February 1

682:  Visigoth King Erwig pressed for the "utter extirpation of the pest of the Jews," and made it illegal to practice any Jewish rites in an area that corresponds to much of modern day Spain. This put further pressure on the Jews to convert or emigrate

1119: Callixtus II began his papacy. In 1120, Calixtus II issued the first of the bulls called “Sicut Judaeis” (As the Jews) which in his case was intended to protect Jews from the consequences of the First Crusade “during which over five thousand Jews were slaughtered in Europe.”

1225: Today “a papal order was issued granting certain commercial privileges to a Jewish merchant named Sabbatinus Museus Salaman, who is mentioned as the business associate of several Romans in the Papal States and in Sicily.”

1593: For the 17th time since 1592, Lord Strange’s Men performed “The Jew of Malta.”

1605: Birthdate of Aboab de Fonseca, the Portuguese born Dutch Rabbi and Mystic.  In 1642, when Brazil was under Dutch control the 600 Jews of Recife established a synagogue where they could worship in public.  They recruited de Fonseca, who was living in Amsterdam, to come to Brazil and serve as their Hocham or spiritual leader.  This means that Aboab de Fonseca was the first congregational rabbi in the New World. In 1654, when the Portuguese defeated the Dutch and seized Recife, he joined a group of Jews returning to the Netherlands and successfully said back to Amsterdam. Aboab was held in high esteem by his former Amsterdam congregants, that he was reappointed as hocham in the synagogue and made teacher in the city’s Talmud Torah, principal of its yeshiva and member of the city’s bet din, or rabbinic court. He died in 1693 at the age of 88, having served the Jewish community of Amsterdam for 50 years after his return from Recife. While Aboab spent his final years as a man of letters, engaged in teaching and spiritual contemplation, “the adventuresome Isaac Aboab de Fonseca had been, from 1642 to 1654, America’s first rabbi, first Hebrew poet and a man who risked his life for Jewish religious freedom.” (One can only wonder what would have happened if Aboab had joined the group of Jews who left Recife in 1654 and ended up in New Amsterdam.  Would he have been the first rabbi in New York/)

1627: Rodrigo de Castro, the Lisbon born physician who escaped the Inquisition by moving to Antwerp with his family and the moving on to Hamburg when the Spanish re-took the Netherlands passed away today after which he was “buried in the cemetery of the Jewish-Portuguese congregation of Altona.”

1682(5442):  Asser Levy, the "founding father" of North American Jewry passed away.. He was survived by his wife Miriam (aka Maria). Though Levy and the "Levy" family of New York are thought of as Sephardic with roots in Holland and even further roots in Spain, he might have been the son of Benjamin Levy, an Ashkenazi shochet from Recife, Brazil.

1733: King Augustus II of Poland passed away.  Born in 1670, Augustus II was the Elector of Saxony (Germany) before gaining Augustus gained the Polish throne.  His rise to power was facilitated by his “court Jew” and financier Issachar Berend Lehmann. August II was a contemporary of the Besht who was making his public personna known at about the same time as the Polish King passed away.

1765(10thof Shevat, 5525): Rebecca Mendez Furtado, the first wife of Benjamin D’Israeli, the grandfather of his more famous namesake, passed away today.

1796: The capital of Upper Canada is moved from Newark to York. Jews did not settle in Canada until the British defeated the French in 1760, at which time the French ban on Jewish settlement in the area became null and void.  By the time of this move, the Jews had already built their first synagogue, The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal also known as Shearith Israel which was established in 1768.

1798(15thof Shevat, 5558): Tu B’Shevat

1799: The French army under Napoleon left for Palestine to forestall a Turco-British invasion through the Palestinian land-bridge.

1809: This evening, in Charleston, SC, Mary Joseph married Levi Moses.

1810(27 Shevat 5570): Rabbi Mechel Scheuer passed away. He was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1739.  His father was Rabbi David Tebele Scheuer and he led his father's Yeshiva in Mainz as its Rosh Yeshiva during the years 1776 and 1777. In 1778 he became rabbi of Worms and in 1782 was appointed rabbi of Manheim. At the time of his death, he was the rabbi of Coblence.

1813The Common Council of New York City passed an ordinance restricting the right to sell kosher meat to butchers licenses by Congregation Shearith Israel.

1823: Birthdate date of Simon Bacher, a descendant of Jair Hayyim Bacharach the 17thcentury rabbi at worms and the Maharal of Prague, the “Hungarian Neo-Hebraic Poet” who served as treasurer of the Jewish community of Budapest from 1876 until his death in 1891.

1827: In Paris James Mayer de Rothschild and Betty de Rothschild, the daughter of Salomon Mayer von Rothschild (Austrian Branch) gave birth to Alphonse de Rothschild, French banker, philanthropist and member of the French branch of the fabled Rothschild family whose wife Leonora was from the English House of Rothschild.

1828: Birthdate of Meyer Guggenheim the Swiss born patriarch of the Guggenheim family who came to the United States in 1847.

1836: Birthdate of Francis Lewis Cardozo, the Charleston, SC native who was the son of Lydia Weston, a free black woman and Isaac a Sephardic (Portuguese) Jews.

1839: Birthdate of James A. Herne who staged the first American production of Israel Zangwill’s “The Children of the Ghetto.

1840: In what would be the opening of the Damascus Blood Libel, “Father Thomas, a Roman Catholic priest and a” long-time resident of Damascus “suddenly disappeared today.

1842: In Bavaria, Rav Yitzchak Dov Halevi Bamberger ZT"L the Würzburger Rav and Kela Bamberger gave birth to Rabbi Nathan Bamberger of Würzburg

1844: Birthdate of Ernst Immanuel Cohen Brandes, the Danish economist.

