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,
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