This Day in History – 20 Adar II/March 30

5622/1862, Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, father of the law abolishing corporal punishment in the U.S. Navy, died.



5393/1633, Harav Meir Schiff, zt”l, the Maharam Shiff

5401/1641, Harav Yoel Sirkes, zt”l, the Bach

5755/1995, Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l


5695/1935, Harav Shlomo Aharonson, zt”l, Rav of Tel Aviv-Yaffo

Harav Shlomo Hakohen Aharonson was born in 5621/1861 in Krutschah in the Mohilev region, where his father, Harav Yaakov, was the Rav.

Rav Yaakov and, later his son Rav Shlomo, were close to the Lubavitcher Chassidus.

In his youth, Shlomo had a special learning session with his father. He was known for his dedication to learning.

First Rav Shlomo was Rav in Gluchov and Neizhin. Highly respected, he was then asked to serve as Rav in Kiev. There his greatness became apparent. During the famous blood libel against Menachem Mendel Beilis, Rav Shlomo collected funds for the defense, was in contact with many Gedolim, and headed the communal efforts on Beilis’ behalf until he was freed.

With the outbreak of World War I, many Jews were forced to flee Galicia. Rav Shlomo undertook to help the refugees. He leased a large hotel in Kiev to house them under army protection. In this way he saved many from expulsion to Siberia.

In 5684/1924, Rav Shlomo left Russia for Eretz Yisrael. Russian Jews who had arrived earlier remembered him well. He was chosen Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yaffo and did much to strengthen Torah and ­mitzvos there. He was greatly loved and respected, even among the non-religious.

Rav Shlomo was Rav in Tel Aviv-Yaffo for 11 years, until his petirah on 20 Adar II 5695/1935, at age 74.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.


March 30

In 1822, Florida became a United States territory.

In 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million.

In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibited denying citizens the right to vote and hold office on the basis of race, was declared in effect by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish. Texas was readmitted to the Union.

In 1909, the Queensboro Bridge, linking the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Queens, opened.

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously injured outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John W. Hinckley Jr.; also wounded were White House press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and a District of Columbia police officer, Thomas Delahanty.