The Top Three:
Violinist Alicia Svigals, founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, is considered one of the top klezmer fiddlers around. Uli Geissendoerfer is a Grammy-nominated jazz and world music pianist and composer. In their “Beregovski Suite,” Svigals and Geissendoerfer perform new arrangements of long-lost klezmer melodies, collected before the Holocaust by Soviet Jewish ethnomusicologist Moshe Beregovski. The suite evokes the lost world that gave birth to those melodies, reimagining them for a new century and a new land. — Sunday, Feb. 4, 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. concert, Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., (212) 539-8778, publictheater.org
The Israeli dance troupe Ka’et (“Now”, in Hebrew) is a rarity in the modern dance scene — or any dance scene, for that matter. Composed of five Orthodox men, not one of whom is a professional dancer, the group works under the direction of a secular Tel Aviv choreographer, Ronen Izhaki, to explore the chasm between Israel’s religious and the secular worlds. Borrowing movements, costumes and music associated with davening, the group fuses them with trance beats and the explosive body language of Ohad Naharin’s choreography, in a combination The Times hailed as “spare yet emotionally rich … astonishingly intense.” Ka’et’s most recent work, “Heroes,” draws inspiration from the biblical narrative of Jacob and Esau to examine the construction of Jewish masculinity. The performance will be followed by a Q&A. — Wednesday, Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, jccmanhattan.org. $15.
FRIDAY NIGHT JAM
Hosted by Relix editor-in-chief Mike Greenhaus and Because Jewish’s Rabbi Dan Ain, The Friday Night Jam is a new speaking series focused on the intersection of music, spirituality and culture. In this installment, gospel/hip-hop chaplain Sir The Baptist — a Chicago-based trailblazer in the hip-hop world, bent on reconnecting hip-hop to its spiritual roots, who went “from homelessness to a household name” (CNN) — will give his take on love, pain, truth and enlightenment. A Shabbat ritual precedes the conversation, and a concert with the Sir follows. — Friday, Feb. 9, 8:30 p.m. Friday night ritual; 9 p.m. conversation; 9:30 p.m. concert. Rockwood Music Hall — Stage 3, 196 Allen St., (212) 477-4155, becausejewish.com/jam/.
A WALK WITH MR. HEIFETZ
A new play by award-winning Gramophone and Time magazine journalist James Inverne reveals how music helped form Israel. In 1925, Jascha Heifetz — then among the most celebrated violinists in the world — played a concert in pre-state Palestine. People flocked from all over the globe to see this performance, including Yehuda Sharett, composer and brother of future Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. Legend has it that after the performance, Heifetz and Yehuda walked together and shared a remarkable conversation that ended up changing the world. — Through March 4, Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., (212) 352-3101, primarystages.org.
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 bromance between two scientists, the work is inspired by the real-life friendship between Daniel Kahneman (who won a Nobel in economics) and Amos Tversky, the two Israeli psychologists whose theory on cognitive biases became the basis for modern-day behavioral economics. — Previews begin Wednesday, Feb. 7, Opening is Thursday Feb. 13, HERE, 145 Sixth Ave., (212) 352-3101, here.org.
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.
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. Sign up at RSVP@nytf.org.
Currently starring in the Israeli TV show “Osim Tzchok MeHaAvoda” (Making a Mockery of the Job, in Hebrew) comedian Kobi Maimon performs a one-man show of observational humor — in Hebrew. — Sunday, Feb. 11, 8:30 p.m., Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, (212) 864-5400, symphonyspace.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.
CUBA’S FORGOTTEN JEWELS: A HAVEN IN HAVANA
“Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels” cinematically weaves the tale of Marion Kreith, who evades Nazi capture, escaping Europe to Havana as a young girl with her family. Marion’s story mingles with the personal accounts of other refugees placed in unfamiliar lands. — Feb. 15, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
BEN HOLMES AND NAKED LORE
The Naked Lore trio performs new 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.
THE GREAT JEWISH AMERICAN SONGBOOK
From George and Ira Gershwin to Irving Berlin and 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.
