THE N.Y. SEPHARDIC JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
Now in its 21st year, this 10-day festival features documentaries and narrative films about the history, traditions, and rich mosaic culture of the Sephardic communities from various countries. Produced by Moroccan-French opera singer and actor David Serero, this year’s edition includes the New York premiere of “Why Do They Hate Us,” one of a trilogy of documentaries exploring ISIS’ presence in France (Wednesday, March 7, 7 p.m.); the feature “Nora’s Will,” about a woman whose death brings her estranged family together (Thursday, March 8, 7 p.m.); “Remember Baghdad,” a doc following the fates of famed Baghdadi Jewish families (Thursday, March 15, 7:30 p.m.), and more. —March 5-15, Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., nysephardifilmfestival.org.
The choreography of modern dance pioneer Anna Sokolow, who died in 2000, is hailed for its social commitment and searing depictions of urban loneliness. Zeroing in on society’s vulnerable, her signature passages were of dancers hopelessly running in place, silently screaming, staring confrontationally at the audience and, suddenly, painfully falling to the ground. Highlighting these emotional aspects of her work, the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble presents several of her most intense pieces, including 1961’s “Dreams,” a work spun from Sokolow’s own nightmares about the Holocaust. The Times called it “one of the most shattering and the most impressive of contemporary dance theater.” — Sunday-Tuesday, March 8-10, 8 p.m., and Wednesday, March 11, 3 p.m., The Actors Fund Arts Center, 160 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn, (718) 640-1843.
A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BOOKS
People of the Book, meet your match. More than 50 Jewish authors and storytellers gather to showcase the diversity of Jewish literacy, from Jewish detectives to Yiddish culture to cooking and biographies. Alongside breakout sessions with some prominent authors, both famed and upcoming (Tova Mirvis, Anita Diament, Shulem Deen, Ruby Namdar and many others), there’s a kids’ corner with Jewish storytellers, musicians and activities, as well as a pop-up bookstore for the grownups. — Sunday, March 11, 11 a.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, emanuelskirballnyc.org.
OLD STOCK: A REFUGEE LOVE STORY
Written by Christian Barry, Hannah Moscovitch and Canadian klezmer-folk sensation Ben Caplan (who plays the lead role), this music-theater hybrid is inspired by the real-life story of Moscovitch’s great-grandparents, both Romanian Jews, who immigrated to Canada in the early 20th century. An examination of the refugee experience, which takes the form of a humorously dark folktale morphing into a high-energy concert. — Opens Thursday, March 8 through Apr. 22, 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (212) 279-4200,59e59.org.
KING OF THE JEWS – A READING
Wherever the Germans went throughout Europe during the wartime years, they set up governing councils to control Jewish life in the ghettos. Leslie Epstein’s play “King of the Jews” tells the story of one such morally ambiguous Judenrat. Presented in English by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. — Monday, March 5, 7 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org. Free, RSVP at RSVP@NYTF.org.
THE HIDDEN ONES
Two families, a hidden room and a mysterious Off-Broadway play that takes place in an undisclosed location: “The Hidden Ones,” a site-specific, non-traditional, immersive experience, invites 10 audience members at a time to delve into true stories of love, humanity and loss of those forced into hiding during the Holocaust. It will be hard not to think of Anne Frank in her Amsterdam attic. — Through March, address provided with purchase. Tickets are extremely limited and are available at thehiddenonesnyc.com.
A LETTER TO HARVEY MILK
San Francisco, 1986. Harry is an amiable but lonely retired kosher butcher. Barbara is his young lesbian writing teacher at a senior center, with whom he has little in common. When Harry fulfills a writing assignment to compose a letter to someone who has died, he writes not to his late wife Frannie but to Harvey Milk, the first openly gay political leader in California. Life-changing revelations follow. — Through March 9, Acorn Theatre @ Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St., (212) 239-6200, telecharge.com.
A WALK WITH MR. HEIFETZ
A new James Inverne play focuses on a 1925 concert in pre-state Palestine given by violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz. People flocked from far and wide to hear him, including Yehuda Sharett, composer and brother of future Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. Legend has it that after the concert, Heifetz and Sharett walked together and shared a conversation that ended up changing the world. — Through March 4, Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., (212) 352-3101, primarystages.org.
REELABILITIES FILM FESTIVAL
Founded in 2007 by JCC Manhattan, the weeklong festival is the largest in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. — March 8-14, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., reelabilities.org.
JEWISH WOMEN’S FILM FESTIVAL
This festival focuses on the experiences, aspirations and accomplishments of Jewish women through the ages and throughout the world. Sponsored by the Eleanor Leff Jewish Women’s Resource Center of the National Council of Jewish Women New York. The screenings will be followed by a reception and awards ceremony. — Sunday, March 4, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, (212) 864-5400, symphonyspace.org.
Eight years after his highly acclaimed “Lebanon,” which took viewers into the interior of an Israeli tank, Samuel Maoz is back with “Foxtrot,” winner of eight Israeli Film Academy Awards. Part real, part surreal, the film homes in on parents’ grief after their soldier son has been killed. — Opens Friday, March 2, Angelika Film Center, 18 W. Houston St., (212) 995-2570, angelikafilmcenter.com.
