The Lower East Side of New York
Jewish Life in America

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Rowdies Annoy Jews.


Second Day of Israelitish New Year Marred by Riots.

From The New-York Daily Tribune, October 2, 1905.

Another instance of police inefficiency or indifference yesterday given on the East Side where orthodox Jews, in the observance of the New Year ceremony, Tishra, were assaulted and mocked by gangs of ruffians along the river front.

Although the baiting and intermittent riots continued from 2 o'clock until nearly sundown, the blotter of the 7th Precinct police station, in Madison-st., showed only three arrests. Of these, two were effected by a special officer.

Not only were the police precautions entirely inadequate, but the few policemen who were assigned to the work of protecting the thousands of Jews in the observance of the day refused on several occasions to make arrests.

Yesterday was the second day of the Jewish New Year, and of nine days of prayer, which will terminate at sundown next Monday. From Saturday night to Monday night the Jews celebrate Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, when they abstain from food and water for twenty-four hours. There was not a hall on the East Side that was not crowded yesterday to its capacity by devout Jews, orthodox and reformed.

The many synagogues are altogether too few to admit one-half of the great Jewish population of ghetto. Even restaurants were utilized for the holding of services. Two thousand tickets had been distributed gratis by the Educational Alliance to those who were too poor to pay for a chair in the usual places of worship, and services were held for them on the first floor of the Alliance Building on East Broadway. In the auditorium of the same building were 700 of the more prosperous Jews, who paid for their seats. The stage was turned into an altar.

The Tishra ceremony at the river front followed the services in the synagogues, which terminated with the blowing of the shofar or ram's horn. None of the symbolical ritualism of Rosh Hashanah is more interesting than Tishra. The Jews from now until Yom Kippur prepare for the forgiveness of their sins. Yesterday's ceremony in this connection consisted of casting their sins into the sea. Many of them carry with them crumbs with which to feed the fishes, and they throw these out in token of the unloading of their sins into the water.


From early afternoon until evening there was an incessant flow of the devout sons of Israel to points along the water front. Thousands of them were along the docks from the Brooklyn Bridge to Houston Street while many performed their religious duties on the two East River bridges. The even more than congested condition of the East Side streets caused by this great outpouring of worshipers made them almost impassable. It was during this part of the observance of the Jewish ritual that the Jew baiting occurred. Most of the trouble took place at Pike's Slip where members of the Cherry Hill gang pulled the beards of the worshipers and in other ways maltreated them. Other ruffians from the trestle used in extending the Delancey Street approach to the Williamsburg Bridge pelted the men, women, and children with stones. Several of them were injured. There were several fist fights, and several of the policemen who were on duty refused to make arrests when appealed to.

Jews praying on Brooklyn Bridge [i.e. Williamsburg Bridge] on New Years Day, 1919.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

While the rioting was at its worst, Special Officer Henry Revowitz, who was passing on a belt line car, heard cries for help and rushed into the crowd. He was set upon by the thugs whom he beat off with his club. He arrested two Italian laborers who were charged by Harris Brown of No. 249 Cherry Street with assault. Brown bled profusely from a wound on the arm, having been apparently struck with a club. The prisoners were turned over to Detectives Wuchner and Delaney who appeared after the arrest. At the Madison Street station they said they were Frank Katso, twenty years old of 146th Street and 8th Avenue and Salvatore Mongabaro, thirty-four years old of No. 44 Oak Street.

Shortly after the arrest of these two men, Joseph Rich of No. 240 Delancey Street, who was returning to his home from the river front, was struck in the right eye at Madison and Market Streets by a stone thrown by one of three young ruffians who ran away. Patrolman Louis Levy chased the trio but caught only one of them, who, at the station, said he was Louis Russo, an Italian, sixteen years old of No. 58 James Street. Dr. Lohmiller of the Gouveneur Hospital dressed Rich's eye which was badly contused.







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