Your Guide to Jewish-y Arts and Culture in New York City this Week
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Events Guide

Your Guide to Jewish-y Arts and Culture in New York City this Week

Exhibition from Israel’s prestigious Bezalel Arts Academy's budding artists; 'Fiddler in Yiddish' cast at Temple Emanu-El; A night of female resistance comedy... to name a few.

  • A work in the “Materialness” show. Courtesy of Gabriel Attab & Areil Lavian
    A work in the “Materialness” show. Courtesy of Gabriel Attab & Areil Lavian
  • A scene from “Incitement.”
    A scene from “Incitement.”

This is just a handful of some of the featured events, for a full list of events you can browse our calendar here.

INCITEMENT

It’s one of those tantalizing counterfactuals, similar to the alternative history Philip Roth pondered in “The Plot Against America”: What if Yitzchak Rabin (like JFK before him) had lived? Would Israel and the Palestinians have been able to break the long cycle of violence and arrive at a lasting peace? It’s unknowable, of course, and a fool’s errand to speculate. But Rabin’s assassination on Nov. 4, 1995, at the hands of a religious nationalist, set into motion a political reality we are still reckoning with today. Yaron Zilberman’s “Incitement” arrives at a moment when nationalism is sweeping the globe. The film, Israel’s entry in the best foreign film category in this year’s Oscars, probes Amir’s mindset and chronicles the year leading up to the killing; it is an assassin’s-eye view. It’s chilling to think that in some quarters the killing was justified under Jewish law. What we’re left with, then, is the blood-soaked sheet of paper in Rabin’s pocket with the lyrics to the anthemic “Song of Peace.” After the screening, Dalia Rabin, daughter of the slain prime minister and a former Knesset member, talks with Ambassador Ido Aharoni. — Wednesday, Jan. 29, 6: 30 p.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., emanuelnyc.org. $25/$99 reserved section. (The film opens in theaters here on Jan. 31.)

ART FROM BEZALEL

work in the “Materialness” show. Gabriel Attab Areil Lavian

George Harrison, who mixed heaven and earth poignantly in his lyrics, sang of “living in the material world.” It’s an apt description of the work created by six artists associated with Israel’s prestigious Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in the installation titled “Materialness.” The artists fashion pieces (jewelry, vases, stools) out of bacterial cellulose, cultured pearls and volcanic rock. One (top) even uses the edible fungus Auricularia auricula-judae, Latin for Jew’s ear. Inevitably, the show raises questions about the environment, sustainability and natural resources and offers a subtle commentary on our throwaway culture. There is a tough/tender quality to the pieces that seems to reflect something about Israel itself. — Opens Tuesday, Jan. 28, through Feb. 3, at the Parasol Projects Gallery, 213 Bowery, parasolproject.com, bezalelfriends.org.

Shabbat

FREYTAG NAKHT LEBN (FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE)

An extended oneg plus live performances by 11 members of the cast of the recently closed Off Broadway hit “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” will follow services in Temple Emanu-El’s historic sanctuary. Expect to hear “Shadkhnte, Shadkhnte” (Matchmaker, Matchmaker), “Tog-ayn, Tog-oys” (Sunrise, Sunset), “Libst Mikh, Setse” (Do You Love Me) and “Shabes Brokhe” (Sabbath Prayer). — Jan. 24, 6-8 p.m., Temple Emanu-El, Fifth Avenue at 65th Street, (212) 744-1400. Free.

Theater

THE LABOR OF LIFE

The New Yiddish Rep takes on Hanoch Levin’s absurdist work about a man who wants to walk away from his marriage after 30 years and start a new life. Suffice it to say, he barely makes it to the front door. Gara Sandler directs, with Sandler as the much-put-upon Yona, Ronit Asheri-Sandler as his wife Leviva and David Mandelbaum as the needy bachelor friend Gunkel. Yiddish translation by Eli Rosen. — Jan. 24-26, 7:30 p.m., Cyrus and Rose Feldman Studio Theater, 315 W. 39th St., 9th floor, newyiddishrep.org.

MISS AMERICA’S UGLY DAUGHTER

Barra Grant stars in her two-character, one-woman autobiographical show about growing up as the un-pageant-ready daughter of Bess Meyerson, the first and so far only Jewish Miss America, and then having a daughter of her own. The Los Angeles Times calls the play “harrowing, heartbreaking, hilarious comic gold.” — Through March 1, Margorie Dean Little Theater, 10 W. 64th St., missamericasuglydaughter.com. $49-$89.

