The International Association of Yiddish Clubs XIII Conference
Is Now History—An Overview
In the preparation, it was like a pregnancy—and lasted as long. The conception was like a dream in the eyes of the IAYC Board and planning committee.
Gerry Gerger and Debbie Herman came out to scout the possible selected sites and unanimously agreed that the Westin Hotel had the best location, room layout and hotel staff.
Then came the negotiations with the hotel for room rates, meals (menu and cost—including kosher food), audio/visual equipment (type and cost), parking fees, signage, exhibitor tables and covering, hospitality space and arrangements for the IAYC Board pre-conference meeting.
Slowly the pace picked up. We had to line up the program of speakers, entertainers and exhibitors. This is necessary before you start the publicity, for attendees want to know if and when they wish to attend. It is like getting the anchor stores in a new mall. Everyone wants to know who are the main attractions. Luckily these fell rapidly into place.
Friday opened with lectures and orientation. The shabes blessings were made by Dr. Arnold Adicoff (Ruth and he are the first conference registrants).
There were 32 presenters including: Dr. Jack Berger, Prof. Hy Berman, Prof. Al Feldman (IAYC Director), Prof. Raphael Finkel (IAYC V.P.), Prof. Yoshiji “Yoshi” Hirose of Notre Dame University in Japan, Prof. Neil Jacobs, Prof. Joel Schechter, Dr. Shelby Shapiro, Prof. Iosif Vaisman (IAYC Director), Dr. Sheva Zucker, Dr. Barney Zumoff (IAYC Director), Zachary Baker, Kolye Borodulin, Adrienne Cooper, Vivian Felsen, Miriam Koral, Marcia G. Levinsohn, Sharon Love, Hilda Rubin, Rukhl Schaechter, Diana Scott, and Rochelle Zucker (IAYC Director).
There were three acts each evening, including two full Yiddish choruses, two klezmer groups, two comedians, and last minute additions of Sonja Tolnik (Nashville, Yiddish/country western crossover singer) Claire McGovern (Irish lass who sang Hava Nagila and Danny Boy), Cantor Sharon Bernstein and Jeanette Lewicki.
Friday evening featured Gerry Tenney and his California Klezmer Band. Saturday opened with the Los Angeles Stars, Cantors Hesrschl and Judy Fox, followed by the key event of presenting the Fourth IAYC Lifetime Yiddish Service award to IAYC President, Paul Melrood by his daughters, Laura and Elise. This evening ended with the Workmen Circle All-Stars featuring Adrienne Cooper. The Sunday highlight was The Larks featuring Alla Gladysheva on piano, Yakov Stainslavskiy on violin and singers Mariya Kaganskaya and Alexander Postolovsky.
Monday was a magic day. Dr. Asya Vaisman, who recently received her Ph.D. from Harvard, spoke on Hassidic Women Songs. It was the theme of her research in Brooklyn and Israel. This was followed by Cindy Paley leading the talented singers, Henry Carrey and Lori Cahan Simon and closed the conference entertainment with group dancing led by Dr. Asya Vaisman and Sebastian Schulman.
One of the highlights was Sunday lunch, a last minute freebie and showing of the wonderful film, Yiddish Theater: A Love Story. Present to discuss the film and answer questions were the producer, Ravit Markus and film director, Dan Katzir.Kudos go to Co-chair and photographer, Gene Blinick, Emcee, Martin Brandfon, registrars Debbie Herman & Dorrit Geshuri and the hostesses.