Welcome to the First Ever YI LOVE Yiddishfest: March 1 - 4, 2018

The press has called Tony Award-nominated director, Broadway actress and singer Eleanor Reissa the “Yiddish Beyonce.” Yiddish movies have been showcased at Sundance and film festivals world-wide. Mario “Moishele” Alfonso teases audience with his lecture entitled, “Making Yiddish Sexy Again.”

What’s going on?

“There’s a worldwide renaissance of Yiddish language and Jewish culture,” answers Avi Hoffman, a world-renowned, award-winning entertainer and Jewish cultural activist. “We’re proud to announce the first annual YI LOVE YiddishFest at the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach.”

Award-winning Klezmer concerts, plays, films, lectures and other contemporary Jewish media – it’s all at Yiddishfest!


Opening Night Concert: Vilde Mekhaye (Wild Ecstasy)

A vibrant, energetic explosion of Yiddish-language Klezmer music by Tony-award nominated Eleanor Reissa, Grammy-award winning Frank London & The Klezmer Brass Allstars.

Frank London

Frank London

Grammy® Award Winner
Vilde Mekhaye

Vilde Mekhaye

A vibrant, energetic explosion of Yiddish-language Klezmer music.
Eleanor Reissa

Eleanor Reissa

Tony® Award Nominee

Avi Hoffman & Professor Miriam Hoffman

Avi Hoffman & Professor Miriam Hoffman

Professor Miriam Hoffman

Professor Miriam Hoffman

Scholar, author, journalist and award-winning playwright
Avi Hoffman

Avi Hoffman

Award-winning actor, director, producer and Jewish cultural activist

Mario ‘Moishele’ Alfonso

Mario ‘Moishele’ Alfonso

Making Yiddish Sexy Again
Aaron Kula's Yiddishe Tangos

Aaron Kula’s Yiddishe Tangos

Fusing Yiddish melodies with tango rhythm
Miami Jewish Film Festival

Miami Jewish Film Festival

Short Film Series featuring "Shehita" (Slaughter)

Finding Babel by David Novack

Finding Babel by David Novack

Film Screening
PURe IMagination

PURe IMagination

Free Family Purim Performance.
Beyond The Pale

Beyond The Pale

Toronto Klezmer Stars

Buy tickets through Colony Theatre. Call 305-674-1040.

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YI Yiddishfest Schedule

YI Yiddishfest's schedule will fill even the most discriminating taste with a variety of options
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  • March 1, 2018

    Thursday, Day 1

  • Miriam Hoffman and her son Avi are the founders of the Yiddishkayt Initiative (YI), a 501c3 organization that has become a global force for celebrating and promoting Jewish history, life and culture and their positive and far-reaching impact on the world. From performing arts, publishing, and education to language, philosophy, and literature, YI offers a global clearinghouse of Jewish culture and entertainment staffed by experts in both subject matter and production. We work with a wide range of organizations, including Federations, JCCs, synagogues, Hadassah chapters, Hillel chapters, men’s groups, women’s guilds, special interest clubs, youth groups, summer camp programs and educational institutions. Join Miriam, Avi, and the Yiddishkayt Initiative to make sure Jewish culture – and our very Jewishness – continue to thrive. (For more information on Miriam and Avi Hoffman, please see their bios by clicking directly on their photo in any performers section.)
    Lecture
    Literature
    theatre
    Yiddish Language

  • Vilde Mekhaye (Wild Ecstasy) Eleanor Reissa & Frank London & The Klezmer Brass All Stars Tony Award-nominated singer, director, actor, writer Eleanor Reissa is one of the few Yiddish singers who learned the language and song as a child. A Brooklyn-born child of survivors, she has lived and grown up with Yiddish song. Ex-Sir Frank London, Grammy Award winner, member of the Klezmatics and ‘high Priest of avant-klez-jazz’ was also born in Brooklyn, but listened solely to rock and Frank Zappa in his English speaking household, and subsequently embraced the Yiddish tradition and revolutionized it. Together, they are a Yiddish trumpet-chanteuse team in the tradition of Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima & Keely Smith. Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars aka »Di Shikere Kapelye (The Inebriated Orchestra)« have toured the world, performing with Boban Markovic, Maracatú NY, and rocking every bandstand. Their three recordings on Piranha Musik all received critical acclaim, winning the Preis der Deutsche Schallplatten Kritik and Rolling Stone Magazine’s 10 Best World Music Recordings. Eleanor’s Yiddish theater mixed with the band’s klezmer insanity under Frank’s ‘Mad Scientist’ leadership create a program that cuts to the heart. Unknown to classic Yiddish party anthems, theater songs, political songs and songs of women’s lives. Their first recording together is entitled, Vilde Mekhaye (Wild Ecstasy). The soulful and inimitable “Yiddish Diva” Eleanor Reissa and the “mystical high priest of New Wave Avant-Klez jazz” Frank London explore the world of Yiddish song, from the obscure to the chestnuts.
    Concert

