What’s Going On In NYC This Week
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Events Guide

What’s Going On In NYC This Week

Your guide to Jewish-y exhibitions, theater, music, film and more in New York City.

  • Sean Gullette as math whiz Max Cohen in Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi,” at MoMA.
Moma.org
    Sean Gullette as math whiz Max Cohen in Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi,” at MoMA. Moma.org
  • A still of Dr. Ruth Westheimer speaking with WNYC from the film 'Ask Dr. Ruth.' (Courtesy of Sundance Institute/ photo by David Paul Jacobson/ Via Times of Israel)
    A still of Dr. Ruth Westheimer speaking with WNYC from the film 'Ask Dr. Ruth.' (Courtesy of Sundance Institute/ photo by David Paul Jacobson/ Via Times of Israel)
  • Nina Gold, a Russ granddaughter, in front of a candy display at the shop.
    Nina Gold, a Russ granddaughter, in front of a candy display at the shop.
  • Tom Mercier in a scene from Nadav Lapid's “Synonyms”. Courtesy of Kino Lorber
    Tom Mercier in a scene from Nadav Lapid's “Synonyms”. Courtesy of Kino Lorber

PI

Take in the new-look MoMA and get an education in Kabbalah and gematria while you’re at it. Darren Aronofksy’s (“Black Swan”) debut feature from 1998, “Pi,” is, according to a Washington Post piece at the time, “an edgy black-and-white cyberpunk thriller about a mathematician and his search for a numerical pattern in the stock market.” Math whiz Max Cohen has to fend off Wall Street thugs and Jewish kabbalists, the latter looking to bring on the Messiah by decoding the name of God. Aronofsky made the experimental film for just $60,000. “Pi” launched his career. — Saturday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m., Museum of Modern Art (Roy and Niuta Theater), 11 W. 53rd St., moma.org. (Screens again Dec. 3, 4:30 p.m.)

BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY

B.H.L., he of the swept-back salt-and-pepper hair and the famously open shirt collar, is probably France’s best-known public intellectual. He is a fierce critic of Islamic fundamentalism, has pressed America to play a greater role on the world stage and has taken some hits for what he termed “my unconditional love of Israel.” A vocal advocate for the Kurds, he called President Trump’s withdrawal of troops from northern Syria “a nightmare.” He’ll be in conversation with investor, environmentalist and human rights advocate Thomas Kaplan on genocide, the Kurds and the meaning of Never Again. — Monday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue, 92y.org. $50.

SIGD CELEBRATION

Gili Yalo headlines the Sigd celebration.
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This Ethiopian Jewish holiday celebration, a joint effort of the American Sephardi Federation and the Ethiopian group Chassida Shmella, marks its 10th year this weekend with three days of food (flatbread and spicy red lentils), shoulder dancing and enchanting music. A leading Ethiopian-American scholar, Professor Ephraim Isaac, who heads the Institute of Semitic Studies in Princeton, will speak. The music headliner is Ethiopian Israeli singer Gili Yalo, whose music moves to an Afrobeat/Middle Eastern/reggae groove and who has become an important voice in Israel’s Ethiopian community. — Friday, Nov. 1-Sunday, Nov. 3, events at Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., and Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, 130 W. 30th St. (212) 548-4486, sigd2019.bpt.me. $40-$80 (VIP pass).

Theater

Opening/Just opened:

A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY

Tony Kushner’s 1985 cautionary tale about the possible rise of authoritarianism in America centers on a group of progressive friends in Weimar Germany as they worry about Hitler’s rise to power. But a Jewish American character interrupts to comment on what she sees as the cruelties of the Reagan administration. — Through Dec. 16, Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. (Astor Place), publictheater.org.

EINSTEIN’S DREAMS

In a musical based on the best-selling novel by Alan Lightman, the young Albert Einstein is inspired by a mysterious muse to explore his radical new concepts in physics. — Opens Tuesday, Nov. 5 (through Dec. 14) at 59E59, 59 E. 59th St., 59E59.org.

BELLA BELLA

Harvey Fierstein (“Torch Song Trilogy”) writes and stars in a new theater piece based on the words and life of Bella Abzug, the larger-than-life congresswoman, human rights lawyer and feminist leader (at shul as well as in the world). A Manhattan Theatre Club production. — Through Dec. 1., New York City Center, 131 W. 55th St., manhattantheatreclub.com.

