UWS CELEBRATES ISRAEL
For the past five years now, Jewish schools, organizations and synagogues on the Upper West Side have come together to celebrate Israel’s Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Independence Day) with a tidal wave of neighborhood events. Festivities open on Sunday, April 30, with an all-day festival of Israel-centered talks, concerts, movies, kids’ activities, Israel-themed indoor bike rides, etc. Highlights include a kosher Israeli food street festival and family fair (live Israeli music, inflatable obstacle courses and bounce houses, a puppet show, etc.) Other cool events are featured below. The Israelomania ends on Tuesday, May 2, 5-8 p.m., with an Israeli “Party by the Shore,” at which the 79th Street Boat Basin will be transformed into a New York City version of Tel Aviv’s Tayelet (promenade). — Sunday, April 30-Tuesday, May 2. Visit uwsisrael.org for a detailed schedule.
ISRAEL STORY LIVE: MELTING POT One noteworthy event of the UWS celebrations is the live production and recording of the popular Israeli podcast/radio show, “Israel Story,” based on Ira Glass’ “This American Life.” Dedicated to exploring the many facets of life in Israel, this Yom Ha’Atzmaut show focuses on Israel’s changing role as a melting pot. When David Ben-Gurion envisioned Israel, he thought of diverse cultures uniting to form an Israeli identity; seven decades later, Israel’s President Rivlin famously divided Israel into four contentious “tribes.” Through a unique blend of storytelling, music and visuals, the “Israel Story” team probes how Ben-Gurion’s dream became Rivlin’s reality. — Sunday, April 30, 3:30 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, uwsisrael.org..
ISRAELI JAZZ AND BLUES CABARET
Hailed for her “simplicity and warmth” (All About Jazz), New York-based, Israeli-born jazz/folk guitarist and vocalist Dida Pelled writes and performs playfully sexy and intelligent vocal and guitar standards, most of them the jazz, blues and hard bop variety. “Dida sings in a voice sometimes playful, warm, resonant, no frills,” the French magazine Jazz Hot noted. “She sings the words, giving them their meaning, their weight, with perfect diction and charm.” Part of UWS Celebrates Israel — Monday, May 1, 7:30 p.m., JCC Harlem, 318 W. 118th St., uwsisrael.org
THE DREYFUS AFFAIR
Written by Eve Wolf and directed by Donald T. Sanders, this multimedia production illuminates the controversial story of the 1894 treason conviction of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, which had a decades-long reverberation in the political landscape of France and the rest of the world. Featuring Max von Essen (Tony nominee for “An American in Paris”) in the title role of Alfred Dreyfus and Mark Evans (Irish Rep’s “Finian’s Rainbow”) as his devoted brother Mathieu Dreyfus. — Through May 7, BAM Fisher / Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, (718) 636-4100, bam.org.
OLD NEW YEAR
Written by Boris Zilberman and directed by Bryna Wasserman, “Old New Year” traces the interconnecting stories of several tenants in the same NYC apartment building. The play was developed by Lost & Found Project, a contemporary docu-theatre troupe (and NYTF resident company) that mines the experiences of young Russian Jews based in NY. Performances take place in a Harlem loft to amplify the site-sense archeology of the play. – Through May 13, 345 E. 104th St., nytf.org. $35.
One of 2016’s best-reviewed plays, J. T. Rogers’ “Oslo” moves to Broadway. A complex tale of political intrigue and back-door negotiations, this darkly funny play centers on the months of talks between Israel and Palestine that led to the historic 1993 Oslo Peace Accords. Directed by Tony-award winning Barlett Sher (“Fiddler On The Roof”). — Through June 18, Lincoln Center Theatre, 150 W. 65th St, (212) 375-3708. For the schedule and tickets visit lct.org
Israeli-born, N.Y.-based singer-songwriter Moshe Bonen and his band lead the audience in a sing-along of Israeli standards in memory of Israel’s fallen. Part of UWS Celebrates Israel. — Sunday, April 30, 8 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, uwsisrael.org.
JERUSALEM: ONE CITY, THREE FAITHS
Cellist Elad Kabilio and his ensemble will perform music reflecting the importance of Jerusalem as a holy city to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. This program celebrates the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. Part of UWS Celebrates Israel. – Sunday, April 30, 3-5 p.m., West End Synagogue, 190 Amsterdam Ave., (212) 579-0777, uwsisrael.org.
A NIGHT IN THE OLD MARKETPLACE
Based upon the phantasmagorical Yiddish classic by I.L.Peretz, Frank London’s experimental klezmer opera portrays a world inhabited by seductive gargoyles, mad Kabbalists, phantom singers and haunted marketplaces. Conceived and directed by Alexandra Aron, with lyrics and text by Glen Berger. Performed in English. – Thursday, May 4, 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 6, 9:30 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, nytf.org.
ANNIE GOSFIELD PORTRAIT CONCERT
New york based composer Annie Gosfield drew her inspiration from Jewish culture, history, and the New York immigrant experience. A longtime resident of NYC’s East Village, Gosfield has been hailed “a star of the downtown scene,” (New Yorker), and her dark, edgy compositions have been described as “imaginative” and “exuberant” (New York Times). –Thursday, May 4, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W.16 St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org. $15/$10 students and members.
