The accordion is one of those folk instruments that packs an emotional ethnic punch. In the 1800s, it became a popular instrument first in Eastern Europe, then throughout the continent. As migrants made the trip overseas to America (or from Canada down to the Bayou in Louisiana, as was the route for the squeeze-box-savvy Cajuns who created zydeco music), many brought their accordions along with them. As a result, the instrument played a prominent role in the Jewish musical life of the Lower East Side. In the old “mother” neighborhood, the sounds of the accordion evoked the shtetels of the old country; today, musicians from around the globe are breathing new life and traditions into it. Accordionists James Keane, Ismail Butera and Angel “Arison” Gutierrez, along with host Bob Godfried, will present accordion tunes from klezmer, Irish, Dominican, Balkan and Mediterranean musical traditions. — Sunday, Dec. 9, 3-5 p.m., Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., (212) 219-0302, eldridgestreet.org.
NEW KLEZMER MUSIC BY WINOGRAD AND HOLMES
Clarinetist Michael Winograd and trumpeter Ben Holmes are two of the top klezmer musicians working today and they’ve performed with a veritable Who’s Who of the klez world. In this afternoon performance, they present a set of works-in-progress, composed firmly within the klezmer idiom but assertively confronting its boundaries. Expect swoops and slides and slurs, all in the service of having the Jewish soul soar. — Saturday, Dec. 15, 4 p.m., Barbès, 376 Ninth St., Brooklyn, (347) 422-0248, barbesbrooklyn.com.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE WITH PETER YARROW
Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame first performed his Chanukah hit “Light One Candle” at Carnegie Hall in 1982. He has been singing about the national liberation struggle of the Maccabees, as well as many other liberation struggles, ever since, impelled, in part, by his Judaism. Following a Chanukah service and menorah lighting, Yarrow will perform “One Candle” and other songs. An extended Oneg Shabbat will follow, complete with sufganiyot and all-you-can-eat latkes with a variety of toppings. — Friday, Dec. 7, 6 p.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, emanuelstreickernyc.org.
THE RUSSIAN AND THE JEW
“The Russian and the Jew” is a political fairy tale that explores anti-Semitism and misogyny through a female friendship in the Soviet Union in 1968 and underlines the eternal question of fidelity to oneself, one’s partner and one’s country. — Through Dec. 20, The Tank NYC, 312 W. 36th St., todaytix.com. (See story on page 32.)
For 12 years, Jewish burlesque mavericks Darlinda Just Darlinda and Minnie Tonka have teamed up in time for the Festival of Lights as the wicked duo The Schlep Sisters. The two return to celebrate the holiday with their own unique, campy, irreverent and minimally dressed brand of Jewish joy. They will be joined by fellow variety stars Sapphire Jones, Zoe Ziegfeld, The Great Dubini, Allegra and host Bastard Keith. — Sunday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m., Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St., highlineballroom.com.
GURI ALFI STAND-UP COMEDY
A popular comedian in Israel, Alfi performs his improvisational stand-up show in English. — Saturday, Dec. 8, 8:30 p.m., Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, (212) 864-5400, symphonyspace.org.
The great 19th-century Jewish female tragedian returns to the stage in Theresa Rebeck’s new play, in which the scenery-chewing actress takes on the role of the Danish prince. Janet McTeer, who won a Tony playing Nora in “A Doll House,” stars. — American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St., (212) 719-1300, roundabouttheatre.org. $49-$109.
THE OTHER JOSH COHEN
The night before Valentine’s Day, Josh Cohen — a broke and broken-hearted lovable loser — comes home to find his New York apartment has been broken into and wiped clean, except for one Neil Diamond CD. But as it turns out, for Josh losing everything is just the beginning. — Westside Theatre, 407 W. 43rd St., telecharge.com.
GLORIA: A LIFE
Five decades after Gloria Steinem began raising her voice for equality and championing those of others, her vision is as urgent as ever. The first act of this new show chronicles Steinem’s story, the second centers on the making of the play and the third is a Talking Circle where audience members get their say. — Through January 2019, The Daryl Roth Theatre, 101 E. 15th St., (800) 745-3000, gloriatheplay.com.
THE OPEN GATE
Theater for the New City brings back David Willinger’s musical adaptation of I.B. Singer’s novel, “The Manor,” about a wealthy Jewish businessman and his four daughters. — Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., (212) 868-4444, smarttix.com.
HARVEY FIERSTEIN’S TORCH SONG
Condensed to 2½ hours, Harvey Fierstein’s original four-hour, semi-autobiographical 1982 “Torch Song” follows the ups and downs of Arnold Beckoff, a Jewish gay drag queen and torch singer. This Broadway revival, directed by Moisés Kaufman and starring Michael Urie as Arnold and Tony-winner Mercedes Ruehl as his mom, had a hit run Off Broadway at Second Stage Theater. — Hayes Theater, 240 W. 44th St., (212) 239-6200, torchsongbroadway.com.
FIDDLER IN YIDDISH
Directed by Oscar- and Tony Award-winner Joel Grey, a rich Yiddish translation by the late Shraga Friedman adds new depth and dimension to the iconic musical, and it has gotten raves. Presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. — Through Dec. 30, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (866) 811-4111, mjhnyc.org. (The show is moving Off Broadway beginning in February.)
