CITY OF STEPS
Everybody’s heard of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but the praises of Haifa — Israel’s third largest city and its best example for Israeli-Arab coexistence — remain largely unsung. Nili Scharf Gold, University of Pennsylvania professor and Yehuda Amichai expert, and Sandee Brawarsky, Jewish Week culture editor, will explore the city’s rich history and social issues as they discuss Gold’s new book, “Haifa, City of Steps.” Meanwhile, the photo exhibit “HOME: Lens on Israel,” sheds light on Israel’s most vulnerable citizens and the programs empowering them. Both the exhibit and the discussion are presented by the Joint Distribution Committee, in partnership with Temple Emanu-El’s Bernard Museum. —Wednesday, Oct. 17 6:30-8 p.m., Bernard Museum at Temple Emanu-El, 5 E. 65th St., emanuelnyc.org.
Israeli director Erez Pery’s 2017 fictional recounting of the final interrogation and last days of Rudolf Ferdinand Höss — the longstanding commandant of Auschwitz — gives voice to the perpetrator for the first time. Based on Höss’ autobiography, the film reveals that his own wife tipped off British troops to his whereabouts in 1946, believing the move would result in their son’s safety. Followed by Q&A with the director. — Tuesday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. jccmanhattan.org.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE
Designed to remind folks that a synagogue is more than a house of prayer, Temple Emanu-El Streicker’s new series, “Friday Night Live,” features luminaries from various fields who are invited onto the bima after services for a conversations and/or live performance. The series kicks off with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the first Israeli leader to propose a two-state solution. Something of a Renaissance man — he’s a classically trained pianist turned commando who snuck into Lebanon on an assassination run dressed as a woman — Barak is also Israel’s most decorated soldier; he’s been defense minister, foreign minister and IDF chief of staff, and now an author. His remarks will focus on his new memoir, “My Country, My Life,” about Israel’s successes and miscalculations, and his own fears and hopes for its future. — Friday, Oct. 19, 6 p.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, emanuelstreickernyc.org.
HARVEY FIERSTEIN’S TORCH SONG
Condensed to 2 ½ 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. — In previews (opens Thursday, Nov. 1), Hayes Theater, 240 W. 44 St. Call (212) 239-6200, torchsongbroadway.com.
WE ARE GOING TO BE LUCKY
A young, idealistic American-Jewish couple is separated by WWII. Actors Alysia Reiner (“Orange is the New Black”) and David Basche (“The Exes”) read the couple’s letters from the new book, “We Are Going to Be Lucky,” edited and introduced by Elizabeth Fox, the couple’s daughter. — Oct. 18, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
SHOLEM ALEICHEM IN THE OLD COUNTRY
Adapted and performed by award-winning British actor Saul Reichlin, this one-man play follows the misadventures of “Jewish Mark Twain,” Sholem Aleichem, as he visits his birthplace, the shtetl called Kasrilevkeh. Told from the perspective of Aleichem himself, the play weaves dream-filled stories about relentless wives, drunken shoemakers and Tevye the Milkman. — Sunday, Oct. 14, 6 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com. $20, drinks included.
Israeli-American director Gili Getz’s one-man, autobiographical performance explores the difficulty of having a frank conversation about Israel in the American-Jewish community. The performance will be followed by an open discussion. — Monday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m., The Theatre at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St., (212) 780-0800, 14streety.org.
HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN
Irving Berlin was 5 years old when his Jewish family immigrated to the U.S., escaping persecution in late-18th-century Russia. In a performance the Los Angeles Times called “richly entertaining and touching,” award-winning actor and pianist Hershey Felder brings the man behind the iconic composer to life, tracking his journey from child immigrant to America’s most beloved and prolific songwriter. The show features some of the composer’s most enduring songs, including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Blue Skies,” “God Bless America” and “White Christmas.” — 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St., (212) 279-4200, 59e59.org.
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. — Opens Sunday, Oct. 14, Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., (212) 868-4444, smarttix.com.
MY PARSIFAL CONDUCTOR
The infamous anti-Semitic composer Richard Wagner and his ever-faithful wife Cosima find themselves in a moral, political and musical pickle when King Ludwig II of Bavaria insists that Wagner’s final masterpiece, “Parsifal,” be conducted by Hermann Levi, the son of a rabbi. Written by Emmy-winning Allan Leicht and starring Eddie Korbich and Claire Brownwell. — In previews; opens Thursday, Oct. 11, Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA, 10 W. 64th St., theatermania.com.
ARENDT-HEIDEGGER: A LOVE STORY
Zionist pioneer Hannah Arendt was a brilliant political theorist and philosophical thinker. As a teenager, she began an affair with Martin Heidegger, the celebrated German philosopher and unapologetic Hitler supporter. After the war, Arendt maintained her friendship with Heidegger, despite his refusal to disavow the Nazis. Playwright and philosophy professor Douglas Lackey’s new play explores one of the 20th century’s most bewildering connections. — Through Sunday, Oct. 14, Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., arendt-heidegger.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 Oct. 25, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (866) 811-4111, mjhnyc.org.
Michelle Kholos Brooks’ new play follows a group of unfortunate German women who were forced to taste the Fuhrer’s food, as they wait to see if they will survive to eat another meal. — Through Oct. 27, IRT Theater, 154 Christopher St., newlighttheaterproject.com.
