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Good health and lots of happiness in 2012! Rejoice at the KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival at JCC San Francisco, coming next month on Presidents' Day Weekend, February 18-20!  


The Klez-X.jpgWhy are we so excited? This year's big event features more than 50 participatory workshops covering the spectrum of Yiddish-inspired culture and klezmer music. Study with top notch teachers and performers, including The Klez-X!All ages and musical backgrounds welcome!   


Whether you're an instrumentalist, singer, dancer, Yiddish speaker, Russian speaker, or simply someone interested in klezmer music, Yiddish literature, Eastern European Jewish history, or the interaction of musical cultures, there's plenty for you at the Yiddish Culture Festival!    

Festival highlights:

Steve with bottle* Four FREE workshops Shabes (Saturday) afternoon. 
The Klez-X reunion concert (with Daniel Hoffman from Israel) Saturday at 8:00pm, followed by dance party with klezmer dance master Steve Weintraub from Chicago. 
FREE Sunday Yiddish Sing-Along led by Sharon Bernstein, lyric books provided.
Workshops every day with renowned experts in klezmer music (taught by the Klez-X musicians) and dance, Yiddish songs, proverbs and phrases, Yiddish literature in translation, East European Jewish history, and more!
Lunchtime Cabarets Sunday & Monday, MC'ed by Achi Ben Shalom.
* Youth program for ages six and up, led by Gerry Tenney, including klezmer ensemble, crafts, Yiddish stunts & dances with Steve Weintraub.

* Finale music and dance party Monday at 4:30pm. 


Many of your favorite teachers from previous Festivals are returning! First time teachers include violinist and composer Daniel Hoffman, singer and accordionist Jeanette Lewicki, bass player Richard Saunders, and Jewish historian Steven Zipperstein.  


Check out the schedule and workshops at

 or call 415.789.7679.The Klez-X concert tickets are on sale at
See instructions for buying tickets, passes, and meals at
 or call the JCCSF box office at415.292.1233.    


A Festival Workshop Pass (which does not include the concert) is $130 adults, $120 JCCSF members, $75 teens, $50 youth 6-12. Such a deal! If you are able to attend only part of the time, you may buy tickets for individual workshop sessions for $25 adults, $22 JCCSF members, $15 teens, $10 youth 6-12. Some partial scholarships are available; see website for details.  





Adrienne CooperThe world has lost a treasure. We are sad to tell you that internationally renowned Yiddish singer Adrienne Cooper, z"l,who grew up in Oakland, passed away in New York last week and was buried in Lafayette's Oakmont Cemetery. In addition to touring, recording, and working with social justice groups, she served as executive officer for external affairs for the national Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring. Adrienne taught atKlezCalifornia's first two festivals (2003 and 2004), served on our Advisory Council, and had accepted our invitation to co-lead (with Sharon Bernstein) the Sing-Along at the upcoming Yiddish Culture Festival. We mourn her loss.  


 To hear Adrienne singing, go to:

 (Vos Vet Blaybn)

 (Drey, Dreydl, and Friling)
 (Gezang far a Beser Velt)


(The first two clips suggested by Miri Koral, the third by Bruce Bierman. The first and third were put on the web by our friends at the YiddishLives Project.)




Calendar of upcoming Yiddish-inspired events:

Looking for a klezmer to join your band or vice versa? Check out our listings at
Like us on Facebook: Find us on Facebook
In This Issue
100 Yiddish Words, Sunday, January 8
Yiddish Conversation Salon, Sunday, January 22
Klezmer music, dancing, Yiddish singing, Saturday, January 28
Community Events
On the Web
Farshidns (This 'n That)
Coming in February
Honor Wall
Support KlezCalifornia
100 Yiddish Words (definitely not for children...)


Harvey VargaSunday, January 8, 4:45pm, "100 Yiddish Words in the Average New York Puerto Rican Vocabulary (and if you don't know them you should be ashamed of yourself!)" with Harvey Varga, presented by KlezCaliforniaat Congregation Beth Shalom in Napa. Preceded by wine and cheese reception at 4:00pm. For adults! 


