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The Brothel-Owner and the Milkman

SHOLEM ASCH’S GOD OF VENGEANCE COMES TO LIFE by Susan Reimer-Torn ON MARCH 26, 1923, shortly before curtain time, the cast and producers of Sholem Asch’s play, God of Vengeance (pictured above) were arrested by a vice squad and thrown into jail to await trial on obscenity charges. The arrest took place fifteen days after […]

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Kvetching about Judaism in “Café Society”

by Elliot B. Gertel WHILE WOODY ALLEN’S movies can be formulaic, this has rarely prevented him from telling a good story and providing interesting characters. But except for the fine cast and the enchanting luster provided by new production partner cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, Café Society comes across simply as a checklist for many a Woody […]

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October 10: The Storyville Red Light District

At the urging of the federal Department of the Navy, Martin Behrman, the longest-serving mayor in the history of New Orleans, shuttered Storyville, the four-block red light district of his city, on this date in 1917. Born in New York, Behrman had lived in New Orleans since the age of seven months, and his political […]

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March 17: Spitzer’s Folly

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned from office on this date in 2008 after he was exposed as the regular client of a fancy prostitution ring. Spitzer, a child of wealth, had been elected New York Attorney General ten years earlier and made a reputation pursuing white collar crime, including cases of securities fraud, bank […]

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February 27: Bertha Pappenheim

Bertha Pappenheim, founder in 1904 of Austria’s League of Jewish Women — which grew to more than 32,000 members in 80+ chapters before the Nazis banned it in 1939 — was born in Vienna on this date in 1859. Pappenheim is best known in popular history as the “Anna O.” about whom Sigmund Freud wrote […]

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April 16: Madam Polly Adler

Polly (Pearl) Adler, who ran New York’s best-known brothels during Prohibition and the 1930s under the “protection” of Dutch Schultz, was born in Yanow, Belorussia on this date in 1900. Sent to live in New York at the age of 12, she was cut off from her family by World War I and forced into […]

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