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Friday, October 7, 2016

Der pogrom bay der levaye - 200 injured at the funeral of New York's Chief Rabbi Joseph in 1902

There is a biography of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, the first and only Chief Rabbi of New York, called The Rav Hakolel and his Generation and at this link you'll find commentary on it.
In fact, when he came to New York, he was greeted by huge crowds. Once he started, you know, actually trying to do stuff to institute more Torah practice, he was ridiculed. Within a short time the funds to pay him dried up, the kosher food producers had revolted, the Jewish magazines tore him apart, and it is said that he had a stroke soon after seeing kashrus symbol hung in a butcher shop next to pork … all done to embarrass him.

After the stroke, he was forgotten, his furniture was repossessed, and though a huge crowd came to his funeral, his descendants no longer keep the Torah and its mitzvos.
The Chief Rabbi Joseph died on July 29, 1902. In the New York Times story on the funeral and its aftermath, estimates variously were made of 50,000 and 75,000 mourners accompanying the body while 15,000 waited at the cemetery.

As the procession passed the R. Hoe &  Company printers, employees having their lunch break looked out the window at the 200 vehicles "and the long line of grieving Jews. Before the hearse itself came in sight the men in the factory jeered... suddenly a bucket of water was thrown .... into the midst of the surging crowd of mourners. ... bits of iron, small blocks of wood and other missiles followed from the windows. The mourners ... became an uncontrollable mob. ... the missiles from the factory continued to pour down on the street, and the mourners, picking up the falling iron and wood, cast them back against the windows of the building. Hardly a pane of glass on the first or second floor remained when the reserves from the police stations of the east side arrived." The police clubbed the mourners. "Not even the recent Kosher meat outbreaks, they said, were to be compared with this trouble." Two hundred mourners were injured.

Here's our recording. Words by Max Zavodnik, tune "Faryomert farklogt" which has been used twice before in the collection. Thanks to Ken Bloom (guitar) and Jim Baird (bass) for these tracks.

Click below for a larger view. [Above:] "These ruffians attacked the mourners at the funeral of a Rabbi and left 200 wounded on the field." [Below:] "Here are the ambulances carrying away the unfortunate 200. "

Tsvishn groys un kleyn hersht yetst a geveyn
Yede oyg fargist a trer
Vayl der firer fun yudentum velkher hot zikh gehert umetum
Der Rav Hakoylel, er lebt shoyn nit mer.
Yetst klogn yidn a velt velkhe er hot opgeshtelt
Vi a shif af mitn yam aleyn
Vayl es hot a sibe getrofn der keptin hot ayngeshlofn
Un zi halt shoyn bald unter tsu geyn
Azoy troyern glaykh orem un raykh
Es iz gefaln a pekhed, a shrek
Es is gevorn a tuml, koyles in himl
Unzer firer iz fun undz avek.

Mit fertsn yor tsurik hobn mir gehat dos glik
Fun Rusland im tsu brengen aher.
Bald hot di shtot Nu-york geglantst, er hot yidishkeyt farflantst
Vi er hot farnumen di rabonese tsher
Fun a yedn vinkl vi es iz geven tunkl
Hot er fartribn dos finsterkeyt
Vi er iz nor gekumen hot er zikh bald genumen
Dos ershte far kosher getrayen
ober gor umgerikht hot zikh farloshn di likht
Plutsling iz finster gevorn
Er hot farlozn di velt un hot ales opgeshtelt
Un iz af eybik avekgeforn

Fil brenende likht hobn baloykht zayn gezikht
Ven er iz gelegn in zayn getselt
Fil trern hot geregent ven er hot zikh gezegent
Farlozendik di narishe velt
Di stritn zaynen geven shvarts, bay yedn hot gebrokhn di harts
Ver es hot nor di nokhrikht derhert
Bald hot men gezen toyzender mentshn geyn
baytsuvoynen dem troyer kontsert
Tsebrokhn a menore, der gadul batoyre
Velkher hot gelernt vi tog azoy nakht
Mir hobn farlorn dos tsirung fun undzer yidishe regirung
er hot af eybik zayne oygn tsugemakht

Men hot im far zayn lebn fil koved opgegebn
Ober nokh mer hot er gehat di verth
Fil rabonim fun der land ale eyn hand
Hobn fir zayn familiye geklert
Vi azoy zey zoln vern geshpayzt, vayl er hot opgerayzt
Af eybik iz er avek fun zey
Er hot zey opgeshtelt elend af der velt
klogendik mit a bitern geshrey.
Dos iz der letster tog haynt
vos undzer diamond hot geshaynt
Zogar ven es iz finster geven
Er iz avek gefloygn fun undzere oygn
Un mir kenen im shoyn mer nit zen.

Bay der rayze tsum keyver hot getsitert yeder eyver
Bagleytindik dem groysn tsadik
Hot men undz mit shande badekt mit blut farflekt
Geyendik farbay Hause? fabrik
A bande antesemitn geferlikhe banditn
Zenen bafaln dos publikum
Zey hobn mit pistols geshosn mit heyse vaser gegosn
Es iz gevorn a regeler pogrum
Iz den nit a shand in aza frayen land
Zol geshen aza min skandal
Fil kep ayngebundn mit geferlikhe vundn
Hot men opgefirt in hospital.

In di Eyropeyishe lender vu der yid iz a fremder
Hot men dos oykh nit gehert
Az fun a blutike khaye zol a goen's levaye
Vern azoy gor geshtert
Farlirt nit keyn muth, mont af ayer blut,
Es iz dokh a merderey
Banutst ayer makht vert nit oysgelakht
Mir zenen in a land vos iz fray
Makht a geshrey, fardamt di politsey
Velkhe zenen zey tsu hilfe geven
Nemt fun zey rakhe ir yidelekh shvakhe
Vet men shoyn dos mer nit zen.

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