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Dear ____,

FestivalCardFrontThe KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival at Palo Alto's Congregation Etz Chayim, Presidents' Day Weekend, February 12-15, is only five weeks away!

Check out the program at How can you resist? Register now! Join folks from Seattle, Arcata, Sacramento and Los Angeles in a terrific West Coast simkhe! Bring friends and family!

With 60 workshops, two concerts, and three dance parties, the Festival has something for everyone. Here are some highlights:

· Saturday evening faculty concert with internationally-known klezmer greats Frank London, Christian Dawid, Joshua Horowitz, Cookie Segelstein, Stu Brotman, and many Bay Area klezmer stars and YIddish singers, followed by a rollicking Yiddish dance party led by Steve Weintraub.

· Sunday evening premiere of The Klezmer Shul, which combines liturgy with jazz, avant-garde, classical, klezmer and folk elements to inspire a feeling of prayer -- without a single word. The piece was composed by the Veretski Pass trio (Stu Brotman, Joshua Horowitz, Cookie Segelstein) through a grant from the Bay Area's Creative Work Fund. The concert will be followed by a discussion with the musicians and then another great Yiddish dance party with Steve Weintraub. His bottle dance will change your life!

· 110 Yiddish Words the Average New York Goy Knows and You Should Be Ashamed If You Don't, with inimitable Yiddish teacher Harvey Varga.

· Klezmer/Balkan/Roma Connections, with Christian Dawid and Peter Jaques: Learn about the interaction among the musics and musicians of these cultures.

· Three workshops (with Stephen Saxon, Peter Jaques and Julie Egger) for those who play an instrument but are beginners in klezmer. All instruments welcome!

· Yiddish love songs for Valentine's Day with Sharon Bernstein, and Yiddish Songs of the Jewish Labor Movement, with Mark Levy.

· Master classes for instrumentalists (solo and groups) with Christian Dawid, Frank London, Cookie Segelstein, Stu Brotman; and for singers with Eleanor Reissa. Sign up now! Great to watch, too!

· FREE Saturday afternoon workshops: Yiddish in the Hasidic World (with Zachary Baker and Ken Blady), Zmires, Shabbes songs (Sharon Bernstein), History of Yiddish Song (Henry Carrey), and two klezmer jams, for beginners and for more advanced players. OK, we do ask for a donation, but you can pay after Shabbes.

An adult pass for the Festival weekend (Friday evening through Monday evening) is $170 if purchased in advance, $180 at the door. Lower prices for teens, youth, and members of Congregation Etz Chayim. Tickets are also available per workshop ($25) and for the evening concerts/dance parties ($10-$20). Scholarships and work-study positions -- don't let price be an obstacle if you want to come. Special hotel rates at Courtyard by Marriott in nearby Los Altos. Please register now at!

Yidishe Salon far Flisik Reders

People shmoozingSunday, January 17, 2:00-4:00pm, San Francisco.

Become part of KlezCalifornia's Yiddish conversation group for fluent (flisik) and native speakers! Usually about fifteen people attend to shmooze and nosh, sometimes on a specific subject.

Send your name, address, phone number to [email protected] for the location, this time a private home in San Francisco.

Yiddish Dance Workshop: A Tsimmis of Cultures

WanderlustSaturday, January 30, 7:00-10:00pm, Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos.

Come whirl, clap and stomp to the joys of Yiddish dance as part of the Feast of Jewish Learning/Peninsula Night of Jewish Unity, whose theme this year is "Wanderlust."


Learn the steps, stylings, and gestures of klezmer dance and discover the many cultural influences - from Eastern Europe to Argentina, from Turkey to the U.S. - that have made up this nearly-lost art form! The Yiddish Dance Workshop is presented by KlezCalifornia with live music by the Klezmakers.  Bruce Bierman teaches and leads the dancing, with Gilbert Melendez. No experience or partners needed.


