You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate these museum exhibits and discussions exploring the contributions of Jewish-American history since Colonial times, in food and fashion, theater and art, music and literature, politics and law, and exploring the resurgence of Nazi-like hate crimes in the USA .
Everything on our list is FREE or under $20.
Whether or not you celebrate Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year, here are things to see and do in NYC before the High Holy Days.
FYI – in 2019, Rosh Hashonah begins at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 29 for two days.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
Prosecuting Hate Crimes: Charlottesville and Beyond
In this special FREE panel discussion, leading litigator Roberta Kaplan discusses her lawsuit representing those injured at the 2017 white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
Kaplan is joined by plaintiff Rev. Seth Wispelwey and Amy Spitalnick, executive director of Integrity First for America.
With an introduction by Abe Foxman, director of the Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
Moderated by CNN’s John Avlon.
- FREE, 7pm Tuesday, Sept. 10 (today) at the, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place
- Registration is recommended to guarantee admission.
America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today
This FREE program explores what it has meant to be a Jewish woman in America over more than 300 years, by weaving together the stories of remarkable individuals, from the Colonial matron Grace Nathan and her great-granddaughter, the poet Emma Lazarus, whose famous poem adorns the Statue of Liberty, to labor activist Bessie Hillman and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In this groundbreaking history, we see how they and the scores of women—the wives, mothers, activists, and workers who appear in these pages—maintained their Jewish identities as they wrote themselves into American history. Defined by a strong sense of self, a resolute commitment to making the world a better place, and diverse notions of what being a Jew means, America’s Jewish women left deep imprints on their families, communities and the nation they call home.
- FREE, Noon to 1:30pm, Monday, Sept. 23 at Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University, 617 Kent Hall
- Reservation required to ensure admission.
Book Talk: Explore what it is like to be both Latino and Jewish, and the influence of millions of Latinos in the US on culture, politics, economy and social structure, through the lens of contemporary Jewish immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean.
This is a conversation with author Laura Limonic about her new book, Kugel and Frijoles, and Eric Lach of the New Yorker exploring the diversity of Latino Jews and how they assimilate as immigrants.
- Tickets are $10 general, $7 seniors
- 6:30pm, Tuesday, Sept. 17 at the Center for Jewish History, 16 West 16th St.
Hitler’s Hostage Art
in this FREE panel discussion, Mary M. Lane, former chief European art reporter at The Wall Street Journal and author of “Hitler’s Last Hostages,” explores how Hitler’s obsession with art fueled his vision of a purified Nazi state, and the fate of the artwork that was hidden, stolen, or destroyed to “cleanse” German culture..
Also speaking is Erin L. Thompson, America’s only full-time professor of art crime, who reveal the series of events leading up to 2013, when the German government confiscated roughly 1,300 works by Henri Matisse, George Grosz, Claude Monet, and other masters from the reclusive son of one of Hitler’s primary art dealers.
- FREE, 7pm, Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place
- Reservation recommended to ensure admission.
Also at the Museum of Jewish Heritage is this a massive exhibit of more than 1,000 artifacts and photos from more than 20 countries.
More than one million innocent souls were murdered in Auschwitz, including more than 250,000 children, in a twisted government policy of racism and anti-Semitism.
Auschwitz is a testament to our cruelty to fellow humans. It is a compelling must-see and must experience, especially now when racial and religious intolerance seems to be on the rise again.
There are cases of shoes, eyeglasses, shaving brushes, pots and pans – everyday items collected from those condemned to die – along with uniforms worn by Auschwitz inmates, and gas masks worn by Auschwitz guards.
And suitcases, some of them clearly marked with the name and address of the owner, who expected to claim it at the end of a forced trip in a crowded boxcar, like the one on display at the entrance to the museum.
The Nazis lied, of course, telling Jews they were being “resettled”, to keep them calm and prevent panic. We all know now that they were being “resettled” into extermination camps like Auschwitz, where few survived.
And original barbed wire from the fencing around Auschwitz death camp – where members of my father’s family were gassed and died.
Note – This is a ticketed exhibit with timed entry. You can stay as long as you like. Expect to stay at least one hour, and bring tissues.
Anti-Semitism is a rising threat both in the USA and in Europe. This protest against anti-Semitism is scheduled in both New York City and London, on Sunday, Sept. 22, calling on politicians to do more to prevent attacks on Jews.
Name it to Fight it is Noon, Sunday, Sept. 22nd, at the little park on Broadway between Murray St. and Park Place.
A cache of jeweled rings, brooches and coins, hidden in a wall of a house in Colmar, France, tells the story of a Jewish family and community were scapegoated and put to death when the plague struck the region, in 1348-49.
Now on loan from the Musée de Cluny, Paris, the treasure underscores the prominence of the Jewish minority community in the tumultuous 14th century, and the perils it faced.
- On display through Jan. 12, 2020, The Met Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, Inwood.
- FREE admission for New York City residents.
- For New York State residents as well as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut students with an ID, admission is pay as you wish. Please be as generous as you can.
- For visitors from outside elsewhere, there is be a mandatory admission fee: $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $12 for students.
- Admission for all children under 12 is free.
- Any full-priced admissions ticket is valid for three consecutive days at The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters.
This special spiritual and physical guide to the High Holidays explores the ancient customs of throwing breadcrumbs in the water and sending goats off cliffs carrying our sins, and more modern interpretations.
What does any of this have to do with repentance or wiping the slate clean for the New Year?
The Streicker Center at Temple Emanu-el is honored to present a special program with Hadar — a full-time, gender-egalitarian yeshiva in North America — to help you discover the origins of these ancient practices and offer an opportunity to move out of the pew and put your whole body into the High Holidays.
Bring your own shofar, or use one from the temple.
Note that live goat is included in this event.
- FREE, 6:30pm on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Streicker Center, 1 East 65th St.
- Reservation required to ensure admission.
The Jerome Robbins Dance Division celebrates its 75th year at the NYPL with a FREE exhibition that charts its history and the establishment of international dance archival practices through the display of significant items from its collections.
The New York Public Library’s Dance Division has become the world’s preeminent collection of dance research materials.
It was renamed in 1999 in honor of Jerome Robbins, the award-winning dancer and choreographer, born Jerome Rabinowitz on the Lower East Side.
Among his numerous stage productions were On the Town (photo, above), Peter Pan, High Button Shoes, The King and I, The Pajama Game, Bells Are Ringing, West Side Story, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof. Robbins was a five-time Tony Award-winner and a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He received two Academy Awards, including the 1961 Academy Award for Best Director with Robert Wise for West Side Story.
In addition to housing his own vast collection of dance memorabilia, it is the leading international repository for the history of dance, with documentation that dates back to 1453 and representation for dance of all styles from around the world.
The archive includes irreplaceable film that dates back to 1897; unique designs by visual artists; choreographic notation; photographs; manuscript collections; shoes and many more examples of ephemera.
When taken together, these materials provide the opportunity to fleetingly recapture the most elusive of the performing arts.
The exhibit is open through January 25th, 2020 at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Shelby Cullom Davis Museum, Vincent Astor Gallery