1854: In Posen, Prussia, Dr. Marcus Mosse, a German born physician and his wife Ulrike Mosse  gave birth to Emil Mosse

1856: Auburn University is chartered as the East Alabama Male College. Today Auburn has 60 Jewish students out of an undergraduate population of 19,000 students.  Auburn does not offer Jewish studies classes but does have a Hillel Chapter.  

1860: Rabbi Morris Raphall becomes the first Jewish clergyman to open a session of the House of Representatives. Raphall’s son-in-law would serve in the Union Army and after he had committed some unspecified infraction, Lincoln pardoned him. Raphall’s letter thanking Lincoln is still in existence today.

1861: Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise published an article in The Israelite entitled “No Political Preaching” in which he explained why he had refrained from preaching a sermon on January 4, 1861.  President James Buchanan had designated that date “‘as a day of feasting and prayer, that God might have mercy upon us and save this Union.’” [This was just about the only action that Buchanan took to preserve the Union!]

1862(1st of Adar I, 5622): Rosh Chodesh Adar I

1862: The will of Samuel Samuels was admitted to probate today.  According to the terms of the will, Samuels left $100 to the Jewish congregation, "Bnai Jeshurun," on Greene-street, and $100 for the benefit of the Orphan Asylum under the charge of the Hebrew Benevolent Society.

1865: “A new law abolished the compulsion for Jews to enroll with one of Hamburg's two statutory Jewish congregations, so the members of the New Israelite Temple Society were free to found their own Jewish congregation.

1865: In Newark, NJ, founding of Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society whose members included Bernard Strauss, Reuben Trier, Joseph Goetz and G. J. Kempe which held its meetings on the first Thursday of each month.

1868(8th of Shevat, 5628): Isaac Leeser passed away. Born in 1806, he “was an American Jewish minister of religion, author, translator, editor, and publisher; pioneer of the Jewish pulpit in the United States, and founder of the Jewish press of America. He produced the first Jewish translation of the Bible into English to be published in the United States. He is considered one of the most important American Jewish personalities of the nineteenth century America.”

1872(22ndof Shevat, 5632): Fifty-three year old Polish born German actor Bogumil Dawison whose signature roles included Mark Antony, Hamlet, Richard III and King Lear, passed away in Dresden.

1873: Birthdate of historian Israel Zinberg “best known for his nine-volume History of the Literature of the Jews which was published in Vilnus starting in 1929.


1874: In Vienna Anna Maria Josefa Fohleutner and an Austrian–Italian bank manager, Hugo August Peter Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal gave birth to Austrian “man of letters” Hugo Laurenz August Hofmann von Hofmannsthal, the great-grandson of Isaak Löw Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal, “a Jewish merchant ennobled by the Austrian emperor.”

1878: George Cruikshank the British illustrator who created “Fagan” in his cell passed away.


1879: It was reported today that the Purim Association of New York will resume hosting a masked ball after a hiatus of 10 years.   The ball is scheduled to be held on Purim night.

1879: Wilhelm Marr, the man who popularized the term “anti-Semitism” published his pamphlet “Der Weg zum Siege des Germanenthums über das Judenthum” (The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism. Toward the end of his life he would publish “Testament of an Antisemite” in which he would renounce the view that the Jews were the corrupters of German and European civilization.

1880: In St. Louis, the Young Men's Hebrew Association was organized.

1882: “Early in the course of the Russian persecutions a mass-meeting of New York's most representative citizens was held at Chickering Hall” today.

1882: In London a meeting was held at Mansion House which resulted in the creation of a fund of more than “£108,000 for the relief of Russo-Jewish refugees” in the United Kingdom

1883: Theodore Hoffman was arrested this evening and charged with the murder of Zife Marks, a Jewish peddler whose body had been on the road outside of Port Chester, NY.  (Hoffman would eventually be found guilty and executed for the murder.)

1885(16thof Shevat, 5645): Peretz Smolenskin, the Russian born Jewish novelist whose works in Hebrew including A Wander on the Path of Life (Ha-toeh be-darkhe ha-Hayyim, התועה בדרכי החיים) passed away today.


1886: Dr. Solomon Eppinger retired from Hebrew Union College and was succeeded by David Davidson.

1886: H.U.C. conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity on Aaron Hahn.

1887: Birthdate of Harry Scherman, American economist, author and co-founder of the Book of the Month Club.

1891: In Brooklyn, Philip Schmalheiser and the former Rose Lewin gave birth to Edward Schmalheiser  who as Edward Small carved out a fifty year career producing movies and television shows that ranged in quality from such classics as “The Count of Monte Cristo” to the highly forgettable “Ramar of the Jungle.”


1897: As of this date, the officers of the United Hebrew Charities of the City of New York say they will no long be able to respond to all of the demands of the needy without additional funds.  They received 250 applications a day, many of which come from people who have never applied before and they need at least $15,000 just to provide minimal aid.

1890: Mrs. Moses Gersohnfeldt and her four young children ranging in age from two to eleven continue to languish in the custody of the immigration authorities because the Immigration Commissioner has decided that they might become pubic charges despite the fact that her husband and oldest son have come forth and shown that they are employed and earning enough money to see to it that they are properly cared for.

1890: “Castle Garden’s Autocrat” published today described Commissioner Edmund Stephenson’s capricious and semi-dictatorial control over the lives of immigrants, including Jews escaping the Czar’s tyranny, to whom he showed distinct hostility.

1891: It was reported today that Mr. Rheinherz an agent of the United Hebrew Charities was among those who testified before the Congressional Committee investigating the operation of the Barge Office which was the main immigrant processing center in New York City.

