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Culture

April 16, 2004

100 YEARS AGO

• While the rent strike on the Lower East Side is still in full swing, numerous landlords have shown up at the offices of the Forward to declare that they will not be raising rents. The strikes, which are multiplying by the day, are succeeding, and the strikers — simple working families — have been models of courage and bravery in the face of so many eviction notices. Special acclaim goes to the Galitzianers who started this truly folk movement against the bloodsucking landlords. To celebrate their successes and to strengthen the rent strike in general, they held a raucous mass meeting on Avenue D that was attended by thousands.

75 YEARS AGO

• There’s a Yiddish expression: “If you eat treyf, it should be so good that it should run down your beard.” And so it is in Vienna, where a local Reform synagogue has a choir of blond, blue-eyed non-Jewish women. What, after all, gives more praise to God’s great name than when these sweet sopranos sing? He would have to have a heart of stone to refuse their prayer. But Jews need to remember that they are in goles, and just recently the girls went on strike. The cantor was upset to discover that his religious singers were also socialists demanding higher wages. But a smart businessman knows his customers, and so he settled with them. The choir is back in shul, singing like canaries.

• Georgia’s state Supreme Court decided that four Jews who were excluded from participation in a lower court jury had been discriminated against. The small group of Jews had been excluded from jury service by the Bryan County Court for no other apparent reason, other than that they were Jewish. After becoming aware of this, they decided to lodge a protest and took their case to the Georgia Supreme Court, where they argued that their exclusion was a result of hatred and religious prejudice.

50 YEARS AGO

• In spite of an official truce, Israeli soldiers stationed in the Negev desert, near the Egyptian border, were attacked by Egyptian regular forces in four separate incidents. Seven Israelis were wounded, some critically, and one died. All of the attacks were a result of Egyptian soldiers sneaking over the border and ambushing the Israelis, some of whom were driving military vehicles and others who were guarding Moshav Shova, near Saad. The attacks involved shooting from hidden positions, as well as the throwing of grenades. The Israeli government has lodged an official complaint with the mixed Egyptian-Israeli truce committee.

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