MY HERO BROTHER
The ReelAbilities Film Festival, now in its ninth installment, is a cultural gem that probably doesn’t get enough attention. The festival shines a light on those with disabilities, and along the way enlarges our notion about what it is to be human. This year’s model — 13 features and 13 shorts, screened in a variety of venues — ranges from “How Sweet the Sound,” about the great gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama, to the U.S. premiere of “American Veteran,” which follows the journey of a soldier paralyzed from the neck down by an IED and suffering from PTSD. What caught our eye is Yonatan Nir’s “My Hero Brother,” a documentary that follows a group of young adults with Down syndrome on a Himalayan trek with their abled brothers and sisters. The challenges are both physical and emotional. With a sweet acoustic guitar soundtrack by acclaimed Israeli musician Ehud Banai. — Sunday, March 5, 8 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. (at 76th Street). Other screenings: March 6 (Central Queens Y), March 7 (Lehman College), March 8 (College of Staten Island). Newyorkreelabilities.org.
THROUGH THE DARKNESS
Perhaps this debut play by Alan C. Breindel — which brings to the stage the perilous journeys of four Holocaust survivors — should be required viewing for members of President Trump’s inner circle. They are the ones who issued a statement on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day last month that failed to mention the suffering of Jews. The composite characters — a German Jew who emigrated to the U.S. and became a POW in the Battle of the Bulge; a Polish woman who passed as Christian and spent the war on the run; a woman from the Lodz ghetto who was sent to Auschwitz; and the son of a Polish peddler who fled to Russia and ended up in Siberia — sprung initially from conversations the playwright had with a neighbor. Breindel has written: “My neighbor would occasionally share bits and pieces of how he managed to remain alive and ‘on the run’ during WWII in Europe, all the while avoiding the horrors of the concentration camps.” Sensing that first-hand Holocaust memory is slipping away today, Breindel creates a vehicle whereby survivors tell their stories simply and directly, answering questions posed by a narrator/interviewer. Leslie Kincaid Burby directs. — March 9-April 1, The MainStage at The Workshop Theater, 312 W. 36th St., 4th floor. 866-811-4111, workshoptheater.org.
FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN JEWISH AMERICAN CULTURE
This inaugural day-long festival is designed to introduce attendees to scholars, writers and visual artists whose work exemplifies the best in the field. It consists of three panels of speakers that will be free and open to the public, followed by an evening of ticketed music with Svetlana and the Delancey Five. (As a festival preview, on Saturday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at the Evans Gallery, 249 W. 60th St., there will be a free book launch party to celebrate Anna Shternis’ “When Sonia Met Boris: An Oral History of Jewish Life Under Stalin” [Oxford].) — Sunday, March 5, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St. RSVP (required) at email@example.com. $25 general/$15 students, seniors and AJHS members/$36 at the door.
GHOST LIGHT NOW & THEN
Barbara Kahn’s latest play centers on a contemporary lesbian couple who are transported back to 1920s Greenwich Village, to a theater that is haunted by ghosts of former productions like Mercedes De Acosta’s 1927 “Jacob Slovak” and Sholem Asch’s 1923 “God of Vengeance.” — March 2-19, Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., smarttix.com. $15.
TWO BY TABORI
A double bill of the plays of Hungarian Jewish satirist George Tabori, who wrote about the horror of war and about the experience of refugees. Manfred Bormann directs “Mein Kampf” and “Jubilee” in repertory. — March 4-21, Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., smarttix.com. $18.
Broadway star Jeff McCarthy brings William Kunstler — a self-described “radical lawyer” and civil rights activist whose controversial client list includes the Chicago Seven, inmates involved in the Attica Prison riot, Martin Luther King, Jr. and mobster John Gotti — back to life in Jeffrey Sweet’s play. — Friday, Feb. 17-Sunday, March 12 (special post-show guests on March 7th and 9th), 59E59 Theater B, 59 E. 59th St., (212) 753-5959, 59e59.org. $35 general/$24.50 59E59 members.
THE DRESSMAKER’S SECRET
Nineteen-year-old Robi is eager to escape oppressive Communist Russia to forge a new life in the West, but his mother’s revelation that his father, rather than being killed in action as he’d believed, is either a Jewish teacher she hid during the war or the Hungarian soldier who persecuted him, forces Robi to decide whether to embrace his ancestry … or run from it. — Feb. 8-March 5, 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St., 59e59.org. $25 regular/$17.50 members.
