4th Annual Mlotek Memorial Gathering and Concert

The Klezmatics and Dr. Barnett Zumoff received the Joseph Mlotek Prize for Perpetuating Yiddish and Yiddish Culture at the 4th Annual Mlotek Memorial Gathering and Concert May 11 at the Center for Jewish History in New York City.

The annual memorial gathering is in honor of the late educator, writer and champion of Yiddish culture, Joseph "Yosl" Mlotek. The event is held yearly by the Joseph Mlotek Family Foundation. Previous Mlotek Prize awardees were: Prof. Eugene Orenstein, Prof. David Roskies, Prof. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Hankus Netsky Theodore Bikel, and Mikhl Baran.

Featured that evening was a musical program about the legendary Yiddish troubador and songwriter, Mordecai Gebirtig, that was created by Joseph Mlotek when he was Education Director of The Workmen's Circle. The program, entitled "The Singer of His People" was directed by Zalmen Mlotek, artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre/Folksbiene, and featured Yiddish concert and recording artists Robert Abelson, Phyllis Berk and Judy Bressler. There was a special appearance by the grandchildren of Yosl and Chana Mlotek; Lee, Marissa, Avram, Elisha and Sarah.

The Klezmatics won a Grammy Award in 2006—the only Klezmer Band ever to have achieved the music industry's highest honor. The band emerged out of the vibrant cultural scene of New York City’s East Village in 1986 with klezmer steeped in Eastern European Jewish tradition and spirituality, while incorporating contemporary themes. In the course of over twenty years and nine albums they have continued making provocative music.

Dr. Barnett (Barney) Zumoff holds the title of Professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and was formerly Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Currently he is vice-president of the Forward Association, and is a Past President of The Arbeter Ring/Workmen's Circle and numerous other Yiddish oriented national organizations including as a trustee on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Yiddish Clubs and
Co-President of the Congress for Jewish Culture.

For decades Barney has been at the forefront of efforts to sustain Yiddish as part of the Jewish community's general identity. He is a published translator of Yiddish poetry and prose, and was a longtime friend and colleague of Yosl Mlotek z”l.