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2015-12 & jam

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

What a wonderful Yiddish Culture Festival last month! Four hundred people of all ages attended the Festival, which was co-presented by the JCC East Bay and co-sponsored by twenty-three local organizations. Our new "Cabaret & Cabernet" was a sold-out success, featuring eight outstanding performers showcasing a wide range of Bay Area Yiddish-inspired talents. The surprise appearance of ten-year-old Ariel Spagnolo delighted the audience with his rendition of Mickey Katz's English/Yiddish parody of "Sixteen Tons"
 [best known through Tennessee Ernie Ford's 1955 recording]. 

Sunday's many workshops (eighteen!) were great learning experiences and prompted impromptu jams during breaks for all to enjoy. The Festival's Finale began with the debut of tunes from Veretski Pass' new CD, Poyln: A Gilgul (Poland, a Metamorphosis), followed by a very freylekh (happy) dance party! Here a few pictures of the Festival. Look for many more in January's newsletter.

  Klezmer dance workshop (a.k.a. Yiddish dancing)               Saul Goodman's Klezmer Band 

          Dance from "The Dybbuk" film (1920)                        Workshop in klezmer technique

         Stu Brotman leading a workshop                   Laura Sheppard as our Cabaret's Marlene Dietrich

Photography by Lea Delson,

Thank you to everyone who participated and also filled out an evaluation form. The Festival received many positive comments, including these: "KlezCalifornia is such a gift to the Bay Area.There is nothing like it west of the Mississippi." "Everything was AMAZING, fun. I learned a lot and feel inspired." I congratulate you on another terrific KlezCalifornia day of Yiddish culture. Enjoyed every minute." "You set the most wonderful table where we all can celebrate our delicious cultural banquet of arts together!"

A freylekhn Khanikeh (Hanukkah, Chanukah) alemen -- HappyKhanikeh to all! (We transliterate the holiday's name to match the way you'll see it at the corresponding event.) We look forward to seeing some of you at KlezCalifornia's first community klezmer jam the first night of Khanikeh - see below.

In a few days you will receive a request for a year-end gift to KlezCalifornia. We hope you will send us some Khanikeh gelt!


-- Submissions for the December newsletter HERE
 by December 24.
-- 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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Klezmer Jam and Khanikeh Party, Sunday, December 6

Sunday, December 6, 3:00-8:00pm, Klezmer Jam and Khanikeh Party.
 KlezCalifornia is sponsoring a klezmer/Balkan/etc. jam and party for musicians, singers, and dancers, led by Peter Bonos, trumpet and euphonium player and member of Orchestra Euphonos and Fanfare Zambaleta. 

All levels are welcome. If you are a klezmer beginner it could be challenging, but we hope you'll find it fun. Please don't publicize this event on social media since it's in a private house and we'd like to know who's coming. No charge! 

Photography by Lea Delson,

Rsvp by December 4 to klezcaljam2015[at]
At a private home, OAKLAND. 

On the Web

Hear Dave Franklin ("the king of comic singers") in the song "Vaysuzo
," from "Akheshverus (or Queen Esther: Biblical Operetta in Five Acts and 15 Scenes") by Abraham Goldfaden, father of Yiddish theater. This purim shpil (Purim play) premiered in Warsaw in 1885 and the recording is from 1901 (thanks to Len Fellman).

Smithsonian Folkways has released The Brothers Nazaroff: The Happy Prince, a boisterous tribute to cult Yiddish troubadour Nathan "Prince" Nazaroff, who recorded the mysterious Folkways 10-inch record "Jewish Freilach Songs" in 1954. New international klezmer group The Brothers Nazaroff (Daniel Kahn, Psoy Korolenko, Michael Alpert, Jake Shulman-Ment, Bob Cohen, Hampus Melin) breathes life into the discordant, obscure, jubilant legacy of their Happy Prince. This animation
 by Ben Katchor gives a preview of their reinterpretation of "(Oy, Bin) Ikh A Mazldiker Yid" (I'm a lucky Jew!) (thanks to Nancy Kaye).
Farshidns (This 'n That)

Last month, Festival participants celebrated the release of the new CD, Poyln, a Gilgul, with Veretski Pass and Joel Rubin.Translated as "Poland, a Metamorphosis," this CD contains obereks, kujawiaks, krakowiaks and polkas of Poland, previously unknown Hasidic tunes, country dances, contemporary and 19th century ethnographic collections, repertoire from field research of the musicians and their colleagues, and original compositions. This recording is the meeting of Jewish and Polish music - a missing link of the klezmer revival, and is based on the collaboration of the Bay Area's own Veretski Pass with Joel Rubin at our 2014 Festival in Palo Alto. More info: Poyln CD website

Proverb of the month: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (Mit honik ken men 
khapn mer flign vi mit esik) (thanks to Yiddish Wit
Community Events 

Wednesday, December 4, 12:00noon, Yiddish Books Printed in California, with Erin Faigin. Thanks to her knowledge of Yiddish, Erin Faigin catalogued almost 100 volumes of Yiddish books printed in California, creating a literary map of Yiddish Los Angeles, which allows scholars to see that city's hidden Yiddish heritage in a new light. No charge. More info: 510.643.2526The Magnes
At The Magnes Collection, BERKELEY

Thursday, December 3, 6:30pm, Heather Klein, Yiddish Art Song. Part of "L'Chaim! To Life!" Jewish Music Series. Coffee and light refreshments at 6:00pm. No charge, but tickets required. More info: 707.664.2324Sonoma State Jewish Music Series.

At Sonoma State University, ROHNERT PARK

Friday, December 4, 7:30pm, Klezmer Shabbat, with Cantor Sharon Bernstein on vocals and piano, Stuart Brotman on bass, Sheldon Brown on clarinet, Ilana Sherer on violin, and Bruce Bierman on feet. A night of singing, dancing, davening (prayer), and eating. No charge. More info:415.861.6932marilyn[at]shaarzahav.orgCong. Sha'ar Zahav
At Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, SAN FRANCISCO

Saturday, December 5, in the evening following havdoleh and dessert, Only in America: Jewish Songwriters on Broadway: The Music, the History, and the Genius, with Jacqui Silver.More info: 831.624.2015Cong. Beth Israel.

At Congregation Beth Israel, CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA 

Saturday, December 5, 8:00pm, Veretski Pass. Part of Old First Concerts.Tickets: $18 general / $15 seniors / $5 full-time students / free for 12 and under (online prices; more at the door). More info:415.474.1608Old First Concerts
At Old First Church, SAN FRANCISCO

Sunday, December 6, 2:30 and 3:30 shows, Hooray for Hanukah, with Hot Kugel. More info: 
408.298.5437Children's Discovery Museum.

At The Children's Discovery Museum, SAN JOSE

Monday, December 76:00-8:00pm, Kugelplex. Part of Klezmer Mondays. Entertainment free with minimum $10 purchase. More info: Klezmer Mondays at Saul's
At Saul's Restaurant & Deli, BERKELEY

Monday, December 77:00-9:00pm, Make Me Wanna Challah, with Mindy Meyers. Part of 
four-session Cooking Round the World. Learn how to make vegetarian matzah ball soup and khaleh (challah). Cost: $50/class. More info: 510.593.5285Kehilla Synagogue

At Kehilla Community Synagogue, OAKLAND

Wednesday, December 9, 9:30am, Bagel Bytes: Eat, Pray, & Love in Yiddish, with Roslyn Sholin. 
More info: 650.948.7498Cong. Kol Emeth
At Congregation Kol Emeth, PALO ALTO

Thursday, December 10, 7:00pm, Hannuka Israeli Style
. Come light the 5th candle with singing and Israeli and klezmer dancing to music by Majorly Minor. If you like, bring a dish to share, or a menorah and candles. No charge. More info:[at]
At Congregation Beth Am, LOS ALTOS HILLS

Friday, December 115:00-8:00pm, Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble, part of Russian River Jewish Community Annual Community Chanukah Celebration. Suggested donation: $5 members / $10 non-members / call re family rates. More info and to rsvp: 707.632.5545,
At Russian River Senior Center, GUERNEVILLE

Saturday, December 12, 4:00pm, Saul Goodman's Klezmer Band. Part of Chanukah Unplugged. No charge. More info: 415.292.1200JCC San Francisco


Saturday, December 12, 8:00pm, Wintersongs, with Kitka. A good portion of the program will be songs from Yiddish and Hebrew-speaking Eastern European Jewish communities. Tickets: $10.00-$28.00. More info: 415.444.8000Marin JCC
At Osher Marin JCC, SAN RAFAEL

Sunday, December 13, 4:00pm, The Eighth Night of Hanukkah, with Nigunim Chorus, directed by Achi Ben Shalom. Candle lighting, concert of traditional and contemporary Jewish folk songs (Hebrew, Yiddish, English) in four-part harmony, and sing-along. No charge. More info:510.528.8872mail[at]
At Temple Sinai, OAKLAND

Monday, December 146:00-8:00pm, Tony Phillips, Barbara Speed, Dave Rosenfeld play klezmer. Part of Klezmer Mondays. Entertainment free with minimum $10 purchase. More info:Klezmer Mondays at Saul's.

At Saul's Restaurant & Deli, BERKELEY

Wednesday, December 17, 12:00noon, The role of Yiddish-reading women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with Reb Irwin Keller. Part of Yidish Tish. More info: 707.664.8622,Cong. Ner Shalom
At Congregation Ner Shalom, COTATI

Friday, December 18, 6:15pm, Musical Shabes, with Mike Perlmutter, Dave Rosenfeld, and Cantor Risa Wallach. More info: 925.934.9446Cong. B'nai Shalom.

At Congregation B'nai Shalom, WALNUT CREEK

Saturday, December 19, 7:30 pm, The Klezmatics. Tickets: $25. More info; 831.425.5299,Kuumbwa Jazz Center
At Kuumbwa Jazz Center, SANTA CRUZ

Sunday, December 20, 4:00pm & 7:30pm, Happy Joyous Hanukkah, with The Klezmatics. Lyrics by Woody Guthrie. Tickets: $25-$60. More info: 866.920.5299S.F. Jazz Center
At San Francisco Jazz Center, SAN FRANCISCO

Monday, December 216:00-8:00pm, Gypsy Moths. Part of Klezmer Mondays. Entertainment free with minimum $10 purchase. More info: Klezmer Mondays at Saul's.

At Saul's Restaurant & Deli, BERKELEY

Thursday, December 25, 11:30am-2:30pm, 7th Annual Saul's Deli Klezmer Street Party. Fair weather only. More info: Klezmer at Saul's

Outside Saul's Restaurant and Deli, BERKELEY  

Honor Wall

New Honor Wall
 postings this month:

Rivka Greenberg: In memory of Gerda Koppel whose daughter, Karen K. Bergen, continues the  love
of Yiddish culture.

Talia Shaham: In memory of Gerda Koppel, mother of Karen Bergen - KlezCalifornia Board member and dear friend. Stories of Gerda's exceptional life and strength have been inspirational. May her memory be a blessing.
Coming in January

Wednesday, January 13 - Sunday, February 14, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, a new musical play. Tickets: $25-$80. More info: 650.463.1950TheatreWorks
At Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, MOUNTAIN VIEW

Sunday, January 172:00-4:00pm, KlezCalifornia Flisik Yidisheh Salon. For fluent Yiddish speakers. More info: 415.789.7679flisik[at]
At a private home, OAKLAND

Wednesday, January 27 (4th Wednesday), Klezmer Night, 7:00pm performance by Klezmer Creek, jam at 7:30pm. Free with minimum $5 purchase. More info: 707.544.2491,
At Gaia's Garden, SANTA ROSA 

Sunday, January 31, 1:30pm, The Vilna Ghetto Library, a presentation by Judy Baston. Vilna - known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania - had a strong cultural tradition that flourished even after the Vilna Ghetto was established in 1941. Perhaps its most important cultural institution was the Vilna Ghetto Library. No charge. More info: 415.567.3327Jewish Community Library
At Jewish Community Library, SAN FRANCISCO.
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-deductible donation via credit card
 or with a check to KlezCalifornia at 1728 Allston Way, Berkeley 94703. A sheynem dank! Thank you very much!