The Arts

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.

New Chapters On The Shoah

Holocaust autobiographies keeping aging survivors’ memories alive.

04/28/2016 - 10:47
Staff Writer

As the generation of Holocaust survivors — and to some degree, their children — dwindles, the number of books of their reminiscences continues to grow, as many aging men and women try to preserve their memories before they pass on. Such books, primarily journals and autobiographies, have included in recent years many works of fiction, many of them intended for young readers.

Some of the newest entries in the group of first-person Holocaust books.

Word, Image And Stage

Three shows around town span genres and centuries.

04/26/2016 - 16:38
Culture Editor

Lynn Avadenka says that a poem and a painting begin the same way: With an artist facing the blank page.

David Wander’s “There Arose a New King Who Knew Not Joseph,” part of HUC’s “Evil” show.

Remembering Ronit Elkabetz

The great Israeli actress-director could be a charismatic earth mother and a wry humorist; Viviane Amsalem trilogy spoke to ‘situation of women’ in Israel.

04/20/2016 - 10:15
Special To The Jewish Week

Back in the winter of 2015, I closed an interview with Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz by asking them if their film, “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” represented a farewell to the eponymous central character whose familial troubles had carried through a trilogy of singular intensity and nuance.

Ronit Elkabetz died this week at 51 after a long battle with cancer. Wikimedia Commons

Magical Realism In A Polish Village

The Shoah-haunted stories of Helen Maryles Shankman.

04/19/2016 - 13:28
Culture Editor

“I started thinking of my mother’s story plus a golem,” Shankman says, “my mother’s story plus a talking dog.” Janet Joyner Photography

From Hungary To Buenos Aires And Beyond

This year’s Tribeca Film Festival puts teshuvah and comedy in the spotlight.

04/12/2016 - 13:45
Special To The Jewish Week

Alan Sabbagh brings Purim to Buenos Aires in “The Tenth Man.” Alejandra Lopez

The Tribeca Film Festival has always included a generous helping of Israeli and Jewish-themed films, but seldom has the selection been stronger than it is this year. It’s not about the numbers, although the 2016 event, which opens on Thursday, April 14, includes at least a half-dozen features and a handful of shorts that will be of interest to Jewish Week readers. It is definitely about the quality.

Former Jobbik party head Csanad Szegedi, near right, and Rabbi Boruch Oberlander in scene from “Keep Quiet.” Gábor Máté

Religious Tolerance Moves To Center Stage

New production of ‘Nathan the Wise’ raises tough questions about faith, morality and religious truth.

04/05/2016 - 13:20
Special To The Jewish Week

‘Every time he hears the word ‘Jew’, he’s ready to punch someone,” F. Murray Abraham told The Jewish Week in an interview about the title character he plays in “Nathan the Wise,” now running at the Classic Stage Company. But it is the character’s Jewish faith that keeps his anger in check.

F. Murray Abraham stars as a pious Jew in “Nathan the Wise,” set in 12th-century Jerusalem. Photos by Richard Termine
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