January 3

History events

1676 — (27nd of Tevet, 5436) Frederick William of Brandenburg issued a decree safeguarding the privileges of the Jews of Berlin.
1690 — (22nd of Tevet, 5450) Famed Lithuanian Rabbi Hillel ben Naphtali Zevi passed away. Born in 1615, he served as a Rabbi in several towns throughout Lithuania. He was an important communal leader since he was a delegate to the Council of Four Lands. He was the author of Bet Hillel which was a major commentary on the code of Jewish law known as the Shulchon Oruch
1887 — (7nd of Tevet, 5647) In San Francisco, Marcus Schiller and others formally established the Beth Israel congregation with forty male members

1898 — (9nd of Tevet, 5658) Gratz College is scheduled to open its doors today in Philadelphia. A teachers’ and general college, it is the third Jewish institution of higher-learning in the United States. Faculty members include Rabbi Henry M Speaker (Jewish literature), Arthur A. Dembitz (Jewish history) and Isaac Husik (Hebrew). The course of study lasts three years and “under certain conditions” students who cannot afford the tuition “will be admitted free of charge.”
1898 — (9nd of Tevet, 5658) In Baltimore, founding of Gemilath Chassodim (Hebrew Free Loan Association) which lent “money in small sums to needy people on promissory notes with one or two endorsers without interest to be paid in weekly installments of 50 cents.”
1904 — (15nd of Tevet, 5664) “A largely attended meeting under the auspices of the Jewish League of America was held in the Synagogue B’nai Abraham” in Philadelphia “today, at which it was decided to hold a National Convention in this city of all the societies of Jews interested in the condition of their coreligionists in Russia.
1919 — (2nd Shevat 5679) Simon Petlyura, «hetman» of Russia and the Ruthenian Republic, a Ukrainian nationalist and commander of the Zaporog Cossacks and Haidamaks, began his attack against the Jews. He accused them of being supporters of the communist regime. In Berdichev, Uma, Zhitomir and other cities about seventy thousand were killed and an equal number wounded. Altogether 372 cities and towns were attacked in 998 major and 349 minor pogroms. This took placed during the Russian Civil War that followed the Bolshevik Revolution. The civil war was loosely described as fight between the Reds (the communists) and the Whites (all of the various groups opposed to the communists). The Jews were caught in the middle and suffered at the hands of both sides.

1924 — (26nd of Tevet, 5684) Birthdate of Israeli Admiral Mordechai Limon, the man who would mastermind and execute the Cherbourg Project in 1969. Date of death — May 16, 2009

