July 14, 1555 — Paul IV Orders Jews Into Roman Ghetto
Two months after becoming the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Paul IV issues an anti-Jewish decree, Cum Nimis Absurdum. Jews living under papal rule are subject to humiliations and restrictions, including ghettos. The Jews of Rome are forced into a ghetto along the Tiber River; they don’t escape the ghetto decree until the late 19th century. Other new rules include a mandate to wear yellow head coverings and a ban on owning property.
July 15, 1908 — Philanthropist Max Fisher is Born
Philanthropist Max Fisher is born to Russian Jewish immigrants in Pittsburgh. He moves to Detroit after college and enters the oil business. His Aurora Gasoline grows to be one of the largest independent oil companies with more than 700 gas stations. He devotes his charitable giving and fundraising to Jewish causes, Israel and Detroit. The Max M. Fisher Prize for Jewish education is founded in his honor in 1999.
July 16, 1948 — Violinist Pinchas Zukerman is Born
Grammy-winning classical musician and conductor Pinchas Zukerman is born in Tel Aviv. He begins playing the violin by age 8, and by 14 he is studying at the Juilliard School in New York under the sponsorship of violinist Isaac Stern, who also becomes his legal guardian. Zukerman plays violin and viola at his debut professional concert at Lincoln Center in 1969 and launches his conducting career in London the next year.
July 17, 1888 — Nobel-Winning Author S.Y. Agnon is Born
Shmuel Yosef “Shai” Agnon, Israel’s first Nobel laureate, is born in Buczacz, Galicia, now part of Ukraine. He makes aliyah in 1907, lives in Germany from 1913 to 1924, then returns to Jerusalem. Although his early writing is in Yiddish, most of his books are in Hebrew. He is awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1966 for a body of work known for commemorating the lost shtetl life of Eastern Europe.
July 18, 1290 — England Expels its Jews
King Edward I orders the expulsion of the Jews from England, where they had settled in significant numbers only in the 11th century. Despite gaining legal protections early in the 12th century, Jews suffer massacres in 1189 and 1190, then are subject to high taxation and other persecution. Most of England’s approximately 4,000 Jews move to France or Germany. Jews are not allowed to return to England until 1656.
July 19, 1940 — 1st JNF Chairman Max Bodenheimer Dies
Early Zionist leader Max Bodenheimer dies five years after immigrating to Jerusalem. Born in Germany in 1865, Bodenheimer published his first Zionist article, on whether Russian Jews were a nation, in 1891. He attended the First Zionist Congress, became close to Theodor Herzl, and served as the first president of the Zionist Federation of Germany and the first Jewish National Fund chairman. In the 1930s he aligned with Revisionist Zionism.
July 20, 1949 — Syria, Israel Sign Armistice
Israel signs an armistice with Syria, the last of four Arab nations to sign such agreements at the end of the War of Independence. Israel signed agreements with Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan before opening negotiations with Syria on April 5 under the mediation of Ralph Bunche. The armistice does not create permanent borders or lead to peace talks. It creates three demilitarized zones between the countries and a U.N.-staffed buffer zone.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.