The Arts

Object Lesson

In ‘Great House,’ Nicole Krauss explores the connections between memory and weighty things.

Jewish Week Book Critic

A Hungarian-born antiques dealer with a fine eye for furniture helps people find pieces of their past — perhaps a chest from a living room broken up by the Nazis or a porcelain mantel clock. In his own stone house in Jerusalem,

Nicole Krauss says her plots are influenced by what's on her mind — the burden of inheritance. Joyce Ravid

Discovering Felix’s Forgotten Sister

The work of pianist/composer Fanny Mendelssohn is just now being appreciated.

Special To The Jewish Week

She seemingly had everything going for her. She was a terrifically gifted pianist and composer. She came from a wealthy family. Her father had taken the precaution of converting the children from Judaism. There was only one small problem.

Fanny Mendelssohn was born 150 years too soon to gain recognition as a pianist and composer.

“Fanny’s sphere was semi-public, and yet semi-private,” her biographer says.

Abraham’s Children: Alone, Together

‘Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam’ at New York Public Library:
The joy, and the complexity, of text.

Staff Writer

One approaches “Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,” a new exhibit of religious texts at The New York Public Library, with caution. The animating idea might cause you to roll your eyes at its surface naiveté: at a time of heightened tensions among Muslims, Jews and Christians, the curators suggest we should emphasize what we all share in common.

Or should we?

An Italian marriage contract, or ketubah, from 1782, featuring images of the Abraham’s Binding of Isaac.

A ‘Fool’ For Dance

Israeli ex-pat choreographer Hofesh Shechter’s new piece for the Cedar Lake ballet may or may not have anything to do with shtetl life.

Staff Writer

When the Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter moved to London in 2002, he thought he could leave his past behind. But no luck: “In the back of the mind of the audience, they know I’m Israeli,” Shechter said in a recent interview. “I feel that this is how people look at me.”

A scene from Hofesh Shechter’s “The Fools.” Julieta Cervantes

‘Wallenberg,’ The Musical


He saved more Jews than Oskar Schindler and Chiune Sugihara put together, but the story of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued 100,000 Jews from the Nazis, is less well known. Now comes the premiere full production of the musical drama “Wallenberg,” which opens next week at the White Plains Performing Arts Center, which its creators hope will win wider recognition for one of the most daring and successful of all the gentiles who risked their own lives to save Jews.

The Jewish Heart Of A Song Festival

From Gershwin and Sondheim to Dylan, a song for everyone

Special To The Jewish Week

The New York Festival of Song seems at first glance a slight misnomer. “Festival” suggests a short, sharp blast of events in a concentrated period of time. But NYFOS, now in its 23rd year, schedules events all year ‘round.

Festival co-founder and artistic directorr Steven Blier

‘Have A Good Laugh, Refresh Your Memory’


His work spans the history of entertainment in modern America. Fyvush Finkel, one of the last performers from the heyday of the Yiddish theater, opens this weekend at the Folksbiene in “Fyvush Finkel Live!,” a nostalgic recap of his illustrious career on both stage and screen. Finkel, who turned 88 last weekend, will be joined by his two sons, pianist Elliot and xylophonist virtuoso Ian, along with veteran performers Merwyn Goldsmith and June Gable, in a revue that showcases the talents of one of the country’s most versatile and durable Jewish performers.

Fyvush Finkel, 88, stars in a revue about his life in Jewish theater.

A Suicide In The Family

Mexican-Jewish director Mariana Chenillo
mines her grandparents’ story in ‘Nora’s Will.’

Special To The Jewish Week

Beginning writers and filmmakers are always told, “Write what you know.” While that is certainly sound advice, it should come with a warning label that reads, “May lead to hurt feelings among friends and family, screaming, yelling, possible bloody nose.” Mariana Chenillo, whose superb first feature film “Nora’s Will” opens on Friday, managed to avoid all of those pitfalls, but drawing on her family history for the film’s story was not without its nervous moments.

Fernando Luján as a cynical, weary man who has suffered with his wife’s suicide attempts in “Nora’s Will.”

For Blacks And Jews, A Musical Gray Area

Collection featuring black musicians singing Jewish songs masks a complicated cultural relationship.

Staff Writer

In 1958, when Johnny Mathis was recording an album of African-American spirituals in homage to his black mother, he included a seemingly odd song: “Kol Nidre,” the centerpiece of the Yom Kippur service and perhaps the holiest of all Jewish prayers.

“Kol Nidre,” said Johnny Mathis, who recorded the prayer on a 1958 album, “is just a big, big emotional outpouring.”

An Age-Old Love Story


 Our society worships youth. Rarely do older people appear in popular culture, and when they do, they are often treated as objects of ridicule.

 Enter Peter L. Levy’s play, “Friends,” about two elderly Jewish New Yorkers, each of whom claims the right to a park bench in Central Park. Over time their turf battle morphs into friendship, and then romance. When Levy’s play first ran in San Francisco in 2003, Dan Pine of the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California noted the play’s “uniquely wistful Jewish air.”

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