The Arts

Designs On Rio

The gardens, promenades, sculptures and paintings of Brazilian modernist Robert Burle Marx.

06/07/2016 - 13:19
Culture Editor

For much of his career, Roberto Burle Marx’s palette has been nature. One of the most prominent landscape architects of the 20th century, he designed more than 2,000 gardens over six decades.

Bottom right, Burle Marx’s design for education minister’s rooftop garden.  ©Burle Marx Landscape Design Studio

Sobering Lessons Of The Long Lebanon War

05/31/2016 - 16:19
Special To The Jewish Week

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from “Pumpkin Flowers,” journalist and author Matti Friedman’s just-published memoir about his and his contemporaries’ experiences in the IDF in southern Lebanon, a buffer zone protecting the Israeli north, in the late 1990s. “The Pumpkin” was the name given the outpost where Friedman served. The war began with an IDF invasion in 1982 and Israeli forces remained in Lebanon until 2000, enduring terror attacks until the army decided to leave, blowing up its outposts as it left — a sad end to a long and unresolved war.

“The old utopian optimism,” Friedman writes, “was laid to rest” after the Lebanon war.

Keret Comes To The Stage

First theatrical adaptation of the acclaimed Israeli author’s ‘magical realm’ poses its share of challenges.

05/31/2016 - 15:09
Special To The Jewish Week

He’s been called the Franz Kafka, the Kurt Vonnegut and the Woody Allen of Israeli fiction. But Etgar Keret is in a class by himself. His film scripts, short stories and graphic novels are slangy, slick, and surrealistic, with a plethora of impossible things perpetually happening to high-strung, raw-nerved, world-weary Israelis. A collection of Keret’s short stories, “Suddenly, a Knock at the Door,” has now been adapted for the stage by playwright Robin Goldfin. Directed by David Carson, the play has just kicked off a two-week run in the East Village.

Etgar Keret’s short story collection, “Suddenly, A Knock at the Door,” features a talking fish, among other leaps of imagination

Orthodox Women Take On ‘Vagina Monologues’

05/24/2016 - 16:16

Sixty college-aged Orthodox women packed into a Washington Heights apartment earlier this month to talk about sexual identity, menstruation and … vaginas.

The Off-Broadway play “Vagina Monologues”  is a production in Germany .wikimedia commons

On Your Marx…

Here comes a long-forgotten Marx Brothers musical, ‘I’ll Say She Is,’ with the old skits and new material.

05/24/2016 - 15:28
Special To The Jewish Week

Before “Duck Soup,” “A Night at the Opera” and the other madcap 1930s films for which the Marx Brothers became internationally famous, they were already vaudeville superstars. They made the leap onto the Broadway stage in 1924 with a hit musical revue, “I’ll Say She Is,” about a rich girl who promises her hand to the suitor who can show her the most exciting time.

Matt Walters, Noah Diamond, Melody Jane, Seth Shelden and Matt Roper. Photos by Mark X Hopkins

Mizrahim In The Spotlight

Working-class families figure prominently in Israel Film Center Festival.

05/24/2016 - 12:39
Special To The Jewish Week

For the fourth installment of the Israel Film Center Festival, a welcome addition to the cultural calendar, family — especially the Mizrahi nuclear family — is everything. And while it may be too soon to call this a cinematic trend — running counter, as it does, to Israeli films that deal with politics and matters of war and peace — three films in this year’s festival tread over that little-cultivated ground.

Talking turkey farming: Asher Avrahami, left, and Navid Negahban in a scene from “Baba Joon.” United King Features

For Patinkin, A Musical Homeland

05/17/2016 - 15:26

On the set of “Homeland,” Mandy Patinkin softly sings Yiddish lullabies before the cameras roll.

These days, whether he’s performing live in concert or recording television, he runs through the lyrics of “Mamaloshen,” his 1998 collection of Yiddish songs, as a warm-up. “It focuses my mind,” he says. “The foreign-language tongue twisters engage my brain.”

A performance May 23 at Lincoln Center will return Mandy Patinkin to the Yiddish he heard while growing up.Jennifer altman

A Harbin-ger Of Things To Come

A Jewish-Russian-Chinese musical cross-pollination marking a little-known 19th-century diaspora melting pot.

05/17/2016 - 12:39
Special To The Jewish Week

Harbin might be the last place on earth you’d expect to have a Jewish history. The capital and largest city of Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province, its name means “place for drying fishnets,” not a notably Jewish enterprise. But at the end of the 19th century, this Manchurian fishing village became a railroad boomtown when the Russian government secured a land concession under which it would build the Chinese Eastern Railway as an extension of the Trans-Siberian system.

Yale Strom, right, teams with the East River Ensemble. MARIO TAMA

Fathers Still Know Best

Rabbi Yitz Greenberg offers his own take on the wisdom (more relevant today than ever?) found in Pirkei Avot.

05/10/2016 - 15:09
Special To The Jewish Week

‘Sage Advice” (Maggid Books) serves as the more than apt title for Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg’s new translation and commentary on Pirkei Avot, the classic volume of rabbinic literature that is itself a compendium of pithily stated reflections, observations and teachings drawn from the sayings of the rabbis (aka sages) who lived in the era of the composition of the Mishnah, around the third century CE.

The perennially popular text itself appears in most Jewish prayer books, and many scholars and rabbis have published their commentaries before.

“It’s like a box of candies,” Rabbi Greenberg says about Pirkei Avot.

‘He Wasn’t Some Leftist From Tel Aviv’

Erez Laufer puts the focus on Yitzchak Rabin’s life, not his death, in new documentary.

05/03/2016 - 15:51
Special To The Jewish Week

Erez Laufer was 5 years old when he first met Yitzchak Rabin. Laufer’s father taught at the Kadoorie boarding school, a Rabin alma mater, and when the then – chief of staff of the IDF landed in the family’s yard in a helicopter, Erez was there to greet him.

Rabin at home: A shy but blunt man, Rabin kept his family out of the public limelight.
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