September 18, 2009

100 Years Ago In the Forward

Manuel Rosa, an “Indian chief” who performs the “war dance” onstage at Inman’s Casino in Brooklyn’s Coney Island, attacked Sam Friedman, a waiter, during a recent performance. Rosa, who was performing in full Indian regalia and waving a tomahawk, was onstage as Friedman approached a group of women sitting at a table near the front of the stage to take their order. As Friedman stood there with his notepad, Rosa ran over to him and brought his tomahawk down on Friedman’s shoulder, splitting it open and causing blood to spurt all over. Chaos ensued as the venue’s guests took flight. Rosa took flight, as well, but was caught later on by police on the Bowery. When asked why he attacked Friedman, Rosa replied, “He was bothering me.”

75 Years Ago In the Forward

The pennant race between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers has been a hot one, and nobody is hotter than the Tigers’ first baseman, Bronx-born Hank Greenberg. A recent game posed a dilemma for Greenberg, since it fell on Rosh Hashanah. He went so far as to ask a rabbi for permission to play on the holiday, but the rabbi responded by saying that he couldn’t allow it. So Greenberg came up with a compromise: He showed up in synagogue bright and early, stayed until he heard the shofar sound and then hightailed it to the ball park in time for the game. He then proceeded to get two hits and two home runs. As the ninth inning approached and he saw that the Tigers couldn’t lose, he ran back to synagogue for the end of services.

50 Years Ago In the Forward

Following his speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was asked about attacks on Jews in the Soviet Union, an issue that has been in the news recently. Khrushchev responded by saying that there is no Jewish problem in the USSR. He also said that the best way to answer such a question is to note that among the scientists who created the technology to send Russian satellites into space were a number of Jews. The Soviet premier went on to say that there are numerous different nationalities in the USSR and all of them have equal rights. Khrushchev refused to answer one question posed to him by New York Times reporter William Lawrence: What was he doing while Stalin was committing his crimes? The premier labeled the question “a provocation.”

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September 18, 2009

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