The brainchild of violinist and pianist Benjamin Sutin, this jazz/klez ensemble has a multicultural spirit and a healthy sense of humor. Rooted in the jazz idiom and drawing its inspiration from the different ethnic backgrounds of its members, Klazz-Ma-Tazz playfully mixes influences from Eastern European klezmer, Balkan folk music, classical Indian music, Native American tribal dances and more. — Sunday, March 11, 8 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com.
Dubbed “the klezmer Phish” for its funky interpretations of Jewish classics, this Pittsburgh-based klez band serves up a distinctive “soul stew” of Jewish-flavored funk, rock, jazz and blues. Chillent’s Gedaliah Aronson, Shua Hoexter and Sruli Broocker make their City Winery debut and will be joined by Jon Madof and Marlon Sobol of Zion80. Yisrael Arye Gootblatt of the Brooklyn Jazz Warriors will swing by as well. — Sunday, March 4, 11 a.m. doors, 12:30 p.m. concert, City Winery, 155 Varick St., (212) 608-0555, citywinery.com.
This Grammy-nominated band composed of New York-based Moroccan expats and led by Israeli-American-Bukharian jazz trumpeter Itamar Borochov examines gnawa, the traditional, ritual healing music of black communities formed of former soldiers and slaves. Often referred to as the “Moroccan blues,” this music is part of the soundscape of traditional Moroccan Jewry. The performance takes place on the opening night of the New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, alongside an awards ceremony. — Monday, March 5, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (800) 838-3006, nysephardifilmfestival.org.
PIANIST INON BARNATAN
Celebrated for his poetic sensibility and probing intellect, the Israeli pianist explores works by Schubert (Gramophone hailed Barnatan as “A born Schubertian”), Rachmaninoff and contemporary Israeli composer Avner Dorman. — Saturday, March 3, 8 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org.
FROM THE YIDDISH RIALTO TO THE SILVER SCREEN
Exploring Yiddish theater’s golden age, this concert features songs from jazz-infused Yiddish musicals, hits made popular on the Yiddish radio and film clips (courtesy of National Center for Jewish Film) from the Yiddish musical cinema of the 1930s and 1940s. Starring Daniel Greenwood (“The Mikado”), Cameron Johnson and Rachel Policar (“The Golden Bride”), Raquel Nobile and Daniella Rabbani (“Amerike,” “The Golden Land”). Also featuring the Uptown Downtown Orchestra, conducted by Zalmen Mlotek. — Sunday, March 11, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place (646) 437-4202. For tickets: (866) 811-4111, NYFT.org.
AMBASSADOR RON DERMER IN CONVERSATION WITH THANE ROSENBAUM
Forum on Law, Culture and Society director Thane Rosenbaum sits down with Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. — Thursday, March 8, 8 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org.
THE LODZ GHETTO
Professor Samuel Kassow illuminates life in the Lodz Ghetto with two lectures: “What Was Different About the Lodz Ghetto?” (12:30-1:30 p.m.) and “Culture in the Lodz Ghetto: Reportage Photography and Poetry” (2-3 p.m.). Following the lectures, seminar attendees are invited to visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s new show, “Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross.” — Sunday, March 4, 12:30 -4 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
In 1940, when photographer Henryk Ross, who died in 1991, was confined to the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, he was put to work by the Nazi regime as a photographer for the Jewish Administration’s Statistics department. For four years, he used his official position as cover, endangering his own life to covertly document the horrors and complexities of life in the Lodz Ghetto and to preserve evidence of Nazi crimes. “Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross” presents more than 200 of these photographs, supplemented by artifacts and testimony and presented in the context of Lodz Ghetto history. — Through June 24, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
JEWS IN SPACE: MEMBERS OF THE TRIBE IN ORBIT
Exploring the Jewish fascination with outer space, the Center For Jewish History’s and YIVO’s new exhibit includes rare 18th- and 19th-century rabbinic tomes on astronomy, in Hebrew, German and Yiddish; Judaica taken into space aboard the Space Shuttle by astronaut Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman, and works of science fiction from throughout the centuries, in Yiddish, English, Polish, and Russian. —Center for Jewish History, 15 W.16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
HERBERT FERBER AND MARK ROTHKO
Sculptor Herbert Ferber, who died in 1991, and iconic painter Mark Rothko, who died in 1970, deeply influenced each other’s works. A new gallery show explores the long artistic and personal dialogue between the two; it showcases their Abstract Expressionism. — Through April 14, David Zwirner Gallery, 34 E. 69th St., (212) 517-8677.
ZURBARÁN’S JACOB AND HIS TWELVE SONS
Painted by 17th-century Spanish Golden Age master Francisco de Zurbarán, “Jacob And His Twelve Sons” is an ambitious series of 13 paintings that depict life-size figures from the Old Testament. On loan from Auckland Castle, prior to 2017 the paintings have never before traveled to the U.S. — Through April 22, The Frick, 1 E. 70th St., (212) 288-0700, frick.org/exhibitions/Zurbaran.
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