EMMET COHEN TRIO
Over the years, The Buzz has kept close tabs on Israeli jazz musicians as they have opened the ears of jazz fans here to the rhythmic and harmonic enchantments of the Middle East. Musicians like saxophonist-clarinetist Anat Cohen, bassists Omer Avital and Avishai Cohen and guitarist Gilad Hekselman have left an indelible mark on the scene here. But on any given night, the piano chair on bandstands across the city is often taken by an American-born Jewish musician of uncommon lyricism. There’s Fred Hersch, Bruce Barth, Michael Weiss, Aaron Goldberg and elder statesman Dick Hyman. Into that long tradition comes the Montclair, N.J.-raised Emmet Cohen. At 29, Cohen is something of an old soul with a deep respect for the jazz tradition. He’s recorded a series of Masters Legacy Series sessions with saxophone greats George Coleman and Benny Golson and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Cohen joins another master, bassist Ron Carter (Cobb’s fellow rhythm section mate on “Kind of Blue”), in a high-profile gig at jazz’s holy of holies, the Village Vanguard. Expect deep introspection and deep swing. — Friday, Feb. 21-Sunday, Feb. 23, Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Ave. So., villagevanguard.com.
ANTI-ZIONISM IS THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM
This is Ali-Frazier: Four heavyweights trading licks on a proposition that sits atop the Jewish agenda and has seeped into the national political conversation. In the blue corner of this new Intelligence Squared debate — arguing the motion that, yes, anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism — stand New York Times columnist and robust Israel defender Bret Stephens and former Labor Party MK Einat Wilf. In the white corner are The Atlantic contributor and leading liberal Zionist Peter Beinart and Yousef Munayyer, who heads the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. The line between legitimate criticism of Israeli policy and delegitimizing the Jewish state is a fine — and contentious — one. The debate will be a successful one if the combatants can clarify just where that elusive line lies. Jon Donvan moderates, and like in any good democracy, a live audience gets to raise the winners’ arms in the air. — Thursday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Florence Gould Hall, 55 E. 59th St., intelligencesquaredus.org. $40.
Cleaning out her grandmother’s home, Ellen Rabinowitz discovers a mysterious photograph of an anonymous soldier. And so begins a sweeping, elegiac new musical by Daniel Goldstein and Michael Friedman (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”) about a woman’s journey to unearth the secrets buried in her family’s past. — Feb. 14 through March 29, Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St., playwrightshorizons.org. $44-$99.
NANCY DREWINSKY … AND THE SEARCH FOR THE MISSING LETTER
In 1953, 41 Jewish scientists were named as Communist spies by Senator Joe McCarthy. Robin Bady’s father was one of them. In this intensely personal and timely show, Bady puts on her detective hat to investigate what happened back then, and how this long-ago event still reverberates today. — Through March 8, Kraine Theater, 85 E. Fourth St., frigid.nyc. $15.
Manhattan Theatre Club presents the world premiere of Tony-winner Richard Greenberg’s (“Take Me Out”) biting and witty new play whose title carries a whiff of Maimonides. Two families, the Resnicks and the Stahls, whose lives have been tumultuously intertwined for decades, gather in the massive library of a Fifth Avenue apartment to celebrate the nuptials of their children. — In previews. Opens March 3, New York City Center, Stage 1, 131 W. 55th St., nycitycenter.org. $99-$109.
THE SABBATH GIRL
The new romantic comedy by Cary Gitter, a Jewish Plays Project finalist, features goyishe hipster Angie and her Upper West Side neighbor Seth, an Orthodox Jew with a knish store on the Lower East Side. — Through March 8 at 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St., 59e59.org. $38.50.
THE WHORE FROM OHIO
Hanoch Levin’s acclaimed black comedy, the parable of a not-so-holy trinity of a father, his son and the prostitute whose services they are unable to fully enjoy, is presented by New Yiddish Rep. Originally written in Hebrew by the Israeli playwright, the play is presented in Eli Rosen’s Yiddish translation with English supertitles. — Friday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Feb. 23, Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., newyiddishrep.org. $25.
MISS AMERICA’S UGLY DAUGHTER
Barra Grant stars in her two-character, one-woman autobiographical show about growing up as the un-pageant-ready daughter of Bess Meyerson, the first and so far only Jewish Miss America, and then having a daughter of her own. The Los Angeles Times calls the play “harrowing, heartbreaking, hilarious comic gold.” — Through March 1, Margorie Dean Little Theater, 10 W. 64th St., missamericasuglydaughter.com. $49-$89.
VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS
Filmmaker Andrew Goldberg explores anti-Semitism’s infectious behavior as he travels through four countries to speak with victims, witnesses and anti-Semites as well as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Fareed Zakaria, George Will and Deborah Lipstadt. The film spotlights the American far-right, the English far-left, the Hungarian prime minister’s campaign against Jewish philanthropist George Soros and violence against Jews in France. — Opening Friday, Feb. 21 at Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Ave. (at 12th Street), citycinemas.com.
The 2020 Academy Award-winner (Best Adapted Screenplay) “has defied all odds to become one of the year’s most beloved films,” says The Hollywood Reporter. It’s a comedy about a very young, very nationalistic Hitler Youth recruit whose imaginary friend is none other than Adolph Hitler. With Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson and Jewish director Taika Waititi as the imaginary Hitler. — In wide release.
THE ANCIENT LAW: A CINE-CONCERT WITH ALICIA SVIGALS AND DONALD SOSIN
The legendary 1923 German silent film about a rabbi’s son who runs away to become an actor and is disowned by his father predated the similarly-themed “The Jazz Singer” by four years. Recently restored, it will be screened with an original live score composed and performed by renowned klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals and silent film pianist Donald Sosin. — Sunday, Feb. 23, 3 p.m., Ansche Chesed, 251 W. 100th St., anschechesed.org. Free.
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.
JOHN ZORN’S SIMULACRUM
The most extreme organ trio ever, Simulacrum is John Zorn’s most intense recent project. Touching upon metal, jazz, minimalism, atonality, noise and more, this genre bending music defies classification. With John Medeski (organ), Matt Hollenberg (guitar) and Kenny Grohowski (drums). “Simulacrum is for those who were afraid John Zorn might be getting soft” (PopMatters). — Feb. 21, 8 p.m., The Sultan Room at The Turk’s Inn, 234 Starr St., Brooklyn, thesultanroom.com. $20.
DIDA PELLED: LOST WOMEN OF SONG
New York-based Israeli guitarist Dida Pelled uncovers folk music’s forgotten treasures, exploring the songs and stories behind influential yet underground female artists like Connie Converse, Elizabeth Cotten, Molly Drake, Vashti Bunyan and Norma Tanega. — Wednesday, Feb. 26, 8 p.m., Barbès, 376 Ninth St. (corner of 6th Ave.), Park Slope, Brooklyn, barbesbrooklyn.com. $10 suggested donation.
PAUL SHAPIRO’S RIBS & BRISKET PLAYS THE MUSIC OF MRS. MAISEL WITH SPECIAL GUEST ELEANOR REISSA
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, Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m., City Vineyard, 233 West St., at Pier 26, Hudson River Park, cityvineyardnyc.com. $20.
ALON NECHUSHTAN / BEN GOLDBERG DUO
Israeli pianist Alon Nechushtan and clarinetist Ben Goldberg (whose New Klezmer Trio “kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle) team up for a multigenerational, bicoastal, poly-stylistic, bilingual collaboration that includes the common ground that both musicians are so familiar with: klezmer, jazz and free form. — Saturday, Feb. 29, 8-9 p.m., Soapbox Gallery, 636 Dean St., Brooklyn, soapboxgallery.org. $10-$20.
An evening of interactive, improvisational performance art features movement by Israeli movement artist Michal Ben Lior and music by Brooklyn-based Israeli pianist Shai Bachar. With Frank London (trumpet), Rea Mochach (artist, drummer) and Tyler Gilstrap (dancer). — Tuesday, Feb. 25, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Soapbox Gallery, 636 Dean St., Brooklyn, soapboxgallery.org. $10-$20.
Ashley Blaker, England’s leading cultural export when it comes to observant comics, doesn’t work blue. He works … black. The Orthodox Blaker is back in New York with an Off-Broadway set, “Goy Friendly,” that might be dubbed “coexistence comedy.” Turns out that Blaker’s friendship with the Kenyan-born British comic Imran Yusuf, who is Muslim, has had a deep effect on him. So much so that he’s crafted a new Ten Commandments for the 21st century. — Through Sunday, Feb. 23, Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St., sohoplayhouse.com/ashley-blaker-goy-friendly. $50.
COLUM McCANN ON “APEIROGON”
New York-based Irish novelist Colum McCann (National Book Award-winner “Let the Great Work Spin”) takes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a new novel inspired by real people and true events. It “might be his finest yet,” according to Kirkus Reviews. Tonight McCann brings “Apeirogon” to life in a dramatic reading between himself and a notable actor. — Monday, Feb. 24, The Center for Fiction, 15 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, centerforfiction.org. $35 includes a copy of “Apeirogon.”
