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February 17: The First Jewish Woman in Congress

Florence Prag Kahn, at age 58, became the first Jewish woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on this date in 1925. She beat two other candidates in her San Francisco district to succeed her husband, Representative Julius Kahn, who had died after being reelected to his 13th term. Florence Kahn would herself be […]

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January 24: The “Immigration Pogrom”

More than 130 Jewish labor groups sent representatives to a New York protest meeting against the Johnson-Reed Act, which severely restricted immigration to the U.S. from Southern and Eastern Europe as well as Africa — and banned outright the entry of all Asians and Arabs — on this date in 1924. Fiorello LaGuardia branded the […]

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July 8: The Anti-Fascist Committee at the Polo Grounds

More than 47,000 New Yorkers rallied at the Polo Grounds on this date in 1943 in support of the Soviet war effort against Nazi Germany. Soviet actor and director Solomon Mikhoels and poet Itsik Feffer — leaders of the Soviet Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC) — as well as New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Yiddish novelist […]

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July 11: The Triborough Bridge

New York’s Triborough Bridge opened on this date in 1936, nearly seven years after construction work commenced on Black Friday, the date of the stock market crash in 1929. The bridge, spanning three boroughs of the city, was the brainchild of city designer Robert Moses, who created the Triborough Bridge Authority, headed by Nathan Burkan, […]

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September 20: New York's "Little Flower"

Fiorello LaGuardia, the son of an Italian father and a Jewish mother who became the progressive Republican mayor of New York for three terms between 1934 and 1945, died on this date in 1947 at age 64. A passionate New Dealer, LaGuardia developed and unified the New York transit system, built low-cost public housing, as […]

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February 3: Justine Wise Polier

Activist judge Justine Wise Polier retired from New York family court on this day in 1973, after thirty-eight years of service. When Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed her to the city’s “domestic relations” court in 1935, she was the youngest city judge in America (age 32) and the first woman in New York to hold a […]

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