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Culture

August 1, 2003

100 YEARS AGO

• Surrounded by eight gendarmes, would-be assassin Fruma Frumkin was led into the courtroom through the back door when she arrived at her trial for attempting to stab Kiev military commander Novitski. Frumkin refused to accept a defense attorney or to respond to questions posed to her by the prosecution. In her defense, she said the following: “I protest against the prevailing political order in Russia and find it necessary to undermine it. In order to do so, I have found it necessary to use terrorist methods. Every revolutionary must use every means available against the enemy, this tyrannical government. I did what I was able to. What I did was a moral duty.”

75 YEARS AGO

• For five years already, a war has been going on between kosher and nonkosher delicatessens and a large group of rabbis all on account of frankfurters and corned beef. It was a well-known secret that up until a few years ago, the majority of delicatessens that sported “kosher” signs did not actually serve kosher meat. No one seemed to mind. The reality was that the corned beef- and frankfurter-eating public did want kosher meat and gravitated to the restaurants that had “kosher” signs on them. But during the past few years, a wave of “kishke-yidishkayt” has swept over America’s Jews. People, who a few years ago wouldn’t have cared, now demand truly kosher food. And now a group of hundreds of rabbis are pushing them to demand that nonkosher restaurants take down their phony “kosher” signs.

50 YEARS AGO

• People have been talking a lot lately about “B-girls” who work in what are called “clip joints.” B-girls are allegedly customers in second-rate bars, but they are actually there to shake down the customers on the sly. They often also work as strippers in these bars, which, of course, brings in even more customers, who drink more after seeing the girls work. In between “acts,” the girls mingle with the customers, who buy them watered-down drinks. But these girls are not prostitutes and don’t go home with customers. Many of them are married with children and do the job because they need the money. They consider themselves “actresses.”

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