IF I FORGET
In the final months before 9/11, liberal (to say the least; he’s publishing a book about forgetting the Holocaust) Jewish studies Professor Michael Fischer has reunited with his two sisters to celebrate their father’s 75th birthday. Each deeply invested in their own version of family history, destructive secrets and long-held resentments bubble to the surface — with biting humor and razor-sharp insight — in this powerful tale of a family, and culture, at odds with itself. — Through April 30, The Laura Pels Theatre, 111 W. 46th St., (212) 719-1300, roundabouttheatre.org. $79.
LEAH, THE FORSAKEN
A tale of forbidden love, betrayal and redemption from master of melodrama Augustin Daly. In early 18th-century Austria, a Jewish emigrant fleeing persecution in Hungary finds love and betrayal among the good people who could be her salvation — if they would only see through their fear of the Other. — Through March 12, Metropolitan Playhouse, 220 E. Fourth St., (800) 838-3006, metropolitanplayhouse.org/leahtheforsaken. $30 general admission/$25 seniors & students/$10 children.
LAVENDER SONGS: A QUEER WEIMAR BERLIN CABARET
In a bold reminder that our times bear a striking resemblance to Weimar Germany, restaurant-theater hybrid Pangea uses Inauguration Day to debut “Lavender Songs,” an award-winning, risqué and gender-bending show starring Jeremy Lawrence — or, more aptly, his cabaret alter ego “Tante Fritzy” — and incorporating music by queer composers from the Berlin underground during Nazi Germany. — Through April 8, 7 p.m., Pangea, 178 Second Ave. (bet. 11th & 12th), (212) 995-0900, pangeanyc.com. $20, plus $20 food/beverage minimum.
JERRY SEINFELD: THE HOMESTAND
Following his sold-out Beacon run last year, the comic extends his monthly stand-up series through Oct. 5. Rolling Stone wrote, “Jerry Seinfeld kills. Yada yada yada.”— Through Oct. 5, Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway, (212) 465-6225, beacontheatre.com. $79-$175.
NOT THAT JEWISH
Written by and starring the Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe nominated writer, actress and comedian Monica Piper, this has been lauded as a hilarious and heartfelt autobiographical tale of a Jew-“ish” woman’s life. 90-min. runtime, no intermission. — Through April 30, New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., (212) 239-6200, notthatjewish.com. From $49.
LOVE & TAXES
In this (probably) first-ever pro-tax romantic comedy, by the Kornbluth Brothers, “Love & Taxes” tells the story of legal secretary Josh, who has gone seven uneventful years without filing his tax returns. But when his boss, a prominent tax attorney, demands that he get back into “The System,” and his neurotic girlfriend Sara gets pregnant and just as adamantly delivers him an ultimatum to solve his tax problems before the birth or else, Josh is forced into embarking on a comically taxing (get it??) journey where he must confront his antipathy toward “The Man.” – Opens in select theaters Friday, March 3. For more info, visit movietimes.io/films/love-and-taxes.
Directed by Shimon Dotan, this documentary takes on the controversial Israeli settlement movement, beginning with its history, and affording insight into its philosophy and the range of personalities who have militantly supported and vehemently opposed its growth. — Through March 14, Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St., (212) 727-8110, filmforum.org.
Based upon a previously unseen 1968 interview with the iconic Founding Father of Israel, Yariv Mozer’s documentary shows a legendary man who is sharp, articulate and funny at age 82, living in a remote desert region following a lifetime of political engagement. Ben-Gurion’s intelligence, integrity and candor makes one long for leadership of this caliber on today’s world stage. — Through March 14, Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St., (212) 727-8110, filmforum.org.
PARNUSE: A JEWISH MUSICAL LEGACY CONCERT
An upcoming concert by the Jewish band Parnuse, an ensemble who, led by the fantastic Naum Goldenshteyn, will be performing a selection of rare klezmer melodies originally covered and transcribed by the clarinetist’s legendary great-uncle, German Goldenshteyn. Part of the Museum’s Lost and Found Music Series. – Sunday, March 5, 3 p.m., Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street. RSVP at (212) 219-0888×205 or eldridgestreet.org. $25 adults/$15 students and seniors.
