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1947 May 31, YEHUDAH HALEVI (Eretz Israel)

The first illegal immigration boat from North Africa reached the shore of Eretz Israel only to be stopped by the British. All 430 passengers were deported to Cyprus.

1948 May 14, (5 Iyar 5708) YOM HA'ATZMAUT (Israel Independence Day)

On this day David Ben Gurion declared the founding of the State of Israel. It is celebrated annually on its Hebrew date, and is preceded by Yom Hazikaron, Israel's National Memorial Day.

C. 1720 - C. 1805 YAHYA SALIH (Yemen)

Scholar, Rabbi and Halachic authority. Salih refused to take a salary and earned his living as a scribe (he was also a famous scribe). He is considerd the greatest Yeminate scholar, authoring numberous books on Jewish law. Among them are Meil Katan on the Shnai Luchot Habrit (ShLaH) of Horowitz (1565), Zevach Todah on the Shulchan Aruch and Peullat Tzadik, his most famous, which contains 762 responsa.

930 - 991 YAQUB IBN YUSUF IBN KILLIS ( Baghdad - Egypt)

Financial advisor first under the Ikhshidid dynasty and then under the Fatimid’s. Born into a Jewish family his father took him to Egypt where he proved to have great abilities in the economic sphere. Pressured by Abu al-Misk Kafur (905–968) he converted to Islam, and had a successful career under various rulers. He was often accused of showing favor to Jews.

1915 December, YAVNEH GYMNASIUM (Kovno)

Was founded by Dr. Joseph Carlebach with the support of the German occupation forces. It included both a girls and boys school. Within 3 years had more than 250 students and by 1930 the Yavneh system had almost 100 schools and seminaries throughout Lithuania. All the schools were closed in 1940, when the Russians occupied the country. Carelbach (b.1883) was murdered with his wife and younger children in 1942.


Believed to be the age of the Messiah. For this reason, many Jews did not prepare a proper defense against the Crusaders and were helpless against their onslaught.


Translated a report regarding the Wiener Gesera (see 1421) into Yiddish. This was an early effort to provide historical literature in Yiddish. It was republished in Cracow in 1609. Other tragedy's such as blood libels also made their way into this branch of literature. rn

1818 - 1898 YEHOSHUA LEIB DISKIN ( Grodno - Jerusalem)

Scholar, community leader, and biblical commentator, aka Maharil Diskin. he turned down an offer to be the chief Rabbi of New York, preferring to live and teach in Jerusalem. Moved by the plight of Jewish orphans he opened an orphanage in 1881 known as the Great Institution for Orphans. It later moved to the new city where it was known as the Diskin Orphanage.

1916 April 22, - 1999 YEHUDI MENUHIN (New York,USA)

A prodigal violinist, he is considered one of the worlds best of the 20th century. His first performance, when he was just six years old, was in San Francisco where he was applauded by four thousand people.

1942 May 27, YELLOW BADGE (Belgium)

The Belgium administration refused to disseminate the order for Jews to wear the yellow badge, and the Germans were forced to do it themselves.

1942 June 7, YELLOW BADGE (France)

Jews were ordered to wear a yellow badge in the occupied section of France. Many Jews marched down the streets of Paris wearing their war medals together with the star and were applauded by the crowds. Xavier Vallat, Commissariat of Jewish Affairs, told the Germans that he would not enforce the regulation and was replaced by Darquier de Pellepoix . A month later, Jews were banned from public places and only allowed one hour a day for shopping.

1170 YEMEN

After the fall of the Fatimids, the Shiites tried to force the Jews toconvert. During these persecutions a false messiah arose. The Jewish leadership wrote to Maimonides, asking for his advise. His reply was his famous Igeret Teiman (Epistle to Yemen) which warned about false messiahs.

1586 YEMEN

Since the Ottoman conquest some 40 years earlier tensions had risen between the Turks and the local Zaydi population - with the Jews in the middle. The Zaydi Iman al-Mutahhar accused the Jews of aiding the Turks and reinforced regulations regarding special Jewish dress and head coverings, especially in Sana.