This is KlezCalifornia's first event in Napa County and the first Napa event ever listed in this newsletter! More info:






Yiddish Conversation Salon  


line drawing of people talking

Sunday, January 22, 2:00-4:00pm, KlezCalifornia Flisik Yidisher Salon, for fluent and native Yiddish speakers at a private home in El Cerrito. More info: 415.789.7679,info[at]



Klezmer Music, Dancing, Yiddish Singing!   


Feast poster 2012Saturday, January 28, 7:00-10:30pm, Feast of Jewish Learning/ South Peninsula Night of Jewish Unity, at Oshman Family JCC (Palo Alto), co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia and including: 


7:00pm, Havdoleh 

7:30-8:30pm: Yiddish song performance by the Yiddish Choristers

8:45-9:45pm: KlezCalifornia presents klezmer dancing with Dave Rosenfeld. The Klezmakers provide the music.  

9:45-10:30pm: Oneg with entertainment by The Klezmakers.   


Last year this event attracted 600 people for 32 classes taught by 57 teachers! Come alone or with friends and stop by the KlezCaliforniatable to say hello. This multi-generational event is for those at leastbar/bas mitzveh age. No charge. More info:



Community Events


Here are more one-time events and series you may find of interest. A list of activities is always available at



Thursday, January 12, 8:30pm, New York-based Benjy Fox-Rosen Trio and Veretski Pass, at Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, Berkeley. Tickets: $10. 7:30pm klezmer dance lesson with Dave Rosenfeld. More info:


Beginning Monday, January 16, 7:30pm, Nigunim Chorus, directed by Achi Ben Shalom. A new season with new repertoire. Meets at JCC East Bay. More info: mail[at]   


Beginning Tuesday, January 17, M-W 10:00am-12noon, F 10:00-11:00am, Intermediate Yiddish (Yiddish 102, CC# 37903) taught by Dr. Yael Chaver. Held at U.C. Berkeley. Advanced grammar and introduction to the reading of literary texts. The course offers insights into Yiddish culture through customs, folk tales, proverbs, music, culinary traditions, etc. More info: ychaver[at]  

Beginning Monday, January 23, 7:15-9:15pm, Reading Yiddish Texts, led by Yael Chaver under the auspices of Lehrhaus Judaica. Tuition: $180, $150 if registered by January 9. At JCC East Bay. More info:

Monday, January 23, 30 and February 6, 13, 2:00-4:00pm, Yiddish Literature: The Singer Brothers, taught by Loretta Denner. At JCC Sonoma County. The class will read one novel by I. J. Singer plus short stories and a short novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer. $18 donation suggested. More info: lorluba[at]yahoo.com707.566.1955

Saturday, January 28, 8:00pm, Cantor Unplugged with Sharon Bernstein: From the Lower East Side to the Lights of Broadway. Cantor Sharon Bernstein & friends sing sultry standards, show tunes, and gems from the American, Jewish and Yiddish songbooks. At Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, San Francisco. Reception follows. Admission: $10 Sha'ar Zahav members; $15 non-members; no charge for children 12 and under. More info:

Monday, January 30, 7:00pm, Ellis Island Old World Folk Band, at the Kensington Library, No charge. More info:
510.433.2900. Library:

On the Web 


Enjoy a monthly exploration of a Yiddish word or phrase by Hershl Hartman, who writes a regular column in "YidBits," the newsletter of Yiddishkayt (formerly Yiddishkayt L.A.) as Der Vortsman, The Wordsmith. Subscribe via

 or go directly to the complete column


Farshidns (This 'n That)

Proverb of the month: If a horse had anything to say, he would speak up (Ven dos ferd volt gehat vos tsu zogn, volt es geredt) (Thanks to Hershl Hartman, Der Vortsman - see item above). Send your favorite Yiddish proverb, in transliteration with translation, to news[at]

Yiddish Farm, located outside Baltimore, where you can work on the farm and be totally immersed in Yiddish:
 (Thanks to Dorrit Geshuri).

