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We are pleased to announce the new, much improved 3rd edition of the KlezCalifornia Songbook, with fifty-five Yiddish songs you are most likely to be singing. For each song, we provide transliterated lyrics and a line-by-line translation. One song you will not find elsewhere is A Shvereh Togedikeh Nakht, a singable Yiddish version of A Hard Day's Night, by KlezCalifornia President Gerry Tenney with Chane Yachness!

Songbook cover, 3rd edition


We will celebrate with sing-alongs this summer. If you would like to host a sing-along in the East Bay, North Bay, San Francisco, Peninsula, or South Bay, contact us at info[at] Look for sing-along details in the June newsletter.


You need not wait to see the Songbook. We'll mail it for a donation of $5 ($3 + S/H) to KlezCalifornia, 1728 Allston Way, Berkeley CA 94703 or use a credit card HERE. We look forward to singing with you! 





Hold the date: The next KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival -- our tenth! -- will take place in San Francisco on President's Day Weekend, February 18-20, 2012. Put this Festival on your calendar now and invite friends and family to visit you in the Bay Area for another fabulous weekend of fun.



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

If you're a band looking for a musician or vice versa, check out our listings at

Check out our Facebook page here: Find us on Facebook . 
In This Issue
Jewish Life in Tsarist Kiev, Tuesday, May 3
KlezCalifornia Yidisher Salon, Sunday, May 15
Ko-opting Klezmer, Thursday, May 12
Community Events
On the Web
Coming in June
Honor Wall
Support KlezCalifornia
Jewish Life in Tsarist Kiev

Kiev book coverTuesday May 3, 7:00pm (4:00pm in Russian)  

"Russian Zion" or Jewish Nightmare? Jewish Life in Tsarist Kiev, a

presentation by Natan M. Meir

At the BJE Jewish Community Library, San Francisco


From a small group of merchants in the early 1860s, the Jewish population of Kiev grew rapidly until it became one of the largest urban Jewish communities in the Russian Empire. Natan M. Meir, author of Kiev, Jewish Metropolis: A History, 1859 - 1914, will chart the growth of this vital community from its founding until the outbreak of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution. He will discuss the external and internal challenges that it faced, including pogroms, intra-communal divisions, and the 1913 Beilis affair, in which a Ukrainian Jew was accused of ritual murder. Natan Meir is the Lorry I. Lokey Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies at Portland State University.   


Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. No charge. More info:, 415.567.3327.

KlezCalifornia's Yidisher Salon far Flisik Reders 

line drawing of people talking

Sunday, May 15, 2:00-4:00pm   

KlezCalifornia's Flisik Yidisher Salon  

At a private home in San Francisco


If you speak Yiddish fluently, join us at this Salon. We will read and discuss a short story in Yiddish. 


No charge. More info: flisiksalon[at]   



Ko-opting Klezmer

Joshua HorowitzThursday, May 12, 7:00pm

Ko-opting Klezmer, a talk with musical examples, by Joshua


At the BJE Jewish Community Library, San Francisco


Although klezmer music developed from the 16th to the 19th centuries primarily as wedding music, it has long served other agendas. Klezmer music has been used to bolster Jewish secular identity and to spiritualize it, as a symbol of rebellion and as a stand-in for indigenous folk music. Joshua Horowitz is the director of the ensemble Budowitz and co-founder of Veretski Pass. He performs on cimbalom, nineteenth century button accordion, and piano.  


Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. No charge. More info:, 415.567.3327.

Community Events


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


Wednesday, May 4, 12:00noon-1:30pm, Gender and Nation in 1945 - Poems by Kadya Molodowsky and Malka Heifetz Tussman, at Stanford University, Building 360, Conference Room. A presentation (in Yiddish) by Kathryn Hellerstein, Associate Professor of Germanic Languages, University of Pennsylvania. No charge. More info:  


Thursday, May 12, 8:00pm, The Criminal Underworld in Yiddish Literature, at Kehillah Hall at Stanford Hillel. A lecture by Avraham Novershtern, Professor of Yiddish Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Jewish criminal underworld has been a recurring motif in modern Yiddish literature from its beginnings in the mid-19th century to stories written in modern-day Israel. What are the reasons for this unrelenting interest in the Jewish underworld? How did Yiddish literature present the range of Jewish criminals: thieves, prostitutes, and gangsters? No charge. More info:ibleaman[at], 818.625.0673. 


Sunday, May 22 (Lag B'Omer), 7:00-8:00pm, The David Grisman & Andy Statman Klezmer Quartet, at the Addison Penzak JCC in Los Gatos. These noted musicians headline the first Silicon Valley Jewish Music Festival, 1:00pm-8:00pm. David Grisman is an American bluegrass/newgrass mandolin composer who has played with Peter Rowan, Bonnie Raitt and Jerry Garcia. Andy Statman is an American klezmer, avant-garde jazz mandolinist and clarinetist who has played with jazz and bluegrass greats since the 1960s. The entire Festival is free. More info: 408.357.7411,    

On the Web 

Ya'alili: We're not sure whether this catchy, mostly Hebrew song, filmed in the newest kosher supermarket in Brooklyn, counts as Eastern European Jewish music. It does includes the Yiddish wordtants (dance) and the phrase a gut yuntif (have a happy Jewish festival day), plus singing fish. Let us know what you think of it: (Thanks to Icek Mozes and Dorrit Geshuri)   


Jokes: Check out (Thanks to Archie Barkan) 


The Witches of Lublin: This fictional radio drama about women klezmers, starring Tovah Feldshuh, was broadcast in April on KRCB-FM in Rohnert Park and on KWMR-FM in Point Reyes Station, but we didn't hear about it in time to let you know. Hear the first ten minutes at (Thanks to drama producer Yale Strom) 

Coming in June

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

Tuesday, June 7, 6:45pm through dawn on Wednesday, Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, at the JCC East Bay. KlezCalifornia has proposed three workshops for this community-wide celebration and night of study. Check back in the June newsletter to learn which one(s) we will offer! No charge.

Dates TBD, 7:00-9:00pm, KlezCalifornia Pamelakh Salons in East Bay and on the Peninsula. Join us at this Salon for intermediate speakers of Yiddish. No charge. More info: pamelakhsalon[at] and peninsula[at], respectively.

Sunday, June 26, 2:30pm, 85th Annual Concert of Yiddish Music, at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay. This event is presented by the Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco. Suggested donation: $12 general, $6 seniors/students/persons with disabilities. More info:

Honor Wall

New Honor Wall postings this month:

Sheira Kahn: In honor of Avram Kahn, z'l, who founded the Yiddish People's Philharmonic Choir in New York City.

Carole Joffe: I feel lucky to live in a community where there is such incredible klezmer music!
Support KlezCalifornia

A gift of any amount makes you a Contributing Member of KlezCalifornia. You may post on our webHonor Wall (up to 100 words) for one year. This is a great way to honor a loved one or teacher or to write about your own Yiddish heritage. 

Chai imageWe hope Contributing Members can give $54 (3 chai) or more. In appreciation for contributions at this level, we offer you a choice of gifts: A DVD of the wonderful 80-minute film, Yiddish Theater: A Love Story ( or eight beautiful, brightly-colored, 5"x7" music-themed greeting cards designed by Sonoma County Jewish artist Nina Bonos (see the cards HERE).

Make your tax-deductible donation via credit card HERE or with a check to KlezCalifornia at 1728 Allston Way, Berkeley 94703. Your donations help KlezCalifornia keep Bay Area Yiddish culture and community vibrant and thriving.