THE TOP THREE
THE YIDDISH KING LEAR
Written in 1892 by the “Jewish Shakespeare,” Jacob Gordin, the “Yiddish King Lear” centers on Reb Dovidl Moysheles, a Russian-Jewish merchant abandoned by all but one of his daughters. Adapted by and starring Sephardic actor-baritone David Serero, YIVO’s revival is interspersed with classic Yiddish songs, turning it from tragedy to musical. Beth Kaplan, Gordin’s great-granddaughter and author of “Finding the Jewish Shakespeare – The Life and Legacy of Jacob Gordin,” will attend the two performances and discuss the playwright’s life. English with Yiddish songs. — Tuesday, Jan. 30 and Thursday, Feb. 1, 8 p.m., Orensanz Foundation, 172 Norfolk St., yiddishkinglear.bpt.me, 800-838-3006. $10-$36.
The avant-garde theater group Talking Band — The Times called it “one of the boldest and most venerable politically minded companies in NY” – debuts its musical play, “Fusiform Gyrus – A Septet for Two Scientists and Five Horns.” Exploring the intellectual bro-mance between two scientists leap-frogging from one epiphany to another, the work is inspired by the real-life friendship between Daniel Kahneman (who won a Nobel Prize in economics) and Amos Tversky; the two Israeli psychologists’ theory on cognitive biases became the basis for modern-day behavioral economics, and was later inadvertently showcased in author Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball.” (Lewis went on to write about the psychologists’ collaboration in “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, on which this play is loosely based.) — Previews begin Wednesday, Feb. 7, Opening is Thursday Feb. 13, HERE, 145 Sixth Ave., here.org, (212) 352-3101.
THE SOAP MYTH
Did the Nazis really make soap from the corpses of their murdered Jewish victims? More than a half-century after World War II, at the urging of a passionate Holocaust survivor, a young investigative reporter attempts to separate myth from fact. Starring Ed Asner and Johanna Day (“Sweat,” “Proof”) playwright Jeff Cohen’s drama probes the question of who dictates our history – those who have lived it and remember, those who study and protect it or those who would use it for their own means. — Tuesday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, mjhnyc.org, (646) 437-4202. $25/$15 members and students.
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. —Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St., telecharge.com, thebandsvisitmusical.com.
INTERNATIONAL LADINO DAY
Celebrate Ladino, the language also known as Judeo-Spanish, with lectures, music and storytelling. CUNY’s Jane Mushabac will perform excerpts from her 2016 Ladino-rich novel, “His Hundred Years, A Tale”; singer/accordionist Jane Carver performs Ladino songs; Rabbi Marc Angel and Rabbi Nissim Elnecavé, two Ladino Sephardic scholars, speak about the language’s history; and Trio Sefardi — with Howard Bass, Tina Chancey, and Susan Gaeta — perform the musical finale. — Sunday, Jan. 28, 2 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
A staged reading of a new play by Ira Fuchs, “Vilnius” is about the real people who sustained the civilized fabric of the Vilna Jewish community during its degradation in the interwar years and its complete destruction by the Nazis in WWII. The play follows the lives of Motke Zeidel and Yudi Hirschmann, from ages 11 to 28, as they grow up together and become central characters in the political and social events of their time. — Tuesday, Feb. 6, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202. RSVP at RSVP@nytf.org.
THE BAND’S VISIT — SCREENING AND DISCUSSION
Following the misadventures of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra stranded in a remote Israeli town, David Yazbek and Itamar Moses’ hit Broadway musical was hailed by The Times as “one of the most ravishing musicals ever.” Few remember it began as an award-winning Israeli film of the same name. Following a screening, Eran Kolirin, the film’s screenwriter; Moses, who wrote the play’s book and Tony Shalhoub, star of Broadway production, will tell all about “The Band’s” unique screen-to-stage journey. — Monday, Jan. 29, 7-9 p.m., Temple Emanuel Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580. Free but seats are limited; RSVP at emanuelskirballnyc.ticketleap.com.
Yoel (Ori Pfeffer), a Jewish historian investigating a Holocaust atrocity, uncovers an identity-challenging family secret. The screening will be followed by Q&A with director Amichai Greenberg. — Tuesday, Jan. 30, 7-9 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. jccmanhattan.org.
SPECIAL PREMIERE: FAUDA
A top Israeli agent comes out of retirement to hunt for a Palestinian militant he thought he’d killed, setting a chaotic chain of events into motion. See the first three episodes in the second season of “Fauda,” winner of six 2016 Israeli Academy Awards, including best drama series. Followed by a Q&A with directors Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff — Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. jccmanhattan.org.