THE BAND’S VISIT
In the hit Israeli film, the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra travels to Israel from Egypt for a concert, ending up in the wrong place and bonding with local Israelis in the process. David Yazbek’s musical of the same name and based on the film recently took home 10 Tonys. — Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St., telecharge.com, thebandsvisitmusical.com.
FRED HERSCH AND ANAT COHEN
The lyrical pianist Fred Hersch and the pioneering Israeli clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen come together at one of the jazz world’s most hallowed venues, The Village Vanguard. — Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 16-18, The Village Vanguard, 178th Seventh Ave., (212) 255-4037, villagevanguard.com.
ISRAELI JAZZ SPOTLIGHT
Hosted by Israeli-American bassist Nadav Remez, Cornelia’s monthly spotlight features two debuts by Israeli-American bassists and composers: Almog Sharvit’s quintet (8 p.m.) brings in a quintet and Adi Meyerson presents her recent debut album, “Where we Stand” (9:30 p.m.) — Sunday, Oct. 14, Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com.
NITZAN GAVRIELI TRIO
The Israeli-born pianist and composer Nitzan Gavrieli features a rhythmically complex approach that is rich with Middle Eastern motifs. — Tuesday, Oct. 16, 8 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com.
OR BAREKET QUINTET
Born in Jerusalem and raised in Buenos Aires and Tel Aviv, bassist Or Bareket’s music is informed by Mediterranean, South American and North African folklores, while remaining rooted in the jazz idiom. — Wednesday, Oct. 17, 7:30-10 p.m., Smalls Jazz Club, 183 W. 10th St., (646) 476-4346, smallslive.com.
Chronicling Israel’s “catch and extract” operation in Argentina, which famously brought Hitler’s logistics chief to justice, this thriller of a documentary centers on a psychological battle of wills between Kingsley’s Eichmann and Oscar Isaac’s Peter Malkin, one of the Israeli agents tasked with nabbing the Nazi. The film is set 15 years after the end of the war, when a top-secret team of Israeli agents travel to Argentina, where Eichmann has been in hiding with his family under an alias. Attempting to sneak him out of Argentina to stand trial in Israel, Malkin is forced to engage Eichmann in an intense game of cat-and-mouse. — In wide release.
Through her series of poignant animated short films, filmmaker Sarah Kamarastells tells the stories of Holocaust survivors who were forced to flee their small Polish town of Podkamien and explores the history of her own family. Following the screening, Kamaras will be joined by Noah Lederman (author of “A World Erased: A Grandson’s Search for His Family’s Holocaust Secrets”) for a conversation about the “third generation.” — Monday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
The Wilshire Boulevard Temple, an L.A. treasure built by the original Hollywood moguls, faces demise. But a community determines to achieve the impossible. Filmmaker Aaron Wolf, grandson of Rabbi Alfred Wolf, documented their struggle. —Tuesday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
THE PEOPLE VS. NOAH
Abraham protested when God threatened to destroy Sodom, and Moses objected when God threatened to harm the Israelites. Yet when God declared his intention to wipe out humanity in a great flood, Noah stayed silent. Is he guilty of betraying mankind? Former Sen. Joe Lieberman and law professor Alan Dershowitz serve, respectively, as defense counsel and prosecutor. Presiding over the trial is former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. — Sunday, Oct. 21, 10:30 a.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, emanuelstreickernyc.org.
BRANCHING OUT FROM SEPHARAD
From the Kassin rabbinic dynasty of the 12th century to the 50-year leadership of Rabbi Jacob S. Kassin in Brooklyn, Sarina Roffé, founder of the Sephardic Heritage Project and author of “Branching Out from Sepharad,” outlines the history and expulsion of Jews in Spain, their history in Syria and immigration to the Americas. — Sunday, Oct. 21, 2 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
JEWISH NEW YORK
Deborah Dash Moore, Jeffrey S. Gurock, Annie Polland, Howard B. Rock and Daniel Soyer, authors of “Jewish New York: The Remarkable Story of a City and a People,” talk with Rabbi Peter Rubinstein about the history and influence of Jews in New York. A book signing follows the event. — Monday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org.
FIRST PERSON: MARGALIT FOX
Margalit Fox wrote more than 1,400 obituaries during her career at The Times, gaining a legion of fans with her exquisite prose and eye for quirky details. Now she brings her storytelling to a long-forgotten 20th-century murder case — and to Oscar Slater, the Jewish immigrant who was framed for the crime. Fox joins author Ruth Franklin for a wide-ranging conversation. — Monday, Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG: A LIFE
Author Jane Sherron de Hart kicks off a tour of her new biography of the rock-star Supreme Court justice. The book, 15 years in the making, was written with the cooperation of RBG herself and is the result of comprehensive interviews with her husband, children, friends and associates. Joining De Hart is Alice Kessler-Harris, professor emerita of American history at Columbia University. — Monday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.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. — Opens Thursday, Oct. 11, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
CHAGALL, LISSITZKY, MALEVICH
Kicking off the fall season and exploring a little-known chapter in the history of modernity and the Russian avant-garde, The Jewish Museum’s new exhibit focuses on the People’s Art School (1918-1922), founded by Marc Chagall in his native city of Vitebsk (present-day Belarus). In the extraordinary years following the Russian October Revolution of 1917, Vitebsk, a small city with a significant Jewish population, became an incubator of avant-garde art. Through nearly 160 works and documents loaned by museums in Vitebsk and Minsk and major American and European collections, the exhibition presents the work 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. — The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (at 92nd Street), (212) 423-3200, thejm.org.
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