International Association of Yiddish Clubs

14th Conference, August 26th–29th, 2011 Sheraton Detroit Novi, Novi, MI


Breakout Sessions


Murray Batt is a practicing physician in Auburn California. He has been immersed in Yiddish for the past ten years and read his first Yiddish book, “Geshtaltn Fun A Mol” written by his  distant cousin Sam Batt. Dr. Batt will speak extensively on the plays of Arn Tseytlin (1898-1973). The material was gleaned from workshops given by Berkeley Professor Niborski of the Institut National De Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris. Dr. Batt will demonstrate  Tseytlin’s varied style from tragedy to grotesque to farce with readings from two of Tseytlin’s untranslated plays, “Jacob Jacobsen”(1931) and Vaitzman der Weight”(1934)


Rosalie Beck (Reizie) was born in Windsor Canada into a Yiddish speaking family and is a graduate of the I.L.Peretz Shula where she received a well-rounded Yiddish Education. After college, she moved to Detroit, married and has three children. Professionally she taught English as a second language in the Detroit Public School system and tutored children and adult non-native speakers of English from many different countries. Reizie also taught children in the Workmen’s Circle schools and in that capacity translated the Yiddish portion of speeches that many gave at their B’nai Mitzvot. Through joyous times and somber, Rosalie has called upon the “unique spirit” of Yiddish language, culture and humor to help herself and others deal with the many aspects of life. Her dream has always been to promote Yiddish language and culture through education, humor, music and film.


Cookie Blattman was born into an Orthodox family in Brooklyn. Her father was a Cantor and a Shokhet and Yiddish language, tradition and life was the norm in her formative years. She carried this through her life and when she and husband Lenny went to Florida she became active in the “Circle of Yiddish Clubs”. Cookie began entertaining the many clubs in the area and has developed into a mistress of Yiddish song and humor. She has performed her one woman show with numerous Klezmer bands as well as acappela and has become a favorite at the IAYC conferences. You will be thoroughly entertained and fascinated by her “Yid/Eng Shmooze and Song” Presentation.


Jack Boxer was born in Kansas City, MO into a Yiddish speaking family. He grew up speaking Yiddish and attended the Workmen’s Circle Shula. He attended the University of Colorado and served as an instructor in radar navigation in the Air Force during World War II. He then attended University of California at Berkley majoring in biology. Jack taught that subject for 33 year. When he retired he became active in several Yiddish speakers groups. Jack and Alva Dwokin have  co-authored the book “Gefrishte Mayses”, which will be the subject of their presentation.


Douglas Cole grew up in Detroit and was educated at Wayne State and Northern Michigan Universities.  While at Northern Michigan, he founded the “Hiawatha Folk Music Festival”. He later moved to Minneapolis and joined the Prairie Home Companion radio show. As an Irish fiddler, his “Yiddish” life began when he met Judith Eisner and her Klezmorim Band. Using his computer knowledge and music skills, (he is an accomplished  fiddler and Mandolin player and plays with Judith),   he is the sound technician for “Eisner’s “Klezmorim” and has produced her latest CD, “Oysgemisht”.


Alva Dworkin grew up in Detroit in a Yiddish speaking family and graduated from the Workman’s Circle Mittlshule, majored in art at Cass Technical High School and earned a Masters degree from Wayne State University in Art Education. She received a second Masters degree in Human Development and taught in nursery schools and preschool for 15 years. Yiddish has always been part of Alva’s life and she has been active in the local Workman’s Circle chapter as well as several Yiddish groups around Detroit. She and her partner Jack Boxer have just completed the story book, “Gefrishte Mayses” which is featured here at the Conference.


Judith Eisner is a highly respected violin instructor for adult students. She discovered' her Yiddish language after playing klezmer violin for 15 years. She attended YIVO's Weinreich summer program for Yiddish language through a grant in 2007 and now hosts  a weekly discussion group called Tuesday-Schmooze-Day. Using her fiddle throughout insights during the presentation.