  • March 2, 2018

    Friday, Day 2

  • Miriam Hoffman is a renowned scholar with a 50-year career that includes 25 years of teaching the Yiddish language and Jewish culture at Columbia University. Her many books and weekly newspaper columns in the Forward have been read by thousands and her 700-page Key to Yiddish textbook is a standard curriculum for Yiddish educators around the world. She’s also a founder of the Joseph Papp Yiddish Theatre and a highly acclaimed award-winning playwright with works produced internationally.
    Lecture
    Literature

  • Avi Hoffman is an actor, writer and director who was nominated for a NY Drama Desk Award for his Yiddish language portrayal of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. Recently inducted into the Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame, Avi is the founder of the Yiddishkayt Initiative, the producing artistic director of the Joseph Papp Yiddish Theatre and is known for his award-winning PBS one-man shows Too Jewish?, Too Jewish, Too! and Still Jewish After All These Years (Performer of the Year '95 - NY Press Magazine; L.A. OVATION award - Best Actor In a Musical 2001; NY Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle award nominations). On TV, he was featured as Sid Raskin in the Starz TV series “Magic City,” as well as on Netflix’s “Bloodline,” A&E’s “The Glades” and NBC’s “Law and Order.” He starred in the motion picture, The Imported Bridegroom and appeared in the PBS documentary They Came for Good: A History of the Jews in the US. Avi has performed all over the world and has numerous acting and directing credits, garnering multiple awards and nominations. His events include Our Yiddish Shakespeares and A Breed Apart with his mother, Miriam Hoffman.
    Theatre

  • March 3, 2018

    Saturday, Day 3

  • South Beach resident and 2016 Yiddish “Forverts” cover boy - talks about an era when Yiddish used to be sexy, about the Yiddish sex symbols of yesteryear, and the change in perception and status of Yiddish after the devastation of the Holocaust and the founding of the State of Israel. He will then share his own story about how a goy from Memphis, TN fell in love with and learned mame-loshn and how, along with him, there is an ever-growing number of young Jews, non-Jews, leftist radicals, feminists and members of the LGBTQ community who are currently learning, speaking and living Yiddish on a day to day basis. Considering this new demographic and in order to make learning Yiddish ever more attractive and relevant to younger generations, Moishele will elaborate on the idea that maybe it’s time Yiddish had a little makeover - perhaps it’s time to start making Yiddish sexy again…
    Lecture
    Yiddish Language

  • Eleanor Reissa is a Tony-nominated director, a Broadway actress, an Israel Prize nominee, an award-winning playwright, and singer in Yiddish and English.  She was on Broadway most recently in the Tony-winning play INDECENT by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel.  Just before that she starred and directed Sholem Asch’s play GOD OF VENGEANCE in Yiddish at New York’s La Mama. She has been called the Yiddish Edith Piaf, and is one of the world’s most renown interpreters of Yiddish music and just returned from a European tour with Frank London. An anthology of her plays, THE LAST SURVIVOR AND OTHER MODERN JEWISH PLAYS, has recently been published. She has received writing commissions including YIDL MITN FIDL for Yiddishpiel in Israel, and HERSHELE OSTROPOLYER with Mike Burstyn for the Folksbiene, which she helmed from 1998-2003.
    Lecture
    theatre

  • Avi Hoffman is an actor, writer and director who was nominated for a NY Drama Desk Award for his Yiddish language portrayal of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. Recently inducted into the Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame, Avi is the founder of the Yiddishkayt Initiative, the producing artistic director of the Joseph Papp Yiddish Theatre and is known for his award-winning PBS one-man shows Too Jewish?, Too Jewish, Too! and Still Jewish After All These Years (Performer of the Year '95 - NY Press Magazine; L.A. OVATION award - Best Actor In a Musical 2001; NY Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle award nominations). On TV, he was featured as Sid Raskin in the Starz TV series “Magic City,” as well as on Netflix’s “Bloodline,” A&E’s “The Glades” and NBC’s “Law and Order.” He starred in the motion picture, The Imported Bridegroom and appeared in the PBS documentary They Came for Good: A History of the Jews in the US. Avi has performed all over the world and has numerous acting and directing credits, garnering multiple awards and nominations. His events include Our Yiddish Shakespeares and A Breed Apart with his mother, Miriam Hoffman.
    Theatre

