YIVO Jewish Culture Series



The Yivo Jewish Culture Series programs focus on Yiddish literature, culture, history, language and Jewish heritage. They are presented several times across the course of the year on Sunday afternoons at 2PM and take place in Riverdale Temple's sanctuary. Their speakers and subject matter experts draw a large audience for this popular event.

The faculty for the series draws on the extensive network of scholars affiliated with the YIVO Institute. The events are open to the broader community.

“We are delighted with the success of YIVO’s Jewish Culture Series at Riverdale Temple over these last four years. The overwhelming response to these lectures and events demonstrates the great need for substantive programming about Jewish history and culture for the public.” —Jonathan Brent, YIVO Executive Director

The 2016-2017 program year:
November 13, January 29,  April 2 and June11 

Admission is FREE to all.

YIVO Jewish Culture Series at Riverdale Temple Presents 


SAVE THE DATE- Sunday, June 11, 2pm- in the Riverdale Temple Sanctuary

About the Performers

Composer/musician Alicia Svigals is the world's leading klezmer violinist and a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, which she co-directed for seventeen years.  She has written for violinist Itzhak Perlman, the Kronos Quartet, playwright Tony Kushner, documentary filmmaker Judith Helfand, singer/songwriters Debbie Friedman, Diane Birch et al, and has collaborated with them as a performer and improviser as well as with poet Allen Ginsburg, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Gary Lucas and Najma Akhtar, and many others.  She has appeared on David Letterman, MTV, Good Morning America, PBS' Great Performances, on NPR's Prairie Home Companion, Weekend Edition and New Sounds, and on the soundtrack for the L-Word.

Svigals was awarded the Foundation for Jewish Culture's annual New Jewish Music Network Music Commission for her original live score to the 1918 film the Yellow Ticket, which she is currently touring, and a Trust for Mutual Understanding grant to bring that work to Poland next year.   She has been a fellow at LABA - a non-religious house of study and culture laboratory at the 14th St. Y in NYC which every year invites a group of artists to consider ancient texts and create work that pushes the boundaries of what Jewish art can be; while at LABA she composed a song cycle based on Yiddish poetry about motherhood.

Svigals was a MacDowell Fellow in summer 2014; during her residency there she worked on her score to Brewsie and Willie, a film based on Gertrude Stein’s last book. She is also an alum of the YIVO Zumer Program, and worked at YIVO in the late 80s/early 90s.

Lauren Brody is an accordionist, singer, researcher and piano tuner/technician from New York.  She is a pioneer of the klezmer revival in the United States and a founding member of the groundbreaking band "Kapelye", formed in 1979.  She has toured extensively, recorded and appeared on film with Kapelye, with the all-female ensemble “Mikveh” and she plays regularly with many other musicians in the klezmer world.  Lauren has had a similarly pivotal role in the Balkan music scene in the United States, both as a teacher and as a performer. She has taught regularly at both the EEFC’s Balkan Music and Dance Workshops and at Klezkamp. As a vocalist and keyboard player, she toured and recorded with the “Yuri Yunakov Ensemble” and the “Ivan Milev Balkan Folk Band”.  Lauren is a Fulbright scholar, and her research endeavors are realized in two groundbreaking reissues of 78 rpm recordings of Bulgarian Folk Music: “Song of the Crooked Dance” (1998, Yazoo Records) and “Outsinging the Nightingale” (2010, JSP Records). She is currently involved in her own solo project “Lauren Brody’s Accordion Bytes”.

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