The evening is presented by the Bureau of Jewish Education in partnership with the Oshman Family JCC, KlezCalifornia, and numerous other co-sponsors. Join your friends for dozens of classes and workshops on Jewish thought, text, philosophy, spirituality, culture, life and love, taught by rabbis, scholars, artists, and educators from all walks of Jewish life. Open to all adults bar mitzvah age and older For details, contact Eileen Soffer at [email protected]. No charge.

Theodore Bikel in "Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears"

Theodore BikeSaturday February 6, 8:00pm and
Sunday February 7, 1:00pm, JCC San Francisco.

The great Theodore Bikel brings Sholom Aleichem and his colorful characters to life as he magically melds long-gone lives and times with matters that tug at our heartstrings even today. Singing in English and Yiddish, Bikel delivers rare insight into the life and literary works of this fascinating storyteller. JCC members $60, public $65, or 415.292.1278.

Say hello to concert community partner KlezCalifornia at our table in the lobby at both performances. Pick up some Festival promotional cards for your neighbors, too.

Community Events

Saturday, January 9, 7:00-10:30pm, Netivot Shalom Music Festival. Ten groups performing klezmer, jazz, Yiddish, Middle Eastern, acoustic folk, cantorial, choir and Broadway music, including the Netivot Shalom Klez - Jazz Band, Yiddish singer (and khazn) Sharon Bernstein, and the debut of the Nagila Klezmer Ensemble. Light dinner, desserts, and sangria/beer for purchase. Admission: $15 adults, $5 youth/teens. No advance ticket sales. Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Avenue, Berkeley. More info: [email protected].

Sunday, January 31, 10:30am, "Yiddish and Yiddish Literature in Pre-statehood Palestine." At Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley. Dr. Yael Chaver will speak about the tension between Yiddish and Hebrew during the pre-state period and some of the Yiddish literature written in Palestine at the time. No charge.

Sunday, February 7, 7:00pm, Zalmen Mlotek in Concert at Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto.This internationally recognized concert pianist and authority on Yiddish music will perform with Sephardic singer Daniella Rabbani. $25 members, $30 non-members, $20 seniors and students in advance. $30 members, $35 non-members at the door., 650.223.8622.
Coming Soon

Put these exciting events on your calendar now:

February 8, 10, 14, Premieres of The Klezmer Shul. Music touches our soul and moves us to smile, cry, dance and pray. The Klezmer Shul, described in the lead story, above, will have three Bay Area premieres, all at 8:00pm and followed by discussion with the artists:
   · Monday, Feb. 8, at Temple Israel in Alameda, ($15 - $18 suggested donation; reservations:
        [email protected]; 510.522.9355),
   · Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley ($15 suggested donation;
        tickets only at the door;; 510.549-9447).
   · Sunday, Feb. 14, at Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto (tickets $10-$20 at,
        mail check to KlezCalifornia at 1728 Allston Way, or pay at the door. Concert ticket is  included in
        weekend Yiddish Culture Festival pass). This premiere will by followed by a traditional klezmer
        dance party.

February 12-15. KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival. See the lead story, above. If you're going to attend one Yiddish/klezmer event in 2010, make this Festival the one! Details at


February 21, 3:00pm, Eleanor Reissa in Love and Longing in Yiddish, Congregation Sinai, San Jose, or call 408.264.8542. General admission $36, seniors/juniors $20, reserved seats $100 patrons $250. Come on a journey from shtetl tunes to cosmopolitan Yiddish theatre hits, with music and story-telling.


February 21, 3:00-5:00pm, Simcha Jam, a new monthly Jewish dance workshop with Bruce Bierman, JCC East Bay, $5-$15, sliding scale. Presented by the JCC and KlezCalifornia. 

February 21, 7:00-9:00pm, Pamelakh Yidishe Salon. Email [email protected] for information on this salon for intermediate speakers of Yiddish.

We appreciate your tax-deductible gift in support of KlezCalifornia's work. Help us keep building a warm, open, vibrant community to enjoy Yiddish culture! If you don't support us, who will?