HOW MANY BUSHELS AM I WORTH?

A look at the first wave of Jewish immigrants from the FSU to wash upon these shores, through the lens of the family of Bena Shklyanoy (she wrote the play with Kevin Olson). The title refers to the U.S.-U.S.S.R. trade deal of the 1970s that tied the exchange of American goods such as wheat to the release of Soviet Jews. The play highlights a unique time in Jewish history: when establishment organizations and grass-roots advocacy groups coalesced to secure the release of Soviet Jews. — Jan. 23-26, Mark O’Donnell Theater at The Actors Fund Arts Center, 160 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn, appledoesnotfall.com. $30.

Film

NEW YORK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL

The Jewish Museum and Film Society Lincoln Center present the festival’s 29th season. Week 2 highlights include many New York premieres, among them Itay Tal’s “God of the Piano” (Jan. 25), a thriller about a concert pianist who transfers her hope of being a musical prodigy onto her child; Catherine Corsini’s “An Impossible Love” (Jan. 25 & 27), which The Guardian calls a “brilliantly dark and tender family drama”; and Dror Zahavi’s “Crescendo” (Jan. 28), a drama inspired by Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, about an Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra riven with discord and mistrust. — Jan. 15-28, Film Society Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th St., filmlinc.org.

A BLOOD ARTIST

The premiere of Jeffrey Wengrosky’s short documentary about Axel Stocks, who was born to a Jewish woman in a DP camp. When Stocks, who became a maker of psychedelic jewelry, met Salvador Dali and told of the horrors his mother faced to survive the Nazis, the great surrealist wanted him to paint — in blood. Part of the Secrets of Inner Space festival. — Saturday, Feb. 1, 9 p.m., Film Noir Cinema (122 Meserole St.) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, filmnoircinema.com.

Music

DOR SAGI

The Israeli-born, Brooklyn-based vocalist, one among many Israeli jazz musicians who have passed through The New School’s jazz program, has an affinity for Billie Holiday and the mainstream jazz tradition. She’s also influenced by popular American music of the ’90s. — Sunday, Jan. 26, 8 p.m., Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1, 196 Allen St., rockwoodmusichall.com, Free (one-drink minimum standing, two-drink minimum seated).

#NASTY WOMEN

The female resistance comedy series’ inaugural 2020 show is presented in partnership with Future Now Fund, which works to win state legislature majorities that will improve Americans’ lives. Amanda Duarte hosts Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s “Two Dope Queens”), Blythe Robertson (“How to Date Men When You Hate Men”), Leah Bonnema (“Christmas Eve for the Jews”) and Fareeha Khan (opened for Ilana Glazer). — Monday, Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m., Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St., 14streety.org. #30.

Dance

YOU AND I

Hadar Ahuvia and Tatyana Tenenbaum use their unique backgrounds — one is an Israeli American and one is the grandchild of Broadway producers — as well as choreography, music and text to make “space for repairing our Jewishness within the ongoing wreckage of colonialism.” — Friday, Jan. 31, 6 p.m., The Center at West Park, 165 W. 86th St. (entrance on Amsterdam Ave.), centeratwestpark.org. $10.

Talk

SHTISEL UNCOVERED: THE NEW CHAREDIM

The “Shtisel” cast, arguably Israeli television’s most popular chareidim. Courtesy of Ohad Romano

Charedi social activist Pnina Pfeuffer and Yehonatan Indursky, co-creator of the popular Netflix drama “Shtisel,” in a discussion on the rapidly growing charedi sector in Israel and the changes taking place in that community. In partnership with the New Israel Fund. —Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7 p.m., Bnai Jeshurun, 257 W. 88th St., nif.org.

Exhibitions

RACHEL FEINSTEIN: MAIDEN, MOTHER, CRONE

The sculptor, who grew up in Miami, creates fantastical and often highly sexualized 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.

Last chance:

“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.

“Emma’s Sitting Room.” An American Jewish Historical Society archival show places Emma Lazarus’ iconic poem “The New Colossus” in the context of her Union Square brownstone, where she was attuned to the debates of the day. — Through Jan. 31, Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., cjh.org.

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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