The Arts

Wedding Bell Blues

05/02/2011 - 20:00

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.
05/02/2011 - 20:00
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.
04/27/2011 - 20:00
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.
04/26/2011 - 20:00
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.
04/26/2011 - 20:00
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.’
04/26/2011 - 20:00
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.”

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
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