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Jewish Journal

Tom Tugend

  • Israeli Air Force, front and center on film

    June 2, 2015 | 3:36 pm

    The vaunted Israeli Air Force is flying high with two documentaries screening on television and at film festivals, while a feature movie waits in the wings.

    However, the focus is not on today’s highly professional air force, or on its astonishing exploits during the Six-Day War...

  • Life of the ‘Party’

    June 1, 2015 | 4:20 pm

    The poster for the film “The Farewell Party” shows three senior citizens, two male and one female, sitting together, smiling and stark naked, their private parts strategically covered.

    Contrary to this teaser, the Israeli film is not about some kind of post-menopausal orgy. It...

  • Argentina’s charming ‘The Film Critic’ has the write stuff

    May 20, 2015 | 3:20 pm

    There are two main characters in the Argentine movie “The Film Critic.”

    One is Victor, the neurotic film critic of the title, who hates pretty much all contemporary movies, writes scathing reviews and loathes his work and himself.

    The other is Sofia, who races around Buenos...

  • Israel reborn: we were there

    May 19, 2015 | 12:15 pm

    In mid-May of 1948, I was walking down Market Street in San Francisco when I passed a small movie theater that screened only newsreels.

    The outside marquee announced “The Jews Fight for Their State.” For the first time it fully hit me that the Jews — commonly dismissed at the...

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  • Nobel Medal’s Auction Shines Light on Professor Who Shielded Jews

    May 11, 2015 | 1:04 pm

    The auction of a Nobel Prize gold medallion on March 30 has brought unexpected attention to a German professor who shielded Jewish students during the Hitler era and defended anti-Nazi resistors.

    The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded in 1927 to Heinrich Otto Wieland, a...

  • West Coast Jewish Theatre takes the stage

    April 15, 2015 | 3:46 pm

    Last year, Howard Teichman, the artistic director of the West Coast Jewish Theatre (WCJT), stood before the audience applauding the final performance of “The Whipping Man” and sorrowfully announced there would be no future plays — there simply was no more money in the kitty.

    This...

  • Leon Panetta criticizes Obama for non-activism at Pearl lecture

    April 9, 2015 | 11:40 am

    With some 50 years of public service as an eight-term California congressman, as President Clinton’s chief of staff and President Obama’s Secretary of Defense and CIA director, Leon Panetta believes in the value of experience.

    So it came as no major surprise when he endorsed two...

  • ‘Catch the Jew’ by Tuvia Tenenbom

    March 30, 2015 | 5:30 pm

  • Hershey Felder plays Irving Berlin

    November 17, 2014 | 9:34 am

  • From Hamas to Shin Bet agent: Mosab Hassan Yousef

    September 3, 2014 | 1:20 pm

    Few human relationships are as complex and intriguing as one between an intelligence agent and a potential informer, with the Middle East as an ideal proving ground for this thesis, at least cinematically.

    Last year, Israel’s “Bethlehem” and the Palestinian “Omar” vied for an...

  • Israeli director Ari Folman’s new film ‘The Congress’ is visually stunning

    August 27, 2014 | 11:55 am

    Israeli director Ari Folman’s “The Congress” is “a visual masterpiece that will be studied and revered for generations,” one critic writes.

    Another critic took a quite different view of the film, declaring, “Ambition outstrips achievement … [it is] a visionary piece of...

  • Adrien Brody performs tricks, shticks of the Great Harry Houdini

    August 27, 2014 | 11:26 am

    Erik Weisz, son of an unsuccessful immigrant rabbi from Hungary, settled in Appleton, Wis., became a world-famous magician and escape artist and changed his name to Harry Houdini.

    He always liked to live on the edge. In one spat with his wife, Bess, he told her, “I’d rather...

  • Soldier in Art: Arthur Szyk

    May 26, 2014 | 11:28 pm

  • A family’s joy after heartbreak

    May 7, 2014 | 11:43 am

    When someone loses a parent or a job, or the house burns down, or a spouse splits, the usual advice is to “move on” and “put the pieces together again.”

