May 11, 2007

100 Years Ago In the Forward

While there are many printed images of early Jewish heroes, like Rashi and Rambam, these drawings are generally not regarded as accurate portrayals. Although his history is mired in scandal and is discussed infrequently today, amazing 17th-century “messiah” Shabtai Tsvi counted most of the world’s Jews as his followers — and a fair number of Christians, as well. The Forward prints a reproduction of a drawing of Tsvi and argues that it is accurate based on the fact that it was sent by a Dutch delegation in Smyrna, Tsvi’s birthplace, to the heads of the government in Holland. The image also matches a description of the false messiah, which appeared in Rabbi Yaakov Emden’s book, “Torat Hakna’ot” and is accepted as an accurate portrayal of the 17th century’s most famous Jew.

75 Years Ago In the Forward

Nathan Lipman, a 24-year-old law student, was arrested this week for armed robbery. Lipman told the court that he began holding up people because his family had become impoverished and he couldn’t stand to see his mother suffer. He said that his father died when he was 6 and that his older brother Irving became the family’s sole supporter. When Irving’s business went bankrupt, sister Rosie quit high school to take a $10-a-week job in a sweatshop. It was then that Nathan couldn’t take it anymore. He bought a revolver and began robbing people. He felt so terrible about it that he would go to synagogue after each holdup and beg for forgiveness.

X While everyone is suffering from the terrible economic depression, the situation of Jewish musicians is truly disastrous. The numerous Jewish musicians who play at weddings, bar mitvzvahs, in restaurants and nightclubs, in movie theaters and on radio stations are having a difficult time coping with a number of issues, among them the fact that technology, such as records and talking pictures, have begun to replace them; that the general economic situation has reduced the number of people employing musicians, which are seen as a luxury, and, on top of it, the klezmer music that was so commonly played at weddings seems to have gone out of style. These days, everyone wants jazz. As a result, there has been a rash of suicides among musicians.

50 Years Ago In the Forward

If passed, a bill proposed by Republican Senator Clifford P. Case of New Jersey will permit up to 5,000 Jewish refugees from Egypt to enter the United States. Up to now, Jewish refugees from Egypt were not permitted to enter the United States. Only refugees from communist countries were so permitted. The situation for Jews in Egypt has gotten so bad that an Israeli government representative in Jerusalem said that by the end of this year, the entire Jewish population of that country will have left it.

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May 11, 2007

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