by SARAH PONICHTERA
New York will play host to a brilliant array of Yiddish events this winter, with offerings in music, theater, art, and education.
With the recent loss of Chana Mlotek, z”l, music is very much on our minds here at di Nyu-yorkerin, and there is no lack of opportunities to explore or deepen an appreciation of Yiddish song. The music of the Yiddish theater has emerged as a theme this season, beginning with the concert,“Miracle of Miracles”on December 2, which will honor the 90th birthday of Yiddish theater icon Theodore Bikel. This is followed a few weeks later by “Music Treasures of the American Yiddish Theater” on December 15, a concert that has been devoted to the memory of Chana Mlotek. On a more heymishe theme, Inna Barmash will perform Yiddish lullabies and love songs from her new album on November 27, at Joe’s Pub in Greenwich Village.
There are also a number of highly anticipated theatrical performances this season, starting with “The Essence: A Yiddish Theatre Dim Sum,” which delighted audiences at the Fringe Festival last year. It begins tonight and runs through November 24. The Folksbiene’s production “Lies My Father Told Me” also begins November 21, and tells the story of a Montreal immigrant family, based on the works of Ted Allan. There will be a free pre-show discussion between Zalmen Mlotek, Elan Kunin, and Bryna Wasserman at noon on Sunday, December 1, in which the three will discuss the process of adapting the musical for the stage. The show will run through December 15.
Winter offers a particularly opportune time to huddle indoors with a stack of books, and YIVO’s Winter Program on Ashkenazi Civilization offers a diverse array of subjects to sink into from January 6-23. Gennady Estraikh will be exploring Jewish literary life in the Soviet Union, a subject on which he has particular expertise as the former managing editor of the journal Sovietish Heymland. Focusing on the other side of the pond, Adam Kirsch’s course, “New York Intellectuals Revisited,” offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the intellectual journey of this group of American Jews. Curt Leviant will be analyzing the novels of Chaim Grade, a particularly timely subject given the YIVO Institute’s recent acquisition of Grade’s papers. There are also courses on Sholem Aleichem, women in Yiddish literature, Ashkenazi music and dance, and Polish Jews in film.
On a lighter subject, Dr. Regina Stein will lead a discussion of Ruth Wisse’s recent book No Joke, on the nature of Jewish humor on December 2 at the Eldridge Street Synagogue.
Di nyu-yorkerin wishes all her readers a happy joyous Hannukah! See you again in December.