History

History in your attic

February 11, 2011

Budding artists and long-forgotten ones will be the subjects of an exhibition of Jewish art and crafts being staged as part of Leeds' celebration of 150 years of Jewish history.

Helen Frais from educational charity Makor, which is co-ordinating the project, is looking for artists to work on the day and pieces made by older generations.

"In the days before iPods, people actually made things - they did embroidery, made Judaica and pottery. We want people to dig around in the attic. They might find something to exhibit. We also want Leeds artists to show their skills."

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On this day: New Amsterdam becomes a city

By Jennifer Lipman, February 2, 2011

The city now known as the Big Apple began life as a Dutch colonial settlement, taking the name New York in 1664. Chosen as the capital of New Netherland and given municipal rights on February 2 1653, it had a population of just 5,000 by 1700 but by the time of American independence that had grown to about 25,000.

There are now near to 19 million people in New York State; it is estimated that more than 1.6 million of them are Jewish. It wasn’t always that way; the first Jewish community arrived in 1654.

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Family's Holocaust-era letters to be translated

By Robyn Rosen, January 20, 2011

A Southampton historian has received a £9,000 grant to translate and catalogue thousands of newly-discovered letters between an exiled German Jew and his family in Nazi Germany.

The collection of 2,500 letters was found by Daniel Schwab in his parents’ garage in Johannesburg and is now the subject of a research project by Dr Shirli Gilbert of the University of Southampton.

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On this day: The Doctors’ Plot

By Jennifer Lipman, January 13, 2011

In the terrible and tragic history of the Jewish experience in the post-war communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe, one incident in particular stands out. It began with an editorial published in the Pravda newspaper.

The article accused a group of nine high-profile doctors, two-thirds of whom were Jewish, of conspiring to assassinate the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin by poisoning him.

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Ozzy Osbourne's father-in-law added to Dictionary of National Biography

By Jennifer Lipman, January 6, 2011

Humorist Alan Coren and the music impresario father of Sharon Osbourne are among the Jewish names who have been added to Britain’s most prestigious biographical collection.

A total of 216 famous faces who died in 2007 have been added to the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB).

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Jewish Harvard grad aims for Miss America crown

By Jennifer Lipman, January 4, 2011

The granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor is in the running to become the next Miss America.

Harvard graduate Loren Galler Rabinowitz, whose parents are both doctors, won the Miss Massachusetts contest last year, making her the state’s representative for the national pageant.

Ms Rabinowitz, 24, is a former ice-skating champion. She entered her first pageant with the hope of using the prize to fund medical school.

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On this day: Eden condemns Nazi exterminations of Jews

By Jennifer Lipman, December 17, 2010

Embroiled in a war with the Axis powers since September 1939, in 1942 Britain’s Foreign Secretary made a statement in Parliament condemning "Hitler's oft repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people in Europe".

For Anglo-Jewry it was a welcome statement at a time when reports of the extent of the Nazi genocide were beginning to emerge in the British media. Six months earlier in June 1942 the Daily Telegraph had written of the murder of 700,000 Polish Jews through methods including gas chambers.

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On this day: Allenby captures Jerusalem

By Jennifer Lipman, December 9, 2010

Before the First World War, Jerusalem, as indeed the region, had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire for some four centuries. 1917 saw the fall of the Ottoman regime and, just weeks after the Balfour Declaration in Britain, saw Jerusalem be captured by the British army’s Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshall Sir Edmund Allenby.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd-George had already called on his army to secure Jerusalem by Christmas. Allenby improved on that wish.

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On this day: Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport

By Jennifer Lipman, December 2, 2010

Today the USA is home to the largest Jewish population in the Diaspora, but the first Jewish settlements in North America did not emerge until the 1650s in New Amsterdam, the colonial capital later renamed New York. The first synagogue in the US was not in New York, however, but in the tiny state of Rhode Island.

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On this day: Barbados gains independence

By Jennifer Lipman, November 30, 2010

Settled by the British in 1625, Barbados remained a colony for more than three centuries.

A prized holiday destination for both Jewish and non-Jewish tourists, the Caribbean island also has a Jewish past.

Sephardic Jews first came to Barbados in the 1650s, refugees from Brazil escaping the Inquisition. Most began working in Bridgetown as merchants, trading sugercane and coffee. The challenges for the community were different to those for European Jews; one Succot, the succah and the synagogue were destroyed by a hurricane.

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