Newsletter‎ > ‎


In just ten days, it's Khanikeh/Hanukkah/Chanukah.... However you spell it (and below we use the same spelling as each event's sponsor), the Festival of Lights arrives in ten days. Klezmer music and Yiddish song and dance will fill the Bay Area. Enjoy and join in! 

J cover - 2012 Nov 16Speaking of the Bay Area, the cover story of the November 16 "J Weekly" is entitled "The Joy of Oy!: Yiddish is thriving in the Bay Area." Check out the story (with quotes from KlezCalifornia) HERE. Some excerpts on why people want to speak Yiddish:

"You can't exactly learn Yiddish and then go on vacation to a country where people speak it. And you're probably not going to learn Yiddish to become more successful in business, as you might with some other languages ... but for a lot of people it's about identity" (Jon Levitow)
"Some become interested in some of the political texts from the early 20th century, ranging from community and anarchist writing to ultra-religious texts ... there's a lot, still, that's only accessible in Yiddish." (Yael Chaver)

"I realized how brilliantly expressive (Yiddish) is of human feeling, human thought. It's an incredibly, beautifully nuanced language." (Gesher Calmenson)

"That's who I am. I'm Chaim more than I'm Harvey." (Harvey Varga).


Klezmer musicians/students wanted: See Farshidns (This 'n That) section HERE and older listings,HERE


-- Deadline for submissions for the January newsletter: December 26
-- Long-term calendar of events in the Bay Area: Events calendar
-- Online sources of Yiddish-inspired culture: KlezCal on-line resources
-- Klezmer musicians looking for others: KlezCal want ads
Facebook rectangle
In This Issue
KlezCalifornia Crafts Booth at Festival of Lights, Sunday, December 9
Nigunim Chorus' Hanukkah Party, Sunday, December 9
Subterranean Arthouse Chanukah Party, Thursday, December 13
KlezCalifornia Flisik Salon, Sunday, December 16
Community Events
On the Web
Farshidns (This 'n That)
Coming in January
Honor Wall
Support KlezCalifornia
KlezCalifornia Crafts Booth at Festival of Lights

Marin JCC Festival of LIghts 2012Sunday, December 9, 11:30am-3:00pm, Make royzlekh (little roses) with KlezCalifornia at the Festival of Lights, Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael. KlezCalifornia is co-sponsoring this free event for all ages and we look forward to seeing you there!

Stop by the KlezCalifornia booth, where adults and children will makeroyzlekh (Jewish snowflakes; literally, little roses). Fold the paper a specific way so that with one snip of scissors you get a mogen dovid (magen david) in the middle. Then cut it as you choose, like a snowflake. Royzlekh were popular in Eastern Europe for the holiday of Shevuous (Shavuot) and also can be Sukkah decorations. The Midrash is that when we received the Torah, we received it with all of our senses: There was thunder, lightning, and the smell of roses! 

*    9:30-11:30am: Family Connections. Free for all families with kids birth to 3-years-old and their siblings. Music, art, treats, and parent education. RSVP to mhorowitz[at]

*    11:30am-2:30pm: Festival of Lights. All ages. Games, arts & crafts, artisan marketplace, latkes and other food for purchase and tons of Hanukkah-related activities.

No charge for admission. More info:
Nigunim Chorus' Hanukkah Community Celebration

Nigunim Chorus 2012 logoSunday, December 9, 7:30pm, Nigunim Chorus' 4th annual Hanukkah Community Celebration.Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. At JCC East Bay, Berkeley. 

On the second night of Hanukkah the community will get together to light candles, sing Hanukkah songs and enjoy performances by the Nigunim Community Chorus, Veretski Pass klezmer trio, AdamaDuo, and Yiddish singer Diane Wirtschafter. The evening will end with all musicians playing together for a grand finale of dancing led by dance leader Bruce Bierman. Traditional Hanukkah food will be sold. Tickets: $15 general / $10 children. Advance ticket purchase recommended, as the event sold out the last two years. Tickets: HERE. More info: nigunim.org510.528.8872.

Subterranean Arthouse Chanukah Party

Sub Arthouse Ch image 2012Thursday, December 13, 9:00pm, 3rd annual Subterranean ArthouseChanukah party in collaboration with Hungry for Yiddish! A MitzvahProject. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. At Subterranean Art House, Berkeley. Proceeds support the Berkeley Food Pantry. Watercolors by painter (and Yiddish student) Margaret Sloan.


9:00pm. Yiddish song with Heather Klein's Inextinguishable Trio and Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell.  


10:00pm. Klezmer dance party with Saul Goodman's Klezmer Orkestar and dance leader Bruce Bierman.     


Suggested donation $10-$20; no-one turned away. Advance More info:


KlezCalifornia Yiddish Conversation Salon

line drawing of people talkingSunday, December 16, 2:00-4:00pm, KlezCalifornia Flisik Yidisher Salon, for fluent and native Yiddish speakers. At a private home in Oakland. December's discussion topics: Describe the home in which you grew up: its size, rooms, furnishings, who lived with you. Then, we will read aloud some short stories and jokes. More info: flisik[at]klezcalifornia.org415.789.7679.  
Community Events

Mondays, 6:00-8:00pm, Klezmer Mondays at Saul's, featuring Dave Rosenfeld (mandolin, violin, percussion), Mike Perlmutter (clarinet, saxophone) and Dmitri Gaskin (accordion). At Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen, Berkeley. More info: 510.848.3354.

