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 and Programs
As KlezCalifornia celebrates our 20th anniversary connecting people and communities with Yiddish culture, we are announcing our transition to a facilitating organization. We will now support the next generation of Yiddish culture leaders with grants for community projects from The Yiddish Culture Fund. We will provide event publicity to our 3,000 member mailing list and offer mentoring as requested. We will continue to provide a home for fiscally-sponsored projects for selected arts, culture, and education projects that involve the Jewish community or other communities among which Jews live or have lived. We will continue to hold monthly online Yiddish conversation salons. Our on-line Honor Wall will continue to enable donors to pay tribute to their loved ones and their heritage. We will send e-blasts and sometimes co-present events of interest to our community. However we will no longer produce our own workshops or lectures and have discontinued the monthly newsletter.
We have offered San Francisco Bay Area residents (and now anyone anywhere online) rich and meaningful programs. We presented fourteen Yiddish Culture Festivals (2003-2016) and four cabarets (2016-2017), most attracting 300-400 people. When the pandemic hit in full force in March 2020, KlezCalifornia pivoted and presented almost 70 on-line participatory workshops in klezmer music, Yiddish song, and Yiddish dance; and online lectures on subjects from Jewish humor to Ashkenazic family genealogy. Workshops that had attracted 10-20 participants in person drew 50-100 online; online lectures attracted 100-300. Our monthly newsletter (now discontinued) and multi-faceted website (continuing) connect readers with the world of Yiddish culture, food, music, and resources within and beyond our organization.
We encourage tax-deductible contributions of all amounts to expand The Yiddish Culture Fund to the desired size of $50,000.
KlezCalifornia believes that Black Lives Matter. We promote inclusivity in our events and programs.