Newsletter‎ > ‎



With the High Holidays come and gone and Sukes (Succoth) coming on, it must be the fall. Come celebrate and build your cultural skills at our fall events.  If you speak (at least some) Yiddish, come to one of our new Yidishe Salons. Most of our recent events have been held in the East Bay or San Francisco, but this year we hope to have new events in the South and North Bay. If that's where you live, let us know what events would excite you, and tell us how you can help.  Send an email to [email protected].
Upcoming KlezCalifornia Events
SuccahThursday, October 16, 12:30 -- 2:00pm
Music for Sukes
at the GTU, in Berkeley

Join Achi Ben Shalom in the suke (sukkah) of the Graduate Theological Union's Center for Jewish Studies, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley. Dessert and beverages provided. Bring your lunch, and learn, sing along with, or listen to some Yiddish holiday songs. No charge.

Sunday, October 19, 1:00 -- 4:00pm:
Simkhe  in the Suke
, JCC of East Bay, Berkeley

Make beautiful paper suke decorations, enjoy telling and hearing jokes, storytelling, and live klezmer music, and learn what Sukes was like in Ashkenaz (the Yiddish-speaking part of Europe). Put skhakh (suke roof covering, e.g. green branches) on the suke roof and decorate the suke with fruit and paper decorations. For an extra mitzve, prepare food gifts for community members in need. Come help us celebrate -- and bring friends!  Nosheray (snacks) will be available for sale. This promises to be a wonderful event for people from two to 102 years old.  JCC East Bay members $10, general $18, children $5
Yidishe Salons - The Joys of Yiddish Conversation

KlezCalifornia has kicked off a program for the community of people who already speak (at least some) Yiddish, but have found few others in the Bay Area with whom to share it.  Yidishe Salons will provide relatively small groups with the opportunity to meet socially, in the convivial atmosphere of private homes around the Bay Area, to exercise their Yiddish with others at similar levels of fluency.  The objective is simply to have a good time, but to do so in Yiddish!


Sunday, November 2, 2:00-4:00pm, in Oakland
Yidishe Salon - far flisik (for fluent) reders

This will be the third gathering for fluent and/or native Yiddish speakers.  The first two were well-attended (about 12-15) by a diverse group of interesting people with an assortment of stories about how they came to be among the "hidden Yiddish speakers" in the Bay Area.  The program on November 2nd will focus on Yiddish jokes and humor.  Everyone is asked to bring their favorite to tell, in Yiddish!  (If the available talent is underwhelming, there will be some audios/videos used to supplement.)  Of course, with the election coming just two days later, time for arguments will also be set aside.  To attend, send an email to [email protected].  Please include your phone number.  Address will be provided to those who RSVP.

Sunday, November 16, 7:30 - 9:30pm, in Berkeley
Yidishe Salon - far pamelakh (for slower) reders

This will be the first gathering for Yiddish speakers whose command of the language is "nisht-azoy-ay-ay-ay."  The gathering will take place in a private Berkeley home and two native speakers will facilitate this Yiddish conversation.  To express your interest, send an email to [email protected].  Address will be provided to those who RSVP.
Note: If you are not yet speaking Yiddish and would like to take a class, sign up for one of this fall's offerings at JCC San Francisco, or Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto.
KlezCalifornia News
Update on Residential Event:  Plans for a possible residential event on Presidents' Weekend 2010 are moving along. We've visited Camp Newman once and are going back for a second look this coming weekend. Discussions and negotiations are under way and we hope to have exciting news in the next newsletter. Many thanks to the almost one hundred of you who responded to our survey and sent us your opinions and preferences.

Last month we profiled two of KlezCalifornia's Board members.  Here are two more:

Harvey Varga (Oakland), furniture designer, cabinetmaker, and licensed contractor was born in New York City to Soviet refugees in the wake of WW2. He has taught Yiddish in the Bay Area since 1976 and been an instructor at the JCCSF, Lehrhaus Judaica and Stanford University, as well as New York's KlezKamp, KlezKamp West and KlezCalifornia. In addition, he has translated stories of Sholom Aleichem for the family trust, as well as Bessie Thomashevsky's autobiography for her grandson, Michael Tilson Thomas. Yiddish is his first language, and he has been known to curse in Yiddish when coming out of anesthesia.

