January 21, 2005

100 Years Ago

• This week marks a new era in the history of the Yiddish press: The Forward is now being printed on its very own printing press, the newest, most advanced press available. The new press is evidence of the incredible growth of the Forward, which, in only eight years, has gone from selling a few hundred copies to thousands and thousands. A message to its readers is printed on the front page: “Workers! Socialists! All intelligent, honest people! This is your newspaper, you supported it in your hour of need, you helped bring it to its current level. It is your newspaper, your press, your celebration. Please accept a hearty ‘mazel-tov’ from all the writers of the Forward.”

75 Years Ago

• Jewish communists in Hebron have published a proclamation calling on Arabs to revolt against the government, the Zionists and the landowners. The communists are demanding that Arab citizens not take the blame for the recent massacres of Jews. They are also telling them to refuse to pay taxes and to found an Arab revolutionary committee. In a related matter, the bloody clothing of the victims of the Hebron pogrom finally has been brought to Jerusalem, where it will be buried in a traditional funeral ceremony. In addition to the clothing, pieces of furniture will be buried, as will blood-spattered walls.

• The trial of five Italians accused of murdering Jacob Stofenberg, a Jewish ice deliveryman, began this week in the Bronx. Stofenberg, who was killed six months ago, was in the garage with his brother, Morris, preparing to take out their ice truck, when four men jumped out of a yellow car and began beating him with baseball bats wrapped in newspapers. Morris managed to escape; his brother did not, and he died at Lincoln Hospital. On trial are the four men who are accused of beating Stofenberg, as well as one Joseph Pangerino, an iceman who worked the same neighborhood as the Stofenberg brothers.

50 Years Ago

• This week the Knesset passed a law making Yiddish a foreign language in Israel. Along with those in all other foreign languages (Arabic was not included in the legislation), Yiddish publications that appear more than once a week will have to include a section in Hebrew that makes up at least 10% of the paper. While the Forward’s editors feel that it’s not the business of America’s Jews to interfere in Israel’s internal affairs, the paper’s Israeli correspondent, Mordecai Tsanin, feels otherwise and suggests that the Forward and its readers take a stand against the terrible act that the Israeli government has perpetrated in passing the law.

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January 21, 2005

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