November-December Programs Announced for the Museum of Jewish Heritage

November-December Programs Announced for the Museum of Jewish Heritage

The November-December public programming schedule at the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust has been announced. Highlights this season include several programs presented in conjunction with the wildly popular exhibition Project Mah Jongg. On November 7, authors Jennifer 8. Lee, formerly of the New York Times, Professor Donald I. Siegel, and Andrew Coe will discuss Jews and Chinese Food, which will be followed by a walking tour of Chinatown organized by the Museum of Chinese in America.

The Epic Theatre Ensemble returns to the Museum on November 17 with a staged reading of a play about the controversial relationship between Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger, entitled Hannah and Martin, starring David Strathairn and Melissa Friedman. Other theatrical offerings include Yisrael Campbell's acclaimed one-man show Circumcise Me on December 8. In conjunction with the exhibition Fire in My Heart: The Story of Hannah Senesh, director Hugo Perez and a bevy of talented poets will offer a screening and poetry reading inspired by the film Neither Memory nor Magic: Miklós Radnóti about the life of the Hungarian poet on November 14.

Young families will celebrate Hanukkah at the Museum with Gerard Edery and Peninnah Schram on December 5 as they tell stories and sing songs in The Minstrel and the Storyteller, while families of all ages are welcome on December 12 for Eleanor Reissa and Friends Celebrate a Yiddish Hanukkah. The season concludes with Mah Jongg Mania, a day of festivities, films, crafts, and games on December 26.

Other upcoming programs in November and December:

· Beyond the Racial Laws: Fascist Anti-Semitism Revisited - The Primo Levi Center and Italian Cultural Institute, together with the Museum, present new documents and perspectives on this topic (November 3)
· Homebound Through the World: The Lifetime Journey of Frederic Morton - Author Frederic Morton and director Andrea Eckert will screen and discuss this U.S. premiere film about Morton's life (November 10)
· When the Danube Ran Red - Author Zsuzsanna Ozsváth will discuss her childhood in Hungary (November 14)
· The Future Mah Jongg Players of Majestic Isles - This original comedy created for the Museum is back by popular demand (December 15)

Detailed descriptions of all the programs listed above are included with this release.

The Museum's three-floor Core Exhibition educates people of all ages and backgrounds about the rich tapestry of Jewish life over the past century-before, during, and after the Holocaust. Special exhibitions include The Morgenthaus: A Legacy of Service, extended through September 5, 2011 and Project Mah Jongg, on view through January 2, 2011. Fire in My Heart: The Story of Hannah Senesh opens October 13. It is also home to the award-winning Keeping History Center, an award winning interactive visitor experience, and Andy Goldsworthy's memorial Garden of Stones. The Museum offers visitors a vibrant public program schedule in its Edmond J. Safra Hall and receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Public Programs

Wednesday, November 3, 6:30 P.M.
The Primo Levi Center and the Italian Cultural Institute Present
Beyond the Racial Laws: Fascist Anti-Semitism Revisited
Moderated by Alessandro Cassin, Primo Levi Center: with Michele Sarfatti, Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation, Milan (CDEC); Annalisa Capristo, Center for American Studies, Rome; and Guri Schwarz and Ilaria Pavan, University of Pisa

In a continuation of our Jews in Italy series, the panel discusses new documents and perspectives on the complex relationship between Italians and Jews under Fascism, including the contradictory circumstances that allowed a high percentage of Jews to survive. This new assessment is crucial to the understanding of the specifics of Fascist anti-Semitism and the unique characteristics of the Shoah in Italy.

Alessandro Cassin is an Italian journalist based in New York. He covers culture and the arts for L'Espresso, Diario, and The Brooklyn Rail. He is the editor of the online column Printed Matter for Centro Primo Levi.

Michele Sarfatti is the author of several books and historical articles on Italian Fascist anti-Semitism. In 2002, Sarfatti became director of the Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Milan. He is on the editorial board of La Rassegna mensile di Israel and was a member of the Government Commission of Inquiry into the Confiscation of Jewish Property in Italy, 1938-1945.

Annalisa Capristo is currently a librarian at the Center for American Studies in Rome. Capristo is the author of L'espulsione degli ebrei dalle accademie Italiane (The Expulsion of Jews from the Italian Academies) 2002.