  • Fusing Yiddish melodies with tango rhythms produces a distinct & sensuous sound embracing two distinct cultures. During World War II, tango was the rave on both sides of the Atlantic and Jewish composers added their voice to this popular genre. Aaron Kula has arranged Yiddish and Klezmer tunes to tango beats including I Love You Too Much by Olshanetsky & Leibeh (Love) Tango by Ellstein, performed with Kula on accordion, Michale Klotz on violin, Mia Vassilev on piano & vocals by Avi Hoffmann.
    Concert

  • Short Film Series at the Colony Featuring ‘Shehita’ (Slaughter) Originally seen at the Miami Jewish Film Festival, this series of short films and animated clips features Shehita (Slaughter) by Dean Gold which depicts a strange phenomenon in a Yiddish-speaking Jewish farm in Quebec that threatens to destabilize the foundations of the local community. Tensions rise & decisions must be made quickly as demons from the past and present manifest between the young farm owner, the kosher inspector and the community’s Rabbi.  A 30-minute Yiddish thriller (with subtitles) by Dean Gold, Screening and discussio
    Film

  • March 4, 2018

    Sunday, Day 4

  • Screening and discussion with award-winning filmmaker David Novack in association with Seventh Art Releasing. Andrei Malaev Babel traces the life and history of his grandfather Isaac Babel, author of Red Cavalry & Odessa Tales, a subversive writer who was executed in 1940 for challenging the ideology of the Soviet Union.
    Film

  • Evelyn Goldfinger - Performer, playwright, director and researcher originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, created Torahtron, a professional Jewish educational theatre ensemble to transmit Jewish values, stories and history to children, young people and adults. Children and adults are encouraged to dress up in Purim costumes and a Festival Queen and King will be selected for the most original costume! Since 2007, it has engaged over 10,000 children and their parents. The play has begun & the cast is missing! You too can star in the story of Esther, Mordechai and King Akhashverosh. Come with me and you’ll be in a show of PURe IMagination, adventure and hamantaschen! Take a lead role as we retell the story of the Book of Esther like you’ve never imagined before. A one-woman show with multiple characters, audience participation & tons of humor!
    Performance

  • Toronto Klezmer Stars. For nearly 20 years, Toronto’s Beyond the Pale has been making its distinctive brand of boundary-busting Eurofolk fusion. Inspired by Klezmer and Balkan styles but influenced by everything from jazz and classical music to bluegrass and reggae, Beyond the Pale’s music traverses a vast and exotic musical landscape, bound by no particular idiom and shaped by many. Their stellar musicianship, meticulous dynamics, adventurous compositions, and inventive arrangements of traditional material make them one of Canada’s most innovative acoustic ensembles.
    Concert


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  • Lectures & Film Screenings

    Lectures and Film Screenings
  • Each, any of the lectures or film screenings listed below:
  • ($10 Student price with ID)
  • LECTURE: Our Yiddish Shakespeares with Professor Miriam Hoffman and Avi Hoffman
  • LECTURE AND BOOK SIGNING: A Breed Apart: Reflections of a Young Refugee by Miriam Hoffman
  • LECTURE: Making Yiddish Sexy Again by Mario ‘Moishele’ Alfonso
  • LECTURE: Eleanor Reissa - A Leybn Oyf Yiddish (Love, Loss, and Life in the Yiddish Theatre) featuring a theatrical reading (In English) and discussion
  • FILM SCREENING: Miami Jewish Film Festival Short Film Series at the Colony featuring ‘Shehita’ (Slaughter), a 30-minute Yiddish thriller (with subtitles) by Dean Gold, Screening and DIscussion (originally seen at the Miami Jewish Film Festival)
  • FILM SCREENING: Finding Babel by David Novack
  • $18
  • Book Now
  • Main Performances

    Award-winning Klezmer Concerts & Theatre Performances.
  • Each, for any of the Theatre Performances, Concerts or Main Performances:
  • ($10 Student price with ID)
  • OPENING NIGHT CONCERT: Vilde Mekhaye (Wild Ecstasy) starring Eleanor Reissa and Frank London with the Klezmer Brass AllStars
  • LIVE PERFORMANCE: Avi Hoffman’s Too Jewish? A Mensch & His Musical featuring Avi Hoffman’s award-winning NY hit show
  • LIVE PERFORMANCE: Reflections of a Lost Poet by Miriam Hoffman, Performed by Avi Hoffman (In Yiddish with English and Spanish Supertitles, Followed by Q&A)
  • CONCERT: Aaron Kula’s Yiddishe Tangos
  • $36
  • Book Now
  • Full YI Yiddishfest Pass

    4 Full Days of Yiddish Jewish Theater, Music, Film, and Literature.
  • For those who cannot get enough of Yiddish theater, music, film and literature, we are offering an ALL-ACCESS PASS to YI Love Yiddishfest. Enjoy four full days of activities with the YI Love Yiddishfest Pass for 2.
  • $180 for 2
  • Book Now