Newsletter‎ > ‎


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

Chai imagePlease consider making a gift NOW (by Saturday night, December 31) to KlezCalifornia, your last chance to qualify for a 2016 tax deduction. We rely on support from people like you who come to events, enjoy the newsletter, or are simply happy to know that KlezCalifornia is around. 

With your help, we can do even more, and every donation makes a difference. It's easy. Donate with a credit card or mail a check payable to KlezCalifornia to 1728 Allston Way, Berkeley CA 94703. Your contribution is tax-deductible.

Our first gift to you is photographs from the November 20 Cabaret by the Bay with Osher Marin JCC, and December 4 Yiddish Culture Festival with JCC East Bay. Many wonderful images (including of you?) by Lea Delson,, available for your (free) enjoyment and perhaps your purchase.

Our second gift to you is a new music video by the Bay Area's own Anthony Russell singing O, Ir Kleyneh Likhtelekh over images from the early twentieth century. The poem, composed in Yiddish by sweatshop poet Morris Rosenfeld (1862-1923) was inspired by the holiday of Khanikeh/Hanukkah. 

And check out Yiddish classes beginning in January and February, in a special section below!   
-- Submissions for the February newsletter by January 27  
-- KlezCalifornia Geleh* Pages (*yellow), directory of Bay Area resources
-- Online sources of Yiddish-inspired culture
-- Klezmer musicians looking for others

Facebook rectangle 
Yiddish Salon, Sunday, January 15
Sunday, January 15, 2:00-4:00pm, KlezCalifornia Flisik Yiddish Salon. For fluent Yiddish speakers.
Yeder eyner vet undz helfn lernen epes nayes. We are asking that each participant come prepared to express their thoughts and offer some new vocabulary that will provide learning experiences for us all.

* Vos far a nayeh zakh vestu ton oder pruven in 2017? (future tense) 
* Vos iz geven dayn bester arbet eyder du bist geven tsvantsik yor alt? (past tense)
No charge. More info: 415.789.7679flisik[at]  
At a private home, OAKLAND

The Yellow Ticket (silent film), Thursday, January 19

Thursday, January 19, 7:00pm, The Yellow Ticket (1918 silent film; 63 mins.), with original score by Alicia Svigals. Performed by Alicia Svigals, Marilyn Lerner, Laura DeLuca. A young Jewish woman (silent film superstar Pola Negri) living in a Polish shtetl fights the odds while trying to fulfill her ambition to study medicine in Russia but is coerced into prostitution to pay the rent. Shot on location in the former Jewish quarter of Warsaw at the end of World War I and on the eve of the Russian Revolution, this silent film rarity addresses ethnic and religious discrimination, human trafficking and poverty in remarkably progressive terms. Followed by a talkback with Svigals and others.

KlezCalifornia is a community partner. Tickets: standard  $28 / Use code FIDDLE25 for 25% discount. More info: 415.292.1200Yellow Ticket at JCCSF.

Also: Wednesday, January 18, 7:30pm, same program day earlier. More info: 650.724.6874Yellow Ticket at StanfordDirections and parking info.
At CCRMA Stage - 660 Lomita Dr. Stanford (The Knoll), Stanford University, STANFORD
Comedienne in a Hasid's Pants, Thursday, January 19

Thursday, January 19, 7:00pm, Comedienne in a Hasid's Pants: Pepi Litman, presented by Jeanette Lewicki, with Laura Rosenberg and Josh Laurenzi. 
From 1890-1930, Pepi Litman (born Peshe Kahan) criss-crossed Eastern Europe cross-dressed as a male Hasid, belting provocative songs in a husky contralto. In an era when nice Jewish girls didn't sing in mixed company, and women couldn't wear pants or vote, Litman led her own vaudeville troupe everywhere from Budapest to Brooklyn. She moved in literary circles, joined the Broderzinger (itinerant singer) movement to enlighten poor folks through Yiddish comedy, sold out Gimpel's Lemberg Yiddish Theater, was banned by the Soviet Union, and died penniless in Vienna.

