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  • Los Angeles campus of HUC will now ordain Reform rabbis

    LOS ANGELES, Feb. 21 (JTA) — Hebrew Union College’s Los Angeles campus will begin ordaining Reform rabbis. The move to expand the school’s rabbinic training program, which was authorized here by HUC’s governing board, puts the Los Angeles campus on a par with HUC’s three other schools, in Cincinnati, New York and Jerusalem. In its…

  • 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…

  • HOLIDAY FEATURE Study: People can prolong life in order to celebrate Passover

    LOS ANGELES, March 7 (JTA) — A desire to participate in Passover can prolong a person’s life, according to a professor of sociology at the University of California at San Diego. David Phillips believes that older people can, in effect, postpone death in order to participate in an important occasion — be it a religious…

  • 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…

  • Oscar-nominated Gwyneth Paltrow descends from a rabbinical dynasty

    LOS ANGELES, Feb. 15 (JTA) — Gwyneth Paltrow, the beautiful, blonde Oscar-nominated heroine of “Shakespeare in Love,” is descended from a distinguished rabbinical dynasty that may stretch back to 17th-century Russia. According to the London-based Jewish Chronicle, the actress can count 33 rabbis among her ancestors, on her father’s side. Her great-great-great-grandfather was Rabbi Tsvi…

  • 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…

  • Jerry Seinfeld makes wish come true for Israeli child

    LOS ANGELES, March 26 (JTA) — When 13-year-old Eyal Bir spent most of last year at an Israeli hospital for treatment of acute leukemia, the ordeal was brightened by regularly watching the “Seinfeld” show. So when the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which fulfills the requests of children with life-threatening illnesses, asked Eyal for his biggest wish, the…

  • 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,…