The Arts

Growing A Generation Of Israeli Idealists

A war hero-turned-ecologist presents a ‘living sukkah’ at the JCC in Manhattan.

Special To The Jewish Week

Avital Geva — artist, educator, activist — saw no reason to leave his kibbutz and travel to Manhattan, just to exhibit something of his life’s work. And on Sukkot yet, his favorite holiday on the kibbutz. Who needs the hopes and disappointments and ego roller-coaster of trying to make an impression in the big city? Anyone in New York who wanted to see the Ecological Greenhouse, Avital’s world-renowned educational center, was welcome to come visit in Kibbutz Ein Shemer.

A rendering of Ein Shemer Ecological Sukkah, to be constructed as part of a new exhibit at the JCC.

Strings Attached To Sephardic Culture

‘Spanish Odyssey’ duo blends chamber music, jazz and klezmer.

Special To The Jewish Week

The guitar rings like chimes, sounding almost celestial. The bowed lines of the double-bass sigh like a human voice, yearning. The textures and timbres that come out of the instruments are as rich and full as those of a much larger ensemble. It is, quite simply, an enchantingly beautiful sound.

Guitarist Nadav Lev and bassist Remy Yulzari play next week at the Museum at Eldridge Street. Adam Cohen

Dancing Towards Remembrance

Culture Editor

Seventy years ago this week, four women prisoners took part in an act of heroic resistance at Auschwitz, for which they were later hanged. Ala Gertner, Roza Robota, Regina Szafirsztajn, and Estera Wajcblum, all Polish Jews, were instrumental in smuggling gunpowder from a munitions factory to leaders of the underground in Birkenau, the adjacent camp. Their co-conspirators managed to blow up a crematorium, damaging it beyond repair so it was never used again.

Part of Jonah Bokaer's dance/film installation that pays tribute to the heroic resistance of four women prisoners at Auschwitz.

Neo-Hasidic Rock Band Poised to Release Debut Album

The all women’s Hasidic Rock band Bulletproof Stockings have got some competition. Zusha, self-described as a “neo-Hasidic” rock band formed in the East Village, is poised to enter the Hasid-hipster scene with the release of their debut album on October 28th. The three-man band describes their sound as “a unique blend of jazz, reggae, folk, ska, gypsy swing and traditional Jewish soul.” Stay tuned for Zusha’s EP Release Show in lower Manhattan on October 26th. 

Families On The Edge

David Cronenberg and Martin Rejtman’s offerings at the N.Y. Film Festival rhyme with one another in startling ways.

Special To The Jewish Week

Note: This is the second of two articles on this year’s New York Film Festival.

A poker game in progress in Martin Rejtman's "Two Shots Fired."

The New Sounds Of ‘Silence’

Special To The Jewish Week

There’s a lively contradiction at work in Basya Schechter’s music. On the one hand, as the singer-songwriter and leader of Pharaoh’s Daughter says, “I love the pentatonic scales; they’re sweet and mournful and yearning.” On the other hand, as her excellent new album, “Dumiyah” (Magenta), reminds a listener, one of the great strengths of her music is the clarity, poise and above all, the simplicity with which she sings, a vocal sound that is stripped of ornamentation and the fake emotion that mars much contemporary music.

Basya Schechter's new CD, "Dumiyah," features a bigger sound than her previous albums.

Staging Gertrude Stein’s Modernism

Special To The Jewish Week

Paris in the early-20th century was a hotbed of artistic and sexual experimentation. Even so, the expatriate American writer Gertrude Stein stood out as a gay Jewish woman whose art was as uncompromising and unconventional as her lifestyle. Stein’s book of prose poetry, “Tender Buttons,” comes to the stage this month in an epic production by the Van Reipen Collective that promises to shed new light on one of Stein’s most challenging and influential works. It starts this week in the East Village.

A scene from "Tender Buttons," adapted from the writings of Gertrude Stein. Gary Heidt

Amis Moves Needle On Holocaust Humor

New novel, set in a concentration camp, is latest in cultural trend to probe Shoah with satire.

Staff Writer

In a German concentration camp, the commandant and an officer of the Waffen-SS, the armed wing of the Nazis’ SS paramilitary unit, are discussing the “selection” of Jewish prisoners to live or die. “There was no selection. They were all certainties for the gas,” one Nazi tells the other.


Sending Up British Jewry, Lovingly

Special To The Jewish Week

Exiled from their land for more than 350 years, English Jews have always led a somewhat marginalized existence, even though many of the have risen to positions of great prominence and prestige. In Daniel Cainer’s one-man show, “Jewish Chronicles,” the contradictions of Jewish life in England come both bruisingly and enchantingly to the fore. When he performed in Sydney, Australia, in 2010, critic Lloyd Bradford of Australian Stage Online found that Cainer’s songs forge “deep connections” between his own chaotic personal experiences and the colorful life of his people. “Jewish Chronicles” opens downtown in early October for a five-and-a-half-week run.

The book on British Jews: Daniel Cainer his "Jewish Chronicles." Sheila Burnett

Memory, History And Albert Speer

Dani Gal’s video installation, ‘As from Afar.’

Special To The Jewish Week

It would be hard to conceive of a more controversial figure in the Nazi inner circle than Albert Speer. One of Hitler’s closest confidantes, Speer was a master architect who had the ear of the failed-artist-turned-Führer. He was an integral part of the totality that was Nazi Germany, the chief creator of the Nazi public aesthetic, as well as the minister of armaments and munitions from 1942 on. Yet Speer was one of the very few high-ranking Nazis to declare his own guilt and shame publicly and to reveal the inner workings of the German government under Hitler in his memoirs.

In Dani Gal's "As From Afar," at The Jewish Museum, actors portray a post-World War II meeting.
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