Sun Feb 20 2022


Pacific Time
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm


Presented by KlezCalifornia
Co-presented by Yiddish Theatre Ensemble and Jewish Community Library

A Bintel Brief, an online participatory dramatic reading (part 2)

Join an engaging, fun, and theatrical reading of selected letters and responses from the acclaimed book, A Bintel Brief: Sixty Years of Letters From the Lower East Side to the Jewish Daily Forward, compiled and edited by Isaac Metzker. Published in 1971, the collection consists of translations of selected letters from Jewish immigrants settling and assimilating in this country, with responses from editor Abraham Cahan. The letters are heartfelt, direct, vivid, and sometimes almost lurid. The book was reprinted in a paperback edition in 1990.

This dramatic participatory reading will take place on Zoom Sunday, February 20, 1:30-3pm Pacific Time (PT) (4:30pm Eastern, 9:30pm London, 10:30pm Paris, 11:30pm Tel Aviv. Here’s a time zone converter. Please confirm local time). This reading will consist of letters and responses not included in the first reading in November 2021. The one-hour reading will be followed by a free-ranging discussion.

About A Bintel Brief
The mass migration of 2.6 million Jews to America from 1880 to 1924 led to many Jews settling on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. These recent immigrants faced issues of poverty, cultural change, antisemitism, domestic relations, entanglements with the Old Country, and social justice. These concerns and more were reflected in the many letters they sent to the Jewish Daily Forward, a Yiddish newspaper established in 1897 and with a circulation of a quarter of a million in the early 1930s. In 1906, Abraham Cahan, the editor, established the letters feature, A Bintel Brief (a bundle of letters). In these published letters, people poured out their hearts about their problems and received advice from Cahan.


You may register to be an AUDIENCE member (unlimited number) or to be an ACTOR/ READER (limit 15). We prefer actors/readers who did not read in the first Bintel Brief event November 14, 2021 in order to spread the fun. If you read in the last event, please sign up as Audience. All ACTOR/ READERS need to obtain a copy of the book in advance. ACTOR/READERS must register no later than Sunday, February 6, i.e. two weeks before the event, and agree to be “on camera” while they read. Each reader will be sent a list of the order of readings and the letters with page numbers for which they are responsible. Readers may be assigned both male and female voices. The letters have been translated from the original Yiddish and will be read in English.

Registration for the AUDIENCE ends at 9am PT the day of the event. After then, write; we cannot promise to notice your email if you contact us after the deadline.

To reserve a space, scroll to the bottom of this page to complete the registration form to be a member of the AUDIENCE. All Actor/Reader places have been filled.

Both readers and audience may participate in the discussion after the one-hour readings.

A Bintel Brief is available for purchase at bookstores or online (approx. $14.95). Look for ISBN-10: 0805209808 or ISBN-13: 978-0805209808. If you live in one of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, you may borrow an e-book from The Jewish Community Library in San Francisco.

Please direct any questions to Karen Bergen. On the day of the event, AUDIENCE members should direct any questions to

Registrants will receive sign-in instructions and Zoom suggestions by 11am PT the day of the event. If you have not heard by then, first check your junk/spam folder, then write Please do not wait until just before the event begins to notice whether you have the sign-in info.

To keep you informed of future events, we enroll registrants in our free monthly newsletter, which includes Yiddish culture events in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. You may unsubscribe at any time. KlezCalifornia does not share its lists with other organizations.

This event is FREE. However KlezCalifornia relies on donations from participants to cover the costs of online lectures, workshops, kumzitsn, play readings, and more. Donations of $18 or $36 (or whatever you can afford) are needed to enable us to continue to connect you with Yiddish culture. Please consider donating at least the cost of a cup of coffee!

KlezCalifornia is aware that the standard YIVO transliteration of the name of the newspaper column is A Bintl Brif. For this event, we use the spelling of the book from which we are drawing letters and responses.