Yiddish culture in the spotlight at Emanu-El’s weekend-long YidFest


PROVIDENCE – Temple Emanu-El is delighted to announce that YidFest, a joyous weekend celebrating Yiddish culture, learning, music and food, will take place April 28-30 at the temple.

Here is the schedule:

Friday, April 28, 6 p.m. Join us for a Kabbalat Shabbat service followed by a nostalgic Ashkenazi dinner (vegetarian options available), and an after-dinner talk, “How We Saved a Million Books and Why They Still Matter,” by Aaron Lansky, founder of the Yiddish Book Center, in Amherst, Massachusetts. $18.

Over 40 years ago, Lansky recognized the need to save abandoned Yiddish books, often from dumpsters and basements. His efforts saved over 1 million books and led to the creation of the Yiddish Book Center.

Lansky is the author of “Outwitting History, The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books,” which won the 2005 Massachusetts Book Award. He is also a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship.

Saturday, April 29, service at 9:30 a.m., lunch at noon  Join our special Shabbat service and a Yiddish dairy lunch buffet. Hankus Netsky, director of the internationally renowned Yiddish music ensemble the Klezmer Conservatory Band, will give the sermon, as well as perform a wordless Hasidic melody. Netsky will also speak after lunch, on topics that include the historic roots of Yiddish music and culture, and his role in helping to revive them around the world. Free.

Netsky has composed extensively for film, theater and television. He’s collaborated closely with Itzhak Perlman, Robin Williams, Joel Grey and Theodore Bikel, among others, and produced numerous recordings, including 10 by the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

Saturday, April 29, 8 p.m. The evening celebration begins with an array of Eastern European pastries, followed by a Havdalah service with music. At 8:30, critically acclaimed klezmer band Mamaliga will perform, and Adah Hetko, a Yiddish dance leader and songwriter, will guide participants in Yiddish-style dancing. $15.

Sunday, April 30, departing from temple at noon: Cap off the weekend with a private tour of the unique, inspirational Yiddish Book Center, which celebrates and preserves Yiddish language and culture. Participants have the option of driving, carpooling or, for $10, traveling in the temple’s minivan. The tour is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Admission to the book center is $8.

All events, except the Shabbat service, dairy lunch and talk on Saturday, required preregistration. All paid events are free for children.

For more information, details on prices and to preregister, go to www.teprov.org or call the temple, 401-331-1616. Temple Emanu-El is located at 99 Taft Ave., Providence.

VICTOR OLEFSON AND SANDRA ATLAS-GORDON are members of the YidFest Publicity Committee at Temple Emanu-El.

Yiddish, Temple Emanu-El