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 Transport).
Reputed Israeli crime boss Itzhak Abergil, currently incarcerated in federal prison in Lompoc, Calif. will be extradited to Israel to serve the remaining nine years of his 10-year sentence in his home country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 university Web site.
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.
Ask George Schlatter what inscription he would like on his tombstone, and, without missing a beat, he replies, “It Wasn’t All My Fault.”
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.
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.
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.
Neil Simon is a close runner-up to William Shakespeare when counting the number of plays turned into movies. But can the works by the Jewish lad from the Bronx prove as durable as the prolific output of the Bard of Avon?
Moriah Films, the documentary-making arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has bitten off another solid chunk of Israeli history in “The Prime Ministers,” a film based on the lively book of the same title by Yehuda Avner, who doubles as the chief narrator of the two-part production.
Yehuda Lev, an iconoclastic journalist and veteran of World War II and Israel’s War of Independence, who established a European underground route to smuggle Holocaust survivors to Palestine, died on Aug. 3 in Providence, R.I., after a prolonged illness. He was 86.
Los Angeles Jews are often viewed by outsiders as a rootless people, constantly on the move, caged in their cars and with relationships that are both ephemeral and superficial.
In chronicling the dark night of the Holocaust, filmmakers have discovered occasional chinks of light in the deeds of Righteous Gentiles, those who risked much to succor and save Jews.
About a year ago, it struck Ruth Weisberg, a professor of fine arts at USC, that not a single American university program focuses on Israel’s contributions in the arts and humanities.
Sadia Saifuddin, a junior at UC Berkeley, has been nominated to become a student member of the powerful University of California Board of Regents, the governing body that determines policies for the 10-campus system.
Like a veteran warhorse galloping back into the fray, Robert M. (Bob) Hertzberg has announced he is running for a State Senate seat in a district encompassing most of the San Fernando Valley.
The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival would not be worthy of its name without a substantial serving of Jewish humor, and much of this year’s nourishment is provided by two movies honoring the great comedians and writers who flourished around the middle of last century and later.
This variation on a hoary vaudeville routine found a new lease on life in the play titled — wait for it — “I’m Not Rappaport.” And even if you saw the movie, with Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis, it’s worth another look, courtesy of the West Coast Jewish Theatre.
Los Angeles chose Eric Garcetti as its first elected Jewish mayor in a number of political contests on Tuesday that reflected the city’s diversity, as well as its numerous variations of Jewishness. (In a historical footnote, one Bernard Cohn served as the appointed mayor of Los Angeles for a few weeks in 1878.)
"Fill the Void,” which won Israel’s equivalent of the Academy Award last year, is a love story unlike any Hollywood fare and it is set in a Jewish community unfamiliar to most Jews.
It’s a long way from Kibbutz Dalia, where Rachel Frenkel was raised, to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, but the mezzo-soprano is completing that journey this week.
Some 20 public events — including lectures, discussions, musical performances, film screenings and bus tours of Jewish Los Angeles — will complement the “Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic” exhibition at the Autry National Center (May 10, 2013, through Jan. 5, 2014). Included are:
W. (Walter) Richard West Jr., the new president and CEO of the Autry National Center, believes that a key job of this country’s museums is to interpret the complexity of the American heritage, and he embodies this mission both in his work and in his personal background.
When Los Angeles was incorporated as a city in 1850, eight Jews, all bachelors, were included on the population rolls. Today, according to the best estimates, somewhere between 600,000 to 650,000 Jews live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, with figures varying depending upon who does the estimating, how they define the geographical boundaries and, indeed, the definition of who is a Jew.
The multinational boycott campaign targeting Israel, aimed at stopping the country’s perceived injustices against Palestinians, has a venerable history, but the movement showed a new spurt of activism this month.
“Paris-Manhattan,” whose respective residents consider their city to be the center of the known universe, is the title of an appealing French movie by a first-time feature film director.
UC Berkeley student senators approved a bill on Thursday calling for the University of California system to divest of stock in American companies that provide technological and weapon support used by the Israeli military in the Palestinian territories.
When Mark G. Yudof arrived at University of California headquarters in Oakland in 2008 to take over as president of the 10-campus system, among the problems awaiting him were charges that administrators on the Irvine campus were not protecting Jewish students against hate speech and intimidation by Muslim student groups and from invited outside speakers.
Mark Yudof, the soon-to-retire president of the University of California system, was born in Philadelphia, the son of an electrician, and during a distinguished career as head of the Universities of Minnesota, Texas and California multicampus systems, has never quite lost his taste for the blue-collar lifestyle, especially when it comes to food.
