The Arts

The Handwriting On The Wall

Special To The Jewish Week

Hindsight may be 20-20, but for the Jewish Berliners in Iddo Netanyahu’s Off-Broadway play, “A Happy End,” set just after the fateful 1932 elections that solidified the power of the Third Reich, the decision about whether or not to leave Germany is both irrevocable and monumental. As a Jewish physicist and his wife, Mark Erdmann (Curzon Dobell) and Leah (Carmit Levite), struggle with the prospect of giving up the life that they know in exchange for a safe haven abroad, they are forced to confront their Jewish identity in ways that they had never anticipated. The production, which is currently in previews, runs through March 29 at the Abingdon Theatre Company in Midtown.

Cast of “A Happy End,” with playwright Iddo Netanyahu, seated at left.  Nicole Rollo

Sephardic Culture, Through The Generations

Three diverse films at annual festival worthy of theatrical releases.

Special To The Jewish Week

It is an absurd mistake to think there is such a thing as “Sephardic” culture. On the contrary, there are many Sephardic cultures, almost as distinct from one another as fingerprints, certainly as different as the similarly variegated Ashkenazi cultures.

Daniel Gad as Kabi in Nissim Dayan’s “The Dove Flyer.”  Courtesy of Sephardic Film Festival

Curb Your Expectations

Larry David’s ‘Fish in the Dark’ doesn’t move swimmingly along.

Special To The Jewish Week

A swaggering, self-centered, utterly unsympathetic “hero.” An awkward social situation in which said character displays how greedy, grasping and manipulative he can be. A series of comic reversals in which the character receives his comeuppance and must decide whether or not to repair the relationships he has so heedlessly destroyed.

Rosie Perez and Larry David in “Fish in the Dark,” David’s play about death and dysfunctional family dynamics. Joan Marcus

Excerpt- From the Devil to the King

A special book excerpt
From the Devil to the King,
by A.J. Thurso

Theater With An Ecumenical Bent

‘The Church Of Why Not’ previewed.

Special To The Jewish Week

When two Manhattan Methodist churches merged in 1937 to become The Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, few could have imagined the role that the Upper West Side building would ultimately play in the religious life of the city. Since 1991, it has shared its West 86th Street space with Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, along with Ethiopian Evangelicals, LGBT Christian Latinos, and other faith communities.

“Church of Why Not” focuses on the spiritual journey of a bar mitzvah boy played by Nathaniel Gotbaum. Joel Weber

Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities: Michael Lesher, McFarland & Company, 287 pps. $45.

Staff Writer

The disgrace of sexual abusers (nearly entirely men) who identify themselves as Orthodox Jews is a well-known subject, covered extensively in recent decades in the Jewish and general media.

"Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities:" Michael Lesher, McFarland & Company, 287 pps. $45.

Russian-Jewish Identity, With Circus Staging

Special To The Jewish Week

For Jews living in the Former Soviet Union, a rap on the door could spell disaster — the KGB might be about to burst in and drag them off to a terrible fate. Anna Zicer, founder and director of  the Lost and Found Project of Folksbiene RU, the Russian-language division of the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene, believes the stress of living in fear and doubt is also familiar to Russian-Jewish immigrants, many of whom are still struggling to adjust to American society.

Scene from “Knock: A Journey to a Foreign Country.”  George Itzhak

The Meat Of A Documentary

Ziggy Gruber, to the slicer born (so to speak), is the juicy center of ‘Deli Man.’

Special To The Jewish Week

Just because a film is a documentary, it is not without need of a structure, a narrative line to help make clear what is at stake in the story it tells. Consequently, almost every documentarian ponders the same question at the outset of a new project:

Ziggy Gruber, New York-born deli man in Houston, in scene from  “Deli Man.”  Cohen Media Group

The Music Of Defiance

A chance encounter at a Minneapolis bookstore led acclaimed conductor Murry Sidlin to recreate the Verdi work performed at Terezin.

Special To The Jewish Week

It was a simple act, one that book-lovers perform every day. But it changed Murry Sidlin’s career forever.

Conductor Murry Sidlin has brought the music of Terezin prisoners to life in “Defiant Requiem.”  Jeff Roffman

Shul Politics, The Novel

Raphael Silver’s posthumously published novel, set in a Cleveland synagogue, dissects congregational life.

Culture Editor

Around the time he was 80, Raphael D. Silver sat down to write his first novel. A few years earlier, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, his first climb. He’s a man who, after much success as a real estate developer, began producing and directing films.

The author, son of the prominent Zionist leader Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver. Courtesy of Author House
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