The Arts

What Lies Beneath

Two Holocaust films represent radically dissimilar visions of the relationship between Judaism and death.
11/14/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

The objects themselves are insignificant. Seven gold coins, a dirt-encrusted wristwatch, a bracelet. Taken together, they might be worth several hundred dollars but their value really can only be calculated in human suffering and the power of memory.

Ella Prince, a Maidanek survivor, returns to the Polish camp many years after their escape. ©2011 Unfinished Business One, LLC

Dreamland, With Puppets

Misha Shulman’s surrealistic ‘Deathscape.’
11/14/2011 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

‘In dreams,” the title of Delmore Schwartz’s classic short story goes, “begin responsibilities.” The protagonist of Misha Shulman’s surrealistic new play, “Deathscape,” would certainly agree. The playwright’s stand-in, Me (Matthew Cabbil), undertakes a mission to find the Drug Man, who is in possession of a narcotic that brings the user in touch with everything that he is in denial of.

Puppets and projections play major roles in “Deathscape.”

A Revolutionary Torah

Shearith Israel scroll, with burn marks still on it, is centerpiece of New-York Historical Society’s reopening exhibit.
11/14/2011 - 19:00
Staff Writer

In August 1776, George Washington and his troops retreated to Manhattan Island. The British had just routed his rebel army in Long Island, and Washington tried desperately to hold onto what little perch of New York he could. But by November, the British expelled his army from Manhattan, which the British occupied throughout the Revolutionary war.

The Shearith Israel Torah scroll that was burned by the invading British army, in 1776.

Behind Heifetz’s Genius

‘God’s Fiddler’ chronicles the violin virtuoso’s life and career.
11/10/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Genius is pure enigma. It has been called “an infinite capacity for taking pains,” but that quality describes drudgery too. There must be some inexplicable spark, some breath of the Divine that transforms mere technical perfection, simple virtuosity into something transcendent.

Jascha Heifetz

Photographers Taking It To The Streets

Jewish Museum’s ‘Radical Camera’ show highlights the pioneering work of the N.Y. Photo League.
11/07/2011 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The juxtaposition in the photograph, like the contrast between the makeshift encampment at Zuccotti Park and the soaring tower of Goldman Sachs’ headquarters, is glaring. On a gritty street on the Lower East Side, the two sides of a tenement building tell a tale of haves and have-nots, the 1 percent and the 99. In Erika Stone’s striking black-and-white photo, a family’s gray underthings hang limply on a clothesline, framed by the tenement’s fading brick, while on the adjoining wall a well-coiffed and full-lipped blonde in an advertisement gazes sexily upward, a boxy ring on her finger and a sleek watch on her wrist.

Soul of the city: Bernard Cole’s “Shoemaker’s Lunch,” from 1944. ©Estate of Bernard Cole

Eco Wades Into ‘The Protocols’ Conspiracy

Acclaimed Italian novelist defends his new book from attacks back home.
11/07/2011 - 19:00
Staff Writer

That “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the notorious anti-Semitic tract about a Jewish conspiracy to control the world, still has currency in parts of the world today was no deterrent for Umberto Eco. If there was anyone who could get away with a novel about the forged document’s creation, it was Eco. A towering member of Italy’s intellectual elite, he is a man as famed for his works on philosophy as he is for his best-selling novels. 

Though Eco’s novel has won mostly glowing reviews.

The Wizardry Of Amos Oz

In his latest meticulously crafted novel, Israel’s most famous living writer evokes a profound existential unease.
11/01/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

In Amos Oz’s new novel, or more accurately novel-in-short-stories, the sense of dread, of profound existential unease, is unmistakable. No character in Oz’s fictional Israeli village, Tel Ilan, where all the stories in “Scenes from Village Life” are set, is happy. No one is even remotely content with his lot.

Amos Oz

The Melancholy Israel Film Festival

From a thwarted aliyah bid to a failed Arab-Jewish friendship, the tone at the JCC’s ‘Other’ film series is discouraging.
10/31/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

The overriding tone of this year’s edition of the Other Israel Film Festival is one of melancholy, tinged with a degree of exhaustion. It is as if the intractable problems of the Jewish state and its Palestinian neighbors have worn down all the participants, the ossified positions that all sides have taken for so long have become so deeply ingrained that they seemingly will not admit the possibilities of positive change.

The festival’s opening-night film, “Dolphin Boy,” right. Below, the BBC production “The Promise.”

Casablanca Confidential

Joseph Braude drew on his Iraqi Jewish heritage and Arabic expertise to explore the workings of Moroccan policework.
10/31/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

A native of Providence, R.I., a son of Arabic and Lithuanian culture, Joseph Braude grew up in two worlds — his Baghdad-born mother’s tales of a childhood in Iraq and his Lithuanian-born grandfather’s Midrash lessons. There were the kasha varnishkes and qar’yie (an Iraqi vegetable dish) at Shabbat meals, and both Sephardic-style and Ashkenazic-style charoset on Passover.

The Arabic part stuck.

Joseph Braude, left, sharing a traditional meal with a friend in Morocco during his time working on “The Honored Dead,” chronicl

A Classroom Clash Of Cultures

In ‘Yo Miss,’ Judith Sloan mines her experience teaching new immigrant teens.
10/31/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

New York is reborn every day through the collision of cultures, producing new fusions and syntheses. In performance artist Judith Sloan’s new one-woman show, “Yo Miss! Teaching Inside the Cultural Divide,” an intrepid Jewish teacher weaves documentary, poetry, autobiography and music from her searing encounters with immigrant, refugee and incarcerated youths. With music direction by famed klezmer trumpeter Frank London, the show features musicians Adam Hill and MiWi LaLupa performing a smattering of Jewish, Arabic and Chinese songs, along with hip hop and polka.

The universality of human experience, says Sloan, above, can lead to cross-cultural understanding.
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