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Dancers, by Dale Pearlman
Did you, unfortunately, have to miss our February KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival? We are excited to report that this celebration of Yiddish heritage was just fabulous. Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto was bursting with happy people from our community at all hours of day and evening at concerts, workshops, open mic cabaret, dance parties, sing-alongs, jams and meals. Four hundred fifty people arrived from Seattle, Portland, Eureka, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and from throughout the Bay Area!

Dale Pearlman: people laughing.jpgPhoto by Dale Pearlman.
The excitement buzzed non-stop for three days and evenings as we carried on: learning singing dancing playing making new friends shmuesing and feasting on two fabulous, packed concerts. We all had great fun and an altogether unforgettable experience. We will never stop celebrating this unique heritage! 

If you were lucky enough to take part, tell friends and family about your wonderful experience and encourage them to sign up for our e-newsletter at

Photo by Dale Pearlman.

Then, here are two other things you can do:
-- Write an article about your experience for any newsletter that will publish it (your shul? neighborhood association? chorus?)
-- Volunteer! Wherever you live, there are many fun things to do with like-minded folks. Contact us at [email protected] or 415.789.7679.

What would you like to do next?
Read Yiddish stories? Dance Yiddish dances to live or recorded music? Have a Yiddish sing-along? Play klezmer music? Let us know what most excites you. Sign up for the "KlezCalifornia Khevruse Directory" HERE so your priorities and involvement can contribute to future plans (and funding!). Your information will also add to the lists of others seeking "activity partners" (khevruse) and you can contact them directly. Already in the works are Yiddish dance parties to live music at Ashkenaz in Berkeley and a klezmer jam in the East Bay.

Multi-gen band by Lea Delson-- If you had a wonderful time, please express ysour appreciation with a tax-deductible gift to KlezCalifornia. With your financial support, we can continue to bring terrific events to the region and to your community. Yiddish lives, and we welcome gifts of any amount, whether $18 or $180 or $1,800 or $18,000! Mail your check to us at 1728 Allston Way, Berkeley 94703 or click HERE to donate using a credit card.

Photo by Lea Delson,

Klezmorim, by Ira GreenbergMore than half this Festival's financing was provided by five foundations. Without the generous support of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, the Koret, Walter & Elise Haas, and Chaim Schwartz Foundations, and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, your cost would have been doubled, and that may have discouraged many participants from coming. Foundations often favor start-ups, so your help becomes more and more critical over the years. Tell everyone you know to become a donor as well!
Photo by Ira Greenberg.

Many, many thanks to our three volunteer photographers. We invite you to take a look at their terrific Festival pictures:  Lea Delson's: HERE           Dale Pearlman's: HERE         Ira Greenberg's: HERE
All photos are © KlezCalifornia 2010.

Festival volunteers, by Dale PearlmanThe Festival was possible only with the help of dozens of other volunteers as well. We give special mention here to the Food Committee: Tziona Tassa (in red), Talia Shaham (in green), and Shoshana Shelef (all the way on the right). They organized the delicious meals, beverages and snacks, which they displayed and served flawlessly. They worked tirelessly throughout the Festival (including until midnight night after night) to make sure all ran smoothly.
Photo by Dale Pearlman.

Other volunteers in the picture, left to right, are Gil Rosoff, Laura Sheppard, Mitchell Shandling, Judy Kunofsky, Achi Ben Shalom, Reva Fabrikant, Gerry Tenney, Reyna Greenfield, Karen Bergen, Charlotte Epstein and Avram Tassa. Our thanks to these and all the other volunteers!

We are carefully reviewing the more than one hundred fifty evaluations we received. Here are some of your comments:
-- "The dance workshops were superb! More, more!" (evaluations had similar comments about other workshops as well...)
--  "I particularly enjoyed the instrumental classes - the teachers were effective, caring, and extremely knowledgeable. Couldn't get enough."
-- "All of the workshops were interesting & chock-full of information. I learned so much!"
-- "Beyond my wildest dreams! Incredible! Five stars!"

