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High Holy Days

Initiate Yourself: The egalitarian “liberal” East Side Synagogue offers introductory services catering to the unaffiliated. The liturgy is in English and Hebrew and is meant to draw out the relevance and meaning of the High Holy Day period, a time of rebirth and renewal, introspection and moral inventory, forgiveness and growth. All Souls Sanctuary, 1157 Lexington Ave.; Rosh Hashana Sept. 27, 11:15 a.m., Yom Kippur Oct. 5, 8:45 p.m., Oct. 6, 11:15 a.m.; free, please call beforehand. (212-209-6801)

User-Friendly: The Manhattan Jewish Experience, a program for young Jewish professionals with little or no Jewish background who are interested in learning more about their heritage, hosts “no-Hebrew necessary, user-friendly” services. Prayers and traditions are explained, and participants are encouraged to ask questions. West Side services are led by Rabbi Mark Wildes and Cantor Arnie Singer, and East Side services are led by Rabbi Jonathan Feldman and Shilo Kramer. A luncheon takes place in both locations on the second day of Rosh Hashana. West Side location, 131 W. 86th St., East Side location 5 E. 62nd St.; Sept. 26, 7 p.m., Sept. 27, 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., Sept. 28, 9 a.m., luncheon Sept. 28, noon, Kol Nidre Oct. 5, 6:45 p.m., Oct. 6, 9 a.m.; $75 Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, $100 both holidays, $30 luncheon. (212-787-9533 or


Biblical Women: Judith Newman, an associate professor of Hebrew Bible at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York, teaches a four-session class titled “The Daughters of Israel,” exploring the role of women in ancient Israel through the stories of Rachav, Deborah, Yael, Hannah, Ruth and Naomi. The class considers the sociological and theological significance of these stories for religious communities today. Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Community House, 109 E. 50th St.; Sept. 24-Oct. 15, Wed. 7 p.m.; $150. (212-378-0222 or

Lectures and Discussions

One on One: Jeffrey Tabak talks with Ruth Westheimer, best known for her roles as a sex therapist, in “An Evening with Dr. Ruth.” Born in Germany, Westheimer lost her parents in the Holocaust, lived as a displaced person, joined the Haganah, Israel’s precursor to the Israeli army, and finally became a psychology student at the Sorbonne. Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, Battery Park; Sept. 24, 7 p.m.; free. (212-945-0039 or

In the Spotlight: “Jews in Crisis in Israel and Around the Globe” is the topic for two discussions led by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (author of “The Case for Israel”) and Phyllis Chesler (“The New Anti-Semitism: the Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It”), professor emeritus of psychology and women’s studies at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave.; Sept. 24, 8 p.m.; $25 (212-415-5500 or; College of Mount St. Vincent, Hayes Auditorium, 6301 Riverdale Ave., Bronx; Sept. 25, 8 p.m.; free. (718-796-3119 or

Bookish: Dexter Jeffries, an English professor at Hunter College, discusses “Triple Exposure: Black, Jewish and Red in the 1950s,” his memoir about growing up as the son of Communists, a Jewish mother and a black father. Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library, Grand Army Plaza, corner of Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway, Trustees Room, third floor; Sept. 24, 7 p.m.; free. (718-230-2122 or


Sabbath Guest: Natan Sharansky, Israel’s minister for Diaspora affairs, speaks at Congregation Ramath Orah, a Modern Orthodox synagogue founded in 1941 by Jewish refugees from Luxembourg that is now a home to faculty members and students of Columbia University, as well as the Jewish refugees and their families. Congregation Ramath Orah, 550 W. 110th St.; Sept. 20, morning services 9 a.m.; free. (212-222-2470 or


Music by the Arch: The fifth annual Jewish Life Festival features an outdoor afternoon of kosher food, workshops, Judaica and music — Piamenta, a Jewish rock band, and reggae singer-rapper Matityahu perform. Washington Square Park, West 4th and Macdougal Streets, Sept. 21, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.; free. (212-674-1950 or


Holiday Revived: Storahtelling: Jewish Ritual Theater Revived, a theater company of Amichai Lau-Lavie, an Israeli-born mythologist and educator, performs tales for the new year in “Honey 5764: Rosh Hashanah Revive.” “Scapegoat: An Ancient Tale for a New Year,” a musical and theatrical adaptation of the biblical scapegoat narrative chanted on Yom Kippur, is followed by a “Tashlich Prayformance,” a reinvention of the Jewish ritual of casting away sins into the water, at Pier 83 by the Hudson River. Capping the event is an Arab-Jewish peace concert featuring Frank London of the Klezmatics, Rashid Halihal, Basya Schechter of Pharoah’s Daughter, Raquy Danziger and other Jewish, Muslim and Christian musicians, and an after-party with DJ Dandylion. Actors Temple, 339 W. 47th St; Sept. 28, “Scapegoat” 5 p.m., “Tashlich” 6:30 p.m., concert 9 p.m.; $12 concert and after-party, theater performances free. (212-284-6776 or