Vivian Felsen as a member of Toronto’s Friends of Yiddish since the 1980s  has been active in many Yiddish circles. Vivian won the Canadian Jewish Book Award in 2001 the as well as prestigious J.I.Segal Award in 2004. She speaks extensively on Yiddish related subjects. While spending a month in Vilnius in 1998, she befriended two elderly Jewish women who had been partisans in World War II. Ten years later these women would find themselves under investigation by the Lithuanian government for alleged “war crimes”. Using photographic images, Vivian will speak about these troubling events and their impact for Jews today the world over.


Karen Goodman former Detroiter Karen is a critically acclaimed Los Angeles dancer/choreographer.  Honors and grants include a National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer’s Fellowship and Detroit Jewish Women in the Arts Award.  Her work on Yiddish folk dance and 20th/21st century Jewish modern dancers includes her 2002 documentary/instructional video on Yiddish dance, Come Let Us Dance (for sale here) andcontributions to the Encyclopaedia Judaica.  She teaches and speaks on Yiddish folk dance, Jewish modern dancers and about Jewish identity and ritual as expressed in dance.  Recent concert work includes setting both Yiddish folk dances and creating Jewish-themed works for the concert stage.  She has a B.A. from Wayne State and an M.A. in Dance from UCLA.


Harvey Gotliffe was born in Detroit, received his Bachelors degree in marketing and advertising at Wayne State in 1958, his Masters at San Jose State in 1971 in print Journalism and his PhD at Wayne State in 1981 in radio, TY and film. He lived in Israel several years investigating the influence of American culture on Israeli Television (his Doctoral thesis). Harvey taught at San Jose State and introduced a course on media coverage of the Holocaust in Europe and the Japanese American internees during World War II and has been published in “Hadassah” magazine. He presently works extensively with Yiddish speaker survivors of the Holocaust in Northern California.


Jim Grey is a well-respected genealogist of national reputation. He is a life member and past president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan as well as a life member and past president of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan and is active in many local and national Jewish organizations. Jim will outline the latest methods of creating your own family genealogy.  His presentation will address that “where did I come from” that we have at times. Jim will help you find your roots


Frank Handler earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees from NYU. He  taught advanced history classes on Long Island and after retirement, he has lectured on many diverse Jewish subjects in many venues from elder hostels to Jewish clubs and meetings, including several IAYC conferences. His articulate manner and deep knowledge of his subject will keep you spellbound. His subject will be “Esperanto and the Jews”.  


Troim Katz Handler has taught Yiddish at Oxford, worked with Prof. Kazuo Ueda of Japan on two books, was secretary to Itche Goldberg and is a member of the board of the IAYC where she chairs the committee that selects the material for the clubs. In 2002 the IAYC published her Yiddish-English book of love poetry, “SIMKHE” She will speak on “Elie Wiesel, From Auschwitz to Madoff”.


Prof. Yoshiji (Yoshi) Hirose is in the English Department at Notre Dame Seishin University (Japan). He received his doctorate from Kansai University in Osaka, Japan and his MA from the University of Washington. Dr. Hirose has studied at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies in England. His publications include, “Shadows of Yiddish on Modern American Writers” and “The symbolic Meanings of Yiddish”. He will be lecturing twice here. Please check the schedule for times and subjects.


Susan Leviton presents a whirlwind visual tour of Jewish paper cutting which reveals the historic ‘Jewishness’ of this folk art form, and she will expand your appreciation of the delicacy, intrinsic meaning, joyfulness, and geographic range of the craft.  Two workshops will be available for those who want to explore paper cutting beyond the slide lecture. These sessions will offer hands-on experience with simple materials and instruction.   Each session is limited to ten participants, with a materials fee of $5.00 per person and completed work will be displayed in the exhibition area of the conference   (To be held on the second floor. Reserve a space with Ms. Leviton at the slide presentation or her vendor table.)


Sharon Love is a graduate of Winnipeg's I L Peretz Folk School and currently is a Board Member of the I L Peretz Folk School Endowment Trust, Chair of the Group for Yiddish Heritage (aka Di Yerushe Grupe) in Winnipeg, Longtime board member of Winnipeg's Rady Jewish Community Centre and active in ORT. She enjoys Israeli dancing and participates in workshops. Sharon worked 27 years for Air Canada.


