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April 25, 2003


• The streets of Kishinev are running with Jewish blood. It is being reported that thus far more than 25 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in a major pogrom that began on Easter Sunday. An organized band of pogromists wielding knives and machetes attacked the Jewish quarter, where they broke into houses, beheading, stabbing and slashing men, women and children. In the face of this brutal attack, the Jews of Kishinev acted heroically: young men and even women fought back and protected the weak and the elderly. But against the knives and machetes of the pogromists, the weaponless Jews took many losses.


• The number 18, a traditionally Jewish number, has become treyf for many of Poland’s chasidim. In the most recent elections, 18 was the number of the Zionist slate, which won more seats than any other Jewish party. As is well known, most chasidim adamantly oppose the Zionists. The ultra-Orthodox list, number 33, which was supported by the majority of chasidim, suffered terrible defeat. Most chasidim, apparently, have stopped giving to charity in multiples of 18. But the Alexandrov chasidim supported 18, and the screaming and fighting in the study houses and mikvahs hasn’t ceased since. In the shtetl of Zgerzh, one poor yeshiva boy, who used to eat at a different home every day and sleep on the oven of the study house at night, was suspected of supporting list number 18.

A group of Gerer yeshiva boys strip-searched him and found a flyer for the Zionist list. Not only did they tie him up and stuff his mouth with yarmulkes so no one could hear his screams, but they beat him badly. To make matters worse, that night, while he was asleep, they set his peyes on fire, which burned his face. After hearing his screams, townspeople came running and took him to the hospital.


• A Forward editorial marking the fifth anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel remarks: “Together with the whole of America, which has shown itself to be a true friend to Israel, together with Jewish people from all countries, we applaud the builders of the Jewish state for their heroism, idealism and formidable achievement. They have done so much with so few resources in such a short time.”


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