Yiddish Festivals, Matisyahu, Brisket & ‘Mrs Maisel’ — Upcoming Events In NYC!



When we last caught up with Agnieszka Traczewska, she was exhibiting a series of powerful photographs in February at the United Nations. They were hushed, haunting photos of chasidic pilgrims visiting gravesites of rabbinic sages in Poland. Now, she’s back with a new show, “Hanukkah in Mea Shearim.” The photos, shot around Chanukah time over a four-year period in the iconic charedi neighborhood in Jerusalem, are bathed in the soft glow of candlelight. The face of a little boy is radiant as he looks up at his father lighting the menorah, and at dusk in the alleyways of Mea Shearim, everything is illuminated. Part of the Yiddish New York Festival in conjunction with the Polish Cultural Institute in New York. — Opening Dec. 22 (reception, 6:30 p.m.) through Jan. 19, 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St., yiddishnewyork.com.


Tenor saxophonist Paul Shapiro’s bluesy-Yiddishy outfit, the mouthwateringly named Ribs & Brisket Revue, usually mines the music of the 1930s and ’40s, with a special nod to the “jump jazz” popularized by Louis Jordan. This gig brings the revue into the 1950s with an homage to the music of the hit Amazon Prime series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Actress and Yiddish songstress Eleanor Reissa is the special guest as Ribs & Brisket will be putting its swinging stamp on everything from Connie Francis and the Barry Sisters to Perry Como and Louis Prima. — Thursday, Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m., City Vineyard, 233 West St., at Pier 26, Hudson River Park, cityvineyardnyc.com. $20.


If you’re a fan of rollicking klezmer, IOK is AOK. The all-female sextet led by the indefatigable drummer Eve Sicular, one of the pioneers of the klezmer revival movement, has kept the bulgars and the crossover material going for more than 20 years now. This Chanukah gig will include a special candlelighting by Rabbi Ellen Lippman. The venue, Joe’s Pub, is noteworthy here. Joseph Papp (Yosl Papirovsky) is being honored in a Dec. 23 Chanukah concert at the YI Love New York YiddishFest. — Monday, Dec. 23, 7 p.m., Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. (Astor Place), publictheater.org. $20.

Yiddish Festivals


A few highlights from the weeklong festival (Dec. 21-26), billed as “the nation’s largest Yiddish culture festival”: Guitarist Yossi Fruchter and trumpeter Steven Bernstein’s Sex Mob, with clarinetists Marty Ehrlich and Michael Winograd, recreate the classic 1961 album, “Twistin’ the Freilach” (Monday, Dec. 23, 8 p.m., Town and Village Synagogue, 334 E. 14th St.); Singers Judith Berkson, Jewlia Eisenberg, Sharon Bernstein, Sarah Myerson and Fredda Mendelson pay tribute to the golden age of women cantorial singers — Fraydele Oysher, Perele Feig and others (Tuesday, Dec. 24, 7:30, T&V); Edward Sloman’s 1925 Yiddish silent film about life on the Lower East Side gets a live score by Paul Shapiro (Tuesday, Dec. 24, 9:30 p.m., 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St.); and “ESN: Songs From the Kitchen,” a concert and food event, honors the beloved singer Adrienne Cooper (who died in 2011) with Joanne Borts, Lauren Brody, Marilyn Lerner and others, and food experts Leah Koenig and Michael Wex (Wednesday, Dec. 25, 7:30 p.m., Bohemian Hall, 321 E. 73rd St. For full schedule, visit yiddishnewyork.com.