Guri Schwarz has been a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bologna, fellow of the Luigi Einaudi Foundation (Turin), and research fellow at the Department of History of the University of Pisa. His research interests concentrate on the history of the Jews in contemporary Italy, the politics of
memory in post-World War II Europe, and the transition from fascism to democracy. He is author of several articles and books about the subject. He has recently published a critical edition of the diaries of the Jewish partisan Emanuele Artom, Diari di un partigiano ebreo (1940-1944).

Ilaria Pavan obtained her doctoral degree from the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa where she currently teaches. Dr. Pavan has been a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of European Studies, University of California, Berkeley, and a fellow at the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research in Jerusalem. Between 2000 and 2001 Dr. Pavan was a researcher for the Government Commission for Reconstruction of the Events Characterizing the Acquisition of Jewish Assets by Public and Private Bodies. She has published many articles and essays on the persecution of the Jews of Italy and the postwar construction of historiography and memory.

Presented with the CDEC, Milan, and the Primo Levi Center in cooperation with Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, and NYU Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies.

Sunday, November 7
Jews and Chinese Food

1 P.M. Panel Discussion
Jennifer 8. Lee, author The Fortune Cookie Chronicles; Prof. Donald I. Siegel, author, From Lokshen to LoMein: The Jewish Love Affair with Chinese Food; Andrew Coe, author, Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States

That Jews have an affinity for Chinese food is no secret. Our panel discusses why going out "to eat Chinese" continues to be a ritual for many Jewish families, and as Lee explores in her book, why chow mein is the chosen food of the chosen people on Christmas, and how the cuisine became deemed by many as "safe treyf." Following the discussion, join us for a walking tour of Chinatown organized by the Museum of Chinese in America.

Jennifer 8. Lee was a reporter at the New York Times for nine years where she covered tech nol ogy, Wash ing ton, crime, poverty, and cul ture. She spent the last two of those years reporting on City Room, the Times' New York City metro blog. In promoting The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, a New York Times bestseller, she survived an interview with Stephen Colbert and made dumplings on Martha Stewart and the Today Show.
Donald I. Siegel, a Meredith Professor in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences, is a nationally renowned scientist, whose research encompasses contaminant hydrology, paleohydrogeology, and wetland hydrology. Siegel is also an award-winning teacher and mentor, and a talented amateur cook.

Andrew Coe has written for Saveur, Gastronomica, and the New York Times. He is a co-author of Foie Gras: A Passion, and has contributed to the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink.

Join us in the gallery for mah jongg pick-up games starting at 12 P.M.

$10, $7 students/seniors, $5 for members

There is a separate fee for the walking tour
2:30 P.M. Walking Tour of Chinatown
Bus transportation to Chinatown provided. Pre-registration for the walking tour is required; space is limited to 50. To register, call the box office at 646.437.4202 or visit

$15, $12 students/seniors, $10 Museum and MOCA members

Co-sponsored by the Museum of Chinese in America

Wednesday, November 10, 6:30 P.M.

Homebound Throughout the World: The Lifetime Journey of Frederic Morton (Austria, 2010, DVD, 58 min.)

Post-screening discussion with Frederic Morton and director Andrea Eckert

This U.S. film premiere follows author Frederic Morton (The Rothschilds) on a journey of discovery to his neighborhood in Vienna where he remembers his family and their difficult decision to leave their home for the United States.
Morton, born Fritz Mandelbaum, emigrated in 1940. Austrian actress and director Andrea Eckert accompaniEd Morton to Thelemanngasse in Vienna, where his father owned an iron-ware shop until the "Anschluss." Morton, a great storyteller, recalls his childhood memories of his grandfather, his parents, and their exile.
Frederic Morton is the author of 12 books, two of which, The Rothschilds and A Nervous Splendor, have been National Book Award finalists. The Rothschilds was made into a Tony Award-winning musical with Hal Linden and ran on Broadway for two years. A new musical adaptation of his novel A Nervous Splendor was performed in Budapest and in Tokyo in May 2008. Morton's work has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 1965 as well as in The Best American Essays 2003.
Andrea Eckert is a respected stage and film actress, singer, and documentary filmmaker from Austria. Her favorite stage work includes the title roles in Judith, Maria Stuart, and Elektra, and the role of Maria Callas in Master Class. She also frequently appears on television. Her films include documentaries about Lucia Westerguard, Turhan Bey, and Leopold and Josefine Hawelka.

