LETTERS TO AFAR
YIVO and the Museum of the City of New York present “Letters to Afar,” a poignant look into Eastern European Jewish life in the 1920s and ’30s, shortly before it was almost completed destroyed. Péter Forgács and the Klezmatics have collaborated on a video installation with new music; included are home movies of Jewish immigrants who traveled back to their cities and shtetls for visits. The vibrant world of Yiddish culture is preserved in amber, as most of the subjects on camera were doomed to exile, or to the camps.
—Opening reception Tues., Oct. 21, 6 to 8 p.m. Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave., (917) 492-3414, mcny.org. Exhibition on view Oct. 22 through March 22, 2015.
IL MANTOVANO HEBREO
Violinist and composer Salomone Rossi was known during the height of his fame in the late Renaissance as “The Hebrew.” His work included putting music to Hebrew psalms and prayers. Rossi mostly fell into obscurity, but the Israeli male vocal quintet Profeti della Quinta has worked to popularize his music. Now, the ensemble performs “Il Montavano Hebreo”(“The Mantuan Jew”) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in a concert celebrating Rossi’s work and life.
—Sat., Oct. 25, 7 p.m., tickets from $50/$1 children. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, (212) 570-3949, metmuseum.org/tickets.
HAVA TEQUILA NIGHTS
The Folksbiene may be 100 years old, but the Yiddish theater company isn’t afraid of trying something new. Wednesday marks the kickoff of a new series called “Hava Tequila.” Folksbiene staple Shane Baker will emcee weekly cabaret-style Borscht Belt revivals for upcoming and experimental Jewish performers. The inaugural evening includes spoken-word artist and “Hebrew Mamita” Vanessa Hidary, as well as musical guests Shlomit Levi and RebbeSoul.
—Wed., Oct. 22, 9 p.m., $28. The Triad Theater, 158 72nd St, (212) 362-2590, thenationalyiddishtheatre.brownpapertickets.com.
A VOICE AMONG THE SILENT: THE LEGACY OF JAMES G. MCDONALD
This documentary, by Shuli Eshel, examines the role of American diplomat McDonald in attempts to rescue Jews from the Nazis. McDonald warned FDR and Pope Pius XI of the dangers facing European Jews as early as 1933, and would go on to serve as the first U.S. ambassador to Israel.
—Sunday, Oct. 19 at Park East Synagogue (164 E. 68th St.), 6 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 20 at Bow Tie Cinemas (115 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck), 7 p.m.
“Diplomacy,” a new film by Volker Schlondorff, re-examines the struggle to save Paris from the retreating Nazis. It pits a Nazi general (Niels Arestrup) against the Swedish ambassador (Andre Dussolier) in a hotel-room debate with vast consequences. Expect some bravura acting from two old foxes.
—Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St., (212) 727-8110, filmforum.org/diplomacy-film-page. Through Oct. 28.
THE GREEN PRINCE
This documentary follows the story of Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas leader who turned against the terrorist group and became a spy for Israel, and his unlikely friendship with his Shin-Bet handler.
—Lincoln Plaza Cinema (1886 Broadway,  757-0359) and Bow Tie Roslyn Theater (20 Tower Place, Roslyn,  621-8488).
THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU
Jonathan Tropper’s 2010 novel gets the big-screen treatment in “This is Where I Leave You,” a dark comedy of family dysfunction as can only happen during the forced prolonged interaction of shiva. (Tropper wrote the screenplay.) The all-star cast includes Tina Fey, Jane Fonda and Adam Driver.
—Check local listings.
Tom Dugan’s one-man play about Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal shows how the “Jewish James Bond” brought more than 1,100 Nazis to justice.
—Opens Fri., Oct. 24, $60. Acorn Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St. (212) 239-6200, telecharge.com. Through Nov. 30.
MY SON, THE WAITER: A JEWISH TRAGEDY
Brad Zimmerman’s new show, “My Son, the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy,” is an autobiographical comedy about two journeys- one through show business, as is his dream, and the other through the service industry, as is his necessity.
—$25-$60, plus a two-drink minimum. The Triad Theater, 158 W. 72nd St., (212) 868-4444, playhouseinfo.com. Through Dec. 31.
Daniel Cainer had a mystical vision of a rabbi telling him to “write a Jewish musical,” so he obeyed. “Jewish Chronicles” weaves together stories as different (yet uniquely Jewish) as that of a Jewish woman in the 1950s who joins a Christian cult and a rabbi addicted to cocaine.
—Performances Wednesdays and Saturdays at 3 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30 p.m., $45. SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam St., (212) 691-1555, sohoplayhouse.com. Through Nov. 16.
“Tender Buttons” is a three-part theatrical cycle that adapts Gertrude Stein’s book that explored and celebrated the mundane. The final part, “Food,” concludes its run this week.
—“Food” runs Oct. 16 through Oct. 19. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., $15. Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., (212) 868-4444, www.smarttix.com.
BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL
“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” traces the iconic singer/songwriter’s life and career, from her hits like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” to her relationship with Gerry Goffin, her songwriting partner and husband. Starring the Tony-winning Jessie Mueller.
—The Stephen Sondheim, 124 W. 43rd St., (212) 719-1300, beautifulonbroadway.com. Open run.