    But what if the pieces are shattered forever, and there is no way to make them whole again?

    For Rabbi Charles S. Sherman, the...

  • Polish Jew or Catholic Novitiate…or both?

    April 30, 2014 | 10:42 am

    Assuming that movies reflect — and influence — a country’s preoccupations and prejudices, then the legacy of the Holocaust is still haunting Europe.

    German and French filmmakers have been at the forefront of this self-examination, courageously probing the sins of their forebears....

  • USC Shoah Foundation announces center for genocide research

    April 25, 2014 | 1:01 pm

    Establishment of a Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the University of Southern California (USC) was announced on April 25 by filmmaker Steven Spielberg, founder of the USC Shoah Foundation, and USC President C.L. Max Nikias, according to a press release.

    The center’s...

  • The boy who ran, the man who lived

    April 23, 2014 | 3:27 pm

    Every survivor of the Holocaust has a distinct story, and among the most remarkable is the one told in the movie “Run Boy Run.”

    It’s the tale of an 8-year-old boy who escapes the Warsaw Ghetto and survives on his own for three years in Nazi-occupied Poland; the story could easily...

  • Two comedy kings celebrate another

    April 23, 2014 | 2:51 pm

    The curtain-raiser for the 2014 Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival is an explosion of humor that will bring tears to the eyes of old-timers and introduce younger folks to the progenitors of today’s star comedians.

    Two of the greatest Jewish comic performers and writers of the...

  • Israel’s Eytan Fox puts frosting on ‘Cupcakes’

    April 17, 2014 | 2:54 pm

    The name Eytan Fox instantly evokes two associations. The New York-born director is one of Israel’s most accomplished filmmakers, and he is the country’s most visible and outspoken gay personality.

    Fox’s films, like “Yossi & Jagger,” “Yossi” and “Walk on Water” revolve around gay...

  • Fight or flight: The nature of Judaism

    April 17, 2014 | 2:43 pm

    On the one hand: Jews and their religion are fiercely militant.

    On the other: The Jewish religion is peaceful and Jews avoid fighting, to the point that they have been derided as cowards or draft dodgers.

    Looking at the three-millennia arc of Jewish history, both statements are...

  • ‘The Foreigner’

    April 7, 2014 | 12:14 pm

  • Two TV specials look at Jewish history’s darker days

    March 26, 2014 | 1:57 pm

    The mass killing of 6 million Jews ended nearly 69 years ago, but almost every month we discover a new aspect of the Holocaust, its aftermath and its impact on future generations.

    Witness, for example, two new television specials scheduled to air in the next few days: “Treblinka:...

  • L.A. philanthropist gives boost to Israel’s electoral vote revision

    March 19, 2014 | 4:42 pm

    Israel’s legislators voted last week to streamline the country’s electoral and governing systems — and no one was more gratified by the news than Los Angeles entrepreneur Izak Parviz Nazarian. 

    For all of Israel’s amazing achievements since independence, its citizens live within...

  • Israel’s electoral vote revision got boost from Los Angeles philanthropist

    March 14, 2014 | 2:53 pm

    Israel’s legislators voted last week to streamline the country’s electoral and governing systems – and no one was more gratified by the news than Los Angeles entrepreneur Izak Parviz Nazarian.

    For all of Israel’s amazing achievements since independence, its citizens live within a...

  • ‘The Story of the Jews’ chronicles Jewish history

    March 12, 2014 | 2:40 pm

    “The Story of the Jews,” a panoramic overview of 3,000 years of a people’s history, is “a story of suffering, resilience, endurance and survival,” says author Simon Schama, a British historian and professor at Columbia University.

    To absorb such a history, not to mention writing...

  • UN Ambassador addresses BDS, hails Pearl Foundation

    February 24, 2014 | 5:44 pm

    The United States firmly opposes any boycotts of Israeli institutions and products “as disruptive of the peace process,” Ambassador Samantha Power, the permanent U.S. representative to the United Nations, declared Sunday evening, Feb. 23, at UCLA.

    Power also spoke out against the...