ONE WEEK AND A DAY
Asaph Polonsky’s first feature, a deft black comedy, follows a middle-aged couple grieving for their son, who died of cancer. Once the Shivaa is over, the father shrugs off any pretence of normality, steals medicinal marijuana from a hospice, skips work and hangs out with his estranged neighbor’s son. Meanwhile his wife tries to get back to her daily routine as a school teacher, but must first fight off well meaning co-workers, stray kittens and dental clinic workers. — Opens Friday, April 28, Angelika Film Center, 18 W Houston St, (212) 995-2570, angelikafilmcenter.com/nyc
Acclaimed author and filmmaker David Bezmozgis brings his best-selling book to the screen. 16-year old Mark (Alex Ozerov) is the son of Russian- Jewish immigrants living in the suburbs north of Toronto. When his uncle enters into an arranged marriage with a woman from Moscow, the woman arrives in Canada with her fourteen year-old daughter, Natasha (Sasha K. Gordon). A secret and forbidden romance begins between the two of them that has bizarre and tragic consequences for everyone involved. — Opens Friday, April 28, Lincoln Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway ,(212) 757-0359. For tickets and show times visit lincolnplazacinema.com.
Their father survived World War II — but the unsettling truth about how will change their family forever. In this fascinating new film from director Avi Nesher, two Israeli sisters delve into the dark mystery of their father’s former life in Poland during WWII. Inspired by a true story. This advance preview screening will be followed by a discussion with producer Dr. David Milch. – Sunday, April 30, 2 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org. $15/$12 Members.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
The all-time Jewish classic and highly acclaimed film recounts Sholem Aleichem’s life-affirming story of Tevye (Topol), a poor milkman whose love, pride and faith help him face the oppression of turn-of-the century czarist Russia. – Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m., Quad Cinema, 34 W 13th St, (347) 566-5949, quadcinema.com
In the depths of a film archive, six hours of interviews with one of modern history’s greatest leaders, David Ben-Gurion, were discovered. They are set in 1968 when he was 82, five years before his death. He lived in the desert, removed from all political discourse, which allowed him a perspective on the Zionist enterprise. Ben-Gurion’s introspective soul searching is the focus of this film (Clinton Bailey conducts the interviews), and his clear voice provides a surprising vision for the crucial decisions Israel faces today. — Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, jccmanhattan.org. $5.
Richard Gere stars as Norman Oppenheimer, a New York political middle man, in Joseph Cedar’s new tale of money and power, “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer.” When a low-level Israeli minister befriended by Oppenheimer becomes prime minister, a quid pro quo creates a big-time headache for the fixer. — Opens Friday, April 14, Sunshine Cinema, 143 E. Houston St. (bet. First and Second Avenues), landmarktheatres.com.
THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE
Starring Jessica Chastain, the film tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion. — In wide release.
GROWING UP JEWISH
Scholars Sam Kassow, Miriam Udel, Naomi Seidman, and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett will discuss the lives of Jewish children before WWII. Talks will include general overviews as well as discussions of Socialist Literature for Jewish Children in the US and USSR, and Max Weinreich’s work on psychology and Jewish adolescence. – Sunday, April 30, 2 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W.16 St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
THE HISTORY OF THE SETTLEMENTS
What do today’s settlements have in common with those built before the establishment of the State of Israel? In celebration of Israeli Independence Day, we’ll go back to our roots by discussing Israel’s earliest settlers with Near Eastern and Judaic Studies scholar Karen Spira. – Sunday, April 30, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 W. 68th St, (212) 877-4050, uwsisrael.org.
IS THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION STILL VIABLE?
IPF Executive Director David Halperin and Policy Advisor Ilan Goldenberg will present policy proposals for immediately improving Israel’s security and preserving the prospects for a future negotiated peace, developed and endorsed by over 265 former generals of Israel’s security agencies. – Sunday, April 30, 10:30 a.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. uwsisreal.org
Join Knesset Member Omer Bar-Lev [Zionist Union] and others to mine Israel’s founding document, seeking beyond politics to values and national vision. Co-sponsored by Bina: The Jewish Movement for Social Change, part of its “Israeli Talmud: Tractate Independence” project. – Sunday, April 30, 10 a.m., Ansche Chesed, 251 W. 100 St., uwsisreal.org.
LOST SYNAGOGUES OF EUROPE
The Museum at Eldridge Street presents an exhibition of vintage postcards of Central and Eastern European synagogues from Prague-based collector Frantisek Bányai. The postcards depict a range of Jewish architecture, culture and community that were all but destroyed during WWII. — Through June 8, Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., (212) 219-0302, eldridgestreet.org.
HEROES OF THE KNISH
The lowly staple gets the high-brow treatment with a month-long museum show at The City Reliquary. The chronicler-queen of the knish, Laura Silver, author of 2014’s “Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food” (Brandeis), curates the exhibition, whose aptly stuffed title is “Heroes of the Knish: Making a Living and Making a Life.” It features a history of the potato pie, from the Old Country to the sidewalk carts of the Lower East Side to the pricey delis of Midtown, and documents the lives of the men and women who made the crusty-chewy delicacy. — Through May 7, City Reliquary Museum, 370 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, cityreliquary.org. $5.
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