Pangs of the Messiah-Now Playing at the 14th Street Y Theater

Hello East Village Theater Fans!  

Tonight begins the New York Premiere of Pangs of the Messiah, written by noted Israeli Playwright Motti Lerner

The play is set in 2014, where Israel is on the verge of signing a peace accord.  In the West Bank settlements that Israel may soon abandon, no one is celebrating. Lerner’s tense drama focuses on the Chairman of the Council of Settlements and his family as they struggle to retain the life they have built in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah.  The play provides a rare window into the lives and psyches of the settlers from an insider’s perspective.   It is a family drama with broad political implications.   Here are some thoughts from the playwright, who is here at the Y for the opening weekend of the show.

What inspired you to first write the play? – I wrote the play after a “Jewish Fundamentalist Underground” was discovered in 1984. Members of this group murdered several Palestinians and wounded others. This group was the tip of the iceberg of a larger Jewish sector, mainly in the settlements, but also within the borders of Israel.  I thought the Israeli public should be aware of its agenda.  

The play was originally presented in 1985 at Tel Aviv.  How has the play changed over the years?  How have audiences reacted at different times and at different places?  Do you expect a different reaction in New York? The play created controversy everywhere it was presented. Some settlers have rejected the existence of fundamentalist groups in the settlements, some admitted to it. 

 What effect do you think political drama can have on global politics? Political drama cannot change the political reality in the short-term, but it can suggest new political ideas into the public discourse which in the long run can change political processes.

Pangs of the Messiah is produced by Untitled Theater Company.


One of our kids looks on as The 14th Street Y opens its doors to part of the Wall of Jerusalem part of the set of  “Pangs of the Messiah”.

Musical Motivation

Now that the colder months have set in, it gets darker earlier (and later), and everything seems to be telling us to ” sleep in…eat something warm and comforting…go home!  it’s dark already!”

This is the kind of stuff that can wreck the great work you’ve done on creating a fitness routine, particularly if your exercise time is early morning or after work. 

Now is a great time to take advantage of the fact that you LOVE music!  And, you LOVE to make playlists (you know you do, remember when you made mix tapes?)  the article below is reprinted from, and contains even more reasons to count on music during these colder, darker months. 

Read the article here, or check it out below!


Whether its Bach or Beck that’s music to your ears, listening to music while you exercise may improve your fitness, commitment, and enjoyment.

“Music enhances a workout, it makes you work harder without realizing it, and it makes the workout go by faster,” says fitness expert Petra Kolber, a spokesperson for the IDEA Health and Fitness Association. “Music takes exercise from just being exercise to being an experience.”

And music may do more than that. A study in 2005 found that listening to music while exercising boosted participants’ weight loss and helped exercisers stay consistent.

Researchers tracked a small group of overweight or obese women over 24 weeks while they dieted, exercised, and met in weekly group sessions promoting lifestyle change. Half the women were given CD players and told to listen to the music of their choice while they walked.

All participants lost weight. Weight loss and reduction in body fat were greater for those who listened to music while they walked.

These women were also more consistent with their exercise, as well as the requirements of the study overall, says researcher Christopher Capuano, PhD. The second factor, he says, is even more significant than the losses.

“Music promoted better compliance with the program,” which, in turn, resulted in weight loss, says Capuano, director of the school of psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J. “It’s not that music causes you to lose weight. It causes you to be more adherent.”

Capuano adds that music can make exercise seem easier — or at least keep you from thinking about how hard it is.

“The more unfit you are, the more difficult exercise is,” Capuano says. “Music helps break the monotony of exercise and provide a distraction from the physical exertion.”

Ken Alan, a personal trainer and the owner of Aerobeat Music, has been mixing music for group classes for two decades now.

“Whether it’s classical, rock ‘n’ roll, heavy metal or rap, if someone enjoys a particular type of music, it can be very motivating to help them get through a workout,” Alan says. “It can help the time go by faster and it can reduce the perceived intensity or exertion.”

When Tommy Woelfel guides people through a Spinning class at Crunch fitness in Los Angeles, he is very attuned to the music.

“I choose music that fits specifically to the chosen activity,” he says.