Daniella HarPaz Mechnikov received her BGS and MA in Near East studies from the University of Michigan, studying Yiddish language and literature as part of her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She spent two summers at the Weinreich program in New York, taught Yiddish at U. of M. for two years and ran the Yiddish Language and Literature program at Brandeis for three years. When Daniella left acadamia, she worked with The Technion Society in New England and upon returning to her roots, she became the Director of Education at Congregation B’nai Moshe in West Bloomfield Michigan. Daniella is also active in the Alliance for Jewish Education and is a sought after teacher and lecturer in her field. You are sure to come away from her presentations a better Yiddish speaker.  


Hilda Rubin chairs the Café Kasrilevke, leads the “Kum Shmooz” group, and is artistic director of “Di Shpilers”, all in the Greater Washington D.C. area. She is a reading specialist in the Prince George County schools and teaches Yiddish to adult education groups. She is well suited to speak on “Yiddish Club Programming, Producing Playlets”


Aliza Shevrin is a native Yiddish speaker having been immersed in the “Mamaloshen” from birth in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her knowledge and love of Yiddish was strengthened by her attendance at the New York Jewish Folk Shula and as an active member of Habonim. She was educated at Cornell University and received her MSW from the University of Kansas. Her presentation reflects her personal research into how several Yiddish translators of the same work interpret it. You will find the differences and similarities are both fascinating and educational.


Dr. Charles Silow, a member of “Children of Holocaust Survivors” is a psychologist who works with Holocaust survivors. He will be the panel moderator of a discussion of “Life Before the Shoah”. The panel will consist of several survivors of the Holocaust who will speak about their experience in their home towns up to the Nazi invasion.


Harold Ticktin is an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio and was honored by that cities Workmen’s Circle as Man of the Year in 1996. He is past president of Temple Ner Tamid and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Allied Jewish Campaign. Harold is conversant in six languages, including self-taught Yiddish. Harold leads a Yiddish Vinkl, lectures on Jewish Humor and “What Jews Should Know About Christianity and has authored over 400 published Article. He was the chairman of the IAYC eleventh Conference in Cleveland.    


Prof. Iosif Vaisman was born in Chernovtsy, (known in Yiddish as Tshernovits) and has a PhD from the Russian Academy of Sciences. He currently teaches bioinformatics and computational biology at George Mason University in Maryland. In 1994 he and his wife Shura created the Virtual Shtetl, the first comprehensive website dedicated to Yiddish language and culture. Dr. Vaisman was moderator of “Mendele” for several years. He will speak on “Who needs Yiddish?”


Annabelle Weiss grew up in a Yiddish speaking family. She graduated from the Workmen’s Circle Mittlshule  and attended their summer camp where she was a child actress. Her love affair with Yiddish and acting continued into adulthood and when she and her husband moved to Cleveland she renewed her acting career at  the J.C.C. Yiddish Theater. (She played the ingénue in many of the plays well into her 40s.) She has worked with many Yiddish speaking groups and clubs. Upon retirement she formed a Leyenkrayz and teaches Yiddish at her synagogue. She co-chaired the I.A.Y.C. conference in Cleveland in 2007. She will entrance you with her knowledge of “The History of Yiddish”.


Rochelle Zucker is a graduate of the I.L. Peretz  Day school and Mittleshul in Winnipeg, Canada. She is a member of the Group for Yiddish Heritage and The Next Generation Reading Group. She is a board member of the IAYC and I.L.Peretz Folk School Endowment Trust. She hosts a Yiddish radio show on “CKJS Winnipeg. She will lecture on “The Rebirth and Relevance of Yiddish in The 21st Century”


Dr. Barnet Zumoff (Barney) is an internationally known teacher and researcher in endocrinology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is Past President of the Forward Association, Co-President of The Congress for Jewish Culture, Vice President of Folksbiene, Vice President of the Atran Foundation and is a Past President of the Arbeter Ring. Barney has published 20 volumes of Yiddish translations and will speak on “The Role of Yiddish in Secular Jewishness”