EZEKIEL’S WHEELS KLEZMER BAND
For our money, this Boston-based quintet takes the award for the most creatively named klez band. The biblical prophet Ezekiel, he of the Dry Bones vision, also had a revelation that included angels and chariots, hence the “wheels.” Another set of wheels, train wheels, also figure in the band’s story, as it got its start busking at the Porter Square subway station in Cambridge, Mass. Says DownBeat magazine in a 2017 review of the “Turning Point” CD: Ezekiel’s Wheels “packs plenty of Jewish soul and dance spirit into the frisky original tunes and refurbished historical fare.” The group’s advance billing says it can “improvise with the intimacy of chamber music and the intensity of a rowdy dance band.” — Saturday, June 29, 8 p.m., Barbes, 376 Ninth St., Park Slope, Brooklyn, barbesbrooklyn.com.
The last time we saw the supremely gifted Israeli-born guitarist in the Village, he was sharing the stage with the noted vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, a collection of note-altering foot pedals next to his chair. He’d coax some otherworldly sounds out of the guitar and lend loping, Middle Eastern rhythms to jazz standards, as if a desert caravan were blowing through. Hekselman, the best of a crop of youngish Israeli guitarists on the jazz scene here, is joined on this Independence Day quintet gig by an A-list crew led by the inventive tenor saxophonist Mark Turner. — Thursday, July 4, 7:30-10 p.m., Smalls, 183 W. 10th St., basement, smallslive.com.
LAST CHANCE: CLASSICS OF YIDDISH CINEMA
The two-week series featuring offerings from the heyday of Yiddish films in 1940 concludes with a screening of Max Nosseck’s “Overture to Glory,” starring the great cantor Moishe Oysher. Lured by the grandeur of the Warsaw Opera, he balances opera fame in the gentile world with religious obligation for the world he left behind. What could be more American, the day before the Fourth, than to catch Oysher hit those impossible, transcendent high notes as he was knocking on heaven’s door. Based on the true story that inspired “The Jazz Singer.” — Wednesday, July 3, 12:30 p.m., Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St., filmforum.org.
THE LAST JEW OF BOYLE HEIGHTS
Set in the industrial east side of Los Angeles, in what was once a heavily Jewish area, three Holocaust survivors meet on a factory floor amid talk of deportations, poor wages and fading memories. Written and directed by Steve Greenstein (“Voices From the Holy and Not So Holy”). — Through July (Thursdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7:30 p.m.), Actors’ Temple Theatre, 339 W. 47th St., actorstempletheatre.com.
The works of Donald Margulies, “a poet of strained friendships and family relations” (The Times), don’t always focus on Jewish topics. But as the Pulitzer-winning playwright (“Dinner with Friends,” “Collected Stories,” “Time Stands Still”) draws upon his own upbringing as a Jewish-Greek immigrant, a certain Jewish vibe inevitably seeps in. His new work follows the long-overdue reunion between two middle-aged, estranged Jewish brothers. — Manhattan Theatre Club, 13 W. 55th St., manhattantheatreclub.com.
FIDDLER, OFF BROADWAY
“Fiddler on the Roof” (A Fidler Afn Kakh) in Yiddish, the unexpected runaway hit that both delighted and choked up audiences at the Museum of Jewish History, is now Off-Broadway. Directed by the acclaimed Joel Grey, a rich Yiddish translation by the late Shraga Friedman adds new depth to the iconic musical. With English and Russian supertitles. — Stage 42, 422 W. 42nd St., (212) 239-6200, broadway.com.
BACK TO THE FATHERLAND
Gil and Kat have been friends since college. Gil is from Israel, Kat from Austria; Gil is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Kat the granddaughter of a Nazi officer. They’ve been friends for over a decade. Through them we meet other young men and women whose grandparents were murdered or persecuted during the war, many of whom have decided to move back to the Fatherland, a choice their families disagree with. — Through June 30, Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St., (212) 924-3363, cinemavillage.com.
Facing a crossroads in life, Harry Rosenmerck (James Caan) leaves New York with the unlikely plan of starting a pig farm in Nazareth, angering the local community. His conflict with the town rabbi (Tom Hollander) slowly turns into a friendship that leads him to re-evaluate his relationship with his estranged family. Screening followed by a Q&A with director Amanda Sthers. — Opens Thursday, June 27 at Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St., (212) 924-3363, cinemavillage.com.
