Those workshops offered both Sunday and Monday have a two-day curriculum, so we recommend participating both days.


Arts & Crafts

Fabric Collage Without Sewing, for All Ages / Claire Sherman / Sunday, Session 1
Come have fun cutting and playing with fabric. We will use "fusible web," an iron-on fabric glue, to make khaleh (challah) covers, matzo covers, or fabric art postcards that you can send through the mail. No sewing!
Shabbes (Sabbath) Candlesticks, for All Ages / Claire Sherman / Monday, Session 1

Come make Shabbes candlesticks from metal foil. We will explore lots of options for decorating our candlesticks: emboss lines, color them with Sharpie pens, and/or cut decorative holes through which the light can shine through.

Dance

Learn Klezmer Dances / Steve Weintraub, with music by Jim Rebhan / Sunday & Monday, Session 1

Learn the Jewish party dances traditionally done to klezmer music: freylekhs, shers, bulgars, and others. These line, circle and partner dances can enliven any simkheh.

How to Lead Klezmer Dance / Steve Weintraub, with music by Jim Rebhan / Sunday & Monday, Session 2

Ever wonder how to get people to get up and start dancing? And to follow your lead? Steve will share his years of experience and proven techniques to show you how. Participants should know the basic klezmer dance repertoire.

Awesome & Easy Yiddish Stunts & Dances / Steve Weintraub, with music by Jim Rebhan / Sunday, Session 3, first 30 minutes

The title says it all! Bottle dancing, the human roulette wheel, and more. Primarily for kids 6-12, but all welcome.

Build-a-Sher Workshop / Steve Weintraub, with music by Jim Rebhan / Monday, Session 3

Learn how a sher (the Jewish square dance) works and how to create one on the spot for any group you are dancing with.

History & Cultures

The World of Our Great-Grandparents: The Early History of Eastern European Jewry / Ken Blady / Saturday, Session 1

Jews traditionally never lived in Russia proper! Only certain useful and privileged categories of Jews were permitted to live in Moscow and St. Petersburg in Czarist times. After the early Rus (Vikings) from Sweden conquered the land they would call Russia and converted to Orthodox Christianity, they decreed that Jews were forbidden to settle in their territories. The overwhelming majority of Eastern European Jews from the Renaissance period (1400) and beyond lived in Greater Poland, which included Lithuania and the Ukraine. Only after the Russian empire annexed a huge chunk of Poland in the late 18th century were the Czars suddenly faced with a "Jewish problem." In this lecture, supplemented with DVD documentary film, we survey the history and religious life of Polish Jewry from the arrival of Ashkenazim from the Rhineland in the 10th century to the Czarist annexation and establishment of the Pale of Settlement. At the conclusion, you will understand why the term "Russian Jew" might be an oxymoron.

History of Klezmer Music / Gerry Tenney / Saturday, Session 2

Hear some of the earliest known klezmer recordings, the latest innovations, and everything in between. This is a must for those whose knowledge of klezmer is sketchy and will be sure to fill in some gaps, even for the more advanced devotee of klezmer music. Non-klezmer musicians (and non-musicians) are invited to participate and find out the roots of this great music.

Bubeh Maysez: A History of the Yiddish Language / Ken Blady / Sunday & Monday, Session 2
Born in the 11th century, Yiddish has been the living tongue of the Ashkenazi Jewish world ever since. For some, it is a language their parents or grandparents spoke when they didn't want the kinderlekh (children) to understand. For others, it is a quaint language of the distant past. But Yiddish, one of the most idiomatic of languages, is very much alive. In this informal presentation, supplemented with DVD documentary film, we will touch upon the following topics: Antecedents of the mameh lushn: From Hebrew to Aramaic to La’az; Evolution of the Yiddish language: Four phases; Tzeneh u-Reneh: Yiddish midrashim for women; Sprechen sie deutschmarish?: Moses Mendelsohn, the Maskilim, and the struggle against zhargon; A taste of the varieties of Yiddish accents: Poilish, Galitzyahnish, Litviss, Uhngarish, and Amerikanish Whitebread; Der buss smuked ah cigahr: The transmogrification of Yiddish into Yenglish; Klal Shprakh: How academics assassinate the Yiddish language; A knish, a khmalyeh, a zets in di kishkis: Yiddish gangster and boxing lingo; Khsidim and Yiddish; Yiddish, a dying language? A prognosis.

