When the Folksbiene revived Avrom Goldfaden’s operetta “The Sorceress” for the first time in 80 years in 2017, the Yiddish theater’s associate artistic director, Motl Didner, told us that the fairy tale-like play from the early 1880s goes into “some dark places.” It had Goldfaden reaching back to Romanian folklore and has the plot-propelling disappearance of a young girl. Didner said then, “It’s an unusual piece, even for its period — it’s not about pogroms or sweatshops or assimilation on the Lower East Side.” It’s the inaugural presentation of the Folksbiene’s Global Restoration Initiative. — Previews begin Dec. 1 for a Dec. 8 opening (through Dec. 29), Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., nytf.org.
JAZZ AT ELDRIDGE: A GREG WALL FESTIVAL
The jazz world has a Duke, a Count, a Prez and the Jazz Prophets. But there’s only one Rabbi. That would be Rabbi Greg Wall, a spiritual seeker of a tenor saxophonist who fuses jazz and Jewish music, often to incantatory effect. To mark his 60th birthday and Eldridge Street’s 25 years as a downtown jazz venue, Wall collaborates with members of Hasidic New Wave, Zion80 and his Ayn Sof Arkestra (a Jewish take on Sun Ra’s Arkestra). Let the wailing begin! — Sunday, Dec. 1, 3 p.m., Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., eldridgestreet.org. $28-$42.
ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE THEATER
He may not be as iconic as his Broadway composer-lyricist brethren Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Harold Arlen, but the two-time Tony-winning Maury Yeston has a deep connection to them — a cantor in the family. Yeston’s maternal grandfather was a chazzan, and the sight of “a man in costume singing his heart out to a rapt congregation, it makes an impression,” Yeston, 72, has written. It launched a career in the theater that led from Jersey City to Yale to Broadway. This new work, subtitled “The Musical World of Maury Yeston,” features a cast of singers and Yeston’s tunes from “Nine: The Musical,” “Grand Hotel,” “Titanic: A New Musical” and more. (We’re hoping for something from his “comic romp” through the Torah, “In the Beginning.”) — Opens Nov. 26 (through Dec. 29), York Theatre Company at St. Peter’s, 619 Lexington Ave. (54th Street), (212) 935-5820, yorktheatre.org.
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 (in the original production, at least) interrupts to comment on what she sees as the cruelties of the Reagan administration. Takes its inspiration from Brecht’s anti-Nazi play, “The Private Life of the Master Race.” — Through Dec. 16, Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. (Astor Place), publictheater.org.
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. — Through Dec. 14, 59E59, 59 E. 59th St., 59E59.org.
FIRES IN THE MIRROR
Anna Deavere Smith’s tour de force one-woman show from 1992 exploring the violence in Crown Heights a year earlier (she played 19 different roles from the black and Jewish communities) gets a revival. This time it stars Michael Benjamin Washington; directed by Saheem Ali. — Through Dec. 15, Pershing Square Signature Theater, 480 W. 42nd St., signaturetheatre.org.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (A FIDLER AFN DAKH)
In Yiddish. Directed by Joel Grey. Stage 42, 422 W. 42nd St., broadway.com.
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.
Henry Naylor’s exploration of Jewish identity, set against the 1936 Summer Olympics, features two Jewish athletes, the fencer Helene Meyer and the high jumper Gretel Bergmann. Through Nov. 24, Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St. (Sixth Avenue and Varick Street), sohoplayhouse.com.
HADAR AHUVIA AND SHIRA EVIATAR: POSSESSING
The two dancers and choreographers focus squarely on their complicated relationships with the Jewish state in the provocatively named work “Possessing.” Ahuvia’s starting point is Ashkenazi Zionist folk dance, while Eviatar, who has a Moroccan heritage, centers on “Arab/Mizrahi aesthetics.” — Nov. 21-23, 8 p.m., Black Box at Gibney, 280 Broadway (enter at 53A Chambers St.), gibneydance.org.
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.
OTHER ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL
The annual festival, now in its 13th year, shines a light on Israel’s marginalized communities. Some of this year’s selections include the closing night feature “Screwdriver,” about a long-imprisoned man who struggles to adjust to modern Palestinian life; the first two episodes of Israeli TV’s gritty detective series “Asylum City,” about the mean streets of Tel Aviv; and the documentaries “Comrade Dov,” about a leading member of Israel’s Communist Party, and “Samaritan,” about adherents to the ancient religion who hold dual Israeli-Palestinian nationalities. — Through Nov. 21 at various venues, otherisrael.org.
Last chance: 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. — Closes, Thursday, Nov. 21, Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St., filmforum.org.
MEKONEN: THE JOURNEY OF AN AFRICAN JEW
This documentary follows the backstory and personal journey of Mekonen Abebe, a young African-Israeli Jew, once a young shepherd in Africa and now a commander in the Israeli Defense Forces. Screening followed by a panel discussion with the 14th Street Y’s Israeli emissary, Ophir Tal. Part of the Y’s Israeli Film Series: Immigrant Stories. —Tuesday, Nov. 26, 7:30 p.m., 14th Street Y, 334 E. 14th St., 14streety.org.
This groove-centered seven-piece ensemble mines Ethiopian pop music from the 1960s and ’70s and mixes it with funk and other soulful elements. Driven by hip horn arrangements. — Saturday, Nov. 23, 10 p.m., Barbes, 376 Ninth St., Park Slope, barbesbrooklyn.com.
Next up in the N.Y. Klezmer series is the vocal-accordion duo of Susan Leviton and Lauren Brody. The two move seamlessly from Judeo-Spanish to Russian to Balkan Jewish music. There’s a touch of magic (befitting their name) in it. — Thursday, Nov. 21, 8:30 p.m., Town & Village Synagogue, 334 E. 14th St., nyklezmer.com.
The singer-songwriter, who grew up chasidic in Monsey and (in a kind of novelistic foreshadowing) milked cows and baled hay at the site of the Woodstock festival, is a neo-folkie who often performs in overalls and a black baseball cap. He favors twangy ballads and heartfelt love songs. — Friday, Nov. 22, 8 p.m., Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St., rockwoodmusichall.com.
RACHEL FEINSTEIN: MAIDEN, MOTHER, CRONE
The sculptor, who grew up in Miami, creates fantastical and highly sexualized wooden pieces that probe notions of “the feminine” in pop culture. This show marks the first survey of her work in the U.S. — Through March 1, The Jewish Museum, Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, thejewishmuseum.org.
EDITH HALPERT AND THE RISE OF AMERICAN ART
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.
RUSS & DAUGHTERS, AN APPETIZING STORY
A history of the iconic smoked fish shop. Through Jan. 31, Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., http://www.ajhs.org/RussandDaughtersExhibition.
AUSCHWITZ. NOT LONG AGO. NOT FAR AWAY
The large-scale show explores the history of the death camp and its role in the Holocaust. Through Jan. 3, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, mjhnyc.org.
MARK TWAIN AND THE HOLY LAND
This show marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of the great humorist’s 1869 travelogue, “New Pilgrims’ Progress” (or “The Innocents Abroad”). Through Feb. 2, New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (77th Street), nyhistory.org.
Did the iconic writer’s own conflicted Jewish identity inspire the teenage angst behind “The Catcher in the Rye”? This show offers a rare glimpse into Salinger’s life and work. — Through Jan. 19, NYPL, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, nypl.org.
Seventy artists explore human connections shaped by genetics, proximity, interests and shared destiny. Through June 30, Dr. Bernard Heller Museum at HUC-JIR, One W. Fourth St., huc.edu.
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