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  • Jerry Seinfeld makes wish come true for Israeli child

    LOS ANGELES, March 29 (JTA) — When 13-year-old Ayal Beer spent most of last year at an Israeli hospital because of acute leukemia, his ordeal was brightened by regularly watching the “Seinfeld” television show. So when the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which fulfills the requests of children with life-threatening illnesses, asked Ayal for his biggest wish, the…

  • Head of Los Angeles mortuary sentenced to 2 years in prison

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 5 (JTA) — The director of the local Chevra Kadisha Mortuary has been sentenced to two years in prison and the facility has been temporarily closed. Zalman Manela, the founder of the 21-year-old mortuary, was incarcerated after pleading no contest to charges of forgery and grand theft. According to the Jewish Journal…

  • 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…

  • ISRAEL AT 50 An American Jewish volunteer reflects on the last ‘good’ war

    LOS ANGELES, March 30 (JTA) — As the American Jewish community celebrates the 50th anniversary of Israel’s independence, those of us who went over to fight as volunteers in the fledgling country’s armed forces can look back with special pride and remembrance. We were privileged to take part not only in a momentous chapter of…

  • European insurance firms to expedite survivors’ claims

    LOS ANGELES, April 9 (JTA) — An international commission has been established to expedite the processing of insurance claims by Holocaust survivors and the heirs of victims. The agreement to set up the commission was signed Wednesday in New York. Signatories include the state insurance commissioners of New York and California, four major European insurance…

  • Spielberg may film U.S. pilots who helped Israel in 1948 war

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 11 (JTA) — American volunteer pilots who played a key role in creating the Israeli air force may be the focus of a Steven Spielberg film. The director said he hit on the idea after sitting in the cockpit with an Israeli pilot on an El Al flight from New York to…

  • Synagogue arsons unsolved

    LOS ANGELES, March 3 (JTA) — The City of Los Angeles is offering a $20,000 reward for information regarding arson attacks at two Orthodox synagogues during Chanukah The fires damaged portions of Congregation Kehillas Yaacov and Congregation Shaarei Tefilah, which are located on the same block in the traditionally Jewish Fairfax district. In announcing the…

  • American, Israeli stars joining in televised jubilee extravaganza

    LOS ANGELES, March 31 (JTA) — Producer David Goldberg says, only half-jokingly, that putting on a binational, multimillion dollar, star-studded production means that he works 24 hours a day. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, he works on the American part of the show — and on the Israeli part from…

  • Controversy erupts over Swiss WWII labor camps

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20 (JTA) — Talk to Jews from Poland, Germany, Yugoslavia or Hungary who somehow escaped the Nazi dragnets and made it to safety in Switzerland, and they will assert, usually with considerable emotion, some or all of the following statements: * During World War II, Switzerland split up Jewish refugee families, putting…

  • 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…