1891: In Brooklyn,Austrian-born Philip Schmalheiser and Prussian-born Rose Lewin” gave birth to Edward Schmalheiser who gained fame as movie producer Edward Small.

1892: It was reported today that Moritz Cohn, Morris Hertz, Max Jacob, Ignatz Boskowitz, Henry Rice and Simon L. Duetsch had served as pall bearers at the funeral of Benjamin Russak.

1893(15thof Shevat, 5653): Tu B’Shevat

1893: “Theatrical Gossip” published today described the success of “The Girl I Left Behind Me” which is being produced by Charles Frohman at the Standard Theatre.

1895: It was reported today that the Federation of East Side Workers “consisting of the pastors, priests and rabbis of the churches and congregations in New York south of 14th Street and east of Broadax…expresses its grateful appreciation to the chairman and members of the Tenement House Committee…” (Compare the active, positive role played by Rabbis in the United States with the anti-Semitism found at the same time in Russia, Germany and France).

1897: “The Future of Palestine” published today provided the views of Professor Richard J.H. Gottheil’s views on the Jewish settlement in this part of the Ottoman Empire.  Gottheil contended the Jews could again become “agriculturists” and that Palestine could “support a large agricultural and industrial population.”

1897: “Harm Done By Alarmists” published today includes the views of Rabbi Gustav Gottheil who expressed his sympathy for the working man, opposition to Socialism and defense of the expendiures of the wealthy as exemplified by the upcoming Bradley Martin-Ball

1897: It was reported today that Dr. Emil G. Hirsch said the work of  the Jewish charities in Chicago has been complicated by the problems created by the influx of Jews flee the Czar who have taken “refuge in the larger cities of America.”

1897: It was reported today the delegates attending the Jewish Socialists Convention had voted to start a newspaper of their own after the managers of the Abendblatt, a Jewish socialist paper that had been founded in 1894, had made known their decision not relinquish control of the paper.

1899: It was reported today that Professor Richard J.H. Gottheil of Columbia University read a “paper by Albert Ulmann on the Jews in New York during the Dutch colonial period. Mr. Ulmann gave as the earliest date when Jews this city as 1652, when some Jewish farmers were sent over from Holland to serve a year’s time a soldiers…”  He also “described the fight the Jews had to make against the religious bigotry of Stuyvesant.”  

1899: “Dr. Gottheil’s Successor” published today relied on information that first appeared in the New York Tribune to report that Dr. Gustav Gottheil is preparing to retire after serving as Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El for the past 25 years and that went to provide a brief history of the Reform movement in the United States.

1901: A Memorial Service for Queen Victoria was held at the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Samuel Salant officiated at the service which was so well attended that local police were called to control the crowd. 

1902(24thof Shevat, 5662): Seventy-year old Salomon Jadassohn, the German pianist and composer whose career suffered because he would not convert which meant he could not get many church related commissions and because of the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the second half of the 19th century passed away today.

1904:  Birthdate of Sidney Joseph Perelman. Better known as S. J. Perelman, he was a humorist, author, and screenwriter. He is primarily known for his humorous short pieces written over many years for The New Yorker magazine. His most famous cinematic venture was writing the script for the Academy Award-winning screenplay Around the World in Eighty Days starring David Niven.

1905: In Tivoli, Italy, Giuseppe Segrè, a businessman who owned a paper mill, and Amelia Susanna Treves, Emilio Segre, the Italian born physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1959.


1906: It was reported today that five persons have been executed in the Citadel at Warsaw, “bringing the number shot in the past fortnight to sixteen” fifteen of whom “were Jews.”

1910: Birthdate of Michael Kanin, the native of Rochester, NY who shared an Oscar with Ring Lardner Jr for writing the script for Woman of the Year” and was nominated along with his wife Fay for an Oscar for the script for “Teacher’s Pet.”

1913(24thof Shevat, 5673): Sixty-two year old newspaper correspondent Leon Strauss passed away at Turin, Italy.

1915: A dispatch from the London Daily News datelined Cairo, based, in part on reports from “Vladimir Jabotinsky, a well-known Moscow journalist” describes the deteriorating conditions faced by the Jews living under Ottoman rule in Eretz Israel.  Mr. Jabotinksy “entertains the graves fears for the safety of the 15,000 colonists in Galilee, Judea and Samaria should the Turkish army in Syria” suffer a defeat since the Turkish government will blame it on the Jews.  The government “is doing its utmost to stir up feelings against the Zionists.  The Turks have declared Zionism to be a revolutionary, anti-Turkish movement “which must be stamped out.”  The Anglo-Palestine bank has been liquidated which will lead to ruin for many of the Jewish settlers.  A large number of Jewish refugees have fled to Alexandria among them “1,000 young men who have have declared their eagerness to join the British army.”  The report closes with expression of concern for the 5,000 Jews and 12,000 Christians living in Jerusalem who are trying to survive on American relief supplies described as “insufficient to maintain life.”

1915: William Fox (born Wilhelm Fuchs) founded the Fox Film Corporation today.

1915: In response to a petition from the counsel of Leo M Frank who is under sentence of death for the murder of a factory girl in Atlanta, in 1913, The United States Supreme Court advanced the on his case to February 23; an action  to which the state of Georgia has assented.

1915: “Plan to Pursue Frank” published today described the plans of the prosecution to indict Leo Frank on one or two other unspecified charges if he his appeal to the Supreme Court overturn the murder conviction thus granting him his freedom.”