Co-sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum
$10, $7 students/seniors, $5 Museum members and Friends of the ACF


Sunday, November 14, 1 P.M.
When the Danube Ran Red (Syracuse University Press, 2010)
Author Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, University of Texas, Dallas, interviewed by Museum archivist Bonnie Gurewitsch
Opening with the ominous scene of one young schoolgirl whispering an urgent account of Nazi horror to another over birthday cake, Ozsváth's extraordinary and chilling tells the story of her childhood in Hungary.
The setting of the book is the summer of 1944 in Budapest during the time of the German occupation. At this point the Jews of Budapest were confined to ghetto houses but not transported to Auschwitz in boxcars, unlike the Hungarian Jews who lived in the countryside. In the fall of that year, however, things take a turn for the worse. Rounded up, forced to go on death marches, and shot on the banks of the Danube by the thousands, the Jews of Budapest are threatened with immediate destruction. Ozsváth and her family survive because of their nanny's courage and humanity.
Zsuzsanna Ozsváth is Professor of Literature and the History of Ideas in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. In addition, she is the Director of the School's Holocaust Studies Program. Her essays and translations have appeared in such journals as Poetry, Judaism, The Partisan Review, German Studies Review, Literary Review, Research Studies, Hartford Studies in Literature, The Webster Review, The Hungarian Quarterly, and The Canadian American Review of Hungarian Studies.

Bonnie Gurewitsch is an archivist and curator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. She has been a Holocaust educator and oral historian for more than 30 years. She is the author of several books on the Holocaust and has curated many of the Museum's temporary exhibitions, including Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges and the award-winning Daring to Resist: Jewish Defiance in the Holocaust.

Free with suggested donation

Sunday, November 14, 2 P.M.
Neither Memory nor Magic: Miklós Radnóti
(USA, 2007, DigiBeta, 57 min., Hungarian with English Subtitles)
Post-screening discussion and poetry reading with director Hugo Perez; poets Howard Altmann, Nick Flynn, and Gary Glazner; and other special guests
Renowned Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti was sent to a forced labor camp and killed by Hungarian Fascists in 1944. This eloquent documentary, narrated by Academy Award-nominated actress Patricia Clarkson, presents the story of Radnóti's life and beautiful poetry, including his final works found in a small notebook when his body was discovered.
Through the use of evocative Super8 footage, readings of Radnoti's poems that recount his experiences in a forced labor camp and on a death march, and interviews with some of those who knew him best and who got to know him in his last days, the film reveals the story of a writer who continued to write poetry even as he faced almost certain death.
Hugo Perez is a filmmaker and writer whose work often focuses on his Cuban heritage. In 2008, he was the recipient of the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation/Tribeca Film Institute Emerging Artist Fellowship in support of his feature screenplay Immaculate Conception. Perez' short film Betty La Flaca was the winner of the 2006 HBO/NYILFF Short Film Award and was broadcast on the HBO networks through Fall 2008. Perez' previous short film, Julieta y Ramon, was broadcast as part of the 2005 Showtime Latino Filmmaker Showcase, and was recently re-broadcast on the PBS series Reel New York. He produced and directed The Writer, a half hour series of video portraits of contemporary writers and poets that aired regionally on PBS stations. Perez has studied writing with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, collaborated with Pulitzer prize-winning novelist William Kennedy, and served as a guest artist for acclaimed theater director and artist Robert Wilson. His writing has been featured in the New York Times Magazine and on, and his films have screened at venues such as MoMA and the Smithsonian.

Howard Altmann's work has appeared in assorted journals including most recently the New England Review, Ploughshares, and Poetry.

