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Looking Back: June 15, 2012

100 Years Ago in the Forward

After Big Jack Zelig, a gangster from Manhattan’s Lower East Side, survived a recent shooting in a gang war between the Jewish gang headed by “Kid Twist” and the Italian gang led by Jack Sirocco, he took the stand to testify against his assailants. In the wake of the shooting, one Charley Torti, a member of the Sirocco gang, was picked up and fingered as the shooter. Torti is on trial in the court of Judge Malone, who is notorious for handing out the death penalty in murder trials. Zelig, who police believe was shot by Torti as he exited the criminal court building, took the stand, only to state that he had no idea who shot him.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

One of our correspondents reports to us on the situation of Jews who live in small communities. Recently, he visited a colleague he has known for many years who lives in a town with about 1,500 Jews. A few years ago, the son of his colleague married, to their shock, a shiksa. This is already become somewhat common among the children of immigrants, even though it creates much anguish for their parents. In this case, however, the shiksa converted, and since our reporter happened to visit when the young couple was at the groom’s parents for Shabbos, he saw the young shiksa bless the candles. “She had the Yiddishkeit of Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah when she said the blessings,” he wrote.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

Jordanian soldiers broke a long-standing cease-fire after having opened fire on an Israeli watchtower, killing one border policeman and wounding three, one critically. The attack took place about 200 meters from the Mandelbaum Gate, which divides Jerusalem into Arab and Jewish halves. The Israeli government issued a sharp protest to the United Nations, which is investigating the incident. The breaking of the cease-fire marks the first time in four years that such shots have been fired in Jerusalem.

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