Tam for Kids: Overview

A Taste of Yiddish

Through Tam: Tastes of Yiddish Culture for Kids and Teens, KlezCalifornia brings a tam (“taste,” in both Yiddish and Hebrew) of Yiddish culture to Jewish youth in grades K-12 at religious schools, day schools, and Jewish day camps. We want them to become enthusiastic about Yiddish culture, and to see it as a vibrant part of their own Jewish lives.

Three different, 1-3 minute videos about the Tam program

Featuring the YidLife Crisis comedy duo

Play Video
A 1-minute introduction to KlezCalifornia’s 26 lesson plans for kids about Yiddish culture.
Play Video
What are Tam Lesson Plans?
How teachers and parents can use Tam lesson plans
Play Video
Why Yiddish Culture?
How Yiddish culture is politically relevant, transgressive, and has vitamins no other language does.

KlezCalifornia has developed and tested twenty-six 45- to 75-minute lesson plans, and made over a hundred presentations to students in thirty schools and camps. Students have fun, while engaging with Yiddish culture as it enriches North American Jewish life today, and learning about its origins (and the family origins of many students) in Eastern Europe.

A comprehensive article in In Geveb — A Journal of Yiddish Studies provides a fuller description of the Tam project.

A story about Tam, “Kids learn a bisl about Yiddish culture from the experts” was published in the J, The Jewish News of Northern California (Jan. 26, 2018).

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, you may invite KlezCalifornia to send one of our experienced presenters to your classrooms. Or you may download these lesson plans at no charge to use in your own classrooms. We are also working with independent Jewish educators around North America who want to bring these lesson plans to multiple schools in their communities.

The Tam program is supported this year by grants from The Natan Fund, Koret Foundation, and Chaim Schwartz Foundation, program service fees from participating schools and camps, and in-kind contributions from KlezCalifornia. We also would welcome your tax-deductible donations to support the Tam program. Please refer to the Tam program in the “special instructions” box.

View the lesson plans »

Why Yiddish Culture for Kids?

Most Jewish children in North America have a Yiddish heritage — i.e., many branches of their family came from Eastern Europe — but are barely aware of the richness of this historic culture stretching back over 1,000 years. Much of North American family and community Jewish culture is, in fact, Yiddish culture: religious customs at home and at synagogue, folk melodies, food, humor, and more.

Yiddish culture offers a novel connection to Jewish life for today’s young Jews through which they can enrich and expand their Jewish identities, building on the yerusha (inheritance) of most North American Jews. Accessible to Jews and non-Jews alike, Yiddish culture provides something for everyone in interfaith families and for non-Jews who find Yiddish culture compelling (e.g., some of this generation’s best klezmer musicians are not Jewish). While Yiddish culture used to be “old,” it is new again, now seen as counter-cultural, something that would have astonished our grandparents.

Learn More and Schedule a Presentation

“We had KlezCalifornia come to entertain and educate our religious school and it was so great.”
Congregation Shir Ami
Castro Valley

KlezCalifornia sends experienced presenters, working with teachers to ensure that our lesson fits into the school’s curriculum in Jewish history, art, music, or contemporary Jewish life. The lesson plans are sufficiently detailed that the regular classroom teacher can present most of them. The first presentation is at no charge; after that, we charge a modest fee.

To schedule a presentation, if you are a principal, teacher, parent, or student in a Jewish educational institution in the San Francisco Bay Area, please contact KlezCalifornia at 415.789.7679 or tam@klezcalifornia.org.

KlezCalifornia is also available to train teachers to present our lessons. View the lesson plans »