Thursday, November 1, 2007

KlezKamp 23: מאַמע-לשון Mame-Loshn: Women in Yiddish Culture

To understand the centrality of women in the world of Yiddish, one need only look to our title for this year’s theme, the coziest and most intimate expression used to describe our language: Mame Loshn: Mother Tongue.

For from its earliest incarnations one of the first books published in Yiddish was the Tzena-Rena (a translation for women of Torah lore, prayers and commentary) -- to the unprecedented number of women on today’s klezmer bandstands, the contributions of women to the vitality of Yiddish culture are undiminished.

To celebrate this tradition, KlezKamp whose staff is 51% women - focuses on heroines such as poet Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman and veteran drummer Elaine Hoffman Watts, both winners of the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Folklife Award. (Elaine, along with daughter Susan Watts, will be recording a new CD during KlezKamp, another in our “A Living Tradition” anthology series.) We also welcome dance historian Judith Brin Ingber and legendary nonagenarian pianist Shirlee Paul, and welcome back literary scholar Anita Norich.

Beyond the Mame Loshn theme, KlezKamp offers its vast array of Yiddish arts including multi-tiered music classes, an expanded vocal program, all-Yiddish offerings, more general interest classes and our second-to-none KlezKids program and teen theater troupe.

Our venue, the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, offers luxury in the Catskill tradition, with a kitchen run by celebrated Culinary Institute of American graduate Chef Ed Kelly under the shtreng Glatt Kosher hashgokhe of Ha-rov Gershon Kreuser.

Now in our 23rd year, KlezKamp continues to innovate and inspire as a model for the vigorous and widespread resurgence of Yiddish culture around the world. Be one of thousands who, over the years, have made KlezKamp the Capitol of Yiddishland.