SY KUSHNER ENSEMBLE
The Stephen Wise Free Synagogue hosts an ongoing “New York Klezmer” series. This week it’s the Sy Kushner Jewish Music Ensemble, featuring works from their latest album, “Klez, Kush & Son.”
—Tues., Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m., $15, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 W. 68th St., (212) 877-4050, nyklezmer.com.
MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE
Against the Odds: American Jews & the Rescue of Europe’s Refugees, 1933-1941 presents both individual stories and a portrait of the collective experience of American Jews trying to help relatives, friends or even just strangers thousands of miles away, linked by the shared bond of religion. In particular, the exhibit explores how American immigration laws limited the power of those trying to assist, and how Jews overcame tremendous obstacles to help those in need.
—Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl. (646) 437-4202. $7-$12.
A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community”: This exhibit explores the vibrancy, peacefulness and Jewish history of the town of Oswiecim, otherwise known as Auschwitz, emphasizing images of the day-to-day life and people that comprised this town before the Holocaust.
—Museum of Jewish Heritage, Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
THE JEWISH MUSEUM
From the Margins: Lee Krasner | Norman Lewis, 1945-1952: As a Jewish woman and African-American man, respectively, Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis were painters who let their “otherness” show in their art. They are the joint subjects of a new Abstract Expressionist exhibit at the Jewish Museum.
—Through Feb. 1, 2015.
Dani Gal: As From Afar: “As From Afar” is a short film by Israeli artist Dani Gal, playing twice an hour at the Jewish museum. The piece is a dramatic enactment of the relationship between Simon Wiesenthal and once high-ranking Nazi official Albert Speer.
—The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org. Through Feb. 15, 2015.
The 92nd Street Y hosts an exhibition of Photographer Robert G. Zuckerman’s “Kindsight®” series, emphasizing universal humanity and goodness in the face of an uncertain world. Zuckerman’s aim is also to raise awareness and research money for Adult Polyglucosan Body Disease, a Jewish genetic condition.
—92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., (212) 415-5500, 92y.org/Exhibits. Through Oct. 20.
THE GREENHOUSE OF EIN SHEMER
In time for the biblical Shmitah year is “Incubating Ideas and Cultivating Connections: The Greenhouse of Ein Shemer.” The installation is a fusion of science and art, with plants and photographs allowing viewers to explore a universal bond with nature and Israel’s unique relationship with its land.
—JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4414, jccmanhattan.org. Through Oct. 31.
ADELE BLOCH-BAUER II
Gustav Klimt’s portraits of Jewish socialite Adele Bloch-Bauer was looted by the Nazis, but eventually returned to the family. Now, one of the portraits has made its way to MoMA, where it is currently on view.
—MoMA, 11 W. 53rd St., (212) 708-9400, moma.org.
ECHOES OF THE BORSCHT BELT
Marisa Scheinfeld’s photographs reveal the eerie beauty in the decrepit remains of Catskills resorts.
—YU Museum, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8330, yumuseum.org. Through April 12, 2015.
ONCE EVERYTHING WAS MUCH BETTER EVEN THE FUTURE
Nir Hod, the New York-based Israeli artist, returns with an exhibit of stylized and provocative works.
—Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 10th Ave., (212) 563-4474, paulkasmingallery.com. Through Oct. 25, 2014.
HELEN FRANKENTHALER, COMPOSING WITH COLOR
Paintings by the second-generation Abstract Expressionist composed with color rather than with line.
—Gagosian Gallery, 980 Madison Ave., (212) 741-1111, Gagosian.com. Through Oct. 18.
BARBARA NESSIM: AN ARTFUL LIFE
Bard Graduate Center opens its retrospective of the work of Barbara Nessim. The artist, who hails from a Sephardic New York family, has not only made a career in drawing and textile art, but also was innovative in her early recognition of the potential of computer graphics.
—Bard Graduate Center, 38 W. 86th St., (212) 501-3000, bgc.bard.edu/gallery. Through Jan. 11, 2015.
WHEN THE GREEKS RULED EGYPT
NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World’s exhibit, “When the Greeks Ruled Egypt: From Alexander the Great to Cleopatra,” includes manuscripts revealing the family life and legal contracts of Egyptian Jews.
—Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 15 E. 84th St., (212) 992-7800, isaw.nyu.edu. Through Jan. 4, 2015.
HASIDIM OF CROWN HEIGHTS: A COMMUNITY STUDY
84-year-old Japanese Artist Chie Nishio has a photography exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library, in which she documents her interactions with the Brooklyn Orthodox community that began twenty years ago.
—Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, (718) 230-2100, bklynpubliclibrary.org. Through Feb. 1, 2015.
AMEN – A PRAYER FOR THE WORLD
This exhibit invites 48 artists to paint life-size sculptures of Amun, an ancient, proto-monotheistic deity. The artists hail from Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions. Amun sounds like “Amen,” a sign of agreement, and here, a metaphor linking the three faiths.
—The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave., (212) 316-7540, oncaravan.org. Suggested donation $10 for entrance to the cathedral. Through Nov. 23.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG AND DORIT BEINISCH
Dorit Beinisch was the first woman to serve as the president of the Israeli Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not only a Jewish U.S. Supreme Court Justice but also a cult figure. Next Sunday, the two speak in a conversation led by NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.
—Sun., Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., tickets from $85. 92Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., (212) 415-5500, 92y.org.
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