Newsletter‎ > ‎



MenorahsWhat a line-up of activities in December! The listings below include TWELVE klezmer events in the first four days of Hanukkah and EIGHT events the rest of the month! We wish all KlezCalifornia members a freylekhn, zisn khanikeh, a joyous, sweet Hanukkah!

Khanikeh gelt! Celebrate Khanikeh with a donation to KlezCalifornia of any amount. We will post your 100-word (max) message on our Honor Wall at for a year in memory or in honor of anyone you choose, or about your Yiddish heritage. See new Honor Wall postings below. If your gift is at least $54, tell us if you'd like the DVD, Yiddish Theater: A Love Story, a $25 retail value. Contribute by sending a check for KlezCalifornia to the address at the bottom of this newsletter, or donate by credit card HERE

An important element of KlezCalifornia's upcoming Festival will be a klezmer/Yiddish rock-and-roll dance at Sonoma State Hillel. This will be a wonderful opportunity to spread our message to a very active Hillel group, which also includes students from Santa Rosa Community College. The band will be a multi-generational mix of klezmer and rock-and-roll musicians, led by KlezCalifornia President Gerry Tenney. Check out Gerry singing S'Geven A Shvereh Togedikeh Nakht (A Hard Day's Night) at
. This event is a pilot for what we can do at other Hillels. Won't you make a special contribution to help make this happen? Send a check for KlezCalifornia to the address at the bottom of this newsletter, or donate by credit card HERE
. Indicate "Sonoma State Hillel event" in the comment line.

December 31 has no significance in the Jewish calendar, but since many other publications suggest (secular) New Year's resolutions, we will do so as well:

-- Learn some Yiddish or practice what you know.

-- Buy one klezmer CD, one CD of Yiddish songs, and one book about Yiddish culture.

-- Put KlezCalifornia's Yiddish Culture Festival on your new calendar for Sunday, February 27, noon-5:30pm, in Santa Rosa, in conjunction with JCC Sonoma County's annual Simcha Sunday. More information is HERE
, and we will put all the details in the January newsletter. Senior programs often arrange field trips, so if you don't live in Sonoma County, ask your local JCC if they can rent a bus for people of all ages! Alternatively, arrange to carpool with friends. 

 -- See Khanikeh gelt, above!  

NOTE: In this newsletter, we spell the December holiday according to each event presenter's preference. Don't kvetch to us!

Long-term calendar of Yiddish/klezmer events, classes and jams:

If you're a band looking for a musician or vice versa, check out our listings below and
In This Issue
Hanukkah Dance Blowout!, Thursday, Dec. 2, Berkeley
Klezmer Shabbat, Friday, Dec. 3, San Francisco
Hanukkah Community Celebration, Saturday, Dec. 4, Berkeley
Klezmer Chanukah Blowout, Saturday, Dec. 4, Berkeley
History of Yiddish Schools in the U.S., Sunday, Dec.12, San Francisco
Pamelakh Yidisher Salon, Sunday, Dec. 12, San Mateo
Hungry for Yiddish?, Sunday, Dec. 10, San Francisco
Community Events
Fun Stuff on the Web
Honor Wall
Wanted! Musicians & Artists
Coming in January
Hanukkah Dance Blowout! 

Silouettes of dancersThursday, December 2, 8:00pm, Hanukkah Dance Blowout!, Berkeley.

Enjoy music by Kugelplex (hot shtetl rock klezmer), Lior Ben-Hur (Hebrew reggae roots & soul), and Adama (classic Israeli folk dance). Klezmer dancing with Bruce Bierman and Israeli folk dancing with Allan King. Fit the moves of the ancestors to the grooves of your own imagination!. At Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, Berkeley. Admission: $12. More

Klezmer Shabbat at Sha'ar Zahav

Friday, December 3, 8:15-10:15pm, Klezmer Shabbat, San Francisco. 

Join with Temple Sha'ar Zahav on Shabbat Hanukkah to light candles, dance, sing familiar synagogue tunes melded with klezmer rhythms and melodies, and -- of course --  eat and drink! 

