Northern California Prior Events



A Chanukah/Khanike Sing-out Sing-along!
Sunday, Dec 22, 2019, 3:00-5:30PM
Manny’s in the Mission
3092 16th St. (at Valencia St.)
More information available here
SIGN UP AT: www.welcometomannys.com
photo from the event:

Chanukah Sing-Along photo - Gail  Rubman - IMG_0663(2)

Advancement of Yiddish Culture grants announced – see full details here!


Allied Agendas for Troubling Times: A TALK, A PANEL & SONGS
Sunday, February 3, 2019 1:30 – 4:30PM
Admission is free; space is limited. Reserve your spot here or by emailing dmscott01@yahoo.com
Flier for this event can be seen here
Progressive movements today are more diverse and numerous than the epic social justice and environmental movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s. How, then, do we build alliances to achieve the shared goal of a more just and environmentally sustainable society and world in these increasingly challenging times? Join us for a long-view perspective by historian Tony Michels, energized singing with Jeanette Lewicki, and a panel discussion with activists from leading Bay Area advocacy organizations.



celluloid closet
Eve Sicular photo - Celluloid   Closet
The Celluloid Closet of Yiddish Film
Presented by Eve Sicular
Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis St. San Francisco

Despite the taboo surrounding homosexuality, this topic was too intriguing to be left entirely out of the Yiddish picture. An exploration of lesbian and gay subtext in Yiddish cinema during its heyday, from the 1920s to the outbreak of World War II, reveals distinctly Jewish concerns of the time intertwined with a striking array of allusions to this highly-charged subject. From musical comedies Yidl Mitn Fidl and Amerikaner Shadkhn to classic dramas Der Dibuk and Der Vilner Shtot-Khazn, queerness reached the screen in various guises, emerging as an alternate take on themes of conflicted identity, passing, and same-sex attachments.

Drummer, bandleader, and film scholar Eve Sicular formed and leads NYC-based bands Isle of Klezbos all-women’s sextet and Metropolitan Klezmer octet. Her original musical documentary theater piece, J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files, premiered in 2009. Sicular collaborated on Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds, co-organized by MoMA and the National Center for Jewish Film, and is a former curator of the Film and Photo Archives at YIVO Institute.

Co-presented by KlezCalifornia and the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California.
Program made possible, in part, by Richard Krieg, in honor of David Medlin.




The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of No. CA is among the long list of community partners/co-presenters of the 2018 SF Jewish Film Festival

As part of this first-time collaboration, we can offer our members and friends a $2 discount for the two films we’re co-presenting, described below (enter the code YIDDEN38 when you purchase tickets @$13, vs. regular price of $15).

“Who Will Write Our History?”
opening night Saturday, July 21 at CineArts, Palo Alto (6:15 pm)
Sunday, July 22 at the Castro (4:00 pm) 
Saturday, July 28 at the Albany Twin (6:00 pm)

In the Warsaw Ghetto, a group of activists secretly collected eyewitness accounts, diaries and photographs that told the history of the war from the perspective of the Jews. These archives are now finally revealed to the world. Told through a combination of archival footage, photographs and masterful reenactments, the film is a stirring paean to these prescient individuals and a celebration of their optimism, persistence and grit.

Roberta Grossman (Director) bio:
An award-winning filmmaker, Roberta Grossman has written, directed and produced more than 40 hours of film and television. Grossman’s 2012 Hava Nagila (The Movie) uses the song Hava Nagila as a portal into 150 years of Jewish history, culture and spirituality. Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh, Grossman’s 2008 film, was shortlisted for an Academy Award, aired on PBS, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy and won the audience award at 13 Jewish film festivals. 
Longer description at and link to purchase tickets at: https://jfi.org/sfjff-2018/film-guide/who-will-write-our-history 

“Naila and the Uprising” 
Sunday, July 29 at the Castro (5:00 pm)
Monday, July 30 at the Albany Twin (3:25 pm)

Award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha (Encounter Point, Budrus SFJFF 2010) specializes in documentaries about the struggle for democracy in the Middle East. Her dynamic portrait of Palestinian activist Naila Zakout begins as one woman’s fight against the occupation and grows into a complex quilt of women’s stories. Bacha delves into the first intifada, the Madrid peace talks and the Oslo Accords, offering a crash course in the conflict from the unique perspective of Palestinian women.

