The Arts

My Brother The Chasid

04/17/2011 - 20:00

Secular Jews often embrace Orthodoxy, and they do so for a variety of spiritual and psychological reasons. But when newfound piety creates a holier-than-thou attitude, family conflicts are typically in store. In Joseph Sousa’s first play, “Teeth of the Sons,” now being produced by the Barefoot Theatre Company in the West Village, two brothers find their relationship sorely tested one when one brother becomes a chasid.

Brother act: Will Allen and Joseph Sousa in scene from Sousa’s “Teeth of the Sons.” Jason Zimbler

Tribeca’s Israeli Offerings: Slash And Yearn

‘Rabies’ and ‘Bombay Beach’ take very different cinematic paths.
04/17/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

It would be hard to imagine two more dissimilar films from Israeli directors than the pair that are playing in the opening week of the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through May 1. “Rabies” by Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales, claims to be Israel’s first slasher film. Alma Har’el’s “Bombay Beach” is a documentary with some staged dance sequences, set in one of the most desolate communities in North America. Each could be read as a comment on the current condition of the Jewish state and its inhabitants or just enjoyed for its own virtues.

"Bombay Beach" director Alma Ha'rel

Bloom’s Day (Or Year)

At 80, and with three new books, the literary critic-as-provocateur is still picking fights over the Bible, Kabbalah and Shakespeare.
04/17/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Harold Bloom, the eminent literary critic at Yale, will turn 81 this summer, and he does not plan to exit the stage quietly.

“Christianity? Christianity?” he said in a recent phone interview, when asked about his views on the Christian interpretation of Judaism. “The New Testament is a violently anti-Semitic reading of the Hebrew Bible.”

Bloom’s latest book is a defense of his career-making “The Anxiety of Influence.

The Trouble They’ve Seen

The arc of two new memoirs moves from heartbreak to a hard-won affirmation of life.
04/17/2011 - 20:00
Jewish Week Book Critic

Bad things happen to a lot of people. Some very good books have resulted.

“Life can survive in the constant shadow of illness,” Diane Ackerman writes in “One Hundred Names for Love.” Toshi Otsuki

The Arendt Trial

In her new book on the Eichmann trial, Deborah Lipstadt ‘rescues’ the event from Hannah Arendt.
04/11/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The trial in 1961 in Israel of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann has been well rehearsed by scholars, in the popular literature, and by journalists and Jewish professionals.

Lipstadt, a professor of history at Emory University, provides a needed historical context for the Eichmann trial.

Making Audiences’ ‘Ears Think’

The spiky, avant-garde music of Chaya Czernowin comes to the Miller Theater.
04/11/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

It takes a steely will and a ferocious intelligence to write serious avant-garde music. But it never hurts to combine those traits with personal charm and, above all, a sense of humor. In evidence, we offer Chaya Czernowin, the Israeli composer whose works are being showcased at the Miller Theater on April 15.

Czernowin, 53, has no illusions about audience response to her music.

Czernowin has drawn on Israeli and Jewish authors, such as David Grossman, for inspiration. Thomas Roma

Being Part Of An International Jewish Teen Choir

04/06/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Practicing, practicing, and more practicing. That’s how I’ve spent two hours of my Sunday afternoons this year.

By deciding to join HaZamir, the international Jewish high school choir, mid-year of my sophomore year at Friends Seminary in Manhattan, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I hadn’t been in a choir since sixth grade, but I was in an a cappella group last year. In HaZamir, I found out that memorizing more than a dozen songs in just a few months really is just as hard as it sounds.

Julian Schnabel On ‘Miral’ And The Conflict

04/06/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

For Julian Schnabel, the storm that followed the release of his new film, “Miral,” about a Palestinian woman who joins the first intifada, has not quite passed.

A week before the film debuted in late March, prominent Jewish groups criticized Schnabel, whose film was screened at the United Nations main hall. The American Jewish Committee, for instance, said that the film has “a clear political message, which portrays Israel in a highly negative light.”

Julian Schnabel with Freida Pinto during the making of "Miral."

From Latvia, With Ambiguity

David Bezmozgis, whose first novel is just out, reflects on the nature of ideologies like Communism and Zionism.
04/04/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

The story of the refuseniks is a heroic one. Thousands of Soviet Jews risked their lives, facing imprisonment or worse, so they could live openly as Jews.

“The novel is not an attack on any one [ideology],” says David Bezmozgis.

Preparing For The Inevitable

Waiting for the Nazis in the shadows, in ‘Mr. M.’
04/04/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Waiting for the unknown can be filled with terrors of its own. In “Mr. M,” a new work by Vit Horejs’ Czech-American Marionnette Theater, live actors and puppets combine to tell the story of a Czech Jew (Ronny Wasserstrom) during the Second World War who lives in such dread of being summoned by the Nazis that he takes on physical trials to prepare himself to undergo deprivation and torture. Adrienne Cooper performs Yiddish songs live as part of the production, which will be presented at both the Theater for the New City and at the JCC in Manhattan.

Ronny Wasserstrom, above, stars as the title character in “Mr. M.” The production at the Theater for the New City.
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