What’s Going On In NYC This Week
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What’s Going On In NYC This Week

Your guide to Jewish-y events in New York city for Feb 17 – 26

The knish gets the museum treatment at The City Reliquary in Brooklyn. Barbara Pfeffer
The knish gets the museum treatment at The City Reliquary in Brooklyn. Barbara Pfeffer

HEROES OF THE KNISH

Yeah, you could order yours with spinach or broccoli or black beans or tofu, but if you’re doing Jewish-roots food, do it old school — only potatoes will suffice stuffed into that knish of yours. (Don’t get me started on jalapeno latkes!) The lowly, salt-of-the-Pale-of-Settlement-earth staple gets the high-brow treatment with a month-long museum show at The City Reliquary. The chronicler-queen of the knish, Laura Silver, author of the 2014 “Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food” (Brandeis), curates the just-opened show, whose aptly stuffed title is “Heroes of the Knish: Making a Living and Making a Life.” It features a history of the potato pie, from the Old Country to the sidewalk carts of the Lower East Side to the pricey delis of Midtown, and documents the lives of the men and women who made the crusty-chewy delicacy. On your way there or heading back home, hit Yonah Schimmel’s or Russ & Daughters. Deep culinary comfort, whether in a circle or a square, awaits. — The City Reliquary Museum, 370 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn. Through May 7. $5. Cityreliquary.org.      

SWING HIS PRAISES

Milken Archive of Jewish Music’s new virtual exhibit.
Milken Archive of Jewish Music’s new virtual exhibit.

The Buzz is usually about getting folks off the couch and out to clubs, museums, JCCs and theaters so they can consume culture live. But the Milken Archive of Jewish Music has just inaugurated a virtual exhibit that is so musically compelling and visually stunning that it deserves staying home for. The show, curated by Jeff Janeczko, is called “Swing His Praises: Jazz, Blues and Rock in the Service of God,” and it’s a kind of virtual sacred concert in the Duke Ellington vein. Except that the sacredness is Jewish (not “Come Sunday,” but “Come Friday Night,” perhaps). You’ll hear Dave Brubeck’s “The Gates of Justice” (Brubeck was Catholic but drew on black spirituals and cantorial music as nods to black-Jewish ties during the civil rights era); Jonathan Klein’s sacred service “Hear O Israel,” with jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Thad Jones; and a Bob Dylan-inspired service by Cantor Raymond Smolover, “Edge of Freedom.” The exhibit opens with a quote from Ralph Ellison: “A great religious leader is a ‘master of ecstasy.’ He evokes emotions that move beyond the rational onto the mystical. A jazz musician does something the same.” And the virtual congregation says, Amen. — Milkenarchive.org.

Theater

IF I FORGET

In the final months before 9/11, liberal (to say the least; he’s publishing a book about forgetting the Holocaust) Jewish studies Professor Michael Fischer has reunited with his two sisters to celebrate their father’s 75th birthday. Each deeply invested in their own version of family history, destructive secrets and long-held resentments bubble to the surface — with biting humor and razor-sharp insight — in this powerful tale of a family, and culture, at odds with itself. — Through April 30, The Laura Pels Theatre, 111 W. 46th St., (212) 719-1300, roundabouttheatre.org. $79.

LEAH, THE FORSAKEN

A tale of forbidden love, betrayal and redemption from master of melodrama Augustin Daly. In early 18th-century Austria, a Jewish emigrant fleeing persecution in Hungary finds love and betrayal among the good people who could be her salvation — if they would only see through their fear of the Other. — Opens Friday, Feb. 17 (opening night and reception, $50) through March 12, Metropolitan Playhouse, 220 E. Fourth St., (800) 838-3006, metropolitanplayhouse.org/leahtheforsaken. $30 general admission/$25 seniors & students/$10 children.