Encounters Between Yiddish and Slavic Musics / Martin Schwartz / Sunday, Session 3

Listen to a series of diverse illustrations, with a focus on early recordings (circa 1900-1930) by memorable performers, showing the complex interactions of melodies as well as lyrics between the Yiddish world and the co-territorial cultures of the former Russian Empire (Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Belorussia).

School, Love, and Death in Nineteenth Century Russian Jewry / Steven Zipperstein / Monday, Session 1
The rhythms of everyday life among nineteenth century Russian Jews: how boys and girls learned, what they studied, how they were raised, how they fell in love, and how they were buried.

Jewish Women's Revolution in the Name of Tradition: Sara Shnirer's Yiddishism  / Naomi Seidman / Monday, Session 2

We will discuss the life of Sara Shnirer, who in 1917 founded the first Eastern European schools to educate Jewish women, the Beys Yakov movement. We will read (in Yiddish and in translation) some of her writings on the importance of Yiddish. No Yiddish knowledge required. 

Lukshn and Macaroni: Ashkenazi Music in Italy/ Francesco Spagnolo / Monday, Session 3

Ashkenazi music in Italy is a venerable tradition, with important sources dating back several centuries. The title of this workshop quotes from the Kuh Bukh (Book of Cows), a Yiddish text published in Verona, Italy, in the sixteenth century.


Instrumental Music

All workshops for instrumentalists are for individuals who have some ability and experience on their instrument. In other words, while you may be a beginner in klezmer style and technique, you are not a beginner on your instrument.

Guided Klezmer Jam / Julie Egger / Saturday, Session 1

Bring your instrument! Participants will play a variety of tunes, covering the different types of dances to klezmer music, and learning tunes both by ear (the traditional way) and also with sheet music. This class is for anyone who is confident on his/her instrument.

Get Ready for Yiddish Dance Band: Klezmer Modes, Rhythms, Style, for Klezmer Beginners / Jeanette Lewicki / Sunday & Monday, Session 1

This workshop is for people who are competent on their instrument but who've never played in a klezmer dance band, or who want a solid grasp of the different dance forms. We'll survey the basic modes, rhythms and chords for a zhok, bulgar, khosidl, freylekhs, kolomeykeh and terkisheh. We'll learn mostly by ear. Keep in mind that if you can't dance to it, it ain't klezmer!

Klezmer Style/Technique for Strings /
Daniel Hoffman / Sunday & Monday, Session 1

This class will give students the basics of the Yiddish violin/fiddle style, the central voice and heart of the klezmer instrumental style. Using particular tunes and doinas, we’ll study ornaments, slides, phrasing, bowing techniques, “controlled rushing” and more. Open to all bowed string instruments (others with consent of instructor).

Klezmer Style/Technique for Everyone Else / Sheldon Brown & Richard Saunders / Sunday & Monday, Session 1

This class is for people with a good basic knowledge of the klezmer style/repertoire who want to improve their interpretive skills. For melody instruments, we’ll study ornaments, melodic improvisation, "vocal" embellishments - including the klezmer "laugh/cry" - and more. In addition to learning how to apply these techniques to melodies, you'll also learn how to use improvisation to create countermelodies. For the rhythm section (drums, bass), we’ll examine the rhythmic and harmonic essentials of klezmer music as well as some of the Eastern/Central European influences on klezmer music.

Breaking It Down -- Tools, Tips, And Techniques for Learning to Play Insanely Difficult Music / Stephen Saxon / Sunday & Monday, Session 1

The instructor will bring sample recordings and transcriptions for study in class to illustrate how you can wrap your mind around parts that are currently beyond you, and then grow into being able to play them well. Participants are welcome to bring recordings of pieces or sections of pieces that they’d like to have transcribed in class, with the results provided as a PDF file to all participants. This is not a playing class, but will focus on analysis and understanding recorded music. We'll also address practice techniques and strategies.

