Staff & Board
Executive Director & Treasurer
- Four careers so far: mathematician, environmental organizer, fundraising consultant, Yiddish culture organizer
- Plays classical viola
- Grew up in Borough Park, Brooklyn and Lower East Side, Manhattan
- Reads Yiddish fluently, speaks nisht azoy ay-ya-ya
- California Klezmer band leader; mandolin, guitar and vocals
- Former director of East Bay Kindershul and children’s entertainer
- Hosted The Gerson Yankl Show on KPFA
- His mame loshn is Yinglish, but his Yiddish is pretty good too.
Laura "Larishke" Rosenberg
- Arts administrator and conductor; left classical music for Yiddish song during her midlife crisis
- Co-founder of the Hot Springs Music Festival and the New Yiddish Theater
- Sings in Yiddish, accompanied by her concertina or by one of the more eccentric klezmer bands
- Speaks only a bisl Yiddish, but curses in it daily
Vice President and vice chair
- Had long career as a scientific programmer and analyst
- Plays violin in a string orchestra
- Hebrew speaker, studied Yiddish
- Klezmer music and Yiddish culture enthusiast
- Grew up hearing mother speak Yiddish with others, but she sprinkled her speech to us kids with colorful Yiddish phrases which stuck!
- Degree in architecture from UC Berkeley
- Licensed architect and a principal at Interactive Resources, a Richmond, CA architecture and engineering firm
- Volunteered with Vista in Fayetteville, Arkansas
- An ardent student of Yiddish
- Internationally acclaimed composer, arranger, accordion, cimbalom, and piano player with Budowitz, Veretski Pass, and Cosmic Diaspora
- Teacher at KlezKamp, KlezKanada, Yiddish New York, Yiddish Summer Weimar, and the Klezmer Festival Fürth
- Performed and recorded with Itzhak Perlman, The Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Theodore Bikel, Rubin & Horowitz, Brave Old World, Alicia Svigals, and Adrienne Cooper
- Minimal Yiddish, fluent in German
- Born in Germany to Polish Holocaust-survivor parents
- Educator, entrepreneur, and volunteer coordinator for Sierra Club and BOSS
- Taught English to adults in Israel while she was there learning Hebrew.
- Yiddish is her mameloshn and she co-leads the monthly KlezCalifornia Yiddish Salon
- Lawyer and KlezCalifornia’s legal advisor
- Advisor to (former) Jewish Music Festival and San Francisco Festival of the Mandolins
- Active Musician, played klezmer mandolin and fiddle with Instant Klezmer, and Red Hot Chachkas
- Grew up hearing his zeydeh and bobeh speak Yiddish to avoid being understood, but still has no clue what they were saying
Gail "Gitl" Rubman
- Immunological researcher at Harvard Medical School, microbiologist at Mount Zion Hospital, and lab supervisor at Clinica de la Raza in Oakland.
- Yiddish singer with Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco
- Passionate about the history of activism of American Yiddish choruses
- Wishes she could have understood all those Yiddish jokes her parents’ friends told.
Laura "Lita" Sheppard
- Director of Events at Mechanics’ Institute where she presents authors, films and literary celebrations
- Producer of celebrations, festivals and cultural events for over 35 years
- Professionally trained actor, dancer and self-proclaimed stage diva
- Lover of Yiddish Theater
- Speaks a bisl Yiddish!