December 2013

jhsnj_logo_800December 1, 2013


Chanukiot in the collection of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey

Does anyone remember November 29, 1947? It was a Saturday night and it seemed that every Jew in Paterson was glued to their radios. If you were alive at that time you might remember listening to the broadcast being transmitted from the temporary United Nations headquarters at Lake Success, N.Y. Everyone huddled around their radios and held their breath as the votes were being counted. No one slept. Many countries needed to be convinced. It was touch and go. People were keeping score. They were dead tired. The anticipation was too much to describe. A two-thirds majority was needed to make it happen.

Then the vote came in . . . 33 were in favor and 13 were against, with 10 abstentions. The UN General Assembly approved the Partition Plan! Resolution 181 passed! Palestine was to be divided in half . . . half Arab, half Jewish. David Ben-Gurion proclaimed, “Long live the HebrewState!” The modern state of Israel entered the family of nations even though it had not yet chosen a name for itself. The excitement was unimaginable. There was crying, hugging, and dancing in the streets of Palestine where Jews resided. People began singing the Hatikvah.

Hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors, refugees, and displaced persons now had a home. Who could ever forget that historic night 66 years ago? In case you weren’t born yet . . . then we, the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey, are here to tell you about it. If you were there and haven’t thought about it in many years we just reminded you. The anniversary of that emotional night is this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

As you are enjoying your double holiday of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, we also want to remind you that the Pilgrims were very familiar with the Bible and followed many of the laws found therein. In the Torah, we are commanded to complete our harvest and then give thanks to G-d for our bounty. That is our celebration of Sukkot. Based on the commandment in the Torah, the Pilgrims initiated a feast with their Indian neighbors as thanksgiving for their food.

Also, speaking of Hanukkah, we want you to know that the JHSNJ has an amazing collection of menorahs (Chanukiot). The photograph above shows our vast display of Chanukiot. Many came from synagogues that have since merged with larger institutions. Please pay a visit to us to see them and tour our wonderful mini-museum.

Since this is our last newsletter of the secular year we want to give thanks to all Your feedback to our Photo Friday feature alone is deeply appreciated because we know that you are paying attention to all of our hard work. It is our pleasure to enlighten you and bring you that warm feeling of nostalgia and “familiarity.”

We wish to sincerely thank our volunteers: Anne Friedman Meyers, Ina Cohen Harris, Mireille Lipsitz Shuck, Michael Bornstein, Ellen Meyerstein Cohen, Arnold Cohen, Bob Nussman, Sig Westerman, Barbara Klein Meyers, Miriam Kraemer Gray, Lou Mechanic, Cristina Deutsch, Regina Reynolds, Tanveer Ahmed, Pearl Liss, Dorothy Douma Greene, Chava Zakheim, and, of course, Jerry Nathans.

We wish our former archivist Michael Kemezis good luck and much bounty. We welcome our present archivist Will Andersen to our “family.”

To our readers: We implore you to make some wonderful new memories in 2014. Have some profound achievements. Someone will be awed by your efforts 50 years from now at the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey.

Please check your closets!

Dorothy Douma Greene