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What an exciting year, with Yiddish dance parties, sing-alongs, salons for Yiddish speakers, dramatic readings, a Simkhe in the Sukkeh, and a master class. Wherever you live in the Bay Area, whatever your interests, KlezCalifornia wants to offer you ways to celebrate and hobn hanoe fun (enjoy) Yiddish culture. Our lively, region-wide community has been exciting and ever-expanding. We applaud your interest, participation and support, whether occasional or ongoing. 

At this time of year your financial support is critical. We know you care about what KlezCalifornia adds to the Jewish mix. Please contribute generously to keep making Yiddish culture and klezmer music available for your community's enrichment and pleasure. Gifts of any size will help. To donate on-line, click HERE. Otherwise, send your contribution to KlezCalifornia at 1728 Allston Way, Berkeley 94703. A sheynem dank (our sincere thanks), and let us know if your enthusiasm focuses on any particular kind of programming.
Upcoming KlezCalifornia Events

Yidisheh Salons - The Joys of Yiddish Conversation

Sunday, November 16, 7:30 - 9:30pm
Private home in Berkeley

Come join our first Yidisheh Salon far pamelakh reyders, i.e. our Yiddish Salon for intermediate speakers. This will be our first social event for those who speak some Yiddish, but nisht azoy ay-ay-ay. Have a good time - in Yiddish - in a conversation facilitated by Ben Stern, a native Yiddish speaker. Reply to [email protected] and we'll tell you where to come. Noshes, of course. Please include what you want to bring.

Let us know as well if you are interested in future such gatherings but just cannot make this one. If you are a fluent/native speaker, join our Yidisheh Salon far flisik reyders by emailing [email protected]. So far we've held salons in the East Bay and San Francisco. The next one (the fourth!) for flisik reyders will be Sunday, January 11, 2:00 - 4:00pm in San Francisco. With enough response from South Bay or North Bay yidish reyders, we will organize salons there as well.
MenorahsSaturday, December 6th, 8:00pm
Klezmer Conservatory Band concert

Tickets are still available - but going fast - for this concert by one of the most virtuosic klezmer bands in the world. Join your KlezCalifornia community at the concert and at the pre-concert lecture on klezmer music by Hankus Netsky at 7pm. Co-presented by KlezCalifornia and the JCC.
Tickets: 415/292-1233 or
JCCSF members $28, public $32, students $25
Sunday, December 7th , 11:00am - 4:30pm (with breaks)Hankus Netsky
Master class with Hankus Netsky

Not to be missed is this all day master class for bands, individual musicians, and singers. Whether you play klezmer or sing Yiddish songs, all the time or once in a while, or whether you just like to watch and listen, don't miss this special event as Hankus Netsky is not often in the Bay Area! Besides directing the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Hankus is also vice-president of education for the National Yiddish Book Center. Registration is limited so sign up right away! Co-presented by KlezCalifornia and the JCC.

JCC San Francisco, 2nd floor lounge
Tickets: 415/292-1233 (no web purchase)
JCCSF members $45, public $50, 3-member-and-up bands $33/member.
Additional info HERE
Book Review - Klezmer Fiddle: a how-to guide
Klezmer FiddleKlezmer Fiddle: a how-to guide, by Ilana Cravitz
Reviewed by Board member Tony Phillips

This new book fills a big gap in the klezmer music book spectrum, by devoting specific attention to teaching the stylistic details that characterize the genre. For an intermediate or better player -- such as a classical student of, say, bar/bat mitzvah age or higher, who wants either to try out some klezmer or to pursue it in depth -- this might be THE best resource available.
The book presents 16 pieces, representing each of the common types of tune (e.g., freylekh, chosidl, zhok, sher, sirba, etc.), and increasing in difficulty. A 74-minute accompanying CD has a recording of each piece by the author, a play-along track of the accompaniment parts without the lead, and four rare original source versions. A notable and unusual bonus is separate booklets for the Sekund (i.e., second or rhythm) violin part, and for Bass (featuring arrangements by Stu Brotman). It's cheap, it's the safest investment you'll make this year, and the author's website offers special early-bird deals. For the full review, click HERE.
Other Community Events of Interest
Friday, December 5th, 8:00 - 11:00pm
Bruce Bierman with Stanford International Dancers

Bruce Bierman, artistic director of the Jewish Dance Theatre of San Francisco, will lead two hours of dancing, supported by a klezmer band featuring Rom Eliaz (violin), Bill Lanphier (bass), Justin Markovitz (drums), and Naomi Zamir (accordion).

The event takes place at Flex-It Aerobics Studio, 425 W. Evelyn Avenue, Mountain View, located 3½ blocks east of Castro Street, immediately past Minton's Hardware and Lumber. $8 General, $4 Students. Call Ginny at 408/733-5529 for additional information, or see
November 6 - December 14
The Last Yiddish Poet

The Traveling Jewish Theatre (TJT) is pleased to announce their 30th Anniversary Season this year, kicking off with their award-winning production and popular revival of The Last Yiddish Poet. KlezCalifornia is a TJT Special Community Partner, and invites you to enjoy a special 15% discounted rate off the regular ticket price. For more information, please visit

Hosted by a pair of irreverent, lost Jewish comedians, the play's story follows a mythical "Last" Yiddish poet on a journey through his own past. In it, audiences will recognize all the elements that have made TJT synonymous with adventurous and powerful theatre: vivid characters leapfrogging through a landscape full of humor and deep emotion; music, giant puppets and dynamic physicality. Musical direction by local Balkan and klezmer musician Dan Cantrell.

Purchase tickets online HERE, or call: 415/292-1233, Give the discount code "TJT11" when you buy tickets,

Saturday, November 22nd, 8:00 - 10:00pm
Klezmakers at Congregation Beth David in Saratoga

It may look like a synagogue on the outside, but on this particular Saturday night, Beth David will be transformed into a lively coffeehouse. Join the 8-piece klezmer band, The Klezmakers, for a fun evening of klezmer music and dancing. Fantastic desserts and premium coffee and tea. $20 in advance/$25 at the door. RSVP to: [email protected]. Info at: Congregation Beth David.

Klezmer Band Seeks Percussionist

The klezmer band known as Heavy Shtetl views klezmer as a tool for social change and is interested in reclaiming radical Jewish history. They strive to be not just a musical group, but to embody the theatrical spirit of Yiddish culture using Borsht-Belt humor, flashy costumes and on-stage antics, as well as political and social commentary. They are seeking a percussionist, preferably snare drum, wood block, cymbal, dumbek but are open to other percussion. Contact Dorrit, [email protected].
KlezCal Heads Up
December 25th, Yiddish Dance Party

We are expecting to put on a second annual December 25th Yiddish Dance Party, following on the wildly successful one last year sponsored by several East Bay congregations and the JCC. Details will be available in a week or two. Check our web site,

Intersession Yiddish Classes at the GTU in Berkeley

Two classes will be offered at the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in January. Click on the links provided for brief course descriptions. Auditors or community participants are welcome, but fees do apply. Additional info HERE. Email Deborah at [email protected] for details.

January 6-12, Intermediate Yiddish, with Zehavit Stern
January 13 -23, The Yiddish Sentence, with Yitshok Niborski