Through January 2013, Exhibit: Hollywood Stars Reading "The Jewish Daily Forward" by photographer Phil Stern. At the Jewish Community Center, San Francisco. No charge.

Saturday, December 1, 7:30pm, Kugelplex in Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir's 27th Anniversary Holiday Concert. At Paramount Theater, Oakland. Tickets: $12 - $42 advance / $17 - $47 day of show / $5 discount for 62+. More info: 510.465.6400HERE.

Saturday, December 1, 7:30pm, Veretski Pass House Concert followed by jam session. At a private home in Bernal Heights, San Francisco. Snacks provided. Tickets: $20 at the door. Limited seating. Almost sold out as of November 23, but waiting list available. Reservations and address: Karen Leigh, guitarron[at]

Sunday, December 2, 7:00pm, The Oy Way: Following the Path of Most Resistance, presentation by author Harvey Gotliffe. The book helps you learn Yiddish expressions while engaging in restorative, meditative, moving exercise. At The Greek Authentic Restaurant, Santa Cruz. More info: HERE.

Tuesday, December 4, 7:30pm, Hava Nagila (The Movie). Filmmaker Roberta Grossman will speak and answer questions after the screening. At Rialto Cinemas, Sebastopol. Part of 17th Annual Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival. More info:

Thursday, December 6, 7:00pm, Opening Reception for exhibit: Traces of Memory - a  Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland. At Osher Marin JCC. Keynote address by Jakub Nowakowki, Director, Galicia Jewish Museum, Krakow, Poland. Klezmer and folk music by Jef Labes. East European & Jewish Soul Food by Old World Food Truck. This exhibit of photographs will be displayed through February. No charge. For the reception, rsvp by November 30 to 415.444.8080,ayoakum[at]

Saturday, December 8, 11:00am-1:00pm, Ellis Island Old World Folk Band. At Marin Country Mart Farmers' Market, 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur. More info: 415.461.5700.

Saturday, December 8, 2:00-4:00pm, Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring presents Latkes, Lider & Labor! A (just before) Chanukah Celebration & Potluck far a shenereh un besereh velt (for a more beautiful and better world). Latkes, singing, labor stories, and grab bag/gift swap. Please bring food to share. At Labor Archive Room 121 in the new San Francisco State University Library, 1600 Holloway, San Francisco. Rsvp and more info: 415.566.7235dmscott01[at]

Sunday, December 9, 1:00pm-4:00pm, Bruce Kirschner and Daphna Rahmil (accordion/ violin duo from The Klezmakers) will be strolling musicians at Latkepalooza Hanukkah Extravaganza, at Foster City JCC. Admission free with can of food for Second Harvest Food Bank. More info: HERE .

Sunday, December 9, 2:00pm, Chanukah Concert with Ellis Island Old World Folk Band. At Pleasanton Public Library, Pleasanton. No charge. More info:

Sunday, December 9, 2:00-4:30pm, Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble, Yiddish vocals by Alby Kass. At Aqus Café, corner of 2nd and H Streets, Petaluma. No charge but tips appreciated. More

Sunday, December 9, 4:00pm, Kugelplex in Oakland East Bay Symphony's Let Us Break Bread Together Holiday Celebration. At Paramount Theater, Oakland. Tickets: $25 - $50 adults / $15 under 18. More info: 510.465.6400HERE.

Friday, December 14, 7:30-9:30pm, Kleznukah Shabbat Service, with instrumentalists Stu Brotman and Sheldon Brown, Yiddish singer Sharon Bernstein, dance leader Bruce Bierman. Candles, prayer, singing, dancing, and refreshments. At Congregation Sha'ar Zahav. San Francisco. No charge. More

Saturday, December 15, 2:00-4:00pm, The Oy Way: Following the Path of Most Resistance, presentation by author Harvey Gotliffe. At Inklings Books, Capitola Mall, Capitola. The book helps you learn Yiddish expressions while engaging in restorative, meditative, moving exercise. No charge. More info:

Saturday, December 15, 8:00pm, Veretski Pass in Pomegranates & Figs, a feast of Jewish music. Also Oakland Folkharmonic, Inspector Gadje. At Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkeley. Tickets: $22.50 advance / $24.50 at door. More info: 510.644.2020HERE.

Sunday, December 16, 2:00pm, Hanukkah and secular New Year Party at Yiddish Club of San Francisco, with Yiddish song performance by Sofia, accompanied by Clara. At JCC San Francisco, Room 206, San Francisco. No charge. More info: sulgrinberg[at]  


Monday, December 17, 6:00-8:00pm, Kugelplex performs at Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen, Berkeley. No charge. More info: 510.848.3354

Wednesday, December 19, 12:00noon, Kugelplex in lunchtime concert. At Oakland City Center, Oakland. No charge.

