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Looking Back: May 25, 2012

100 Years Ago in the Forward

Twenty-five-year-old Brooklyn resident Rose Moscowitz shot and killed her husband, Morris Moscowitz, after he tried to force her to become a prostitute. Moscowitz was initially a packer at a cigar factory, and her wages weren’t enough for her husband. He told her that he wanted her to sell her body to other men, and when she refused, he beat her up. Her life became horribly bitter, and when she could take no more, she got a revolver and shot her husband in the heart.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

Mary Berd, known as the shameste, or assistant, to Rebbe Zeydl Shmelner, is under arrest and being held on $50,000 bail for her involvement in swindling money from many poor Jews, including an electric fan salesman on New York City’s Bowery. The rebbe and his shameste promised that the rebbe would perform kabalistic incantations that would make the salesman, Bernard Rudolf, a wealthy man. Rudolf is not the only victim of the rebbe and the shameste, and it is alleged that the duo has bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars out of poor, religious Jews in return for performing religious rituals.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

Florida Governor LeRoy Collins has ruled that 6-year-old Hildy Ellis can remain in the custody of her adoptive parents, Melvin and Frances Ellis, after the two were charged with kidnapping the girl from their home state of Massachusetts. The Ellises adopted the girl shortly after she was born to an unwed Catholic mother. A social worker went to check how things were going and discovered that the girl was being raised Jewish. The birth mother, Marjorie McCoy, was informed of the religious issue and instigated a court case against the Ellises; the court ruled against the Jewish couple, who moved to Florida. Massachusetts attempted to extradite the couple, to no avail: Florida ruled that they could stay.

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