For example, the slow, steady, driving beat of “Running up That Hill,” by Placebo (a remake of an old Kate Bush song) takes participants in Woelfel’s Spinning class up an envisioned incline that they match by adjusting the resistance on their bikes.

“Working with a partner can push you,” says Woelfel. “And music can do that, too.”

Kolber relies on music for her own workouts: “If I forget my headphones,” she says, “sometimes I leave the gym. I just can’t work out.”

Here are eight tips from our experts on how to choose exercise music and use music to enhance your fitness:

1. Use technology. Surely you remember buying your first album? Or, depending on how early you discovered the joys of music, maybe it was an eight-track tape. Remember spending hours trying to make cassette music mixes for friends? Those days are over. With iTunes and other music downloading web sites, you can easily download a variety of music for your MP3 player, customize your listening system to whatever inspires you, then groove for hundreds of hours.

2. Get personal. If the person next to you is rocking out to “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall, but you’ve never ventured past your Credence Clearwater Revival days, so be it. “Music is very subjective,” says Alan. So if you have fine memories of dancing to Madonna and old-school Michael Jackson, don’t let your husband talk you into putting an old Kiss song on your playlist.

3. Get rhythm. You don’t have to play an instrument or be able to read music to be “musical,” says Alan. When exercising to music, many people automatically match the cadence of their movement to the tempo and rhythm of the song that’s playing. If you tend to do that, keep it upbeat. You may love the mellow sounds of Josh Groban, but save that for a stretch or Pilates workout, rather than trying to power walk to it.

“Play around,” advises Kolber. “Put two songs together with different tempos. Make one a little faster and one slower,” and see how it affects your pace. If you tend to match your stride to the beat, she says, it’s more important to choose rhythmic songs that will keep your cadence up.

4. Outsmart yourself. Kolber says she creates mixes with a strong, motivating tune every three or four songs, because that’s when she tends to fade. Know yourself, she advises. Acknowledge your weak points and stay one step ahead of yourself.

“Right around 25 minutes, when you’re just dying to get off, pop in some strong songs during that time to get you through,” she says.

5. Make your playlists before you hit the gym. This can be a great stall tactic: Getting to the gym, waiting for your favorite treadmill to become available, then choosing the songs you want to listen to, one by one. You won’t get the same workout if you’re continually stopping to switch playlists or find a better song. Create your music mix before leaving the house, or, when you have some spare time, create a few workout music mixes to choose from.

6. Explore music. Everywhere from iTunes to Barnes and Noble, you can listen before you buy. And single songs can be purchased for less than a dollar online. It’s a great opportunity to check out new artists or even genres of music you’re curious about, says Kolber. Just because you don’t like country doesn’t mean you won’t like Lyle Lovett. If you’ve seen Riverdance four times, download “Countess Cathleen” and see if it inspires you to push yourself that extra five minutes. Or try trading off favorites with friends. Make each other a CD of your favorites, and take that to a workout.

7. Find remixes. Popular music is overplayed on the radio, and can get stale. If you really love to play songs you can sing to, Kolber recommends downloading remixed versions of your favorites. They are usually longer and have a lot more beat behind them (which is great for a workout). On Woelfel’s most recent playlists are remixes of “Rocket Man” by Elton John and “Killer 2005” by Seal. Or try using a popular song from a different decade, says Woelfel, like “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark or Michael Jackson’s “Working Day and Night” and putting them in the same playlist with the new Christina Aguilera or Black Eyed Peas.

8. Be safe. Keep music volume at a level that will not damage your hearing. “As we’re exercising our heart, we don’t want to ruin our ears,” says Kolber.  Protect yourself, too. When walking or running outside with a headset on, keep the volume low enough to hear outside noises — like oncoming traffic or a dog charging from the yard you’re passing. “Be aware of your surroundings,” says Kolber.

Dorm Room Snacking

Here’s a fun fitness tip that no one likes to hear:  No matter how much you work out, if you over-eat, you will not lose weight. 

I hate it.  But it’s true. 

Here’s a fun blog written by someone who discovered this fact in college, where most of us get our first rude awakening with a freshman 15 or so. 

We love it.  And HATE IT!

This is from “small kitchen college”.  In NYC we can relate to the small kitchen, even if college has been over for awhile.

