18 things to do in Greater Cleveland in Fall 2023 and Winter 2024

Compiled by Amanda Koehn

Cleveland Jewish FilmFest

The Cleveland Jewish FilmFest, now in its 17th year, is presented by the Mandel Jewish Community Center through Oct. 22. It brings the best of international Jewish cinema to Northeast Ohio. Showing films at venues across the area, the FilmFest features 34 films from 11 countries, with a mixture of documentary, feature, comedy and short films. Television series and short films will also be streamed throughout. mandeljcc.org

‘Surface Identities’ exhibition

An untitled mixed media piece by Nitzan Mintz, left, next to works by Adi Gershon at the Roe Green Gallery at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland in Beachwood, as part of “Surface Identities: Studio Works by Israeli Street Artists,” on view through December. | Canvas photo / Courtney Byrnes Read more about the exhibition in Canvas – Jstyle’s sister arts magazine – at canvascle.com

The world is the street artist’s canvas and often unsuspecting passersby are their audience. Street art is particularly popular in Israel, where graffiti walking tours take tourists and locals to see the different forms of expressions on walls throughout many cities and neighborhoods. “Surface Identities: Studio Works by Israeli Street Artists” is on display through December at the Roe Green Gallery at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland in Beachwood. Visit during one of the two open houses each month – scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Oct. 15; 6-8 p.m. Oct. 17; 1-3 p.m. Nov. 19; 6-8 p.m. Nov. 21; 1-3 p.m. Dec. 17; and 6-8 p.m. Dec. 19 – or by appointment. To schedule an appointment or for more information, contact Debbie Yasinow at dyasinow@jewishcleveland.org. jewishcleveland.org

Cleveland Browns vs. SF

Head to Cleveland Browns Stadium downtown or turn on the TV to watch the Browns play the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 15. This game is a perfect time to watch the Browns play while the weather is still likely to be relatively warm, and they will face one of the top-tier teams in the NFL. clevelandbrowns.com

Cavs vs. Maccabi Ra’anana

Before the Cleveland Cavaliers kick off the 2023-24 season, they will take on Maccabi Ra’anana of the Israeli National League in an NBA preseason game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland on Oct. 16, in partnership with the Cleveland Jewish News, Jstyle’s sister newspaper. And, continue to cheer on the Cavs when they officially begin their season Oct. 25, on the road against the Brooklyn Nets.  nba.com/cavaliers/schedule

Chelsea Handler at Playhouse Square

Get ready to laugh when comedian Chelsea Handler comes to KeyBank State Theatre in downtown Cleveland Oct. 20. Handler, who was raised Reform and had a bat mitzvah, is a television host, New York Times best-selling author and advocate. In 2022, she released her critically acclaimed comedy special “Revolution” on Netflix. playhousesquare.org

YLD Night of Unity

Amy Rosen, Maddy Greene, Carly H. Dunno, Allison Brandon, Jillian Nataupsky and Aaron Danielpour fundraise for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Campaign for Jewish Needs during its Super Sunday Kickoff fundraiser Sept. 10. | CJN Photo / Courtney Byrnes

In light of the war in Israel, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Young Leadership Division has rebranded its Big Event to a Night of Unity. At the event at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, you can join Jewish young adults to support the Federation’s 2024 Campaign for Jewish Needs. Additional dollars raised through the Israel Emergency Relief Campaign will directly support victims of terror in Israel. The event will include dinner, drinks and a talk by Adam Teitelbaum, executive director of the Israel Action Network and the associate vice president for public affairs at Jewish Federations of North America, at Young Israel of Greater Cleveland in Beachwood. jewishcleveland.org

GroundWorks DanceTheater

Celebrating its 25th year, Cleveland-area dance company GroundWorks DanceTheater will take The Knight Stage at Akron Civic Theatre Nov. 3-4. It will premiere dance works by GroundWorks’ Artist in Residence Antonio Brown and FLOCK (Alice Klock and Florian Lochner). Plus, the company performs a revival of Founding Artistic Director David Shimotakahara’s acclaimed 2007 duet “Sweet.” groundworksdance.org

‘Gilmore Girls’ trivia

Fall means re-watching the fast-talking “Gilmore Girls” under a cozy blanket while drinking a seasonal hot drink. But if you decide to take your fandom out of the house, look no further than Gilmore Girls Trivia at The Elliot in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood on Nov. 8. Up to six players can make up a team to test their knowledge of Lorelai, Rory, the Gilmore grandparents and the rest of the Stars Hollow crew for a chance to win prizes. bit.ly/44LHeAZ