JEWISH CHRONICLES

London storyteller-musician Daniel Cainer is back with his one-man show about English Jews. He told us in 2015 that British Jews are “constantly looking over our shoulders, no matter how cosmopolitan our environment may be.” — Through Nov. 9, Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St. (Sixth Ave. and Varick St.), sohoplayhouse.com.

Long runs:

“Fiddler on the Roof” (A Fidler Afn Kakh) in Yiddish. Directed by Joel Grey. Stage 42, 422 W. 42nd St., broadway.com.

“Games”

Lindsay Ryan as fencer Helene Mayer and Renita Lewis as high jumper Gretel Bergmann in Henry Naylor’s “Games.”
Photos by Hayley Procacci

Henry Naylor’s exploration of Jewish identity, set against the 1936 Summer Olympics, features two Jewish athletes, fencer Helene Meyer and high jumper Gretel Bergmann. Playhouse, 15 Vandam St. (Sixth Ave. and Varick St.), sohoplayhouse.com. Through Nov. 24.

Film

ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND

The key songwriter and lead guitarist for the iconic roots rock group The Band, Robertson is the son of a Jewish gambler father and a Mohawk mother. When the group (most of its members, like Robertson, were Canadians), returned to Toronto from the road, Robertson’s mother would feed them food from the city’s delis. They called her “Big Kosh,” according to drummer Levon Helm’s memoir. Robertson and the documentary’s director, Daniel Roher, are expected to be at the opening. — Wednesday, Nov. 6, 7 and 7:30 p.m., SVA Theatre, 333 W. 23rd St. Part of the DOC-NYC festival, docnyc.net.

ADVOCATE

A documentary by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche about controversial Israeli attorney Lea Tsemel, who defended Palestinians in court in a career that spanned five decades. — Thursday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., Cineopolis Chelsea, 260 W. 23rd St. Part of DOC-NYC festival, docnyc.net.

ASK DR. RUTH

A still of Dr. Ruth Westheimer from the film ‘Ask Dr. Ruth.’ (Courtesy of Sundance Institute/ photo by David Paul Jacobson/ Via Times of Israel)

This documentary tracks the extraordinary life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, from the Kindertransport to Israel to celebrity status as an expert on sex. — Wednesday, Nov. 6, 6:15 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 7 at 10:30 a.m., Cinepolis Chelsea, 260 W. 23rd St. Part of DOC-NYC festival, docnyc.net.

MR. KLEIN

When a Jewish newspaper appears unexpectedly at the front door of one Robert Klein (Alain Delon), this taut psychological drama set in occupied Paris takes off. There is (not to give too much away) another Robert Klein, which leads to an exploration of Jewish identity in a fraught time. Directed (in 1976) by the blacklisted Joseph Losey. — Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St., filmforum.org.

JOJO RABBIT

A lot of children have imaginary friends. But a slapstick Adolf Hitler? That’s the set-up of Taika Waititi’s dark comedy. Jojo’s in the Hitler Youth, but a secret undoes him: His single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. — In wide release. (See story here.)

SYNONYMS

Tom Mercier and Louise Chevillotte in “Synonyms,” which is set in Paris. Courtesy of Kino Lorber

Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s edgy take on alienation tracks his (more or less) own journey leaving the Jewish state for Paris, where refuses to speak Hebrew and knows not a word of French. — Film at Lincoln Center, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, filmlinc.org; and Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th St., quadcinema.com.

Music

JOHN ZORN’S NEW MASADA QUARTET

The pioneering alto saxophonist and Downtown scene impresario brings his “radical Jewish music”/free jazz project into jazz’s hallowed ground for a week of exploratory improvisations. — Through Sunday, Nov. 3, Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. South, villagevanguard.com.

NY KLEZMER SERIES: LUCIDARIum

Dedicated to recreating the jazzy syncopation of the piva, the Romanesca and other music of Italian Renaissance Jews, the group’s members are students of both historical sources and oral tradition. Their soon-to-be-released CD is called “Sounds from Shylock’s Venice.” — Thursday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., N.Y. Klezmer Series, Town & Village Synagogue, 334 E. 14th St., http://nyklezmer.com.

Talk

STAND UP FOR DEMOCRACY! 24TH YITZCHAK RABIN MEMORIAL DAY

Inspired by the Israeli youth movement Asefa Israelit, the afternoon event includes dialogue about Israeli democracy and American Jewish pluralism, a memorial ceremony and an interview with the author and journalist Yossi Klein Halevi. — Sunday, Nov. 3, 2-5 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646)505.5708, jccmanhattan.org.