Jeanette Lewicki has been obsessed with Litman's songs for twenty years and has now mustered seven full or partial translations of Litman songs. She'll premiere them at this presentation, joined by singer and concertina player Laura Rosenberg, and fiddler Josh Laurenzi.  
Co-presented by KlezCalifornia. No charge. More info: 415.567.3327Lewicki on LIttman. 
At Jewish Community Library, SAN FRANCISCO
Yiddish in a Day, Sunday, January 29
Sunday, January 29,Yiddish In A Day: Giving Voice To Story, Wisdom & Humor. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. Part of UNDER ONE TENT cultural series.

2:00pmStorytellers Sally Holzman and Terry Stokes will delve into the vibrant world of Yiddish culture by sharing the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer, the "Elders of Chelm," and honored rabbis.
3:30pm, Yiddish Concert, with Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell

Tickets: $10 for storytelling; $18 for both storytelling and concert; Students 18 and under are free. More info: Yiddish in a Day.  
At Congregation B'nai Shalom, WALNUT CREEK
Yiddish Language Classes this Winter and Ongoing

Mondays, January 9 - March 20 (no class MLK day), 7:00-9:00pm, Yiddish Reading Group, with Yankl Levitow. Ongoing Yiddish literature reading group, led by Yankl Levitow, Yiddish instructor at Stanford and UC Santa Cruz. Ten two hour sessions. Fluency by no means required -- but some ability to read Yiddish is a prerequisite. Tuition: $250. More info: 650.813.9094jnlvtw[at]
At Congregation Etz Chayim, PALO ALTO

Wednesdays, January 18 - March 227:15-9:15pm, Introduction to Yiddish, with Yankl Levitow. Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica. Tuition: $225 plus the course textbook (about $25). More info: 408.358.1751Levitow at Shir Hadash.
At Congregation Shir Hadash, LOS GATOS
Mondays, January 23 - April 37:00-8:30pm, Beginning Yiddish From Scratch, taught by Ken Blady. Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. Tuition: 10 sessions, $175 public, $160 Lehrhaus Judaica members. More info: 510.845.6420Blady at JCC East Bay.
Mondays, January 23 - May 157:15-9:15pm, Reading Yiddish Texts, with Yael Chaver. Students should have completed at least a year of college-level Yiddish language or the equivalent. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. Tuition: $240 public / $225 Lehrhaus Judaica members. More info: 510.845.6420Chaver at JCC East Bay.
Tuesdays, January 24 - March 2812:00noon-1:30pm. Beginning Yiddish: A Lek (lick) and a Shmek (taste) of Yiddish, taught by Ken Blady. This is a continuation class from the fall semester but new students are welcome. Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica. Co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia. Tuition: $160 public, $145 Lehrhaus Judaica members. More info: 510.845.6420Blady at B'nai Shalom
At Congregation B'nai Shalom, WALNUT CREEK
Thursdays, February 2 - April 612:00noon - 1:30pm, Beginning Yiddish From Scratch, taught by Ken Blady. Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica. Tuition: $160 public, $145 Lehrhaus Judaica members. More info: 510.845.6420Blady at Kol Shofar.
At Congregation Kol Shofar, TIBURON
Tuesdays & Thursdays, January 10 - March 233:20-4:55pm, First-Year Yiddish, with Yankl Levitow. Class # 42030. More info: ynkl[at]
At University of California, SANTA CRUZ
Likely Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:30am-1:20pm, Second and Third Year Yiddish, with Yankl Levitow. More info: ynkl[at]
At Stanford University, STANFORD
Tuesday evenings, 7:00-9:00pm, Intermediate Yiddish, with Yankl Levitow. The suggested "Rebeh-gelt" (tuition): $250, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.  More info: 831.457.0264ynkl[at]
At Congregation Kol Tefila, SANTA CRUZ
Two alternate Friday afternoons each month, 3:00-5:00pm, Beginning Yiddish, with Rochelle Goldman. Speaking, reading, writing, and grammar. Choose one of two textbooks: Marvin Zuckerman's "Learning Yiddish in Easy Stages" or Sheva Zucker's "Yiddish: An Introduction to the Language, Literature & Culture" for those who have been in the class previously. Presented by The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring and KlezCalifornia. No charge, but reservation required. More info: 650.577.1531roshnman[at]
At the San Francisco Main Library, SAN FRANCISCO
You might also be interested in the monthly Yidish Tish led by Reb Irwin Keller at Congregation Ner Shalom (Cotati) or Yiddish clubs at the JCC East Bay (Berkeley), Oshman Family JCC (Palo Alto), and Peninsula JCC (Foster City) all described in the  KlezCalifornia Geleh Pages.
On the Web

