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Culture

November 21, 2003

100 YEARS AGO

• A quiet wedding took place this week in a dark cell in the Ludlow Street Jail. There was no rabbi and no chupah. The screeching doors and clanging locks were the only music. It was dark and depressing. The only light came from the shining eyes of the bride, Miss Minnie Benis. Her groom, Morris Tenenboim, is a prisoner at the Ludlow Street Jail for a breach of contract worth $10,000. Minnie Benis doesn’t care that her Morris is in jail and says that she’ll give up her last penny to get him out.

75 YEARS AGO

• When his plane was forced down in a windstorm in the middle of the Sahara Desert, the French consul to Morocco was not sure what he would find. The mostly empty region is known to be populated mainly by Bedouin tribes known for robbing and killing intruders. So Monsieur Rene LeBlanc was surprised to discover a community of Jews, who, he claimed, were the only civilized and welcoming people in the entire region. The copper-colored Jews, he said, rescued him from certain death.

• Restaurant workers have their own slang. You won’t find these terms on the menu, but restaurant regulars might have heard them before. If you start with breakfast, you’ll find that the waiters and chefs call oatmeal “mush.” Fried eggs are called “bulls’ eyes,” and coffee is known as java. In Jewish restaurants, waiter-speak uses more Yiddish. A piece of herring, for example, is known as a “litvak,” noodle soup is called “pamayes” (slops), and when the waiter tells the chef to “ker oys di kikh” (clean up the kitchen), it means that someone has ordered a plate of goulash.

50 YEARS AGO

• Abdel Khalak Hasuna, secretary of the Arab League, said in a speech to the Union of Foreign Correspondents that American support of Israel is a result of Zionist domination of the United States. He also said that Zionists control the press, the radio, as well as other forms of communication and use them for the benefit of Israel. He said that Zionists influence the press and radio by threatening to pull advertising. As a result, all of American popular opinion is controlled by supporters of Israel and, he said, it is impossible for Americans to receive impartial news on the Middle East.

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