Kids’ Klezmer Ensemble / Julie Egger / Sunday & Monday, Session 1

Kids 6-12, if you have been playing your instrument for at least one year, come learn to play a little klezmer music! We will play, learn some new tunes, find out what a Yiddish hora is, and have lots of fun. Come to this workshop by yourself (at least one parent must be at the Festival) or with your folks. Bring your instrument. Let us know of your interest in advance at info[at]KlezCalifornia.org with subject "KIds' Klezmer Ensemble" or just come, preferably both days.

Klezmer Ensemble Alef  / Sheldon Brown* / Sunday & Monday, Session 2

Klezmer Ensemble Beys / Daniel Hoffman * / Sunday & Monday, Session 2

Klezmer Ensemble Giml / Stephen Saxon * / Sunday & Monday, Session 2

Instrumentalists who want to participate will gather in one room at the start of Sunday's Session 2 and be divided by the teachers into three mixed-level ensembles based on what would make the most sense for a reasonable band. Each participant will play a part suitable for his or her interests and abilities.
* Three other Klez-X musicians -- Alan Hall, Richard Saunders, Charlie Seavey -- will also participate in the Ensembles.

Techniques for Writing New Klezmer Music / Daniel Hoffman / Sunday & Monday, Session 3

How to expand the style using traditional elements. We’ll focus on using the basic musical elements of traditional instrumental klezmer to create new compositions, rhythms, and harmonic language. The goal is to create something new that is connected to the traditional style. There will be an exercise in which participants "compose" something together as a group.

Interpreting the Chart – How to Approach a Piece Of Written Music and Translate it Into Meaningful Sound / Stephen Saxon / Sunday & Monday, Session 3

This workshop will focus on techniques for becoming comfortable with a new piece of music and quickly under
standing it through some simple steps of analysis.The instructor will bring music for you to read and take with you, but the focus is on how to approach the new music and quickly assimilate it, not on sight-reading. These techniques are also very useful when learning music by ear.

Warm-up/Jam Room / Sunday & Monday, all day

This room will be available throughout the Festival.


Singing


Learn and Sing
Zmires / Sharon Bernstein / Saturday, Session 2

Zmires are poems sung during Shabbes (Sabbath) meals around the world celebrating the peace, rest, song, and food of the seventh day. Learn and sing some of the fun, lyrical, and table-banging melodies for these exquisite texts.

Songs of Mordkhe Gebirtig / Sharon Bernstein / Sunday, Session 1

Mordkhe Gebirtig (1877-1942), perhaps the most beloved and popular of the Yiddish songwriters, wrote songs in a folk style that described, celebrated, and exaggerated the details, quirks, interactions, and minutiae that pepper and color our daily lives. His work provides a telescopic lens through which we can look and viscerally experience the world he lived in. Come learn some of his songs, and live for a short while in his world.

Ballads of Itzik Manger / Sharon Bernstein / Monday, Session 1

Itzik Manger (1901-1969), the wild-looking, hard-drinking bard, penned edgy, poignant, vivid, and humorous poems and ballads, many based on traditional Yiddish folk tradition and sacred Jewish texts. We will take a look at a wide array of his work and learn to sing some of his ballads. 

Russian Yiddish Songs from A to B: An-Sky and Beregovski / Jeanette Lewicki / Sunday & Monday, Session 2

We will survey Yiddish songs collected by S. An-Sky in the Russian Empire and by Moyshe Beregovski in the Soviet territories. We'll listen to, read and sing songs about workers, lovers, rebels, God, and potatoes. We'll also consider the often inspiring, sometimes crazy lives of these pioneering Yiddish song collectors. Each day will cover different songs.

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves: Yiddish Underworld Songs / Jeanette Lewicki / Sunday & Monday, Session 3

Do you know about the Yiddish underworld of gangsters, drifters, grifters, and girls gone wrong? We'll focus on songs by or about them. Each day will cover different songs.