‘Nights in Venice’ at The Temple

The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood will host baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire’s “Nights in Venice” Nov. 9. The concert gives a taste of the nights of old Venice, Italy as dueling violinists perform in two Vivaldi double-concertos. It ends with a visit to the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, featuring lively dances and the Sephardic party-piece, “Seven Ways to Cook Eggplant.” apollosfire.org

‘Mean Girls’ at E.J. Thomas Hall

The classic 2004 high school comedy turned hit musical “Mean Girls” will visit E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron Nov. 13-14. As part of Broadway in Akron by Playhouse Square, the play follows new student Cady Heron as she infiltrates a trio of popular girls, led by the infamous Regina George, who quickly become frenemies. With music by Jeff Richmond, lyrics by Nell Benjamin and book by Tina Fey, the musical adaptation opened on Broadway in 2018. playhousesquare.org

CJN 18 Difference Makers

The Cleveland Jewish News will present its ninth class of CJN 18 Difference Makers, celebrating those in Northeast Ohio who are making a difference, and improving our community and world. The Difference Makers will be honored with a reception and awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Nov. 30 at Park Synagogue in Pepper Pike. As part of the celebration, the 2023 CJN Generation Award will be presented to the Wuliger family, who will be recognized for instilling the values of tikkun olam across generations. cjn.org/18dm

2024 Campaign Closing Celebration 

Join the Jewish Federation of Cleveland on Dec. 13 to celebrate what the Jewish community accomplishes together in this year’s Campaign for Jewish Needs. General campaign chair Beth Wain Brandon and others will share the results from the campaign before revealing the grand total. The recipient of the Amb. Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Young Campaigner of the Year Award will also be recognized. jewishcleveland.org


The eight-day festival of lights starts at sundown Dec. 7 and ends at nightfall Dec. 15. Set out your menorah to light, and enjoy some latkes, sufganiyot and other festive treats with loved ones. And, be sure to read the CJN for Chanukah events taking place locally. Chag sameach! cjn.org/holidays

Pickle in the Land

Grab your paddles when the inaugural Pickle in the Land pickleball tournament comes to Cleveland from Dec. 15-17. About 30 courts and more than 1,000 participants will fill the Huntington Convention Center that weekend, hosted by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Rock Entertainment Group and Topnotch Events. Planned as one of the largest pickleball events in Northeast Ohio, all skill levels are welcome with participants competing for $25,000 in total prize money. clevelandsports.org

Tu b’Shevat

The Jewish birthday of trees, Tu b’Shevat, will start at sundown on Jan. 24, 2024. Gather for a seder, eat unique fruits and educate yourself on ecological issues and how to address them. And, make an $18 donation to the Jewish National Fund to plant a tree in Israel. jnf.org

‘Funny Girl’ at Playhouse Square

Katerina McCrimmon as Fanny Brice in the national tour of “Funny Girl,” which comes to Playhouse Square Feb. 20, 2024. Photo / Evan Zimmerman

The touring musical “Funny Girl” will delight theater goers at Playhouse Square’s Connor Palace in downtown Cleveland from Feb. 20 through March 10, 2024. The Broadway musical, which first starred Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice, was revived in New York City last year. When the show comes to town this winter, soak in the iconic score and bittersweetly funny script. playhousesquare.org

Brite Winter

Welshly Arms headlines Brite Winter in 2023. Photo / Julia Brown

Brite Winter will return for its 15th Cleveland music and arts festival Feb. 24, 2024. The West Bank of the Flats fest features music, visual art and fun during the cold, snowy months, and highlights a wide range of local musicians and acts. If you go, remember the hand warmers, boots, gloves, hat and coat, and positive winter spirit. britewinter.com

‘Fashion After Dark’

A new fashion experience is on display at the Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society with “Fashion After Dark.” The exhibit simulates the atmosphere of an evening on Euclid Avenue near the end of the 19th century with immersive lighting and sound. Using the Hay-McKinney Mansion’s period rooms, vignettes of dressing, dining, entertaining and household service create the home where the fancy evening outfits are highlighted. The Hay-McKinney Mansion (1911) is the only fully restored house of its kind open to the public in Cleveland, and the exhibit is on display through June 30, 2024. wrhs.org

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