There was once a professional boxing hexer known as Benny "Evil Eye" Finkle. In this piece from 1941 it says he was born "Benjamin Avroom Nebuchadnezzar Finkle." Image
Some of that was true. He was born in 1898 in St. Louis, died in 1985 in Miami.

A 1978 story on him in Sports Illustrated has this:
"His father Hyman, a hardworking Orthodox Jew, managed a small milk store in Kerry Patch, a tough Irish slum. "I was a kosher punk in the trenches full of tough kids with O's in front of their names," says Finkle. "I could fight but I couldn't spell 'ham' until I was 13.
Then one day I walked downtown, ate a hot dog and threw up. It wasn't the food; it was a mental thing. The next day I go back for another one and I ain't been home since. My father laid some dough on a rabbi to teach me to read and write Jewish, but he blew the money.
I never studied. All I ever read was them Horatio Alger books. I never could figure who I wanted to be: Ragged Dick or Tattered Tom."…
He boxed for awhile, and then became famous for his hexes, which he gave whimsical names to. One of them was "the Slabokda stare." Given that his name was Finkle, one wonders if he was related to the Alter of Slabodka.
Couldn't figure that out, but I saw somewhere where he says that it was his mother who was from Slabodka. Don't know her name though, could be Finkle too.
In the late 1940s Al Capp (Kaplan) introduced a character "Evil-Eye Fleegle." Image
And here is the man, the legend, himself, with a fighter named Sherman Bergman, 1973.… Image

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More from @onthemainline

22 Nov
This quote from R. Aharon Kotler when I nice collie jumped on him is really something: "Tu eppes!" Image
*a nice collie
and here is the yarmulke which Rabbi Elefant claims Joe DiMaggio claimed he wore for him at Mel Allen's funeral. Image
Read 4 tweets
17 Nov
There was once a row of houses called "Purim-Place" in London. This little bit from Isaac D'israeli's Curiosities of Literature explains how it came to be, it all started with a squabble about the lack of decorum during the megillah. This occurred in 1783 ("not long ago").
What had happened was, things got kind of crazy, and the Mahamad, or synagogue board, issued a regulation coming down hard on the lack of decorum, and enforced it that year with constables.
One member of the mahamad was outraged, and it all snowballed from there. He withdrew from the congregation, and at some point in a very odd show of something-I'm-not-sure-what named the houses he built Purim-Place.
Read 4 tweets
16 Nov
Pretty cool item, a 19th century Italian synagogue book used to record pledges given on shabbat and yom tov.

Was auctioned on Kedem last year.… Image
Here's the one from London, in Cecil Roth's "History of the Great Synagogue." Image
And the book as it exists today in the Jewish Museum of London.

It's an Offertory book!… Image
Read 4 tweets
15 Nov
Here are some questions little Jewish boys and girls had, asked and answered in The Jewish Child, 1912-13.

Esther Apfelbaum, Hyman Norman, Dora Moskowitz, and Jacob Seworsky wanted to know "How did the Jews get the Yiddish language?"
Florence Cohen, Henrietta Hotz, Jacob Becker, and Hyman Rosen, proto-SAR students (cc @Doc_RPS) wished to know "Why do Jews have to wear a hat in the synagogue? and why are we not allowed to wear our hats in public school?"
Frieda Willensky and Reuben Caplan wanted to know "Why do we read Hebrew backwards?"
Read 11 tweets
9 Nov
Kurt Cobain holding his kiddush cup like it says in the Mishnah Berurah. Image
Illustration from here… Image
For those who don't know, they collaborated.

Read 5 tweets
25 Aug
"This Mordechai said 'the [conditional] gett that Ansel Cohen had written yesterday [to divorce his wife in case he was imprisoned for gambling debts and could not return to England] is shit,' in the English language...'

London, 1705 Image
Not surprisingly, the first bit of Hebrew-sefer printed matter in England was about a controversy, namely a gett, a bill of divorce, written by the 'chief rabbi 'of the Ashkenazim, Uri Phoebus Hamburger, known in English as Aaron Hart.
His enemies argued in a book printed in Amsterdam that, well, the gett was shit.

This pamphlet was his response:…
Read 11 tweets

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