Roman Polanski's latest feature film is a dramatic account of one man's survival in wartime Warsaw. "The Pianist," which opens Dec. 27, is also a documentary in at least one respect: its star, Adrien Brody, nearly starved himself to portray the Jewish musician and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, shedding some 30 pounds from his already slender frame as filming progressed.
The interviews were going on back-to-back and side-by-side. In one closet-size office at a public relations firm on Seventh Avenue, the Israeli actor Oren Rehany talked about his film debut in “The Holy Land,” which opens Friday at the Angelika Film Center in Manhattan. Next door, Rehany’s co-star Tchelet Semel described the challenges of portraying a Russian prostitute when she is neither. One office over it was Saul Stein, slimmed down from his role as the burly American bar owner, Mike, but still exhibiting the character’s gravely voice and toothy grin.
Rabbi David Gedzelman, the creative and rabbinic director at Makor, is leaving the Upper West Side cultural center founded by Michael Steinhardt to lead another of the mega-philanthropist’s Jewish communal ventures.
In January, Rabbi Gedzelman, 43, will become executive director of the New York-based Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation. He’ll assume the post previously held by Jonathan Joseph (J.J.) Greenberg, who died in September at age 36 in a traffic accident in northern Israel.
Albert Einstein’s combination of scientific genius, humility, good humor and distinctive grooming made him a cultural icon. An illuminating exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History provides remarkably lucid explanations of the shock-headed scientist’s theories that changed the way light, time, energy and gravity are understood.
“Einstein” also demonstrates how the Nobel Prize-winning physicist used his celebrity to promote his other passionate concerns: pacifism, socialism, disarmament and Zionism.
Most visitors to a new Chagall exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan likely will find more interest in the Velcro animals on display than in Vitebsk, the artist’s beloved hometown. But while they putter and play among the exhibits that make up “Chagall for Children,” young audiences are getting a foundation in art appreciation, the exhibition’s organizers say.
Jackie Mason’s newest show, “Prune Danish,” is — like its namesake — familiar, unsophisticated and ultimately satisfying. That is, of course, if Mason’s brand of pastry is what you’re after.
The New York Times’ reviewer Bruce Weber clearly had a hankering for something different. He panned “Prune Danish” — Mason’s sixth stand-up stint on Broadway — as “idiotically, hypocritically reactionary” and said the two-and-a-half hour-show served up only about 30 minutes of good material.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is preparing to return to Ethiopia, just four months after it virtually shut down its operations in the African nation at the request of the Israeli government. Reports of death, illness and impoverished conditions among the thousands of Ethiopians who have flooded into the capital city of Addis Ababa and Gondar City prompted the move by the relief agency.
Newark, N.J. — Controversial New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka, whose recent poem “Somebody Blew Up America” suggested that Israel knew in advance about the Sept. 11 terror attacks, blasted his Jewish critics Wednesday, calling the Anti-Defamation League “the voice of imperialism.”
Baraka is refusing to resign his post despite calls from New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey that he step down, adding Wednesday, “I will not apologize.”