1916: “Dr. Joseph Jacobs” published today bemoaned the fact that New York “city and the world of letters as a whole has lost a brilliant and versatile writer” who found “few subjects…with which his mind and his pend di not busy themselves…with an even uniformity of erudite scope and depth.”


1916: As of today, the American Jewish Relief” is reported to nearing its goal of two million dollars having collected $1,815,737.33 in cash and pledges.

1916: Dotty Hammer who had “volunteered her services for Jewish Relief Day” wrote from Newark, NJ today to express her “heartfelt respect as well as admiration for all those who gave because they felt that in a time of grief and dire need religion was no barrier.”

1917: Supreme Court Justice Cohalan granted the “right of incorporation” “o the Association for the Promotion of Sabbath Observance which works “to develop among its members and others a clear conception and understanding of Orthodox Jewry” including observing the Sabbath on Saturday. (Editor’s Note: This came at a time when the Reform movement was trying to shift observance of Shabbat to Sunday)

1917: In the wake of Germany’s announcement of unrestricted submarine Felix Warburg, Chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee expressed the concern that worsening relations with Germany would impede the war relief work in eastern Europe which is under the control of Germany and that contributions to aid those suffering from the war would fall off just when the need was greatest.

1917: “At Warren Street, in the Portobello area of Dublin, Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe Henry Levitas and Leah Rick who had been married in the Camden Street Synagogue gave birth to Maurice “Morry” Leviatis the political activist who took part in the “Battle of Cable Street” and who “became a senior lecturer in the sociology of education at Durham University.

1918: The Jewish Congress decided to “raise money to repatriate Galician Jews stranded in or around the city” of Berdichev.

1918: Russia adopted the Gregorian Calendar. Russia’s comparatively late adoption of the calendar used by most of the western world makes precise dating of certain events all the more difficult.

1918: “The Jewish National Fund received a check for 250,000 crowns from an anonymous woman” which was “to be cashed after peace” ended the World War.

1918: “As a result of a series of conferences, Dutch Jewish leaders formulate” a list of demands “to be presented at the peace conference including emancipation of the Jews; recognition of national rights in nation states; national concentration of Jewish people in Palestine; the cessation of contemptuous and oppressive treatment of Jews.”

1918: In Edinburgh, Sarah Elizabeth Maud (née Uezzell) and Bernard Camberg, an engineer gave birth to Muriel Sarah Camberg who gained as award-winning Scottish novelist Dame Muriel Spark.

1918(19thof Shevat, 5678): Gaston Lelouch, the recipient of the War Cross died today.

1918(19thof Shevat, 5678)

1918: In Berdichev, “the Jewish Congress decided to raise money to repatriate Galician Jews stranded in or around the city.

1919: The First Congress of the Muslim-Christian Association began its deliberations in Jerusalem.

1920: Thirty-nine “Turkish elders of the Sephardi Community formed the Sephardic Community of Los Angeles” today which became known as the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel.

1921 First German translation of The International Jew


1923: Birthdate of Canadian businessman Benjamin Weider who “was the co-founder of the International Federation of Body Building and Fitness (IFBB).”

1923: “A Glass of Water,” a “German silent historical film” with a script co-authored by Adolf Lantz was released today.

1924: Automobile magnet Henry Ford who bankrolled the anti-Semitic Dearborn Independent which published the Protocols of the Elders of Zion entertained Nazi Kurt Ludecke at his Michigan home.

1924: Frederick Salomon van Nierop, the son of A.S. Nierop and Rachel Salvador, who was a director of the Amsterdam Bank and was a member of both the Amsterdam City Council and the Provincial Council of North Holland was buried today in the Jewish cemetery in Muiderberg.

1925: Today, Sophie Udin and six other women who had been active in the labor Zionist organization Poale Zion, created the Pioneer Women’s Organization of America which was renamed Pioneer Women in 1947 and Na'amat (a Hebrew acronym for "Movement of Working Women and Volunteers") USA in 1981.

 1925: WMCA which Peter Straus took over in the late 1950’s began regular transmissions today.

1927(29th of Shevat, 5687): Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel (Nathan Zevi Finkel) the native of Lithuania known as the Alter of Slabodka passed away in Jerusalem

1928: Birthdate of Representative Tom Lantos, the California Democrat who took his seat in Congress in 1981 and is the only survivor of the Holocaust serving in Congress.

1928: “The Prince of Rogues,” a silent film directed by Curtis Bernhardt who co-authored the script was released today in Germany.

1928: Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Mitchell May, a Jewish Democratic Party leader and friend of movie mogul Harry Cohn officiated at the wedding of movie director Frank Capra and Lucille Warner, the daughter of Myron Warner.

1929: “The Broadway Melody,” “the first sound film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture produced by Irving Thalberg and Lawrence Weingarten premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

1930: Birthdate of Ping Pong or Table Tennis Champion, Marty Reisman.

1932: Birthdate of Batsheva Esther Eliashiv, the Jerusalem native who was the daughter of Rabbi Shalom Elisahiv and who became Rebbetzin Batsheva Esther Kanievskey when she married Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.

1934: Hyman G. Enelow became rabbi emeritus of Temple Emanu-El on New York.

1935: At the annual convention of the Palestine Jewish Farmers Federation, Moshe Smilansky, veteran farmer economist, poet, writer and journalist, shocked the assembled gathering when in his opening address as president he announced that in the present circumstances in Palestine Jewish farmers and colonists should employ only Jewish labor.

1936(8thof Shevat, 5695): Parashat Bo

1936: Rabbi Jacob Tarshish is scheduled to deliver a sermon “How Can We Find Happieness?” at Temple B’nai Jeshurun

1936: English historian Dr. Cecil Roth is scheduled to lecture on “Will Hitlerism Spread?” this morning at Temple Rodeph Sholom.