A RAINBOW OF JEWISH SONGS
Metropolitan Playhouse is pleased to present Sephardic singer Nicole Murad and veteran Uruguayan-American pianist, conductor and composer Pablo Zinger in a joyful concert of Jewish music and culture, through songs in Ladino — the Spanish Jewish dialect — Yiddish, the German Jewish dialect, English and Spanish. — Tuesday, March 7, 7:30 p.m., Metropolitan Playhouse, 220 E. 4th St. (bet. Aves. A & B). Tickets available at metropolitanplayhouse.org/tickets or (800) 838-3006. $25 general/$20 students and seniors/$10 children.
GRAND OPENING: HEBREW TABERNACLE’S GOLD WING EXHIBIT
In celebration of Hebrew Tabernacle’s 111th year, featuring works by artist and calligrapher Judith Joseph, with poetry by Kate Hogan, decorations by Amy Schindler, photography by Caroline Brown and curated by Regina Gradess. Opening reception following 10 a.m. Sabbath services. – Saturday, March 4, Noon-2 p.m., Through April 24th, Hebrew Tabernacle, 551 Ft. Washington Ave. at 185th St., (212) 568-8304, hebrewtabernacle.org. Free.
A MOVEMENT INSTALLATION BY HEIDI LATSKY DANCE
Part of the ReelAbilities Film Festival, this is a deconstructed art exhibit/fashion installation and a commentary on society’s obsession with body image by Heidi Latsky Dance. Members of the disability, fashion and performance worlds are often stared at and objectified; “On Display” is a structured improvisation movement piece designed to be performed by diverse people. — Saturday, March 4, 7-8:30 p.m., JCC Manhattan, Laurie M. Tisch Gallery, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444, jccmanhattan.org.
CUT AND PASTE: CONTEMPORARY COLLAGE
Site:Brooklyn presents this national juried group exhibition, which was born of an upended reality and whose works were selected by specialist Jared Ash of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kurt Schwitters, the Dadaists, Josef Albers and many others have tried to undermine the rationalism and inhumanity causing WWI and the following social breakdown. By taking existing things and making them new and strange, the exhibit affords a multitude of new ways of looking at concept, subject matter and material. — Through March 19, Site:Brooklyn, 165 Seventh St., (718) 625-3646, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHABBAT: INSIDE AND OUT
With the cessation of the workday routine on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, relationships and the spirit are revitalized as families share precious time at festive meals. The objects on display highlight two aspects of this holy day: the private/domestic and the communal/ceremonial. — Through May 11, Yeshiva University Museum, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8330, email@example.com. Members and children under 5 free/$6 seniors and students/$8 adults.
THE JEWISH GHETTO IN POSTCARDS
Postcards from the Blavatnik Archive chronicle Jewish life from Eastern Europe to the Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th century, offering unique pictorial perspectives on the history of immigration. — Through March 8, Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., (212) 219-0302, eldridgestreet.org.
THE FIRST JEWISH AMERICANS
How did Jewish settlers come to inhabit—and change—the New World? In this ground-breaking exhibition, rare portraits, drawings, maps, documents and ritual objects illuminate how 18th- and 19th-century Jewish artists, writers and activists adopted American ideals while struggling to remain distinct and socially cohesive amidst the birth of a new Jewish American tradition. — Through March. 12, New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, (212) 873-3400, nyhistory.org.
HUGH MESIBOV’S BOOK OF JOB MURAL
In 1969, Temple Beth El in Spring Valley commissioned a huge mural illustrating the Biblical account of the suffering and redemption of Job, now on view. — Through March 12, Yeshiva University Museum, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8330, firstname.lastname@example.org. For hours and admission rates: yumuseum.org/visit.
Our ancestors used clothing and textiles to beautify their synagogues, their tables and themselves on Shabbat and holidays as well as important lifecycle events. Many of these were preserved, with highlights including a sumptuous 18th-century lectern cover that belonged to a former Chief Rabbi of Izmir, a 19th-century dress and a 1950 custom-made lace wedding gown. — Through April 29, Yeshiva University Museum, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8330, email@example.com. For hours and admission rates: yumuseum.org/visit.
In celebration of Purim, The Laurie M. Tisch Gallery is pleased to exhibit the stunning, large-scale illuminated Scroll of Ester created by the well-known Israeli painter Avner Moriah. The ancient story of Esther is told by mixing Persian, Indian and Islamic art, miniature-style painting with Italian Renaissance styling and contemporary humor, politics and sensibilities. — Through March 29, 8 a.m.-11 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. (at 76th St.), (646) 505-4444, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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