KlezCalifornia, Inc.

Ashkenazi Jewish culture (Yiddish culture)

About the Organization

KlezCalifornia, Inc. was founded in 2003 to celebrate klezmer music and Yiddish culture in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Focusing on the cultural heritage of Eastern European Jewry, as embodied in its music, literature, and the arts, KlezCalifornia events enable people of all ages to engage actively and intensely with Yiddish culture – participating, not just watching others perform.

Living Cultures Grant Program


The Living Cultures grant will support twelve workshops in East European Jewish culture (Yiddish culture) around the San Francisco Bay Area: 8 for instrumentalists, 2 for dancers, 2 for singers. The workshops will provide participatory learning experiences for 100-200 distinct individuals, who will increase their knowledge of klezmer tunes and klezmer style; klezmer dance; and/or Yiddish song style, fostering a new generation of Yiddish culture-bearers and innovators.


A 2019 Living Cultures grant supported twelve klezmer music workshops, open to musicians playing any acoustic instrument and people who want to listen. The main goal was to increase knowledge of klezmer tunes and klezmer style. Additionally, the workshops sought to improve participants’ skills in learning by ear as well as to form new musical relationships.


Support through a 2017 Living Cultures grant provided Klezmer music jams around the San Francisco Bay Area open to any level, any instrument.  Guided improvisations were led by established musicians to help increase skills and knowledge of the genre.

2016, 2015, 2011, 2010

KlezCalifornia received ACTA grants to support their annual Yiddish Culture Festival.  The Festival provides an intensive immersion in playing klezmer music, studying Yiddish language and literature, singing, and dancing.  Master artists offer workshops for all levels of participants in this multi-generational group.



Klezmorim, or musicians of Klezmer music, rehearsing at Klez California's Yiddish Culture Festival.  (Photo: Ira Greenberg)

Frank London, a master Klezmer artist who has contributed to the revival of Klezmer internationally, conducting a workshop at KlezCalifornia's Yiddish Culture Festival.

Dancing to Klezmer music is mostly improvisation. (Photo: Dale Perlman)

A multi-generational Klezmer band. (Photo: Lea Delson)

Christian Dawid of Berlin, a master Klezmer clarinetist, queries participants in a workshop comparing musical styles of the region: What makes a tune Jewish?

Cookie Segelstein and Stu Brotman of the Klezmer group Veretski Pass providing instruction during a workshop at KlezCalifornia's Yiddish Culture Festival.

Books for sale at KlezCalifornia's Yiddish Culture Festival.

Cultural pride at KlezCalifornia's Yiddish Culture Festival.

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Judy Kunofsky | nu@klezcalifornia.org | (415) 789-7679

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