1936: Rabbi Milton Sternberg is scheduled to deliver a sermon on “Does Morality Require Religion?” at Park Avenue Synagogue.

1936: “Rudolf Saudek, a well-known Leipzig Jewish sculptor and a Czechoslovak citizen protested through the Czechoslovak Legation in Berlin against a ruling by the Reich Chamber of Culture forbidding him to make tombstone for Jewish graves” – a business he went into after the Reich government had ended his career sculpting busts, many of which had been placed in the local university and libraries.

1937: In Washington, DC Secretary of State Cordell Hull met with a delegation representing the Arab National League which expressed the hope that the United States “will turn a sympathetic ear to the voice of the Arabs of Palestine.”

1937: It was reported that the junior division of the United Palestine Appeal has adopted a resolution urging Great Britain to permit Jews from Germany, Poland and other parts to Europe to immigrate to Palestine without any interruption.

1938: U.S. premiere of “Mad About Music” directed by Norman Rae Taurog and produced by Joe Pasternak.

1938: In Rumania, the Finance Ministry’s Alcohol Department has demanded that the licenses of Jewish innkeepers be restored following an investigation into the unfounded claims of Prime Minster Goga that the Jewish innkeepers were “poisoning the nation.”

1938: In Berlin, the Ministry of the Interior published a new law today empowering “German courts to revoke previous rulings permitting Jews to changes their names” which means that “a Jew who changed his name years ago can be compelled to resume his original names.

1938: The German government published a decree officially notifying banks “that any company that has one Jewish director” or in which Jews have a 25 per cent ownership stake “must be classified as a Jewish concern.”

1938: A court in Westphalia issued a decision “denying a license to sell intoxicating liquor to a café proprietor whose family had social relations with a Jewish family.”

1938: The funeral for “Eugene H. Paul who was for forty-eight years connected with Kuhn, Loeb” and “a leader in Jewish philanthropic circles” in New York City is scheduled to “be held at Temple Home” this morning followed by burial in Mount Neboh City.

1941: Prime Minister Churchill instructed his Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden, to send a warning to Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu telling him “that we will hold him and immediate circle personally responsible in life and limb” if the Iron Cross did not stop their murderous attacks on the Jews.

1943: Most of the 1,500 Jews remaining in Buczacz who had not been sent to Belzac were murdered. One survivor, Netka Goldberg, lost three sisters, two brothers and her mother. Her father would be killed seven months later.

1946: Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations. Lie was head of the U.N. when Israel was created and was supportive of creating the Jewish state.

1947:  Birthdate of American television journalist Jessica Savitch.

1947: In Nicosia, Cyprus Bronia Rosenberg, originally from Łódź, and a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp and Fishel Brand, from Biłgoraj, who had been a resistance fighter during World War II gave birth to Moshé Michaël Brand who gained fame as Israeli “pop star” Mike Brant.

1948: The Arabs bombed the Palestine Post (a.k.a. Jerusalem Post) building in Jerusalem

1950(14th of Shevat, 5710): French sociologist. Marcel Mauss passed away.

1951: During the Presidency of Harry Truman, Monnett B. Davis was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

1951(25thof Shevat, 5711): Seventy four year old Annie Morris, the wife of Hyman Morris, the first Jewis Lord May of Leeds, passed away today.

1952: “Invitation” based on “the short story ‘R.S.V.P.’ by Jerome Weidman, directed by Gottfried Reinhardt, produced by Lawrence Weingarten and featuring Ruth Roman and Michael Checkhov was released in the United States today.

1952: SN (Samuel Nathaniel) Behrman's "Jane" premiered in New York City.  Behrman,was a popular and prolific dramatist who tackled a number of topics in his works including what it was like to grow up Jewish in a small town as the 19thgave way to the 20th century.

1953: CBS broadcast the first television episode of “You Are There” which had originally been created for radio by Goodman Ace and whose directors included Sidney Lumet.

1955: Lord Rothschild wrote to Churchill “thanking him for the fact that in Jerusalem in 1921 ‘you laid the foundation of the Jewish State by separating Abdullah’s Kingdom from the rest of Palestine.  Without this much-opposed prophetic foresight there would not have been an Israel today.’”

1956: In the UK, ITV broadcast the first episode of “Colonel March of Scotland Yard” produced by Hannah Weinstein.

1958: Egypt and Syria announced plans to merge into United Arab Republic.  This was one of those failed attempts at pan-Arabism that was really a military alliance designed to destroy Israel.  The U.A.R. was neither united or a real republic.  The Syrians pulled out in 1961, but the name lingered on for many years after.

1959(23rd of Shevat, 5719): Rabbi Jonah Bondi Wise passed away. He “was an American Rabbi and leader of the Reform Judaism movement, who served for over thirty years as rabbi of the Central Synagogue in Manhattan and was a founder of the United Jewish Appeal, serving as its chairman from its creation in 1939 until 1958.”

1959(23rdof Shevat, 5719): “Three civilians were killed by a landmine near Moshav Zavdiel”

1963: Publication of the first issue of The New York Review which Barbara Epstein helped to found with the encouragement of her husband, “Jason Epstein, a vice president at Random House.”

1964: Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics won his “800th game as an NBA coach” today. (As reported by Bob Wechsler)

1965: “Kelly” a musical with songs by Mark Charlap “began previews at the Broadhurst Theatre today.

1966: In “The Trefa Banquet” published today John J. Appel described the 19thcentury Cincinnati affair where shellfish were part of the menu.


1968:  Birthdate of comedic actor Pauly Shore best known for his role in “Encino Man.”