1678 YEMEN

Iman-Al-Mahdi Ahmad offered Jews the choice of either converting or being expelled to a hot barren land near Aden known as Mawza. The iman also closed all synagogues and prohibited public prayer by Jews. They were allowed to return one year later, though it is estimated that 2/3 of them did not survive the year. Upon their return, they found their homes occupied by Moslems. Many of the smaller communities disappeared and were not rebuilt. Among the exiles was Shalem (Shalom) Shabazi, who wrote over 550 historical, ethical and religious poems. He is considered the greatest Yemenite Jewish poet.

1881 YEMEN

The first mass emigration to Eretz Israel began.

1731 April 17, YESHIBAT MINHAT AREB (New York Colony)

Became the first Jewish day school founded in North America under the auspices of congregation Sheeirith Israel. The hazzan who taught the classes was instructed to teach the students "the Hebrew, Spanish, and English writing, and arithmetick." Eventually its name was changed to the Polonies Talmud Torah. With the advent of the public school system, Jewish education for the most part, (as in the case of protestant congregations) became limited to Sunday school.

1886 March 15, YESHIVA ETZ CHAIM (USA)

Was founded in New York. It was the first American yeshiva to include the study of Talmud.

1905 YESHIVA OF LIDA (Lithuania)

Was established by Rabbi Jacob Reines ( see 1839), in which both secular and religious studies were taught. Reines had tried earlier (1882) to create a similar program, but had been stymied due to opposition within the orthodox community. The combination of WWI and his death in 1915, forced the close of the yeshiva . It has become the model for Yeshiva University, Bar Ilan University and most religious high schools all over the world.


Was opened as an Orthodox rabbinical seminary. It later expanded into Yeshiva University, with both Jewish and secular studies, a medical school (Einstein), and a graduate school (Ferkauf).


Was opened. Founded by Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the school had 120 rooms on six floors with lecture halls and a 40,000 book library. Shapiro fought against the idea that talmudic students had to live in poverty and study under difficult conditions. Each perspective student had to know 200 pages of Talmud by heart. The building and library were taken over by the Nazis and is today a nursing school.


By the end of WWII there were six all day religious schools in the United States. Although the emphasis was on religious teachings, they also offered a full curriculum in secular subjects. Approximately 9000 students attended these schools


At the order of King Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572), Solomon Ephraim Luntschitz (author of the Klei Yakar) was appointed chief rabbi of Lemberg (Lvov) and Galicia. Luntschitz was given wide authority to open schools and yeshivot, which directly led to the spread of yeshivot and the raising of Jewish education in Poland (see 1550). He was later (1604) appointed the Rabbi of Prague.


The Yiddish arm of the Communist Party was created as a government tool to control the Jews. It was disbanded in 1929.


The earliest use of what became know as Old Yiddish in South East Germany. Yiddish is based on German but also Hebrew and even Slavic words (depending on the region). The script is written in Hebrew with German prefixes and suffixes. Yiddish was used for almost 1000 years as the main Jewish language of communication, especially within Eastern Europe. Prior to the Holocaust an estimated 11 million people spoke Yiddish.


The earliest Hasidic Yiddish works were published. The books Shivchei Ha Besht (In praise of the Baal Shem Tov) and Stories of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav were published in the same year.


He served as Rabbi and the chief justice of the rabbinical court (av bet din) in Pishtian, Hungary. As a follower of the Munkaczer Rebbe, he had originally supported his anti-Zionist approach. However, his witness of the 1938 Nazi invasion into Czechoslovakia and its persecution of the Jews changed his views. He wrote Em ha-banim semeicha. (A happy mother of children) which was published in 1943. Teichtal in opposition to his Rebbe defended the position of rebuilding the land of Israel, believing that it was the key to eventual redemption. He was killed in the last days of the war on a transport train from Auschwitz trying to defend a fellow Jew. He also wrote a responsa entitled Mishneh Sochir.

