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Tom Tugend is JTA's Los Angeles correspondent. A longtime journalist, he has worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times and the AP’s Madrid bureau. He is a veteran of World War II, Israel’s War of Independence and the Korean War.

Latest

  • Film on Nazi turned Austrian President Kurt Waldheim draws parallels to modern rise of the right

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Kurt Waldheim managed an impressive feat: After serving as a soldier and intelligence officer in the Nazi army during World War II, he was twice elected secretary-general of the United Nations before topping off his career as president of his native Austria from 1986 to 1992. How did he do it?…

  • UCLA’s Michael Grunstein wins Lasker Award for medical science — is a Nobel Prize next?

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) – UCLA professor Michael Grunstein is a co-winner of the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Science Award, one of the most prestigious American research prizes, for work that has led to a series of new medical treatments, especially for cancer. Historically, recipients of the Lasker Award become prime contenders for the Nobel Prize…

  • In ‘The Cakemaker,’ a gay lover and straight woman long for the same man

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) —  “The Cakemaker” has been one of the more successful indie films on the international festival circuit over the past year. Its recipe: a secret gay Israeli-German love affair, a tragic death and another secret affair — between a straight woman and a gay man. The film, which features Hebrew, German and…

  • Judge Stephen Reinhardt, ‘liberal lion’ of 9th Circuit, is dead at 87

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Judge Stephen Reinhardt, dubbed the “liberal lion” of American jurisprudence and an outspoken advocate on Jewish as well as legal issues, has died at 87. Reindhardt died of a heart attack during a visit Thursday to a Los Angeles dermatologist, according to a spokesman for the U.S. 9th Circuit of Appeals,…

  • Oscars 2018: For Jewish nominees, a night not to remember

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Half a century ago, Bob Hope’s films were wildly popular, but the comedian was never nominated for an Academy Award. So when Hope served as host of the 1975 Oscar bash, he opened his monologue with “Welcome to the Academy Awards … or as it’s known in my house, PASSOVER.” At Sunday’s 90th award…

  • Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin, founder of LA’s Stephen Wise Temple, dies at 97

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin, a leader of Reform Judaism who founded and guided the Stephen Wise Temple in Los Angeles from modest beginnings to become one of the world’s largest Reform congregations, has died. Zeldin died Friday evening at his home in Palm Springs, California, surrounded by his family. He was 97….

  • The 5 best Jewish films to watch this Oscar season

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — With the Academy Awards on the horizon, there is no shortage of high-quality films to see in theaters and on the small screen. Getting a jump on the festivities, here are five of the best Jewish-themed ones to watch this awards season, from Oscar contenders to short gems. “Foxtrot” Directed by Samuel…

  • Controversial Israeli film ‘Foxtrot’ makes Oscar shortlist

    (JTA) —  “Foxtrot,” a film that Israel’s culture minister said attempts to “undermine” her country and its soldiers’ morality, has been named to the Academy Awards shortlist for best foreign language film. Director Samuel Maoz’s movie made the list of nine films announced Thursday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 92…

  • Iconic Einstein ‘tongue’ photo brings $125,000 at auction

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) – A famous photo of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue at a photographer and signed by the renowned scientist has been sold for $125,000. The Nate D. Sanders auction house in announcing the sale Thursday evening did not reveal the buyer’s identity. The Hebrew University stands to benefit from the latest…

  • Tchaikovsky’s Jewish problem

      LOS ANGELES (JTA) – While researching his latest one-man show, “Our Great Tchaikovsky,” Hershey Felder — a playwright, actor and composer who has brought the loves, torments and soaring music of some of the world’s greatest composers to the stage — faced a moral question. Does towering talent exculpate a composer, or any artist,…