1969:  Birthdate of jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman son of a legendary jazz musician and Jewish dancer from Russia.

1969: Birthdate of publisher Andrew Breitbart, the adopted “of son of Gerald and Arlene Breitbart, a restaurant owner and banker respectively” whose Jewish upbringing included a Bar Mitzvah and a life-long identity with the Jewish people.


1967: In New York, as part of their confrontation with the unionized bagel bakers, owners shut the doors to their bakeries claiming “that they did not have enough work.”

1970(25thof Shevat, 5730): Dorothy Horowitz Germber, the wife of the late Newcomb Gerber passed away today in Clifton, NJ.

1970: Oil was pumped for the first time in the newly completed 42 inch Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline

1970: The New York Times includes a review of Mr. Sammler’s Planet by Saul Bellow.

1976: "Rich Man, Poor Man" mini-series based on the work of Irwin Shaw, premieres on ABC TV.

1977(13thof Shevat, 5737): Seventy-four year old Warsaw native Samuel Arthur “Sammy” Weiss the first Jew to be named captain of the Duquesne University football team who went on “to represent Pennsylvania's 30th, 31st, and 33rd Districts in the United States House of Representatives” before serving as a Common Pleas Court Judge passed away today after which he was buried at B’nai Israel Cemetery in Pittsburgh.

1978: Director Roman Polanski skipped bail and fled to France after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl.  The father of the Polish born director was Jewish.  His mother died in a concentration camp.  Polanski avoided being trapped in the ghetto and spent the war wandering the woods of Poland.

1979: The first staging of “Fugue in a Nursery” by Harvey Fierstein opened at LaMama today.

1979: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 years in exile.  This marked a major turning point in the Islamic world as religious fundamentalists began coming to power.  There are those who would say that there is a direct line between the success of Khomeini and the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections in 2006. After 28 years, Iran boasts a leader who denies the Holocaust happened and calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

1980: “Fatso” a comedy featuring Estelle Reiner as “Mrs. Goodman” was released in the United States today.

1980: The last public interview given by Sir Cecil Beaton, who had been fired by Conde Nast in the 1930’s for slipping an anti-Semitic message into one of his drawings, was broadcast by the BBC today.

1984: Daniel Stern became NBA commissioner. Jews seem to gravitate to the position since at one point the commissioners of most major sports were Jewish: Commissioner of Major League Baseball: Bud Selig, Commissioner of the National Basketball Association: David Stern and Commissioner of the National Hockey League: Gary Bettman. According to one Urban Legend, there was a move to get Commissioner of the National Football League: Paul Tagliabue to convert to Judaism so that it would be four for four! 

1985: Morton I. Abramowitz began serving as President Reagan’s Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

1985: In Leadville, CO, The Harvey/Martin Construction Company convey the Temple Israel property to William H. Copper whose family trust would convey it to the Temple Israel Foundation

1988: Two Palestinians were shot dead today near Anabta in a confrontation on the Nablus road north of Jerusalem that involved demonstrators and settlers. Military authorities said settlers were trapped at roadblocks by stone throwers and drew their guns and opened fire. Soldiers also shot at the demonstrators. Another account said a convoy of 75 settlers returned when the trouble subsided and vandalized a score of Arab cars.

1989(26thof Shevat,5749): Eighty-nine year old Marie Syrkin, an author, editor and teacher who was active in the Zionist cause for many decades, died of cancer today at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. (As reported by Glenn Fowler)


1991(17thof Shevat, 5751): Eighty-two year old Herzl Rosenblum who served as editor of Yedioth Ahronoth for 35 years and who signed Israel’s declaration of independence as Herzl Vardi passed away today.

1991: “Vandals attacked the Lomita, CA home of Dr. Shlomo Elspas, the executive governor of Chabad South Bay today “spray-painting a swastika and the slogan ‘white power’ on it.”

1992(27thof Shevat, 5752): U.S. District Court Judge Irving R Kaufman, who presided at the Rosenberg Spy Case, passed away at the age of 81.

1993: Gary Bettman becomes the NHL's first commissioner.

1996: “A Fair County” written by Jon Robin Baitz “premiered Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater” today.

1998: “A Daughter Seeks Her Olympian Father” published today described the tortured relationship between clinical psychologist Julie Jaffe Nagel and her father Irving Jaffee, the Gold Medal Olympian speed-skating champion.


1998: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including On the Possibility of Jewish Mysticism in Our Time by Gershom Scholem and Selected Poems by Harvey Shapiro

1999(15thof Shevat, 5759): Last celebration of Tu B’Shevat in the 20thcentury.

1999(15thof Shevat, 5759): Eight-four year old Benjamin Elazari Volcani the native of Ben-Shamen, who discovered life in the Dead Sea and pioneered biological silicon research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego” passed away today.



2002(19thof Shevat, 5762): Daniel Pearl, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal was beheaded today.


2003(25th of Tevet, 5771): The Space Shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere killing the crew of six including Israel’s first man in space, Ilan Ramon. Ilan Ramon was born in 1954.  He was a combat pilot in the Israeli Air Force. He was a graduate of Tel Aviv University and held the rank of Colonel at the time of his death. Ramon was a veteran of the Yom Kippur War, one of the first Israeli pilots to fly the then new F-16 jet and was part of the group that destroyed the Iraqi nueclar reactor before it could go on line.

2004: Jonathan Andrew Kaye won the FBR Open

2004: The New England Patriots, owned by Robert Kraft, the Jewish philanthropist defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII

2004: The New York Times featured reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Liberated Bride by A.B. Yehoshua; translated by Hillel Halkin and The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill by Ron Suskind.