The Yiddishkayt Initiative and Theater for the New City team up for this inaugural event, which remembers two Jewish cultural treasures: Symphony Space’s Isaiah Sheffer and the Public Theater’s Joe Papp. A few highlights: Actor Avi Hoffman channels the Yiddish poet Itzik Manger in a serio-comic monologue by Yiddish playwright Miriam Hoffman, with music arranged by Binyumen Schaechter (Monday, Dec. 23, 6:15 p.m., Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave.); Frank London and Deep Singh’s Jewish-Indian music fusion (Saturday, Dec. 28, 8 p.m.); the New York premiere of a short film thriller set on a kosher farm, “Shehita” (Friday, Dec. 27, 2 p.m.); and Alicia Svigals and Donald Sosin playing live for the Weimar era film, “The Ancient Law” (Friday, Dec. 27, 4 p.m.). Festival co-founder (with his wife, scholar Miriam Hoffman) and emcee Avi Hoffman performs throughout much of the event. — Dec. 21-29, most events take place at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., yiddishfest.org.

Newly opened:


When the Folksbiene revived Avrom Goldfaden’s operetta “The Sorceress” for the first time in 80 years in 2017, the Yiddish theater’s associate artistic director, Motl Didner, told us that the fairy tale-like play from the early 1880s goes into “some dark places.” It had Goldfaden reaching back to Romanian folklore and has the plot-propelling disappearance of a young girl. The inaugural presentation of the Folksbiene’s Global Restoration Initiative. — Through Dec. 29, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., nytf.org.


Shane Baker and friends are back for one night (two shows) as they dive into the Tevye stories of Sholem Aleichem “before they were made safe” for the “Fiddler on the Roof” musical. — Monday, Dec. 23, 3 and 7 p.m., The Playroom Theater, 151 W. 46th St., 8th floor, borwnpapertickets.com. $38.


With a grandfather who was a chazzan, perhaps it was inevitable that Maury Yeston was destined to be a musician. The Tony-winning composer-lyricist’s career led from Jersey City to Yale to Broadway. This new work, subtitled “The Musical World of Maury Yeston,” features a cast of singers and Yeston’s tunes from “Nine: The Musical,” “Grand Hotel,” “Titanic: A New Musical” and more. — Through Dec. 29, York Theatre Company at St. Peter’s, 619 Lexington Ave. (54th Street), (212) 935-5820, yorktheatre.org.


Perhaps being born “in flight” while your family is fleeing pogroms in Ukraine could leave a child with a novelistic turn of mind. Clarice Lispector and her family ended up in Brazil, where she became a modernist novelist and short story writer whose style, in a nod to Joyce and Faulkner, is in the stream-of-consciousness realm. Though her work didn’t touch specifically on Jewish themes, elements of her style have been attributed to the Jewish mysticism she learned from her father. Now, the New Stage Theatre Company is staging her woman’s inner monologue of a novel, “Near to the Wild Heart.” — Dec. 20-21, Jan. 16-18, New Stage Performance Space, 36 W. 106th St., newstagetheatre.org.

Long runs:

“Fiddler on the Roof” (A Fidler Afn Dakh) in Yiddish. Directed by Joel Grey. Stage 42, 422 W. 42nd St., broadway.com. Closing Jan. 5.



Artists of all stripes these days are responding to the climate crisis. Leading Israeli choreographer Zvi Gotheiner’s company, ZviDance, premieres a work here next week that takes on the issue of diminishing water resources around the globe. The subject of the work, “Maim,” Hebrew for water, is one that Gotheiner has been wrestling with for years, having grown up in a kibbutz on the slopes of Mount Gilboa, an area cursed by King David for its aridness. “Maim” features dramatic lighting by Mark London and the ensemble’s eight dancers striding and reaching for something that seems just out of reach. — Friday and Saturday, Dec. 20-21, New York Live Arts, 219 W. 19th St., newyorklivearts.org., zvidance.com/tickets. $25.



It’s a long way from the nerdy/hip “Put on your yarmulke / It’s time for Chanukah” to the wired jeweler-gambler Howie Ratner in Adam Sandler’s newest vehicle, which is set in New York’s Diamond District, “Uncut Gems.” The film, from Josh and Benny Safdie (“Daddy Longlegs,” “Good Time”), is a fast-paced crime thriller with a sports-book vibe that includes former NBA star Kevin Garnett and WFAN sports talk show guru Mike Francesa. In an effort to score big, Howie, sporting a goatee, stylish wire-rim glasses and a diamond-stud earring, makes a bet that puts everything — his family included — on the line. — In wide release.


