The three boys in the photograph belong to a group of Israeli boys who came together at the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2008 for a mass bar mitzvah celebration. The orthodox social service organization Colel Chabad arranged the celebration for orphans and needy families. Several prominent Israeli rabbis participated in the celebration of this important Jewish rite of passage to adulthood.... Read More »
Barbie—who is today the most famous doll in the world—was based on Lilli, a sexy and sassy German doll first produced in 1955. Co-founder of Mattel Inc., Ruth Hander transformed the Teutonic doll from floozy to fashion queen for American girls like her daughter, Barbara, after whom the doll was named. In all other ways, Barbie’s shapely body was nearly indistinguishable from Lilli’s pleasing... Read More »
The girl in the photograph, Cecelia Nealon-Shapiro, reads from the Torah as part of her bat mitzvah, a rite of passage ceremony, at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. Prior to this day, she attended classes in Jewish history and tradition, Hebrew, and recitation at the Reform synagogue, where girls now participate in a rite formerly reserved for boys, the bar mitzvah. Following the... Read More »
In April 1964, the U.S. Labor Department announced new rules for foreign entertainers. Applying through Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), entertainers with unique talent would be allowed to enter. The Labor Department would evaluate all others to assess availability of American workers. Based on several misleading newspaper reports, rumors spread quickly that the Beatles would not... Read More »
With the regime in disarry, an announcement that travel restrictions would be liberalized led East Germans to rush for the wall; confused guards let them pass, and by nightfall, Berliners from both sides had converged on the hated barrier and begun chipping away. This poster was sold in a (West) Berlin souvenir shop after 1989.
[description as stated in the guide for Goodbye, Comrade:... Read More »
In this excerpt of a diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, we see the first official analysis of East Germany's new leader Egon Krenz, who replaced Erich Honecker on October 18, 1989. In the summary remarks, the embassy officials make clear that Krenz is attempting immediate reform, but not yet on a scale that could be compared to Gorbachev's perestroika.
The U.S. diplomats... Read More »
The level of unrest in East Germany had been increasing throughout the summer of 1989 and a major focal point of concern for both the East German security forces and international observers concerned the very prominent visit of Mikhail Gorbachev to attend the GDR's 40th anniversary celebrations. This cable sheds light not only on the events leading up to Gorbachev's visit, but also on the West... Read More »
On the eve of East Germany fortieth anniversary celebrations, it appeared that the SED was losing control. Several pressure points in society were mounting at the same time. In Prague, East German citizens had jumped over the walls into the West German embassy and the East German regime had negotiated their safe passage to West Germany planned for October 4. The outcome of the crisis in Prague... Read More »