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

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.

Read more at Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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


Why Saturday Was a Resounding Defeat for Iran

Yaakov Lappin provides a concise and useful overview of what transpired on Saturday. For him, the bottom line is this:

Iran and its jihadist Middle Eastern axis sustained a resounding strategic defeat. . . . The fact that 99 percent of the threats were intercepted means that a central pillar of Iranian force projection—its missile and UAV arsenals—has been proven to be no match for Israel’s air force, for its multilayered air-defense system, or for regional cooperation with allies.

Iran must now await Israel’s retaliation, and unlike Israel, Iranian air defenses are by comparison limited in scope. After its own failure on Sunday, Iran now relies almost exclusively on Hizballah for an ability to threaten Israel.

And even as Iran continues to work on developing newer and deadlier missiles, the IDF is staying a few steps ahead:

Israel is expecting its Iron Beam laser-interception system, which can shoot down rockets, mortars, and UAVs, to become operational soon, and is developing an interceptor (Sky Sonic) for Iran’s future hypersonic missile (Fattah), which is in development.

The Iron Beam will change the situation in a crucial way. Israell’s defensive response on Saturday reportedly cost it around $1 billion. While Iron Beam may have to be used in concert with other systems, it is far cheaper and doesn’t run the risk of running out of ammunition.

Read more at JNS

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Iron Dome, Israeli Security, Israeli technology