  • Confederate Jews, ‘Asher Lev’ enliven L.A. stages

    February 12, 2014 | 3:55 pm

    Just when you thought Jewish theater in Los Angeles was comatose, two plays, “The Whipping Man” and “My Name Is Asher Lev” are on the boards this month.

    The West Coast Jewish Theatre’s current Los Angeles premiere of “Whipping Man” is set in an unexpected milieu, the American...

  • At 110, holocaust survivor finds sustenance in music

    February 7, 2014 | 10:34 am

    During her lifespan of 110 years, Alice Herz-Sommer has been an accomplished concert pianist, teacher, prisoner in Theresienstadt, wife and mother, and now she is the star of an Oscar-nominated documentary.

    Even more remarkable has been her indomitable optimism, cheerfulness and...

  • Obituaries: Rabbi Harvey J. Fields, 78

    January 29, 2014 | 12:09 pm

    More than 800 friends, congregants and admirers of Rabbi Harvey J. Fields gathered in the sanctuary of Wilshire Boulevard Temple on the afternoon of Jan. 26 to pay their final respects to the temple’s longtime spiritual leader, scholar and community activist, who died Jan. 23 at 78...

  • Nazis’ stooge or well-meaning Jew?

    January 27, 2014 | 3:04 pm

    When the French director Claude Lanzmann completed the editing of his eight-hour epic documentary, “Shoah,” in 1985, he still had stashed away nearly 11 hours of interviews with one man.

    That man was Benjamin Murmelstein, the last president of the Judenrat (Jewish Council) in the...

  • Rabbi Harvey J. Fields, 78, longtime leader of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, has died

    January 24, 2014 | 10:05 am

    Rabbi Harvey J. Fields, who served as senior rabbi of the historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple for 23 years and played a central role in Los Angeles intergroup relations, died Thursday (Jan. 23) at his home after a long illness. He was 78.

    Funeral services will be held at 1...

  • A new left view on Israel

    January 9, 2014 | 11:57 am

    A symptom of our dysfunctional times is that political opponents — whether Republicans versus Democrats in Congress or Zionists versus Israel bashers on campuses — not only disagree on fundamental issues, but they also do not even share the same language and terminology.    

    So...

  • Israel overlooked in foreign-film Oscar noms

    January 2, 2014 | 11:13 am

    Israel is out and Palestine is in the Oscar race, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Dec. 20 its nine semi-finalists in the best foreign-language film category.

    Both Israel’s entry, “Bethlehem,” and the Palestinian “Omar” reflect the intensity of the...

  • Jewish, Israeli-themed films vie for foreign-language Oscar

    December 17, 2013 | 3:07 pm

    Producers and directors in 76 countries will be biting their nails when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces the Oscar nominees for best foreign-language film this week.

    Along with providing a view of cinematic skills in countries from Afghanistan to...

  • ‘Bethlehem,’ a film of spies and intrigue and Oscar possibilities

    December 12, 2013 | 3:30 pm

    Foreign-language (meaning non English-language) films from 76 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Venezuela, are competing for Oscar honors this year, with Israel’s entry, “Bethlehem,” pitting Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, against diverse Palestinian factions...

  • Survivors to mark 75th anniversary of Kindertransport

    November 20, 2013 | 3:10 pm

    On the evening of Dec. 2, a small group of elderly men and women, some with their children and grandchildren, will gather at a Burbank mall to mark the 75th anniversary of a heartbreaking, yet uplifting, episode of the Nazi era, known as the Kindertransport (in English, Children’s...

  • Reputed Israeli crime boss extradited from California to Israel

    November 20, 2013 | 2:18 pm

    Reputed Israeli crime boss Itzhak Abergil, currently incarcerated in federal prison in Lompoc, Calif. will be extradited to Israel to serve the remaining half of his 10-year sentence in his home country.

    Abergil, 45, pleaded guilty in May 2012 to participating in a large-scale...

  • Miss World encourages rape survivors to speak out

    November 13, 2013 | 2:19 pm

    In 1998, when Linor Abargil, the reigning Miss Israel, was crowned Miss World in the oldest of all international beauty pageants, she shed tears — perhaps of joy, maybe of anger, possibly a mixture of both.

