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Culture

October 22, 2004

100 YEARS AGO

• British-Jewish writer Israel Zangwill is currently in New York for the purpose of convincing wealthy Jews to support his plan to settle Jews in East Africa. England has practically promised a land mass of 400 square miles for the Jews to colonize, but this area is so untamed that only wild animals live there. Zangwill said that because England and America do not want further Jewish immigration, other areas must be developed; otherwise, the Jewish masses of Eastern Europe will have nowhere to go. He also suggested that with the rising number of Jews coming to America, an increase in antisemitism would occur.

75 YEARS AGO

• After a hiatus of 13 years, beloved Yiddish poet Avrom Reisen is once again in the pages of the Forward. Along with a number of other writers who worked for the communist daily Morgen Freiheit, Reisen was horrified by the Freiheit’s antisemitic position regarding the pogroms that recently took place in Palestine. In an open letter to the Freiheit, he demanded that the editors apologize to the Jewish people and stated that until they do so, he will have absolutely nothing to do with them. For their part, the Freiheit has not ceased attacking Reisen, whom they now consider to be in the ranks of all counterrevolutionaries, including all socialists not of their ilk. Although the Forward did not always agree with Reisen’s political views, his artistic talents always were respected. It is with great pleasure that the entire Forward family welcomes Avrom Reisen back into its offices. Forward readers are sure to be pleased, too.

50 YEARS AGO

• Yiddish author Sholem Asch, who has decided to spend half of each year in Israel, requested an aliya on Yom Kippur in the big Tiferet Tsion (Zion) synagogue in Tel Aviv, for which he would donate 250 pounds to the congregation. On the day of Yom Kippur, Asch was given an honored seat next to the eastern wall and prayed with great enthusiasm, tears pouring down his cheeks. But when supplicants were called to read from the Torah, his name wasn’t mentioned. It turned out that the synagogue’s board was worried about the congregation’s reaction to the controversial author, and therefore decided against an aliya.

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