In a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski — great-grandmother, businesswoman and Holocaust survivor — runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than 30 years. This documentary follows Sonia as an eviction notice prompts her to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to attempted genocide. — Thursday, Feb. 1, 7 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
BEN HOLMES AND NAKED LORE
The Naked Lore trio performs newly composed music rooted in klezmer. Led by trumpet player and composer Ben Holmes (Tarras Band, Klez Dispensers, Ben Holmes & Patrick Farrell Duo) and featuring Brad Shepik on guitar and Shane Shanahan on percussion, the group’s klezmer-tinged melodies, harmonies and rhythms combine in a dance that’s both spontaneous and tightly orchestrated. — Sunday, Feb. 4, 10 a.m. doors, 11 a.m. concert, City Winery, 155 Varick St., (212) 608-0555, citywinery.com/newyork/tickets.
Nurit Galron’s career as a singer began in the early ’70s, while serving in the IDF’s Golani Unit’s band, where she performed her first solo, “Haloch VeHatuff.” Nearly 40 years and 15 albums later, the singer/songwriter has become a staple of Israel’s rock-pop scene, her music as native to the country’s soundscape as palm trees and stray cats are to the view. — Monday, Feb. 5, 6 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. concert, City Winery, 155 Varick St., (212) 608-0555, citywinery.com/newyork/tickets.
Israeli-born jazz guitarist Gilad Hekselman has drawn praise for his smooth sound and formidable technique. After establishing his sound in the classic jazz trio and quartet, ZuperOctave, he explores a bass-less, semi-electronic version of his compositions. — Wednesday, Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m., Smalls Jazz Club, 183 W. 10th St., (646) 476-4346, smallslive.com.
THE GREAT JEWISH AMERICAN SONGBOOK
From George and Ira Gershwin to Irving Berlin to Carole King, a roster of Broadway stars performs a selection of iconic songs by illustrious Jewish American composers and lyricists. — Monday, Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, emanuelskirballnyc.org
INSIDE THE MOSSAD
Since the founding of Israel in 1948, the nation has relied on its intelligence community and armed services to defend against those who would do it harm. Veteran journalist Ronen Bergman — “arguably Israel’s best investigative reporter,” in the words of David Remnick — pulls back the curtain on the country’s most effective secret weapon. Moderated by David Sanger, a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and a national security correspondent for The Times. — Tuesday, Jan. 30, 8 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org.
PERSON PLACE THING
Hosted by Times Magazine “Ethicist” writer Randy Cohen, “Person Place Thing” is an interview show in which one guest tells three insightful and often hilarious stories. This installment features André Aciman, author of “Call Me By Your Name,” which was adapted into an award-nominated film, as well as “Enigma Variations,” “Out of Egypt” and “Harvard Square.” Followed by a book-signing reception with Book Culture. — Wednesday, Jan. 31, 7:30-9 p.m., JCC Harlem, 318 W. 118th St., (646) 505-5708, jccmanhattan.org.
HISTORY MATTERS WITH DEBORAH LIPSTADT
The lecture series “History Matters” offers conversations between leading historians and a moderator about the importance of history — and especially Jewish history — in public discourse. In this installment, Professor Deborah Lipstadt (Emory University) will speak on anti-Semitism, past and present. Lipstadt, author of “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier,” was sued for libel by a British Holocaust denier and had won the case, setting a crucial precedent; her story is the basis for the acclaimed film “Denial,” starring Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz. — Tuesday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, joins Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein for a wide-ranging conversation on aspects of faith and morality in New York City and the world. — Tuesday, Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org.
GLASS MOUNTAINS AND SABRA TRACES
Israeli photographer Oded Balilty (the first and only Israeli photographer to receive the Pulitzer Prize, for breaking news) presents two aesthetically bold and thoroughly Israeli photo series in his New York solo debut. — Through March 1, Laurie M. Tisch Gallery, JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. jccmanhattan.org.
This Jewish Museum exhibit features early drawings by famous Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, who died in 1920. The drawings, which were acquired directly from the artist by Dr. Paul Alexandre — his close friend and first patron — illuminate how Modigliani’s heritage as an Italian Sephardic Jew is pivotal to understanding his artistic output. Many of these works are being shown for the first time in the U.S. — Through Feb. 4, The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org.
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