2005: At Madison Square Garden this evening, “a handful of the 25,000 people there taking part in the 11th Siyum HaShas Daf Yomi celebration recalled some of the more unusual settings in which they have demonstrated their commitment to the daily study of Talmud, which was completed — and renewed for a new seven-and-a-half-year cycle — this week. Daf Yomi, or daily page, was introduced in 1923 at the First International Congress of Agudath Israel in Vienna by a young Polish rabbi, Meir Shapiro, as a way to bring uniformity to the worldwide study of Shas, an acronym for the names of the six orders of the Mishna, on which the Talmudic sages recorded their commentaries around 200 C.E. Agudah said 120,000 North American Jews were taking part in the celebration this year.”

2006:  Despite violent protests, Israel successfully completed the evacuation of the West Bank outpost of Amona.  This is in line with the policy of the Sharon government provide security for the state of Israel and ensuring that Israel remains both a democratic nation and a Jewish homeland.  The withdrawal policy has the support of the majority of Israelis.

2007: The Sarah Silverman Program premiered on Comedy Central

2007: The first exhibition of female architects in the history of Israeli architecture entitled "The feminine presence in Israeli architecture," opened at the gallery of the Union of Architects in Jaffa. Twenty-two female architects participated and displayed works they have planned in the past few years and which have since been built.

2007: As part of a kosher cooking contest, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation naming this date as Simply Manischewitz Cook-off Day.  Candace McMenamin, a non-Jew from Lexington, S.C. won with her sweet potato encrusted chicken.  Only in America

2008: In New Jersey, Barnet Hospital which had been founded in 1908 by Nathan Barnet announced that it would closing due to a lack of funding

2008: Six gunmen opened fire on the Israeli Embassy in Mauritania early this morning, trading fire with guards before fleeing screaming "Allah Akbar," witnesses said. The six men arrived by car and regrouped in front of a discotheque that is just beside the embassy, said Hamza Ould Bilal, a taxi driver who was parked outside the club, called the VIP. He saw them pull out their automatic weapons and scream "God is Great!" in Arabic, before assailing the embassy, he said.

2008: “Praying With Lior,” a new documentary about a Philadelphia boy with Down syndrome preparing for his bar mitzvah opens at the Cinema Village in New York.

2009:  At Yale University, CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America presents “Palestinian Issues in Israeli Journalism: A conversation with Khalid Abu Toameh, a journalist who writes for the Jerusalem Post

2009: The New York Times and the Washington Post each featured a review of Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle Eastby Martin Indyk, the assistant secretary of state for near east affairs during the Clinton Administration and the first Jewish American to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Israel.

2010: The Center for Jewish History and the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation is scheduled to present “Diplomacy and Genocide: Challenges for the Future” during which a distinguished panel of policy makers, diplomats, and scholars discuss the issues and opportunities in diplomatic approaches to the prevention of genocide in the contemporary international community.

2010: Yehuda Weinstein replaced Menachem Mazuz as Attorney General of Israel.

2010: Two barrels of explosives were discovered on Israeli beaches today, which were dispatched into the sea as part of a large-scale Palestinian terror attack against Israeli navy ships.

2010: Seven American and European scientists were named winners of Israel's prestigious $100,000 Wolf Prize today. The Wolf Foundation said its prize in medicine went to Axel Ullrich of Germany for groundbreaking cancer research that has led to development of new drugs. Sir David Baulcombe of Cambridge University was awarded Wolf Prize for agriculture research in defending plants against viruses. The physics prize was shared by US professor John F. Clauser, Alain Aspect of France and Anton Zeilinger of Austria for their work in quantum physics. The mathematics prize was shared by two US-based professors: Shing-Tung Yau for geometric analysis, and Dennis Sullivan for contributions to algebraic topology and conformal dynamics. The Wolf Foundation was founded by the late German-born Dr. Ricardo Wolf, an inventor, philanthropist and former Cuban ambassador to Israel. The private nonprofit foundation's council is chaired by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar.

2010(17thof Shevat): Ninety-two year old Selma G. Hirsh, a humanitarian and an author who was associated with the American Jewish Committee for many years, passed away today  at her home in Stamford, Conn.


2011: Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day is scheduled to take placed in Richmond, VA.

2011: The Leo Baeck Institute and American Council on Germany are scheduled to present a lecture by Joschka Fischer and Norbert Frei entitled "The German Foreign Office and the Nazi Past"

2011: At Tulane University, Dean Carole Haber announced that Prof. Ronna Burger, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, has been appointed at the Catherine and Henry J. Gaisman Chair in Judeo-Christian Studies. This chair was endowed through of generous gift of Catherine and Henry J. Gaisman..

2011: Six Senate Democrats rejected a deficit-driven proposal by a new Republican senator to cut United States aid to Israel. In a letter sent today to the top House Republicans on the Appropriations and Budget committees, the Democrats said aid to Israel, the only democratic nation in the Middle East, is imperative. They backed the $3 billion in foreign military assistance that the U.S. provides annually to Israel. Republican Sen. Rand Paul said last week that the nation faces a fiscal crisis and argued that the U.S. cannot give money away, even to allies, as the debt grows.

2011: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak informed Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant today that they have cancelled his upcoming appointment to the post of Israel Defense Forces chief. The announcement comes after months of scandal surrounding his appointment due to allegations that he had seized public lands near his home in Moshav Amikam in northern Israel. Galant was designated to succeed current IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi this month.