ITAMAR BOROCHOV QUARTET
In his compositions, Israeli-born, Brooklyn-based trumpeter/composer Itamar Borochov connects the music of the downtown scene, North Africa, modern Israel and ancient Bukhara. Borochov’s quartet will play excerpts from their recent album, Boomerang. — Thursday, Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m., Smalls Jazz Club, 183 W. 10th St., (646) 476-4346, smallslive.com.
EARLY YIDDISH THEATER AND VAUDEVILLE
Zalmen Mlotek, the Folksbiene’s artistic director, conducts an evening of rarely heard songs, from the earliest stirrings of Yiddish theater through 1920s. The repertoire includes hits by Goldfaden, Rumshinsky, Ellstein and others. — Sunday, Feb. 11, 2 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
Andy Statman, a force in the revival of klezmer and one of his generation’s premier mandolinists and clarinetists, plays his trademark blend of American roots music, prayerful chasidic music, klezmer and avant-garde jazz. A disciple of the great klezmer clarinetist Dave Tarras, Statman has reordered pioneering explorations of both chasidic music and bluegrass. He draws equally from chasidic melodies, folk tunes and free jazz; the result reads like a very personal search for the sacred, based on tradition and introspection. — Wednesday, Feb. 7, 8 p.m., Barbès, 376 9th St., Brooklyn, (347) 422-0248, barbesbrooklyn.com. $10.
If you look hard enough there’s a Jewish take on everything, and climate change is no exception. The Jewish Climate Action Network NYC, in partnership with JCC Manhattan and Hazon, present an interactive workshop on Jewish traditions for environmental activism. Panelists include Rachel Jacoby Rosenfield (executive vice president of Shalom Hartman Institute), Adam H. Sobel (department of applied physics and mathematics at Columbia), Peter Iwanowicz (executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York) and more. — Thursday, Feb. 8, 7-9 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. RSVP at jccmanhattan.org.
FRONTIERS IN PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM
During an Erev Shabbat service, Rabbi Daniel Freelander, president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, will speak about “Frontiers in Progressive Judaism.” — Friday, Feb. 2, 6 p.m., Congregation Rodeph Sholom, 7 W. 83rd St., (646) 454-3058.
Dan Rather, a giant of network news, has interviewed every living president from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama, and has been a witness to history-making events, from the JFK assassination to the war in Iraq. Since the 2016 election, he has also taken up the role of a social media avatar. Based on his viral Facebook posts, Rather’s recent book —“What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism” — examines the current national identity crisis, and the values, institutions and struggles that unite us. A copy of the book included. — Thursday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, emanuelskirballnyc.org.
CHRIS MATTHEWS ON BOBBY KENNEDY
Having written a biography of JFK and an exploration of Kennedy’s personal and political relationship with Richard Nixon, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews (host of “Hardball with Chris Matthews”) has now written a revealing portrait of RFK, “Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit.” A copy of the book included. — Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, emanuelskirballnyc.org.
SCENES FROM THE COLLECTION
Following the renovation of its third floor, The Jewish Museum reopens its permanent collection galleries with a serous makeover. Where the old collection aimed to chronicle 4,000 years of Jewish history with a single, linear narrative, the new one is divided into seven different scenes, each revealing various ways in which history and art are shaped by context. — The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org.
ZURBARÁN’S JACOB AND HIS TWELVE SONS
Painted by Spanish Golden Age master Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), “Jacob And His Twelve Sons” is an ambitious series of 13 paintings that depict life-size figures from the Old Testament. On loan from Auckland Castle; prior to 2017 the paintings have never before traveled to the U.S. — Through April 22, The Frick, 1 E. 70th St., (212) 288-0700, frick.org/exhibitions/Zurbaran.
SEMI[TE] SWEET: ON JEWS AND CHOCOLATE
From the liquid delicacy that Inquisition-era Sephardi Jews introduced France to today’s Elite’s Gelt, “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” features tantalizing historical and contemporary archival materials, decorative arts and bibliographic materials that celebrate the contributions of Jews to the business of chocolate. This first-ever exhibition about Jews and chocolate is based on the best-selling book “On the Chocolate Trail, a Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao,” by Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz. — Open through Feb. 25, The Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica, Temple Emanu-El Stricker, 1 E. 65th St., emanuelnyc.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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