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Muriel’s Gift

Rukeyser’s Poems on Jewish Themes by Helen Engelhardt From the Summer 2015 issue of Jewish Currents To be a Jew in the twentieth century Is to be offered a gift. SO BEGINS the most well-known and beloved of the poems written by Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), who was astonished when the Reform synagogue movement included it […]

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November 22: Bolshevik Starvation

Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich, a revolutionary Bolshevik who was enormously loyal to Stalin and responsible for implementing the agricultural collectivization policies that led to mass starvation in the Ukraine, 1932-33, was born in Ukraine on this date in 1893. Among his roles in the USSR were commissar for Red Army propaganda, 1918; leader of anti-Muslim campaign […]

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October 1: The Communist Who Couldn’t Quit

British Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, author of an acclaimed trilogy about the rise of industrial capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism, died in London at 95 on this date in 2012. Born in Egypt, Hobsbawm was orphaned at 14 and went to live with relatives in Berlin. The rise of Nazism drove the family to London, and […]

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Karl Rodman’s “Comes the Revolution”

by Leonard J. Lehrman IN THE SPRING, 2015 Jewish Currents, the obituary of my mother, Emily Lehrman, shares a page with an ad for the self-published novel, Comes the Revolution: Birdie’s Story, by retired teacher and tour guide Karl Rodman, based on the life of his late Aunt Fagel. I think the two women would […]

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Remembering the Waistmakers General Strike, 1909

In Memoriam: Clara Lemlich Shavelson (March 28, 1886 — July 25, 1982) Originally published in the November, 1982 issue of Jewish Currents. Read the original, in PDF with footnotes. WHEN CLARA LEMLICH SHAVELSON DIED in a Los Angeles nursing home July 25th, the death notice of the family in the New York Times July 30th […]

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February 16: The Madison Square Garden Riot

At a mass Socialist rally at Madison Square Garden on this date in 1934, organized to protest the massacre of 1,000 Austrian socialists by the fascistic regime of Engelbert Dollfuss, some 5,000 members of the Communist Party engaged in disruptive, brawling tactics to prevent Matthew Woll of the American Federation of Labor and New York […]

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August 5: Budd Schulberg

Novelist and screenwriter Budd Schulberg, author of the scripts for On the Waterfront (starring Marlon Brando, 1950) and A Face in the Crowd (starring Andy Griffith, 1958), and the 1941 novel, What Makes Sammy Run?, died in Quogue, New York at 95 on this date in 2009. Schulberg was the son of Hollywood professionals, and […]

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January 22: Fighting Evictions in the Bronx

Some 4,000 tenants participated in a “rent riot” on this date in 1932 when police tried to evict seventeen tenants from 2302 Olinville Avenue in the Bronx. The neighborhood was populated predominantly by Eastern European Jewish workers who had escaped the Lower East Side and the South Bronx and had been organized by Communist-led Unemployed […]

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October 22: The Homophobic Mike Gold

Novelist Mike Gold (Itzok Granich) caused big ripples in the U.S. literary circles by publishing a savage, homophobic attack on the writings of Thornton Wilder in The New Republic on this date in 1930. Gold had just published his best-selling Jews Without Money, while Wilder had just published his third novel, The Woman of Andros […]

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