August 29, 2003
100 YEARS AGO
• A massive split has occurred at the Zionist Congress in Basel as the entire Russian delegation walked out in protest. The Russian delegates, who make up nearly half of the entire congress, were furious at the executive committee’s decision to pursue the British offer of a colony for a Jewish settlement in East Africa. Cyrus Sulzberger, one of the delegates who greeted the British decision with great interest, said that Jews have no right to say no to such an offer, since it is unlikely that the United States will continue to accept large numbers of Jewish immigrants, as it has for the last 20 years. The Russian Zionist response was, “Africa is not our land.” Large numbers of American Zionists have also come out against the East Africa plan.
75 YEARS AGO
• If this week’s meeting of the Hebrew Actors’ Union were to be made into a movie, it would be called, “Revolt of the Ladies.” The raucous meeting, which started at two in the afternoon and went until midnight, began as a heated exchange over the decision of the Roland Theater’s management to hire two nonunion actresses. One after another, the Yiddish theater actresses stood up and spoke about how unfair they felt it was that managers were hiring nonunion prima donnas while talented actresses were going hungry. Worst of all, they said, the union allows it all to happen. “The men do not understand our pain,” said Celia Adler, “but we must, once and for all time, demand protection for ourselves.” Evidently, the men did understand, since an overwhelming majority voted against allowing the Roland Theater to hire the two nonunion actresses.
50 YEARS AGO
• Four Jews were killed this week in a pogrom in Udja, Morocco, near the border with Algeria. Arab youths affiliated with the movement to unseat the French colonialists were responsible for the attack on the synagogue. It has also been reported that an attack on the Jewish quarter of Rabat was prevented by French police. The attacks occurred despite the neutrality Morocco’s Jews try to maintain between the Arab nationalists and the French colonialists. Jews privately support the pasha of Marrakesh, who is politically close to the French and considered a friend to the Jews. If he is defeated by his enemies, supporters of the dethroned Sultan Sidi Mohamed ibn Yusuf, it would be considered a bad omen for the Jews of Morocco.