August 22, 2008

100 Years Ago in the forward

Isaac Sheinfeld, 22, was scheduled to marry 18-year-old Ella Winkler, but at the last minute he got cold feet and disappeared. Having made all the arrangements for a wedding, Winkler was furious and had Sheinfeld arrested for breach of promise. As the police brought him into the Essex Market Station for arraignment, thoughts of prison life crept into his head. He decided it would be in his best interests to make an honest woman out of Winkler. Judge Wahle, who was in charge of the case, thought it was a good idea to take care of the issue immediately, so he had one of his officers run down to Essex Street to find a cantor. A chupah was hastily held up by four Irish policemen, while a Jewish cop poured the wine. As the cantor began to chant “Mi Adir,” the police station began to look and sound like a courtyard in a Lithuanian shtetl. The judge and the cops all danced and applauded. When the glass was smashed, Sheinfeld turned to his Irish pals and said, “Ain’t dat funny?” Despite the difficulties, the Sheinfeld-Winkler wedding turned out to be a very moving ceremony.

75 Years Ago in the forward

Seven Jewish orphans from the Pride of Judea Children’s Home drowned this week during an outing to Queens’s Rockaway Beach. Tragically, as hundreds of orphans from the home were playing on the beach at water’s edge, an enormous wave came crashing down, sweeping a number of them out to sea. Dozens of children who had been playing on a sandbar were injured. Immediately after the giant wave swept over the kids, lifeguards and other swimmers dove into the water to help the injured and drowning children, pulling them from the roiling waters. Panic broke out on the beach, with many thousands screaming and crying. The seven dead are William Feldman, Benny Hauptman, Asher Peses, Meyer Polashkin, Robert Rothstein, Leon Shechter and Raymond Evens.

50 Years Ago in the forward

The Forward profiles 105-year-old Avremele Orenstein, who apparently is the oldest Jew in New York, probably in the United States and possibly in the world. Despite his advanced age, Orenstein, a cantor by trade, has an excellent memory and still reads a Yiddish paper every day. Born 1853 in the shtetl of Yampol in Ukraine, he came to America in 1906 after escaping a pogrom. Here he produced three sons, three daughters, 27 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren. Among his progeny, one can find musicians, doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, day laborers and others.

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August 22, 2008

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