Second Vatican Council Announced

On this date in 1959, Pope John XXIII announced that he would be convening an Ecumenical Council — the first in almost a century — within the Catholic Church. The announcement of this “Second Vatican Council,” or Vatican II, shocked and disturbed the Church leadership as it implied that the Church was imperfect, thus contradicting […]

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The Artist of Loving

Humanistic philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm was born on this date in 1900 in Frankfurt, Germany. He was a student of the Talmud and used Jewish texts and imagery as touchstones for his political and psychological insights long after he had left the world of Orthodoxy at age 26. Fromm’s attachment to Judaism as a […]

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Marcel Marceau

Marcel Marceau, the world’s most beloved mime, was born on this date in 1923 in Strasbourg, France. Born Marcel Mangel, he took the name Marceau (an homage to French Revolutionary general François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers) to hide his Jewish identity following Germany’s occupation of France. Marceau’s father, a kosher butcher, was killed in 1944 in Auschwitz while Marcel and […]

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Eichmann and Budapest’s Judenrat

On this date in 1944, two days after occupying Hungary, the Nazis set up a Jewish Council (Judenrat or Zsidó Tanács in Hungarian) in Budapest, headed by a banker, Samu Stern. At the same time, Adolf Eichmann was meeting with Hungarian Interior Ministry officials: “That evening,” he would later write, “the fate of the Hungarian […]

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FDA OK’s AZT

On this date in 1987, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of AZT (azidothymidine, also known as Zidovudine or ZDV) to inhibit the development of HIV-AIDS. The approval period was the shortest in FDA history — twenty months. Originally created by Dr. Jerome Horwitz (1919–2012) as a cancer drug in 1964, AZT proved to […]

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Golda Meir Takes the Helm

Golda Meir (Meyerson) became prime minister of Israel on this date in 1969, after a lifetime in the Labor Zionist movement. Born in Kiev, she spent most of her childhood and teen years in Milwaukee — which helped equip her, in 1948, to raise $50 million, six times more than expected, from American Jews for […]

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Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie died on this date in 2003 when she was crushed by demolition debris pushed onto her by an Israeli military bulldozer which she believed was sent to destroy a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip’s Rafah area. Corrie (not Jewish), 23, was an American active with the Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement and had been […]

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AKA “Notorious RBG”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman in history to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1933. In 1954, she was one of nine women in a class of more than 500 at Harvard Law, before graduating at the top of her class at Columbia Law in 1959. […]

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“Jewish Women Call for Change”

On this date in 1972, a Jewish feminist study group, Ezrat Nashim (named for the women’s section of synagogue), submitted a manifesto to the Rabbinical Assembly, the rabbinic arm of the movement for Conservative Judaism, at the RA’s national convention. The document, entitled “Jewish Women Call for Change,” petitioned the Conservative movement to count women in […]

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Mike Stoller

Mike Stoller, who teamed with Jerry Leiber to write dozens of popular songs that would become permanently lodged in the brains of the baby boom generation, was born in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens, NY, on this date in 1933. Among the many hits written (some together with other songwriters) by Leiber and Stoller […]

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