SIngers, by Lea DelsonWe are glad to announce the raffle winners: Daniel Tkach won two free tickets to any March Jewish Music Festival concert (see below for more information on the klezmer/Yiddish offerings). Jerryl Lynn Rubin won the "All-Purpose Yiddish Knowledge Cards." Thanks to everyone who turned in a Festival Evaluation and whose name was then entered into the raffle.

Photo by Lea Delson,

The February 26 Yiddish Forverts published a long Festival story on the first page of the Arts section, with a picture of fiddler Cookie Segelstein along the masthead on page 1! Click HERE to see the article. Many thanks to journalist, Festival participant and Stanford Klezmer Band member Isaac Bleaman.

Videographer Amanda Devons took five hours of videotape, from which she is going to make short videos for our website, YouTube, etc. We want to copy the tapes before we mail them to her. If you have a high-definition camera and a computer with 12 gigs of memory available, please let us know a.s.a.p. at [email protected].

Lost & Found: Found:  One tambourine. A box of rock candy, pen and notes from Harvey Varga and Sharon Bernstein's workshops. Lost: Congregation Kol Emeth bencher (little book with meal-related blessings and various songs). Email [email protected] if you lost or found!

There's so much to celebrate! Let's keep the spirit going throughout the year!

Flisik Yidishe Salon (for fluent/native speakers)

People shmoozingSunday, March 21, 2:00-4:00pm.

Join a lively group of ten to twenty fluent/native speakers for a conversation in Yiddish, this time in San Francisco. Email [email protected] for the location.

Vayl s'vet zayn nor a vokh far peysakh, veln mir efsher shmuesn vegn peysakhdike maykholim. Brengt retseptn oyb ir hot zey unter-hant. Oyb ir kent, brengt epes tsu iberbaysn (snack), ober nisht keyn oysgetrikenteh homentashn! ;-) Zey krikhn mir shoyn fin halz aroys!

If you'd like a translation of the above, ask us for the Fir Kashes in (see story below) and we'll send you both!

The next Pamelakh Yidishe Salon for intermediate speakers will be in April in Berkeley. Try it out! Email [email protected] for the date and location.
Fir Kashes (Four Questions) in YIddish for your Seders

Seder plateMonday, March 29, and Tuesday, March 30.

Far-vus iz di nakht fun Pesakh ahn-dersh fun ah-leh nekht fun ah gahnts yur?
Al-leh nekht fun a gahnts yur, essn mir kho-mayts uh-der matsah;
uh-ber di nakht fun Pesakh essn mir nuhr matsah....

Ask the Fir Kashes, the Four Questions, at your seder this year!. Contact us at [email protected] and we'll send you the words. Leave a message at 415.789.7679 and we'll sing the melody into your phone machine!
Community Events

Sunday, March 7, 1:30-2:45pm, "Wandering Tongue: Following the Journey of Yiddish." This presentation by BJE Jewish Community Library Director (and KlezCalifornia Board member) Howard Freedman is part of the Young Adult (21 - 40ish) Feast of Jewish Learning, 11:00am-5:00pm. Held at JCC San Francisco. No charge. More info:

Monday, March 8, 6:30-8:00pm, "Avanti! Forverts! - Italian & Yiddish Protest Songs." In honor of International Women's Day, this program presented by Michael Alpert, Sharon Bernstein, and Francesco Spagnolo highlights the repertoires of the Jewish Labor Bund and the beginnings of the Italian workers' movement, presenting forgotten gems such as anti-WWI songs from both fronts (Italy and Austro-Hungary) and Italo Calvino's lyrics about the Italian liberation struggle of WWII. Held at the Italian Cultural Institute, San Francisco. No charge. More info: 415.788.7142,  (Internationally-known klezmer great Michael Alpert is available this week and then again until March 22 to give private lessons or workshops in Yiddish song, language, dance, klezmer music on any instrument. More info.: [email protected] or 646.267.7987.) 