Read a newly translated short story, "The Institute for Facial Reform," by Getsl (George) Selikovich. This early twentieth-century satire of American life dares to imagine a world in which people change their faces - their noses, their chins - in order to match the latest fashion. In other words, it's an unlikely prophecy of plastic surgery (thanks to Yiddish Book Center).

How Klezmer Music Refutes Richard Wagner's Myth of Racial Purity, an interview by Nathan Smith of Jessica Gould, Artistic Director and founder of Salon/Sanctuary Concerts, a concert series that presents "early music in intimate venues which complement both the acoustic and the historical context of the repertoire" in order to "encourage understanding among people of different faiths." 

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Sholem Aleichem: Notes from a Yiddish Writer's Biographer, a presentation by Jeremy Dauber at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Now you can watch most presentations at YIVO in New York on the web!
Farshidns (This 'n That)

Newly released CD "Gerry Tenney & California Klezmer," represents over thirty years of klezmer, Yiddish, and Jewish music by one of the Bay Area's pioneers in the field. Many original and traditional songs and tunes, some never before recorded. Newly re-issued: "Lomir Zingen A Yiddish Lid," (Let's Sing A Yiddish Song), with Gerry Tenney and Betty Albert Schreck, and "The Music Man's In Town" (in English). $15.00 for first CD, all subsequent ones $10.00. To order, gtenney[at],

Proverb (well, a curse this time) of the month:  May you have a sweet death - a truck loaded with sugar should run you over
(A zisn toyt zolst di hubn -- a truk mit tziker zol dikh iberfurn) (from Ken Blady's workshop at the Yiddish Culture Festival, and in his dialect)  
Community Events 

The Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco is looking for new singers beginning in January for their 91st season. They sing mostly in Yiddish and also in Hebrew, Ladino and Russian. All levels welcome. More info: 510.533.3903Jewish Folk Chorus.
Rehearsals at Menorah Park, SAN FRANCISCO.

Wednesday, January 46:30-8:30pm, Klezmer Creek. 
Part of (usually) 4th Wednesday Klezmer Wednesdays Night. Free with minimum $5 purchase. More info:,
At Gaia's Garden, SANTA ROSA 

Sunday, January 89:00-11:00am, Explore stories by Y.L. Peretz. On Sunday, March 19, Explore stories by I.B. Singer. Part of five-session seminar exploring works by American, European and Israeli Jewish writers that illuminate the human condition. Suggested donation for all 5 sessions: $36 (includes bagels, cream cheese, juice, and coffee). More info: 650.493.4661Beth Am Jewish Lit Class.
At Congregation Beth Am, LOS ALTOS HILLS 
Wednesday, January 117:00-9:00pm, Mama Loshn. Klezmer and Yiddish songs, including protest songs. No cover charge. More info: 510.849.1100Le Bateau Ivre
At Le Bateau Ivre, BERKELEY

Sunday, January 152:00-4:00pm, KlezCalifornia Flisik Yidish Salon. For fluent Yiddish speakers. See separate box above. No charge. More info: 415.789.7679flisik[at]  
At a private home, OAKLAND
Monday, January 166:00-8:00pm, Orchestra Euphonos. Entertainment free with minimum $10 purchase. More info: 510.848.3354Klezmer Mondays at Saul's.
At Saul's Restaurant & Deli, BERKELEY
Tuesday January 17, 7:30 (doors 7:00pm), Klezmer Instrumental Workshop with Alicia Svigals.
Open to all instruments, advanced beginning and up, but especially for strings. No prior knowledge of klezmer necessary. Tickets: $40 donation. Space limited; advance payment required. Reservations: houseconcert[at]  
At a private home near the Grand Lake Theater, OAKLAND
Wednesday, January 18, 7:30pm, The Yellow Ticket (silent film), with Alicia Svigals, Marilyn Lerner, Laura DeLuca, live musical accompaniment.  See separate box above. 
At Stanford University, STANFORD

