Help YTE Bring "Between Worlds" to the Stage

Help Yiddish Theatre Ensemble Bring Between Worlds to the Live Oak Theatre!

Dear Friends,

What are your first memories of Yiddish? Do you remember someone close to you saying, “she’s such a maven!” or maybe oy gevolt!” or, “So, now you’re such a macher you’re too busy to call your mamaleh?”

For many of us, Yiddish was the secret language of our parents or grandparents, overheard conversations, fragments of song, or the Yiddish world of Fiddler on the Roof. Today, Yiddish words have become part of our vernacular. But they only hint at the richness of song and theatre created in this language.

Yiddish Theatre Ensemble is committed to bringing these historic and socially relevant works to the stage. Our celebrations of this heritage include the sold-out performances of the Di Megileh of Itzik Manger, an award-winning online version of God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch, and our stellar and highly praised co-production of Indecent by Paula Vogel with San Francisco Playhouse.

YTE is preparing a new play, Between Worlds, Based on the Life and Poetry of Irena Klepfisz, conceived and written by Naomi Newman and directed by Bruce Bierman. Naomi Newman co-founder of Traveling Jewish Theatre, brings her enormous talents to the portrayal of this courageous poet, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, and an activist who came out as a lesbian at a time when that could have jeopardized her academic and social standing.

Naomi Newman

Barbara Borden (left) and Susanne DiVincenzo

In Irena Klepfisz’s poetry, she describes herself as a “keeper of accounts” of the vanished world of Eastern European Jewish culture. On stage, the ghosts of Irena’s story come to life through a range of characters, movement, and choral interpretation. The actors are accompanied by an original score created and performed by renowned musicians percussionist Barbara Borden and Susanne DiVincenzo on cello and bass. The staging includes choreography by Frances Sedayao and vivid video backdrops by production designer Jeremy Knight. Between Worlds will have a five-day run August 16-20, 2023 at the Live Oak Theatre in Berkeley and be filmed.

Irena Klepfisz ( Photo Credit: Joan E. Biren)

We share this in the hope you are inspired to help us bring this unique production to the stage. Every contribution is important and appreciated. Donors will be invited to special events surrounding the production.

Join us on this exciting theatrical journey!

Denah Bookstein and Esther Shaw, Fundraising Committee Co-Chairs

YTE Team
Co-Artistic Directors
Laura Sheppard, Producer & Bruce Bierman, Director

Jeremy Knight, Technical Director/Production Designer/ Editor
Karen Sellinger, Assistant Director
Mark Faulkner, Promotion Video
Zack Rogow, Dramaturg
Esther Shaw, Production Consultant
Suzanne Stassevich, Costume Consultant
Polo Talnir, Sound Consultant
Nadav Hochman, Media Consultant
Dorrit Geshuri, Grantwriter/ Media Consultant
Carolann Biederman, Development Consultant
Lisa Geduldig, Publicist

Yiddish Theatre Ensemble is fiscally sponsored by KlezCalifornia, Inc.
Judith Kunofsky, Executive Director
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Laura Sheppard
Berkeley, CA
Registered nonprofit
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