The Arts

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.

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.
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