The Arts

The ‘Theological Ping’

In ‘The Choosing,’ Rabbi Andrea Myers documents a coming out, a conversion, a life in Israel and much more.
Jewish Week Book Critic

Rabbi Andrea Myers has many facets to her identity.

She is the daughter of a Sicilian Catholic mother and German Lutheran father; she came out as a lesbian while a student at Brandeis University, converted to Judaism in Israel and studied for the rabbinate in New York. Now 39 and married to a rabbi, she is rabbi and rebbetzin, a mother, teacher and writer.
“Any major life change should only make you more of who you are,” she says in an interview, noting these words have guided her own journey, and she uses them to help others.

Rabbi Myers’ memoir is joyful, but hers is a hard-won joy, and her brand of Judaism is embracing of all.

A ‘Prophet’ In Autumn

As Bob Dylan turns 70, even the Cantors Assembly is taking notice.
Special To The Jewish Week

On May 24, Bob Dylan will turn 70. It isn’t hard to predict what this fact will trigger. There will be a spate of editorials in a bewildering range of publications. Radio stations across the country and all over the FM band will air marathon selections of his recordings. Book and DVD publishers will release (and re-release) Dylan biographies. Boomers will have to brace themselves for an extensive encomium in AARP Magazine.

How many roads: Dylan, then, in the 1967 documentary “Don’t Look Back,” and now.

Italians, Jews And Death

Marc Meyers’ ‘Harvest’ focuses on a tension-riddled Italian-Jewish family.
Special To The Jewish Week

It takes a filmmaker with a significant amount of chutzpah to base his second feature film on an old chestnut like a family gathering as its patriarch nears death. Marc Meyers not only takes that risk in his second feature film, “Harvest,” which opens on May 6; he also eschews the emotional pyrotechnics that the subject usually encourages to create something more thoughtful, intelligent and, frequently, elegant.

The Monopoli clan, headed by patriarch Siv (Robert Loggia), center, and matriarch Yetta (Barbara Barrie), left.

New Names, New Genres

Second week of Israel Film Festival features slasher, nature and singles scene fare.
Special To The Jewish Week

One of the pleasant side benefits of this year’s Israel Film Festival, now in its 25th year, is a profusion of unfamiliar names and even unfamiliar genres


Scene from “Land of Genesis,” top, and Keren Berger and Yaron Brovinsky in “2Night.”

Wedding Bell Blues


If what you don’t know won’t hurt you, how far should you go to keep yourself in the dark? In Hanoch Levin’s black farce “Winter Wedding,” the members of a benighted Russian Jewish family are willing to do anything, including commit murder, to blind themselves from learning that a relative has died on the eve of a long-awaited family wedding. Directed by David Willinger, the play opens this weekend at the Theater for the New City in the East Village.

Nikki Iliopoulou, left, and Debra Zane in scene from Hanoch Levin’s black comedy “Winter Wedding.”

The Soul Behind ‘Great Soul’

In chronicling Gandhi’s life, Joseph Lelyveld was partly influenced by his own father, a civil rights activist and rabbi.
Staff Writer

Many of the main points Joseph Lelyveld was trying to make in his new biography of Mohandas Gandhi were lost last month amid the outcry over the book’s most salacious suggestion: that the Indian leader may have been gay. But in an interview with the Jewish Week, Lelyveld, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, former editor of The New York Times, tried to set the record straight.

Joseph Lelyveld, says he is aiming for a less mythologized picture of the historical Gandhi. Janny Scott

Closeup Pictures, From A Distance

Comfort and detachment in the photos of Yael Ben-Zion at the 92nd Street Y.
Special To The Jewish Week

In a series of photographs currently being exhibited at the Milton J. Weill Art Gallery at the 92nd Street Y, Yael Ben-Zion, a New York-based photographer evokes life in modern-day Israel. Born in Minneapolis and raised in Arad in southern Israel, Ben-Zion moved to the States to pursue advanced law studies at Yale only to pick up a camera and fall in love with photography while working on her law degree.

Yael Ben-Zion's "Milk."

Three ‘Novel’ Israeli Works

Film about Amos Oz and two based on the fiction of David Grossman and Yehoshua Kenaz are part of Israel Film Festival.
Special To The Jewish Week

Israeli artists are as introspective as any in the world. I doubt if any filmmakers, writers, painters, musicians or composers anywhere spend as much time pondering the nature of their national identity at both the micro and macro levels.

Amos Oz

Love Across The Great Divide

An Israeli woman, a Palestinian man and separation anxiety.
Special To The Jewish Week

Under ideal circumstances, marriage is hard work. Under extreme pressure, it sometimes seems impossible. Jasmin Avissar and Osama “Assi” Zatar, the young couple at the heart of Gabriella Bier’s documentary “Love During Wartime,” are under extreme pressure. She is an Israeli and he is a Palestinian. As the film, which is playing in the Tribeca Film Festival, makes abundantly clear, the pressure comes from all sides, including some unexpected ones.

Pressure cooker: Jasmin Avissar and Assi Zatar

Sour Notes

Concert pianist-turned-playwright Israela Margalit looks at cutthroat world of classical music in ‘First Prize.’
Special To The Jewish Week

Classical music offers spiritual transcendence for performers and audience members alike. But as the distinguished Israeli pianist and playwright Israela Margalit suggests in her loosely autobiographical new play, “First Prize,” the classical music world is also saturated with much that is sordid and soul-destroying. “First Prize,” which begins previews this weekend at the Arclight Theatre on the Upper West Side, features music from Margalit’s own celebrated recordings with some of the world’s greatest orchestras.

Israela Margalit, right, and Lori Prince,above, who plays the pianist in “First Prize.”
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