Robin Braverman (Walnut Creek) holds an undergraduate degree in education and an MBA with a concentration in non-profit accounting and taxation. She taught at the Tufts University Graduate School of Urban and Environmental Policy for three years and founded a program in Waltham, Massachusetts that serves domestic violence victims. For the last 23 years, Robin has been a consultant on both coasts. Since moving to California, she has extended her commitment to Jewish life. As Chair of the Adult Education Committee at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, Robin put Yiddish music on the menu of offerings. She coordinates Berkeley's Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, a major community event, while pursuing a Masters in Jewish Studies at the Center for Jewish Studies of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
Other Local Events of Interest
Sonoma FestivalSunday, October 19, 2008, 1:00pm -- 6:00pm
First Annual Sonoma Jewish Music and Art Festival

Free afternoon performance by Red Hot Chachkas, plus other Jewish artists, musicians, and noshes in a celebration of the Jewish creative cultural tradition at this free outdoor festival. Concert in the evening for a fee. Congregation Shir Shalom, Sonoma. Call 707-935-3636 or email [email protected]

Sunday, October 26, 6:00 -- 9:00pm
The Klezmakers at Yaya Cuisine

Come for dinner, stay for music and dancing.  When you combine Middle Eastern cuisine with live klezmer music, you're in for a crazy good time! Come see (and hear and taste) for yourself. Enjoy your fill of phyllo dough, then dance it off!  No cover charge. For reservations, 650/344-2860.  YAYA Cuisine & Bar, 1108 Burlingame Ave., 94010.  or


Sunday, October 19, 8:00pm door
Paper PromisesThe Jewish Dance Theatre presents 'Paper Promises'

Featuring visionary performance artist Melusina Gomez and experimental klezmer musician David Rosenfeld in an evening of danced thoughts, quiet reflections and wild wishes. Inspired by the letters, poetry and stories of women through six centuries, including , 'Ariake-Poems of Love and Longing', 'The Girl Who Loved the Wind,' and the haunting Eastern European Jewish tale, 'The Corpse Bride.'

JCC of the East Bay 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley, CA
JCCEB members $15, general $20.00.
Info: 800-836-3006. Tickets:
KlezCal Heads Up
Hankus NetskySaturday, December 6, 8:00pm
Klezmer Conservatory Band concert

Consistently lauded among the world's most virtuosic klezmorim, Klezmer Conservatory Band dishes up a saucy, foot-stomping mix of Yiddish music. Led by the legendary Hankus Netsky, their richly expressive big-band sound is a favorite of audiences of all tastes.  Presented by JCC San Francisco in association with KlezCalifornia and the Jewish Music Festival.  The concert is preceded at 7:00pm by a klezmer music talk by Hankus Netsky.

Tickets: 415/292-1233 or here
JCCSF members $28, public $32, students $25.
Sunday, Dec. 7, 11:00am -- 4:30pm (with breaks)
Master Class with Hankus Netsky

KlezCalifornia and JCC of San Francisco present a Master Class for klezmer instrumentalists and Yiddish vocalists, individually and in amateur or professional bands. Others are welcome to observe this phenomenal teacher polishing up a personal or group sound, given particular instruments, songs, and styles. Participants will have the opportunity to perform and get feedback from Hankus Netsky. Feedback for bands will address arrangements, repertoire, overall presentation, and the fine points of klezmer performance style.  Feedback for singers will address repertoire, pronunciation, interpretation, and style.

JCC San Francisco, 2nd floor lounge, room 223
Tickets:  415/292-1233 (no web purchases)
JCCSF members $45, public $50, 3-member-and-up bands $33 per member.
See workshop flyer at here

This workshop has limited registration, so we encourage you buy tickets now!