2011: A Tunisian Jewish leader said today that the burning of a building that served as a synagogue in the South of the country was not an attack on the local Jewish community. Roger Bismuth, the president of the Jewish community in Tunisia, told The Jerusalem Post that the fire that broke out at a makeshift Jewish place of worship in the town of Ghabes was probably not an act of anti-Semitism, but one of vandalism

2011(27thof Shevat, 5771): Seventeen year old Mitchell Perlmeter, the son of rabbi Rex Perlmeter and Rabbi Rachel Hertzman, passed away today in his home at Montclair, NJ.

2012: “Mamele” is scheduled to be shown at Congregation Etz Chaim in Toledo, Ohio.

2012: “Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg” is scheduled to be shown at temple Jeremiah in Northfield, Illinois.

2012: Liel Leibovitz is scheduled to moderate a presentation by New York Times columnist David Brooks at the 92nd Street Y.

2012: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told President Shimon Peres today he was worried about the possible military aspects of Iran's nuclear program, laid out in a recent IAEA report, and called on Iran to prove that the program is peaceful. "

2012: Israelis are in danger of waking up one morning to a different Israel, Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni said at the Herzliya Conference today. Livni asserted that Israelis today are not debating the true issue - that the state's relgious minority will impose its will on the Zionist majority.

2012(8thof Shevat, 5772): Eighty-six year old Robert B. Cohen, the president of the Hudson County News Company passed away today.  (As reported by Denis Hevesi)

2013: Students and members of the Jewish community are scheduled to present poems by Jewish poets including works by Yehuda Acmichai following a Friday night Shabbat dinner at the Hillel at the University of Iowa.

2013: Tenth anniversary of the Columbia Shuttle disaster which claimed the lives of all on board including Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon.  The event is the subject of a special documentary entitled "Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope" which is scheduled to be aired today on Iowa Public Television.

2013: “Not By Bread Alone” is scheduled to be performed at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

2013: On the secular calendar, 11th anniversary of the beheading of Daniel Pearl.

2013(22ndof Shevat, 2013): Eighty-eight year old Edward Koch, three-time mayor of New York passed away today on the same day that a documentary of his life opened in New York City theatres.(As reported by Robert D. McFadden)



2013: “The Gatekeepers” opened in U.S. movie theatres

2014: In Rockville, MD, Tikvat Israel is scheduled to show “Lost Islands” as part of its Israeli Film Festival.

2014: In Olney, MD, Shaare Tefila, is scheduled to host its Third Annual Comedy night of “Sweet Laughter.”

2014(1stof Adar 1, 5774): Rosh Chodesh Adar I

2014(1stof Adar 1, 5774): Eighty year old Gordon Zacks, the Ohio businessman who was active in the Republican Party and “served as an adviser to President George H.W. Bush (Bush I) passed away today.


2014: An Egyptian jihadist group said today that it fired a rocket at the Red Sea resort of Eilat which was intercepted by Israeli air defenses, its second in a fortnight

2014: Finance Minister Yair Lapid ordered a halt on all money transfers to the settlements pending the clarification regarding their specific use, a statement on his behalf said this evening.

2014: “Three Molotov cocktails were thrown this evening towards a private home in Jerusalem's French Hill neighborhood. No injuries were reported and light damage was caused to furniture in the house.”

2014: At the Writers Guild of America Awards ceremony, Mel Brooks presented Pau Mazursky with the Screen Laurel Award, which is the lifetime achievement award of the WGA.

2015: The New York Times features reviews of books by Jewish authors and/or of special interest to Jewish readers including The Girl From Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family by Roger Cohen and the recently published paperback edition of A Replacement of Life, Boris Fishman’s first novel about the forgery of Holocaust restitution claims.

2015: In London, the Jewish Museum is scheduled to host an exhibition “From Generation to Generation” featuring the word of Gideon Summerfield.

2015: The New England Patriots, owned by Robert Kraft, the Jewish philanthropist defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

2015: Gary Bettman is scheduled to “mark his 22nd year as National Hockey League Commissioner” today.

2015(12thof Shevat, 5775): Eighty-nine year old M.I.T. professor Irving Singer passed away today. (As reported by Sam Roberts)


2015: “Renewal,” film that “profiles a group of dancers—the Vertigo Dance Company—in their pioneering eco-arts village on the outskirts of Jerusalem” is scheduled to be shown at Lincoln Center in New York.

2015: In New Orleans, funeral services are scheduled to held at the Old Beth Israel Cemetery on Frenchmen Street for Irvin Samuel Smith “who was a member of the CCJN’s close-knit family.”


2016: Some of the 6,000 Jews in Iowa are scheduled to join their fellow Hawkeyes in the first-in-the nation caucuses where the candidates include Bernie Sanders, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, Hillary Clinton whose son-in-law is Jewish and Donald Trump whose daughter Ivanka is Jewish.

2016: The award winning exhibition, “Voices of the Vigil” is scheduled to move from Rockville, MD. to Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA.


2016(22ndof Shevat): On the Jewish calendar “yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, wife of the Rebbe.”

2017: Physicist Persis S. Drell, the daughter of Sidney Drell, who has been serving as Dean of the Stanford University School of Engineering since 2014 is scheduled to begin serving the Provost of Stanford University today.

2017 (5thof Shevat, 5777): On the Jewish calendar Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yehuda Leib Alter, “the leader of the Ger Chassidic dynasty, author of Sfas Emes.

2017: In Memphis, TN, as a tribute to the vitality of southern Jewry in these challenging times, Temple Israel Cantorial Soloist Abbie Strauss is scheduled to lead “Musically Speaking” with sessions for both youngsters and adults.

2017: In New York, the Batsheva Dance Company is scheduled to perform Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin’s “Last Work.”

2017: The Yeshiva Museum is scheduled to host a special tour focused on the work of Hugh Mesibov.




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