Sha'ar Zahav's Cantor Sharon Bernstein will join with master klezmorim Stuart Brotman (on bass), Sheldon Brown (on clarinet), and Bruce Bierman (on feet ... leading dancing). Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. At Temple Sha'ar Zahav, San Francisco. No charge. More

Hanukkah Community Celebration

Achi's event logoSaturday, December 4, 7:00-9:30pm,Hanukkah Community Celebration, Berkeley.  

With music by Veretski Pass, Adama, Nigunim Chorus (songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, and English), and Rivka Amado (songs inspired by Sephardic culture).

Candle lighting, performances, dancing and food. At JCC East Bay, Berkeley. Admission $15. KlezCalifornia is a co-sponsor. More info:
. Advance tickets

Buy tickets at the door to this event AND to the one the same evening at Subterranean Arthouse (see item below) for only $20. Such a deal! 

Klezmer Chanukah Blowout! 

Bruce with scarfSaturday, December 4, 9:00pm, Klezmer Chanukah Blowout!, Berkeley.

With music by Zoyres Eastern European Wild Ferment and Kugelplex. 
Bruce Bierman will lead klezmer dancing.

Lots of home-made Jewish foods for noshin'! At Subterranean Arthouse, Berkeley. Suggested donation $10 - $20; no-one turned away for lack of funds.Tickets on site only, for cash and checks. KlezCalifornia is a co-sponsor. More info:

Buy tickets at the door to this event AND to the one the same evening at JCC East Bay (see item above) for only $20. Such a deal!  
History of Yiddish Schools in the U.S.

Sketch of Yiddish classroomSunday, December 12, 2:00pm, "Celebrating a Century of Secular Jewish Education: the Hidden History of Yiddish Shuln," San Francisco.

A presentation by Marti Krow-Lucal. 
This month marks the centennial of the first secular Yiddish school in America, which opened December 1910 in New York's Lower East Side. During the decades that followed, hundreds of secular shuln sprung up across the United States. A number of these schools still survive, including the Bay Area's East Bay Kindershul.

Marti Krow-Lucal will discuss these schools' secular, Yiddish, socialist roots; ideological splits; move towards a more religious and Hebraic orientation in the 1930s and 1940s; and their decline with the political chill of the 1950s. Her presentation will include documents and images from the shuln.

At the Jewish Community Library, San Francisco. Reception at 1:00pm preceding the talk, which is 
 co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. No charge. More info:

Yidisher Salon far Pamelakh Reders 

line drawing of people talkingSunday, December 12, 7:00-9:00pm, Yidisher Salon far Pamelakh Reders, San Mateo.

Participants will shmooze and nosh at KlezCalifornia's salon for intermediate speakers of Yiddish. This is the second time theYidisher Salon is meeting on the Peninsula. Tell your friends! No charge.

More info: peninsula[at], 415.789.7679.

Hungry for Yiddish? A Mitzvah Project

Hungry for Yiddish Sunday, December 19, 4:00pm, "Hungry for Yiddish? A MitzvahProject," San Francisco.

Heather Klein presents Yiddish/Jewish/world music and art to raise money for the San Francisco Food Bank.

Performers include Heather Klein's Inextinguishable Trio; and singers Yumi Thomas (Ladino), Lorraine Helms (Yiddish), and Achi Ben Shalom (Hebrew & Yiddish). At Congregation Ner Tamid, San Francisco. Admission: Sliding scale $0-$20. The event is co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. More info:
Hlaurenklein[at], 702.498.1999.

Similar events will be held January 23 at Peninsula Beth El and January 30 at JCC East Bay (see Coming in January, below).