THE DILEMMA FACING AMERICAN JEWS
Ominously subtitled “Create Meaning or Fade Away,” this discussion on the future of American Jewry features seven leading figures (and authors) grappling with thorny questions of Jewish identity. With Gal Beckerman, Rabba Sarah Hurwitz, Ed Case, Tal Keinan, Jack Wertheimer and others. Co-presented with the Jewish Book Council. — Thursday, Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m., Streicker Center, 1 E. 65th St., emanuelnyc.org. $36 (includes one book); $99 (includes reserved seating and all seven books).
CITY/GAME: BASKETBALL IN NEW YORK
Like bagels and yellow cabs, basketball is woven tightly into the city’s fabric. This show traces the game’s impact on the city — from the early days (when the “city game” was Jewish) to Kareem and Clyde Frazier and beyond. — Through Jan. 3, 2021, Museum of the City of New York, Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, mcny.org.
ABOUT AN ARABESQUE
The first New York solo exhibition by visual artist and choreographer Jonah Bokaer, whose acclaimed 2014 multimedia exhibit “October 7, 1944” took on an inmate rebellion at Auschwitz. Here, Bokaer’s work explores individuals, particularly men in the Middle East, who are often depicted as ruthless, tough and belligerent. — Through March 8, Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Signs and Symbols, 102 Forsyth St., signsandsymbols.art.
BILL GRAHAM AND THE ROCK & ROLL REVOLUTION
Beginning with the “The Joshua Light Show,” the trailblazing liquid light show that served as a psychedelic backdrop to Graham’s infamous concert productions in New York, this retrospective exhibit showcasing more than 300 artifacts explores the life and career of one of the most influential concert promoters of all time. From his beginnings as a Jewish child in 1930s Berlin and then as an orphaned foster child in the Bronx, a graduate of DeWitt Clinton High and City College, a Korean War vet and Catskill resort waiter, Graham grew up to promote much of the rock & roll that became our country’s lens on the 20th century’s cultural transformations. He also became an important activist for Holocaust remembrance and Jewish pride. The exhibit provides a musical tour with songs by rock superstars Blondie, David Bowie, Cream, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Tom Petty and Neil Young, among others. — Through Aug. 23, New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, 170 Central Park West at 77th St., nyhistory.org.
Dora Kallmus (1881-1963), better known as Madame d’Ora, was one of the leading photographic portraitists of the early 20th century. Her subjects included cultural figures like Colette, Josephine Baker, Gustav Klimt, Tamara de Lempicka and Pablo Picasso as well as German and Viennese aristocrats, the Rothschild family, prominent politicians and post-War displaced persons. The largest U.S. museum retrospective of her work to date will present the different periods of d’Ora’s life, from her upbringing as the daughter of Jewish intellectuals in Vienna to her days as a premier society photographer, her survival during the Holocaust and her work in newly-liberated Europe. — Opens Thursday, Feb. 20 (through June 8), Neue Galerie New York, 1048 Fifth Ave. at 86th St., neuegalerie.org.
ADI NES — TESTAMENTS
Adi Nes is one of the most influential photographers in Israel. He creates meticulously crafted, staged images that are autobiographical and attest to the multi layered complexities of Israeli identity and living in a country in conflict. Sexual tension is ever-present in his work, as he delves into complex explorations of homoeroticism. — Through March 1, Fotografiska New York, 281 Park Avenue South at 22nd St., fotografiska.com.
IMPRESSIONS OF EASTERN EUROPE
Subtitled “Prints from the Permanent Collection,” this show features lithographs, etchings, engravings and woodcuts by 16 artists working in the early- to mid-20th century. It includes the work of Isidor Kaufmann, Max Weber, Rahel Szalit-Marcus and Ilya Schor. — Opens Feb. 23 (through May 10), Derfner Judaica Museum + Art Collection at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, 5901 Palisade Ave., Riverdale, firstname.lastname@example.org, RiverSpringHealth.org/art.
RACHEL FEINSTEIN: MAIDEN, MOTHER, CRONE
The sculptor, who grew up in Miami, creates fantastical and often highly sexualized 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.
“Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away.” The large-scale show explores the history of the death camp and its role in the Holocaust. Extended through Aug. 30, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, mjhnyc.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., huc.edu.
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