Wednesdays, January 18 - February 82:00-4:00pm, Yiddish Literature in Translation, with  
Loretta Denner. Read stories by I.L. Peretz in honor of his hundredth yortsayt. No charge, but JCC accepts donations. More info: 707.528.4222lorluba[at]
At JCC Sonoma County, SANTA ROSA

Thursday, January 19, 7:00pm, The Yellow Ticket (silent film), with Alicia Svigals, Marilyn Lerner, Laura DeLuca, live musical accompaniment.  See separate box above.
At JCC San Francisco, SAN FRANCISCO 
Thursday, January 19, 7:00pm, Comedienne in a Hasid's Pants: Pepi Littman, presented by Jeanette Lewicki, with Laura Rosenberg and Josh Laurenzi. See separate box above. 
At Jewish Community Library, SAN FRANCISCO
Sunday, January 29, Yiddish In A Day: Giving Voice To Story, Wisdom & Humor.  See separate box above. 
At Congregation B'nai Shalom, WALNUT CREEK
Tuesday, January 317:00-9:00pm, Coming to America, a musical journey exploring Jewish immigration to America. With Noah Aronson, Marsha Attie, Josh Breitzer, Gideon Herscher, Arik Luck, rollin Simmons, Lizzy Weiss, and featuring Roz Barak. Includes original compositions, folk, Broadway, Yiddish theatre, and other genres.Tickets: $22 general / $72 premium seating, project support ($50 tax-deductible). More info: 415.751.253, Koleinu series at Emanu-El.
At Congregation Emanu-El, SAN FRANCISCO
Honor Wall

New Honor Wall postings this month:

Preeva Tramiel: In memory of Chaya Adler.

Dina and Yosef Shandling: In memory of Avrohom Chaim Feldman from his Bubby and Zaidy Shandling.

Josh Horowitz: Yey, KlezCalifornia!

Coming in February

Thursday, February 9, Shanghai Angel: Creating a Show about My Immigrant Grandmother, with Heather Klein and Joshua Horowitz. Co-presented by KlezCalifornia. No charge. More info: 415.655.7800Creating Shanghai Angel.
At Jewish Community Library, SAN FRANCISCO
Thursday, February 16, The Milkhik State: The Surprising Jewish History of Wisconsin, presented by Andy Muchin. A bisl (a little) Yiddish culture included. No charge. More info: 415.567.3327Muchin at Jewish Community LIbrary.
At Jewish Community Library, SAN FRANCISCO
Sunday, February 192:00-4:00pm, KlezCalifornia Flisik Yiddish Salon. For fluent Yiddish speakers. No charge. More info: 415.789.7679flisik[at]
At a private home, EL CERRITO
Thursday, February 236:30-8:00pm, and Sunday, February 263:00-4:30pm, Shanghai Angel (premiere), with Heather Klein and Joshua Horowitz. A one-woman musical based on Heather Klein's grandmother's journey from Austria to Shanghai to Angel Island. Tickets: $10 members / $20 general (includes Museum admission) Shanghai Angel pgm #1,
At Contemporary Jewish Museum, SAN FRANCISCO
Saturday, February 25, 9:00am-6:00pm, From the Bund to the Bern: Yiddish Socialism for the 21st Century. The year 2017 marks the 120th anniversary of the founding of both the Jewish Bund and the Zionist movement, and the centennial of the Russian Revolution. Speakers include Tony Michels, Barbara Epstein, Marvin Zuckerman, and Hershl Hartman. Mama Loshn doing workshop + performance. Presented by the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California. Tickets: $10 advance / $12 door. Advance reservations requested. Reservations and more info: lonepine44[at]
At Berkeley City College, BERKELEY
SupportKlezCaliforniaSupport 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 to write about your own Yiddish heritage.

Chai imageDonors of $54 (3 chai) 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, which helps you learn Yiddish expressions while engaging in meditative exercise. See * 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 (see HERE).

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 HERE or with a check to KlezCalifornia at 1728 Allston Way, Berkeley 94703. A sheynem dank! Thank you very much!