POGROM: KISHINEV AND THE TILT OF HISTORY

Stephen J. Zipperstein talks about his new book, which recounts the deadly Kishinev riots of 1903 and the world’s response to them. Zipperstein writes that the riots, which took place decades before the Holocaust, were profoundly influential in the course of 20th-century Jewish history and anti-Semitism. — Wednesday, Nov. 6, 7 p.m., West End Synagogue, 190 Amsterdam Ave., westendsynagogue.org.

A RESPONSE TO MY PALESTINIAN NEIGHBOR

A conversation between Yossi Klein Halevi, whose book, “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor,” reached out across the abyss; Yousef Bashir, author of “The Words of My Father,” a powerful new memoir about growing up in Gaza; and Rawan Odeh, a Palestinian American. Bashir and Odeh both responded to Yossi’s outreach. Presented by The Jewish Week in partnership with UJA-Federation and Park Avenue Synagogue. — Thursday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., Park Avenue Synagogue, 50 E. 87th St., Tickets here: jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/event/response-to-my-neighbor. $25/$30.

Exhibitions

Just opened:

EDITH HALPERT AND THE RISE OF AMERICAN ART

Halpert posing with Georgia O’Keefe’s “In the Patio IX,” part of her personal collection. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution/Downtown Gallery records

Halpert (1900-1970), a Jewish immigrant, is considered the first significant female gallerist in the country. She championed American art at a time when the European avant-garde was in ascendance, and her Downtown Gallery in Greenwich Village promoted the work of modernists like Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keefe and Ben Shahn. — Through Feb. 9, The Jewish Museum, Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, thejewishmuseum.org.

MARK TWAIN AND THE HOLY LAND

In his “New Pilgrims’ Progress” (or “The Innocents Abroad”), Mark Twain’s 1869 travelogue that took him to the Middle East, the great humorist wasn’t beyond kvetching. He griped about the size of the grapes and the smallness of Jerusalem. But there were moments of loveliness in the dispatches originally published in a San Francisco newspaper. This show marks the 150th anniversary of the travelogue’s publication. — Through Feb. 2, New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (77th St.), nyhistory.org.

HASIDIM ON THE BEACH

A photo from Judy Maurer’s exhibition, “Hasidim On The Beach.” Courtesy of Judy Maurer/The Bishop Gallery

Judy Mauer’s striking photos capture chasidic Jews “enjoying their Sabbath on the sand” in Sea Gate. The images are at once ordinary and poignant. The Bed-Stuy gallery has a noble mission – “using these works as a tool to bridge the gap between cultures.” — Through Nov. 2, Bishop Gallery, 916 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, bishoponbedford.com. (Full review here.)

J.D. SALINGER

The reclusive Salinger grew up Orthodox and his conflicted Jewish identity (he found out after his bar mitzvah that his mother was actually Irish Catholic) may have inspired the teenage angst in his most memorable character, Holden Caulfield from “Catcher in the Rye.” This show offers a rare glimpse into Salinger’s life and work through manuscripts, letters, photographs and personal effects drawn exclusively his archive. — Through Jan. 19, NYPL, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, nypl.org.

Long runs:

“Russ & Daughters, An Appetizing Story”

A photo from the exhibition on Russ & Daughters. Courtesy

A history of the iconic smoked fish shop. Through Jan. 31, Center for Jewish History, ajhs.org.

“Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away”

Large-scale show exploring the history of the death camp and its role in the Holocaust. Through Jan. 3, Museum of Jewish Heritage, mjhnyc.org.

“Relative Relations”

Seventy artists explore human connections shaped by genetics, proximity, interests and shared destiny. Through June 30, Dr. Bernard Heller Museum at HUC-JIR, huc.edu.

Auction

SACRED SPLENDOR: RARE JUDAICA

Sotheby’s is auctioning rare Judaica objects from the Arthur and Gitel Marx Collection. The approximately 300 lots in the auction – comprising Judaica books and manuscripts, paintings and metalwork from the 15th through 20th centuries and spanning from Europe to the Middle East to North Africa – touch every aspect of Jewish life. — Opens Nov. 17, auction on Nov. 20, Sotheby’s, 1334 York Ave., sothebys.com.

To publish events, submit them to jewishweekcalendar@gmail.com two weeks or more in advance. We cannot guarantee inclusion due to space limitations. Since scheduling changes may occur, we recommend contacting the venue before heading out to an event.

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