July 10, 2009

100 Years Ago in the forward

Seltzer is far and away the most popular drink on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. As a result of the beverage’s popularity, seltzer bottlers work overtime. But most seltzer drinkers are not familiar with the dangerous realities of working in a seltzer factory. Accidents are daily occurrences, and workers come home with bandaged heads, sliced-up hands and missing eyeballs. The pace in these factories is so fast that the workers don’t have time to check the quality of the bottles. This means that if there is even a hairline crack in the glass, it could easily explode, leaving workers with gashes on their hands and heads, or shards of glass in their eyes. It is known that in the uptown shops, where most of the workers are Christian, the employees are provided with protective masks and gloves. But here, downtown, where the workers are Jews, no protection is available and there are injuries every day.

75 Years Ago in the forward

This week marks the death of the great Hebrew national poet Hayyim Nahman Bialik. “It is in great sorrow that we receive the news of Bialik’s death,” Abraham Cahan writes in a Forward editorial. “With his passing, are we spiritually impoverished. Bialik will be missed in Jewish life because he held a unique and special place. He was known as a national poet, as a Jewish poet who expressed the pain and protest of the Jewish folk masses against the unending persecution endured at the hands of their horrible enemies. His poetry masterfully expressed the fury and uncertainty of the persecuted Jewish masses and penetrated into the hearts of millions of Jews who felt the echo of their own suffering and expression in his works.

50 Years Ago in the forward

The State of Israel found itself without a government after Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion resigned, keeping his promise that he would fire his entire Cabinet if left-wing ministers from Ahdut Ha’avoda and Mapam refused to resign. After handing in his resignation and those of his Cabinet members to President Yitzhak Ben Zvi, 74-year-old Ben-Gurion offered to stay on as a caretaker prime minister. In his extremely sharp letter of resignation, the former prime minister accused the left-wing Cabinet members of breaking agreements. These agreements are connected to arms purchases made from West Germany, which the left wing leaders were said not to know about and wished to break.

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July 10, 2009

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