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Culture

March 21, 2003

100 YEARS AGO

• A savage mass attacked the Jewish quarter of Filippov, Bulgaria, after a rumor spread that a Jew planned to kidnap a Christian child and use his blood to make matzo on Passover. A number of Jews were killed and the community is in fear for its life. Stores have been shuttered, and the Jews have locked themselves up in their homes. Fortunately, the police arrived and drove the mob away. Rumors abound, however, and it seems that plans are afoot to attack the Jewish quarter at night. In the meantime, Filippov’s Jews are planning to stay inside.

75 YEARS AGO

• The pushcarts on Orchard Street used to be full of antiques and good bargains. The two-block stretch from Canal to Delancey was a veritable museum exhibit. But the pushcarts and their peddlers are not the same as they used to be. After all, what child of a pushcart peddler wants to inherit his father’s business? The children of the peddlers have all gone off to college. And those kids have taught their fathers a thing or two. One pushcart salesmen who tried to sell an old brass frame for $17 said it was from the Renaissance period. He knew that, because his son, who is an art history major at City College, told him so. He therefore charges real antique prices for real “antiques.”

• In Paris, Vienna and other big European cities, American jazz has taken over as the main form of popular music performed in restaurants and cabarets. This phenomenon has resulted in a large number of unemployed Gypsy musicians, whose music had previously filled these venues. Even in Eastern centers like Budapest and Bucharest, Gypsy music has been replaced by American jazz bands. This situation has made it very difficult for the Gypsies, in particular since attempts are being made by European governments to put a stop to their tradition of wandering.

50 YEARS AGO

• In honor of his 74th birthday, Professor Albert Einstein received the gift of a medical school that will carry his name. The Einstein Medical School of Yeshiva University will be the first medical school in America opened under Jewish auspices. In a speech in honor of the naming, Einstein said that it was a compass he received as a gift when he was 5 years old that sparked his interest in the mysteries of nature’s forces and propelled him toward a career in the sciences. The genial scientist is thrilled that a medical school has been named for him.

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