JOE LIEBERMAN & JACOB LEW
Just days before President Trump presents his State of the Union address, former Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Obama Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew — two Orthodox Jews — issue their own “State of the Union Today.” Lieberman made Jewish history as Al Gore’s running mate and had a reputation of working across the aisle (he angered Democrats for becoming an Independent). Lew also served as President Obama’s chief of staff. In an event moderated by author Abigail Pogrebin, the two discuss U.S. politics, Israel and the challenges of the moment. In partnership with The Jewish Week Media Group. — Thursday, Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m., Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., (212) 507-9580, emanuelstreickernyc.org.
LAST CHANCE: CHAGALL SHOW AT JM
Need a New Year’s resolution? Vow not to miss “Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich: The Russian Avant-Garde in Vitebsk, 1918-1922,” which closes Sunday. Writing in these pages in September, Diane Cole describes Chagall’s “Cubist Landscape,” left, as a war between representationalism and modernism, which was gathering steam at his People’s Art School in Vitebsk: “An array of colorful geometric shapes nearly crowds out the tiny representational image at the center; it depicts the Vitebsk school building, with a single figure of a man walking by, his umbrella open as if to shield himself from a storm.” The show brings into sharp relief the contrast between the abstract art movement practiced by Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky and Chagall’s folkloric paintings. — Through Jan. 6, The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejm.org.
NEW YORK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
The festival, now in its 28th year, kicks off with Eric Barbier’s “Promise at Dawn” (Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.), based on the lightly fictionalized memoir chronicling the colorful life of French author Romain Gary.
“Autonomies” (Jan. 16, 6 p.m.) is an Israeli dystopian TV mini-series set in an alternate present where the state is brutally divided between secular Tel Aviv and charedi Jerusalem. The festival closes with Bille August’s “A Fortunate Man” (Tuesday, Jan. 22, 8 p.m.), about a gifted but self-destructive young man who leaves his Lutheran upbringing for metropolitan 1880s Copenhagen, where he’s welcomed into a wealthy Jewish family. — Jan. 9-Jan. 22, Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, 165 W. 65th St., filmlinc.org.
TILL WE MEET AGAIN
Having served as a surgeon in Guadalcanal during World War II, Robert confronts the regrets of his youth with the help of his granddaughter. Written by Glory Kadigan, directed by Tonya Pinkins. — Friday, Jan. 11-Saturday, Jan. 26, Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St., (212) 780-0800, 14streety.org.
VARTN AF GODOT
The Yiddish language expresses dark humor and existential angst particularly well, which makes it a perfect vehicle for Samuel Beckett’s 1953 absurdist play “Waiting for Godot,” which was originally written in French. This is the New Yiddish Rep’s second production of the play (the first was mounted in 2013); it’s translated by Shane Baker and directed by the 14th Street Y’s Ronit Muszkatblit. — In previews (opening Sunday, Jan. 6, 2 p.m.), through Jan. 27, Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St., (646) 395-4310, newyiddishrep.org. $35.
GLORIA: A LIFE
Five decades after Gloria Steinem began raising her voice for equality and championing the rights of others, her vision is as urgent as ever. The first act of this new show chronicles Steinem’s story, the second centers on the making of the play and the third is a Talking Circle where audience members get their say. — Through January 2019, The Daryl Roth Theatre, 101 E. 15th St., (800) 745-3000, gloriatheplay.com.
HARVEY FIERSTEIN’S TORCH SONG
Condensed to 2 ½ hours, Fierstein’s original four-hour, semi-autobiographical 1982 “Torch Song” follows the ups and downs of Arnold Beckoff, a Jewish gay drag queen and torch singer. This Broadway revival, directed by Moisés Kaufman and starring Michael Urie as Arnold and Tony-winner Mercedes Ruehl as his mom, had a hit run Off Broadway at Second Stage Theater. — Hayes Theater, 240 W. 44th St. Call (212) 239-6200, torchsongbroadway.com.
The Israeli-American bass player has gigged with multi-Grammy Award-winner Billy Childs and his quartet, DownBeat award-winning saxophonist Eli Degibri and noted pianist Johnny O’Neal. He leads his own trio in Smalls’ after-hours session. — Sunday, Jan. 6, 1-4 a.m., Smalls Jazz Club, 183 W. 10th St., (646) 476-4346, smallslive.com.
