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KlezCalifornia promotes and celebrates Yiddish culture in the San Francisco Bay Area 

Contributing Members of KlezCalifornia (i.e. donors) will be invited to our semi-annual party with Board and Advisory Council members on Sunday, August 9, in the afternoon. Invitations are going out in mid-July. If you have not contributed since June 2014, we invite you to donate right now! Your gift is tax-deductible.

Have you watched the seven-minute video of our Festival last November at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto? You can also find the video by by scrolling down our website home page

You'll also find links there to:

Gele Pages cover* KlezCalifornia Geleh (Yellow) Pages, with listings of Yiddish culture resources in the Bay Area, including klezmer bands, Yiddish clubs, dance leaders, choruses, lecturers, and more. The equivalent of 44 pages!

* Local venues for Yiddish and klezmer events.

* and much more.

Have a great July! See you at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival!


-- Submissions for the August newsletter HERE by August 21.
-- KlezCalifornia Geleh* Pages (*yellow), directory of Bay Area resources: Geleh Pages 
-- Online sources of Yiddish-inspired culture: KlezCal on-line resources
-- Klezmer musicians looking for others: KlezCal want ads

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KlezCalifornia Flisik Yidisher Salon, Sunday, July 12


Sunday, July 12, 2:00-4:00pm, KlezCalifornia Flisik Yidisher Salon for fluent Yiddish speakers. Dos mol beytn mir az yeder eyner zol brengen a nayeh vort en yidish. Azoy veln mir zikh lernen a sakh verter. Yeder eyner ken unz bashteln vos er hot getun oyf Father's Day o redn a bisl fun di temeh. Mir veln oykh shpiln a bisileh mit di yidisheh sprakh. Az ir kent, brengt epes af vos tsu noshn. Es iz shtendik beser mit esn. Zayt azoy gut un lozt mir visn friyer tsi ir kumt. Arje vet zayn dankbar tsu visn vifl benklakh er darf aroys-shteln.

More info: 415.789.7679flisik[at] At a private home, BERKELEY.
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, July 23 - August 9

Thursday, July 23 - Sunday, August 9, Jewish Film Institute presents The 35th San Francisco Jewish Film FestivalTickets: $14 general / $12 JFI members / $13 seniors. students w/ID. Monday to Thursday matinees: $10 general / $9 JFI members. Full / partial passes available. More info: 415.621.0523Jewish Film FestivalJewish Film Institute


KlezCalifornia is co-presenting the following films:

The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer
(Israel, 2014, 72 mins., directed by Asaf Galay, Shaul Betser)
An extraordinarily talented writer who lived in the labyrinth of his own imagination, Singer craved fame and loved women almost as much as he loved Yiddish. "Muses" is more about the women who midwifed Singer's work into English than about Singer's writing itself. It will make you read the short stories "Gimpel the Fool," "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy" or the novel "Enemies, a Love Story" with new eyes. These master works were written by Singer alone, but they were reborn in English through a collaborative (and sometimes desire-laden) process of translation. Preceded by "YidLife Crisis: Breaking the Fast."
Cinearts | Saturday, July 25, 1:50pm (Palo Alto)
California | Saturday, August 1, 12:20pm (Berkeley) 
Castro | Sunday, August  2, 12:45pm (San Francisco)
Smith Rafael | Sunday, August 9, 12:05pm (San Rafael)

YidLife Crisis: Breaking the Fast

(Canada, 2014, 5 mins., directors Eli Battalion, Jamie Elman)
Assembling at Montreal's holy temple of poutine (fries, cheese and gravy), La Banquise, on the Jewish calendar's holiest day of the year, Yumkipr (Yom Kippur), Chaimie and Leizer argue about the meaning of the ritual of fasting while ritually eating. They are best friends and debating adversaries who tackle life, love and lactose intolerance in this foodie-centric web series done entirely in their grandparents' Yiddish.
 Shows just before The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Cinearts | Saturday, July 25, 1:50pm
California | Saturday, August 1, 12:20pm
Castro | Sunday, August  2, 12:45pm
Smith Rafael | Sunday, August 9, 12:05pm

Raise the Roof 

(U.S.A., 2014, 85 mins., directors Yari Wolinsky, Cary Wolinsky) In the early 2000s, Rick Brown and his wife Laura Brown were captivated by a series of now-vanished but once resplendent synagogues whose painted interiors captured the pulse and color of Jewish life in 18th-century Poland. Each was ultimately destroyed by the Nazis; they are preserved only in photographs. Determined to restore the splendor of these wooden structures, the husband-and-wife team recruited 300 artists and students (many of whom are not Jewish) to reconstruct a life-sized model of one such synagogue. "Raise the Roof" chronicles this collective undertaking. Today, the reconstructed versionstands in Warsaw, as part of the permanent collection of a museum dedicated to Poland's Jewish heritage. 
Cinearts | Saturday, July 25, 6:00pm
Castro | Sunday, July 26, 2:00pm
California | Thursday, August 6, 4:30pm
Smith Rafael | Saturday, August 8, 12:30pm

Very Semi-Serious

(U.S.A., 83 mins., director Leah Wolchok) Why do cartoons feel like a quintessentially Jewish art form? From comic books to graphic novels, Jews have blazed a trail in illustratedstorytelling. The single panel cartoon - a few squiggles and even fewer words - enlightens, maddens, confuses. and delights. And nowhere does that art form soar higher than in the New Yorker magazine. Watching "Very Semi-Serious" is like getting together with someone else's crazy relatives; we see ourselves in them, but we're glad we don't have to go home with them. Filmmaker Leah Wolchok's peek behind the curtain reveals the people and pain that makes the humor poignant. Like binging on a year's worth of "New Yorker" cartoons, Very Semi-Serious delights and leaves you wanting more. 
California | Saturday, August 1, 6:30pm

Famous Nathan 

(U.S.A., 2014, 97 mins., director Lloyd Handwerker) We all love a good rags-to-riches story, and few are as improbable as the tale of Nathan Handwerker of Nathan's Famous, the storied hot dog franchise. "Famous Nathan" draws onhundreds of hours of interview footage, home movies, and audio recordings to weave the story of Handwerker as fast food pioneer, upstanding member of the Jewish community and family man. It is a quintessentially American tale of food, family and faith.
Castro | Saturday, July 25, 12:00pm
Cinearts | Sunday, July 26, 12:00pm
California | Sunday, August 2, 11:20am

Community Events 


Until Sunday, August 2, Fiddler on the Roof. Produced by Berkeley Playhouse. Tickets: $17-$60. More info: 510.845.8542 X 351Berkeley Playhouse.
At Julia Morgan Theater, BERKELEY


Beginners' Yiddish "Summer START-UP" classes: Six, two-hour/week sessions, throughout the summer, taught by Rochelle Goldman. Time and location to be arranged. More info: 650.577.1531,roshman[at]

Location to be determined, SAN FRANCISCO 


Monday, July 67:00-8:30pmBubeh Maysez: A History of the Yiddish Language, with Ken Blady.  Born in the 11th century, Yiddish has been the living tongue of the Ashkenazi Jewish world ever since. Topics covered include: from Hebrew to Aramaic to La'az, evolution of the Yiddish language, Yiddish midrashim for women, the struggle against Yiddish jargon, a taste of the varieties of Yiddish accents, the transmogrification of Yiddish into Yenglish, how academics assassinate the Yiddish language, Khasidim and Yiddish, and a prognosis for the future of Yiddish. Tickets: $8 / free for members; register for course H300-BJ. More info:  415.276.1506Lehrhaus Judaica.   



Friday July 108:00-11:00pm, Majorly Minor (new group) featuring Naomi Zamir, Peter Bonos and others, playing klezmer, East European and Israeli tunes for the Stanford International Folk Dancers. Dancing led by Karen Bergen. Evening includes a short performance of Yiddish songs. Admission: $10 general / $5 students / free for children / no-one turned away. More info:650.966.1775Stanford International Folk Dancers

At First Baptist Church, PALO ALTO


Monday, July 136:00-8:00pm, Ghost Note Ensemble. Entertainment free with minimum $10 purchase. More info: 510.848.3354Klezmer Mondays at Saul's
At Saul's Deli, BERKELEY   


Sunday, July 19, 4:00pm, Songs of Love and Summer, with Nigunim Chorus. Love songs in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, and Ladino. Also performing: Peter Bonos and the Orchestra Euphonos (klezmer), Rivka Amado, Linda Hirschhorn, and musicians of the band ADAMA. Dancing led by 

Bruce Bierman. Tickets: $15 general / $12 JCC members and youth from Brown Paper Tickets. More info: Facebook event page.   



Monday, July 206:00-8:00pm, Peter Bonos and Friends. Entertainment free with minimum $10 purchase. More info: 510.848.3354Klezmer Mondays at Saul's
At Saul's Deli, BERKELEY 


Wednesday, July 227:00-8:00pm, Klezmer Creek performance followed by jam.

Fourth Wednesday Klezmer Nights. Entertainment free with $5 minimum purchase. More info: 707.544.2491, Gaia's Garden.   

At Gaia's Garden, SANTA ROSA   


Sunday, July 262:00-4:00pm, Ellis Island Old World Folk Band together with Yassir Chadly and Moroccan musicians. Limited seating. No charge, donations accepted. More info: 510.704.8500Mo'Joe Cafe.

At Mo'Joe Café, BERKELEY 


On the Web


Enjoy listening to (and watching images of) A froy in mayn shikzal iz shuldik (A Women is to Blame for my Fate), a Yiddish vaudeville song written by Moshe Ratner to the popular American melody of the time, "She is More to be Pitied than Censured." It is sung by North Carolina resident Jane Peppler, who won Der Yidisher Idol competition in Mexico City on June 14 with her new Yiddish song, Ikh ken shoyn nit mithaltn (I Can't Keep Up). Peppler explains that this latter song sounds Celtic because she made her living for 30 years playing music of the British Isles. (Thanks to Len Rosenberg for this item). 

Farshidns (This 'n That)


A new exhibit, Yiddish Fight Club, created by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, is on display at the Center for Jewish History in New York until September 1. The exhibit highlights Yiddish words describing street violence, taken from the boxing ring, the docks, and the factories of Eastern Europe and New York. Curator Eddy Portnoy explains (in an article, "A Blessing on Your Head, and Other Ways to Deliver a Beating in Yiddish" by Simon Rabinovitch) that perhaps the modest exhibit has become the focus of so much attention because it captures "just the right balance of weirdness couched in real scholarship." To learn more about Jews in boxing, read "The Jewish Boxer's Hall of Fame" by the Bay Area's own Jewish educator Ken Blady (thanks to Moreen Libet).

Proverb of the month: No one knows whose shoe pinches except the person who walks in it(Keyner veyst nit vemen der shukh kvetsht, nor der vos geyt in im) (thanks to Yiddish Wit). 

Coming in August

Put these exciting events on your calendar now. 

Until Sunday, August 9, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. See story above.

Monday, August 36:00-8:00pm, Perlmutter, Perney, and Pollard (clarinet, bass, and drum trio), playing inside and outside the klezmer tradition. Entertainment free with minimum $10 purchase. More info: 510.848.3354Klezmer Mondays at Saul's
At Saul's Deli, BERKELEY


Wednesday, August 57:00-9:00pm, Ellis Island Old World Folk Band. More info: 510.849.1100510.849.1100Le Bateau Ivre

At Le Bateau Ivre Café/Restaurant, BERKELEY


Sunday, August 9, in the afternoon, KlezCalifornia Semi-Annual Party. Join the fun at KlezCalifornia's party for donors, Board, and Advisory Council members. Invitations are going out in mid-July. If you have not contributed since June 2014, we invite you to donate right now! More info:415.789.7679info[at]   


Wednesday, August 267:00-8:00pm, Klezmer Creek performance followed by jam. Fourth  

Wednesday Klezmer Nights. Entertainment free with $5 minimum purchase. More info: 707.544.2491,Gaia's Garden.   

At Gaia's Garden, SANTA ROSA   

SupportKlezCaliforniaSupport KlezCalifornia
With a gift of any amount, you become a Contributing Member of KlezCalifornia 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 to write about your own Yiddish heritage.

Chai image
Donors of $54 (3 chai/khay) or more may choose one of four "thank you" gifts: *  "Live & Be Well, A Celebration of Yiddish Culture in America," by Richard F. Shepard and Vicki Gold Levi (192 pp.) * "The Oy Way," a 115-page book by Harvey Gotliffe that helps you learn Yiddish expressions while engaging in meditative exercise. * DVD of the wonderful 80-minute "Yiddish Theater: A Love Story." * Eight beautiful, brightly-colored, 5"x7" music-themed greeting cards designed by Sonoma County artist Nina Bonos.

Your donations help KlezCalifornia keep Bay Area Yiddish culture and community vibrant and thriving. Plus, you'll be invited to two special KlezCalifornia parties each year. Make your tax-deductibledonation via credit card or with a check to KlezCalifornia at 1728 Allston Way, Berkeley 94703. A sheynem dank! Thank you very much!