-14th Street Y


When I was about one week into my freshman year of college, I remember thinking that I had finally discovered the way to a Jessica Biel body. If I had a diet soda for breakfast, a salad bar lunch, a few scoops of peanut butter for protein during the day, and then only drank on the weekends, I would be seeing washboard abs in NO time.

Six months and 40 pounds later, I was staring at my muffin top and wondering what had gone wrong.

I had fallen into that trap to which so many students succumb: I had gone crazy for low-fat, no-sugar processed foods that promised to keep me slim and instead made me look somewhat like Violet Beauregarde from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” If only I knew these 5 secret foods that were making me fat:

1. Diet Soda Breakfast. A no-calorie way to keep you full all the way through your morning classes – it sounds too good to be true! That’s because it is. Sure there are no calories, but there are TONS of chemicals in there that some studies say more likely to gain weight. Also, the carbonation will make you feel incredibly bloated. Furthermore, since you had a zero calorie breakfast, you will probably be more likely to “treat yourself” to a mid-morning snack – if it’s carrot sticks and hummus, that’s fine, but let’s be honest…we all know you are going to get a gigantic cinnamon roll. Diet sodas are fine as the occasional treat or late night study session fuel, but it would behoove you to nix it as your breakfast.

2. Fat-Free, Sugar-Free Frozen Desserts. Don’t even lie. You are probably eating that fake sugar, whipped air, frozen “confection” as you read this. And, if you are like I was, you are making it your lunch. This is one of the worst things you can do for yourself – you are filling your body with so many chemicals and fake substances that your metabolism will go crazy. You might feel okay now, but chances are that when you finally let yourself have one chicken finger, your body will freak out and hold onto those calories like it’s Meryl Streep in “Sophie’s Choice.” Additionally, there is a big chance that you are loading on the gummi bears, brownie bites and hot fudge as toppings to your yogurt, resulting in way more sugar and calories than if you had just eaten a turkey burger. Like the diet soda, this is okay as a treat, but don’t make it a meal replacement.

3. Salad Bars. We all know the dangers of salad bars – you don’t load on the creamy dressings, bacon bits or croutons, so you think you are safe. But sometimes young collegiates subscribe to the Cancel Out Theory. This theory states that one plate of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes cancels out a slice of deep dish pizza with sausage and onions, accompanied by a draft beer. Just because you are eating something healthy and full of fiber doesn’t mean you now have a calorie deficit which you can fill with whatever trans-fats strike your fancy. If you put a few shreds of whole fat cheese and some rare steak on your salad, it might fulfill your fats craving without any sodium or complex carb overload. Additionally, be careful of putting too many cruciferous veggies like cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli on your salad – they can make you bloated and gassy. SO not attractive at movie night in your dorm.

4. Weekend Drinks. Just because you only drink two nights out of the week does not mean that you are going to avoid weight gain. If you are anything like…um…girls I knew (not myself of course), you will start drinking Friday night and not end till early Sunday morning. In those hours, you will have consumed multiple sugary drinks, creamy concoctions, fruity libations and enough chips, dip, English muffin pizzas and pints of ice cream to feed a small nation. This “take no prisoners” approach to the weekend is a great way to wake up Monday morning feeling like you have a pile of lead in your stomach and an entire Irish dance team jigging away in your head. Much better that you allow yourself one cocktail or glass of wine when you feel like it during the week. If you have class the next day, you are far less likely to get carried away and max out your credit card on mudslides and loaded potato skins. Everything in moderation – if you drink a moderate amount of alcohol daily, it is better than drinking a huge amount once a week. Like I said, I acquired this information from girls I know: I never actually experienced it myself…

5. Peanut Butter. Repeat after me: “A jar is not a serving size. A jar is not a serving size.” Do NOT dig a spoon in there and think that you can handle stopping. Ever. You CAN’T. Something about the creamy, nutty, salty-sweet combo of peanuts and honey sends endorphins to the brain and makes it impossible to stop eating. Follow this advice and measure your portions. And spread it on something – a celery stick, a graham cracker, a pretzel, anything at all. You might think that you are saving calories and carbs by eating the peanut butter au natural, but you are really just giving yourself another reason to dig back into that jar with your spoon (or fingers). Peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy fat, but too much of a good thing is just too much. Measuring is your friend here, and the more you measure your portions, the less often you will have to measure yourself for new pants.

