April ’62 in the Exponent: Covering Monkeyshines and Matzo Bans; First Reform Temple Opened in Israel

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Stories about animals are always popular, and the April 20, 1962 Jewish Exponent cover featured a winning photo of a baby monkey (and banana) perched on the shoulder of research assistant Barbara Shapin.

The unnamed monkey was one of 19 new arrivals at Einstein Medical Center’s Research Laboratories.

“The monkeys, sent by air from Africa, Malaya and India, will be part of a research investigation into the mechanisms of body orientation,” the caption to the standalone photo reads. “They will be photographed and observed as they perform in a gymnasium at the Research Laboratories.”

It was hoped the study, supported by a $35,000 National Science Foundation grant, could shed light on cerebral palsy, strokes and whiplash injuries.

Along with a pledge drive plea to Allied Jewish Appeal volunteers, the cover includes a story about a Russian matzo ban — 3 million Jews in the Soviet Union were banned from baking matzo largely because state bakeries were supplying the Passover staple.

Two Soviet officials did say the practice was a mistake because too much matzo was produced and much had to be thrown away.

There also is a brief about the first Reform synagogue opening in Israel. The synagogue, which wasn’t named, was located in a private home.

Los Angeles Rabbi Jerome A. Unger led the dedication services before 200 participants. He represented the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

The synagogue was a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Wishnick of New York City.

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