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Bill Graham and Fillmore East

Promoter Bill Graham (born Wulf Wolodia Grajonca) opened the Fillmore East in New York’s East Village on this date in 1968, with a concert that featured Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin). Graham was born in Berlin in 1931. At age 8, not long after Kristallnacht, he was placed in an orphanage by his Russian immigrant […]

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Impressions from J Street, 2017

by Ron Skolnik BERNIE SANDERS, SUPERSTAR EVERY J STREET conference has its rock star, that one figure whose presence elates the crowd and gives them hope amidst the gloomy reality. In 2013, for example, it was VP Joe Biden: The appearance of the man a “heartbeat away from the presidency” signaled to J Street’s activists […]

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American Jews Line Up Against the Trump Ban

by Ron Skolnik WITH NOT MUCH to smile about since Inauguration Day, it has been heartening to see the nearly undivided reaction of the American Jewish community to Donald Trump’s January 27 Executive Order (EO) on immigration and refugee admission – widely considered to constitute a Muslim ban. With one or two glaring exceptions — […]

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April 20: The Yiddish Gazette

Di Yidishe Gazeten (the Yiddish Gazette), the first enduring American Yiddish weekly, began publication on this date in 1874. Published in New York by Kasriel Hersh Sarasohn, a new immigrant from Russia, the paper survived for more than half a century and reached a circulation of 70,000. It was traditionally religious in orientation and earned […]

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October 14: Emma Lazarus on Ward’s Island

Emma Lazarus was on Ward’s Island as a volunteer with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) on this date in 1882 when rioting broke out among Jewish immigrants, who were flooding New York from Russia at the rate of about 2,000 per month because of the outbreak of pogroms throughout Russia after the assassination of […]

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Once Orphaned, Thrice Adopted

With the Songs of the Sabbath Echoing by Vilunya Diskin My Jewish journey begins in the small village of Przemyslany, Poland, in 1942. My grandfather owned and operated a textile mill. My parents were professionals, mother a lawyer and father a chemist. I had an identical twin who died at birth. Soon after my birth, the […]

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