A Lucy Kaplansky song can flat-out break your heart. “You can have my heart, but it isn’t new./ It’s been used and broken and only comes in blue,” she sings in “Broken Things,” though redemption lurks. The singer-songwriter with the twangy, cowgirl charm calls herself “a Jewish girl from Chicago who loved country gospel.” She paid homage to that heritage on the title song of her “Reunion” CD, from 2012, which tells the story of a 1971 family trip from Chicago to Toronto to visit her father’s mother, who emigrated from Poland: “First stop in town / was my grandmother’s bakery / She stood there and welcomed us/ the American celebrities.” Her ode to New York after 9/11 is a pain-laced prayer: “This is the land of the living/ This is the land that’s mine/ She still watches over Manhattan /She’s still holding onto that torch for life.” — Friday, Jan. 17 and Saturday, Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m., City Vineyard, 223 West St., Pier 26, Hudson River Park, cityvineyardnyc.org. $30.
SOUL TO SOUL
The concept of “soul,” in the musical sense, is elusive. Is Van Morrison a “soul” singer? (Surely!) Are Hall and Oates, they of the “blue-eyed” variety? (Nah.) One of the most soulful tunes in the jazz repertory, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” (a Cannonball Adderley vehicle), was written by a white Austrian Catholic pianist, Joe Zawinul. There’s little argument, however, that soulfulness seeps from African-American spirituals and from the music Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants carried with them to these shores; in each, a tear and a smile coexist majestically. Those two musical traditions come together, set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement and the upcoming Martin Luther King Day commemoration, in what has become an annual concert. This year, the Folksbiene teams with the IMPACT Repertory Theatre in Harlem for the show, which features Lisa Fishman, Cantor Magda Fishman, Elmore James and Tony Perry. With a special introduction by Dartmouth’s Professor Susannah Heschel. With all the anti-Semitism in the air lately, this concert offers a musical salve. — Sunday, Jan. 20, 2 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., nytf.org. $35-$65.
FREYTAG NAKHT LEBN (FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE)
An extended oneg plus live performances by 11 members of the cast of “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish,” the recently closed Off Broadway hit, will follow services in Temple Emanu-El’s historic sanctuary. Expect to hear “Shadkhnte, Shadkhnte” (Matchmaker, Matchmaker), “Tog-ayn, Tog-oys” (Sunrise, Sunset), “Libst Mikh, Setse” (Do You Love Me) and “Shabes Brokhe” (Sabbath Prayer). — Jan. 24, 6-8 p.m., Temple Emanu-El, Fifth Avenue at 65th Street, (212) 744-1400. Free.
THE LABOR OF LIFE
The New Yiddish Rep takes on Hanoch Levin’s absurdist work about a man who wants to walk away from his marriage after 30 years and start a new life. Suffice it to say, he barely makes it to the front door. Gara Sandler directs, with Sandler as the much-put-upon Yona, Ronit Asheri-Sandler as his wife Leviva and David Mandelbaum as the needy bachelor friend Gunkel. Yiddish translation by Eli Rosen. — Jan. 17-19, 24-26, 7:30 p.m., The Cyrus and Rose Feldman Studio Theater, 315 W. 39 Street, 9th floor, newyiddishrep.org.
Mounting plays, especially overtly political ones, by Palestinian playwrights in New York City has been a dicey proposition over the years (see “My Name is Rachel Corrie”). But the set-up for Amir Nizar Zuabi’s “Grey Rock” — a Palestinian man is so enthralled by the 1969 NASA moon landing that he begins to build a space rocket in his shed — gives it a less political and more allegorical cast. Zuabi told The New York Times that the moon landing “encapsulated all of the American values … the bravura, the nothing-is-impossible attitude, the technological superiority. It’s almost a reversal of who we are.” A Remote Theater Project presentation and part of the Public Theatre’s “Under the Radar Festival.” — Through Saturday, Jan. 19, The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. (Astor Place), publictheater.org.
