Yahrtzeits – 7 Iyar
-Rav Shlomo Ephraim of Luntchitz, author of Kli Yakar and Ololos Ephraim. Rav Shlomo Ephraim was born in Lunchitz in Poland. He was a disciple of Rav Shlomo Luria (Maharshal), the famous talmudist and author of Yam Shel Shlomo. After leading the yeshivah in Lvov, Rav Shlomo Ephraim was appointed Rav of Prague. He sat on the Beis Din of that city with Rav Yeshayah Horowitz(the “Shelah Ha’kadosh”). Among Rav Shlomo Ephraim’s prominent students was Rav Yom Tov Lipman Heller, author of theMishnah commentary Tosfos Yom Tov. The Kli Yakar died in Prague, Bohemia, (1550-1619).
-Rav Chaim Moshe Reuven Elazary was a student of the Slobodka Yeshiva, first in Europe and then in Chevron. He began his rabbinic career in the Bronx, and also taught at a yeshiva in Brooklyn. After 1929, he succeeded his father-in-law, Rav Ephraim Pelcovitz, as rabbi of Congregation Agudas Achim in Canton, Ohio. (His father had been in Canton since 1914, and in 1929 moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut.) In 1972, Rav Elazary settled in Petach Tikva. He left numerous published and unpublished works and articles, many of them exhibiting the influence of Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel, the Alter of Slobodka. Rav Elazary’s brothers, Rav Betzalel and Rav Yisrael, were among those murdered by Palestinian Arabs in the 1929 Chevron massacre. (1984)
Yahrtzeits – 8 Iyar
-Rav Yerachmiel Rabinowitz of Peshischa (1831)
-Rav Moshe Mordechai Twersky of Trisk (1943)
-Rav Raphael Binyamin Levine, son of Rav Aryeh Levine. Rav Refael studied in the Eitz Chaim Talmud Torah, and was very close to its rosh yeshiva, Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. He continued his studies in the Chevron yeshiva in Yerushalayim and the Lomza yeshiva in Petach Tikvah, where he studied bechavrusa with Rav Reuven Katz, the rov of Petach Tikva. He married Channah Liba, daughter of Rav Chaim Shraga Feivel Frank, the rav of the Yemin Moshe neighborhood in Yerushalayim. After his marriage, he continued his studies in the Mirrer yeshiva under Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel. When the Beis Aryeh yeshiva opened, Rav Refael’s father, Rav Aryeh Levine asked him to serve as its menahel ruchani, a position he occupied until his final day. He was also a dayan in the beis din tzeddek of the Ashkenaz-Perushim community founded by Rav Shmuel Salant. (1925-2002)
Today in History – 7 Iyar
· Dedication of the walls around Yerushalayim, built by Nechemia, 443 BCE (or 370 BCE)
· Beginning of the Rindfleisch massacres in Rottingen, 1298. The Jews were accused of profaning the Christians’ ‘holy’ wafer, and pogroms led by the anti-Semitic Rindfleish broke out in Reutlingen against the Jews. Within half a year, 150 Jewish communities throughout Germany and Austria were destroyed and thousands of Jews martyred.
· After a battle of almost two years Asser Levy, one of the original 23 settlers of New Amsterdam (New York), was allowed to serve on guard duty, 1657. Levy, who was the town shochet, opened his slaughterhouse on what is now Wall Street. He also petitioned to be allowed the rights as a Burgher of the town, which he received reluctantly and as a “second class” Burgher from the burgomasters of New Amsterdam.
· In Palma Majorca, after 150 years of freedom from the Inquisition, an investigation led to the conviction of 219 people, 1691. All agreed to be reconciled with the Church, but after some tried to flee the island and were caught, 37 were burned to death for relapsing to heresy. Among them were Raphael Benito and his sister Catalina, who jumped into the flames rather than be baptized. Her steadfastness of belief was made into a ballad which is still sung on the island today.
· Jordanannexes West Bank, including East Yerushalayim, in 1948.
· After 16 days of bloodshed, Hizbullah terrorists pledsged to end the worst fighting in the Mideast in three years, agreeing to a US-brokered truce with Israel, 1996.
Today in History – 8 Iyar
· Jewish community of Speyer was massacred in the First Crusade, 1096, commemorated in the Kinah “Mi Yitein Roshi Mayim”, we say on Tisha B’Av. (Yated 2007 states this occurred on 2 Iyar)
· Venicebecame the first city in the world where the term ghetto was associated with the Jewish quarter, when the Jews were compelled to move into a restricted area, 1516. The area was formerly the site of a foundry which manufactured weapons for the government of Venice. The Italian term for “foundry” is ghetto. The first official document which uses the word ghetto to describe an area restricted to the residence of Jews exclusively was a papal edict from 1562.
· Many Jews perished in anti-Jewish riots in Lemberg (Lvov), 1667. The anniversary was proclaimed a fast-day.
· The Venetian armies’ attack on Aegean Island, which had a sizeable number of Jews, was beaten off, 1669. In commemoration, the local Jews instituted an annual celebration.
· The last illegal refugee boats “For Victory” and “Israel” which departed from Italy reach the Tel Aviv coast, 1948. During 1934-1948, illegal boats brought 110,000 European refugees to Israel.
· Israel captured Acco, 1948.