SANTA KLEZ WITH METROPOLITAN KLEZMER
With Cornelia Street Café set to close, don’t miss its last Merry Klezmer show, featuring the leading klez revivalists the Metropolitan Klezmer. Known for its sweeping arrangements and versatile ensemble playing, the quintet blends downtown, classical and world music into a danceable neo-traditional Yiddish repertoire. New York Music Daily called the group “Exhilarating … high-voltage … deliciously shape-shifting.” — Tuesday, Dec. 25, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com.
VARTN AF GODOT
The Yiddish language expresses dark humor and existential angst particularly well, which makes it a perfect vehicle for Samuel Beckett’s 1953 absurdist play “Waiting for Godot,”which was originally written in French. So well suit, in fact, that The New Yorker claims the play “may finally have found its mother tongue.” This is the New Yiddish Rep’s second production of the play (the first was mounted in 2013); it’s translated by Shane Baker and directed by the 14th Street Y’s Ronit Muszkatblit. Reflecting on issues of the day, this version portrays Estragon and Vladimir as refugees looking for a safe haven. With David Mandelbaum as Estragon and Rafael Goldwaser as Vladimir. — Previews begin Monday, Dec. 24, 7:30 p.m. (opening Sunday, Jan. 6, 2 p.m.), through Jan. 27, Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St., (646) 395-4310, newyiddishrep.org. $35.
PAUL SHAPIRO’S RIBS & BRISKET REVUE, WITH FRANK LONDON
The Ribs and Brisketeers, who put a Jewishy twist on Louis Jordan’s “jump jazz” from the 1930s, get a jump themselves for this New Year’s gig in the person of the leading klez trumpeter Frank London. The hard-swinging band (Shapiro’s tenor sax leads the riotous way) also features vocalist Cilla Owens, whom JazzTimes says is “as smooth as Nancy Wilson, as authoritative as Sarah Vaughan, and as informed as Carmen McRae.” The ensemble performs jazz-klez classics such as The “Ballad of Irving,” “Yiddishe Mambo” and “Dunkin’ Bagel,” as well as tunes from Cannonball Adderley’s 1964 reimagination of “Fiddler on the Roof.” — Tuesday, Jan. 1, 11 a.m., City Winery, 155 Varick St., (212) 608-0555, citywinery.com. $10.
YIDDISH NEW YORK
Now in its fourth year, Yiddish New York, the largest and most eclectic assembly of Yiddish culture in the U.S., is an intergenerational gathering featuring daily workshops and a range of performances and programming. Events include concerts, dance parties and jam sessions at clubs and other venues around the Lower East side. Headliners include Yiddish stage actor Shane Baker; Yiddish singer, multi-instrumentalist and scholar Michael Alpert; violinist/vocalist Eléonore Biezunski; punk-folk-klezmer bandleader Daniel Kahn and more. — Saturday-Thursday, Dec. 22-27. For a detailed schedule, visit yiddishnewyork.com.
MERRY CHANUKAH WITH JUDY GOLD
Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian Judy Gold discusses being Jewish on Christmas. She also talks about her Jewish relatives, kids, partners and sex life (or lack thereof). Acclaimed for her one-woman play “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother,” Gold has been described as “an underappreciated gem of the New York comedy scene” by The New York Times. — Sunday, Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m., Caroline’s on Broadway, 1626 Broadway, (212) 757-4100, carolines.com. $27-$103.
CHRISTMAS EVE FOR THE JEWS
From his stint on the Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago basketball team to his tour of duty in the Israeli Army (which became the memoir “The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah”), nothing escapes comedian Joel Chasnoff’s sharp — yet 100 percent clean — Jewish wit. Together with fellow comedian Mark Schiff (Jerry Seinfeld’s opening act on tour) and pianist Brian Gelfand, Chasnoff will throw Jesus a very Jewish birthday party. — Monday, Dec. 24, 6 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show, City Winery, 155 Varick St., (212) 608-0555, citywinery.com. $60.
