Shabbes Potluck Dinner & Singing Circle

February 14, 8 pm @The Phinney Center

Seattle Yiddish Fest presents an evening of singing Shabbes songs in Yiddish and with Yiddish flavor. A celebration for all to eat, sing and learn.


Free for participants of Seattle Yiddish Fest, donations encouraged for non-participants.


Shabbes, the Sabbath, as always been a time for communities to get together and share wisdom, songs and stories over a good meal. This heymish (homey) way of bringing people together and celebrating the tastiest parts of our tradition, of holding a space that embodies shoylem, peace and wholeness, is seen as one of the most essential aspects of life.


    While we regret that our festival of Yiddish, and thus Jewish culture must happen over the Sabbath, (a time when observant jews traditionally don’t play instruments), it also provides us a perfect framework to meet each other and learn and sing in a more relaxed setting. While we will use some of the rituals and songs of traditional Sabbath observance, we also put a lot of care into not making this an overtly religious event so that everyone will feel welcome and included, regardless of religious affiliation or level of observance. 

The opening of our festival is also a day everyone seems to love or loathe, Valentines Day. While we don’t plan to let it take over our event, we thought it wold be great excuse to look at some of the images of love in Yiddish culture. We are thrilled to have Faith Jones coming down from Vancouver for the weekend and she will lead us in some discussion of Yiddish Erotic poetry and share one of her favorite such poems with us.


Of course the evening will also include a good dose of singing, led by our incredible faculty, including Lorin SklambergSasha Lurje and Cantor Sarah Myerson, who will share some of their favorite songs about shabbes and love.  We’ll have lyric sheets or projections so everyone can follow along, regardless of Yiddish language or singing experience, and we’ll spend a bit of time to understand the songs. We think its impossible to play klezmer without knowing a bit about the Yiddish language and vocal tradition, so this experience is really invaluable for instrumentalists as well. 


The other major activity for our Shabbes Tish will be a bit of a presentation of background info on the development of Yiddish culture and as time allows, a question and answer session where we can all share knowledge and participants can get some perspectives from our esteemed faculty, who have over a hundred years of experience in researching, learning and performing Yiddish culture between them. 


While of course this evening will be invaluable for musicians and Yiddish enthusiasts, it will also be fun and interesting for the general public and those who just enjoy community and culture. Everyone is welcome to join, even if you can’t attend the rest of the weekend’s events, just please make sure to contact us here, so we know how many people to expect. It will be a potluck dinner, so everyone is strongly encouraged to bring homemade or takeout food to share (we’ll have tools to label things so that people with dietary restrictions can find something suitable). The event will take place in room 7 of the Phinney Center, which is upstairs (there is an elevator), so there is no need to worry about things being kosher, but we ask that people not bring pork or seafood to keep things relatively in line with Jewish food laws. 


For those attending the workshops, we will have an opening jam from 5-6, while everyone is arriving and getting registered, and then there will be a workshop session from 6-7:30, followed by a short break for those who need to to pick up food, and us to set up the room for shabbat. The potluck and shabbes event will start at 8, hopefully and then we need to have the space cleaned up and be out of the building by 11pm, so we’ll wrap up the organized activities between 10 and 10:30 and then have a short jam and clean up session. 

For RSVP and more info contact us here or via email