Staff & Board

Judy Kunofsky

(volunteer) 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

Gerry Tenney

Board president

  • 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

Board chair

  • 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

Talia Shaham

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!

Ed Anisman


  • 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

Josh Horowitz

board member

  • 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

Rosie Kaplan


  • 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

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

board member

  • 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!

Dmitri Gaskin

board member

  • Accordionist, composer, arranger, and pianist with Tsvey Brider, Baymele, and Saul Goodman’s Klezmer Band.
  • Got his first accordion for his Bar Mitsve
  • Bay Area native: grew up in Berkeley, now lives in Watsonville
  • Doesn’t speak Yiddish, fluent in Polish