c 1476 BCE- Following the descent of the manna (the miraculous "Bread from Heaven" that sustained the Israelites in the desert), G-d ommanded the Children of Israel to keep the Shabbat. On that Friday morning, enough manna fell for two days' worth of meals, as on the Shabbat it would be prohibited to gather the manna. The "Two Loaves" of challah bread (Lechem Mishneh) that form the foundation of our Shabbat meal are in commemoration of the double portion of manna. The Jews in the wilderness kept Shabbat for the first time. Datan and Aviram searched for for manna on the first Shabbat but do not find any (Exodus 16:27).


1393- Jews of Sicily were forbidden to display any funeral decorations in public.


May 16, 1656- Antonio Robles, a successful Marrano merchant in England, had his goods confiscated at the outbreak of the war with Spain, 1656. Robles contended that he was a Portuguese "of the Hebrew nation" and not Spanish - and therefore his property should be returned to him.  In this landmark case the Council decided in his favor, strengthening the position of the community and opening the door for allowing Jews to live in England as Jews.


1731- Giovanni Antonio Costanzi, the Vatican librarian and author of a catalogue of the Vatican's Hebrew manuscripts, directed searches in all the Jewish quarters throughout the Papal States to confiscate Jewish holy books. More confiscations continued over the next twenty years.


May 31, 1834- A revolt of the Arabs in the Land of Israel against Muhammad Ali, the governor of Egypt, who took the land from the Turks in 1834, and imposed mandatory military duty on all Muslim inhabitants.  On 22 Iyar, (May 31), the rebels occupied and took control of Jerusalem. On 28 Iyar (June 3), Ibrahim Pasha, the general of Muhammad Ali, came to Jerusalem with a large force with him and the rebels fled.


May 22, 1919- The Romanian government granted citizenship to all native-born Jews.


May 7, 1934- The Jewish autonomous region in Birobidzhan was founded by Russia.


May 15, 1944- Two months after the Nazi occupation of Hungary, where the Jewish population prior to WWII was 725,000, Nazis begin deportation of Jews from greater Hungary to the Auschwitz extermination camp. Eichmann personally oversaw the following day the start of the extermination process. This would be one of the final tragedies of the Holocaust, as eight days later an estimated 100,000 had been murdered and 400,000 Hungarian Jews were taken to the gas chambers in a matter of weeks. Additionally, tens of thousands of Jews died on death marches from Budapest to Austria, and others were shot and thrown into the Danube River.

During this time, Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat stationed in Budapest, issued thousands of Swedish identity documents to protect Jews from deportation; he is credited with saving tens of thousands of lives.


Torah Portion




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Today is

Yom Chamishi, 24 Kislev, 5784

Thursday, December 07, 2023


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