Sun Mar 14 2021


11:00 am - 12:45 pm


Presented by KlezCalifornia
Co-presented by Jewish Community Library and Chochmat HaLev

Don’t Knock Me a Tea Kettle: Strange Yiddish Expressions and How They Got That Way, with Michael Wex

In Michael Wex’s second presentation for KlezCalifornia, we will look at a few well-known Yiddish expressions and their sources to see what they tell us about the history, nature, and attitudes of the language and about why Jews felt that they needed a language of their own.   

About Michael Wex» Author of three books on Yiddish, including the bestselling Born to Kvetch, Michael Wex, born in Lethbridge, Alberta, has taught the language at the University of Toronto and the University of Michigan and is a mainstay of the contemporary Yiddish scene. A native-speaker whose Yiddish songs have been recorded by such bands as the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, Wex has translated material ranging from classical Yiddish literature to testimony for war crimes trials. He has also translated The Threepenny Opera from German into Yiddish. His most recent book, Rhapsody in Schmaltz, a study of Ashkenazi food that did for Yiddish food what Born to Kvetch did for Yiddish speech, was published 2016 by St. Martin’s Press only a few months before the world premier of Bobe Mayses, a collaborative spectacle by Wex, Jennifer Romaine and Alan Bern developed and produced at Yiddish Summer Weimar. His most recent major project, Baym Kabaret Yitesh, an all-Yiddish cabaret show, premiered at Yiddish Summer Weimar in 2019.

CORRECTED TIMES: To reserve a space, scroll down to BOOK EVENT, click on NEXT, and complete the registration form. Registration ends at 7am Pacific DAYLIGHT SAVING Time (10am Eastern Time, 14:00 UK, 15:00 Paris, 16:00 Tel Aviv) the day of the event. If you want to try to participate after that, write We cannot promise to notice your email if you register after the deadline. THE EVENT IS NOT “SOLD OUT.” THE REGISTRATION SYSTEM WAS MALFUNCTIONING. IF YOU SAW THAT MESSAGE, TRY AGAIN, OR WRITE NU@KLEZCALIFORNIA.ORG.

Registering for this event includes giving KlezCalifornia permission to take still and video images and use them for educational or other organizational purposes. If you do not agree to such use, please turn off your video when you join the event. To keep you informed of future events, we are enrolling registrants in our free monthly newsletter which includes klezmer and 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.

Those who have registered by Sunday 7am Pacific Daylight Saving Time (see above for times in other zones) will receive sign-in by 8:10am Pacific DST that day. If you have not heard by then, write a.s.a.p. to Please do not wait until just before the event begins to notice whether you have the sign-in info. Note that many locations don’t change to Daylight Saving Time the until weeks later; don’t miss the first hour!

KlezCalifornia is presenting online events free of charge as a community service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations of $25 (or whatever you can afford) are greatly appreciated to enable us to continue our mission to connect you with Yiddish culture and to assist presenters who have lost most of their income.