July 18, 2008

100 Years Ago in the forward

The police reserves from the 5th Street Station on Manhattan’s Lower East Side were called out last week to break up a riot, the cause of which was 22-year-old Becky Rabinowitz. Apparently, Rabinowitz refused the entreaties of a number of young men who had approached her as she sat cooling off on the stoop of her building. After she snubbed the young men, they began hurling insults at her. This didn’t sit well with her father, Morris Rabinowitz, who stood up for his daughter. At that point, one of the youths pulled out a pistol, aiming it at Morris. Officer Nelson, who was walking his beat on that block, saw the event transpire; he ran over and grabbed the gun away. The youths began to beat the officer, and he was able to whistle for the reserves, who came charging in like the cavalry. The reserves violently cleared the crowd of hundreds that had gathered to watch the fight. In the meantime, the assailants escaped. But later that day, a young man named Michael Polesina marched into the station and demanded the return of his pistol. He was promptly arrested.

75 Years Ago in the forward

This week, the New York City Board of Estimate officially approved a plan to raze a number of old tenements and build new “model” apartment buildings on the Lower East Side, beginning with sites on Chrystie and Forsyth Streets. This plan, which will create 12-story buildings with thousands of apartments, is very pleasing to storekeepers, real estate brokers and businesspeople, as they all feel that the project will greatly improve the neighborhood. On the other hand, the Lower East Side’s impoverished residents are not at all happy with the plan. They say that the buildings are not being developed with them in mind and that local residents will not be able to afford the new apartments, which will be renting for $10.75 per room.

50 Years Ago in the forward

It seems as though the Ben-Gurion government is going to give in to the religious parties on the issue of nationality, just as it did when it handed over the issue of marriage to the rabbis. But according to our correspondent, the rabbis should think twice before demanding that the entire country be governed by religious law. Israel, after all, is a democracy, and governance by rabbis is not something that the majority of its citizens want. The rabbis and their politicians, however, seem to think that the modern State of Israel can be a theocracy — an unlikely possibility, considering most of Israel’s citizens are secular.

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July 18, 2008

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