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Lectures and Discussions

Abraham’s Descendants: Bruce Feiler, author of “Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths,” discusses the patriarch Jews and Muslims share in an “Abraham Salon” with Forward editor J.J. Goldberg, New Yorker contributor Daphne Merkin and David Roskies, a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The conversation is part of the Half King’s weekly literary series. The Half King, 505 W. 23rd St. (at 10th Ave.), Jan. 13, 7 p.m.; free. (212-889-8200)

Wergeland’s Legacy: Scandinavia House opens its doors for a symposium on “The Norwegian Jewish Experience.” Kicking off the museum’s new exhibit, “Jewish Life and Culture in Norway: Wergeland’s Legacy,” the symposium covers Norwegian history, culture and World War II restitution, and is moderated by Jo Benkow, former speaker of the Norwegian Parliament. Other panelists include Avi Becker, secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress; Abel Abrahamsen, chairman emeritus of the Norwegian Immigration Association; Oskar Kvasnes, deputy project director at the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo, which provided much of the information and material for this exhibit, and Sidsel Levin, a board member of the Jewish Community of Oslo. Scandinavia House, 58 Park Ave.; Jan. 16, 4 p.m.-6:45 p.m.; free, reservations recommended. (212-847-9717)

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: The Stephen Wise Free Synagogue was the first synagogue in which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke. In honor of the day dedicated to the great leader, Elinor Tatum, editor in chief of The Amsterdam News, is the guest speaker at Sabbath services. The Stephen Wise Singers and choir join the celebration. Tatum, daughter of a Holocaust survivor, heads up one of the nation’s oldest and most influential black newspapers. Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 W. 68th St.; Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m.; free. (212-877-4050)

Tribute to a Hero: In “Abba Kovner, Poet and Hero: A Celebration of Life and Legacy (1918-1987),” Rich Cohen (“The Avengers,” “Tough Jews”), Anita Diamant (“The Red Tent”), poet Edward Hirsch, Abba Kovner’s son Michael Kovner, Rabbi Harold Kushner (“When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” “Living a Life that Matters”) and Deborah Garrison, the Knopf poetry editor who edited Kovner’s posthumously published “Sloan Kettering,” pay tribute to the writer, poet and fighter. The Israeli poet, who won the 1970 Israel Prize in literature, led the Partisans’ sabotage operations against the German army and served in the Israeli War of Independence. The 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave.; Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m.; $18, reservations recommended. (212-415-5500 or


Adult Education: This year’s Spring semester at the New York Kollel–The Center for Adult Jewish Study includes a selection of classes in Hebrew, Jewish history and Jewish texts, including “Biblical and Prayerbook Hebrew,” “Parashat Ha-Shavua: The Weekly Torah Portion,” “Reading Between the Lines: The Weekly Midrash,” “Advanced Beit Midrash,” “Women at Prayer” and many more. The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Brookdale Center, 1 W. 4th St.; classes begin Jan. 21, registrations required. (212-824-2272 or

A Woman’s (Special) Place: As part of the Jewish Executive Learning Annex of Brooklyn’s Monday-night lecture series, Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin presents a four-part discussion called “Thanking You for Making Me… a Woman,” which takes a positive look at the special place of women in Judaism, with topics covering women’s mitzvot, female spiritual energy and “women of valor.” JELA is a joint project of Chabad of Brooklyn Heights and Congregation B’nai Avraham. JELA, 117 Remsen St., Brooklyn Heights; Jan. 20-Feb. 10, Mondays, 8 p.m.-9 p.m.; please call for additional information. (718-802-1827)


Freestyle: Since 1980, the Klezmer Conservatory Band has been blending jazz with klezmer and folk classics. The 11-piece ensemble is led by the multi-instrumentalist Hankus Netsky. Forest Hills Jewish Center, 106-06 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills, Queens; Jan. 19, 8 p.m.; $30-$45, reservations recommended. (718-263-70000, Ticketmaster 212-307-7171 or


