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Benjamin Stanley Rosenthal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benjamin Stanley Rosenthal
Benjamin S. Rosenthal.jpg
Benjamin S. Rosenthal, Congressman from New York
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th district
In office
February 20, 1962 – January 3, 1963
Preceded byLester Holtzman
Succeeded bySeymour Halpern
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1983
Preceded byVictor L. Anfuso
Succeeded byJames H. Scheuer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 4, 1983
Preceded byJoseph P. Addabbo
Succeeded byGary Ackerman
Personal details
Born(1923-06-08)June 8, 1923
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 4, 1983(1983-01-04) (aged 59)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Cause of deathCancer
Resting placeBeth David Cemetery, Elmont, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materNew York University

Benjamin Stanley Rosenthal (June 8, 1923 – January 4, 1983), was a Congressman from New York, serving from 1962 until his death from cancer in Washington, D.C. in 1983.

Born in New York City, Rosenthal attended public schools (including Stuyvesant High School), Long Island University, and City College. He served in the United States Army from 1943–46, and received his LL.B. from Brooklyn Law School (1949)[1] as well as an LL.M. from New York University, 1952. He was admitted to the New York bar in 1949 and commenced practice in New York City.

Rosenthal was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-seventh United States Congress, filling the vacancy caused by the resignation of Representative Lester Holtzman. Taking office on February 20, 1962, he was re-elected that fall, and then again to ten succeeding Congresses.

On May 17, 1962, Rosenthal read a statement into the Congressional Record praising the magazine Mad on its tenth anniversary.[2] (Rosenthal's district, NY-8, included the part of Manhattan where Mad's offices were.) "Mad Magazine...for the last 10 years has humorously pointed out the laughable foibles of business, labor, advertising, television, sports and entertainment – to say nothing of politics," Rosenthal said.

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In mythological ancient Greece, soaring above Crete on wings made from wax and feathers, Icarus, the son of Daedalus, defied the laws of both man and nature. Ignoring the warnings of his father, he rose higher and higher. To witnesses on the ground, he looked like a god, and as he peered down from above, he felt like one, too. But, in mythological ancient Greece, the line that separated god from man was absolute and the punishment for mortals who attempted to cross it was severe. Such was the case for Icarus and Daedalus. Years before Icarus was born, his father Daedalus was highly regarded as a genius inventor, craftsman, and sculptor in his homeland of Athens. He invented carpentry and all the tools used for it. He designed the first bathhouse and the first dance floor. He made sculptures so lifelike that Hercules mistook them for actual men. Though skilled and celebrated, Daedalus was egotistical and jealous. Worried that his nephew was a more skillful craftsman, Daedalus murdered him. As punishment, Daedalus was banished from Athens and made his way to Crete. Preceded by his storied reputation, Daedalus was welcomed with open arms by Crete's King Minos. There, acting as the palace technical advisor, Daedalus continued to push the boundaries. For the king's children, he made mechanically animated toys that seemed alive. He invented the ship's sail and mast, which gave humans control over the wind. With every creation, Daedalus challenged human limitations that had so far kept mortals separate from gods, until finally, he broke right through. King Minos's wife, Pasiphaë, had been cursed by the god Poseidon to fall in love with the king's prized bull. Under this spell, she asked Daedalus to help her seduce it. With characteristic audacity, he agreed. Daedalus constructed a hollow wooden cow so realistic that it fooled the bull. With Pasiphaë hiding inside Daedalus's creation, she conceived and gave birth to the half-human half-bull minotaur. This, of course, enraged the king who blamed Daedalus for enabling such a horrible perversion of natural law. As punishment, Daedalus was forced to construct an inescapable labyrinth beneath the palace for the minotaur. When it was finished, Minos then imprisoned Daedalus and his only son Icarus within the top of the tallest tower on the island where they were to remain for the rest of their lives. But Daedalus was still a genius inventor. While observing the birds that circled his prison, the means for escape became clear. He and Icarus would fly away from their prison as only birds or gods could do. Using feathers from the flocks that perched on the tower, and the wax from candles, Daedalus constructed two pairs of giant wings. As he strapped the wings to his son Icarus, he gave a warning: flying too near the ocean would dampen the wings and make them too heavy to use. Flying too near the sun, the heat would melt the wax and the wings would disintegrate. In either case, they surely would die. Therefore, the key to their escape would be in keeping to the middle. With the instructions clear, both mean leapt from the tower. They were the first mortals ever to fly. While Daedalus stayed carefully to the midway course, Icarus was overwhelmed with the ecstasy of flight and overcome with the feeling of divine power that came with it. Daedalus could only watch in horror as Icarus ascended higher and higher, powerless to change his son's dire fate. When the heat from the sun melted the wax on his wings, Icarus fell from the sky. Just as Daedalus had many times ignored the consequences of defying the natural laws of mortal men in the service of his ego, Icarus was also carried away by his own hubris. In the end, both men paid for their departure from the path of moderation dearly, Icarus with his life and Daedalus with his regret.


Death and legacy

Rosenthal was re-elected again in 1982, but died of cancer in Washington, D.C. on January 4, 1983, just one day after the 98th United States Congress met for the first time.[3] On March 1, Gary Ackerman was elected to the seat and held it through 2013.

Rosenthal is buried in Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York.

The Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library at Queens College, City University of New York, is named in his honor.[4] Rosenthal's papers are held by the library's Department of Special Collections and Archives.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ United States Congress. "Benjamin Stanley Rosenthal (id: R000442)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  2. ^ Mad, October 1962, p. 5
  3. ^ "Benjamin Rosenthal, Congressman from Queens for 2 Decades, Dies". New York Times. January 5, 1983.
  4. ^ Bloomfield, Douglas (2007). "Benjamin S. Rosenthal." Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved via Biography In Context database, May 4. 2018. Also available via
  5. ^ "Rosenthal, Benjamin Stanley, 1923-1983: Guide to Research Collections. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  6. ^ "The Benjamin Rosenthal Collection". Special Collections and Archives, Queens College, City University of New York. Retrieved May 4, 2018.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Lester Holtzman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Seymour Halpern
Preceded by
Victor L. Anfuso
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
James H. Scheuer
Preceded by
Joseph P. Addabbo
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Gary Ackerman
This page was last edited on 15 April 2019, at 08:46
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