April 30, 2012
Introducing Tom Tugend
Tom is a contributing editor for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and the West Coast correspondent for the Jerusalem Post in Israel, Jewish Chronicle in Britain, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in New York. He has written on films for the Los Angeles Times and occasional features for Hadassah Magazine, Lifestyles and other publications.
Born in Berlin, Tom came to this country with his parents in May 1939. He holds a journalism degree from the University of California Berkeley, a bachelor’s certificate from the University of Madrid (Spain), and a master’s degree in history from UCLA.
Between the ages of 18 and 25, he participated in three wars, more or less, including World War II as a combat infantryman in Europe, and as an army editor during the Korean conflict. In between, he volunteered for Israel’s War of Independence, serving as squad leader in an anti-tank unit.
With such an auspicious start, he considered becoming a professional soldier of fortune, but changed his mind when he discovered he could earn almost as much as a journalist than as an army sergeant. He started as a copyboy and reporter on the San Francisco Chronicle, and then went to Spain to study and work for the Associated Press and as editor of an English-language weekly.
After this and other adventures, Tom settled down for the next 30 or so years as a science writer and communications director at UCLA, but moonlighted throughout as a free-lance journalist. For a break, he worked for a year at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel as head of its public relations department.
Tom is now a fulltime journalist, has reported from Buenos Aires to Bombay, and on every topic, from the trivial to the profound. He has been honored three times with the Rockower Award, three times by the Greater Los Angeles Press Club for best news story by a foreign correspondent, the Distinguished Journalist Award by the Society of Professional Journalists, and was given a lifetime achievement award by the American Jewish Press Association.
In 1993, he received a grant from the Fund for Journalism on Jewish Life for an investigative report on PBS coverage of the Middle East. He has contributed to a number of books, including a profile of Steven Spielberg in “Jewish Family & Life: Traditions, Holidays and Values”.
His Jerusalem-born wife Rachel, to whom he owes his tennis instruction and the fact that he is still alive and functioning, has been married to Tom for 55 years, and vice versa. They have three lovely daughters and eight grandchildren, all above average.
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