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Lectures and Discussions

New Voices: The JCC in Manhattan’s “Rough Cut” writers’ reading series presents Risa Miller and Suzan Sherman. Miller’s debut novel, “Welcome to Heavenly Heights,” tells the story of a family living in a settlement outside of Jerusalem that feels compelled to fight to maintain Jewish possession of their land. Sherman is working on a story collection on the theme of adoption and identity; she has written for the Forward, the New York Times, the New York Observer, Bomb and others. KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St.; May 14, 7:30 p.m.; free. (646-505-4455 or

A Foodie Family: New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin — who’s no stranger to the joys of consuming comestibles — sits down for a conversation with three generations of the Russ family of Russ & Daughters, who share anecdotes about the day-to-day life and zany customers of one of New York’s most famous delicatessens. Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, 18 First Place, Battery Park City; May 15, 7 p.m.; $15, $12 students, seniors and members. (212-509-6130 or

Bookish: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach celebrates the publication of his new book, “The Private Adam: Becoming a Hero in a Selfish Age” (Regan Books). Community Church of New York, 40 E. 35th St.; May 15, 8 p.m.; free. (212-792-6285) Journalist Sue Fishkoff reads from and signs her new book, “The Rebbe’s Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch” (Schocken). Sol Goldman YM-YWHA, 344 E. 14th St.; May 15, 7 p.m.; free. (212-780-0800)


Levi’s Legacy: The Centro Culturale Primo Levi at the Center for Jewish History and American Opera Projects present the first full musical readings of Israeli-born Ari Frankel’s “To Scratch an Angel.” The chamber opera is inspired by — not taken from — “If This Is a Man” author Primo Levi’s life and writings and is performed first in Brooklyn, then in Manhattan. South Oxford Space, 138 S. Oxford St., Fort Greene, Brooklyn; May 17, 8 p.m.; Center for Jewish History, auditorium, 15 W. 16th St.; May 20, 8 p.m.; $15, $12 students and seniors, reservations recommended. (917-606-8200)

Nature or Nurture: At age 38, Ken Fried has tracked down his birth mother and plans to re-enter her life, unbeknownst to her. David Harris’s new play, “Lost and Found,” tells the story of their meeting — Ken, raised by practicing Jews, and his birth mother, now an agnostic college professor whose husband does not know that his wife gave up a child before they met. Harris tackles one of humanity’s biggest debates: nature versus nurture. Phil Bosakowski Theater, 354 W. 45th St.; Thu.-Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m., through May 25; $15. (212-352-0255)


Antisemitism Today: The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research brings more than 30 internationally recognized scholars, authors and journalists from 11 countries together for “Old Demons, New Debates: Anti-Semitism in the West,” a four-day international conference. Martin Peretz, Leon Wieseltier and Leon Botstein are the moderators. Participants include Simon Schama, Abraham Foxman, Hillel Halkin, Deborah Lipstadt, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Dave Harris, Jane Kramer, Alain Finkielkraut, Martin Peretz and Azar Afisi. Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St.; May 11-May 14, please call or visit Web site for complete listings; $10 day session, $20 night session, $100 all sessions. (212-294-8301, or


‘Secret Lives’: After making the rounds at film festivals and Jewish community centers around the country, Academy Award-winner Aviva Slesin’s documentary “Secret Lives: Hidden Children and Their Rescuers During World War II” takes over the screen at Quad Cinema for its first commercial run. Question-and-answer sessions follow some screenings. Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th St.; opens May 16, please call for times. (212-855-8800)


National News: Forward Association general manager Samuel Norich discusses “The Need to Know: Why the American Jewish Community Must Have a National Newspaper” for the 13th annual Rabbi Ernst M. Lorge Memorial Lecture. The talk — sponsored by the Labor Zionist Alliance of Chicago, the Lorge family and Temple Beth Israel — is followed by a reception. Temple Beth Israel, 3601 W. Dempster St., Skokie; May 18, 7 p.m.; free. (847-675-1677)


Read It and Weep: The eight-week “Words on Fire” arts and humanities festival marking the 70-year anniversary of the massive Nazi book-burning in Berlin on May 10, 1933 — with works by Bertolt Brecht, Emile Zola, Margaret Sanger and Albert Einstein among them — comes to a close with an event that brings together some 16 Boston writers. The wife-husband duo writers Anne Bernays and Justin Kaplan co-chair the afternoon program, during which such writers as James Carroll, Anita Diament, Allegra Goodman, Alice Hoffman, David Salavit and John Updike read from their choice of works burned in the 1933 fire. Boston Public Library, Rabb Lecture Hall, Copley Square, 700 Boylston St., Boston; May 11, doors 1:15 p.m., reading 2 p.m.; free. (617-536-5400)

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