Welcome to the Inaugural YI ❤ NY YiddishFest 2019!

Immerse yourself in the joy of Yiddish culture — laugh, sing and celebrate the very essence of Hanukkah at YI ❤ NY YiddishFest 2019, happening throughout New York City, Dec. 21-29.

For millennia, Jewish culture has been shaped by the issues surrounding Hanukkah — religious freedom, identity, conquering oppression and a love of artistic expression. During this festival of miracles and light, YI ❤ NY YiddishFest 2019 will capture the various facets of Jewish and Yiddish culture in a multimedia celebration that has a bisl something for everyone.

Grab Your Latkes, Bring Your Dreidel and Join Our Cultural Simkha Celebration

Gather up the mishpukhe (family) and steep yourself in what brings Yiddish culture to life — the arts. Over nine days, multiple Jewish cultural organizations will come together for this unique festival that will include a series of theatrical presentations, Klezmer concerts, film screenings, lectures, panel discussions and famous personalities in the world of Yiddishkayt (Jewishness).

“There is a worldwide renaissance of Yiddish language and Jewish culture,” said Avi Hoffman, award-winning entertainer, Jewish cultural activist and co-founder of Yiddishkayt Initiative (YI), along with his mother, Miriam Hoffman, award-winning playwright, journalist, author and retired Columbia University Professor.

Citing the rise in popularity of Yiddish language projects like award-winning films, “Shehita” and “Menashe”; or the Netflix series “Shtisl”; as well as hit Yiddish theater versions of “Death of a Salesman” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” Avi and Miriam founded YI with the sole mission of preserving the great legacy of Jewish culture in general and Yiddish language and culture in particular.

Sponsorships Available!


The Heart of Yiddish: Remembering Isaiah Sheffer

The Heart of Yiddish: Remembering Isaiah Sheffer

Dec. 21, 7:30 PM - Concert Tribute to Isaiah Sheffer by Susannah Sheffer & Avi Hoffman
Chanukah Concert: Celebrating Yosl Papirovsky - The Miracle of Joseph Papp

Chanukah Concert: Celebrating Yosl Papirovsky – The Miracle of Joseph Papp

Dec. 22, 3:00 PM - Concert tribute to Shakespeare Festival and Public Theatre visionary and founder Joseph Papp

Premiere Concert: Joe Papp at the Ballroom

Premiere Concert: Joe Papp at the Ballroom

Dec. 23, 8:00 PM - Avi Hoffman adapts and recreates the singular concert given by legendary Broadway impresario Joe Papp at the Ballroom in Soho in 1978.
Concert Tribute: Mirl - The Life and Works of Miriam Hoffman

Concert Tribute: Mirl – The Life and Works of Miriam Hoffman

Dec. 24, 2:00 PM - Mirl - The Life and Works of Miriam Hoffman.
Reflections of a Lost Poet

Reflections of a Lost Poet

Dec. 24, 8:00 PM - One-man play about the life of Itzik Manger (In Yiddish with English and Spanish Supertitles). Musical direction and arrangements: Binyumen Schaechter.

Exploring ‘God of Vengeance’ by Sholem Asch, with David Mazower

Exploring ‘God of Vengeance’ by Sholem Asch, with David Mazower

Dec. 25, 2:00 PM - With special guest: David Mazower (Great-grandson of Sholem Asch). English translation by Caraid O’Brien.
Concert Tribute: The Great Fyvush Finkel, Music by Elliot Finkel with Members of the Original Cast of Finkel's Follies

Concert Tribute: The Great Fyvush Finkel, Music by Elliot Finkel with Members of the Original Cast of Finkel’s Follies

Dec. 26, 8:00 PM - A Tribute to Emmy Award-winning actor Fyvush Finkel with excerpts from Finkel’s Follies.
NY Premiere: 'Shehita' - Short Film Screening

NY Premiere: ‘Shehita’ – Short Film Screening

Dec. 27, 2:00 PM - Award-winning short film screening followed by discussion on Modern Yiddish Film and TV.

