Northern California Upcoming Events


“Yes, there’s a word for that in Yiddish!”
Sunday, March 18, 1:30pm.
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis St. San Francisco
Presented by Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Library.

for Gitl Schaechter Viswanath eventPublished in 2016,the Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary,contains more than four times as many words as the most recent English-Yiddish dictionary, which was published nearly  fifty years ago. Where did all these words come from? How do you say cell phone, binge-watch, glove compartment, and many other words used in contemporary life? Schaechter-Viswanath will discuss her childhood growing up with mame-loshn and how she became involved in seeking out existing Yiddish words, as well as coining new ones.

Gitl Schaechter Viswanath - CopyGitl Schaechter-Viswanath has devoted her life to keeping Yiddish vibrant and relevant. She is co-editor-in-chief of the Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary (Indiana University Press and League for Yiddish) and is language editor of Afn Shvel, the magazine of the League for Yiddish. Schaechter-Viswanath has published a bilingual volume of her poetry, Sudden Rain/Plutsemdiker Regn, and sings in an all-Yiddish choir. Her three children (and  toddler grandson) all proudly speak Yiddish.



When Jesus Spoke Yiddish: Translating the Gospels for Jews
Sunday, April 29, 1:30 pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis St. San Francisco
Presented by Naomi Seidman. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Library.

Naomi Seidman event--Matthew in YiddishAmong the many translations of the New Testament, those directed at Jews present a particular set of challenges and opportunities. This lecture traces the four-hundred-year history of the Yiddish translation of the New Testament. While early translators, typically Jewish converts to Christianity, kept close to Luther’s German, in the twentieth century Yiddish translations moved toward a more idiomatic, Jewish, and “juicy” Yiddish. Dr. Seidman will explore how and why translators changed their approach, and what this move says about broader trends in modern Jewish culture, Yiddish literary style, and Jewish–Christian relations.

Naomi Seidman is Koret Professor of Jewish Culture at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Her books include A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish; Faithful Renderings: Jewish–Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation; and The Marriage Plot, Or, How Jews Fell in Love with Love, and with Literature.


Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman
Thursday, May 17, 7:00 pm
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis St. San Francisco
Presented by Robbin Légère Henderson. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Library.

Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman by Matilda RabinowizRussian immigrant Matilda Rabinowitz (1887–1963) was a feminist, labor organizer, and mother. In her memoir, written in her later years, she describes life in the Pale of Settlement and tells the story of her journey to America, her political awakening and work as an organizer for the IWW, and, in her personal life, of a turbulent romance and struggle to support herself and her child. Matilda’s granddaughter Robbin Légère Henderson added commentary and illustrations for Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman, recently published by Cornell University Press.

Robbin Legere Henderson and Matilda RabinowizRobbin Légère Henderson is an artist and writer whose work has been shown internationally, and most recently at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Henderson received her BA in English Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, with further study at the San Francisco Art Institute.



LAST BUT NOT LEAST, while all talks are in English, and musicians tend to translate Yiddish lyrics for English-speaking audiences (most of us!), you can brush up on your Yiddish, or if you’re game, begin to learn this hip “new” old language, by attending free bi-weekly Yiddish classes in San Francisco, co-sponsored by Workmen’s Circle of No. CA and KlezCalifornia:

WC/AR Beginning Yiddish classes take place bi-weekly on Fridays, 3:00 – 5:00 pm at SF Public Library, Civic Center Branch, co-sponsored by KlezCalifornia.    For more information, contact Sharon Wilensky –