April 27, 2007

100 Years Ago In the Forward

In honor of its 10th anniversary, poet Morris Rosenfeld writes a paean to his favorite newspaper. The final stanzas read: After these ten years I still see Pharaoh’s power/I still see the Inquisition/I still can hear the devil laugh/With his bloody ambition/But I also hear you for ten hard years/Tireless and without fear/You call out to a new generation/ With humanity’s newest Torah/You are always looking Forward to that beautiful green island/Where joy is beautifully painted/by the brush of hopefulness/Nu, go already, the future is yours/Let your voice be heard/As for me, it’s over/I have fallen in battle.

75 Years Ago In the Forward

A Polish court sentenced Vilna University student Shmuel Wolpin to two years in prison after he was found guilty in the death of a Christian student during an antisemitic pogrom at the university. The judge stated that despite the fact that there were no reliable witnesses to the murder, the Jewish students were responsible, since they were known to have attacked Christian students during certain periods of unrest. Two other Jewish students were also arrested on charges of attacking Christians, but were released after it was proved that the witness was lying. The judge on the case said, “Since the Spanish Inquisition, the Jews harbor a deep hatred for Christians and especially for Poland.”

The Jews of New Haven, Conn., are pretty well acculturated, but this week the city’s courthouse looked like an old-time yeshiva, with rabbis and other religious figures milling about. The case had to do with a New York butcher, Harry Rosen, who came to New Haven, opened a butcher shop and offered his wares at much lower prices than the rest of the local butchers. After learning the details of kosher slaughter from a panel of six rabbis, the Irish judge on the case was able to come to the conclusion that Rosen was buying nonkosher meat and passing it off as kosher — something that allowed him to get away with charging bargain basement prices.

50 Years Ago In the Forward

At a press conference in Damascus, Syrian premier Sabri al-Assali said that Syria will destroy the State of Israel if it dares to attack any Arab country. Assali told reporters that the Soviet Union had informed Syria, Egypt and Jordan that Israel might be planning “new aggressions” against its Arab neighbors. Assali laughed at a reporter’s question regarding a rumor that Syria and another Arab country had plans to occupy Jordan based on a report from Beirut indicating that King Hussein’s Arab Legion recently repelled a number of Syrian tanks. Assali responded by saying that the only aggressor in the region was Israel.

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April 27, 2007

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