Alicia Svigals and Donald Sosin: Ancient Law

Alicia Svigals and Donald Sosin: Ancient Law

Dec. 27, 4:00 PM - The Ancient Law (Das Alte Gesetz) a cine-concert: a screening of the foundational 1923 silent film.
‘Romerika’: The History of Yiddish Theatre, Featuring Maestro Aaron Kula

‘Romerika’: The History of Yiddish Theatre, Featuring Maestro Aaron Kula

Dec. 27, 8:00 PM - Concert with Maestro Aaron Kula and Avi Hoffman.
New Jewish Voices: Selections from 'A People' by L. M. Feldman

New Jewish Voices: Selections from ‘A People’ by L. M. Feldman

Dec. 28, 2:00 PM - A People is a spectacle of ambitious scope, exploring and exploding the history & present of the Jewish diaspora.

Frank London & Deep Singh's Sharabi Plays Bagels & Bhangra

Frank London & Deep Singh’s Sharabi Plays Bagels & Bhangra

Dec. 28, 8:00 PM - Frank London and Deep Singh’s Sharabi plays Bagels & Bhangra with Special Guest Avi Hoffman.
'The Great Ostrovsky' by Cy Coleman and Avery Corman - A Concert Presentation

‘The Great Ostrovsky’ by Cy Coleman and Avery Corman – A Concert Presentation

Dec. 29, 2:00 PM - A smart and soulful musical about an outsize, over-the-top star of the Yiddish theater in the 1920’s.

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YI ❤ NY YiddishFest 2019 Schedule

Here’s the Whole Shpiel — The YI ❤ NY YiddishFest 2019 Lineup
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  • December 21


  • One of New York’s great Renaissance men, Isaiah Sheffer left an indelible mark on music, theater, television, and culture across three decades in the Big Apple. He was the originator of Bloomsday on Broadway, and the comic genius behind the Thalia Follies. He also began his career in the Yiddish Theatre and created great works celebrating Yiddish art and culture. This event will celebrate Isaiah’s Yiddish life and career and will benefit the Hebrew Actors Foundation as they seek to save the building which housed the historic Hebrew Actors Union where Yiddish Theatre thrived. This performance is primarily in English. By Susannah Sheffer & Avi Hoffman Musical Director: Lanny Meyers

  • December 22


  • Sponsored by the American Society for Jewish Music and the American Jewish Historical Society, in conjunction with the Manhattan Jewish Historical Initiative, Museum of Yiddish Theater and Yiddishkayt Initiative, this year’s Chanukah Concert is a multimedia celebration of Brooklyn-born Yosl Papirovsky (born: Joseph Papp 1921-1991) whose life and faith showed that miracles are not just a part of our past, but can be an ever-present part of today, and our future. In the spirit of creating light in the world, Papp brought us an enduring cultural legacy: Shakespeare in the Park, the Public Theater, and his own rediscovery of the joy of Yiddish in words and music. This multimedia tribute to Shakespeare Festival and Public Theatre visionary and founder Joseph Papp will celebrate the inaugural Joseph Papp Yiddish Theatre’s YI Love NY YiddishFest ‘19. Mr. Papp rose from a childhood in the slums of Brooklyn to found the New York Shakespeare Festival, through which he presented free Shakespeare in Central Park for more than three decades. In the 1960’s, he took over the old Astor Library and turned it into the Public Theater, a huge six-theater complex in which he presented and championed the work of many young playwrights, including David Rabe, Thomas Babe, Ed Bullins, Caryl Churchill, David Hare, David Henry Hwang, Wallace Shawn, Vaclav Havel, Miguel Pinero, Ntozake Shange, Michael Weller, George C. Wolfe, David Mamet, Tina Howe and John Guare. The Public was the birthplace of two landmark American musicals, “Hair” and “A Chorus Line,” the longest-running show in Broadway history. Mr. Papp also helped build the careers of many actors, among them James Earl Jones, Meryl Streep, Raul Julia and Kevin Kline. This Premiere event will celebrate Joe Papp’s Jewish life and career and will honor the founders of the Joseph Papp Yiddish Theatre: Gail Merrifield Papp, Rena Berkowitz Borow and Prof. Miriam Hoffman. For the 30th anniversary of the Public Theatre Yiddish/English musical comedy Songs of Paradise, we have invited members of the original cast to rediscover this highly acclaimed musical comedy HIT. The evening will culminate in a 1st night of Chanukah Yiddish Candle Lighting Ceremony singalong.
    Where
    Center for Jewish History

