Yiddishkayt Los Angeles

aka Yiddishkayt   |   Los Angeles, CA   |  www.yiddishkayt.org

Mission

We believe that yiddishkayt — the culture, language, art, and worldviews of Eastern European Jews, as they lived in Europe and in the places they settled — has a crucial role to play in our world today.

Often forgotten, obscured, or denigrated, Yiddish culture offers a much-needed model of diverse people coming together and rejecting parochialism, of fusion, collective creativity, and critical engagement.

Yiddishkayt is a cultural incubator. We craft hands-on, immersive experiences creatively, inclusively, and outside the confines of academic and religious institutions, making this past present and mapping out the relationships that bring humanity closer together across the divides of national, religious, and ethnic borders.

Ruling year info

1992

Executive Director

Dr. Rob Adler Peckerar

Main address

3780 Wilshire Blvd Suite 410

Los Angeles, CA 90010 USA

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EIN

95-4076358

NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Humanities Organizations (A70)

Cultural, Ethnic Awareness (A23)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Helix Project

the Helix Project, a fresh, revolutionary approach to cultural history. Since 2011, Helix has been transforming university students into cultural archaeologists by directly connecting them to the landscapes of Eastern Europe. Students immerse themselves in regions that for centuries sustained a vibrant and dynamic multi-ethnic civilization before the genocidal devastation of the twentieth century. The three-week-long journey is curated and led by leading scholars of history, literature, and politics, as well as young cultural activists and Helix alumni.

The Helix Project begins in Los Angeles, where participants spend several days at the Ojai Foundation. There, they take intensive crash courses in the languages, history, and culture of Eastern European life, while also learning and practicing methods of mindful listening and discussion, all skills necessary for our unorthodox style of study and travel.

Population(s) Served

Our Language Education Program strives to demonstrate the value of Yiddish in Jewish education, to innovate new curricular techniques, and to nurture a core of young leaders who will advocate for Yiddish in the future.  Currently, Yiddishkayt has spearheaded a Yiddish language program for elementary and high school students.

In 2005, with major funding from the Righteous Persons Foundation, we embarked on a three-year pilot program to reintroduce, for the first time in a half-century, Yiddish language and culture as a systematic course of instruction in American Jewish Day Schools.  Our high school curriculum, now completing its fourth year at New Community Jewish High School, has been approved by the University of California Admissions Board as fulfilling the “Language Other Than English” requirement for university admission. We have now begun the long-range process of implementing our pioneer high school Yiddish language education project in other interested schools nationally and internationally. Through mutual engagement with the same curriculum, the use of web-based social networking, and joint projects and exchanges, a strong bond between Jewish youth worldwide will be established. This is the only initiative of its kind.

Population(s) Served

Yiddishayt has been offering walking tours of Boyle Heights, the historical location of Eastern European Jewish immigration in Los Angeles. Beginning in 2010, monthly walking tours relate the story of the Yiddish experience of this unique neighborhood. The tours introduce the many communities that have called Boyle Heights their home to the Yiddish history of the area and the pivotal role it has played in the local history of Los Angeles.

Boyle Heights, a gateway for new immigrants for much of the twentieth century, has served as a petri dish for cross-cultural exchange and inter-group politics for Los Angeles as a whole.  From the 1920s to the 1940s, it was home to the largest concentration of Yiddish speakers west of Chicago.  This
little-known Los Angeles neighborhood sheltered Latinos, Jews, African-Americans, Russians, Japanese-Americans, Filipinos and many other groups, giving rise to its nickname as the "United Nations" of Los Angeles and was once derisively described in the 1930s as a high-risk neighborhood because of its surprising heterogeneity.  Boyle Heights, which is today 95% Latino,  became the first successful working example of multicultural collaboration in a city that now embodies diversity in its entirety. This unique social history is embedded in the built environment which includes scores of historic structures, some recognized as Historic-Cultural Monuments by the City's Cultural Heritage Commission.  It also includes some of the most dynamic murals in the city, site-specific art, historic architecture, and a lively contemporary Latino street scene which eerily echoes the Yiddish street scene from 70 years ago.

Our tours are offered at a low cost to community members and to local and national organizations and conducted by docents, who will highlight social
history, architecture, art, culture, and the current status of the dynamic area through the lens of Yiddish history.

Population(s) Served

Two major digital arts programs have been ongoing at Yiddishkayt since 2012. The first, the social media-driven feature, “Today in Yiddishkayt” has become extremely popular, reaching an average of 25,000 people every week through social media channels.

Expanding on this success, our website hosts an ever-expanding digital exhibition of Jewish art and culture, presenting striking juxtapositions of photographs, out-of-print books, newspapers, song recordings, video clips, vintage posters, and other media from all over the world, alongside insightful and original commentary.

There is a treasure trove of Eastern European Jewish culture lying neglected in archives, history books and distant memories. At Yiddishkayt, we are constantly looking for new uses and platforms for these materials and the creative, cosmopolitan worldviews which they express. Our highly interactive website allows curious visitors to explore the lives and works of notable figures in European Jewish history. With digital technology, we can imaginatively retell the stories and dreams of Yiddish speakers, and restore their art, music, and literature in ways fresh, relevant and inspiring for today's world. We then use social media to broadcast this multimedia diet of Yiddishkayt to diverse audiences around the world, spanning great distances of time, place and culture.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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Awards

Slingshot Guide as one of the nation's 50 most innovate nonprofits 2008

Slingshot

Financials

Yiddishkayt Los Angeles
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Yiddishkayt Los Angeles

Board of directors
as of 6/18/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Abbie Phillips

Aaron Paley

Community Arts Resources

Mae Ziskind

Elaine Berke

Mike Burstyn

Max Kellerman

Dan Opatoshu

Leah Reis-Dennis

Marlene Share

Claudia Sobral

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes