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Strauss Warshauer duoWe are putting together the next KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival for October 26-27 in Berkeley, at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and LIfe. Featured teachers and performers will be the Strauss Warschauer Duo (Deborah Strauss and Jeff Warschauer) from New York and our Bay Area-based Veretski Pass (Cookie Segelstein, Joshua Horowitz, Stu Brotman). As at every KlezCalifornia Festival, lots of music, singing, dancing, Yiddish phrases and literature, and more!

Put the dates on your 2013 calendar right away so you won't miss this great participatory Festival, our eleventh in eleven years!


-- Deadline for submissions for the February newsletter: January 28
-- 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

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In This Issue
Yiddisn on the Hebrew Stage, Thursday, January 10
Jewish Eastern Europe: A Family Journey, Thursday, January 17
Reading Yiddish Texts, starts Monday, January 28
Beginning Yiddish, starts Wednesday, January 30
YIddish Women Writers in America, starts Thursday, January 31
Community Events
On the Web
Farshidns (This 'n That)
Honor Wall
Support KlezCalifornia
The Drama of Yiddish on the Hebrew Stage

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

Official Zionism frowned upon the spoken Yiddish of the Diaspora, fearing it would interfere with the efforts to transform Hebrew from a frozen religious tongue into a living secular modern language. At the same time, Yiddish culture maintained a strong presence in Eretz Yisrael. Since the early twentieth century, the repertoire of Hebrew theater has been abundant with plays from the Yiddish theater, as well as creative adaptations of Yiddish literature and satire. Drawing from his own extensive research, Dr. Inbar will share anecdotes, shatter some myths, pay homage to Abraham Goldfaden (the father of Yiddish theater), and discuss the love-hate relationship between Hebrew and Yiddish. His presentation will also include rare video clips and recordings of Yiddish plays from stage and screen. 

Jewish Eastern Europe: A Family Journey

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

Three profound stories animate Eastern European Jewish history: For centuries, the Pale of Settlement served as the world's center of Jewish life. In Russia, Poland, and its neighboring (and ever-changing) countries, Jews lived, studied, and developed a vibrant Yiddish-speaking culture. Then, the Shoahdestroyed Jewish life, with some 90% of all Polish Jews murdered by the Nazis. Especially since the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, a new, third chapter, is emerging, as a generation of hidden Jews seeks knowledge about their Jewish ancestry.

This past summer, Professor Marc Dollinger journeyed with his family to six East European countries, a bas mitzveh trip for his daughter Shayna to learn what it means to have a Yiddish name. Using pictures, movies, and stories from his trip, Professor Dollinger will discuss East European history as well as current efforts to revitalize Jewish life.
Reading Yiddish Texts

Mondays, beginning January 28, 7:15-9:15pm, Reading Yiddish Texts class with Yael Chaver. Twelve sessions. Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica at the JCC East Bay, Berkeley. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. Tuition: $180; $145 if registered by January 14. Registration and more info:   


Read and discuss selections of Yiddish prose and poetry from the 19th and 20th centuries. The class will focus on comprehension, based not only on the lexicon and syntax of the Yiddish language, but also on the cultural contexts of the texts. Given the relatively late prevalence of standardized spelling in Yiddish, some texts will be studied in their 19th and early 20th-century versions to develop confidence in decoding non-standard orthography.  

Beginning Yiddish, second semester

Wednesdays, January 30 to March 30, 7:00-8:15pm, Beginning Yiddish 1B, taught by Anna Elena Torres. Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica at JCC East Bay, Berkeley. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. Tuition: $105 for the public, $90 if registered by January 14. More info: 

This class is continue's the fall semester's Beginning Yiddish, an introduction to Yiddish language, literature, and culture. Develop reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension skills, and explore simple Yiddish songs, stories, and dialogues as reflections of Yiddish culture and history. 
Yiddish Women Writers in America and their Feminist Legacy

Thursdays, January 31 - February 28 (no class Feb. 14), 7:30-9:00pm, Yiddish Women Writers in America and their Feminist Legacy, taught by Shaina Hammerman. Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica and Workmens Circle/Arbeter Ring at Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, San Francisco. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. Tuition: $40. More info and

Explore the selected writings (in English translation) of early twentieth century Yiddish-American women writers and their mid-century Jewish feminist successors. In the fiction and poetry of Kadya Molodowsky (picture to left), Celia Dropkin, Tillie Olsen, and Grace Paley, we'll encounter the immigrant experience from a female perspective. Examine how the writers depart from earlier Jewish literary forms to critique or reiterate prevailing cultural modes and values, and discuss how the work reflects their complex experience as Jews, women, and Americans. 

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. Note special appearance by Red Hot Chachkas on January 21 (see below).

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

Exhibit through February: Traces of Memory - A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland. At Osher Marin JCC. No charge. More info:


Thursday, January 17, 9:00pm-12:00midnight (doors open 8:00pm), Klezmer Night celebrating The Gonifs' CD release, with special guests Veretski Pass. At Starry Plough, Berkeley. Tickets: $8-$12, sliding scale. More info:  


Monday, January 21, 6:00-8:00pm, Red Hot Chachkas at Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen, Berkeley. More info: 510.848.3354

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


Wednesday, January 23, 7:00pm, Ellis Island Old World Folk Band. At Le Bateau Ivre Café/ Restaurant, Berkeley. More info:

Saturday, January 26, 2:00-5:00pm, Free klezmer jam session and record party hosted by Jeanette Lewicki. At a private home in Oakland near Ashby BART. Refreshments provided. Listeners, singers, dancers and klezmer players at all levels are welcome. No charge. More info and rsvp:madamlewicki[at]yahoo.com415.672.7858.

Saturday, January 26, 7:00pm, Klezmer music, singing and dancing at the Jewish LearningWorks Feast of Jewish LearningSession 1 (7:30-8:30pm): Yiddish Choristers performance and sing-along. Session 2 (8:45-9:45pm): Klezmer dance lesson with Karen Bergen. Then oneg with refreshments and music by The Klezmakers. This Feast's theme is Dreams & Schemes. At the Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto. For everyone bar and bas mitzveh age and up. No charge. More info: HERE

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

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

On the Web

Hava Nagila, Texas-Style: If you saw Hava Nagila (the movie) at the San Francisco, Silicon Valley or Sonoma County Jewish Film Festivals, don't miss hearing yet another version of this foot-tapping songHERE. (Thanks to Avram Tassa). You'll have another chance to see the film on March 17 in Orinda, part of the East Bay Jewish Film Festival.

Andy Statman
 (and his recent National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship) is the subject of a "New York Times" article HERE. Watch his performance HERE

Hear Yankev Glatshteyn, one of the greatest Yiddish poets, read sections of his poem, "From the Nursery" at Candles of Song: Each poem is given in Yiddish, transliteration and English translation.
 Farshidns (This 'n That)
Yiddish translators wanted: Cornell University has announced a new project in which volunteer Yiddish speakers help translate journals and newspapers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, originally written for working-class Jewish immigrants. Perfect translations not required. Details HERE.

Proverb of the month:
 What you deal with every day sticks to you: Mit vos me handlt klept zikh on.(Thanks to Jon Levitow). 
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 Click on Events.

Thursday, February 7 - April 11, 7:00-9:00pm, Intermediate Yiddish Part Two, taught by Jon Levitow. Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica at Congregation Kol Emeth, Palo Alto. Tuition: public $200, Kol Emeth members $180. Registration and more info: HERE

Thursday, February 7, 7:30pm, Klezmer & Hazzones, and Monday, February 11, 7:30pm, Busting the Myth of the Klezmer Revival, lecture/demonstrations by Veretski Pass. At the JCC East Bay, Berkeley. Part of Jewish Music Festival. Tickets: $15/one session, $25/both. Tickets and more info:HERE. Info about entire festival:
Sunday, February 10, 2:00-4:00pm, KlezCalifornia Flisik Yidishe Salon, for fluent speakers. At a private home in San Francisco. No charge. More info: 415.789.7679flisik[at]

Sunday - Monday, February 17-18Klezmer Dance Workshop with Karen K. Bergen, at Limmud Bay Area. At Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove. More info:
Honor Wall

Honor Wall postings this month:
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Reyna Greenfield: 
In memory of my mother, Anne Raiklen, who spoke YIddish.
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Deborah Kohn: In memory of my maternal ancestors, who perished in the barn fire in Jedwabne, Poland, July 1941. 
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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!