1890 - 1952 YITZCHAK SADEH (Russia-Eretz Israel)

A military leader, Sadeh was decorated in the Czarist army in World War I. In the wake of the Arab rebellion of 1936, Sadeh - who had helped set up the labor brigade in the 1920's - proposed moving from a policy of defending settlements to seeking out Arab units in the open. He became the first commander of the Plugot Sadeh (Field Units) of the Haganah which became known as the Palmach. Yigal Alon described him as a great lover "of country, women, and the implacable logic of history".

1943 July 13, YITZHAK (ANTEK) ZUCKERMAN (Antek, Poland)

A former leader of HeHalutz HaTzair, he became the leader of the ZOB after Mordechai Anielewicz died. He appealed to the Polish Home Guard to allow Jews to join them or at least provide them with arms. His requests were denied. During the uprising, he was assigned to the Polish sector in order to maintain contacts, which he made good use of. He headed the Jewish Fighters Unit of the Polish uprising of August, 1944. After the war, he and his wife Zivia Lubetkin were among the founders of Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot.

1922 March 1, - 1995 YITZHAK RABIN (Israel)

Military leader and politician. Rabin began his long army career in the Palmach at its onset in 1940 and rose within 7 years to be its deputy commander. He commanded the Harel Brigade during the War of Independence and served in different positions in the army until becoming chief of staff at the beginning of 1964. After the victory of the Six Day War, he retired becoming Israel's ambassador to the United States. Rabin became prime minister after Golda Meir's resignation and served until March 1977 when he had to resign over a scandal regarding his wife's illegal bank account. Rabin once again became prime minister in 1992 and oversaw the Oslo Agreement with the Palestinian Authority. He was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a student on November 4, 1995.

1915 October 22, - 2012 YITZHAK SHAMIR (Poland-Israel)

Underground leader and politician. Upon immigrating to Israel, he joined the Irgun but with its split moved over to Avraham Stern's Lehi. Following Stern's murder by the British, Shamir became one of the three pillars running the Lehi organization along with Nathan Yellin-Mor and Dr. Israel Eldad (Scheib). After a number of years in the Mossad, he went into business and then politics becoming prime minister in 1983.

1838 - 1912 YOEL MOSHE SALOMON (Eretz-Israel)

Printer, publisher, visionary and communal leader. Although he excelled in Talmudic studies and was ordained as a Rabbi he decided to study printing. Salomon began the first Hebrew language newspaper Ha Levanon but was forced to close it under pressure by some in the orthodox community. He helped establish new neighborhoods in Jerusalem including Nahalat Shiva and Sha'arei Hesed . Salomon believed in the importance of settling the land and helped form the Hevrat Yishuv Eretz Israel. He consulted with the Templers on agricultural grafting, and in 1878 helped found Petah Tikva.

C. 1250 - 1330 YOM TOV BEN ABRAHAM ISBILI (Ritva)

Talmudist and leader of the Spanish community. His Novellae on the Talmud, Chidushei Ha-Ritva, are still being reprinted and used by Talmud students today.

1579 - 1654 (6 Elul 5414) YOM TOV LIPMANN HELLER (Wallerstein-Cracow, Poland)

Scholar and historian. He served as the rabbi of many communities including Nikolburg, Vienna and Prague. Heller was very active in community affairs, and because of this was once denounced as an author of anti-Christian writings. Although the charges were baseless (he had written about idolaters during the time of the Temple), he was forced to move. He is best known for his commentary on the Mishna called Tosaphot Yom Tov (Supplements of Yom Tov). He later became Rabbi of Cracow.

1399 August 16, YOM TOV LIPPMAN-MUELHAUSEN ( Prague)

Rabbi and philosopher, was arrested along with other Jews accused of defaming Christianity. Despite his efforts, 77 Jews were killed. This outstanding Jewish scholar, in addition to his extensive knowledge of philosophy, knew Latin, studied the New Testament and was a skilled polemicist. He had previously held dialogues with the Bishop of Linda, which was unusual for its time in that they were held in an atmosphere of tolerance.