LAVENDER SONGS: A QUEER WEIMAR BERLIN CABARET

In a bald reminder that our times bear a striking resemblance to Weimar Germany, restaurant-theater hybrid Pangea uses Inauguration Day to debut “Lavender Songs,” an award-winning, risqué and gender-bending show starring Jeremy Lawrence — or, more aptly, his cabaret alter ego “Tante Fritzy” — and incorporating music by queer composers from the Berlin underground during Nazi Germany. — Through April 8, 7 p.m., Pangea, 178 Second Ave. (11th-12th Sts.), (212) 995-0900, pangeanyc.com. $20, plus $20 food/beverage minimum.

THE DRESSMAKER’S SECRET

Nineteen-year-old Robi is eager to escape oppressive Communist Russia to forge a new life in the West, but his mother’s revelation that his father, rather than being killed in action as he’d believed, is either a Jewish teacher she hid during the war or the Hungarian soldier who persecuted him, forces Robi to decide whether to embrace his ancestry … or run from it. — Feb. 8-March 5, 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St., 59e59.org. $25 regular/$17.50 members.

NOT THAT JEWISH

Written by and starring the Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated writer, actress and comedian Monica Piper, this has been lauded as a hilarious and heartfelt autobiographical tale of a Jew-“ish” woman’s life. — Open run, New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., (212) 239-6200, notthatjewish.com. From $49.

JERRY SEINFELD: THE HOMESTAND

Following his sold-out Beacon run last year, the comic extends his monthly stand-up series through Oct. 5. Rolling Stone wrote, “Jerry Seinfeld kills. Yada yada yada.”— Through Oct. 5, Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway, (212) 465-6225, beacontheatre.com. $79-$175.

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL

The inspiring story of King’s remarkable rise from teenage songwriter to a star who wrote the soundtrack to an entire generation. — Through July 2. Visit beautifulonbroadway.com for show times and tickets. From $69.

Film

HESTER STREET

In 1896 New York, Steven Keats’ Yankel transforms himself into the all-American, beardless “Jake,” acquiring a home-grown girlfriend along the way…before his sheitel-wearing wife Carol Kane (in an Oscar-nominated performance) shows up on his doorstep, and cultures collide. Despite this classic film’s shoestring budget, “Hester Street,” from 1974, is a strikingly authentic look at late 19th-century Lower East Side life, based on “Yekl, A Tale of the New York Ghetto” by Abraham Cahan. An audience Q&A with director Joan Micklin Silver will follow the screening. — Sunday, Feb. 19, 4:10 p.m., Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St., (212) 727-8110, filmforum.org. $8 members/$14 regular.

THE SETTLERS

This Best Documentary winner at Israel’s Ophir Awards explores the origins of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the changes they have imposed on Israeli and Palestinian societies and their impact on world affairs. Director Shimon Dotan explores the various forces that shape the lives of the settlers both externally and internally, immersing himself in their midst to deliver a film “from within,” Dotan says. “This film is an exercise in listening.” — Tuesday, Feb. 21, 7:30-9:30 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, info@jccmanhattan.org. $12 public/$9 members.

KEEP QUIET

Csanad Szegedi rose through the ranks to lead Hungary’s far-right, anti-Semitic Jobbik Party, only to discover that his grandparents were, in fact, Jewish. An astonishing, turbulent tale of confronting one’s history in the face of historical condemnation. — Opens Friday, Feb. 17, Lincoln Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway, (212) 757-0359, lincolnplazacinemas.com. $15 adults/$11 seniors (65+).

Talk

AN EVENING
WITH AL GORE

As the climate conversation heats up (for some more than others), the former vice president and focus of filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” has morphed into a climate advocate worldwide, waging a tireless crusade against the venomous effects of global warming on the environment. During this presentation, Gore will pose key questions about our ability to ensure a sustainable future, and, using the latest data, offer solutions beneficial both to our planet and our economy. — Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m., The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, One E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, info@emanuelstreickernyc.org. $45 general/$25 temple members & students/$255 VIP reception, photo line & reserved section.