  • December 23


  • Recounting Joe Papp's Brooklyn Yiddish upbringing, his controversial political struggles and his revolutionary reconceiving of the creative process.
    Where
    Theater For the New City 155 1st Avenue New York, NY 10003

  • December 24


  • Professor Hoffman’s momentous life and multidimensional works will be brought to life, exploring not only her original work, but also her reimagining of the works of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Neil Simon, Mel Brooks and Sholem Aleikhem.
    Where
    Theater For the New City 155 1st Avenue New York, NY 10003

  • Reflections of a Lost Poet, written by Miriam Hoffman and performed by Avi Hoffman, is a one-man play about the life of Itzik Manger.
    Where
    Theater For the New City 155 1st Avenue New York, NY 10003

  • December 25


  • A playwright, a novelist, a short story writer and journalist, Sholem Asch is one of the most popular Jewish writers in history.

  • December 27


  • Synopsis: Moshe is an eighteen year old Hasidic Jew, who after the recent death of his father is given to manage the family’s farm by himself with his wife.
    Where
    Theater For the New City 155 1st Avenue New York, NY 10003

  • THE ANCIENT LAW is a landmark in Weimar cinema and an outstanding example of the creative contribution of Jewish filmmakers in 1920s Germany.
    Where
    Theater For the New City 155 1st Avenue New York, NY 10003

  • Join Maestro Aaron Kula and award-winning entertainer Avi Hoffman as they celebrate the historical origins of the Yiddish Theatre in Romania and its evolution to mainstream world culture.
    Where
    Theater For the New City 155 1st Avenue New York, NY 10003

  • December 28


  • Feldman’s work is known as theatrical, deeply intimate and ambitious. Come and discover the personal exploration of her Jewish identity in “A People”.
    Where
    Theater For the New City 155 1st Avenue New York, NY 10003

  • Grammy-winning trumpeter Sir Frank London of The Klezmatics and Grammy-nominated percussion virtuoso Deep Singh transform Irving Fields’ classic 1959 LP Bagels & Bongos into a slamming Yiddish-infused Punjabi bhangra party!
    Where
    Theater For the New City 155 1st Avenue New York, NY 10003

  • December 29


  • Discover 'The Great Ostrovsky' - The ‘Lost’ musical love letter to the Yiddish Theater by legendary Broadway songwriter Cy Coleman and bestselling author Avery Corman.
    Where
    Theater For the New City 155 1st Avenue New York, NY 10003


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  • $18 Performances

    Concerts, Theatre, Legacies.
  • Joe Papp at the Ballroom
  • Mirl - The Life and Works of Miriam Hoffman
  • Reflections of a Lost Poet
  • The Great Fyvush Finkel
  • ‘Romerika’: A Legacy of Yiddish Theatre
  • Frank London and Deep Singh’s Sharabi plays Bagels & Bhangra
  • The Great Ostrovsky: A Concert Presentation
  • $18
  • Book Now
  • Free Performances & Films

    Films, Screenings, Performances & Discussions
  • Exploring God of Vengeance: The Basis of ‘Indecent’
  • Shehita
  • Alicia Svigals: The Ancient Law
  • New Jewish Voices: Selections from ‘A People’ by L M Feldman
  • Free
  • Book Now