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October 15, 2004

100 Years Ago

• When Mrs. Cohen walked into Joseph Schwartz’s 125th Street tailor shop to have her purple dress cleaned, Schwartz told her it would cost $2 to make it “look like new.” When Mrs. Cohen returned the following day, she picked up the dress and put $1.50 on the counter. Schwartz immediately jumped up and blocked the door, telling his customer that the price was $2. “Lemme go, mister, $1.50 is enough,” she said. But Schwartz wouldn’t let her go, and the two started to fight. In the end, Mrs. Cohen sent Mr. Schwartz flying through the window of the store and made off without paying the 50 cents she owed.

75 Years Ago

• The blood libel has reared its head again, this time in Vilna. When an abandoned baby was found in the courtyard of Vilna’s main synagogue last week, local antisemites announced it was evidence that Jews steal Christian babies to use their blood in matzos. The fact that it is not even close to Passover right now did not seem to dissuade them. The reality of the situation is that the child was left along with a note, written in Yiddish, which said that he was born to Jewish parents, his name was Velvl and that a place should be found for him in Vilna’s Jewish orphanage. Only after the child arrived at the orphanage did a number of antisemites show up to claim that he wasn’t Jewish and that the Jews planned to kill him. At that point, in order to calm the Christian citizens, the police took the child into custody. However, Vilna’s rabbis were unhappy about the fact that a Jewish child would be raised as a Christian and, after they proved to the police that the child was Jewish, he was returned to the Jewish orphanage.

50 Years Ago

• One can hear its players screaming its name in gambling halls, rural fairs and in church meetings. Bingo is played by all kinds of people, even though it is a type of gambling, which is illegal in New York State. New York’s deputy chief of police, Brooklyn-born Louis Goldberg, decided to put a stop to all this illegal activity and had his boys raid a couple of Brooklyn churches that ran big Bingo operations. For his efforts in enforcing the letter of the law, Goldberg was demoted, since his boss, the chief of police, decided that he didn’t care if Bingo was played in churches.

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