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Club conference brings Yiddish culture to Green Tree

By Charlotte Smith
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Nearly 300 attendees are expected at the 15th Annual International Association of Yiddish Clubs Conference being held April 26 to 29 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Green Tree.

The association has a membership of 1,360 with groups in the United States, Canada, Israel, Spain and Uruguay.

There are several Yiddish groups in Pittsburgh.

One group meets weekly at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill.

Another group — the South Hills Yiddish Conversation Club — has about 30 members who meet on the first Sunday of the month at 11 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center of the South Hills, located along Kane Boulevard in Scott Township.

“The theme for this conference is A Feast of Yiddish Culture,” said Nina Kaplan, Pittsburgh conference coordinator.

“A number of local speakers and entertainers will share this area's rich history and highlight Pittsburgh's considerable talent and resources.”

One of the events she is introducing is a nightly retreat called “Yiddish in Slippers: A Dream Sequence,” where the attendees will move in and out of dreams.

Sprinkled into the conference will be historical characters in dress, persona or activities.

Also planned are Eastern European cooking demonstrations, a computer lab, exhibitors and vendors.

One lucky couple will be chosen to be married at an authentic historical Eastern European wedding during the conference.

Entertainers and presenters are coming from California, Florida, New York, Texas and around the world.

Pittsburgh artisans are being featured as well.

Other programs include Yiddish classes, workshops, a showcase of films, large scale art projects and performances by world-renowned klezmer musicians.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra trio of Noah Bendix-Balgley, Aron Zelkowicz and Rodrigo Ojeda will also perform.

Scheduled speakers include Harvard Professor Rush Wisse, ethnomusicologist Yale Strom, and Dr. Harry Bochner, editor of The New Yiddish-English Dictionary.

“The Conference comes around to every locale only once, so Pittsburgh is very excited to host this year's event,” said Kaplan.

For more details or to register for the conference, call Kaplan at 412-302-2410 or visit

Charlotte Smith is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at 724-693-9441 or



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