben Leider, who survived a pogrom as a child in Kishinev in 1905 and immigrated to the United States, was killed by fascist forces in Spain. He is the first American casualty of the Spanish Civil War. Leider, who worked as a newspaper reporter in New York, left his position to fight on the side of the Spanish Republicans. Although he was an experienced pilot, he had no military experience; however, he was eager to fight. His brother, Morris Leider, noted that Ben was killed February 19 in a heated dogfight with the fascists when his plane was hit and it went down.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

In front of a packed United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir gave a dramatic speech announcing Israel’s pending withdrawal from the Sinai and Gaza, under the condition that Egypt will refrain from using these areas as launching points for attack and also will refrain from blockading Israel. Noting that America and other nations have pledged their assurances that Israel has the right to free passage and the right to defend itself from attacks, Meir stated that Israel will be removing its military forces from Sharm el Sheikh and from Gaza. Meir added that President Eisenhower’s comment, made the previous month, that Israel must have free passage in both the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba played a significant role in the decision to pull back Israel’s forces.

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