The Top 3
SONGS OF BUKOVINA
Alexei Ratmansky, who has stretched the limits of classical ballet with wit and originality at City Ballet and American Ballet Theater, reaches into his Jewish back pages with the new “Songs of Bukovina”; it’s a suite of dances set to the folk-infused piano preludes of Ukrainian Jewish composer Leonid Desyatnikov. In an interview with The Times, composer and choreographer spoke about how the connection between them revolves around their common Russian-Jewish heritage: both have roots in Ukraine, draw inspiration from the driving rhythms of Balkan and klezmer music, grew out of Soviet Union-era aesthetics and symbolism and immerse themselves in Jewish themes. The turbulent suite “Odessa,” for example, is inspired by music written for a film based on Isaac Babel’s “Odessa Stories,” which are set in a world of Jewish gangsters. — Friday, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m., David H. Koch Theater 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, (212) 477-3030, davidhkochtheater.com.
OTHER ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL
Sudanese and Eritrean immigrants, secular Palestinian women (and their religious Muslim roommate) in Tel Aviv, Christian Arabs in Nazareth: Marginalized populations in Israel, both Jewish and Arab, get the spotlight in the Other Israel Film Festival, now in its 10th year. It’s a view of Israel that is nuanced, complex and real — not as it’s seen on the news but as it’s seen by the people living in it. These are human stories that shed a light on various micro-cultures, their heritages and developing histories. Along with New York and world premieres, the festival offers a wealth of social events, panel discussions, Q&As and concerts. — Thursday Nov. 2-Thursday, Nov. 9, Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444 (jccmanhattan.org), otherisrael.org.
BERNSTEIN CENTENNIAL FESTIVAL
While adored for his groundbreaking Broadway musicals, during his lifetime Leonard Bernstein was often frustrated by how his more ambitious concert works were often dismissed for being too theatrical. Now, to mark his centennial (he was actually born in 1918), the New York Philharmonic (which he used to conduct) celebrates this underappreciated facet of his work with a three-week festival devoted entirely to his symphonic creations. Festival highlights include conductors Alan Gilbert and Bernstein-protégé Leonard Slatkin leading Bernstein’s complete symphonies, with Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons featured as the speaker in the powerful “Kaddish” symphony, evoking the Jewish prayer of mourning and encompassing paeans to God and a plea for peace. — Oct. 25-Nov. 14, David Geffen Hall, 10 Lincoln Center, (212) 875-5656, nyphil.org.
Emmy-winning “Letterman” writer Ted Greenberg presents a coming-of-age comedy set on the nine-year anniversary of his long-overdue Harvard college paper. He’s living under the shadow of his father, Ace Greenberg — a Wall Street legend — while scratching out a living as a cabbie. Turn in the paper by midnight or lose his chance — forever — to be a Harvard grad. — Through Nov. 5, West Side YMCA, The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, 5 W. 63rd St., (212) 912-2600, ymcanyc.org/westside.
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 won the 2017 Obie for Best Musical. Now on Broadway after a sold-out Off-Broadway run. — In previews (opening Nov. 9), Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St., telecharge.com, thebandsvisitmusical.com.
Ayad Akhtar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Disgraced,” a play about a Muslim and Jewish couple discussing identity over dinner, turns to investment banking in “Junk.” It stars Steven Pasquale as Robert Merkin, a financial kingpin of the ’80s (a la Michael Milken) who attempts to take over an iconic American manufacturing company, changing all the rules in the process. A financial civil war follows, pitting magnates against workers, lawyers against journalists and, ultimately, everyone against themselves. — Now showing previews (opening is Nov. 2), Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, 150 W. 65th St., lct.org.
“Lili Marlene” was the title of a World War II-era German song that became popular with both the Axis and the Allies. Set in pre-WWII Berlin, this similarly titled Off-Broadway musical (with book and music by Michael Antin) centers on the fictional character of Rosie Pen (Amy Londyn), a Jewish cabaret singer whose rendition of the song makes it famous. With Nazism on the rise, Rosie’s unlikely love affair with a young German count named Willi (Clint Hromsco) drives them both to seek ways out of the country. — Tuesdays through Dec. 19, 7 p.m., St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 W. 46th St., (212) 239-6200, Telecharge.com.
