Forward Looking Back
1916 100 Years Ago
During the winter, Second Avenue is packed full with Yiddish actors. But where do these actors play in the summer heat? The truth is that most of these actors can currently be found on “roof gardens” playing pinochle and poker. Those actors who aren’t playing on the roof gardens spend time amusing one another at the beach, where Yiddish actors are hanging out with actors of the English-language stage. As it happens, the “English” actors are also Jews, and in the summertime they come to the shore to sing cantorial greats with their Yiddish-language counterparts. These “Jewish-Christians” long for Jewish tunes and sing them for the Yiddish actors on vacation. Theater manager Yosef Edelstein is also at the beach and is sizzling with joy after having taken over Kessler’s Theater. His joy is apparently so great that he has even become friendly with the other theater managers, who are all usually at each other’s throats.
1941 75 Years Ago
Jews Cheer Nazis?
The Soviet newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda recently reported that thousands of young Jews, many students in Soviet-held Ukraine, have voluntarily enlisted in the Red Army in order to do battle with the Nazis. The number of Jewish volunteers is apparently so large that the paper has taken the unusual step of praising the patriotism of these young Jews. Meanwhile, reports on Soviet radio have categorically denied articles in the Swedish press that claimed that the Jewish population of Lemberg (Lviv) in Ukraine welcomed the Nazis when they took over the city. The Swedish press also claimed that the Soviets shot over 4,000 residents of Lemberg just before evacuating the city, charges that the Soviet government denies. Claims that the Russians also shot tens of thousands as they evacuated Poland were also denied. The Soviets claim that the Swedes are being forced to print anti-Soviet reports due to Nazi pressure.
1966 50 Years Ago
A Back to Shul Movement
A study made by the well-known Golub Institute indicates that Jews currently attend synagogue in larger numbers than they did 14 years ago, when the organization made a similar study. In 1952, statistics showed that 56% of American Jews never went to synagogue. Now, however, in 1966, the statistics indicate that only 39% never go to synagogue. At the same time, the number of Jews who attend synagogue on the Sabbath fell to 4% from 12%. The great majority of American Jews fall into the category of those who occasionally attend synagogue: Fourty three percent of them say openly that they go to synagogue once per month or less. Studies also show that the number of Christians who attend church regularly also grew over the past few years. Of both groups, statistics show that women attend religious services more regularly than men and that young people from both groups appear to be the least interested in attending them.