Special Sections

A World Of Kosher Wine


We open this, our sixth annual Kosher Wine Guide, with an intriguing question, one that mirrors the age-old, Is it Good for the Jews? Is the “kosher” label good for vintners, or is it, as one of them tells us, “a golden handcuff?” Can segregation on the shelf actually be a boon? Or, as the quality of kosher wine improves, is it demeaning to be stuck on the kosher shelf, like a sophisticated teenager who finds herself at the kid’s table for the Passover seder?


Jewish Week Book Critic

While there’s frequent news these days of bookstores closing and publishers downsizing, the really good news is that two new publishers interested in Jewish literature are introducing their first titles this season. Fig Tree Books is a new independent press publishing literary fiction about the American Jewish experience, issuing new works by Jonathan Papernick and Jessamyn Hope, a classic novel by Meyer Levin and others. And Mandel Vilar Press, who begins its list with new novels by Thane Rosenbaum and Alan Lelchuk, is dedicated to books representing “inclusive diversity” in the literature of the Americas. May they flourish.

Judaica Gets A Fresh Look

The ancient and the modern, in conversation at The Jewish Museum.

Special To The Jewish Week

At a curatorial meeting at The Jewish Museum a couple of years ago, Jens Hoffman, the deputy director of exhibitions and public programs, inquired as to why the museum owned so many Judaica objects in replica. Curator Susan Braunstein replied that the many examples of, say, a certain Chanukah menorah, add depth for research purposes. The conversation sparked what would become the museum’s big show this spring.

19th-century spice containers are part of the conversation in “Repetition and Difference” show. Courtesy of The Jewish Museum

The Visual Arts List


Yael Bartana. Catch the New York debut of Yael Bartana’s two latest films: “Inferno” and “True Finn.” “Inferno” explores a grand temple inspired by a replica of Solomon’s Temple in São Paulo being built, destroyed, and its ruins being worshipped. The Brazilian temple was built with stones imported from Israel, and Bartana weaves between Jerusalem and Sao Paolo. “True Finn,” a documentary-style film, asks questions about identity and nationhood. Through Feb. 14. Petzel Gallery, 456 W. 18th St., petzel.com

The ‘Divine’ Miss Dardashti

The leader of Divahn is back as part of a ‘Jewish Women’s Voices’ world-music program.

Special To The Jewish Week

It flies in the face of Jewish-American history and the extraordinary diversity of the city’s cultural cauldron, but despite the best efforts of music presenters across the city, the overwhelming majority of concerts and recitals of Jewish music are classical or klezmer or Yiddish song. There are certainly many concerts that draw from other Jewish musical traditions, but they are outnumbered, to say the least.

Divahn, led by Galeet Dardashti. Via galeetdardashti.com

The Music List


Ongoing:  Once again curated by Aaron Alexander, the New York Klezmer Series resumes on Tuesday nights at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (30 W. 68th St.) Among the groups already booked are Klezmerfest! w/Greg Wall, Jordan Hirsch, Zev Zions (March 10), the Sy Kushner Jewish Music Ensemble (April 7) and Yale Strom’s Hot Pstromi (May 5). Keep checking the calendar at http://aaronalexander.com/wp/concert-schedule.

The Film List


Feb. 20:  Film Comment Selects. The acclaimed bimonthly magazine’s annual event kicks off with “Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films,” a documentary that looks back at the shenanigans and craziness of Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus. When the two Israeli schlockmongers hit Hollywood in the ’80s they helped to make it the worst decade in American film history. Weirdly, this is the second film on display this year chronicling their, er, exploits; the first one, “The GoGo Boys,” played the Jewish festival last month. The festival will also include a retrospective screening of Mike Nichols’ “The Fortune,” an oddball farce in which Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Stockard Channing are channeling the spirits of the Three Stooges. Walter Reade Theater (Lincoln Center; filmlinc.com)

The Elkabetz Siblings’ Films Are Personal And Political

‘Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,’ inspired by their mother, provides glimpse into the world of oft-overlooked Mizrahi Jews.

Special To The Jewish Week

It has been a long and unpredictable journey but, for the moment, Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz can rest.

Ronit Elkabetz stars in “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem.”  Via musicboxfilms.com

The Theater List


“Aging is Optional.” A nightclub performance by Tovah Feldshuh, in which she sings, tells stories and expresses her warm-hearted philosophy of life. Feb. 19-21, 7 p.m. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. $50-$100, (646) 476-3551, 54below.com. $25 food and drink minimum per person.

A More Perfect Union?

Intermarriage theme gets a new twist in ‘It Shoulda Been You.’

Special To The Jewish Week

Skyrocketing rates of intermarriage may be no laughing matter for many observers of the American Jewish scene, but Jewish-Christian unions have been a durable theme of American Jewish humor since the runaway success of the 1922 Broadway comedy, “Abie’s Irish Rose,” which spawned a whole series of plays and films about the clash of ethnic stereotypes. With the opening this season of “It Shoulda Been You,” a new Broadway musical comedy by Barbara Anselmi and Brian Hargrove, the intermarriage theme gets a 21st-century twist. Tyne Daly stars as Judy Greenberg, the mother of the hapless bride, while Harriet Harris plays Georgette Howard, the prospective new mother-in-law.

“It Shoulda Been You,” starring Tyne Daly, left, examines the stresses in two families before an intermarriage. Andrew Eccles
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