TAKING THE WHEEL: ARI AXELROD
Featuring the music of Cole Porter to Carole King, Ari Axelrod’s “Taking the Wheel” delivers the “unfailingly engaging and intelligent” (KDHX St. Louis) story of a Jewish guy unexpectedly thrust into the driver’s seat. Directed by Tony-winner Faith Prince with music direction by Alex Rybeck. — Saturday, Oct. 28, 11 p.m. doors, 11:30 p.m. show, 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St., (646) 476-3551, 54below.com.
YANIV TAUBENHOUSE TRIO
The Israeli-born, New York-based pianist, along with bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Jerad Lippi, perform excerpts from “Moments in Trio-Volume One” (Fresh Sound Records). Taubenhouse, said NPR, “possesses a rare gift as a musician and pianist — the combination of virtuosity, curiosity along with the courage to use his art as a vehicle to bring his joy and pain to the surface.” — Monday, Oct. 30, 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com. $10 cover plus $10 minimum.
ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
“A prodigious performer in action, increasingly willing to plumb music’s soul,” is how the Los Angeles Times described pianist Yefim Bronfman. Bronfman, accompanied by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, performs a New York premiere of composer Amit Poznansky’s “Footnote Suite,” Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Richard Strauss’ orchestral piece, “Ein Heldenleben.” — Tuesday, Nov. 7, 8 p.m., Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave., (212) 247-7800, carnegiehall.org.
Singing only in Ladino and combining hints of flamenco, Turkish and Persian music with touches of pop, Israeli singer Yasmin Levy is a rare vocalist — one that the Guardian had called “impressively powerful.” A Q&A with the artist, moderated by ethnomusicologist Samuel R. Thomas, precedes the show. — Saturday, Nov. 4, 7:30 Q&A, 8 p.m. concert, Merkin Concert Hall, 129 W. 67th St., (212) 501-3330, 129 W. 67th St., (212) 501-3330, kaufmanmusiccenter.org.
OTHER ISRAEL FESTIVAL
Three Palestinian women — a stylish, sexually voracious criminal, a subdued lesbian Christian and a religious Muslim student — share an apartment in the heart of Tel Aviv. Together, the roommates search for ways to bridge between their lifestyles and the pressures from their traditional communities. Part of the JCCs Other Israel Film Festival; in Theaters Nov. 10. — Thursday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, otherisrael.org.
A LAND WITHOUT BORDERS
Award-winning writer Nir Baram travels through the West Bank to speak with the locals on both sides of the conflict. What he learns forces him to challenge his political belief system and re-evaluate his own hopes for a peaceful resolution couched in the two-state solution. Part of the JCCs Other Israel Film Festival. — Saturday, Nov. 4, 6:45 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. otherisrael.org.
THE PROMISED BAND
American reality TV producer Jen Heck brings her friends from a self-described bubble in Tel Aviv, to meet Lina, a Palestinian living in Nablus, which is off limits to Israeli citizens. When Shlomit and Lina hit it off, they decide to form a band which would allow them to continue to meet and interact. The more time the women spend together, the more they connect with each other and begin to realize they’re not so different. Part of the JCCs Other Israel Film Festival. — Saturday, Nov. 8, 6:45 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. otherisrael.org.
On a sweltering August day in 1945, Hungarian villagers prepare for the wedding of the town clerk’s son. Meanwhile, two Orthodox Jews arrive at the village train station with mysterious boxes labeled “fragrances.” The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property, lost during the war, be returned. Variety called the film “a fresh, intelligent cinematic approach to a difficult topic that takes on a transitional time in Hungarian history with subtlety and nuance.” — In wide release Nov. 1. (See story on page 26.)
