On this day

On this day: The Alhambra Decree

By Jennifer Lipman, March 31, 2011

The Spanish Inquisition, when the Catholic ruling couple Ferdinand and Isabella waged their murderous campaign against the Jews of Spain and then Portugal, was one of the darkest periods in European history.


On this day: A revolution in pencils

By Jennifer Lipman, March 30, 2011

The pencil with the rubber attached to the top is an item so ubiquitous that few would consider where it came from. But, as with every household object, someone had to come up with the idea.

That someone was Hymen Lipman, a Jewish inventor who lived in Philadelphia. On March 30, he won the patent for his product, which placed a rubber atop the end of a wooden pencil.


On this day: Rachel Levy killed

By Jennifer Lipman, March 29, 2011

Just days after 25 people were killed as they sat down for seder in the Park Hotel in Netanya, a 17-year-old Israeli girl went on a routine trip to the supermarket. Her visit to the Kiryat Yovel neighbourhood of Jerusalem that Friday afternoon coincided with that of another teenage girl, one named Ayat al-Akhras.


On this day: Marc Chagall dies

By Jennifer Lipman, March 28, 2011

Visitors to his Jerusalem Windows cannot fail to be struck by the beauty and vibrancy of Jewish artist Marc Chagall’s designs, each featuring one featuring a different tribe of Israel. Bur the Russian born artist, who was 97 when he died, had a legacy that extended far beyond the Hadassah hospital in Israel.


On this day: The Triangle Shirtwaist fire

By Jennifer Lipman, March 25, 2011

It was late on a Saturday afternoon, the end of the working day, when the first flames were spotted at the Triangle Waist Company factory in New York.

The tragedy left 146 people dead and more than 70 with injuries, prompting the introduction of improved regulations on factory safety.


On this day: Stephen Sondheim is born

By Jennifer Lipman, March 22, 2011

Name a popular or successful musical that appeared on Broadway or in the West End in the last 50 years, and there’s a high chance it will be one written by Stephen Sondheim.

Born in New York City, he had a troubled upbringing but at the age of nine fell in love with the theatre after seeing a production of Oscar Hammerstein II’s Very Warm for May.


On this day: New Yad Vashem opens

By Jennifer Lipman, March 15, 2011

Dignitaries and statesmen from 40 countries visited Israel for the official opening ceremony of the refurbished Holocaust museum Yad Vashem. The UN general secretary Kofi Annan spoke, as did the German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Holocaust survivor and human rights campaigner Elie Wiesel.


On this day: the Madrid train bombings

By Jennifer Lipman, March 11, 2011

Exactly two years and six months after terrorists struck the World Trade centre, a similarly-inspired group bombed ten sites in Madrid, including the busy interchange at Atocha station.


On this day: Eliot Spitzer’s downfall

By Jennifer Lipman, March 10, 2011

Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer wasn’t the first political player whose career was prematurely ended by a sex scandal, and he likely won’t be the last.


On this day: Karl Marx dies

By Jennifer Lipman, March 9, 2011

Perhaps the most famous thinker of all time, Karl Marx died in 1883 at the age of 64. The father of communism, the man whose theories of work, class struggle and alienation transformed the world in the 20th century and continue to appeal to many today, was buried in his adopted home of Highgate.