Thursday March 18, 7:30pm, Mira Leytes in Concert. Locally raised and New York-based, vocalist, accordionist, pianist and songwriter Mira Leytes sings in English, Russian, French, Hebrew and Yiddish, melding her cabaret style and klezmer roots with a glam rock sensibility. At the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. $15 members, $20 non-members. More info: 650.223.8622,

Sunday, March 21, 7:30pm, Les Yeux Noirs. This Paris-based sextet mix of klezmer, Romani (Gypsy) and rock is guaranteed to go straight to your feet! $23 members, $26 public. At the Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael. More info: 415.444.8000.

Friday March 26, 7:00-9:00pm, Daphna Rahmil and Bruce Barley play klezmer. Enjoy a full dinner with wine country cuisine or come just for the music and drinks on the patio of the Essanay Café, in the Niles District of Fremont. No cover charge. More info: 510.792.0112,

Friday, March 26, 8:00pm, Zmiros Service and Concert with Frank London and Lorin Sklamberg.  Enrich your seder with songs for Pesakh and get into the spirit of Shabbes with participatory nigunim (melodies) presented by two members of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics. At Temple Beth Sholom in San Leandro. No charge. More info: 510.357.8505.

March 25-28, 25th Jewish Music Festival March and July. More info: 510.848.0237 X119, 800.838.3006,

-- Saturday, March 27, 8:00pm, Opening Night Diaspora Redux. At Freight & Salvage, Berkeley. A brilliant septet from New York, Berlin and Buenos Aires, cradles of contemporary jazz, klezmer, tango, and avant-garde music. Created by Alan Bern of Brave Old World, with Aaron Alexander, Paul Brody, Alex Kontorovich, Cesar Lerner, Martin Lillich and Marcelo Moguilevsky. F&S: 510.644.2020.
-- Sunday, March 28, 8:00pm, Saints and Tsadiks. At Freight & Salvage, Berkeley. Through archives and old recordings, Grammy-winning vocalists Susan McKeown and Lorin Sklamberg and band have gathered Jewish and Irish songs on love, death, betrothal, betrayal and the demon drink.
-- Sunday, March 28, 12:30-4:40pm, Master Class: Improvisation in New Jewish Music with Alan Bern and members of Diaspora Redux.
-- Monday, March 29, 1:30pm, Klezmer Buenos Aires, JCC of the East Bay, Berkeley. A brilliant duo whose virtuosity on wind instruments, accordion, piano and percussion makes them sound more like an orchestra than a duo.
Coming Soon

Put these exciting events on your calendar now. More details in the April newsletter.

Thursday, April 8, 7:30pm, Heather Klein's Inextinguishable Trio: Hungry for Yiddish, BJE Jewish Community Library. San Francisco. More info: 415.567.3327 X703, KlezCalifornia is a co-sponsor.

Friday, April 23 - Monday, April 26, International Association of Yiddish Clubs, Millbrae. More info:, 650.349.6946, [email protected]. KlezCalifornia is a co-sponsor.

Sunday, May 16, 3:00-5:00pm, Simcha Dance Jam, a monthly Jewish dance workshop with Bruce Bierman, at the JCC East Bay. In this new format, Bruce will teach Jewish dances of all kinds: klezmer/Yiddish, Hasidic, Israeli, Yemenite, and more. Presented by the JCC and KlezCalfornia. More info: 415.789.7679,,
Yasher-Koyekh, Judy! 
Judy in Palo AltoWhen a small, volunteer organization successfully pulls off a major event, you can be sure there are many, many people deserving of kudos and attaboys. Usually, though, there's someone, a linchpin, a key person ... the leader ... whose dedication, commitment, capabilities, and energy make it evident that they're the keystone. Without them, the entire enterprise would not have been possible.
Judy Kunofsky, our Executive Director, is this person for KlezCalifornia, and the one who nursed The 2010 Yiddish Culture Festival from an idea with an uncertain future, to such an incredible success.  She richly deserves all the recognition and gratitude we could heap upon her.
Yasher-koyekh, Judy! 

mit hartzigeh danken (with heartfelt thanks),

The Board, Volunteers and Staff of the 2010 Yiddish Culture Festival