The Jewish Woman Who Bicycled Around the World

In the 1890s, a Jewish woman from a devout background named Annie Londonderry embarked on a journey around the globe on her bicycle. Peter Zheutlin, a distant relative of Londonderry, wrote a book about her accomplishment in 2007, and has now followed up with a fictionalized version. Tzach Yoched writes:

Born Annie Cohen Kopchovsky in Latvia, in 1870, Londonderry took her pseudonym from the first of her many corporate sponsors: the Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company of New Hampshire.

Londonderry was, at first glance, an unlikely candidate to become a feminist icon. . . . At seventeen she lost both of her parents and a year later married an Orthodox Jewish merchant named Simon (a/k/a Max). Before learning how to ride a bicycle, she gave birth to three children.

Londonderry set out on her journey from Massachusetts on June 27, 1894, but it took considerably more than 80 days for her to go around the world. She eventually completed her mammoth task on September 12, 1895—fifteen days ahead of the fifteen-month goal she had set for herself. (In case you’re wondering, there were lots of boat journeys between continents, so she wasn’t cycling the whole time.)

Londonderry’s epic journey, though, was as much a public-relations campaign as an act of female independence. “She told everyone that she’d been selected to settle a wager between two Boston merchants who were arguing whether a woman could do what only a man had done before—circle the world by bicycle,” Zheutlin explains.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: American Jewish History, Sports, Women


While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy