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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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  • 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,…

  • This man almost killed Hitler: An incredible true story

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) —What if Adolf Hitler had been assassinated shortly after his armies invaded Poland to start World War II? How would global — and Jewish — history have played out? The question is not answered directly in the German film “13 Minutes.” But the movie, based on an actual, lone-wolf plot to kill…

  • Kirk Douglas: How the 100-year-old found true love

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — When movie star Kirk Douglas married Anne Buydens in Las Vegas, the justice of the peace asked Anne to raise her hand and repeat after him, “I take thee, Kirk, for my lawful husband.” Anne, who had recently arrived in the United States from Europe, raised her hand and proudly proclaimed,…

  • 3 Israeli directors’ films top influential LA Times critic’s picks

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Three films directed by Israelis took center stage in the film listings of the Los Angeles Times’ senior critic Kenneth Turan. In Hollywood, few newspaper items are scrutinized more intensely than the film reviews and rankings in the Los Angeles Times, making Friday’s list a boon for the films and their directors. The…

  • Science helped verify this unbelievable Holocaust escape story

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) – A one-hour TV program airing next week on PBS links brings advanced scientific techniques to bear on an incredible Holocaust escape story. “Holocaust Escape Tunnel,” a “Nova” production to be shown April 19, sheds new light on the attempt by 80 imprisoned men and women — mostly Lithuanian Jews — to…

  • Wallenberg-signed document fetches over $13,000 at auction

    LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A document signed by the late Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg that saved a Jewish woman from the Nazis sold at auction for more than $13,000. The document was purchased March 30 for $13,310 through the Nate D. Sanders auction house in Los Angeles. In keeping with company policy, Sanders did not divulge the…