Julia Bacha (Director) bio:
Julia Bacha is a Peabody and Guggenheim award-winning filmmaker, media strategist, and the Creative Director at Just Vision, a nonprofit that highlights the power and reach of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation and build a future of freedom, dignity and equality. Since graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University, she has strategically used documentary film and multi-media to foster constructive conversations on some of the most divisive issues of our times.
Longer description and link to purchase tickets at: https://jfi.org/sfjff-2018/film-guide/naila-and-the-uprising

TO BROWSE OTHER FILMS in Film Festival guide, go to: https://jfi.org/sfjff-2018/film-guide


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.




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.


“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.



BEING THE RESISTANCE: Sharing songs, stories, & strategies
Sunday, February 25th, 2:00 – 4:30 pm at the SF Public Library, Civic Center Branch, Latino Meeting Room (free admission)
Songs have animated and sustained struggles for justice, rights, and dignity throughout history.
This event will include performance and participatory singing in several languages with updates from the resistance front by diverse Bay Area activist groups. 

Photos from the event here – courtesy Florentina Mocanu

SF Feb event


The Lonely Child: A Look at a Song and a Documentary-in-Progress 
Thursday, January 25, 7-8:30 pm  (free admission)
“The Lonely Child” is a song written in the Vilna Ghetto by Yiddish poet Shmerke Kaczerginski in 1943 about a mother and daughter separated by war. Seventy-five years later, Alix Wall – the daughter of the song’s daughter – sets out to make a documentary film about the people who are keeping the song alive, working together with filmmaker Marc Smolowitz, the son of a child hidden from the Nazis. While the film is in its early stages, Wall will speak about the power of the song and its global footprint.
A contributing editor for J.The Jewish News of Northern California, Alix Wall writes a monthly column about Jews in the food world as well as other features. She is a regular contributor to the San Francisco ChronicleBerkeleysideBay Area Bites, and Edible East Bay. Wall is founder of the Illuminoshi, the not- so-secret society of Bay Area Jewish food professionals, and works part-time as a personal chef.



RH - 9-24-17 Workmens_Circle


Film: The Broken Sound
Thursday, June 15, 2017, 7:00 pm
Jewish Community Library: 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Free program with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets. 
Spearheaded by Alan Bern of the band Brave Old World, the Other Europeans was a collaborative effort of fourteen lăutari (professional Roma musicians) and klezmer musicians from eight countries who came together to learn about and perform the interconnected musical traditions of the Jewish and Roma communities of Bessarabia.This documentary film, shot over two years in Moldova, Hungary, Israel, Germany, and the United States, follows the musicians as they explore Roma and Jewish musical traditions, develop relationships across national and cultural boundaries, and perform extraordinary music. 2012, 125 minutes, in English, German, Yiddish, and Romanian with English subtitles. The film will be shown in video projection.
Co-presented by KlezCalifornia, Lehrhaus Judaica, and the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California.


Jewish Labor Songs: A Concert and Sing-Along
Sunday, April 30, 2017, 1:30 pm
Jewish Community Library: 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
With International Labor Day (May 1) approaching, Oakland-based singer Gerry Tenney will perform and lead a sing-along of rousing and poignant Jewish labor songs, many of them in Yiddish. From the sweatshop poet Morris Rosenfeld, whose 1911 poem “Mayn Rue Platz” (My Resting Place) has become a classic labor song, to tunes popularized by labor troubadour Joe Glazer, American and European Jewish singers and songwriters have been at the forefront of music supporting the working class.
Renee Enteen, president of the Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco,  will share the history of the three Yiddish workers’ choruses that have operated in the Bay Area – in Oakland, Petaluma, and San Francisco. She’ll also display an exhibit about the three choruses.
Gerry Tenney is a musician, recording artist, children’s entertainer, leader of the bands California Klezmer and The Lost Tribe, and president of KlezCalifornia, a Bay Area organization supporting Yiddish culture.
Program made possible, in part, by Judy Baston.
Program co-presented by the Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco, KlezCalifornia, and the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California.


A Polish Journey to Yiddish Language and Culture
Sunday, March 26, 2017, 1:30 pm
Jewish Community Library: 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Polish-born Yiddishist Agnieszka Ilwicka will reflect on her work with the last native Yiddish speakers in Poland and her teaching of the language at the University of Wroclaw, Poland. She has studied and advanced Jewish culture in Poland in conjunction with the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, San Francisco, and the National Yiddish Book Center,  Amherst, Mass.
Ilwicka began learning Yiddish as an undergraduate at the University of Wroclaw, Poland, and she has continued her study of the language in Vilnius, Paris, London, and New York.  She holds a master’s degree in Polish philology and history, specializing in Jewish studies, from the University of Wroclaw. She was a student in Jewish studies at the University of Southampton, England, where she has worked with the archive of Yiddish manuscripts in the Hartley Library and with the Yiddish Book Collection at University College in London.  
Program made possible, in part, by Larry Burgheimer, and by Richard Krieg in honor of David Medlin.
Co-presented by KlezCalifornia, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, and the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California.

Postcard - Bund to Bern forum-page-002

Postcard - Bund to Bern forum-page-001


Women’s March Bay Area
January 21, 2017
We stand together in community and solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families, recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

10am-3pm Rally and March

San Jose
10am-3pm Rally and March

San Francisco
3-8pm Rally at Civic Center with speakers & arts, followed by a festive, reverent candlelight march
down Market St to Justin Herman Plaza

Please Join Us!
Join us in unifying our communities, grounding in new relationships and building bridges not walls.






The Jewish Folk Chorus of San Fransciso presents:
Mir Zaynen Do-We Are Here! Our 90th Annual Concert of choral folk songs from across the Jewish experience
San Francisco – Sunday, June 5th at 2:30 p.m. 
Jewish Community High School,1835 Ellis Street
Tickets available here
East Bay – Sunday, June 19th at 3:00 p.m.
La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley
Tickets available here
More information available on this flyer, by visiting this website, or by calling 510.533.3903


P1010061Maybe Not Your Grandma’s Cooking: Yiddish Vegetarianism in Pre-WWII Vilna A discussion with culinary maven Eve Jochnowitz
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 7:30 P.M. Congregation B’nai Emunah 3595 Taraval St. (at 46th Ave.) San Francisco
Learn all about The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook, Eve’s new translation of a 1938 Yiddish classic. Pre-Valentine’s Day bonus! Sample a sensuous, romantic, hot beverage prepared by Eve. For more information, contact dmscott@yahoo.com

The Jewish Chicken Ranchers of Petaluma: Why Remember? Presentation by Kenneth L. Kann
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1:30 P.M. What happened to the rich community and culture of the Jewish immigrants who founded the Petaluma chicken ranching community in the early 1900s: their idealistic commitment to agrarian life, their intense shtetl-like community, their fervent socialist and nationalist ideologies, and their rich Yiddish and Hebrew cultural life? Twenty years after the publication of his unique work of oral history, Comrades and Chicken Ranchers, Kenneth Kann examines what has been lost and what remains of this rich heritage in the generations that followed.


Documenting the Vilna Ghetto Library A presentation by Judy Baston
SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 1:30 P.M.                 
Vilna—known as the Jerusalem of Lithuania—had a strong cultural tradition that endured even after the Vilna Ghetto was established by the Nazis in 1941. One of the most important cultural institutions in the Ghetto was the Vilna Ghetto Library, with thousands of readers. When Judy Baston discovered that her three young cousins in the Vilna Ghetto had been on the list of Ghetto Library patrons, she was stunned to realize that the grimness of their daily lives had been relieved by the stories in the books they read. Further research led her to uncover additional archival documentation and a detailed look at which authors and titles were read by Ghetto Library patrons.


Sunday, December 13, 3:00 – 5:00 pm:   
Khanike (Chanukah) for the Rest of Us! at Piedmont Gardens Sky Room 110 41st St., Oakland. Esn latkes (eat potato pancakes) and enjoy the music of Sonoma County band Mame Loshn and Myrna Oy’s Yiddish Cabaret. Free family event-reservations are required by December 10th. Learn more here.


Thursday – Monday, November 5-9: THE ROMANIAN FILM FESTIVAL with FREE screenings and post-film discussions at Stanford, SFSU, and UC Berkeley. Co-sponsored by WC/AR of No. CA.
Festival kicks off on Thursday, November 5, at Stanford (6:30 pm – 8:30 pm) with ALIYAH DADA, director Oana Giurgiu’s 2015 documentary about Jewish Dada artist Tristan Tzara. “Following the 130 years of history of Romanian Jewry’s emigration to the Holy Land, the film touches on Eastern European and Israeli history through stories and playful collages that celebrate the art of Tristan Tzara, the famous Jewish-Romanian French avant-garde artist, born in the same town from which first Jews emigrated to Palestine in 1882…” Q&A with director Oana Giurgiu follows. East Asia Library, Room 224, Lathrop Library building, 518 Memorial Way, Stanford Univ. (map)

Festival continues Friday, November 6, at SFSU, beginning 4:00 pm with second screening of ALIYAH DADA (4:30 – 6:30), followed by Q & A with the director; dinner/reception, and additional film screening, Q & A. Fine Arts Building, Coppola Theater, San Francisco State Univ., 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132 (map)

Festival remains at SFSU Saturday (9:00 am – 7:00 pm) with four additional films and two post-screening discussions with filmmakers. Moves to Stanford on Sunday, and to UC Berkeley on Monday. Full schedule at:  https://rofilmfestival.wordpress.com/

Saturday – Sunday, November 7-8: KLEZCALIFORNIA YIDDISH CULTURE FESTIVAL, JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley.
Interactive klezmer music, song, dance, poetry, and more, featuring some of the Bay Area’s best entertainers, including performance artists Sara Felder and Naomi Newman, and internationally renowned musicians Veretski Pass. Co-sponsored by WC/AR of No. CA.

Saturday 7:30 – 10:00 pm, Cabaret & Cabernet
Sunday, 10:00 am-7:00 pm: Workshops and Party
16 workshops, performance by Veretski Pass, concluding music and dance party, with dancing led by Bruce Bierman, refreshments.
Festival Pass savings, individual event tickets, program details: www.klezcalifornia.org,  KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival page on Facebook, or 415.789.7679.

IN SANTA ROSA: Saturday, November 14th 5:30-9:30 pm -A benefit concert for the Jewish Community Free Clinic
put together by the folks who brought you Yiddishland in Cotati (details here).

Sunday, November 15, 1:30 pm: “YIDDISH PARIS : Theater and Culture During the Interwar Years”
A presentation by Nick Underwood at the Jewish Community Library, 1835 Ellis St., SF.             
During the 1920s and 1930s, approximately 150,000 Jews from eastern and central Europe came to Paris, transforming themselves into a transnational community with an antifascist identity. Institutions, such as the Yiddish theater and the Arbeter-Ring Pariz (Workmen’s Circle Paris), helped create community identity. How Yiddish culture in Paris balanced Jewish and French identity during this period of European upheaval is the focus. FREE. Co-sponsored by WC/AR of No. CA.


Wednesday, November 4 – Noon Pacific time
Living Rabin’s Legacy – A Collective Response to the Violence in Israel
Call outlining collective action, with leaders of J Street, Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, New Israel Fund and T’ruah. Discussion of shared strategy “to respond to this challenging moment — and how we are charting a course forward…”
Register here     

Sunday, November 7 (1:00 – 5:00 pm):
Yitzhak Rabin: Life, Death, and Legacy. Symposium marking the 20th anniversary of his assassination, The Magnes 2121 Allston Way Berkeley. Free. Pre-registration encouraged. Flyer with program details:  Flyer with program details