DOUBLE KLEZ BRUNCH
Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos come together in a double-klezmer whammy. The Metropolitans are hailed for their versatile ensemble playing and blending of downtown, classical and world music into a danceable neo-traditional Yiddish repertoire; the all-female IOK is equally acclaimed for its irreverent reinvention of Yiddish music, “testing the elasticity of the genre” (The New Yorker) with spirited neo-traditional dance rollicks, mystical melodies and re-grooved standards. — Sunday, Jan. 6, 11 a.m., City Winery, 155 Varick St., (212) 608-0555, citywinery.com.
Tavče gravče is a traditional Macedonian dish of baked beans. It’s also a multinational Balkan, flamenco and jazz-infused acoustic ensemble that blends traditional Macedonian and Mediterranean flavors with explosive, danceable Balkan music. Founded and lead by Israeli jazz bassist Daniel Ori, the group’s first album, “Our Village,” became an overnight hit in the Jewish-Balkan music scenes. — Sunday, Jan 6, 6:30-8 p.m., Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., (212) 219- 0302, eldridgestreet.org..
New York Jewish Film Festival Highlights: All films screened at Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, 165 W. 65th St. Visit filmlinc.org for more details.
BLACK HONEY: THE LIFE AND POETRY OF AVRAHAM SUTZKEVER
This documentary, by Israeli director Uri Barbash, centers on the Russian-born poet Sutzkever. He wrote in Yiddish with wit and vitality through the Holocaust, saved hundreds of Jewish manuscripts from destruction and testified at the Nuremberg trials. — Sunday, Jan. 12, 1 and 6 p.m.
In this drama starring Yael Abecassis and Yoram Toledano, a man suspects his wife of infidelity and records her phone conversations. While he obsessively listens, she tragically dies in a car crash and the recordings become an investigation into a life he thought he knew. — Sunday, Jan. 12, 9:30 p.m.
JOSEPH PULITZER: VOICE OF THE PEOPLE
Pulitzer began as a penniless Jewish immigrant from Hungary and grew into one of America’s most admired and feared media figures. This documentary tells the rare story of the man behind the prize, who spoke of “fake news” and the importance of freedom of the press over a century ago. His New York newspaper The World spoke to an unprecedented number of readers and maintained powerful journalistic ideals through its ascent. — Thursday, Jan. 10, 12:30 and 6 p.m.
Once the front man of a popular rock band, Menachem is now deeply religious. When his 6-year-old daughter is diagnosed with cancer, he gets the band back together for a reunion tour to pay the bills. — Sunday, Jan. 13, 6:15 p.m. and Monday, Jan. 14, 1 p.m.
Zdenek Toman is a controversial and singular character in modern Czech politics. “Toman” tells the story of the unscrupulous careerist and politician who was also the unlikely savior of thousands of Jewish refugees after WWII. — Wednesday, Jan. 9, 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m.
Alan Moskin was born in Englewood, N.J., in1926. He was drafted into military service at the age of 18 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. From 1944 to 1946 he fought in combat through France, Germany and Austria. At the beginning of May 1945, his company participated in the liberation of the Gunskirchen concentration camp. Moskin will recall his experiences as part of the museum’s “Stories Survive” monthly speaker series. — Sunday, Jan. 6, 1 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (866) 811-4111, mjhnyc.org.
BEYOND SIMPLE MYTHS
Historical memory has become a deeply contentious topic in the post-communist societies of Eastern Europe, particularly with regards to World War II, communism and nationalism. Christoph Dieckmann will share his experiences and impressions of both history and memory in Eastern Europe from the perspective of an engaged German historian. — Wednesday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, yivo.org/WP2019-Keynote
MARTHA ROSLER: IRRESPECTIVE
Brooklyn yeshiva-educated Martha Rosler is considered one of the strongest and most resolute artistic voices of her generation. (She has said that her Jewish education inspired her politics.) She skillfully employs diverse materials to address pressing matters of her time, including war, gender roles, gentrification, inequality and labor. From her feminist photomontages of the 1960s and ’70s to her large-scale installations, Rosler’s work reflects and enduring and passionate vision. — Through March 3, 2019, The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. (at 92nd Street), (212) 423-3200, thejm.org.
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