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  • Federal agents comb for clues in arson attacks on 3 synagogues

    LOS ANGELES, June 20 (JTA) — More than 100 federal agents are searching for clues in last Friday’s arson attacks on three Sacramento-area synagogues, considered one of the worst anti-Semitic hate crimes of the past 20 years. The predawn attacks targeted Congregation B’nai Israel and Congregation Beth Shalom, both Reform temples, and the Kenesset Israel…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Families fear for Iranian prisoners; world pressures Tehran for release

    LOS ANGELES, June 13 (JTA) — Amid an international effort to secure the release of 13 Iranian Jews who face possible execution, U.S. relatives of the accused spies are publicly expressing fears for the lives of their loved ones. Nasrin Javaherian of San Jose, Calif., is the sister of Nasser Levihaim, 49, the oldest among…

  • Ben-Gurion’s archives give a full picture of Israel’s founding father

    LOS ANGELES, June 13 (JTA) — Three years ago, the BBC decided to make a television documentary marking the 40th anniversary of the 1956 Sinai campaign, which pitted Israeli, British and French troops against the forces of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. The filmmakers were soon stymied in their search for one top secret document:…

  • Singer Mel Torme dies at 73

    LOS ANGELES, June 9 (JTA) — Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner and actor Cliff Robertson were among the friends of Mel Torme who paid tribute to the masterful pop and jazz singer at memorial services in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Torme, who died Saturday at 73 of complications from a stroke he suffered in 1996, was…

  • Former synagogue president is elected mayor of Las Vegas

    LOS ANGELES, June 9 (JTA) — A flamboyant underworld attorney and former synagogue president was elected mayor of Las Vegas by a landslide, according to the final results from Tuesday’s vote. Oscar Goodman, 59, gained fame and considerable wealth representing top mobsters, as well as such celebrities as Mike Tyson. In a telephone interview, Goodman…

  • Shoah Foundation changes focus to improving access to testimony

    LOS ANGELES, June 7 (JTA) — The end of Michael Berenbaum’s tenure as president and chief executive officer of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation reflects a change not only in the organization’s leadership, but also in its direction. Until now, the foundation, established by Steven Spielberg five years ago after the success…

  • Judge sets first-ever trial date for Holocaust-era insurance case

    LOS ANGELES, June 1 (JTA) — For the first time, a trial date has been set regarding a claim on Holocaust-era compensation. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ruled last Friday that a trial involving a $135 million breach of contract suit brought by the descendants of Moshe “Mor” Stern, a Jewish merchant gassed…

  • Kosovar refugees welcomed into Los Angeles Jewish homes

    LOS ANGELES, May 23 (JTA) — The extended Vlashi family from Kosovo, all 28 of them, arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport around midnight May 20 and were engulfed by television cameras and the arms of the Jewish community. Luggage retrieval was no problem. All the refugees’ worldly belongings fit easily into small carry-on…

  • Rabbis’ ordination in L.A. seen as symbol of West’s emergence

    LOS ANGELES, May 17 (JTA) — Los Angeles has challenged New York’s monopoly as a center of U.S. rabbinical ordination. So claimed some observers here after the first group of Conservative rabbis to graduate from a West Coast school were ordained this week, an event hailed as a symbol of this city’s claim as a…

  • Campaign against wartime pope criticized by Catholics, Jews alike

    LOS ANGELES, May 16 (JTA) — Some Catholic and Jewish leaders are denouncing a campaign by Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center against elevating wartime Pope Pius XII to sainthood. Describing Pius XII as the “pope of the Holocaust,” the center’s founder and dean charged last week that throughout World War II, the…