Last night, Douglas Rosenberg from the University of Wisconsin, Center for Jewish Studies made an exciting announcement on the Tanzhall stage. Here is an excerpt, making mention of Henry Sapoznik and the Klez Kamp Road Show residency in Madison this spring:
"Henry’s residency and the KlezKamp Roadshow generated tremendous excitement for the work that those of you involved with KlezKamp have been doing for the last 25 years. It seemed that there was an audience waiting to happen in Madison, not just in the university milieu, but more importantly, in the communities beyond the university walls. The momentum provided by that residency led to more conversations with Sherry, Carol, Henry and my colleagues at UW about how we might form a permanent partnership that would honor and perpetuate the work of Living Traditions and of the KlezKamp community as well.
The idea was met with great enthusiasm from colleagues across numerous disciplines on campus, including theater, music, art, dance, language and most importantly, the University library. The library has agreed to house the Mayrent collection and to make it universally accessible as well as to preserve and maintain the original discs in perpetuity.
That was a pivotal commitment and in the last few months, we put together a larger proposal for an institute of Yiddish culture on the UW campus. That proposal worked its way through the various university committees and two weeks ago we were informed that it had passed unanimously.
So, tonight, I am honored to announce the creation of the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture to be permanently located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The initial funding for the institute is made possible by a generous gift from Sherry Mayrent and Carol Master. The Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture will be a unique facility devoted to fostering an understanding of the world of Yiddish through its arts. The institute will be directed by Henry Sapoznik.
The work is not done yet though, and the university along with the Center for Jewish Studies has undertaken a campaign to raise the additional funds necessary to insure the longevity of the institute as well as to achieve all of the goals that we have set out for it.
I want to say one more thing about this: Though I have not been associated with KlezKamp for very long in the scheme of things, what I realize is that KlezKamp is a community effort that has inspired tremendous loyalty and ownership in the future of a very fragile culture. The Mayrent Institute honors the contributions of countless people over the last 25 years and is a measure of the commitment and hard work by the staff of Living Traditions as well as the efforts of every teacher and participant of every KlezKamp. We are truly blessed by this.