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Tom Tugend RSS

is JTA's Los Angeles correspondent. A veteran journalist, he also writes for the Jerusalem Post, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and the London Jewish Chronicle.

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  • Leah Adler, mother of Steven Spielberg and popular restaurateur, dies at 97

    LOS ANGELES  (JTA) — Leah Adler, the mother of director Steven Spielberg and a well-known restaurateur, has died. Adler, also a former concert pianist and accomplished painter, died Tuesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 97. Most of America and the world first heard her name when Spielberg kissed her and described her as “my lucky…

  • Campus, civic groups condemn cartoon in UCLA newspaper seen as anti-Semitic

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A cartoon seen as anti-Semitic that was published in the UCLA student newspaper has been strongly condemned by civic and campus organizations, among them a pro-Palestinian student group. The cartoon published Monday in the Daily Bruin shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing in front of two stone tablets inscribed with…

  • ‘La La Land’ ties record with 14 Oscar nominations, including for music by Jewish composer

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — “La La Land” received a record-tying 14 Academy Award nominations, including for its music written by a Jewish composer, and Jewish actors including Natalie Portman and Andrew Garfield also were nominated. The Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning. “La La Land,” which is up for best picture, director, actor and actress,…

  • Israeli prof accused of harassment returns to UCLA classroom, prompting protests

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — UCLA students vowed to resume their protests Wednesday against Gabriel Piterberg, an Israel-educated historian, over charges by two of his female students of repeated sexual harassment. Piterberg, a graduate of Tel Aviv University who served in the Israeli army, until now was more widely known as a fierce critic of Israel…

  • ‘La La Land’ composer, Jewish actors take prizes at Golden Globes

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Although many of the Jewish Golden Globes nominees went home empty handed, a few actors and filmmakers with Jewish ancestry — and one young director who might be classified as an “honorary” Jew — made it to the winner’s podium. Justin Hurwitz’s musical gifts contributed immeasurably to the success of “La La Land,”…

  • Obama signs bill honoring colorful Jewish Korean War hero

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Among his last official acts, outgoing President Barack Obama has signed a bill affixing the name of Tibor Rubin to the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Long Beach, California. Rubin, a Hungarian-born child survivor of the Holocaust, had to wait 55 years until his valor in the Korean War was recognized with…

  • ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ writer inducted into Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — An American swimmer who took gold at the Rio Olympics this summer and the writer of the immortal baseball anthem “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” are among the new inductees to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Israel. Anthony Ervin, a native Californian now living in Florida, captured a…

  • No Oscar for Israeli award-winning entry

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Israel’s hopes for an Oscar as best foreign language film were dashed when “Sand Storm” failed to make the cut as the entries from 85 countries were narrowed to nine semifinalists. Noticeably, however, three of the nine movies on the shortlist, which was determined Thursday evening, deal with the Nazi era, indicating…

  • Star-studded gala raises $3.8 million for Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Encouraged by Hollywood royalty, 700 guests at the Ambassadors for Humanity gala contributed some $3.5 million for the far-reaching work of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation. Following the release of his Holocaust epic “Schindler’s List,” director Steven Spielberg established the Shoah Foundation in 1994. A signature achievement of its…

  • Kirk Douglas to celebrate his 100th birthday in star-studded Beverly Hills bash

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Kirk Douglas — actor, director, producer, author, philanthropist and Torah student — is celebrating his 100th birthday on Friday, and there is a special treat in store for the centenarian. Douglas has been under strict medical orders to abstain from alcohol, but his cardiologist, Dr. P.K. Shah, promised the actor that if…