January

February 9, 2014

[January 1]

  • Violent earthquake shook Eretz Yisrael; over 2000 died in Tzfat, another 700 in T’veriya, 1837.
  • Several restrictions on Jewish ownership of land went into effect in Russia, 1808.
  • The Decree for the Elimination of Jews from German Economic Life took effect, 1939.
  • First Jewish censor was appointed by the Russian government, 1798, to censor all Hebrew books printed in Russia or imported from other countries. [Yosef Mendelovitch tells that when he was being transferred from one Russian prison to another, he was in temporary possession of his Chumash that had been confiscated when he was first imprisoned. He would have to give it up again upon arrival at the new prison. Also in his possession was a collection of selected speeches by Breshnev translated into Yiddish. This book was officially passed by the censor (which is why I’m relating this story). He separated content from covers in both books, which happened to be of the same size, got rid of the speeches, and pasted (with well-chewed bread) the Chumash into the censor-approved cover. His Chumash passed cursory inspection at his new prison and was his unfailing companion during his incarceration.]
  • Nazis prohibited Jews from gathering in shuls or private homes for prayer, 1940.

[January 2]

  • Jewish mourners were attacked at a funeral, Egypt, 1012.
  • First native Jewish child born in Spain since the expulsion in 1492 was born, 1966.
  • Emperor Joseph II of Austria issued an Edict of Toleration in 1782 which repealed most restrictions on Jews that had been imposed by the Church. [Nice? No! The intention of the edict was not the emancipation of the Jews but their assimilation. Similarly, Napoleon’s efforts had similar motives. On the other hand, the emancipation of the Jews in England and Holland beginning in the 17th century, stemmed from liberal policies rather than anti-Jewish prejudices and hopes of assimilating and converting Jews. Ironically, the former type of motivation was often successfully fought by Jews who saw what was behind the easing of restrictions against Jews. The latter type of removal of restrictions often led to an increase of assimilation.]

[January 3]

  • Frederick William of Brandenburg issued a decree safeguarding the privileges of the Jews of Berlin, 1676. [Thank you, I guess]

[January 4]

  • Follow this. In Toulouse, France, there was a Jew who converted to Christianity. He returned to Judaism, B”H. He was subsequently buried in a Jewish cemetery. Rabbi Isaac Males, HY”D, was burned at the stake, 1278, by the Inquisition for allowing the burial. The severity of his punishment was based on the Church’s need to deter those who might feel drawn to Judaism.

[January 5]

  • Get this one: Maryland put into effect the “Jew Bill”, 1826, which allowed Jews to hold public office if they believed in Reward and Punishment in the Hereafter. (a) It took 50 years from the founding of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave to allow Jews this measure of equality (of course, this shouldn’t surprise us when we realize how long Blacks were kept as slaves); (b) Since 1634, until Nationhood, the practice of Judaism (specifically, the denial of the validity of Christianity) was punishable by death.

[January 6]

  • Yeshivat Kol Ya’akov was established in Moscow, 1957. It had the approval of the Soviet government because they wanted to show the world that they weren’t anti-Semitic, nor were they suppressing Jewish education and life.

[January 7]

  • Millard Fillmore’s birthday, 1800.
  • Israel shot down 5 British planes that flew over the battlefront with Egypt, 1949.

[January 8]

  • Jews of Genoa, Italy, were expelled, 1598.

[January 9]

  • Inquisition established in Peru, 1570.
  • Warsaw Jews were forbidden to greet a German in public, 1941.
  • 3000 Jews killed in riots in Bucharest, 1941.
  • Jews of Basle, Switzerland burned alive in wooded houses specially constructed for that purpose, 1349.

[January 10]

  • Anti-Jewish riots in Ancona, Italy, 1798.
  • British took two ships of “illegal” immigrants to Cyprus, 1947.
  • Arab Liberation Army invaded Eretz Yisrael, 1948.

[January 11]

  • A state of siege was declared in Jerusalem, 1799, as Napoleon approached Gaza and Yafo.
  • srael’s population reached 3,000,000 on this day in 1971.

[January 12]

  • First provisional council of Palestinian Jewry was established, 1917. (We were the Palestinians long before the name was usurped by the Arabs.)