Among its other benefits, the Israel Film Festival takes even those of us familiar with the country to places and people we know only superficially, or not at all.
Alan Stuart “Al” Franken, satirist, comedy writer, talk-show host and now U.S. senator from Minnesota, was by turns reflective, ethnic and funny as he tackled the topic “Public Service: How the Jewish Tradition Has Influenced One U.S. Senator” during a recent evening at USC.
When Jennifer Thompson left her academic position in Iowa to join the Jewish Studies faculty at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), she encountered two problems.
In a video, a Holocaust survivor remembers how he had to kill the family dog as he faced deportation to a wartime ghetto, where there would not be enough food for humans and none for animals.
If Hollywood were a monarchy, Steven Allan Spielberg would likely be its king.
For people with a palate for intellectual, social and physical nourishment, the annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture at UCLA is a not-to-be-missed event.
Some 65 years after a band of foreign volunteers fought in the skies above Israel to assure the nation’s birth and survival, filmmakers are racing to bring their exploits to the screen before the last of the breed passes away.
One day in 2015, a small Israeli spacecraft will land on and reconnoiter the moon, joining the United States and former Soviet Union in the world’s most exclusive extraterrestrial club.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) will be transplanted, at least in part, from Washington, D.C.’s National Mall to Los Angeles on Feb. 17.
New York Mayor Edward Irving Koch, universally addressed as “Ed,” was a master of timing and promotion.
To help us grasp the enormity of the Holocaust, we have the testimonies of survivors, of liberators, even of bystanders, but what about the perpetrators and, even more, their children, who grew up worshipping Adolf Hitler? “Lore,” the movie, grapples with that complex question from the perspective of the title character, a 14-year-old girl (impressively played by Saskia Rosendahl), daughter of a high-ranking SS officer and his equally fanatical wife.
The long-standing Facebook war of words between pro- and anti-Israel partisans has heated up a few degrees with a petition to remove a particularly offensive “F… Israel” page.
Yossi, the central character in the new eponymous Israeli movie, has changed over the past 10 years, and so have Israel and the world. In 2002, director Eytan Fox introduced him in “Yossi & Jagger,” which became Israel’s highest-grossing film abroad, up to that time.
Dr. David A. Weinstein was working as a resident at Boston Children’s Hospital in 1994 when he encountered his first young patients with glycogen storage disease (GSD). He followed up on these and other cases and was asked to report on his findings at a GSD conference in 1998.
Jonah Pournazarian is a bright, playful 7-year-old at Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School. He has a best friend, Dylan Siegel, loving parents, devoted teachers and an extremely rare genetic disorder.
The Nazis gassed and murdered 1 million prisoners at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex, but they could not kill the human urge to create and leave behind a sign of their existence for future generations. Some 20 examples of the prisoners’ artistic legacy are on display in the exhibition “Forbidden Art,” continuing through Jan. 31 at UCLA Hillel and the neighboring St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.
Sally Ogle Davis, a teenage television personality in Northern Ireland, chronicler of the famous and powerful in Hollywood, and activist in Jewish arts and synagogue life, died Dec. 11 in Seattle. She was 71.
Professor Moshe Lazar was a Renaissance man and polymath whose studies ranged across the centuries, from medieval Sephardic life and writings to modern Hebrew poetry, according to his colleagues and students at USC.
The long forecast “Holocaust fatigue” among filmmakers and their audiences has not yet arrived, judging by the entries for 2013 Oscar honors by producers and directors in numerous countries.
When Steve Pompan played on the U.S. tennis squad at the last Maccabiah Games in Israel, he was struck by the spectators’ tribal inclination to give advice to the players battling it out on the court.
“The Vote,” the best show in town, opened at 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 29 and, after 23 acts, closed down 60 minutes later. During that one hour, speakers, actors, musicians, singers and dancers commemorated the day, 65 years ago, when the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.
A resolution passed by the UC Irvine undergraduate student council calling on the university to divest from companies that “profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine” has been rejected by the UCI administration. At the same time, leaders of the Orange County Jewish community denounced “the nonbinding resolution, drafted and introduced with no forewarning by a small group of students with a personal agenda and deliberated in the absence of students with opposing views.”
A resolution passed by the UC Irvine undergraduate student council calling on the university to divest from companies that “profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine” has been rejected by the UCI administration.
