This Day in History – 8 Shevat/January 18

In 5108/1348, Jews of Colmar, France, were arrested in response to a libelous accusation that they had poisoned a well. They were burned al kiddush Hashem several months later.

In 1969/5729, nine Jews were publicly executed al kiddush Hashem in Damascus, Syria.



5574/1814, Harav Tzvi of Butchatch, zt”l, mechaber of Neta Shashuim

5633/1873, Harav Shmuel of Shinova, zt”l, mechaber of Ramasayim Tzofim


5738/1978, Harav Yosef Meir Kahana, zt”l, The Spinka Rebbe of Yerushalayim

Harav Yosef Meir Kahana was born on Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5670/1909, in Spinka, Romania. His father was Harav Tzvi Hirsh Kahana, zt”l, grandson of the Imrei Yosef of Spinka, zt”l, for whom he was named.

Reb Yosef Meir learned under his father, who was Rav in Spinka, and from his uncle, Harav Yitzchak Eizik Weiss, zt”l, the Chakal Yitzchak of Spinka.

Reb Yosef Meir was chosen as a son-in-law by Harav Yitzchak Teitelbaum, zt”l, the Hosakover Rebbe.

After receiving semichah, Reb Yosef Meir served as Rav in Ungvar, the city where his father-in-law resided.

In 5696/1936, he became Rav and Rosh Yeshivah in Seredna. In 5701/1941, during the War, Reb Yosef Meir was in danger of being expelled from the city, as he was a foreigner and didn’t have the correct documents; he managed to leave to Eretz Yisrael together with his family on the last ship to get out.

In Eretz Yisrael, he settled in Yerushalayim, founding a yeshivah and a beis medrash.

Reb Yosef Meir was niftar on 8 Shevat 5738/1978 at the age of 68. He was buried in Yerushalayim.

Zechuso yagen aleinu.


Jan. 18

In 1778, English navigator Captain James Cook reached the present-day Hawaiian Islands, which he named the “Sandwich Islands.”

In 1911, the first landing of an aircraft on a ship took place as pilot Eugene B. Ely brought his Curtiss biplane in for a safe landing on the deck of the armored cruiser USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco Harbor.

In 1919, the Paris Peace Conference, held to negotiate peace treaties ending the First World War, opened in Versailles, France.