[January 13]

  • Emile Zola published “J’Accuse”, 1898. Pravda article, 1953, touched off a wave of virulent anti-Semitism throughout Russia.

[January 14]

  • The Church burned Hebrew books and manuscripts in Rome, 1601. (It boggles the mind to try to imagine what writings were completely lost to us throughout our history.)
  • Albert Schweitzer’s birthday, 1875.

[January 15]

  • Jews of Switzerland were granted civic equality, 1866. (This came about due to considerable pressure from the United States on behalf of some of its citizens who had been discriminated against.)

[January 16]

  • First hospital in America under Jewish auspices, Mt. Sinai in New York, founded, 1852.
  • The LAMED-HEI, 35 members of the Hagana who betrayed, ambushed, and killed by Arabs in the hills of Hebron, 1948. Prohibition began in the U.S., 1920.

[January 17]

  • Earliest authorization for the establishment of a university (including medical and juridical departments) under Jewish auspices (sort of an early version of Yeshiva University), Sicily, 1466.
  • Ben Franklin’s birthday, 1706.

[January 18]

  • Speaking of universities… Judah Touro – American Jewish philanthropist – died, 1854.

[January 19]

  • 6000 Jews killed in Bucharest riots, 1941.
  • Robert E. Lee b.d. 1807.
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s b.d., 1809.

[January 20]

  • Meeting chaired by Gestapo head Rhinehard Heydrich, discusses the implementation of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”, 1942.
  • Franco met with Jewish representatives to discuss the legal status of the Jewish community in Spain, 1965. First such meeting since 1492.
  • George Burns b.d. 1898.

[January 21]

  • Jews of Majorca were guaranteed protection, 1393. (The edict was “forgotten” several years later. This was not an uncommon experience in Jewish History.)

[January 22]

  • The Iron Guard revolt in Rumania led to the first massacre of Jews there in World War II, 1941.
  • Israeli forces withdrew from most of Sinai, 1957.

[January 23]

  • First printed Chumash with Megilot, 1492. H. 23 (337th); L.

[January 24]

  • France recognized Israel, 1949.
  • Merchaviya, first Jewish settlement in Emek Yizra’el, 1911.
  • First Jewish doctor (of many) to settle in North America, 1656 (Maryland).

[January 25]

  • Theodor Herzl meets Pope Pius X, who expresses the Church’s opposition to Jewish control of Jerusalem, 1904. (This policy of the Vatican is alive and well today, and has significant influence in many circles.)
  • The custom of tree-planting on TU b’Shvat was initiated by children of Jerusalem, 1925. HBV, LY.

[January 26]

  • The Russian army liberated 2819 survivors of Auschwitz, 1945.
  • Switzerland recognized Israel, 1949.
  • Israel and Egypt established normal diplomatic relations, 1980.

[January 27]

  • Earliest authorization for the establishment of a university (including medical and juridical departments) under Jewish auspices (sort of an early version of Yeshiva University), Sicily, 1466.
  • Public execution of nine Damascus Jews, 1969.

[January 28]

  • Israel was recognized (diplomatically) by Australia, Belgium, Chile, Great Britain, Holland, Luxembourg, and New Zealand. (If we say that the U.N. vote to partition Palestine in November ’47 was in a certain way “permission” from the world to re-establish a Jewish State, then the recognition of many countries since the establishment of the State is also part of that process.]
  • French National Assembly granted full and equal citizenship to the Portuguese and Avignonese Jews, 1790 and to the Jews of Alsace, 1791. France was the first European country to pass such liberal legislation.

[January 29]

  • Ezekiel Hart, first Jew to be elected to the Canadian Parliament, was denied his seat, 1808, because he refused to take Christian oath of office. (This is one of MANY examples that the “religious freedom” of the New World was not meant to include Jews; the idea was that Christians of one sect should not be persecuted by other Christians.)

[January 30]

  • Massacre of the Jews of Freiberg, Germany, in the Black Death riots, 1349.
  • Adolph Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, 1930.
  • Society for Youth Aliya was established in Berlin, 1930. (It transported to Israel over 115,000 children from 12-16.)
  • Hitler announced, in his annual speech, 1939, his intention to exterminate the Jewish people in the event of a war in Europe.

[January 31]

  • Nothing from Day-by-Day, so here’s a world item: Explorer I launched and the Van Allen Belt discovered, 1958.