The Golden Peacock: The Voice of the Yiddish Writer, a new spoken word recording featuring ten Yiddish writers. Comes with booklets with complete Yiddish text, transliteration, translation, notes. Available for $27 plus postage, at

Coming in February

Put these exciting events on your calendar now and check the February newsletter for more details. You can always check out KlezCalifornia's long-term calendar at

Saturday, February 4, 5:00pm, Heather Klein's Inextinguishable Trio Presents Shifreles Portret- A Yiddish Art Song Project, with special guests: The Lark playing YIddish theater and Russian songs. At JCC San Francisco's Fisher Hall. Tickets: $10.00. More info:

Sunday, February 5, 7:00-9:00pm, KlezCalifornia Peninsula Yidisher Salon, for Yiddish speakers at all levels. At a private home in San Mateo. No charge. More info: peninsula[at],415.789.7679.

Thursday, February 9, 8:00, Gimpel The Fool, a production of Israel's Nephesh Theatre, based on the classic short story by I.B. Singer as translated by Nobel Prize laureate Saul Bellow. At Oshman Family JCC (Palo Alto). Tickets: $15 members, $20 non-members. More info: 650.223.8609,bvladimirsky[at]

Sunday, February 12, 7:00pm, Heather Klein in Yiddishkayt: Jewish Composers from the Lower East Side to Broadway. Including the CD release of Shifreles Portret: A Yiddish Art Song Project. Performers are Cantor Lauren Bandman and Heather Klein, Be'eri Moalem, Russell Norman, and Alla Gladysheva. At Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills. No charge. More info:

Saturday, February 11, 8:00pm (and Monday, February 13, 2:00pm), Isle of Klezbos. New York-based women's sextet bringing together inventive versions of klezmer, Yiddish swing, and eclectic original compositions. At the JCC East Bay. Forshpays (appetizer) to Jewish Music Festival. Saturday tickets: $19-$13. Monday tickets: $15, $10. More info:
510.848.0237 X119.

Friday, February 17, Time 8:00pm, Veretski Pass, at The Jazzschool, Berkeley. 8:00pm. Tickets $15/$12. More info:

Saturday - Monday, February 18-20, 2012, KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival, at the JCCSF. Includes Saturday 8:00pm concert with The Klez-X, followed by klezmer dancing with Steve Weintraub. Concert tickets: $40/$45 general, $35/$42 JCCSF members, $25 students. More info:
,415.292.1233. More details about Festival above. More info:

Sunday, February 19, 2:00pm, Stanley Ginsberg, co-author of "Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking." Tasting follows talk!  At Congregation Shomrei Torah, Santa Rosa. No charge for the program; the book will be for sale. More
. More about the book:

Beginning Thursday, February 23, 7:00-9:00pm, Introductory Yiddish, Part Two. Taught by Jon Levitow under the auspices of Lehrhaus Judaica. At Congregation Kol Emeth, Palo Alto. Tuition: $200 public, $180 Kol Emeth members. More info:

Friday, February 24, 7:30pm, Heather Klein's Shabbos Zingt. A new kind of service, with Yiddish melodies and a klezmer feel, new and old tunes. Heather Klein, singer; Be'eri Moalem, viola; Ken Mowrey, percussion; and Karen Hutchinson; piano/accordion. At Congregation Shir Hadash, Los Gatos. More info:

Friday, February 24, 8:00 pm. Love Songs from a Neighboring Village, Michael Alpert and Julian Kytasty. At Temple Beth Sholom, San Leandro. East European Jewish and Ukrainian traditions have existed side by side and interacted for centuries, mirroring the complex relationship between the two peoples. No charge. More info:
510.848.0237, X119.

Honor Wall

New Honor Wall
 postings this month:

Elaine Moise: In memory of Adrienne Cooper.

Joshua & Diane Wirtschafter: In memory of Adrienne Cooper.

Pinny Switzer: In honor of my devoted teachers at the I.L. Peretz Folk Shul in Winnipeg, Canada where I learned to love and appreciate our wonderful mameloshn during the years of my attendance 1943-1952. Those teachers whose names I recall are Basye Fittereman, Aron Zeitlin, Greenberg, Taft, Avrom Lapin, Falik Zolf, Moyshe Cantor and choir leaders Ostov, Browntone. I also want to honor my mother Rose Switzer and all the other dedicated mothers of the Peretz Shul Muter Fareyn, Branch 2.

Robin Braverman: In memory of my grandparents, Pauline and Bundy Lang.

Support KlezCalifornia

Any gift makes you a Contributing Member of KlezCalifornia and you may post on our web Honor Wall
 (up to 100 words) for one year. This is a fine 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.