 Community Events

See the many one-time events, classes, and projects below. This list of activities, and more, is available to you any time at


Wednesday, December 1, 7:00pm, Concert with The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band, to celebrate the release of their third CD, "Klezmer at the Confluence: Jewish Music from Sacramento." Celebrate the 1st night of Chanuka with great klezmer and Sephardic music. At The Center at Twenty-Three Hundred, Sacramento. Tickets $8 at the door. More info: 916.488.4912, talia[at]

Friday, December 3, 7:30-9:30pm, Klezmania! performs (actually three members of the band) and leads songs as part of Chanukah Celebration/Shabbat at Congregation Sherith Israel, San Francisco. Song sheets provided. More info: 415.346.1720,


Saturday December 4, 8:00-11:00pm, Hanukah Celebration with music by Hot Kugel and a menorah lighting with Chabad of Mountain View. At The Kitchen Table, Mountain View. All the kosher appetizers you can eat, wine and beer. Tickets: $20 at the door. More info: 650.464.3363,


Saturday, December 4, 8:00-10:00pm, Klezmania! performs traditional sing-along Chanukah songs, klezmer, Yiddish folk songs, some Israeli songs, and some original klezmer. At Old First Church, San Francisco. Tickets $14-$17. More info:

, 415.474.1608.

Sunday, December 5, 1:00-4:00pm. Kugelplex performs as part of the Latkepalooza! annual community-wide Hanukkah celebration! Also crafts and games, wine and olive-oil tasting, candle-lighting, potato latketaste-off, community sing-along. At the Peninsula JCC, Foster City. More info:


Sunday, December 5, 3:00pm, "Pomegranates & Figs: A Feast of Jewish Music," with the North End Klezmer Project from Winnipeg, and local bands Sqwonk and Teslim. Presented by Cal Performances at Zellerbach Hall, U.C. Berkeley. Tickets: $20-$40. More info:

Sunday, December 5, 11:00am and 3:00pm, The Red Hot Chachkas with the San Francisco Symphony in the "Deck The Hall" holiday shows for children at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco. More info:

Monday, December 6, 7:30pm, Beginner's Yiddish for Russian Speakers. This course will be in Russian and focus on conversational Yiddish with examples from the works of Yiddish writers Sholem Aleichem and Mendele Moykher Sforim. Once a week, possibly for 4-5 months. At Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto. The first class is free, then $40 per 4 classes. More info: 650.223.8621,russianculture[at]

Wednesday, December 8, noon-1:00pm, Klezmania! performs outdoors at the annual Chanukah Celebration at Oakland City Center, on Broadway between 12th & 14th Streets. No charge. More info:


Saturday, December 11, 1:30pm-3:30pm, Ellis Island Old World Folk Band. At Mo'Joe Cafe, Berkeley. No charge. More info: 510.704.8500.

Sunday, December 12, 4:00pm, Kugelplex performs with Oakland Symphony, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, in, "Let Us Break Bread Together."  Guest appearance by Joan Baez. At the Paramount Theater, Oakland. Tickets $20-$45. More info:

Sunday, December 26, noon-2:00pm, Klezmer Brunch with The Gonifs.  Vegetarian and vegan food for sale. At Porto Franco Art Parlor, San Francisco. On the second floor; no elevator. Tickets: donation of $0-$100 at
. More info:
, 650.575.2044.


Fun Stuff on the Web

Drey Dreydeleh, a lively Khanikeh tune played by Di Naye Kapelye at

 (Thanks to Martin Schwartz and Khazn Richard Kaplan).

No Need to Kvetch, Yiddish Lives On in Catskillsfrom The New York Times, November 25,HERE

We're not sure how long T he Times makes stories available without charge, so check this one out right away! From the article: "Henry Sapoznik, a Ukrainian cantor's son who helped found KlezKamp in 1984, calls it a 'Yiddish Brigadoon,' a gathering, like the Scottish village in that 1947 musical, that comes to life once in a long while after a lengthy snooze....  'If I were to say to you we're attempting to reactivate Yiddish culture in its full form, I'd be kidding you,' Mr. Sapoznik said. 'But what we're doing here is creating a parallel universe, our own free-standing reality.'" (Come to KlezCalifornia's next Yiddish Brigadoon in Santa Rosa, February 27!)

