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January 28, 2005


• Word from St. Petersburg indicates that a full-fledged revolution has finally broken out in Russia. It is being reported that strikers protesting in front of the tsar’s Winter Palace in St. Petersburg were brutally attacked by the Imperial Army, leaving over 2,000 dead and over 5,000 wounded, many of them women and children. Armed bands of factory workers are engaging Imperial troops in fierce battles and an army of over 50,000 armed workers have made their way to the capital to do battle with the tsar’s soldiers. A provisional revolutionary government has been set up by a group of intellectuals and journalists, all of whom are popular with the working masses. The Forward’s editorial page comments, “Finally! A revolution!”


• The Jewish shtetl of Leitmeritz, in Czechoslovakia, was once a Jewish shetl like others. It had poor people, merchants and even a well-known yeshiva. But Leitmeritz has become wealthy. Jewish householders have become hoteliers, artisans are busy with work, wagon drivers bring the town’s guests from place to place and cantors and synagogue employees have become lawyers. What has happened that the economic condition of the shtetl has changed so drastically? Currently the trial of famed Jewish psychic Eric Jan Hanussen, a.k.a. Moyshe Yankev Steinshneider, is taking place in Leitmeritz. The formerly quiet Jewish shtetl is filled to the brim with visitors and journalists. Hanussen, who was born in Leitmeritz, where he attended yeshiva, stands accused of fraud and the trial is being held here because it is his birthplace. Hanussen is world famous for his psychic abilities and has led police to thieves and murderers. Throughout the trial, he has regaled the courtroom with thrilling tales of how he exposed these criminals.


• Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yitzhok Herzog recently announced a plan to create a Jewish religious center in Israel, which eventually will lead to the creation of a Sanhedrin, or a religious council based on that of biblical times. To this end, a seven-story building will be erected in Jerusalem, which will house the rabbinical council. Currently the council has seven members, but eventually it will have 20, among whom will sit the most important rabbis and brilliant talmudists from all over the world. The new building also will house a large rabbinic library, a religious museum and a rabbinic court. Rabbi Herzog added that support for this plan is strongest among American and English Jews.

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