GAD ELMALEH IN CONVERSATION
In 2015, when Moroccan-born, French-Jewish stand-up Gad Elmaleh immigrated to the U.S., he was probably the most famous comedian you’ve never heard of. The so-called “Jerry Seinfeld of France” rebooted his career here, starting over with a fresh routine in English, a language he’s still grappling with. Of a recent Joe’s Pub gig, TheatreMania.com wrote: “One can immediately sense Elmaleh’s command of the room. … He seems poised to become the world’s first truly global comedy sensation.” The site was spot on: On Sept. 20, Elmaleh kicks off his worldwide “Dream Tour,” now also a Netflix special. In a special pre-tour talk, Elmaleh will discuss the culture shock that fueled his routine and made his life hell. — Friday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org.
MOSES AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTSBased on a popular Brazilian telenovela, Alexandre Avancini’s 2016 film “Moses and The Ten Commandments” (Os Dez Mandamentos) is a cross between the Haggadah and the “Twilight” movie series. Starring the handsome Guilherme Winter Nóbrega de Almeida as Moses, the film tells the story of Moses leading the Jewish people out of Egypt into the Promised Land. Critics panned it as “exaggerated and poor,” but nearly 11 million people have seen it, making the film the second-largest box office hit in Brazil’s cinema history. — Opens Friday, Sept. 21, Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St., (212) 924-3363, cinemavillage.com.
In her own words, Gilda Radner — one of the original “Saturday Night Live” cast members and the wife of comic actor Gene Wilder — reflects on her life and career. Weaving together recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with her friends, rare home movies and diaries read by contemporary comics (including Amy Poehler), this documentary offers a unique window into the whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her story. — Friday, Sept. 21-Thursday, Sept. 27, Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th St., (212) 255-2243, quadcinema.com. Also playing Thursday, Sept. 20 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.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.” — In previews; opens Wednesday, Sept. 5, 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St., (212) 279-4200, 59e59.org.
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.
VITALY: AN EVENING OF WONDERS
Israel-raised magician Vitaly Beckman has wowed audiences with innovative illusions, and he is now well into his NYC debut run. Recommended for ages 8 and up. — Through Sept. 30, Westside Theatre, 407 W. 43rd St. (9th-10th avenues), telecharge.com. $89.
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.
What roles should past horrors play in defining our worldview and politics? Is there such a thing as a contemporary Jewish identity independent of the Holocaust? Should there be? In this one-man show, writer/performer Barry Levey chronicles his fictional adventure of tracking down and interviewing Holocaust deniers, from Illinois to Iran. — Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St., (212) 780-0800, 14streety.org.
ATTIAS & FRIENDS
“Like a high-quality electronic product manufactured by the Panasonic Corporation, the career of alto saxophonist Michaël Attias has always involved being slightly ahead of his time,” writes Jazz Word’s Ken Waxman. The avant-garde Israeli American saxophonist/composer/bandleader appears at Barbès every last Tuesday of the month with various projects. — Tuesday, Sept. 25, 7 p.m., Barbès, 376 Ninth St., Brooklyn, (347) 422-0248, barbesbrooklyn.com.
Israeli-American saxophonist and singer Eyal Hai, from the Israeli funk band Portrait, plays a mix of jazz, alternative rock, electronic and Middle-Eastern music. — Monday, Sept. 24, 10 p.m., Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St., rockwoodmusichall.com.
Already a winner of screenplay and audience awards in Israel before it screened in Venice and Toronto, “Longing” (Ga’agua), writer-director Savi Gabizon’s 2017 dark comedy, follows a man mourning the son he never knew he had. Taking an oblique look at the meaning of fatherhood, the film follows the eccentric misadventures of Ariel, a middle-aged man who belatedly learns he had a son — and in the same breath, learns this son has recently died. As he sets out to discover more about his lost offspring, Ariel is confronted with some unpleasant truths about himself. — Opens Friday, Sept. 14, Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St., (212) 924-3363, cinemavillage.com.
In Paula Eiselt’s debut documentary, “93Queen,” Ruchie Freier — a no-nonsense lawyer and an Orthodox mother of six — founds Ezras Nashim, America’s first all-female EMT corps, in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Borough Park. Making its national broadcast premiere on the PBS documentary series POV and pov.org, the film documents the enormous backlash these women face as they train, obtain the necessary medical supplies and set up their emergency dispatch system. The NYFD chief assigns them the call sign 93Q, read aloud as “93Queen.” — Monday, Sept. 17, 10 p.m., PBS and pov.org.
THE OSLO DIARIES
This new documentary by Israeli directors Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan revisits the pivotal peace talks in the 1990s, with a non-traditional approach. It includes re-enactments of the meetings in Oslo, with actors impersonating the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. Excerpts from books and diaries later written by the principal participants, also read by actors, are prominently featured, as well as interviews given by chief Palestinian negotiator Abu Ala, and Yitzchak Rabin’s second-in-command, Shimon Peres, who gave his last interviews to the filmmakers before his death in 2016. — Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St., (212) 924-3363, cinemavillage.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.
At 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. A documentary from Betsy West and Julie Cohen, “RBG” explores Ginsburg’s unique life, career and legacy. Co-produced by Storyville Films and CNN Films. — In wide release.
ART DECO NEW YORK: THE ARCHITECTS SPEAK
While socially prominent architects designed New York’s most iconic Art Deco skyscrapers, a generation of Jewish architects — new to the profession and often new to the country — helped spread the distinctive style from the Garment Center to the Grand Concourse. Architectural historian Anthony W. Robins shares rare recorded interviews with Jewish architects Israel Crausman, Louis Allen Abramson and Marvin Fine to explore how they helped transform the face of the city in the 1920s and ’30s. — Thursday, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m., Center For Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
NUSAKH VILNE MEMORIAL
Commemorate the Jewish community of Vilna with poetry, music, and a short film. Scholar David Fishman will discuss the Paper Brigade, a group of Jewish intellectuals who risked their lives to save books and documents from destruction during the Holocaust. — Sunday, Sept. 16, 1 p.m., YIVO Institute, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, yivo.org
BAYT FARHI AND THE SEPHARDIC PALACES OF OTTOMAN DAMASCUS
Professor Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, an archaeologist and architectural historian, presents new research on the remarkable courtyard houses of the Farhi and other important Sephardic families in late-18th, early-19th-century Damascus. Her analysis of architecture and décor offers a lens into the Damascene Jewish community and its interaction with Ottoman culture. — Monday, Sept. 17, 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. — Opens Friday, Sept. 14, The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (at 92nd Street), (212) 423-3200, thejm.org.
CHAIM SOUTINE: FLESH
This exhibition features more than 30 paintings of Chaim Soutine depicting hanging fowl, beef carcasses and rayfish. Considered one of the 20th century’s great still-life painters, Soutine created visceral, expressionist paintings of tortured animal carcasses, establishing a parallel between the animal and human, beauty and pain. The New Yorker hailed the exhibition as “potent … elegantly curated.” — Through Sept. 16, Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (at 92nd Street), (212) 423-3200, thejm.org.
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