How a Catholic University Became the Repository of the Jewish History of the Bronx

Nov. 18 2022

A century ago, New York City’s northernmost borough was home to one of the largest concentrations of Jews in the world. That population has dwindled significantly since then, but the Bronx’s Fordham University, a Jesuit institution, has begun a project to collect artifacts of this Jewish community’s history, focusing on the minutiae of everyday life. Julia Gergely reports:

For the last three years, Fordham has been collecting and cataloging items that detail a once-thriving Jewish community in the Bronx: yearbooks full of Jewish last names, bar-mitzvah invitations, phonebooks full of Jewish-owned businesses—all the simple transactions that define an era in history.

During the first half of the 20th century, Jewish life thrived in the Bronx. There were 260 registered synagogues in 1940, and the borough produced some of the biggest Jewish names in show business, fashion, literature and more: the designer Ralph Lauren, the politician Bella Abzug, the novelist E.L. Doctorow, the filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, the Miss America Bess Myerson, the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Robert Lefkowitz.

At the community’s peak in 1930, the Bronx was approximately 49-percent Jewish, according to the borough’s official historian, Lloyd Ultan. South of Tremont Avenue, the number reached 80 percent. Most of the Jewish Bronx was of East European descent; many were first generation Americans whose parents had immigrated and lived on the Lower East Side, but who could now afford to live in less cramped neighborhoods with more trees and wider streets.

The archive at Fordham is one of the only physical collections of everyday material from Jewish residents of the borough, according to Magda Teter, the co-director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the university, who spearheaded the project. . . . “They may not be the most beautiful things, but we are interested in what people actually used and lived with,” Teter said.

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Read more at Jewish Telegraphic Agency

More about: American Jewish History, Jewish archives, Jewish-Catholic relations, New York City

Europe Must Stop Tolerating Iranian Operations on Its Soil

March 31 2023

Established in 2012 and maintaining branches in Europe, North America, and Iran, the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Network claims its goal is merely to show “solidarity” for imprisoned Palestinians. The organization’s leader, however, has admitted to being a representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a notorious terrorist group whose most recent accomplishments include murdering a seventeen-year-old girl. As Arsen Ostrovsky and Patricia Teitelbaum point out, Samidoun is just one example of how the European Union allows Iran-backed terrorists to operate in its midst:

The PFLP is a proxy of the Iranian regime, which provides the terror group with money, training, and weapons. Samidoun . . . has a branch in Tehran. It has even held events there, under the pretext of “cultural activity,” to elicit support for operations in Europe. Its leader, Khaled Barakat, is a regular on Iran’s state [channel] PressTV, calling for violence and lauding Iran’s involvement in the region. It is utterly incomprehensible, therefore, that the EU has not yet designated Samidoun a terror group.

According to the Council of the European Union, groups and/or individuals can be added to the EU terror list on the basis of “proposals submitted by member states based on a decision by a competent authority of a member state or a third country.” In this regard, there is already a standing designation by Israel of Samidoun as a terror group and a decision of a German court finding Barakat to be a senior PFLP operative.

Given the irrefutable axis-of-terror between Samidoun, PFLP, and the Iranian regime, the EU has a duty to put Samidoun and senior Samidoun leaders on the EU terror list. It should do this not as some favor to Israel, but because otherwise it continues to turn a blind eye to a group that presents a clear and present security threat to the European Union and EU citizens.

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: European Union, Iran, Palestinian terror, PFLP