This year, our annual memorial for the Soviet Yiddish writers and artists murdered on August 12, 1952, will be held on THURSDAY 27 JULY 2017 at 6:30 PM in the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues). The program is free and open to the public with a reservation. Reserve your seats here.
The Congress for Jewish Culture joins with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and the Jewish Labor Committee will present Boris Sandler’s new film, a one-on-one interview with his old mentor and friend, Chaim Beider (1920-2003). The film is in Yiddish with English subtitles. We invite you to join us for an insiders’ glimpse into the fascinating milieu of Soviet Yiddish culture. Also in the program, Yiddish singer Hy Wolfe will sing songs by Soviet Yiddish poets.
Nokh hekher! The Excelsior Reading Circle. Email for details. November 13, 2016 – December 18, 2016 we’ll be meeting Sunday nights for a deep reading of various Sholem Aleichem pieces, Shane Baker, moderator.
Yiddish reading circle (Monday evenings 4:45-6:15) Email for details.
(Thursday 13 April 2017 at 6PM at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn) Yiddish Third Seder.
(Wednesday 19 April 2017 at 3PM in Riverside Park between 83rd and 84th Streets) Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Memorial with Chayele Palevsky, Irene Klepfisz, Agata Rakowiecka, Paula Teitelbaum, and Daniel Kahn.
(Saturday 18 March 2017 at 8 PM at Yiddish of Greater Washington, Bender JCC of Greater Washington) Tales from the Train: Sholem Aleichem 100 Years Later, with Allen Lewis Rickman, Yelena Shmulenson, and Shane Baker.)
(Sunday 12 March 2017 at 7 PM at the National Yiddish Book Center) The Real Deal Purim-Shpil with Shane Baker, Miryem-Khaye Seigel, Eli Rosen, and Steve Sterner.
(Sunday 4 December 2016) Kavehoyz with Lorin Sklamberg and Polina Shepherd.
(Saturday, October 29th and Sunday, October 30th 2016 at the Phoenix Theater in Melbourne, Australia) Sholem Aleichem yortsayt program in conjunction with the Melbourne Kadimah.
(Sunday, September 18th, 2016 at 2 PM at the Workmen’s Circle Arbiter-Ring of Toronto) Tales from the Train: Sholem Aleichem 100 Years Later, with Allen Lewis Rickman, Yelena Shmulenson, and Shane Baker.
(Sunday, September 11th, 2016 at 2 PM at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal) Sholem Aleichem 100th yortsayt program featuring Congress director Shane Baker in a solo appearance in Yiddish and English.
Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 2 PM at the Ot Azey program in Cape Town, South Africa: Celebrating of the Wit & Wisdom of Sholem Aleichem in Words and Song. Starring Shane Baker with Caely-Jo Levy & the Yid Dish Players.
Thursday, August 11th, 2016 at 7 PM: Annual memorial for the Soviet Yiddish Writers murdered on August 12, 1952. World premiere screening of the film Chaim Beider: Poet, Editor, Essayist, a new documentary film by Boris Sandler.
Thursday, June 9 at 6:30 PM at the Robertson Branch, Los Angeles Public Library and Sunday, June 12 at 2 PM at the Central Branch, Los Angeles Public Library: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Yiddish* (*But Forgot to Ask Your Bubbie). Free and open to the public.
Tuesday, May 17 at 6 PM and 8 PM: Sholem Aleichem 100th yortsayt celebration in Cinematek, Tel Aviv in conjunction with Beit Sholem Aleichem, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv University. Featuring Chava Alberstein.
January 2016-May 2016, Sundays at 6:30: Nokh hekher! The Excelsior Reading Circle: reading Di Nevue fun Shvartsaplen by Avrom Sutzkever.
Monday, April 25th, 2016 at 6:00 PM – Yiddish seyder of the Congress for Jewish Culture. Potluck Yiddish cultural seyder in Park Slope, Brooklyn (sold out).
Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 at 3 PM – Annual Memorial for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Speaking: Fay Rosenfeld (English) and Majus Nowogrodski (Yiddish). Chair, Marcel Kshensky. Artistic program: Eleanor Reissa, Annette Harchick, and Paula Teitelbaum.
Wednesday, April 6 at 6:30 PM – Tales from the Train: Sholem Aleichem 100 Years Later, with Allen Lewis Rickman, Yelena Shmulenson, and Shane Baker. Presented by the New York Public Library. Free and open to the public, seating first come first served. Celeste Auditorim of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street & Fifth Avenue.
Did a nudnik ever buttonhole you and chew your ear off? Did you ever realize you were in the wrong place at the wrong time? Did you ever try to talk sense into an imbecile? Sholem Aleichem did all of this and more a hundred years before we did, and his descriptions of life in Eastern Europe and early 20th-century New York. Enjoy an evening of the rib-tickling, heart-rending tales of the most beloved Yiddish writer of all time.
Free Staged Reading in English and Yiddish with English translations.
Tuesday, August 11th, 2015: the CJC held its annual memorial for the Soviet Yiddish artists and writers slain August 12, 1952. Appearing for the 2015 event, Ala Zuskin Perelman, daughter of Moscow State Yiddish Theater principal actor Benjamin Zuskin, spoke about her father and reading from her recent memoir of him.
Sunday, June 28th, 2015: Coffee House/Farbrengen in conjunction with the New Yiddish Rep and with support by the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of New York. Michael Menachem Fox led a singalong from the Camp Hemshekh Songbook.
Sunday, June 21st, 2015: Coffee House/Farbrengen in conjunction with the New Yiddish Rep and with support by the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of New York. Shane Baker and Miryem-Khaye Seigel with Steve Sterner at the piano in A Night in the Casino: Songs and Sketches from the Golden Age of the Yiddish Catskills.
On Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 at 3:45 PM and 9 PM, the short film How to Break into Yiddish Vaudeville was debuted at the New York Jewish Film Festival. This short subject by neon animator Jack Feldstein documenting the cutthroat world of Yiddish vaudeville features the drawings of Ellen Stedfeld and the voice of Shane Baker (on a double bill with Natan by director David Cairns).
On Sunday, January 11th, 2015 at 2 PM the Congress for Jewish Culture and the American Jewish Historical Society presented a memorial celebrating the life of Yiddish actress Mina Bern on the occasion of her 5th yortsayt with the participation of Eleanor Reissa, Allen Lewis Rickman and Yelena Shmulenson, Joanne Borts, Sandy Levitt, Shira Flam, Hy Wolfe, Masha Leon, Shane Baker, and Steve Sterner.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014: Zingeray — Khanike sing-along in memory of Yiddish writer and folksinger Beyle Schaechter Gottesman on the occasion of her yortsayt. Held at Beyles Yidish-hoyz on Bainbridge Avenue.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014: The Haunted Sukke/Yiddish Open Mike, a collaboration with YIVO and Great Small Works.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014: Annual memorial for the Soviet Yiddish writers murdered on August 12th, 1952. Program featured Dutch soprano Sofie Van Lier in a program of songs by Soviet Yiddish writers.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014: Coffee House of Yiddish song for the YIVO Weinreich Summer Program in Yiddish studies. Please contact us via email for further information.
Sunday, March 16, 2014: Yiddish Purimshpil program at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA – free and open to the public. Please visit their website for information and reservations.
Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 from 1-2:30 PM: memorial for the Yiddish poets Bella Schaechter-Gottesman and Yonia Fain, both of whom were active with the Congress for Jewish Culture. The memorial is free and open to the public and will take place at the Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, New York, NY 10012.
Weekly Leyenkrayz (Yiddish reading circle): Each Monday from 5PM-6:30 we gather to read classics of Yiddish literature. Recent projects have included Yoshe Kalb by Y. Y. Zinger and Der Shtumer Minyen by Chaim Grade.
08/21/13 at 7 PM Book party for Yiddish Poet Khayke Beruriah Wiegand to be held at the Workmen’s Circle, 247 West 37th Street. More details to follow.
09/20/13 at 7 PM Waiting for Godot in Yiddish opens at New Yiddish Rep playing at the Castillo Theater.
10/26/13 at 8 PM Klezmer Party with Yale Strom and Elizabeth Schwartz to be held at the Workmen’s Circle, 247 West 37th Street. More details to follow.
The Big Bupkis! at the JCC in Manhattan
See our show “The Big Bupkis! A Complete Gentile’s Guide to Yiddish Vaudeville” at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan this February 18th and 19th. Click here to read the New York Times’ article on Bupkis star Shane Baker. Produced in conjunction with the New Yiddish Rep. Those who would like to provide extra support for the Congress, New Yiddish Rep and JCC may purchase premium seats to the show, for which they will receive a copy of our newly published Yiddish Biographical Dictionary of Soviet Yiddish Writers, as well as indemnification against participating in the show (including but not limited to public ridicule, spraying with seltzer, hitting with custard pies, and mock beheading). Premium seats are $250, $180 of which is tax deductible. Please email us at email@example.com for information.
Lexicon of Soviet Yiddish Writers
Our most recent publication is the late Chaim Beider’s Biographical Dictionary of Yiddish Writers in the Soviet Union. Beider passed away in 2003, so Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh edited the final edition, now available through our bookstore, the CYCO. The volume is 464 pages, containing entries on 487 Soviet Yiddish writers, some of whom have never been mentioned in any lexicon. The book also includes a trilingual (Yiddish-English-Russian) glossary of Soviet Yiddish terms compiled by Estraikh.
- Read Nahma Sandrow’s meditation on the book and our annual memorial for the Soviet Yiddish writers executed on August 12th, 1952.
- Read the Forverts article in Yiddish.
- Hear commentary in Mikhl Baran’s Yiddish
- Forward article on our work in the field of Yiddish
- Congress mentioned in national news in yet another article on the so called “Yiddish revival”
- Read Rokhl Kafrissen on why we need more continuity and less revival.
- New York Times covers Congress drector [sic. ask a Yiddish speaker.] Shane Baker.
- A trip to the Yiddish Artists and Friends Actors’ Club
November 2016 report:
Az ikh vel aykh zogn “Gut-morgn”, darft ir entfern “a gutinke nakht” — if I greet you with a “Good morning”, you’lll have to wish me a good night! These regards are from the land down under where the CJC in conjunction with the Melbourne Kadimah and some generous private donors sponsored a Sholem Aleichem 100th yortsayt memorial Not Dead Yet!, with original material by Arnold Zable and scenes and monologues by Sholem Aleichem. 3 performances in 2 days brought Yiddish culture to over 600 attendees.
In fact, 2016 has been a miraculous year for the Congress for Jewish Culture, bringing Yiddish culture to venues the world over:
In March we partnered with the New Yiddish Rep to bring Vartn af Godo, the Yiddish Waiting for Godot, to Paris as part of the international Commençez! Beckett Festival there.
In April we filled the house with a Sholem Aleichem program to the Celeste Auditorium of the New York Public Library’s Schwarzman building at 42nd and Fifth.
In May CJC director Shane Baker worked with Beit Sholem Aleichem in Tel Aviv to present a Sholem Aleichem program there with Chava Alberstein on the bill and over 800 attendees.
In June we partnered with the California Institue for Yiddish Culture and Language to present two Yiddish performances for the Los Angeles Public Library system.
And August through November all he** broke loose as we presented Sholem Aleichem classes and programming in venues from Circle Lodge to KlezKanada, the South African Broadcasting Corportation in Cape Town, the Little Theatre on the Square in Johannesburg, the Jewish Public Library in Montreal, the Workmen’s Circle of Toronto, and now, most recently in Melbourne with a side visit to the Yiddish interest group in Sydney.
This winter we’ll be offering a 6 part Sunday evening course in Sholem Aleichem’s writings for those who missed the Circle Lodge and KlezKanada workshops; and we’ll be celebrating some new books, including Dr. Barnett Zumoff’s long-awaited full translation of Emanuel Goldsmith’s Yiddish Literature in America: 1879-2000 among others. In February, CJC director Baker will be teaching master classes in Yiddish theater and giving public performances at the College of Charleston in South Carolina..
Halevay vayter nit erger! Let’s keep the run going! All of this is done with the help of a relatively small pool of donors who steadfastly believe in promoting Yiddish culture ITST – now! We’re always looking for more people to help us, both with eytse and pleytse with advice as well as materially. Feel free to chime or chip in to help keep Yiddish culture blossoming in New York, throughout North America, and worldwide!
An assembly of Yiddish lovers at our Johannesburg program in conjunction with the Union of Jewish Women:
CJC director Shane Baker visited the Union of Jewish Women’s lunch table in Johannesburg township Alexandra and entertained the children with a magic trick and a Yiddish song – they returned the favor with the South African national anthem.
Remember: Yiddish is like Levy’s rye – ou don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it! (Of course, it doesn’t hurt.)