Dance Talk: In the first of four performances, groups of dancers including Jeremy Laverdure, Arthur Avilas, Daria Fain, Ann Liv Young and Millicent M. Johnnie perform works-in-progress before choreographers and an audience, followed by a discussion on their performances led by Israeli choreographer Neta Pulvermacher. The Flea Theater, 41 White St.; Tuesdays Sept. 30, Oct. 28, Nov. 25 and Dec. 16, 7 p.m.; free. (212-226-0051 or


Love Story: Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox’s “Yossi & Jagger” (2002, Hebrew with English subtitles) is a gay love story between two Israeli army officers during the 1982 war in Lebanon. Israeli soap opera actor Yehuda Levi plays Jagger, a dark and charismatic deputy, and Ohad Knoller plays Yossi, a position commander on Israel’s northern border. Knoller received the award for best actor for the role at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. Film Forum, 209 West Houston St.; Sept. 24-Oct. 7, 1:15 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8:15 p.m. and 10 p.m.; $9.75, $5 members and children under 12, $5 seniors Mon.-Fri. before 5 p.m. (212-727-8110 or

‘Tesfa to Tikva’: Some 35 photographs by Irene Fertik documenting the absorption of Ethiopian Jews in Israel since 1991 are on display in “From Tesfa to Tikvah” — meaning “From Hope to Hope” in mixed Amharic and Hebrew. Roughly 25 clay figurines and 10 embroideries made by Ethiopians are also on display. At the opening reception, Fertik discusses her work and the plight of the Ethiopians, JJ Hollingsworth and the Gudamay Ensemble perform Ethiopian music and a buffet offers up Ethiopian delicacies. Marin Jewish Community Center, Isaacs Gallery, Renbaum Lounge, 200 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael; opening reception Sept. 20, 8 p.m., exhibit through Nov. 15, Mon.-Thu. 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri. 6 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; reception $8 members, $10 nonmembers, $5 students, exhibition free. (415-444-8000 or


‘Only On Paper’: Roughly 180 objects illustrating the diversity and influence of Jewish art and culture throughout modern history is on view for the first time in the United States in “Only On Paper: Six Centuries of Judaica from the Gross Family Collection.” The exhibit is arranged into nine sections: The Bible, Holidays, Home and Daily Life, The Wedding, Mysticism, Personalities, Prayers and Ceremonies, The Holy Land and The Synagogue, and includes manuscripts, books, papercuts, etchings and lithographs from countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas from the 15th through 20th centuries. The Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies and the Spertus Museum have joint programming in conjunction with the exhibit. The Center for Book & Paper Arts, 1104 S. Wabash, Chicago; opening reception Sept. 22, 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m., exhibit through Dec. 13, Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; free, see Web site for program information. (312-344-6630 or

Traditional Treasures: A “road show” with Judaica expert Bill Gross kicks off an exhibit titled “Tradition and Transformation: Treasures from Spertus Museum.” Gross surveys objects and traces trends in Judaica-making while using the objects to better understand the history of Jewish life. Some 80 objects are displayed in the exhibit. Spertus Museum, 618 South Michigan Ave., Chicago; opening program Sept. 21, noon-3 p.m., followed by guided tours, exhibit through Dec. 28; free, reservations requested for opening program. (312-322-1769, [email protected] or


Scholarly Talk: Daniel Schwartz, a professor of Jewish history at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the scholar-in-residence at the Foundation for Jewish Studies, gives two lectures: “The Talmud on the Second Temple: Historiography or Rabbinical Training?” and, later, the annual Frank L. Schick Memorial Lecture, “The Acts of the Apostles and Jewish Hellenistic Literature.” University of Maryland, Route 1, College Park, Francis Scott Key Hall, room 1102; Sept. 23, 12:30 p.m.; free (301-405-4975); B’nai Israel Congregation, 6301 Montrose Road, Rockville; Sept. 23, reception 7:45 p.m., lecture 8:15 p.m.; free. (301-881-6550 or


Sephardic Evolution: Jonathan Decter, a professor of Near Eastern Judaic studies at Brandeis University, lectures on “Sephardi Identity in the Middle Ages” as part of “Sephardi: The Evolution of an Identity,” a three-part series that traces Sephardic identity from the medieval to the modern periods in Spain, North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, Israel and the United States. Brandeis University, Lown Room 315, 415 South St., Waltham; Sept. 24, noon-1:30 p.m.; free. (781-736-2000 or


Ceremonial Art: New York-based artist Tobi Kahn’s paintings and sculpture have been shown throughout the United States, Israel, Brazil and Chile in more than 30 solo exhibitions and more than 60 museum and gallery shows. Forty-two Jewish ceremonial objects created by Kahn are on display in an exhibit, titled “Avoda: Objects of Spirit.” The word “Avoda,” Hebrew for “work” or “prayer/worship,” reflects the ritual moments in the life of Kahn’s family, for which the objects were used, such as a chupah or a chair used for circumcisions. Twenty paintings by Kahn are also on display. Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, Saint Louis University, 3700 West Pine Mall; through Oct. 12, Tue.-Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; free. (314-977-7170 or

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