MISS AMERICA’S UGLY DAUGHTER
Barra Grant stars in her two-character, one-woman autobiographical show about growing up as the un-pageant-ready daughter of Bess Meyerson, the first and so far only Jewish Miss America, and then having a daughter of her own. The Los Angeles Times calls the play “harrowing, heartbreaking, hilarious comic gold.” — Through March 1, Margorie Dean Little Theater, 10 W. 64th St., missamericasuglydaughter.com. $49-$89.
HOW MANY BUSHELS AM I WORTH?
Hard to believe that it’s been 50 years since the first wave of Jewish immigrants from the FSU washed upon these shores. Now comes the New York premiere of Kevin Olson and Soviet émigré Bena Shklyanoy’s “How Many Bushels Am I Worth?” (The title refers to the U.S.-U.S.S.R. trade deal of the 1970s that tied the exchange of American goods such as wheat to the release of Soviet Jews.) Through the lens of the Shklyanoy family’s emigration, the play highlights a unique time in Jewish history: when establishment organizations and grass-roots advocacy groups coalesced to secure the release of Soviet Jews. — Jan. 16-19, 23-26, Mark O’Donnell Theater at The Actors Fund Arts Center, 160 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn, appledoesnotfall.com. $30.
NEW YORK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
The Jewish Museum and Film Society Lincoln Center present the festival’s 29th season. This year’s highlights include new films like Dani Menkin’s “Aulcie” (Jan. 16), about the Israeli basketball icon, and Dror Zahavi’s “Crescendo” (Jan. 28), shown in its New York premiere, as well as 50th anniversary screenings of Vittorio De Sica’s tragic but lushly beautiful “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” (Jan. 26-27) and a new restoration of Charles Davenport’s long-lost 1919 film “Broken Barriers (Khavah),” about the daughter in Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye stories who “marries out” (Jan. 19). — Jan. 15-28, Film Society Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th St., filmlinc.org. (See story on page 22.)
CINEMATTERS: NY SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM FESTIVAL
Films, Shabbat and advocacy events, a service fair and panels and discussions (with “endless coffee” included) that celebrate and promote tzedakah, in the social justice sense of the word. There are special events for women, young adults and other interest groups. Highlights include “Praying with My Legs” (Jan. 18), a film about Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and “The Talmud of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” (Jan. 17), a Shabbat dinner and conversation with Ruth Messinger and Rabbi Abigail Treu, who will use the format of sacred text to talk about ways we can fulfill MLK’s legacy. — Jan 16-20, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., jccmanhattan.org.
A screening of the 2019 Academy Award winner for Best Live Action Short will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and moderator Dr. Eric Goldman, cohost of the Turner Classic Movies series “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film.” Director Guy Nattiv, whose previous films have won Ophir Awards in Israel, said he was inspired to make this film, about historic recurrence via the story of a neo-Nazi skinhead and his son, by his grandparents, who are Holocaust survivors. — Jan. 23, 6:30 p.m., The Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., emanuelnyc.org. $18.
The Israeli-born, Brooklyn-based vocalist, one among many Israeli jazz musicians who have passed through The New School’s jazz program, has an affinity for Billie Holiday and the mainstream jazz tradition. She’s also influenced by popular American music of the ’90s. — Friday, Jan. 17, 10 p.m., Pete’s Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St., Brooklyn, petescandystore.com. Free ($5 suggested donation); and Sunday, Jan. 26, 8 p.m., Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1, 196 Allen St., rockwoodmusichall.com. Free (one-drink minimum standing, two-drink minimum seated).
RACHEL FEINSTEIN: MAIDEN, MOTHER, CRONE
The sculptor, who grew up in Miami, creates fantastical and often highly sexualized pieces that probe notions of “the feminine” in pop culture. This show marks the first survey of her work in the U.S. — Through March 1, The Jewish Museum, Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, thejewishmuseum.org.
EDITH HALPERT AND THE RISE OF AMERICAN ART
Halpert (1900-1970), a Jewish immigrant, is considered the first significant female gallerist in the country. She championed American art at a time when the European avant-garde was in ascendance, and her Downtown Gallery in Greenwich Village promoted the work of modernists like Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keefe and Ben Shahn. — Through Feb. 9, The Jewish Museum, Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, thejewishmuseum.org.
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