The Arts

Crying For Argentina

In 'Memory is a Culinary Affair,' a Jewish woman - the daughter of a 'desaparaceida' - struggles to rebuild her life in New York.

05/31/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

When we think of Jewish immigrants, many of us recollect those from Eastern Europe who came to New York around the turn of the 20th century. But the city continues to be a haven for Jewish immigrants from all over the world. In Graciela Berger Wegsman's "Memory is a Culinary Affair," a young Jewish woman from Argentina struggles to rebuild her life in New York as she grapples with her mother's disappearance at the hands of the military dictatorship in her country. The play opens next Thursday evening at the Red Room in the East Village.

Ydaiber Orozco and Mariana Parma as sisters in "Memory is a Culinary Affair."

A Passage To Guatemala

David Unger’s tale of dislocation, ‘The Price of Escape,’ follows his father’s trajectory from Nazi Germany to the Central American country.

05/31/2011
Staff Writer

Readers of literary fiction in America have coveted Latin American writers for years. Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Bolaño are even household names here. But when was the last time you heard about a great Guatemalan author? And more specifically, one who is Jewish?

Enter David Unger, author of the dark and riveting new novel, “The Price of Escape,” which follows a Jewish refugee who flees Nazi Germany and ends up in Guatemala. The story was inspired by the strange journey Unger’s own father.

The Price of Escape Book Cover.

Kosher Indian

Siona Benjamin’s ‘visual midrash’ explores her identity as a Bene Israel descendant.

05/31/2011
Staff Writer

When Siona Benjamin was in art school in the 1980s, her professors told her to avoid narrative painting, and to keep her work abstract.

Siona Benjamin and her work “Miriam,” Photos courtesy of Flomenhaft Gallery

North Shore Gets A Film Festival

Inaugural Gold Coast fest plays to local demographic.

05/25/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

The obvious question is, “Does the New York area really need another film festival?”

The not-so-obvious answer, given by Regina Gil, the founder of the Gold Coast International Film Festival, which opens its inaugural event on June 1, is an emphatic affirmative.

“Infiltration,” top, and “Naomi” are two Israeli films that will screen at the first Gold Coast International Film Festival.

Modern Art’s Sister Act

Baltimore’s Cone sisters and the art of collecting.

05/24/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

‘There were two of them, they were sisters, they were large women, they were rich, they were very different one from the other one.”

This was how American expat writer Gertrude Stein described Claribel and Etta Cone in her short-story word portrait, “Two Women,” about two art-collecting sisters who traveled the world as single ladies of means in the early 20th century.

Claribel Cone, left, Gertrude Stein and Etta Cone in Italy, in 1903. Baltimore Museum of Art

Wyatt Earp’s Jewish Wife Gets Her Due

All-female musical puts spotlight on role of women in Wild West.

05/24/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

She was the wife of one of the most famous gunslingers in the history of the Wild West, but today few have heard of her. Josephine Marcus escaped her Jewish family in San Francisco and married Wyatt Earp, whose extraordinary legend she helped to craft and perpetuate. In “I Married Wyatt Earp,” an all-female musical now running Off Broadway, she finally gets her due.

Frontier women: Scene from “I Married Wyatt Earp,” directed by Cara Reichel.  Gerry Goodstein

A Night In Tunisia

05/17/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

Some wars are fought more in the bedroom than on the battlefield. In Tuvia Tenenbom’s new play, “Saida,” the aging leader of the Palestinian secret service (Robert Tekavec) and his young Israeli counterpart (Sergei Nagony) vie for the hand of Saida (Anita Clay), the most beautiful woman in Tunisia. An allegory for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “Saida” opened last weekend at the Kraine Theatre in the East Village. Jeffrey Coyne and Adam Shiri are also featured in the cast.

“Saida,” with Sergei Nagony, left, Robert Tekavec and Anita Clay, is meant as a metaphor about Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Drawing The (Green) Line

MOMA’s Francis Alÿs retrospective omits the conceptual artist’s best works.

05/17/2011
Staff Writer

Four years ago, the Belgian artist Francis Alÿs displayed one of his best works in years, “The Green Line,” at Chelsea’s David Zwirner Gallery. With a characteristically axiomatic subtitle — “Sometimes Doing Something Poetic Can Become Political, and Sometimes Doing Something Political Can Become Poetic” — it gave an artist’s askance view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and achieved that rare artistic feat: chastising the political status quo without becoming either cynical or simplistic.

An image from Alÿs’ “The Green Line,”  Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

Roman Holiday

Visiting Tempio Maggiore choir introduces world to the melting pot of Italian Jewish music.

05/17/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

When it was home to the greatest empire the world had yet known, it was said that all roads led to Rome. To build that empire meant sending the city’s sons across much of the known world, yet at least one group remained there unmoved, despite a history of (not always voluntary) wandering.

Claudio Maestro Di Segni, left, leads the choir at the Tempio Maggiore in its U.S. debut Sunday.

The Rabbi Was A ‘Freedom Rider’

N.J. spiritual leader, part of a new PBS documentary, looks back on his role in the civil rights struggle.

05/11/2011
Staff Writer

When Rabbi Israel S. Dresner got a call 50 years ago asking if he’d be willing to go on a Freedom Ride aimed at desegregating bus stations in the South, he did not hesitate.

“Remember, I’m a guy who grew up in the 1930s when Hitler was on the rise,” Rabbi Dresner, now 82, said in a recent interview from his home in Wayne, N.J. “How can I not be against racism?”

Rabbi Israel S. Dresner
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