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October 20, 2006

100 Years Ago in the Forward As Morris Rosen and Louis Freedman walked up the stairs of an East Harlem wedding hall to attend the wedding of Sam Milner and Mary Rosenthal, two Italians jumped out and started punching them. Hearing their screams, the entire wedding party poured out of the hall and began chasing the two Italians down East 104th Street. One of the Italians stopped, pulled out a large knife and stabbed both Rosen and Freedman and then continued running. Having heard the ruckus, police appeared, chasing down the two Italians and arrested them. Rosen and Freedman, both wounded, ended up in Harlem Hospital. The remainder of the guests returned to the hall to celebrate the wedding.

75 Years Ago in the Forward Something odd is happening in Jewish life. Whenever Jewish socialists, members of the Workmen’s Circle, would travel around to another city, they would always be greeted warmly by that town’s radicals. They would invite them in for some tea and a bite to eat and, of course, a discussion on radical politics. They might also sing some radical songs together. But the radicals are getting older and older. And their children are becoming Orthodox. It’s the opposite of what used to be: Orthodox parents, radical children. Now the parents are the radicals and the children are religious.

In the bronco-busting segment of this year’s rodeo championship being held at Madison Square Garden, the man gunning for the crown happens to be a Jewish cowboy named Jack Baker. This is no bluff — it’s true, a Jewish cowboy from the Wild West. In his black ten-gallon hat and cowboy boots, it’s not easy to tell that he is one of the Children of Israel. Raised on the prairies of Wyoming, where his family raises cattle, his father is also a shtikl cowboy. His grandfather, who founded the family ranch, was one of the first Jews in Wyoming. Baker grew up on the ranch, where his father taught him all kinds of cowboy tricks.

50 Years Ago in the Forward After Polish secret police loyal to Communist Party chief Wladyslaw Gomulka took over Warsaw’s main radio station this week, Russian troops marched into Poland. Soviet Premier Khrushchev also called Gomulka, who has been known for his anti-Soviet attitudes, a “traitor.” Thousands of workers have gone on strike to protest the action. President Eisenhower commented, “All of Poland’s friends recognize and sympathize with their traditional struggle for freedom and independence.”

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