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Looking Back January 27, 2006

100 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

Famed pianist Arthur Rubenstein, who recently arrived in New York from Russia, no longer can be considered a greenhorn. While he was standing backstage, about half an hour before a concert at the Casino Theatre, a young choir singer who was under the impression that Rubenstein did not speak English said loudly, “I’d really like to kiss him.” “You got it,” the pianist said in excellent English. He planted one right on her lips. “You want one, too?” he asked another singer; he kissed her, too. Both girls ran to a corner and hid their eyes behind their hands. The subsequent performance was a good one.

75 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

Benny Gordon, known in the underworld as “Benny the Kotsker,” was sentenced this week in the Bronx by a New York Supreme Court judge. He will face death in the electric chair for murdering auto garage cashier Anthony Grisalia during a holdup almost two years ago. Gordon, 24, is the son of a well-known Bronx businessman. Benny the Kotsker is scheduled to go to the chair at the end of next month.

Jewish fight fans can now root for a new Jewish pugilist. Hoping to fill the shoes of former lightweight champions Al Singer and Ruby Goldstein, Jackie “Kid” Berg has arrived from England to attempt to take back the crown from Italian American Tony Canzoneri. In general, Jewish fighters have not had a successful year; Italians have been overshadowing them in every class. This week’s fights also have a few more Jewish boxers on the bill, including Lower East Side residents Sammy Dorfman and Lew Feldman. As for Kid Berg, he is so sure of a victory this week that he brought over his parents from England to show them how great a fighter he is.

50 YEARS AGO IN THE FORWARD

Based on information gleaned from scrolls found recently near a monastery close to the Dead Sea, archeologists are reporting that an unnamed Jew was crucified for promoting teachings similar to those of Jesus more than 100 years before his birth.

News reports indicate that the contents of the scrolls will force theologians to revise their concept of the biblical Jesus. Thus far, scholars say that the scrolls came from a small group of extreme Jewish fanatics who were chased out of Jerusalem. The one who was crucified is thought to have been one of their leaders.

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