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"Looking Through Glass," now onstage at Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York, is a window into another world. Here the boundaries between life and death become meaningless against the forces of love and faith, and leave us with the question, What happens to an unlived life? It is the story of a young woman who is possessed by the spirit of her dead true love jus…

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My father had a way of telling a story. If I asked a question about our culture or traditions, or anything else about which he was an expert, his game face would turn on. He’d give me a hard look of disbelief, look over his shoulder for backup, shake his finger in astonishment and do me the honor of passing along his special fact. If he took his glasses off, that meant pay…

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Tradition can be toxic. A large and growing body of Jewish literature and drama attests to this inconvenient fact of modern life, from Chaim Potok's heartbreaking book "My Name is Asher Lev" to the plaintive songs of "Fiddler on the Roof." Shirl Solomon, a Philadelphia-based novelist and playwright, makes a minor contribution to this canon with "The Strudel Lady," pl…

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Nothing in the world of "Rose," a one-woman show now playing in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre, is clear-cut. Not the title character's recollections of her youth in a Ukrainian shtetl or her escape to Warsaw. Not the moral compromises facing those, like Rose, who escaped Warsaw through the sewers. And certainly not her full embrace of the Jewish tradition of cons…

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Fredonia-based actor Christina Rausa has a knack for taking on strong women. It doesn't hurt, of course, that she is one. In 1993, it was the iron-willed Hedda Gabler. In 2008, it was Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier. And now, for the second time in a decade, it's a fictional Holocaust survivor whose deep intelligence and inner strength led her from a Russian shtet…

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Anne Frank’s diary may be the greatest paradox in modern literature. According to Jewish principles of goodwill, the most ideal exchange of charity is one in which neither the giver nor the receiver know each other’s identity. Only then is the transaction unconditional and pure. We, of course, know who Anne Frank is. Her intimate expressions now belong to the world, a rea…

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Anne Frank’s diary may be the greatest paradox in modern literature. According to Jewish principles of goodwill, the most ideal exchange of charity is one in which neither the giver nor the receiver know each other’s identity. Only then is the transaction unconditional and pure. We, of course, know who Anne Frank is. Her intimate expressions now belong to the world, a rea…

You could certainly argue the case that “Bad Jews,” by the lauded young playwright, Joshua Harmon – currently one of the most performed plays in America and internationally – is, or perceived to be, offensive. Saul Golubcow, writing in Washington Jewish Week, suggested, tongue firmly in cheek, that maybe “Jews Behaving Badly” or “Not So Good” or even “Could Be Better” woul…

The Thursday Theater Roundup is a weekly list of current productions that received three or more stars from our reviewers. If you need help deciding, scroll down to the end of this post, where you'll find a quiz and flow chart designed to help you find the theater that best matches your interests. Here are this week's picks: "Joe Hill's Last Will," through Nov. 28 in …

Theater

The Thursday Theater Roundup is a weekly list of current productions that received three or more stars from our reviewers. If you need help deciding, check out the end of this post, where you'll find a quiz and flow chart designed to help you find the theater that best matches your interests. Here are this week's picks: "Daniel's Husband," through Nov. 7 in a Buffalo …

Amherst

To some, religion is a kind of art. To others, art a kind of religion. But to a tortured few who live in the uncomfortable space between the two, both are true. And each is impossible to reconcile with the other.That charged space is where we encounter Asher Lev, the protagonist of the Jewish Repertory Theatre’s somber production of “My Name is Ahser Lev,” the popular Chai…

Amherst

The dictates of religion and the mysteries of art collide in Chaim Potok’s novel “My Name is Asher Lev,” a staged adaptation of which opens Oct. 22 in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre in Getzville (2640 North Forest Road, Getzville).The Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York production, directed by Saul Elkin, stars Adam Yellen as the title character along with T…

Theater

"Harbor," through Sunday in a Buffalo United Artists production in the Alleyway Theatre. ★★★ "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," through May 17 in an Irish Classical Theatre Company production in the Andrews Theatre. ★★★½ "The Odd Couple," through May 17 in a Jewish Repertory Theatre production in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre.  ★★★ "She Loves Me," through May 2…

"Harbor," through May 9 in a Buffalo United Artists production in the Alleyway Theatre. ★★★ "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," through May 17 in an Irish Classical Theatre Company production in the Andrews Theatre. ★★★½ "The Odd Couple," through May 17 in a Jewish Repertory Theatre production in the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre.  ★★★ Also, please check out our han…

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Third time’s a charm this season at Jewish Repertory Theatre. So far, the company’s “Season of Humor” has given us comedy about Jews, by Jews, and in its last installment – Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” – a comedy that has, ostensibly, nothing to do with Jews.Simon is Jewish, and you could argue that his Jewish sensibility, comedic or otherwise, is on display here insofar …