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  • Comedian Orny Adams talks about his Jewish background (just not on stage)

    (JTA) — Despite a career of more than two decades kvetching incessantly about life’s absurd little annoyances, comedian and actor Orny Adams insists he’s an optimist who’s always been an early riser, eager to tackle anything that confronts him. “When I wake up,” he says, “I find myself to be a very happy person, excited…

  • Elaine Holstein, last surviving parent of the four Kent State shooting victims, dies at 96

    (JTA)– For nearly half a century, Elaine Holstein was periodically confronted with one of the most haunting images in modern American history: the bone-chilling picture of Kent State University student Jeffrey Miller lying on the pavement seconds after being fatally shot in the mouth by an Ohio National Guardsman during an anti-war protest. Photographer John…

  • Remembering ‘Aunt Bertie,’ the longest-serving Jewish staffer in White House history

    (JTA) — When Eleanor Roosevelt or Bess Truman sent a formal invitation to one particular White House staff member, they often addressed it in the customary form of days gone by: “To Mrs. William Reynolds,” the envelope would read. Mrs. Reynolds, a dark-haired beauty who handled presidential correspondence, lived in Virginia and had a pronounced…

  • A Broadway veteran joins Amy Schumer in Steve Martin’s Jewy new play

    NEW YORK (JTA) — It’s a recurring theme in the career of actor Jeremy Shamos: extravagant praise for playing some less-than-extravagant characters. In reviews for “Meteor Shower,” the new Broadway comedy by Steve Martin, the entertainment website says Shamos “is priceless as the zhlubbish Norm,” who is the “mushy husband” to the character played…

  • On Broadway, an Israeli-American plays an Egyptian romantic in ‘The Band’s Visit’

    (JTA) — There’s a long and poignant story behind the T-shirt that Ari’el Stachel often wears these days. It says, in Hebrew letters, “Totzeret Teman” —  “Product of Yemen.” The unexpected juxtaposition of two cultures, Israeli and Arab, is as fascinating and complex as Stachel himself. Stachel, 26, is an actor and singer making his Broadway…

  • The best Herman Wouk story (almost) no one has read

    The “Marjorie Morningstar” author’s son and I went to Camp Ramah together — and I secretly read his mail.

  • My history with the family of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Jewish killer

    Veteran CBS newsman Steve North recalls meetings with siblings and a nephew of Jack Ruby — a volatile man with a penchant for violence in the face of anti-Jewish slurs.