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Culture

December 31, 2004

100 Years Ago

• Sam Fefferman ran a dry goods store on New York City’s Orchard Street. Things were going well for him and he decided to expand. Therefore he hired one Mendel Frucht to stand outside his store with a pushcart. For this he paid Frucht $8 per week. Fefferman’s business continued to succeed. Thus it was with great surprise that he greeted a city marshal and two policeman at his door who said they were there to shut him down. The marshal showed Fefferman a document indicating that the firm of “Fefferman and Frucht” had defaulted on a $500 loan. Fefferman protested that Frucht was not and never had been his partner, but the marshal closed him down anyway.

• A gang of Orthodox Jews connected to the Agudath Israel organization made a pogrom on the headquarters of the Zionist sports club, Bar-Kokhva. Not only did they break the windows, but they smashed all the furniture, ripped up the books and destroyed anything they could find. The attack was allegedly in response to a speech that Zionist leader Yitzhak Grinboym made in the Polish Parliament, in which he mentioned the Gerer Rebbe in less than benevolent terms. Not to be outdone, the Zionist sports club members attacked the Orthodox group the following day, beating up a number of the group’s members.

75 Years Ago

• A statistical study of the students at City College of New York indicates that many of the parents of the college’s best students are complete illiterates. It also was found that only 1% of the parents were professionals, such as doctors or lawyers. Dr. Payne, a professor at City College, said that most students’ parents are street peddlers and unwanted immigrants, the vast majority of whom are Jewish. The professor said that the children of these illiterate immigrants are going to be future Spinozas, Disraelis, Einsteins and Freuds. In comparison with their gentile colleagues, the Jewish students tend to finish a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree in three years.

50 Years Ago

• “We must take the American weapons and attack the State of Israel while we still can,” said Premier El-Khoury of Syria in an interview in a Cairo newspaper. “I don’t know what we’re waiting for,” he continued, “the weapons were given to us on the one condition that they not be used for aggression, but only for self-defense, so let us take these weapons and attack Israel, and I guarantee to defend our handling of the situation in the U.N. and in the International Court of Justice.” When asked how to solve the Palestinian problem, El-Khoury said that Israel must be forced back to borders that are “just and legal.”

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