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Looking Back: December 14, 2012

100 Years Ago

1912 Chicago police arrested Samuel Kramer, the famed New York City pickpocket who was arrested months ago with gangsters “Lefty Louie” Rosenberg and “Gyp the Blood” Horowitz but managed to escape, after an anonymous tip informed them that Kramer was holed up in a local brothel. He was in bed when five police detectives burst into the room. Kramer reached for his revolver, but he was too slow: The detectives pounced on him and beat him badly — so badly that he was taken to the hospital before they took him to police headquarters. An opium pipe and a quantity of opium were found on the table next to the bed that Kramer was occupying. The owner of the brothel was also brought in for questioning. Kramer is currently being held until New York City police detectives come and pick him up. When asked why he ran away in the first place, he responded with a curse.

75 Years Ago

1937 Did you know that this week is Hanukkah? Have you eaten latkes fried in goose fat yet? Did you give or receive some Hanukkah gelt? Did you light the candles? These were the questions bandied about in bourgeois American Jewish newspapers about 30 years ago. The writers that wrote about Hanukkah in those days didn’t seem to have much interest in the story of the holiday, the victory of the Hasmoneans and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. And the writers in the secular Jewish papers, although nonbelievers, were nostalgic for their childhood Hanukkah celebrations in the shtetls, so they wrote about them, too. But now everyone is writing about Hanukkah, a holiday that, in America has become a big deal. Why has this minor holiday become important in the United States? Its status has been raised because of Christmas, which falls around the same time as Hanukkah.

50 Years Ago

1962 More and more evidence is coming to light that a number of Arab countries are actively courting former Nazis and bringing them over, a fact that makes Israel quite nervous. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Michael Camay, spoke to the U.N. Assembly in regard to the growing connections between the Arab world and the neo-Nazi movement. This is apparently a continuation of the activity that took place when the mufti served as Hitler’s propaganda machine and was involved in plans to exterminate the Jews. Ahmed Shukairy, Saudi Arabia’s current representative to the U.N., was a close collaborator with the mufti. He continues to spread Nazi-style hatred of Jews, even in the United Nations.

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