    Seven weeks before her coronation, the 18-year-old beauty had been...

  • ‘Aftermath’ exposes dark secrets in Poland

    November 13, 2013 | 2:15 pm

    The Nazi occupation of most of Europe during World War II and the Holocaust tested the moral fiber not only of the individual citizen but also of entire nations.

    Today, 68 years after the guns fell silent in Europe and the Far East, historians and filmmakers not-yet-born in 1945...

  • Austria honors Bikel

    November 7, 2013 | 4:35 pm

    Theodore Meir Bikel and his parents peeked through the drawn curtains of their Vienna apartment watching the street below, where Adolf Hitler, standing in his limousine, slowly rolled by, cheered on by frenzied crowds.

    It was March 15, 1938, and Hitler formally announced that...

  • A tale of love and loss and the Holocaust, in Yiddish

    October 23, 2013 | 10:42 am

    When Naomi Jaye, who has been making short films in her native Canada for the past 10 years, told friends she was embarking on her first feature film, they cheered.

    When she added that the project would be the first Canadian movie in Yiddish, which neither she nor her lead actors...

  • ‘Jewish Refugees in Shanghai’ tells story of survival

    October 16, 2013 | 1:18 pm

    For Jews desperate to flee the Nazi regime but barred from entry almost everywhere, Shanghai was the Last Place on Earth and a rescuing Noah’s Ark.

    Between 1933 and 1941, some 20,000 Jews, mainly from Germany and Austria, found a harsh but safe refuge in the Chinese port city,...

  • UC Berkeley to open Center for Jewish Studies

    October 16, 2013 | 11:39 am

    The Berkeley campus of the University of California announced on Oct. 16 the launch of a Center for Jewish Studies, enhancing the state’s reputation as a magnet for scholars and students in the field.

    UC Berkeley has committed $1 million for the new center, and Chancellor...

  • Two academicians challenge anti-Israel professor from CSUN

    October 9, 2013 | 11:58 am

    Tammi Rossman-Benjamin stood before the board of trustees, the highest governing authority of the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system, and in her allotted two minutes stated her case against a professor who levels consistently hostile charges against Israel on his...

  • Joyce Black, philanthropist, 75

    October 7, 2013 | 5:08 pm

    Philanthropist and community activist Joyce Black, wife of real estate magnate Stanley Black for 57 years, died on Oct. 4 after a prolonged battle with cancer. She was 75.

    Stanley Black recalled Joyce as a witty, humorous person, always ready with a quip, as well as a quick...

  • Pepperdine to honor Hollywood’s Jewish moguls

    October 3, 2013 | 10:16 am

    Ask George Schlatter what inscription he would like on his tombstone, and, without missing a beat, he replies, “It Wasn’t All My Fault.”

    Schlatter’s “fault,” in this case, lay in his role as creator and executive producer of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” the seminal 1960s and ’70s...

  • $500,000 gift boosts Jewish studies at UC Santa Cruz

    September 23, 2013 | 1:33 pm

    The Santa Cruz campus of the University of California has announced a $500,000 gift to further enhance its reputation as a leading center for Jewish and Holocaust studies in northern California.

    The gift by the Helen Diller Family will go toward the establishment of the Murray...

  • Thriller brings gay romance, Mideast intrigue into focus

    September 18, 2013 | 11:52 am

    Filmmakers in Hollywood and abroad long have been fascinated by characters representing different races, religions, nationalities or ideologies who transgress social taboos and barriers by falling in love.

    Back in the silent and barely speaking movie era of the 1920s, Jewish boys...

  • Oy! ‘The Muslims Are Coming’ to your town

    September 12, 2013 | 11:35 am

  • Felder rocks Liszt, Lincoln

    September 11, 2013 | 2:51 pm

    Even for the energetic and versatile Hershey Felder — pianist, actor, playwright, composer and producer — the time warp of his next two world premieres may be considered a bit of a stretch.

    Coming up first is “Rockstar,” opening this month at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach....

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