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July 16: The Nuclear Age

Lawrence Bush
July 16, 2010

SB27The first atomic bomb explosion took place on this date in 1945 in New Mexico. The “Trinity” test was witnessed by a cohort of scientists that included Victor Weisskopf, Maurice Shapiro, Kenneth Greisen, Robert Serber, Isidor Rabi, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and other Jewish participants in the Manhattan Project. The explosion was heard more than 150 miles away. Several key scientists involved in the development of the Bomb were refugees from Nazi Germany, including Edward Teller, Otto Frisch and Felix Bloch. The same bomb design used at “Trinity” was used to destroy the city of Nagasaki three weeks later. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, founder of The Shalom Center, has aptly termed the Bomb, with its vast capacity for destruction, “a portable Auschwitz.”
“Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of worlds.” —J. Robert Oppenheimer (quoting the Bhagavad-Gita)

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.