Master Classes for Singers / Sharon Bernstein / Sunday, Session 2 & Monday, Session 3

Individuals or groups of singers may present a piece for comments and suggestions. If you would like to participate, please let us know at info[at]klezcalifornia.org with subject “Master Class for Singers” and tell us who would like to perform and which day. Or come on Sunday to sign up for either day. Listeners welcome!

Yiddish Language & Literature

Yiddish in My Family / Ahuva Jolish, Emanuel Jolish, Daniel Tkach, moderated by Harvey Varga Sunday, Session 1

For many contemporary Jews, the story of their lack of Yiddish is, “My parents (or grandparents) spoke Yiddish but didn’t teach it to me,” By contrast, each of our panel member grew up speaking Yiddish at home in Paris, Israel, Buenos Aires, and Brooklyn and will speak about learning other languages, the reactions of the "outside world," and more. There will be plenty of time for audience participation.

The Neo-Khasidic Fables of Y.L. Peretz / Yael Chaver Sunday, Session 2

We will read one or two stories by Y. L. Peretz, who rewrote the traditional Khasidic tale for modern readers, and discuss why these texts are so compelling today. Texts will be available in Yiddish and English translation.

Jewish Women's Revolution in the Name of Tradition: Sara Shnirer's Yiddishism / Naomi Seidman / Monday, Session 2

We will discuss the life of Sara Shnirer, who in 1917 founded the first Eastern European schools to educate Jewish women, the Beys Yakov movement. We will read (in Yiddish and in translation) some of her writings on the importance of Yiddish. No Yiddish knowledge required.

Bubeh Maysez: A History of the Yiddish Language / Ken Blady / Sunday & Monday, Session 2

Born in the 11th century, Yiddish has been the living tongue of the Ashkenazi Jewish world ever since. For some, it is a language their parents or grandparents spoke when they didn't want the kinderlekh (children) to understand. For others, it is a quaint language of the distant past. But Yiddish, one of the most idiomatic of languages, is very much alive. In this informal presentation, supplemented with DVD documentary film, we will touch upon the following topics: Antecedents of the mameh lushn: From Hebrew to Aramaic to La’az; Evolution of the Yiddish language: Four phases; Tzeneh u-Reneh: Yiddish midrashim for women; Sprechen sie deutschmarish?: Moses Mendelsohn, the Maskilim, and the struggle against zhargon; A taste of the varieties of Yiddish accents: Poilish, Galitzyahnish, Litviss, Uhngarish, and Amerikanish Whitebread; Der buss smuked ah cigahr: The transmogrification of Yiddish into Yenglish; Klal Shprakh: How academics assassinate the Yiddish language; A knish, a khmalyeh, a zets in di kishkis: Yiddish gangster and boxing lingo; Khsidim and Yiddish; Yiddish, a dying language? A prognosis.

100 Yiddish Words in the Average New York Puerto Rican Vocabulary (and if you don't know them you should be ashamed of yourself!) / Harvey Varga / Sunday, Session 3

Perhaps the title of this workshop says quite enough! Not for the children.

Yiddish Through its Proverbs / Jon Levitow Monday, Session 3

Among the riches of Yiddish is its store of proverbs, curses, and blessings. Fortunately, many can be understood at least in part by English speakers because of the similarities between the two languages. Maybe that’s why we still hear people say at birthday parties, “biz hundert tzvantzik yor” (may you live… to a hundred and twenty), or “zoln mir trinken af simkhes” (may we live to drink at future celebrations). If you can follow anything in these expressions, there’s a saying for that too: “Az me kratzt a Yidn, flist Yidish aroys!” (When you scratch a Jew, Yiddish flows out!). Or how about: “Dos hartz zet beser fun dem oyg” (the heart sees better than the eye)? Why are elements in these sentences strangely familiar to English speakers? This workshop will provide a basic introduction to the Yiddish language by means of its proverbs. We will assume no prior background and see how much can be learned about Yiddish language and culture from such sayings.


Youth Program

The Festival will offer a Youth Program for ages 6 - 12 on Sunday & Monday, Sessions 1, 2, and 3. Children may participate all or some of the time, but will get maximum benefit -- and friendships -- by coming the entire time. Any child in the program must have a parent or guardian at the JCC San Francisco at all times. For details, see Youth Program.