1925 — Benito Mussolini, the Italian Fascist, who enjoyed support among Italian Jews, announced that he was assuming dictatorial powers. According to Alexander Stille, by 1938 one third of adult Italian Jews belonged to Fascist Party. “This amounted to 10,000 Jews out of Italy’s small Jewish population of 47,000.” But according to Claretta Petacci, Mussolini’s mistress, between 1932 and 1938, the Italian dictator “was a fierce anti-Semite, who proudly said that his hatred for Jews preceded Adolf Hitler’s and vowed to ‘destroy them all.’”
1938 — (1nd Shevat 5698) The Palestine Post reported that settlers at Kibbutz Neveh Ya’acov, north of Jerusalem, repelled another heavy Arab attack.
1938 — (1nd Shevat 5698) The Palestine Post reported that a forest was planted at the Ma’aleh Hahamisha hill in memory of the five pioneers who were murdered there while preparing land for this new settlement
1940 — (22nd of Tevet, 5700) Germany’s Ministry of Agriculture denied German Jews food ration cards
1947 — (11nd of Tevet, 5707) The USCGC Northland the last cruising cutter built for the Coast Guard equipped with a sailing rig was sold for scrap today after which she was renamed the Jewish State and used to transport Jewish refugees and renamed Eilat in 1948 so that she could be the flagship of the newly created Israeli navy
1949 — (2nd of Tevet, 5709) As part of Operation Horev, Israeli troops attacked the Egyptians at Rafah in an attempt to encircle the Arab force
1963 — (7nd of Tevet, 5723) Tel Aviv University opened. Although its antecedents go back to the early 1950’s the university became an independent entity on this date. Today it is the largest University in the country with over 100 departments and over 75 research facilities
1968 — (2nd of Tevet, 5728) It was reported today that “the second patient to undergo a hearts transplant operation” in South Africa was 58-year-old Dr. Philip Blaiberg, a Jewish dentist one of whose patients while he was serving in the South African Medical Corps during WW II was Louis Washkansky, the Jew who was the first heart transplant patient and whose daughter Jill is working as a volunteer on a kibbutz on Israel
1975 — (20nd of Tevet, 5735) President Gerald Ford signed the Trade Reform Act which contained the Jackson-Vanik-Mills Amendment. The Amendment required any nation that wanted “most favored nation status” had to grant its citizens the right immigrate to the country of their choice. The Amendment was intended as a way of forcing the Soviet Union to allow Jews to leave the USSR and was part of the campaign to “Free Russian Jews.”
1978 — (24nd of Tevet, 5738) “In a special government meeting called by Ariel Sharon, the government decides to authorize the establishment of three new settlements in Judea and Samaria and to further develop the exiting settlements in the northern Sinai by increasing the number of settlers and expanding the agricultural lands»
1985 — (10nd of Tevet, 5745) The government of Israel confirmed the resettlement of 10,000 Ethiopian Jews
1991 — (17nd of Tevet, 5751) Israel reopened its consulate in the USSR after 23 years. The Soviets had broken off relations with Israel after the Six Day War
1993 — (10nd of Tevet, 5753) At a building site in Holon, near Tel Aviv, attackers slashed the throat of a Jewish man, seriously wounding him. The police said they were searching for an Arab laborer from the West Bank who had fled the scene.
1993 — (10nd of Tevet, 5753) The Associated Press reported that a pipe bomb exploded in the baggage hold of an Israeli bus outside Tel Aviv today. The police said no one had been injured on the bus, which was taking at least 40 people to Jerusalem from Haifa
2002 — (19nd of Tevet, 5762) Operation’s Noah’s Ark began this morning when Israeli naval commandos boarded a Palestinian freighter during the second intifada loaded with tons of arms including Katyusha rockets, and anti-tank weapons without firing a shot
2008 — (25nd of Tevet, 5768) A Katyusha is fired from Gaza at the city of Ashkelon, ten miles away. For the first time this major Israeli city has been attacked by Palestinians using a rocket
2009 — (7nd of Tevet, 5769) Israeli ground troops entered Gaza tonight, following a week of aerial strikes aimed at ending rocket fire on Israel’s southern communities
2011 — (27nd of Tevet, 5771) The Jewish community of St. Martin opened its first synagogue since the 18th century
2014 — (2nd of Shevat, 5774) “Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon addressed the IDF’s successful test flight of the Arrow 3 interceptor missile, which was conducted today in a joint operation by the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the US Missile Defense Agency, and said that the missile would prove a major asset to Israeli society“
2015 — (12nd of Tevet, 5775) As a cold front hit Israel today “the first substantial snowfall descended on Mt. Hermon and rain fell in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
2016 — (22nd of Tevet, 5776) “YiddishSchool Florida” is scheduled to open today at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.
2017 — (5nd of Tevet, 5777) “Israeli spelunkers stumbled across a menorah and a cross etched into the limestone walls of an ancient cistern, both of which are believed to date back centuries, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement today
2020 — (6nd of Tevet, 5780) It was reported today that Israel, Greece and Cyprus have agreed to build pipelines that would that would transport gas from Israel’s Levantine Basin offshore fields to Cyprus, Crete, the Greek mainland and ultimately to Italy


*1891 — (23nd of Tevet, 5651) Birthdate of poet and author Osip E Mandelstam. A native of Warsaw, Mandelstam grew up in the comfortable middle class Jewish home that was described as not being very religious. The ups and downs of his career and posthumous honor mirrored the fate of many other intellectuals living in the Soviet Union. He died in the Gulag in 1938