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  • PBS documentary sheds new light on well-studied Arab-Israeli conflict

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18 (JTA) — Even for those who have lived through, or closely studied, Israel’s fortunes over the last half century, a five-hour documentary that PBS is scheduled to air next week on the history of the Arab- Israeli conflict will hold some surprises. Perhaps the most startling revelations in “The 50 Years…

  • Roseanne credits Kabbalah for her spiritual transformation

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 11 (JTA) — Since she was 3 years old, Roseanne’s been searching for answers. Now in her 40s, the actress and television talk show host says she’s found what she’s been looking for in the Kabbalah. The “fragmentations and divisions of my mind have come together. I have found the answers here,”…

  • The Prince of Egypt’ portrays Moses’ life in film for whole family

    LOS ANGELES, Dec. 21 (JTA) — After four years of intense preparation and months of drum-beating, “The Prince of Egypt” opened last week at theaters across the United States. Based loosely on the first part of the Book of Exodus, the animated musical film depicts the life of Moses before his 40 years of wandering…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Camp David participants revisit the art of diplomacy

    BEERSHEBA, Israel, Dec. 10 (JTA) — Listen to more than 30 veteran Israeli, Arab and American diplomats discuss their craft for two days, and it is surprising and somehow reassuring to learn that even at the highest summits, success or failure ultimately comes down to plain old human relationships. The diplomats, in this case, were…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Wiesenthal Center head recalls 20 years of fighting intolerance

    LOS ANGELES, Sept. 24 (JTA) — When Rabbi Marvin Hier arrived in Los Angeles in 1977 to inspect the sizable building he had purchased on unfashionable Pico Boulevard, it was one of the few times in his life that he was genuinely scared. “The place had been stripped of all light fixtures,” he recalls. “We…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Return of Einstein summer home brings back memories of Nazi era

    LOS ANGELES, Aug. 30 (JTA) — A recent news item reported that the former summer home of Albert Einstein in the Berlin suburb of Caputh, which the Nazis eventually confiscated from “the enemy of the people Einstein,” will be returned to the heirs of the famed physicist. The brief item took me back some 60…

  • Film producers consult clergy on animated version of Moses

    LOS ANGELES, Aug. 17 (JTA) — Since Jeffrey Katzenberg started production three years ago of “The Prince of Egypt,” an animated film version about the life of Moses, he has probably learned more about America’s ethnic and religious sensitivities than any other Hollywood mogul. Katzenberg, the middle initial in the DreamWorks SKG film production triumvirate…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Hit film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ features a Jewish infantryman

    LOS ANGELES, Aug. 3 (JTA) — When Steven Spielberg first saw Adam Goldberg in the ABC television series “Relativity,” the director scribbled a three-word memo to himself: “intense, funny, Jewish.” Out of this thumbnail description grew Goldberg’s role as Pvt. Stanley Mellish, the Jewish infantryman in “Saving Private Ryan.” The unflinchingly realistic Word War II…

  • European firms face sanctions for dormant insurance policies

    LOS ANGELES, July 20 (JTA) — A California state senator has warned that European insurance firms are pressing lawmakers to water down legislation intended to force the companies to pay out policies from the Holocaust era. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Tom Hayden, would require the California insurance department to suspend the business license of…

  • Former Capitol Hill sex symbol makes run for California governor

    LOS ANGELES, July 13 (JTA) — Of all the candidates across the country running for political office this year, it is a safe bet that there is only one who: * Was named by People magazine as “one of the 50 most beautiful people in the galaxy” and was dubbed “The Hunk on the Hill”…