Mission

KlezCalifornia is a living resource that connects people and communities with Yiddish culture.

What is Yiddish culture?

Yiddish culture encompasses the language, arts, and customs of 1000 years of Jewish community life across Eastern Europe, and now flourishes in the US, Canada, Israel, South Africa, Argentina, and elsewhere. While the Holocaust destroyed Jewish life in most of Eastern Europe, there is a revival of many artistic and cultural components of pre-Holocaust life, including klezmer music and dance; calligraphy, paper cutting, and other traditional arts; and short stories, poetry, and theater (in Yiddish and in translation). As the heyday of Jewish life in Eastern Europe fades into the distant past, its artistic and cultural legacy will thrive as people of all backgrounds explore the rich and diverse traditions. 

KlezCalifornia History

Founded in 2003, KlezCalifornia has produced, co-presented, or publicized Yiddish-inspired cultural events throughout Northern California. Between 2003 and 2016, we produced fourteen Yiddish Culture Festivals that each attracted 300-450 participants. In 2016 and 2017, we produced four Cabaret by the Bay, each with 3-5 individual performers, blended with music from a klezmer band, and concluding with a klezmer dance party. We offer a free monthly newsletter, klezmer workshops, Yiddish conversation salons, presentations on Yiddish culture to young Jews in grades K-12, fiscal sponsorship of cultural projects, and, most recently, quarterly Kumzits events. We look forward to hearing your ideas of new programs, and working with organizations throughout the region.