Magda and the Others: Gabrielle Lansner and Company presents “Holocaust Stories,” a dance-theater work that weaves together in a nonlinear dance sequence three stories of relationships transformed by the Shoah. “The Jewish Wife” is based on Bertolt Brecht’s eponymous play about a woman in 1930s Germany who flees to Amsterdam with her “Aryan” husband. “Magda” is derived from Cynthia Ozick’s short stories “The Shawl” and “Rosa” and is based on the story of a woman in the aftermath of the Holocaust whose daughter has been killed in the concentration camps. Kressman Taylor’s “Address Unknown” follows the dissolution of the friendship between a California Jew and his German friend cum Nazi sympathizer. The Duke, 229 W. 42nd St.; Jan. 16-Jan. 17, 8 p.m., Jan. 18, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Jan. 19, 2 p.m.; $20. (212-239-6200)

The Kinder Are Back: In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre’s Kids & Yiddish troupe presents “The Mazldiker Mystery Tour,” a musical extravaganza about a gaggle of young pals who travel through time and space. The show blends Yiddish with English and traditional Jewish tales with contemporary culture. The Lamb’s Theatre, 130 W. 44th St.; Jan. 20, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; $18, $15 children under 12. (212-213-2120 or


Double Bill: Two Israeli documentaries being screened on a double bill — both making their United States premieres — examine life within the Israeli-Palestinian divide from two very different perspectives. Ruth Walk’s “The Settlers” (2002) takes a look at the lives and opinions of Orthodox women and children living in the West Bank city of Hebron. Ram Loevy’s “Close, Closed, Closure” (2002) takes a close look at a Palestinian family living in the Gaza Strip. Film Forum, 200 West Houston St.; Jan. 15-Jan. 28, 1 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:10 p.m.; $9.75, $5 members, seniors, children 12 and younger. (212-727-8110)

Tu B’Shvat

Our Arboreal Allies: To celebrate the “Birthday of the Trees,” the Poppy Seed Players present “A Tree Grows Up,” a performance for families featuring four actors and a tree puppet that follows the life of a tree from planting to full growth. The Poppy Seed Players are the Kaufman Center’s resident theater company, whose child-oriented performances bring biblical history and Jewish culture to life. Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center, 129 W. 67th St.; Jan. 16, 11 a.m.; $12. (212-501-3330 or

Celebratory Songs: The Jewish Association for Services for the Aged presents an afternoon Oneg Shabbat celebration with Israeli singer-dancer Moshe Ariel in celebration of Tu B’Shvat. West Side Senior Center, 120 W. 76th St., third-floor ballroom; Jan. 17, 1 p.m.-2 p.m.; free. (212-712-0210)

Getting To Know You

All Aboard: If you’re single and somewhat antsy about singles’ events, perhaps an evening aboard a 102-foot converted barge (with fireplace and city views) might float your boat. The Jewish Executive Learning Annex invites singles between the ages of 40 and 60 to “Eight Date,” which brings men and women together for with several members of the opposite sex for eight minutes per pair. An escape route is guaranteed — when the clock strikes eight (minutes) — but so is the opportunity to show ’em your best. River Café, Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn Heights; Jan. 22, 8 p.m.-10 p.m.; $25, reservations required. (718-596-4840)

Wartime Diary: Dorothée Rozenberg reads from her mother’s recently published memoir, “Girl With Two Landscapes,” translated by Solon Beinfeld with a foreword by Irena Klepfisz and an introduction by Jan Gross. Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge; Jan. 15, 6 p.m., free. (617-349-4040)


Klezmer for King: The klezmer jazz ensemble Hasidic New Wave with bandleader Greg Wall and Yakar Rhythms, the Senegalese drum ensemble, play together on a double bill to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. day. Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan New Jersey, 760 Northfield Ave., West Orange; Jan. 18, 8 p.m.; $22, $18 members, students and seniors. (973-736-3200 or


Sundance Shabbat: For those taking a Sabbath break from Sundance, ShmoozeDance sponsors an Oneg Shabbat and Jewish film festival that screens nearly 10 Jewish-themed films and videos. Temple Har Shalom, 1922 Prospect St., Park City; Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m.; free. (


Bennington’s Light: Lora Block discusses the places and people of past and present in “The Jewish Community in Bennington.” The talk is held in conjunction with the exhibit “An Everlasting Light in Bennington.” The Bennington Museum, West Main Street, Ada Paresky Education Center, Bennington; Jan. 19, 2 p.m., free. (802-447-1571 or


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