Two documentary films, each touching the Holocaust era and celebrating the courage and devotion of non-Jews, are screening in Los Angeles. The first is about Leopold Engleitner, bright-eyed and lucid at 107, who spent 11 years in and out of prisons and Nazi concentration camps, and, after a flight from Vienna to Los Angeles, is ready for his personal appearance tour.
Carmen H. Warschaw, passionate political activist, strategist, financial backer and “Jewish mother” to generations of Democratic office holders, died — fittingly — on Election Day, Nov. 6, after watching the television prognostications on the presidential race. She was 95.
On the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938, brown-shirted storm troopers torched and looted hundreds of synagogues and destroyed 7,500 Jewish businesses throughout Germany and Austria in what is known as Kristallnacht, “the night of broken glass.”
The storied Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, founded as the Palestine Symphony Orchestra 12 years before the rebirth of the Jewish state, and its music-director-for-life Zubin Mehta, will join in concert at Disney Hall on Tuesday evening, Oct. 30.
The history of Iranian Jewry goes back nearly 3,000 years, so Nahid Pirnazar has a lot of ground to cover in her Oct. 21 lecture at the opening of “Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews,” a wide-ranging, five-month exhibition at UCLA’s Fowler Museum.
In the early-morning hours of Sept. 12, this reporter was awakened by a phone call from a Jerusalem newspaper asking for details about a man named Sam Bacile.
The battle for the Jewish vote is in full swing, with Democrats and Republicans deploying their most stentorian spokespersons.
Theodor Herzl was an assimilated Viennese journalist who became the unlikely founder of modern Zionism and a main catalyst for the creation of the Jewish State of Israel.
It took 64 years, with a detour to Israel’s War of Independence, but Mitchell Flint is finally getting to see the London Olympic Games, live and in person.
Fortuitously, Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology's Dr. Avram Hershko, co-winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was recently in Los Angeles, and the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), which supports his work, arranged an interview to provide an expert's view.
On March 19, Mohamed Merah, 23, attacked the Ozar HaTorah school in Toulouse in southern France, killing three students and a rabbi.
For Arnold Spielberg's birthday in the late 1950s, his wife, Leah, gave him a Brownie movie camera. He had little chance to enjoy the present because it was immediately appropriated by his 13-year-old son, Steven.
Back in the 1930s and ’40s, when Diaspora Jews desperately needed a symbol of Jewish strength and pride, the brawny, sunburned kibbutznik became the poster image for the new Jew emerging in Palestine.
Generations of readers, theater patrons and movie goers have been touched and moved by “The Diary of Anne Frank,” but perhaps no one was more astonished by the adolescent girl’s deep inner life – while in hiding from the Nazis – than Anne’s father.
Malka and Abraham Jura faced a Solomonic decision in late 1938, as the Nazis were tightening the vise on the Jews of Vienna. The couple hoped to send their three daughters to safety but were able to wrangle only one place on the Kindertransport ferrying a limited number of Jewish children to London. After much agonizing, the Juras decided to give the spot to 14-year-old Lisa, a remarkable piano prodigy.
Hershey Felder is a prolific performer, writer and composer, but he is setting a new personal record with world premieres of two plays at different Los Angeles venues.
Once upon a time, Marvin Hier, an Orthodox rabbi and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, decided to make a documentary film about the Holocaust.
Judea Pearl, co-founder of the Daniel Pearl Foundation and an internationally renowned expert in computer science, will receive the Turing Award, known as the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” for his path-breaking innovations in artificial intelligence — the discipline probing the partnership between humans and robotic machines.
It’s springtime in Los Angeles, which means raising the curtain on the 26th Israel Film Festival, this year displaying a colorful palette of more than 30 feature movies, documentaries, TV shows and student shorts.
Larry Greenfield, a Los Angeles-area native, has been named national executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs in Washington, D.C., JINSA president David Ganz has announced.
Hershel Walfish, a leading Orthodox cantor and survivor of several Nazi concentration camps, died Jan. 24 at 89, following a lengthy illness.
Joseph Cedar has made four movies during his 11-year career, and the first three have represented Israel in the Oscar races for Best Foreign-Language film.
During the past few months, top California State University administrators, who oversee 23 campuses with 420,000 students, were spending a good deal of time wrestling with upcoming draconian state budget cuts and protesting students, yet they set aside some time to consider whether the largest four-year college system in the United States should restart its study abroad program in Israel.
The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery is 130 years old and has survived the kaiser’s imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic, and, astonishingly, the Nazi regime.
A man arrives at an airport for a flight, and as he goes through security the agent asks some questions.
