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December 18: Hal Kanter and Diahann Carroll

Hal Kanter, a screenwriter, director, and producer who created “Julia,” the first television sitcom (1968-71) featuring a black professional character (Diahann Carroll), was born in Savannah, Georgia on this date in 1918. Kanter worked on films with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, and Elvis Presley. For many years he was […]

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December 17: General Grant’s General Orders

General Ulysses S. Grant’s General Order No. 11, ordering the expulsion of all Jews in his military district in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky, was issued on this date in 1862 as part of his effort to crack down on black-marketeering during the Civil War. The order would be revoked at President Lincoln’s insistence on January […]

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Volunteers in Israel’s War of Independence

by Dusty Sklar THEY WERE CALLED Makhalniks, Makhal being an acronym for Mitnadvei Khutz Le’Aretz, or volunteers from outside the Land — the Land being Israel, the volunteers being mainly U.S. and British World War II veterans. They totaled close to 4,000 men and women, and represented fifty-eight different countries. The year was 1948, when […]

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November 27: The First Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Macy’s acquired the Thanksgiving Day Parade launched by Bamberger’s Department Store in Newark in 1921 and transferred it to New York on this date in 1924, calling it the Macy’s Christmas Parade. (Macy’s would buy Louis Bamberger’s whole business five years later, though they preserved the store’s name.) Gimbel’s, a key competitor to Macy’s, had […]

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November 17: The Pittsburgh Platform’s Radical Judaism

The 1885 gathering of leaders of the movement for Reform Judaism in the U.S. entered its second day of proceedings on this date at the Concordia Club in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Platform, signed by eighteen rabbis, became an influential document for the next half century or more, particularly in shaping Reform Judaism’s rejection of Zionism […]

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November 11: Rabbi Louis Ginzberg

Lithuanian-born Louis Ginzberg, who trained two generations of Conservative rabbis at the Jewish Theological Seminary and produced the enormously erudite and entertaining seven-volume collection of midrashic and aggadic materials from the Talmud, The Legends of the Jews, died just short of his 80th birthday on this date in 1953. A descendant of the Gaon of […]

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October 31: The Jewish Klansman

Dan Burros (center in the photo, with George Lincoln Rockwell at left), an American Nazi and Ku Klux Klan leader, committed suicide with a gun on this date in 1965 after the fact that he was Jewish was exposed by the New York Times. Burros attended Hebrew school in Richmond Hill, Queens and became a […]

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October 30: 114 Years Old

Goldie Steinberg, a survivor of the notorious 1903 Kishinev pogrom who lived to 114 and reportedly remained mentally sharp until her last moments, was born in Kishinev on this date in 1900. Steinberg came to the U.S. in 1923, married, had two children, and worked as a seamstress until the age of 80. She lived […]

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October 10: Eddie Cantor

Eddie Cantor (Iskowitz), one of America’s first radio stars and wildly popular, cross-platform entertainers, died at 72 on this date in 1964. Known as “Banjo Eyes” and “The Apostle of Pep,” Cantor mixed intimate stories about his wife and five daughters with high-energy dancing, vaudeville songs, jokes, and sentimental sincerity to charm his audiences on […]

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