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Culture

January 17, 2003

100 YEARS AGO

• The birthday party for Comrade Levin’s 2-year-old daughter, which was attended by a large number of Forward employees who sang Russian revolutionary songs, was disrupted when Benjamin Belikoff drank a bottle of carbolic acid. Belikoff, who works for Levin and is also a boarder in his house, tried to bite the hands of partygoers who attempted to help him. An ambulance eventually arrived to take him to the hospital. Belikoff, who was known to be melancholy, was a young, socialist, Russian-Jewish intellectual. Though he emigrated to America many years ago, he recently returned to Russia to retrieve his fiancee, who, he discovered, had married someone else.

75 YEARS AGO

• Last week in Munkatch, the Belzer chasidim bombarded the home of the Zepinker rebbe with rocks. After that, they broke into his house and occupied the rebbe’s bedroom. This was in response to an earlier episode during which the Zepinker chasidim stormed the Belzer slaughterhouse and wrecked it. The war between these two chasidic groups has gotten so bad that the Belzers also tried to drown the Zepinker rebbe in the mikvah. The local Munkatch Yiddish press has condemned both groups, calling them reactionary fascists.

• After Bundist leader Henrik Ehrlich spoke before the Warsaw City Council and demanded equal pay for Jewish workers and equal funding for Jewish students in Yiddish-language schools, members of the Polish Peoples Democratic Party spent the subsequent two hours verbally assaulting the Jews. Spreading the most vile and base lies, the speakers concluded by saying that the Polish nation must take revenge against the Jews. Such talk hasn’t been heard for years in the Warsaw City Council, but it evidently had an effect, since some of the Bundist council members were physically attacked afterward.

50 YEARS AGO

• After a cursory study, a congressional subcommittee has reported that hundreds of teachers in Americas schools are Communists. They also said that the New York City Teachers Union is a front for more than 500 Communists. The subcommittee announced, “We have only scratched the surface of the situation and must order a further investigation.” As such, a special committee under the authority of the House Un-American Activities Committee will be created in order to investigate the schools and universities.

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