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Dear ____,

Pesakh is just around the corner. We hope someone at your seder (perhaps you?) will ask the Fir Kashes, the Four Questions, in Yiddish. Here is one version, sung to the g'mora nign:

Far-vus iz di nakht fun Pesakh ahn-dersh fun ah-leh nekht fun ah gahnts yur?Seder Plate

Al-leh nekht fun a gahnts yur, essn mir kho-mayts uh-der matsah;
uh-ber di nakht fun Pesakh essn mir nuhr matsah.
Al-leh nekht fun a gahnts yur, essn mir ah-ler-lay grinsn;
uh-ber di nakht fun Pesakh essn mir bit-ereh grinsn.
Al-leh nekht fun a gahnts yur, tunkn mir nit ain ah-fileh ayn mul;
uh-ber di nakht fun Pesakh tunkn mir ain tsvay mul.

Al-leh nekht fun a gahnts yur, essn mir sai zitsn-dik un sai un-ge-shpart;
 uh-ber di nakht fun Pesakh essn mir nur un-ge-shpart.
(Adapted from Haggadah For a Secular Celebration of Pesach, Fifth Edition, ©1993, Produced by the Sholom Aleichem Club of Philadelphia)

There are many versions of the Fir Kashes and many ways to transliterate Yiddish into English. We apologize if our Fir Kashes are different from yours.  To see a different version within an interesting article on the history of Yiddish hagodes, click HERE and then click on the PDF link to open it. 

We hope saying the Fir Kashes will inspire you to learn more Yiddish. See our "Gele Pages" (at for information on four Yiddish language classes, twelve Yiddish conversation groups, and four places to study Yiddish literature. The next KlezCalifornia Yidishe Salons are on April 19 (pamelakh for intermediate speakers; email [email protected] for more information) and May 17 (flisik for fluent speakers; email [email protected]).

Dances & Songs of Remembrance, Resistance, and Hope

0901 Feast - Dancing 1Sunday, April 19, 5:00pm. The Ruth Botchan Dance Company, with guitarist-singer Betty Albert-Schreck, will perform an excerpt from "Mothersongs" commemorating the Holocaust and Jewish resistance, danced to songs by Mordecai Gebirtig, Leah Rudnitsky, and Hirsh Glik. San Diego-based klezmer artists Yale Strom and Elizabeth Schwartz of the band Hot Pstromi will sing songs of despair and hope, as well as new Yiddish poetry set to original tunes. The event, at Western Sky Studio in Berkeley, is sponsored by the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California, KlezCalifornia and Tri-Valley Cultural Jews. Limited seating. Tickets $15-$25, sliding scale. A reception will follow. For more information, click HERE.
Film, Tevye
TevyeTuesday, April 21, 7:00pm. The Jewish Community Library in San Francisco presents the 1939 film, Tevye, in Yiddish with English subtitles. Maurice Schwartz produced, directed, and starred in this loose adaptation of two stories from Sholem Aleichem's Tevye the Dairyman cycle. Tevye and his family are plunged into conflict and despair when they learn that daughter Chava has fallen in love with a freethinking gentile from their village. Discussion follows screening. 76 minutes. No charge. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia and Workmen's Circle of Northern California. For more information, click HERE and scroll down.
Arguing with the Storm: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers

Women WritersThursday, April 23, 7:30pm
A reading and talk by editor Rhea Tregebov

"Arguing with the Storm" began as a project of the Winnipeg Women's Yiddish Reading Circle, a group of seniors who translated, discussed, and selected these stories and narratives, many by women whose writing was not previously available in English.

This event is presented by (and at) the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco and co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia, Workmen's Circle of Northern California, and the National Yiddish Book Center. No charge. For more information, click HERE and scroll down.

 Mad Hot Klezmer Dance Party

0901 Feast - Dancing 1Sunday, April 26, 7:00-9:30pm
at JCC of the East Bay, Berkeley

KlezCalifornia and JCC of the East Bay present the Jewish Dance Theatre's Freylekh! Join us for a dance lesson with Yiddish dance master Bruce Bierman, 7:00-8:00pm, free as part of Bay Area National Dance Week. Live klezmer music and dance party, 8:00-9:30pm, with members of the band Kugelplex, some of the Bay Area's best klezmer musicians. $10-$20 adults (sliding scale), $5 kids. Come to dance or just to watch and listen. Where else can you hear live klezmer music for such a price? Bring your friends, too. For more information, click HERE or call 510/848-0237. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Music Festival and Lehrhaus Judaica. The dance party after this one will be Sunday, May 31. Put in on your calendar now!
Community Events

Sunday, April 26, 5:00pm, Partisans Armed With Music: Songs of Holocaust. Musician/singer/guitarist/storyteller Daniel Lev sings spiritual and military resistance songs of Jews and non-Jews, those who survived and those who didn't, partisans and their inspired children, in Yiddish, Polish, German, and English. English translations will be provided along with stories and a brief history of that time. Congregation Ner Tamid, San Francisco. Suggested donation $10. For more information, click HERE.

Sunday, April 19th 2:00-3:00pm. A free performance of "The Fools of Chelm," a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, directed as a radio play by San Francisco State Theatre Professor Joel Schechter, with live klezmer music by Rob Reich. This fable about a Yiddish town of fools is suitable for all ages except very young children. At the San Francisco State Studio Theatre in the Creative Arts Building (Holloway, between 19th Ave. and Tapia). No charge.

April 23 - September 7, Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, 1919-1949. This exhibit, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, explores the extraordinary artwork created for Russian Jewish theater productions in the 1920s and 1930s, when innovative visual artists joined forces with avant-garde playwrights, actors and theatrical producers. Chagall's murals will be shown as they were originally arranged in the theater. For more information, click HERE.

Sunday, May 3, 3:00pm. "The Fools of Chelm," as above, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. Free with museum admission.
KlezCal Heads Up
KlezCalifornia is co-sponsoring a plethora of events in May at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco, all free of charge. Put them on your calendar now!

Tuesday, May 5, 7:30pm, Yiddish Literature: From the Kitchen to the Avant-Garde, with Yael Chaver.

Thursday, May 7, 7:30pm, The An-sky Expedition: Exploring Yiddish Song in Russia, with singer/ accordionist Jeanette Lewicki.

Tuesday, May 12, 7:30pm, Klezmer Shul: A Work in Progress with internationally known composer/performer Stuart Brotman, a member of Veretski Pass and other klezmer groups.

Wednesday, May 13, 7:30pm, Station Identification: A Cultural History of Yiddish Radio in the United States, with Ari Y. Kelman.

Tuesday, May 19, 7:00pm, The film "Uncle Moses," one of the first Yiddish talkies.