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Native LIer featured at Yiddish New York.

Byline: Adina Genn

This year, Long Islanders looking to tap into their Eastern European Jewish heritage don't need to travel far.

They could, for example, pop into Yiddish New York, a festival that kicks off Dec. 22 at the 14th Street Y in Manhattanwith a dance party featuring trumpeter and composer Frank London of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics and clarinetistMichael Winograd, along withan all-star group of top klezmer musicians.

London grew up in Plainview, and graduated from JFK Kennedy High School in 1976. London went on to perform with LL Cool J, John Zorn, Mel Torme, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Jane Siberry, Ben Folds 5 and others.

This is the festival's fourth year, and it runs through Dec. 27. It features workshops in Yiddish language, klezmer music, theater. And there are lectures, films, evening concerts, jam sessions and art in venues in Manhattan's East Village and Lower East Side.

The festival draws 500 people of all ages and backgrounds for its daytime workshops, plus thousands more for the evening performances, organizers said.

"Everybody wants to see continuity for this community," organizing committee member Josh Waletzky, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and Yiddish singer, said in a statement.

The festival comes amid a growing number of offerings for Jewish heritage events in New York. For example, the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene has just extended its run of "Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish" through Dec. 30 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at Battery Park Place. Directed by Oscar and Tony-Award winner Joel Grey, the production has seen its run extended four times. And you don't have to understand Yiddish to enjoy the performance, which is accompanied by supertitles in English and Russian.

And through Jan. 6, 2019, the Jewish Museum's exhibit "Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich: The Russian Avant-Garde in Vitebsk, 1918-1922, features the works from The People's Art School, which Chagall founded in 1918 in Vitebsk, now Belaurs, which had a sizable Jewish community.

Of course, you don't have to leave Long Island or even your living room to learn more about Yiddish culture. The Workmen's Circle offers Yiddish language classes, online.

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Publication:Long Island Business News
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Oct 17, 2018
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