ARI HOENIG TRIO
Veteran drummer and composer Ari Hoenig plays a flexible, broad-minded brand of jazz, incorporating influences from hardcore punk and metal, hip-hop, acid jazz and electronica. — Monday, Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m., Smalls Jazz Club, 183 W. 10th St., (646) 476-4346, smallslive.com.
THE ANNUAL CHANUKAH CONCERT
Featuring luminaries Eleanor Reissa, Frank London and the Klezmer Brass All-Stars, the Center for Jewish History’s annual holiday concert always plays to a packed house. — Sunday, Dec. 9, 3 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
EINAV YARDEN, PIANO
Young Israeli pianist Yarden — “A probing, incisive pianist with a beautiful sound and an impressively transparent touch,” says The Washington Post — plays a selection of compositions by Schumann, Haydn and Bartók. — Friday, Dec. 7, 9 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave.,92y.org.
ISRAELI JAZZ SPOTLIGHT
Hosted by Israeli-American bassist Nadav Remez, Cornelia’s monthly spotlight features Lior Milliger, an up-and-coming contemporary saxophonist, composer and improviser, who draws from the jazz tradition as well as ancient Jewish music and Israeli folklore (8 p.m.). Also on the bill is vocalist, composer and arranger Sivan Arbel, “one of the most captivating vocalists of her generation,” says The Jazz Writer. (9:30 p.m.) — Sunday, Dec. 9, Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com.
MUSICTALKS – CHANUKAH CONCERT FOR FAMILIES
Created and led by Israeli-American Cellist Elad Kabilio, MusicTalks is a series of concerts conducted in informal settings, meant to help demystify and popularize classical music. The MusicTalks musicians will play Chanukah songs from Israel, Yemen, Spain, Ukraine and more. After the concert, kids will meet the musicians and try out their instruments in Elad’s musical petting zoo. This multi-sensory program is suitable for children age 4 and above, with their adult family and friends. — Sunday, Dec. 9, noon, Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
The Israeli-American bassist has gigged with multi-Grammy-winner Billy Childs and his quartet, DownBeat award-winning saxophonist Eli Degibri and noted pianist Johnny O’Neal. He leads his own trio in Smalls’ after-hours session. — Sundays, Dec. 2 and 9, 1-4 a.m., Smalls Jazz Club, 183 W. 10th St., (646) 476-4346, smallslive.com.
Led by vocalist Isabelle Ganz, the Sephardic music ensemble Alhambra performs a Judeo-Spanish repertoire of wedding music, love songs and instrumental arrangements from the Jewish communities of Spain, the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa. — Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m., Barbès, 376 Ninth St., Brooklyn, (347) 422-0248, barbesbrooklyn.com.
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. — Through Thursday, Dec. 13, Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th St., (212) 255-2243, quadcinema.com
BACK TO THE FATHERLAND
“Back to the Fatherland” is the story of young Israelis leaving their homeland to try their luck in the same countries where their families were persecuted less than a century ago. — Tuesday, Dec. 11, 7-9 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, jccmanhattan.org.
Donna Swarthout, editor of a volume of essays by authors who reclaimed German citizenship as the descendants of persecuted Jews, discusses her story with historian David Sorkin (Yale), whose research on Jewish Emancipation illuminates the meanings of citizenship in Jewish history. — Monday, Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
THE EDWARD BLANK YIVO VILNA COLLECTIONS
Jonathan Brent, executive director and CEO of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, will speak about the Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Collections Project, begun in 2015, to conserve and digitize YIVO’s entire prewar library and archival collections located in NYC and Vilnius, Lithuania, reuniting them through a dedicated web portal. — Sunday, Dec. 16, 2 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
MENORAHS AROUND THE GLOBE
The Museum at Eldridge Street presents the remarkable Aharon Ben Zalman Collection of menorahs, spanning the globe and more than five centuries. — On view through spring 2019, Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., (212) 219-0302, eldridgestreet.org.
Just weeks after Kristallnacht (Nov. 9-10, 1938), the first group of Jewish refugee children arrived in the United Kingdom. The Leo Baeck Institute and the Yeshiva University Museum co-sponsor a new exhibition exploring this remarkable effort, one that saved some 10,000 children, many of whom never saw their parents again. — Opens Monday, Nov. 26, 6 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (800) 838-3006, cjh.org.
MARTHA ROSLER: IRRESPECTIVE
Brooklyn yeshiva-educated Martha Rosler is considered one of the strongest and most resolute artistic voices of her generation. (She has said that her Jewish education inspired her politics.) She skillfully employs diverse materials to address pressing matters of her time, including war, gender roles, gentrification, inequality and labor. From her feminist photomontages of the 1960s and ’70s to her large-scale installations, Rosler’s work reflects her enduring and passionate vision. — Through March 3, 2019, The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (at 92nd St.), (212) 423-3200, thejm.org.
Latin American artistry is rich with Sephardi and Crypto-Jewish allusions and symbols. “Nosotros: Connecting the Latino and Jewish Communities,” now in its second edition, is a group show composed of pieces by Latino artists celebrating the shared history and culture of Jewish and Latino communities. — Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
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 St.), (212) 423-3200, thejm.org.
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