May 15, 2009

100 Years Ago in the Forward

The recent uprisings in Turkey have included a number of Jewish activists, among them those who have supported the old regime of Sultan Abdul Hamid and those who have fought against it. Those who have aligned themselves with the Young Turks and the prospect of constitutional government in Turkey even created their own Jewish regiment of volunteer soldiers. Supporting the old regime is one Albert Fu, a well-known Turkish journalist who previously was a supporter of the Young Turks. In support of the constitution stands one Nisim Matsliah, secretary of the Turkish Parliament. At this point, the faction that will succeed is unknown, but it is clear that Jews continue to play an important role.

75 Years Ago In the Forward

The Criminal Court in Brooklyn recently sentenced a group of Brownsville boys — Morris Rubin, Lazarus Greenberg and Louis Zeitchik — to life in prison for the murder of a Bay Ridge storekeeper. A fourth member of the gang, Sam Silverstein, was sentenced to die in the electric chair. While nobody has much pity for a group that killed an innocent man, we do have pity on Silverstein’s mother, who came to the offices of the Forward and poured out her bitter heart over her son’s impending execution. Mrs. Silverstein, a thin, hunched over Jewess with sunken eyes, understands that maybe her son should spend his life in prison, but the thought of him dying a horrible death in the electric chair sends her into wailing, convulsive spasms. She cannot understand how such a good boy like Sam ended up running with such a crowd. It’s a tragedy for all involved.

50 Years Ago In the Forward

For the first time, the State of Israel commemorated its own Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron), in honor of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis. With this, our 6 million martyrs will be remembered by the Jewish people and will be rooted by an official state holiday into our historical traditions, along with Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur. Though the day is still an official workday, at 8 a.m. all movement in the streets comes to a complete halt for two minutes in honor of the murdered 6 million. But other than that, it’s business as usual. People go to work, children go to school and restaurants are open. The only other change is that movie theaters have been asked not to show comedies.

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May 15, 2009

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