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION, BOBKA RECEPTION

The collection of oral histories of those who have lived and worked on the Lower East Side and a family of artists who repurposed a 135-year-old synagogue will be the focus of a roundtable discussion of Jewish New York. Panelists will be Niki Russ Federman, co-owner of Russ & Daughters, Alexandra Kelly, manager of the New York Public Library’s Lower East Side Oral History Project and filmmaker Casimir Nozkowski. Paul Kaplan, author of the guidebook “Jewish New York,” will moderate, exploring three people who have brought innovation to traditional Jewish spaces on the LES and beyond. A reception featuring kosher babka from Russ & Daughters will follow. — Sunday, Feb. 26, 2 p.m., Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St. (Canal-Division Sts.), (212) 219-0888×205, eldridgestreet.org. $14 adults/$10 students and seniors (includes museum admission).

Music

BETWEEN FIRE AND ICE: A DIABOLICAL WEIMAR BERLIN CABARET

International chanteuse Adrienne Haan returns to NYC with a bang, kicking off the spring season with her 54 Below debut, accompanied by Richard Danley on piano. Under Danley’s musical direction, Haan vivaciously relives this bodacious period probing the ties between feminist struggle and female glamour, taking the audience on an enchanting musical voyage through 1920s Berlin — and history. “Don’t miss this event,” Haan teases. “It will be witty, fun, sexy … but also diplomatically political!” — Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m., 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Cellar, (646) 476-3551, 54below.com. $25-$35 online (additional $5 at venue)/$60 premium, plus a $25 food and beverage minimum.

Exhibitions

SHABBAT: INSIDE AND OUT

With the cessation of the workday routine on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, relationships and the spirit are revitalized as families share precious time at festive meals. The objects on display highlight two aspects of this holy day: the private/domestic and the communal/ceremonial. — Through May 11, Yeshiva University Museum, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8330, info@yum.cjh.org. Members and children under 5 free/$6 seniors and students/$8 adults.

THE JEWISH GHETTO IN POSTCARDS

Postcards from the Balatnik Archive chronicle Jewish life from Eastern Europe to the Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th century, offering unique pictorial perspectives on the history of immigration. — Through March 8, Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., (212) 219-0302, eldridgestreet.org.

THE FIRST JEWISH AMERICANS

How did Jewish settlers come to inhabit—and change—the New World? In this ground-breaking exhibition, rare portraits, drawings, maps, documents and ritual objects illuminate how 18th- and 19th-century Jewish artists, writers and activists adopted American ideals while struggling to remain distinct and socially cohesive amidst the birth of a new Jewish American tradition. — Through March 12, New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, (212) 873-3400, nyhistory.org.

HUGH MESIBOV’S BOOK OF JOB MURAL

In 1969, Temple Beth El in Spring Valley commissioned a huge mural illustrating the biblical account of the suffering and redemption of Job, now on view. — Through March 12, Yeshiva University Museum, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8330, info@yum.cjh.org. For hours and admission rates: yumuseum.org/visit.

UNCOMMON THREADS

Our ancestors used clothing and textiles to beautify their synagogues, their tables and themselves on Shabbat and holidays as well as important lifecycle events. Many of these were preserved, with highlights including a sumptuous 18th-century lecturn cover that belonged to a former Chief Rabbi of Izmir, a 19th-century dress and a 1950 custom-made lace wedding gown. — Through April 29, Yeshiva University Museum, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8330, info@yum.cjh.org. For hours and admission rates: yumuseum.org/visit.

GANZE MEGILLAH

In celebration of Purim, The Laurie M. Tisch Gallery is pleased to exhibit the stunning, large-scale illuminated Scroll of Ester created by the well-known Israeli painter Avner Moriah. The ancient story of Esther is told by mixing Persian, Indian and Islamic art, miniature-style painting with Italian Renaissance styling and contemporary humor, politics and sensibilities. — Through March. 29, 8 a.m.-11 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. (at 76th St.), (646) 505-4444, info@jccmanhattan.org.

To publish events, submit them to jewishweekcalendar@gmail.com two weeks or more in advance, or post them online at JWCalendar.com. In the print edition, we cannot guarantee inclusion due to space limitations. Since scheduling changes may occur, we recommend contacting the venue before heading out to an event.

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