A VERY JEWISH CHRISTMAS
A group of leading Jewish comedians — including Marion Grodin, James Goff, Sam Morril, Jared Freid and more — gather for Gotham’s annual kosher Christmas comedy set. — Monday, Dec. 24, 7 p.m., Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St., (212) 367-9000, gothamcomedyclub.com.
Among the city’s best-known Jewish rock bands, the veteran group Soulfarm was founded in Israel of the ’90s by Grammy-winning guitarist C Lanzbom and lead singer Noah Solomon Chase. Their sound is a mix of mainstream rock, Jewish/Middle Eastern, bluegrass and Celtic influences. — Monday, Dec. 24, doors 7 p.m., concert 8 p.m., Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St., highlineballroom.com.
The acclaimed Israeli-American guitarist claimed the No. 1 spot in the Rising Star-Guitar Category in the 2017 DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll). He has established a reputation for silky harmonies and easy lyricism — “a vision of modern jazz that’s harmonically fluent but not averse to simple melody or gentle, approachable effect,” as The Times wrote. — Friday-Saturday, Dec. 21-22, 8:30 and 10 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com.
RUTH RUBIN’S LEGACY OF YIDDISH SONG
An evening of singing, stories and reminiscences of renowned vocalist and scholar Ruth Rubin by her family, friends, colleagues and students. — Sunday, Dec. 23, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
A NIGHT OF YIDDISH SONG
A pioneer of the Yiddish cultural revival, NEA National Heritage Fellow Michael Alpert is best known for his performances and recordings as a solo artist, with the ensembles Brave Old World and Kapelye, as well as his collaborations with artists including Itzhak Perlman, Theodore Bikel and Daniel Kahn. — Sunday, Dec. 23, 9:30 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
BROZA AND FRIENDS NOT EXACTLY CHRISTMAS SHOW
David Broza returns to NYC for his 21st annual Christmas Eve concert. His folksy music represents a cultural fusion of the four different countries in which he was raised and now lives: Israel, Spain, England and the U.S. — Saturday, Dec. 22, 8 p.m., Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, (212) 864-5400, symphonyspace.org.
“Vakht oyf!” (Mir shlufn nisht) or “Awaken!” (We Don’t Sleep) is a late-night showcase of Yiddish punk, echoing out from the space between Alicia Svigals’ distortion-pedal-enhanced fiddle and the tagged-up restrooms of CBGBs. Featuring downtown queer-punk legends “God Is My Copilot,” Koyt Far Dayn Fardakht playing Yiddish revolutionary songs old and new and solo noise artist natalie.computer. Part of Yiddish New York Festival. — Saturday, Dec. 22, 10 p.m., Caveat, 21A Clinton St., (212) 228-2100, caveat.nyc.
THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET
In the spirit of Alfred Kazin’s “A Walker in the City,” Matt Green, a 30-ish Jewish New Yorker from Ashland, Va., set out to walk every street in the five boroughs. Along the way (it took him six years), he’s become an expert on the “churchogogues” (abandoned synagogues that have become churches) and odd corners and history of our city. Documentarian Jeremy Workman followed along for the last three years, and the result (Jesse Eisenberg is executive producer) is a stirring ode to the sidewalks of New York. — Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th St., (212) 255-2243, quadcinema.com
THE LAST RESORT
Before the arrival of “Miami Vice” and “MTV Spring Break,” South Beach was home to the largest cluster of Jewish retirees in the country. Through the lens of young photographers Andy Sweet and Gary Monroe, “The Last Resort” documents this unique and brief chapter in the city’s history. — Releasing theatrically Friday, Dec. 21, at Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan (334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, jccmanhattan.org.) and Quad Cinemas (34 W. 13th St., (212) 255-2243, quadcinema.com).
CHAGALL, LISSITZKY, MALEVICH
This Jewish Museum show explores a little-known chapter in the history of modernity and the Russian avant-garde, focusing on the People’s Art School (1918-1922), founded by Marc Chagall in his native city of Vitebsk (present-day Belarus). Featuring the works of three iconic figures — Marc Chagall, El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich — as well as works by lesser-known students and teachers of the Vitebsk school. — Through Jan. 6, 2019, The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (at 92nd Street), (212) 423-3200, thejm.org.
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