In 1970 in Leningrad, a group of young Jewish dissidents plots to hijack an empty plane and escape the USSR. Caught by the KGB a few steps from boarding, they were tried for treason; some were sentenced to death, others sent to the gulags. Filmmaker Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov grew up hearing the dramatic story of her parents’ attempted escape, and 45 years after the events, she made this documentary together with her mother. The screening will be followed by Q&A with Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov. — Tuesday, Oct. 31, 7-9 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. jccmanhattan.org.
THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES
Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” is a funny examination of a dysfunctional Jewish family that, as Baumbach noted in the press conference, “has replaced religion with art as a subject of worship.” Aging sculptor Harold (Dustin Hoffman) an all-but-forgotten minor talent, dominates and manipulates his children by several marriages — Danny (Adam Sandler), Matthew (Ben Stiller) and Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), each of whom feels he or she lets him down by not pursuing a life in the arts. — IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave., ifccenter.com.
PERSON PLACE THING WITH WNYC’S JAMI FLOYD
Hosted by former Times Magazine “Ethicist” columnist Randy Cohen, “Person Place Thing” is an interview show in which one guest tells three insightful and often hilarious stories. This installment features Jami Floyd, the local host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” on WNYC and a news junkie since childhood. — Wednesday, Nov. 1, 7:30-9 p.m., JCC Harlem, 318 W. 118th St., (646) 505-5708, jccmanhattan.org
ALL THE RIVERS
Dorit Rabinyan’s third novel is a story about the passionate but untenable affair between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. The novel, recently published by Penguin Random House, became the center of a political scandal in Israel when the Ministry of Education banned the book from high-school curricula. Rabinyan’s previous novels, “Persian Brides” and “A Strand of a Thousand Pearls,” were both international bestsellers and have been translated into 15 languages. — Tuesday, Oct. 31, 12 – 1 p.m., Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University, 515 W 116th St., (212) 854-2581, iijs.columbia.edu.
HOME/LAND: HAVEN AND HELL
Set in an upper-middle-class apartment building in a placid suburb outside Tel Aviv, “Three Floors Up,” bestselling Israeli novelist Eshkol Nevo’s newest work, examines the interconnected lives of its flawed residents, with their typical turmoils and secrets. Nevo talks with Tablet’s Elissa Goldstein about modern Israeli society — the grinding effects of political and social ills on citizens and the dark aspects of Israeli parenthood. — Thursday, Nov. 2, 7:30-9 p.m., Congregation Beth Elohim, 274 Garfield Place, Brooklyn
THE AFTERLIFE: A JEWISH PERSPECTIVE
Brian L. Weiss, best-selling author of “Many Lives, Many Masters,” and Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz, author of “Does the Soul Survive: A Jewish Journey to Belief in Afterlife, Past Lives & Living with Purpose,” talk about Judaism’s take on the afterlife. — Thursday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, One E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, emanuelstreickernyc.org
Jointly conceived by artist Colin Davidson and the Oliver Sears Gallery, “Jerusalem” is comprised of 12 large-scale portraits of individuals — Jews, Muslims, Christians, a politician, a Benedictine monk, a doctor — who live or work in the ancient, mystical, troubled city of Jerusalem. — On display through Nov. 14 (open to the public on select dates), 92nd Y’s Weill Art Gallery, 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org.
REDISCOVERY, RESTORATION AND RENEWAL
Ten years ago, the restoration of the Eldridge Street Synagogue was completed. After a 20-year, $20 million effort, the building was brought back from the verge of collapse to stand once again as a Jewish landmark. In celebration of this milestone, the Museum at Eldridge Street presents 45 large-scale photographs, dating from the 1970s to the present, of the synagogue in different stages of its transformation. —Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street, eldridgestreet.org. Through March 1, 2018.
Playing out more like a spy novel than a museum show, this multimedia exhibit features recently declassified materials charting the tracking, capture, extradition and trial of Adolf Eichmann. — Through Dec. 22, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.