THE OTHER STORY
Family disputes and conspiracies take center stage here. Sasson Gabai plays a renowned psychologist who falls out with his granddaughter when she enters a charedi community and plans to marry a musician known for his wild ways. With English subtitles. — Various dates from Sunday, June 30-Wednesday, July 3, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., jccmanhattan.org. $15 public/$12 member.
THE SPY BEHIND HOME PLATE
Director Aviva Kempner’s film is the first feature-length documentary to tell the real story of Morris “Moe” Berg, the enigmatic and brilliant Jewish baseball player turned spy. While Berg played in the major leagues in the 1920s and ’30s, few people know that he also worked for the Office of Strategic Services, spying in Europe and playing a prominent role in America’s efforts to undermine the German atomic bomb program during WWII. — Various dates from Friday, July 5-Wednesday, July 10, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., jccmanhattan.org. $15 public/$12 member.
“You’ve got to suffer if you want to sing the blues,” David Bromberg sang in his debut 1972 recording, and it’s a lyric that says something about the Jewish experience. The great rootsy guitarist, who’s 73 these days, was deeply touched by the blues, especially Rev. Gary Davis. But his brand of America ranges far and wide. Expect uplift and downhome-ness. — Friday, July 5, City Winery, 155 Varick St., citywinery.com. $35-$45.
Led by the singer and composer Ravid Kahalani — who, since launching the project in Israel in 2010 is one of contemporary music’s boldest avatars of multi-culturalism – Yemen Blues plays a barrier-busting mix of Muslim/Jewish/Latin folk with contemporary African-American funk, jazz and soul. Expect tunes from the “Insaniya” (Humanity) release. — Wednesday, July 3, 7 p.m., Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., publictheater.org. $30.
The gifted beat-boxer returns to City Winery with his longtime compatriots Aaron Dugan on guitar, Stu Brooks on bass and percussionist Joe Tomino, with keyboardist Big Yuki. At its most exultant moments, the music becomes full-band improv, lyrics rearranged on the spot to serve the energy of the jam, with the shape-shifting Matisyahu leading the way. — Tuesday, July 2, 8 p.m., City Winery, 155 Varick St., citywinery.com. $38-$50.
The acclaimed modern dance troupe Pilobolus, which has had fruitful collaborations with Jewish artists like Maurice Sendak, Art Spiegelman and Etgar Keret and his wife and filmmaker Shira Geffen, continues in that spirit with its run at the Joyce, its first in five years. The collaboration continues with Israeli choreographer Inbal Pinto’s “Rushes,” which was first performed in 2007. The Times says the work has a “melancholic poignancy” not often seen in the company. — Through June 29, Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave. (at 19th Street), joyce.org.
A RIVER COULD BE A TREE
Angela Himsel’s riveting memoir takes her from a family of doomsday evangelical Christians in rural southern Indiana to Hebrew University to the Modern Orthodox community on the Upper West Side. It’s a smart, often hilarious pilgrim’s progress of a convert to Judaism. Himsel reads from “A River Could Be a Tree” — Thursday, July 27, 7 p.m., Shakespeare & Co. West, 2020 Broadway (West 69th-70th), shakeandco.com.
Through mixed-media techniques, contemporary artist Jennifer Kopping crossbreeds the visual language of African folk art with archival materials and old family photos, to evoke the dispersion of one Jewish family, from Belarus to South Africa to America, across the past century. Presented in collaboration with Beit Hatfutsot of America. — Through June 28, Dr. Bernard Heller Museum, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 1 W. Fourth St., (212) 824-2218, huc.edu.
The most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the history of Auschwitz to date, this groundbreaking presentation brings together more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world to explore the history of Auschwitz and its role in the Holocaust. — Through Jan. 3, 2020, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
CITY OF WORKERS, CITY OF STRUGGLE: HOW LABOR MOVEMENTS CHANGED NEW YORK
From Samuel Gompers to A. Philip Randolph, this new show traces the social, political and economic story of labor through rare documents, artifacts and footage, and considers the future of labor in the city. Jewish contributions to the movement figure heavily. — Through Jan. 5, 2020, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave. (at 103rd Street), mcny.org.
LEONARD COHEN: A CRACK IN EVERYTHING
This show celebrates the singer-songwriter’s powerful legacy through mixed-media works, including a video projection showcasing Cohen’s own drawings and a multimedia gallery where visitors can hear Cohen’s songs covered by other musicians. —Through Sept. 8, The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org.
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