Nick Flynn won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. His work has been translated into ten languages. He is also the author of two book of poetry, Some Ether, which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and Blind Huber. He has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio's This American Life, and The New York Times Book Review. He worked as an artistic collaborator on the documentary film Darwin's Nightmare, which won an Academy Award for best feature documentary in 2006.
Gary Glazner is the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project (APP). NBC's Today show and NPR's Weekend Edition have featured segments on the APP. His work has been published by Harper Collins, W.W. Norton, and Glazner is the Managing Director of Bowery Arts and Science, the non-profit wing of the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. His poetry performances have been featured on CNN, NPR, and underwater on the Bay Area Rapid Transit System. He is the author of Ears on Fire: Snapshot Essays in a World of Poets and How to Make a Living as a Poet.

A tour of Fire in My Heart: The Story of Hannah Senesh will be offered at 12 p.m. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Call 646.437.4202.
Co-sponsored by Poets House.
$10, $7 students/seniors, $5 for members

Wednesday, November 17, 7 P.M.
Hannah and Martin
Written by Kate Fodor and directed by Ron Russell
Featuring Melissa Friedman and David Strathairn

The controversial relationship between Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt and her mentor and lover, Martin Heidegger, the renowned philosopher who used his fame and brilliance to help further the goals of the Nazi party, is dramatized in a staged reading of this acclaimed play.

As a university student in the 1920s, Hannah had an affair with Heidegger, her married professor. When the Nazis came to power, Hannah was interned, arrested, and had to flee Germany. Heidegger stayed in Germany, joined the Nazi party, and gave speeches praising Hitler's philosophy. When the war ended Heidegger was banned from teaching, but Arendt, by then a respected professor, helped rescue his career. Based on letters between Arendt and Heidegger, the play focuses on a fictionalized confrontation between them after the war. Broadway calls this "the kind of play that will have audience members talking amongst themselves."

Kate Fodor was named one of "Eight to Watch" in the theater world by The New York Times. She has received a Joseph Jefferson Citation, an After Dark Award, the Kennedy Center's Roger L. Stevens Award, and a finalist position for the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Hannah and Martin has had productions in cities around the U.S., including a sold-out run and remount at Chicago's TimeLine Theatre and a sold-out Off-Broadway run featuring David Strathairn. Her newest play, 100 Saints You Should Know, has had readings at Playwrights Horizons in New York and at Hartford Stage. Kate is currently writing a screenplay about women in the Civil War and a play about women in Victorian England.
Melissa Friedman is the co-founder of Epic Theater and is their Executive Director of Education. Before co-founding Epic, Melissa worked as a Lead Teaching Artist with many NYC theatres including Roundabout Theatre Company, Brooklyn Academy Of Music's Shakespeare Teaches program, and Theatre for a New Audience. As Epic's Education Director, she co-developed Epic's Citizen Artist curriculum. As an actor, she has appeared in many Off-Broadway productions including Much Ado About Nothing, as well as many Epic productions including Time and the Conways, Habitat, Einstein's Gift, A Hard Heart with Kathleen Chalfant, and A More Perfect Union. Her numerous regional Theater Productions include playing a witch to Victor Garber's Macbeth and Lady Mortimer in Henry IV with John Goodman. On behalf of Epic, Melissa received the 2009 Coming Up Taller Award from First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House ceremony.

David Straithairn has earned consistent critical appreciation for his work. His films include L.A. Confidential, Silkwood, Eight Men Out,The Bourne Ultimatum, We Are Marshall, and Good Night and Good Luck. He recently won the Emmy Award for best supporting actor in a mini-series for his role in Temple Grandin. Upcoming films include The Whistleblower with Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave and Julie Taymor's much anticipated film version of The Tempest with Helen Mirren.
Director Ron Russell is co-founder and Executive Director of Company Development for Epic Theatre. After acting as Founding Artistic Director of the nationally acclaimed Summer Theatre Enrichment Program at El Centro de Servicios in Lorain, Ohio, from 1992-1995, Ron founded UBI Rep Theatre in San Diego, then came to New York City as Education Director at Theatre for a New Audience. He has also directed extensively regionally and in NYC including 12 Off-Broadway productions (six for Epic, including Hannah and Martin, Einstein's Gift, and George Bernard Shaw's Widowers' Houses in a new adaptation he co-wrote with Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr.). His teaching experience includes more than 50 educational locations, reaching more than 10,000 young people, and his work as an educator in NYC has been recognized by citations from the Municipal Arts Society and Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg.