The US’s Largest Yiddish Culture Festival Returns December 25-30, 2021!


Yiddish New York,

the nation’s largest festival of Yiddish music, culture, and language, returns 

December 25 – 30, 2021!    Learn and celebrate together — online and safely in person.

Yiddish New York (YNY), the nation’s largest workshop and festival celebrating Yiddish language and culture — including its signature klezmer music — is proud to announce its return for a seventh year, taking place from Saturday evening, December 25th, to Thursday, December 30th, 2021. Programs will be held online, with limited in-person programming. YNY 2021 will feature some of the leading performers and scholars of Yiddish culture.

Dozens of programs will be offered each day online.  Also offered will be a select number of limited-capacity in-person events – evening concerts and two ensemble classes. Learn about COVID policies on our website:

“Yiddish New York is the place for people who want to celebrate Jewishness during the peak of the Christmas season through Yiddish culture and klezmer music. While the format of this year’s YNY will be virtual, the community and connection to culture is deeply real and all the more needed in our too-often isolated current world,” says trombonist and composer, Dan Blacksberg.

YNY festival-goers can take advantage of a full schedule of workshops each day in Yiddish language, klezmer music, theater, and more, plus a wide variety of performances, lectures, and films, presenting many of the leading figures in Yiddish culture today. Evening programs feature an eclectic series of online concerts and theater performances.

2021 program offerings include:

  • Lectures by leading scholars of Yiddish history, literature, and culture
  • Yiddish language instruction (beginner, intermediate, advanced)
  • Klezmer music lessons and ensembles (for all instrumentalists)
  • Annual Adrienne Cooper Memorial Dreaming in Yiddish Concert & Award
  • Yiddish vocals/singing workshops
  • Folk dance workshops are led by internationally renowned dance instructors.
  • Kids and family programming
  • The world’s largest annual Yiddish Film Festival 
  • Creative activism combining arts, politics, and community organizing

YNY welcomes individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of Yiddish (no prior Yiddish required!). Special programs for kids and teens are led by leading educators and performers.

Faculty and performers include:

  • Trumpeter Frank London of the Grammy Award-winning Klezmatics
  • Pioneering folklorist Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (POLIN Museum, Warsaw)
  • New York Times bestselling author Michael Wex (author of Born to Kvetch)
  • Legendary folksinger and NEA National Heritage Fellow Ethel Raim (Co-Founder of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and leader of the famed folk revival ensemble, The Pennywhistlers)
  • Renowned folklorist Itzik Gottesman (the University of Texas at Austin)
  • Acclaimed actor and songwriter Daniel Kahn
  • Celebrated violinist Deborah Strauss
  • Innovating klezmer clarinetist and composer Michael Winograd
  • Trombone innovator/ Pew Fellow Daniel Blacksberg
  • Author, Historian, and Yiddishist Jeffrey Shandler
  • Celebrated dance leaders Avia Moore and Steve Weintraub
  • Yiddish singer, composer, and filmmaker Josh Waletzky
  • Master papercut artist and teacher Deborah Ugoretz
  • Yiddish singer and educator Sarah Gordon (Yiddish Princess)
  • Activist and theater curator Jenny Levison
  • Acclaimed klezmer tsimbl (hammered dulcimer) player Pete Rushefsky (Center for Traditional Music and Dance)
  • Educators and creatives Esther Gottesman and Judy Sweet
  • Archivist, singer, violinist, and scholar Eléonore Biezunski

Event passes are available at YNY also has scholarships and work-study options available to students and participants in financial need.

Partner Organizations:

The Center for Traditional Music and Dance (fiscal sponsor), The Museum of Jewish Heritage, The 14th Street Y, The Forward, The Center for Jewish History, The Sholem Aleichem Cultural Center, The Educational Alliance, The Museum At Eldridge Street, The New York Klezmer Series, The Town and Village Synagogue, The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, The Stanton Street Shul, The Workers Circle, The Forward Newspapers, The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, The Yiddish Book Center, The League for Yiddish, Yiddishkayt, The New York Jewish Guide,, and The New York Jewish Parenting Guide. International partners: KlezKanada (Montreal, QC), Institut Européen des Musiques Juives (Paris), Instituto da Musica Judaica Brasil.

Yiddish New York is grateful for support from Marinus and Minna B. Koster Foundation, the Atran Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Covenant Foundation, Con Edison, the Adrienne Cooper Fund for Dreaming in Yiddish, the Yiddish Artists & Friends– Actors Club, Itsik (Jonathan) Sunshine, Nan Bases, Frances & Mitchell Harris, Ellie Schweber, Nicola Bird, and Seth Weisberg and family. Promotional support was provided in part by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and NYC & Company Foundation.

About Yiddish New York:

Yiddish New York celebrates and engages with East European Jewish (and other Jewish and co-territorial) traditions to foster new creativity, building bridges across borders – a culture under construction! Drawing inspiration from the historic cultural riches of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Yiddish New York is an intergenerational gathering featuring daily workshops and a broad spectrum of performances and programming. Yiddish New York evenings feature concerts, dance parties, and jam sessions, at clubs and other venues around this vibrant neighborhood.

New York Jewish Guide — Meyer Harroch

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