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  • Los Angeles AJCongress chapter secedes over ideology and finances

    LOS ANGELES, March 16 (JTA) — The southern California chapter of the American Jewish Congress has split from the national organization and closed its Los Angeles office, citing long-standing differences over ideology, financial responsibility and personal leadership styles. Present and past officers of the Pacific Southwest region of the AJCongress made the decision public at…

  • Ex-slave workers in Los Angeles file suit against German company

    LOS ANGELES, March 8 (JTA) — Five Los Angeles residents have filed a lawsuit against a major German firm demanding compensation for years of unpaid slave labor during World War II. The suit against Philipp Holzmann AG, one of Europe’s largest architectural and construction companies, is the first of its kind brought before a California…

  • HBO depicts Meyer Lansky through a very Jewish filter

    LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22 (JTA) — “Meyer Lansky saw life entirely through a Jewish filter,” says Richard Dreyfuss, who plays the legendary mobster in an upcoming HBO television special. “Lansky,” scripted by David Mamet and airing Saturday at 8 p.m., picks up where the rash of early 1990s Hollywood films on Jewish gangsters left off…

  • Campaign for downed Israeli pilot travels along a California highway

    LOS ANGELES, Feb. 16 (JTA) — Motorists traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway, skirting the ocean near Malibu, may be puzzled by an official state sign along the roadside bearing the legend “RON ARAD — IDF”. Not many of the drivers whizzing by will connect “IDF” to the Israel Defense Forces. Even fewer will identify…

  • AROUND THE JEWISH WORLD Sephardi immigrants boost Austrian Jewish community

    VIENNA, April 21 (JTA) — “You seem to be a nice guy. What are you doing living in Austria?” That’s a question Paul Grosz, the president of Vienna’s Jewish community, says he now expects from foreign visitors. “It’s not taboo for a Jew in London or New York to say I’m British or I’m American,…

  • Reform rabbis’ convention addresses complex issues

    ANAHEIM, Calif., June 23 (JTA) — “This is not your grandfather’s Reform service,” observed one person who had joined 600 Reform rabbis at an hourlong prayer service opening the annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. A quick glance showed that a majority of the men, and many of the women, wore yarmulkas…

  • AROUND THE JEWISH WORLD Expatriates in China behind revival of Jewish communities

    BEIJING, June 24 (JTA) — When the tiny Jewish community of China’s capital city wanted to hold a Passover seder with all the culinary trimmings, they naturally turned to the bubbe of Beijing. The bubbe is Elaine Silverberg, who came here 10 years ago from New York to join her resident daughter, Elyse Beth Silverberg,…

  • ISRAEL AT 50 Israel’s anniversary bash recalls Truman’s bold move

    LOS ANGELES, May 5 (JTA) —On May 12, 1948, two days before David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence, a tense meeting of momentous importance to the survival of the nascent Jewish state took place in the White House Oval Office. At stake was whether the United States would recognize the as-yet unnamed State of Israel and…

  • Reform rabbis urge Knesset to reject conversion legislation

    ANAHEIM, Calif., June 25 (JTA) — America’s Reform rabbis have lashed out at controversial conversion legislation in Israel, warning that its passage “would devastate the Israeli-Diaspora relationship and cause severe and deleterious consequences in the political, philanthropic and religious realms.” The bill, now pending in the Knesset, would codify the Orthodox establishment’s control over conversions…

  • Oscar nomination may boost Israeli’s career in Hollywood

    LOS ANGELES, March 3 (JTA) — Michele Ohayon was nursing her 2-month- old baby when the phone rang with the announcement that her film, “Colors Straight Up,” had been nominated for an Academy Award. At that early hour, 5:45 a.m., she immediately picked up the phone in her Hollywood home to call Jerusalem and break…