C. 1400 Yomtov Lippmann ben Shlomo Mühlhausen (Bohemia)

Wrote his Sefer ha-Nitsachon (“Book of Victory”) which served as a defense against Christianity. He survived the massacre in Prague (see 1389). Mühlhausen (d.1421) traveled throughout Bohemia trying to strengthen the local communities, as well as their religious knowledge and understanding.

1190 March 16, YORK (England)

On the Sabbath eve before Passover (Shabbat Hagadol), a group made up of clergymen, barons indebted to the Jews, and Crusaders waiting to follow Richard set Jewish houses on fire and stole all their valuables. The Jews under Josce, a prominent Jew of York, and their rabbi, Yom Tov of Joigny (a contemporary of Rabbenu Tam and author of the Yom Kippur Hymn Omnam Ken), fled to the castle. Richard Malebys (a noble who owed large sums to Jewish moneylenders) and other indebted nobles commanded the attackers. For 6 days the Jews held out. A stone thrown from the tower killed a monk, who came each morning to celebrate mass, and inflamed the crowd. Facing the choice of baptism or death, most chose death, committing suicide after destroying their belongings. According to tradition, Josce killed his wife and two children, and was in turn killed by the rabbi who was the last to die. The few who remained alive opened the gate and requested baptism, only to be massacred anyway. Over 150 Jews died, the sheriff of York dismissed, and the bonds of debts to Jews which were kept for safekeeping in York Minster were burned on the floor of the church.

1905 November 3, YOSEF HAIM BRENNER

There had been a proposal at the seventh Zionist Congress earlier that year (July) to develop cultural activities for the Jewish community in the United States. Brenner in his article entitled, "A long letter was sent to me" wrote, "Shame and disgrace (concerning) the worry about Jews in America, when 6 million are hanging by a burnt thread".

1882 - 1933 YOSSELE ROSENBLATT (Ukraine-Israel)

Hazzan. Born into a Hasidic family, he showed early promise as a singer-cantor. He developed into one of the most popular cantor-composers of his era. He is remembered for his operatic works and many of his liturgical compositions are still in use today.

473 YOTABE (Gulf of Aquba)

After its conquest by Persia, Jewish merchants set up a semi-autonomous colony. Emperor Anastassus recognized it as such in 498, but in 535 Justinian revoked its autonomy.

1933 January 30, YOUTH ALIYAH (Berlin, Germany)

The previous year Recha Freier, a rabbi's wife decided it would be a good idea to send young people from Germany to kibbutzim. She founded the Juedische Jugendhilfe (Jewish Youth Help) organization to help facilitate the work. That same year it became a department of the World Zionist Organization under Henrietta Szold, whose name is linked to the saving of over 15,000 young people from Germany and Nazi occupied countries.


To Germany and was divided between Italy, Germany, Hungary, and Bulgaria with the remainder becoming the new state of Croatia. The status of the Jews depended upon who controlled their area. There were 71,000 Jews in Yugoslavia before the war. About 10,000 survived, many of them from the Italian or Bulgarian zones which were usually less then enthusiastic about implementing German racial laws.

1688 - 1755 YUSUF (Joseph b. Isaac) YAHUDI, (Bukhara)

Persian Poet who wrote in Hebrew characters. His many works include Haft Braderan ("The Seven Brothers") based on the Midrash of the martyrdom of seven brothers and their mother, as well as Mukhammas in praise of Moses. He was also a prolific translator and was responsible for translating many zemirot for Judeo-Persian songbooks.


Born around 455 Yūsuf Asʾar Yathʾar ( aka Dhu Nuwas) was known for having curls or side locks (peiyot). Dhu Nuwas had rebelled against the local ruler enthroned by the negus or king of Axum (Aksum), and killed the garrison in its capital, Zafar ( present day Yemen). In 523, he besieged Najran, which had refused to provide him with troops, and massacred part of its Christian population. Using this incident as a rallying point, he was eventually defeated by the armies of greater Axum ( Ethiopia) with the help of the Byzantine Empire.

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