 Sarah Spigelman for Small Kitchen College

Sarah Spigelman is a graduate of the University of Arizona. These days, she lives in NYC, where she writes the food blog Fritos and Foie Gras and is living proof that you can still eat pizza at 2 am, even after you graduate.


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LABA Alumni in “The Atmosphere of Memory” with John Glover

The 14th Street Y is the home of  LABA, the National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture.  Each year, LABA brings a group of talented artists into our building to study and create art together.

It’s good that we keep in touch with our LABA alumni, because we learn fabulous things. For Instance, two of our artists are collaborating on a new play, The Atmosphere of Memory, at the Labyrinth Theater Company.

Actor LABA Alumni David Deblinger, who was a LABA fellow for the past two years, will be appearing with Ellen Burstyn, Max Casella and John Glover.  The play was written by David Bar Katz, a LABA alumni from our 2009-2010 year. We’re not surprised that our LABA alumni are doing so well, but we’re impressed all the same! 

In the Play, the character Jon Stone has recently found the courage to write his masterpiece: a play about his upbringing. But when his actual mother is cast to play his mother on stage and his estranged father remembers the family history differently, Jon is forced to rewrite, not only his play, but his past as well. With twists hilarious and heartbreaking, playwright Katz (Philip Roth in Khartoum, Freak) turns Williams and O’Neill on their heads by imagining a world where the boundaries between life and art, fact and fiction, are as blurry as The Atmosphere of Memory itself.

We encourage you to see it, cheer on David and David, and come see what our LABA artists are up to this year.  You never know where you might find them next!

For more information on the show, visit

 Becky Skoff is the Manager of LABA and the Theater at the 14th Street Y

Um…What is this?

That’s what our Billing and Software Coordinator Anthony Herrera said when he came out of his office near the our 14th Street Y Theater on the 2nd floor.  That’s just how we like it around here…compelling mysterious theater mixed into our every day world!

Want to  Find out this horse’s  story?  Come see We in Silence Hear a Whisper, presented by Red Fern Theatre Company.


October 5-23, 2011

The Theater at the 14th Street Y


Fall is Here. Warm Up!

With  this  wave of cold weather on us earlier than expected, it is even more crucial to warm up before you begin any form of exercise,

Often skipped, the warmup is a most important step. Among other things,  It lubricates the joints and  get’s you limber, it oxygenates the blood  and awakes your whole system  for the task at hand.

The best warmup for any given activity is that activity done at a very low intensity or some good old calisthenics.

So remember when you hit that elliptical, Walk before you run!

14th Street Y Member Leslie Golden warms up on the Elliptical Tuesday afternoon

 Adja Diarra is The Personal Training Coordinator (and Zumba Guru) at the 14th Street Y.


Attention All Teens

Auditions for the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy


For the third year in a row, Amas Musical Theatre’s  Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy will perform their spring show at the Theater at the 14th Street Y.  Are you a teen looking for a way to perform on our stage? 

Come audition next week!


Auditions are Friday, Oct. 7,  4:00pm to 7:00pm and Saturday, Oct. 8,  10:00am to 4:30pm

Amas Musical Theatre 115 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012



For information and appointment: Call (212) 563-2565



The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy at Amas Musical Theatre is a 43-year-old multicultural pre-professional musical performance and training program named for founder Rosetta LeNoire. The Academy is designed for teenagers of all backgrounds.  They enroll up to 30 students every year in a rigorous all-day program of classes and rehearsals in singing, dancing and acting. Students have the wonderful opportunity to work with seasoned professionals in the world of theatre on Saturdays and some Sundays from October through May.


Students also have special workshops in the fall session with professionals in acting, improvisation, singing, dance, creative writing, clowning, and stagecraft. In the past few years students have been delighted by the wisdom of professional actors like Karen Olivo from Broadway musical In the Heights and Kevin Duda from Broadway’s Book of Mormon. Agents, producers and directors meet and conduct Q & A’s with our students as well.


The Academy concludes the year with a fully produced musical that runs for two-weeks at the Theater at the 14th Street Y!


If you need to schedule a different audition time due to the Jewish Holiday, please contact June at (212) 563-2565.


Click here for a video.