Yiddish-lovers blog, Tsum Yarid (To the Fair),

 The musings of five young Yiddish enthusiasts working at the National Yiddish book Center on Book Center happenings, their studies, and the Yiddish world at large. Regarding the title, Sholem Aleichem's fictionalized autobiography is called Funem Yarid (From the Fair).

Honor Wall 

Here are this month's new Honor Wall



Dennis Wilder: in honor of my parents - Rose and Benjamin Wilder - and my grandparents - Sophie and Aaron Anderman - who started me on the wonderful klezmer path with the music at their bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains of New York. And to your organization for all the good work you do, although I unfortunately can't participate, not living in the Bay area.

Paulette Eisen: To recognize my father, who loved Yiddish music and theater.

Deborah Ann Kohn: In memory of my maternal ancestors who perished in the barn fire in Jedwabne, Poland, July 1941. (see Note 1, below)

Paul Switzer: Pini svitser git op koved dem khaver-paver leyenkrayz velkher hot zeyer lebedikvayz funksionirt in san frantsisko bmeshakh di yorn 1950-1990. es hobn zikh bateylikt di faynsteh ibergegebeneh pensyonirteh arbeter, vi oykh retayrteh farmers fun petalumeh. di zelbeh hobn oykh ongefirt mitn yidishn khor vos geyt nokh on biz haynt. ikh vil spetsiel dermonen a vunderkekh porfolk, pesakh un miriem stayn, o"h, vos hobn mikh mit varemkayt oyfgenumen.  

(Paul Switzer honors the Khaver-Paver reading circle, which had a very lively existence in San Francisco from around 1950 to 1990. The finest devoted pensioners, as well as retired farmers from Petaluma, enthusiastically participated in this group. The same people also ran the Yiddish chorus, which continues to this day. I want to especially honor a wonderful couple, Pesakh and Miriam Stein, may they rest in peace, who warmly welcomed me into the group.) (see Note 2, below)


1. Regarding the pogrom in Jedwabne, see, for example,


2. Khaver Paver is the pen name of Gershon Einbinder, a left-wing writer most famous for his children's stories. One of his characters, Labzik, der proletarisheh hunt (Labzik, the proletarian dog), was popular among Yiddish-speaking kids who went to the International Workers Order schools. Labzik is "famous" for helping to win a strike by biting and chasing away a policeman who comes to beat up the workers.

Wanted! Musicians & Artists

SINGERS WANTED FOR JEWISH FOLK CHORUS OF SAN FRANCISCO: The Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco meets every Tuesday, 7:30-9:30 pm, in San Francisco, to sing the beautiful folk music of our heritage, mostly in Yiddish but also in Ladino, Russian, and Hebrew. We invite you to sing with us and perform in numerous concerts throughout the year under the direction of conductor Stephen Varney. No experience necessary, no auditions required. More info: info[at] 510.220.6325.

Coming in January

Put these exciting events on your calendar now and check back in the January newsletter for more details. For events even further into the future, check out the long-term calendar of Yiddish/klezmer events

Sunday, January 16, 2:00-4:00pm, Flisik Yidisher Salon. This Salon, for native and fluent Yiddish speakers, will be in San Francisco. More info: flisik[at]

Sunday, January 23rd, 6:00 pm, Hungry For Yiddish: A Mitzvah Project. Yiddish/Jewish/World music and art to raise money for the San Francisco Food Bank. At Peninsula Beth El, San Mateo. Tickets: sliding scale $0-$20. More info: Heather Klein at 702.498.1999, Hlaurenklein[at]

Saturday, January 29, in the evening, Klezmakers.The Klezmakers perform as part of the Feast Of Jewish Learning, with Bruce Bierman leading klezmer dancing. At the Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto. The Feast is for those at least bar/bas mitzveh age, and is co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. No charge. More info at


Sunday, January 30, 4:00 pm, Hungry For Yiddish: A Mitzvah Project." Yiddish/Jewish/World music and art to raise money for the San Francisco Food Bank. At JCC East Bay, Berkeley. Presented iin collaboration with the Jewish Music Festival. Tickets: sliding scale $0-$20. More info: Heather Klein at 702.498.1999, Hlaurenklein[at]