Nadav Lapid’s edgy, autobiographical work about an Israeli who flees his homeland for Paris in an attempt to scrub his identity. A picture of alienation, he walks the streets practicing his French vocabulary. — Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th St., quadcinema.com.


A lot of children have imaginary friends. But a slapstick Adolf Hitler? That’s the set-up of Taika Waititi’s dark comedy. Jojo’s in the Hitler Youth, but a secret undoes him: His single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. — In wide release.



The rap-reggae-Jewish music star’s Festival of Light concert features Bedouin Soundclash and Your Old Droog. Falls on the last night of Chanukah. — Sunday, Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m. Brooklyn Steel, 319 Frost St. (Williamsburg), bowerypresents.com. $25 advance/$30 day of.


The jam bands Moshav and Soulfarm as well as the singer who goes by Yimmy mark the Festival of Lights. — Tuesday, Dec. 24, 7:30, SOB’s (Sounds of Brazil), 204 Varick St., sobs.com. $25


The world music fusion group Yemen Blues, fronted by Ravid Kahalani, throws in its musical gumbo heaping spoonfuls of traditional Yemenite Jewish sounds and American jazz and blues. This Christmas Eve Chanukah gig features guests bassist Omer Avital, oudist Shanir Blumenkranz and saxophonist Tim Ries. — Tuesday, Dec. 24, 7 p.m., Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St. (Astor Place), publictheater.org. $30 (plus two-drink minimum).



The sixth installment of this shticky show features Avi Liberman (“The Late Show”) and Jon Fisch (“Last Comic Standing”). Presented by City Winery and emcee Joel Chasnoff. — Tuesday, Dec. 24, 8 p.m., The Cutting Room, 44 E. 32nd St., citywinery.com. $25.

Newly opened:


The sculptor, who grew up in Miami, creates fantastical and highly sexualized wooden pieces that probe notions of “the feminine” in pop culture. This show marks the first survey of her work in the U.S. — Through March 1, The Jewish Museum, Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, thejewishmuseum.org.


Halpert (1900-1970), a Jewish immigrant, is considered the first significant female gallerist in the country. She championed American art at a time when the European avant-garde was in ascendance, and her Downtown Gallery in Greenwich Village promoted the work of modernists like Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keefe and Ben Shahn. — Through Feb. 9, The Jewish Museum, Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, thejewishmuseum.org.

Long runs:

“Russ & Daughters, An Appetizing Story.” A history of the iconic smoked fish shop. Through Jan. 31, Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., http://www.ajhs.org/RussandDaughtersExhibition.

“Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away.” The large-scale show explores the history of the death camp and its role in the Holocaust. Through Jan. 3, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, mjhnyc.org.

“The Colmar Treasure: A Medieval Jewish Legacy.” Discovered in 1863, a cache of jeweled rings, brooches and coins hidden in the 14th century by a Jewish family fearing for its life is on view. Through Jan. 12, Met Cloisters, 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon, metmuseum.org.

“Relative Relations.” Seventy artists explore human connections shaped by genetics, proximity, interests and shared destiny. Through June 30, Dr. Bernard Heller Museum at HUC-JIR, 1 W. Fourth St., Manhattan, huc.edu.

“Mark Twain and the Holy Land.” This show marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of the great humorist’s 1869 travelogue, “New Pilgrims’ Progress” (or “The Innocents Abroad”). Through Feb. 2, New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (77th Street), nyhistory.org.

“J.D. Salinger.” Did the iconic writer’s own conflicted Jewish identity inspire the teenage angst behind “The Catcher in the Rye”? This show offers a rare glimpse into Salinger’s life and work. — Through Jan. 19, NYPL, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, nypl.org.

To publish events, submit them to jewishweekcalendar@gmail.com two weeks or more in advance. We cannot guarantee inclusion due to space limitations. Since scheduling changes may occur, we recommend contacting the venue before heading out to an event.