Skip To Content

January 9, 2004

• One of the elderly residents of the Minsk home for the Jewish indigent didn’t show up for lunch when called. When his fellow residents went to check on him, they determined that he was no longer among the living and quickly sent his body to the cemetery. Since, according to Jewish law, a corpse cannot be left alone before it is buried, the body of the old man was left with the venerable “Yoyne the Meshugener,” who spends his nights sitting with the bodies of the dead and reciting Psalms over them. After a few hours, Yoyne saw the body move. Then a groan came out of it, followed by the words, “It’s cold! Why is it so bitterly cold?” Yoyne, frightened out of his mind, ran out screaming. In the end, it turned out that the old man hadn’t been dead, simply dead drunk.


• Jewish farmers plowing their fields in Hadera were attacked by a band of Arabs. The Arabs, who farm plots adjacent to the Jewish farms, destroyed the fences between the plots and claimed that the Jews were on their land. The Arab sheepherders, who in the past had been given permission by the Jewish farms to herd their sheep on the Jews’ land, evidently had been incited against the Jews after a recent visit by Wadia Bustani, a local Arab leader. In the end, the British police arrived and arrested the Arabs, who were set free after their bail was paid.

• It is being reported from Jerusalem that an expedition led by the director of the British School of Archaeology has discovered graves belonging to an ancient Hebrew royal family. Last year, the same group found an underground entrance leading to the towers of Jerusalem that are mentioned in the book of Nehemia. The recently discovered graves are not far from the Western Wall and have yielded fragments with writings the archaeologists believe stem from the time of King Solomon. The same group also discovered a street leading from the Western Wall and a number of homes with mosaic floors.


• Poet Julian Tuwim, perhaps the greatest poet of his generation, has died at the age of 59 in Poland. The half-Litvak, half-Polish Jew from Lodz was one of the best Polish literary stylists; some liberal Polish critics regarded him as their generation’s “Polish national poet.” Tuwim distanced himself from Jewish life, however, and even wrote poems praising Jesus, as well as material that could be construed as antisemitic. Yet when Hitler took power and Polish imitators began aping the Nazis, Tuwim had regrets and began to support Zionist causes. Tragic Jewish themes could be heard in his poems of the late 1930s.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.