December 23, 1638- Baghdad Purim. The Turkish leader Sultan Morad IV conquered the city of Baghdad for the second time from the Persians with the help of the Jews. The day was celebrated as a Yom Ness (a day of miracles) by the Baghdad Kehillah. In general, when the Ottomans ruled the city, life for its Jewish residents improved. When the Persian Shiites ruled the city the situation was very difficult to say the least.
January 2, 1782- Emperor Joseph II of Austria issued an Edict of Toleration which repealed most restrictions on Jews that had been imposed by the Church.
January 7, 1863- In 1863, General Ulysses S. Grant was instructed to revoke Order No. 11, which had called for the expulsion of all Jews from Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi. During the Civil War, smugglers were illegally selling southern cotton to the northern textile factories. Grant, commander of U.S. Army forces, believed that Jews were primarily behind this illegal cotton trade, and he decided to expel all Jews from southern territory. Grant wrote: "No Jews are to be permitted to travel on the railroad southward from any point... The [region] must be purged of them."
Based on Grant's orders, Jews were expelled from their homes, including 20 families from the town of Paducah alone. Some Jews were denied rail transportation and had to flee northward on foot. Those who did not cooperate were thrown into prison. Jewish community leaders immediately arranged a meeting at the White House with President Lincoln, who cancelled the expulsion order.
Grant, who would later become U.S. president, never offered any explanation or apology.