Agnieszka Holland, director of “In Darkness,” has always been intrigued by the contradictions and extremes of human nature.
In the run-up to the Academy Awards last year, when not a single domestic or foreign film entry touched on a Holocaust or Nazi-era theme, I speculated that this particular genre had probably run its course.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s constant Holocaust denial is not only a personal obsession, but also part of a larger policy by the Iranian president, according to Yossi Klein Halevi, the influential Israeli-American journalist, writer and commentator. Ahmadinejad’s calculation is that if he succeeds in discrediting the Shoah, “he will undermine the basis of Western support for Israel and that the Jewish state will eventually disappear,” Halevi said.
After arriving by cattle car at Auschwitz, many Jews were handed postcards, with the uniform message thoughtfully prepared by the Nazis.
I met Leon Weinstein, hale and hearty at 101, three months ago and listened to his dramatic recollections as a fighter and survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, one of the bravest chapters in modern Jewish history.
Some 250 veterans of numerous journalistic triumphs and embarrassments gathered on Oct. 18 to relive the brave old days, toast their colleagues and wonder what the future held for their breed.
The architects of the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem have threatened to resign, two weeks before the scheduled start of construction.
Ten months after the end of World War I, a 30-year-old German army veteran wrote a two-page letter in which he explained the Jewish question on what he called a “rational” and “scientific” basis.
David Siegel, Israel’s new consul general for the southwestern United States, along with his wife, Myra, and their three kids, arrived in Los Angeles on a Monday in late August and hit the ground running.
Rather than compose “Porgy and Bess,” what if George Gershwin had instead scored the opera “Dybbuk and Leah”?
In the midst of World War II, when a German general demanded that a noted Jewish radar expert be exempted from deportation to help the Nazi war effort, SS Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann icily replied that as a matter of principle he could not make any exceptions in ensuring the success of the Final Solution.
Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Leib (I.L.) Peretz died almost a century ago, but the works of the two giants of Yiddish literature live on in film and on stage.
About a dozen years ago, actor Mike Burstyn auditioned in New York for the role of Al Jolson in the national touring company of the musical “Jolson.” While waiting for a decision, he flew home to Los Angeles and on landing at LAX decided to stop by the nearby Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary and visit the grave of the legendary jazz singer.
“The American Jewish community has a problem keeping silent,” says scholar Michael Berenbaum, and he ascribes the “problem” to guilt over our collective failure to speak up during the Holocaust.
In the opening scene of the documentary “Torn,” an official asks an elderly man for his name, and he replies, “Romuald-Jakub Weksler-Waszkinel.”
When Jacob Dayan — along with his wife, Galit, and their three children — arrived in Los Angeles in October 2007 to take up his post as Israel’s consul general for the southwestern United States, L.A. got two activist diplomats for the price of one.
Despite a long life of distinguished writing, it’s not without irony that Sholem Aleichem today is probably known to most people as the guy who wrote the story behind “Fiddler on the Roof.”
“Boyle Heights wasn’t just a geographical term, it was a mind-set.” So says Abraham (Abe) Hoffman, and he should know.
Some theater patrons prefer to switch off their brain cells and watch a light-hearted play, while others opt for strenuous mental exercise.
After he tired of prospecting for gold in his native Canada, Mark Talesnick moved to Israel, where he did exploratory drilling for the proposed Mediterranean-Dead Sea (Med-Dead) Canal project and founded the national ice hockey team.
Baya Benmahmoud, the heroine of the French film “The Names of Love,” gives new meaning to the concept of political activism. A fervent, if rather naïve, left-winger whose guiding motto is, “Make love, not war,” her mission is to convert right-wing politicians to the correct ideology by sleeping with them. “I am a political whore,” she announces proudly when she meets Arthur Martin, a 40-ish, uptight ornithologist, who rambles on about bird diseases when Baya inquires whether they should make love at his or her place.
“An anti-Semitism based on reason must lead to systematic combatting and elimination of the privileges of the Jews… The ultimate objective [of such legislation] must be the irrevocable removal of Jews in general.”
How do you nudge the largest four-year college system in the United States to change its mind and greenlight its students for study at Israeli universities?
The Los Angeles Dodgers will again underwrite the baseball tournament at the Maccabiah games in Israel, according to an announcement from the Maccabiah Organizing Committee. Frank McCourt, though occupied with ownership of the team and a contentious divorce, said, “Our sponsorship hugely enhanced the baseball experience at the 18th Maccabiah Games in 2009, and the Dodgers are proud to continue our close association with the Jewish Olympics.