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Mission & Vision


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Yiddishkayt is a cultural incubator—crafting and presenting programs that offer a fresh take on Jewish culture by going to the historical sources and embracing complexity.

For 20 years, we have been the premier Yiddish cultural and educational center in Los Angeles, presenting a millennium of European Jewish life to new generations—creatively and inclusively and outside the confines of academic and religious institutions. We seek to make the Jewish past present and map out the relationships that tie together seemingly disparate groups of people across national, religious, and ethnic borders.

We take inspiration from the artists, writers, musicians, performers, filmmakers, philosophers, and social justice activists whose yiddishkayt—their particular form of critical and compassionate engagement with humanity—emerged from the Jewish communities of Europe as they developed in constant contact with their non-Jewish neighbors over the last 1,000 years.

Yiddishkayt believes…

  • The art, culture, and language of Eastern European Jews—as they lived in Europe and in the places they settled—have a crucial role to play in the mosaic of cultures that form our communities;

  • We must share the treasure of Yiddish and the diversity of historical Jewish culture, exploring neglected or disappearing ways of being Jewish, in order to help build a more inclusive and democratic society;

  • The lessons of cultural history are more important than ever and learning about our shared cultural treasures opens us up to the riches, not only of our own past, but also of the cultures around us;

  • The experience of Ashkenazic Jews throughout the world is a crucial bridge connecting our history to the present globalized world of displaced people, immigrants, and exiles;

  • By approaching Jewish culture in the most pluralistic way possible, we understand what history teaches us about being a mentsh—a compassionate human beingin an often hostile world.