Each Night, 193,000 Homeless Human Beings

by Allan Lichtenstein Photographs by the author   IN EDWARD ALBEE’S play, The Zoo Story, Peter, an executive in a small publishing house who lives in a comfortable apartment on the Upper East Side with his wife, two daughters and two parakeets, meets Jerry, a self-described “permanent transient,” in Central Park. When Jerry suddenly declares that he wants […]

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A Jew’s Blues: Mike Bloomfield

by Sparrow Discussed in this essay: Michael Bloomfield: The Rise and Fall of an American Guitar Hero by Ed Ward. Chicago Review Press, 2016, 224 pages.   IN THE 1960S musicians broke through the invisible barrier of the three-minute pop song. The single that did it, which rose to number 2, in fact, was Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling […]

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Florsheim Shoes

Milton Florsheim, a Chicago cobbler who transformed the shoe industry by slapping the family name on his shoe soles and pull-up straps and then launching a chain of brand-name retail stores, was born in Chicago on this date in 1868. His father owned a shoe store. Florsheim Shoes were marketed, says his great-grandson John Florsheim, as […]

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The Man Who Invented Advertising

Albert Lasker, who moved the world of American advertising from simple informational announcements to what he called “salesmanship in print,” was born in Freiburg, Germany on this date in 1880. Lasker came to the U.S. as an infant, was raised in Galveston, Texas, and rose to head the Lord & Thomas Agency in Chicago by […]

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February 22: The Liberal Stalwart

Abraham Ribicoff, a liberal stalwart of the Democratic Party who served as Congressional representative, senator, Cabinet secretary of health, education, and welfare, and the first and only Jewish governor of Connecticut, died at 87 on this date in 1998. Ribicoff became best known as a confidante and advisor to John F. Kennedy (he turned down […]

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May 22: A Reform Jewish Giant

Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch, who headed Chicago’s Sinai Congregation for forty-two years and led Reform Judaism into the Progressive movement and down social justice pathways, was born in Luxemburg on this date in 1852. One of several Jews involved in founding the NAACP, Hirsch was married to the daughter of abolitionist rabbi David Einhorn and […]

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May 20: Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik

Jake Guzik, Al Capone’s most trust adviser, treasurer, and bagman for bribing politicians and police, was born near Krakow, Poland on this date in 1886. Guzik was involved in prostitution and “white slavery” and was said to have gained Capone’s trust by tipping him off to a plan to kill him; Guzik was soon working […]

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Protesting Trump in Chicago on Shabbat

by Rabbi Brant Rosen TWO WEEKS AGO, my congregation, Tzedek Chicago, cancelled its regularly scheduled Shabbat service in order to allow members to attend the Trump protest that was being held outside the UIC Pavilion. It just felt as if this was just too critical a moment to let pass by, particularly for a congregation […]

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March 13: Bruno Bettelheim

Bruno Bettelheim, a Viennese Freudian psychologist who survived nearly two years in Buchenwald and Dachau and went on to become a worldwide authority on autism and the emotional lives of children — although his theories were incorrect and venal towards mothers — died a suicide at age 86 on this date in 1990. (His suicide […]

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