July 31, 2009

Looking Back

Published July 22, 2009, issue of July 31, 2009.

100 Years Ago in the forward

Tisha B’Av is typically a time when Jews go to cemeteries to remember their dead and to mourn the tragedy of the destroyed Temples in Jerusalem. It was no different this year, when some 5,000 Jews descended on Brooklyn’s Washington Cemetery. But as the mourners stood at their ancestors’ graves, a number of pickpockets made their way through the crowd, gingerly lifting wallets and pocketbooks. Local police know that this is a regular occurrence in the cemetery, so they they stationed plainclothes officers, who caught a group of three thieves in the act. But when the mourners caught site of the pickpockets, they became infuriated and attempted to wrench the criminals away from the police so they could administer their own brand of justice. But the police held fast, and a riot was averted.

75 Years Ago in the forward

In the wake of a Forward series on generational relations, the following letter was received: “Dear Editor: The Forward held an interesting debate about ‘parents and children…. Although the debate is closed, I request that you publish my letter, which also has to do with grown-up children. I am a 64-year-old woman and live with a daughter. She and her husband took their two kids on vacation, leaving me at home. A 19-year-old recently married grandchild of mine came by and asked permission to hold a birthday party for her husband in the empty house. In short, 17 young couples showed up, and, oy, what did I see? They all got drunk, wild and obnoxious, like in a brothel. They were going at it all over the house — in every corner, on the stairs and outside on the stoop. This they call a party?”

50 Years Ago in the forward

Broadcasts from Radio Baghdad mocked Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser for his constant threats to annihilate the State of Israel. After Nasser gave a speech in Alexandria in which he dared Israel to attack the Sinai, Radio Baghdad announced that if such a battle were to occur, Nasser would run from the battlefield the same way he did during the Sinai action in 1956. Nasser also said in his Alexandria speech that in 1956, Israel wasn’t able to capture even one Egyptian soldier. The reality is, Israel captured thousands of Egyptian soldiers. Baghdad, it seems, is trying to foment a revolt against Nasser in Syria, which is currently ruled by Egypt as part of the United Arab Republic.

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