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Culture

October 3, 2003

100 YEARS AGO

• More reports on the pogrom in Homel are filtering in, mostly by way of private letters, although no clear estimates are available on the number of dead and injured. One letter, sent to a resident of Essex Street, includes the following details: “About 2,000 men armed with axes and iron bars attacked the town, and it didn’t take long before the streets were flowing with Jewish blood and littered with bodies. The walls of houses were smeared with blood. The soldiers, who were in their barracks, made no attempt to protect the Jews. Our house and all that we own has been turned to ashes.”

75 YEARS AGO

• A number of attacks on Jews have occurred recently at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. A group of Arabs threw stones and beat a number of Jews who were praying at the wall. In a mass meeting held at the Dome of the Rock, Arab leaders decided to petition both the British authorities as well as the League of Nations to reduce Jewish rights to visit the Western Wall. Arab leaders said the reason for reducing Jewish rights to the Western Wall was because Jewish rights to the wall placed Muslim rights to the Dome of the Rock in danger.

• The small number of “greeners” that are making it to America are no longer that green. When the nephew of a man who had immigrated 35 years ago arrived in New York, his uncle remembered that the most amazing new thing he saw when he arrived was a Vaudeville show. Half-naked dancing girls were something he had never seen back in Shklov. So when he took his newly arrived nephew to a show in order to impress him with American curiosities, he was surprised when his nephew turned to him and said, “Eh, I already saw this in Riga.”

50 YEARS AGO

• One of the well-known songs of the chalutzim, or Zionist pioneers, was, “Who Will Build the Galilee,” the refrain of which was a loudly shouted, “We will build the Galilee!” But the question on everyone’s mind these days in Israel is not who will build the Galilee, but who will build the Negev. The Negev, which makes up much of the landmass of the State of Israel, is mostly uninhabited. It is hoped that minerals and oil will be found there. It is also hoped that the town of Eilat, with its 250 inhabitants, will grow to become a larger port city.

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