Articles written by Tom Tugend

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The sky's no limit for this Jewish 14-year-old who broke a national high jump record

LOS ANGELES (JTA) - JJ Harel, newly 14 years old and standing at 6-foot-2, expects to face some tough competition when the Olympics return to Los Angeles in 2028 and the starting pistol for the track...

 By Tom Tugend    Features    July 2, 2021

Tevye in New York' imagines the famous 'Fiddler' hero's life beyond Anatevka

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — The last time we saw Tevye the Milkman on Broadway in “Fiddler on the Roof” was in 2016, escaping Anatevka as a pogrom swept the shtetl. Now, almost five years later, he is...


Kirk Douglas dies at 103

LOS ANGELES (JTA)-Kirk Douglas, the legendary actor who portrayed legions of tough guys and embraced his Jewish heritage later in life, died at his home in Beverly Hills on Wednesday. He was 103.... Full story


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 Unit... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    Features    March 16, 2018

Oscars 2018: A Jewish 'passover'

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 Awar... Full story


The five 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... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    Features    August 11, 2017

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... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    Features    June 9, 2017

Good Reads: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... Full story


A one-man tribute to Leonard Bernstein comes to the stage

LOS ANGELES (JTA)-There is a remarkable moment in "Maestro," Hershey Felder's one-man show about Leonard Bernstein, when the late famed conductor-composer is shown in an old film clip on a giant scree... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    Features    October 9, 2015

'Labyrinth of Lies' film explores Holocaust denial in postwar Germany

LOS ANGELES (JTA)-When the German film "Labyrinth of Lies" opens, Hitler's Third Reich was defeated only 13 years earlier. Germany is rising from the ruins, but in 1958 its people are largely in a sta... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    Features    June 26, 2015

PBS special examines 'Seeds of Conflict' in Middle East

LOS ANGELES (JTA)-Conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East now appears a permanent condition, but it didn't have to be that way, according to a one-hour PBS special premiering on June 30.... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    Features    June 5, 2015

For Israeli war volunteers, service was most important act of their lives

LOS ANGELES (JTA)—In May 1948, I was walking down Market Street in San Francisco when I passed a small movie theater with a marquee that announced “The Jews Fight for Their State.” For the first time, it fully hit me that the Jews—by the gent... Full story


At 98, Kirk Douglas finds his poetic muse

LOS ANGELES (JTA)-Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, the son of an immigrant Russian Jewish ragman, marked his 98th birthday on Dec. 9 by launching his 11th book. The legendary star of 87 movies... Full story


Thoroughly modern 'Altina': close-up of an accomplished life

LOS ANGELES (JTA)-Ambitious girls of yore looking for role models among successful and accomplished women might turn to scientist Marie Curie, aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart or first lady Eleanor... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    Features    October 3, 2014

Jewish 'Fifth Beatle' figures prominently in new book about band's first U.S. tour

LOS ANGELES (JTA) - It was 6 a.m. on Aug. 19, 1964 when the phone rang in the Los Angeles apartment of Ivor Davis, the young West Coast correspondent for London's Daily Express, circulation 4... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    News    February 21, 2014

World's oldest Holocaust survivor takes center stage in Oscar-nominated documentary

LOS ANGELES (JTA)-In her 110 years, Alice Herz-Sommer has been an accomplished concert pianist and teacher, a wife and mother-and a prisoner in Theresienstadt. Now she is the star of an... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    Features    July 19, 2013

'Hannah Arendt' movie captures intensity of intellectual combat

LOS ANGELES (JTA)—Movie mavens may have to come up with a new genre to classify “Hannah Arendt,” the biopic of the German-Jewish philosopher. New York Times critic A.O. Scott suggests it is an... Full story

 By Tom Tugend    Features    April 12, 2013

In telling story of fledgling Israeli Air Force, three filmmakers going their own ways

LOS ANGELES (JTA)—Some 65 years after a band of foreign volunteers took to the skies to ensure Israel’s birth and survival, filmmakers are racing to bring their exploits to the screen before the last of the breed passes away. Among the competing... Full story


In 2 Oscar-nominated documentaries, Israel takes a hit on occupation—and helps pays for it

LOS ANGELES (JTA)—It’s hard to imagine two more divergent perspectives on Israeli-Palestinian relations: that of a Palestinian farmer whose village is resisting the encroachment of a nearby... Full story


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