Thursday, December 20, 8:00pm, Kugelplex in Meridian Solstice party, with Charming Hostess. At Meridian Gallery, San Francisco. More info:  


Saturday, December 22, 7:30pm, Kugelplex in Old World Belly Dance Party! with The ShtetlShakers featuring Elizabeth Strong and Rose Hardin. At The Make Out Room, San Francisco. More info:

On the Web

Acho-o-o! Philologos, columnist in "The Jewish Daily Forward," answers three questions about offering get-well wishes to the sick. He argues HERE that there's a lot more to it than saying Gesundheit, at least in Yiddish.
WantadFarshidns (This 'n That)
Klezmer musicians wanted:
-- Violinist looking to put together klezmer group to be coached by David Chernyavsky. The violinist is eight years old, but can play about anything. Accordion, clarinet or any other portable instruments welcome. Coaching sessions will generally be in San Bruno. If interested, contact Jon atjkepecs[at]

-- The Stanford Klezmer Band is looking for new members, particularly violin, acoustic bass, piano/keyboard, drums, mandolin, or accordion. If you have ensemble experience, intermediate to advanced facility on your instrument, ability to play by ear, and an interest in klezmer music - even if you have no prior experience, contact Jeff at jeffklez[at] No association with the Stanford community is required.

Proverb of the month:
 Luck without brains is a sack with holes: Glik on seykhl iz a lekherdiker zak.(Thanks to Rosie Kaplan). 

Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer. This new book, edited by Yale Strom, presents a history of klezmer. Individual chapters discuss the instruments found in a typical klezmer ensemble: violin, clarinet, accordion, bass, percussion, and voice. Order at or 800.462.6420 for $45.00 + tax, shipping. Use promo code 7F12SHPIL to save 25%.
Coming in January
Put these exciting events on your calendar now and check the January newsletter for more details. You can always check out KlezCalifornia's long-term calendar at  Events.


Thursday, January 10, 7:00pm, The Drama of Yiddish on the Hebrew Stage, a presentation by Donny Inbar. At the Jewish LearningWorks (formerly BJE) Jewish Community Library, San Francisco. Co-presented by KlezCalifornia. No charge. More info: 415.567.3327,

Thursday, January 17, 7:00pm, Jewish Eastern Europe: A Family Journey, a presentation by Marc Dollinger. At the Jewish LearningWorks Jewish Community Library, San Francisco. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. No charge. More info: 415.567.332,

Wednesday, January 23, 10:00am, Intermediate Yiddish, taught by Yael Chaver. At U.C. Berkeley. Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00am-12:00noon, Fridays 10:00am-11:00am. Final exam May 14. More info: germanic[at]berkeley.eduychaver[at]

Saturday, January 26, 7:00pm, Klezmer dance lesson with Karen Bergen, performance by the Yiddish Choristers, klezmer dance party with music by The Klezmakers. At Jewish LearningWorks' Feast of Jewish Learning: Dreams & Schemes, held at the Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto. For all adultsbar and bas mitsveh age and up. More info: tzach[at]

Saturday, January 26, 8:00pm, Cantor Unplugged: International Cabaret, with Cantor Sharon Bernstein, Cantor Leigh Korn, and Carolyn Reiser. Program includes Yiddish songs. At Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, San Francisco. Reception follows. Tickets: $10 Sha'ar Zahav members,  $15 non-members, children 12 and under free. More info: 415.861.6932,   

Sunday, January 27, 2:00-4:00pm, Klezmer entertainment at closing party for artist Susan Duhan Felix's "A Retrospective: Then and Now. With klezmer Dave Rosenfeld and others. At the Jewish Heritage Museum, Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living, Danville. Refreshments. More info: 925.932.0396,

Monday, January 28, 7:15-9:15pm, Reading Yiddish Texts class with Yael Chaver spring semester begins. Twelve sessions. Sponsored by Lehrhaus Judaica and held at the JCC East Bay, Berkeley. Cost and more info:
Honor Wall

Honor Wall postings this month:
Honor Wall squiggle

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.

Honor Wall squiggle 

Rivka, Larry, Rone and Mitch: We honor our mothers, Bea and Dubbie, and our grandparents, Sarah and Saul, who all spoke Yiddish in their homes. We, the children and grandchildren, benefited and are enriched from having been raised in Yidishkayt-loving households, ever nourished by the words, humor and sounds of Yiddish, the tastes and smells of heymish food, with lots of joy, laughter and love. 
Honor Wall squiggle

Preeva Tramiel: In memory of Chaya Adler.

Support KlezCalifornia
With a gift of any amount to KlezCalifornia, you become a Contributing Member and you may post a message of up to 100 words on our web Honor Wall for one year. This is a fine way to honor a loved one or teacher or write about your own Yiddish heritage.

Chai imageWe hope Contributing Members can give $54 (3 chai/khay) or more. In appreciation for contributions at this level, we offer you a choice of gifts: The 115-page exercise book, "The Oy Way." This warm book by Harvey Gotliffe helps you learn Yiddish expressions while engaging in meditative exercise. Check it out at Or 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 artist Nina Bonos (see the cards HERE).

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