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Culture

May 30, 2003

100 YEARS AGO

• Thousands filled Carnegie Hall to take part in a meeting to protest the Russian government’s complicity in the barbaric pogroms in Kishinev. Some of the most influential Americans attended the meeting, including former president Grover Cleveland, who expressed his sympathy for the victims. This protest meeting and dozens of others in sympathy and support for the Jews of Russia have propelled Secretary of State Hayes to put the Department of State into action on this issue.

75 YEARS AGO

• One person was shot dead and two were wounded during a midnight holdup in the Yiddish Actors’ Club on East 31st Street. About 40 patrons were eating dinner and listening to the band when seven armed robbers burst into the restaurant, yelling for everyone to put their hands up and for the band to keep playing. Four of the gang went around emptying everyone’s pockets and grabbing jewelry. One of the robbers shot off a round when some of the women started to scream. At the same time, actor Jack Shargel and his wife Bertie entered the restaurant. Upon seeing what was in progress, Mrs. Shargel fainted and Mr. Shargel ran to a phone booth to call the police. When they arrived, the thieves had already escaped. The police shot their guns off anyway, resulting in a number of victims.

50 YEARS AGO

• On Washington Square, in the heart of Greenwich Village, one finds hundreds of artists exhibiting their work on the street. There are many paintings of beautiful landscapes, ballet dancers, still lifes and the like. It was therefore a surprise to come across a number of paintings with Jewish themes, like one of a patriarchal-looking rabbi hunching over a tome or a Sabbath evening scene. The painter of these scenes is, uncharacteristically, a chasidic rabbi’s wife in her 50s from Boro Park by the name of Nacha Rivkin. Mrs. Rivkin, who grew up in Lodz, also lived in Israel before immigrating to the United States in 1928. It was here that she discovered her talent for painting.

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