Workshop Series

Sunday, February 5
Check-in opens at 10:00 AM, government ID required to enter JCC
Minnesota JCC Capp Center St. Paul (1375 St. Paul Ave, St. Paul)

Featuring workshops by renowned teachers and performers Jake Shulman-Ment, Eléonore Weill, Richie Barshay, Yoshie Fruchter from New York, and Rabbi Noam Lerman from Boston. Workshops are designed for all experience levels of instrumentalists, singers, and non-musicians alike.

Registration $15 for 1 session, $30 for 2 sessions. Includes a JCC day pass and full group “show and tell” and community sing from 2:15 – 3 pm!

Session 1 (10:30 am – noon)

Klezmer for Melodic Players with Jake Shulman-Ment
ST PAUL JCC – Music Library room

In this workshop we will learn old spiritual and dance melodies by ear; the way klezmer music has traditionally been passed down. Emphasis will be placed on phrasing and ornamentation of the melodies in the Ashkenazic Jewish folk style. Led by world-renowned fiddler Jake Shulman-Ment, we will learn in a way that is enjoyable and relevant for all levels of musicians from novices who possess a basic grasp of their instrument to professional players. 

Tkhines 101: yiddish heart liturgy with rabbi noam lerman
ST PAUL JCC – Conference room

Barred from an education in Hebrew for centuries, many Jewish women and poor people of all genders in Eastern Europe were unable to read sacred Jewish texts. Cue tkhines; collections of Yiddish prayers outside of the cannon intended to be more accessible to women and gender-non-conforming people. Join Noam as we dive into the spiritual practices and lives of the women, trans, and gender-non-conforming people who wrote and prayed in Yiddish. Everyone welcome, materials provided. No Yiddish experience necessary. Please wear a mask.

Klezmer groove train with richie barshay
ST PAUL JCC – Auditorium

International touring percussionist Richie Barshay will lead a crash course in body percussion and movement, designed to enhance your groove and rhythmic creativity in the klezmer idiom. For experienced percussionists as well as non-musical beginners who want to dip their toes into a musical experience, we will learn traditional rhythms found in klezmer and yiddish music, with a focus on traditional folk dance and the fundamentals of grounded time and groove. Through elements of the Alexander Technique (Richie is also a certified teacher), we’ll learn to use our bodies as a gateway to more rhythmic flow!

Yiddish song workshop WITH SARAH LARSSON

Did you know prior to World War II, more than 11 million people spoke Yiddish? While far fewer speak the language today, studying Yiddish poetry and song can go a long way towards unlocking our shared history. Join folklorist and lineage-bearer Sarah Larsson as we sing together in the Eastern European Ashkenazi tradition, learning a bisl yidish along the way. By the end of the workshop, each of us will feel like active participants with agency to contribute to our living tradition. We’ll warm up our voices and explore how to feel comfortable singing together in the morning. Everyone welcome, materials provided. No vocal or Yiddish experience necessary. 

Session 2 (12:30 – 2 pm)

Klezmer Guitar Hero with yoshie fruchter

Calling all guitar players! Finally, a workshop dedicated to one of the most versatile klezmer instruments! Forming a guitar kapelye, we will strum our way through the nuances of rhythm, harmony, and patterns for klezmer guitar. We will dive into styles for playing with a band, as a soloist, and accompanying a vocalist. Open to all levels of players with at least a basic understanding of chords and strumming patterns. 

Tkhines: writing your own with rabbi noam lerman

In the words of Rebbe Nachman; “go out in the woods.” Expanding on Rabbi Noam Lerman’s morning workshop, we will bundle up and go outside into nature to search within and write our own tkhines – or the Yiddish prayers of women, trans, and gender-non-conforming people in the Askhenazi tradition. Attendance in the morning tkhines 101 session is not necessary to enjoy this fun outdoor activity. Everyone welcome, materials provided. No Yiddish experience necessary. Please wear a mask.

Klezmer Rhythm section tutorial WITH RICHIE BARSHAY

Not only is learning to accompany klezmer melody just as valuable as learning the melody itself; it’s interconnected! By listening to recordings, discussing, and playing, we will explore klezmer rhythms and the basics of playing “sekund.” For all levels of musicians from novices with a basic grasp of your instrument to professionals.

Nigunim Singing Workshop with Éléonore Weill

Together with international touring singer and musician Eleonore Weill, we will form a community song circle that will leave your soul renewed and restored. No experience is necessary to sing and hum along to nigunim – soulful, spiritual, wordless melodies from the Jewish tradition.


Jake Shulman-Ment

Born in New York City, Jake Shulman-Ment is among the most highly regarded klezmer musicians performing today. He tours and records internationally as a soloist, with his band Midwood, and with Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird, Di Naye Kapelye, The Brothers Nazaroff, Pete Rushefsky, Frank London, Sanda Weigl, Joey Weisenberg, Adrian Receanu, Duncan Sheik, and many more. As a teacher, Jake rejects the conception of “technique” and “emotion” being separate elements of musicality, and instead believes that great music is made when a musician is able to connect their body’s movements, their ears, and their emotions in a heightened consciousness.

Rabbi Noam Lerman

R’ Noam Lerman (they/he/zi) is a story-collector, musician, restorative justice circle keeper, nature and shabbes lover, anarchist, writer, amulet maker, and soferex (Hebrew scribe). They founded Der Tkhines Proyekt, which provides experimental and songful workshops that give life to Ashkenazi spontaneous supplications that were/are composed and prayed by trans and gender-expansive-people and women. Noam also organizes with Gates of Resilience, which is an intergenerational community that centers storytelling, disability justice and healing processes by and for folks from the margins. They currently serve as the Jewish student advisor and rabbi at Smith College, and they have been a chaplain for elders, incarcerated youth, and previously incarcerated fathers resiliently fighting for survival.

Eléonore Weill

Raised in a musical family in southern France, Eléonore Weill has a master’s degree in Ethnomusicology from Sorbonne University in Paris and spent a year living and studying folk music in Romania. She has enjoyed a versatile career performing early, classical and contemporary music, klezmer and Yiddish song, Romanian folk music, Occitan folk music, and various other styles on wooden flutes, piano, and vocals throughout Europe and North America. Eléonore now resides in Brooklyn, NY where she performs and teaches music.

Richie Barshay

Dubbed “a major rhythm voice on the rise” by Downbeat magazine, Richie Barshay has performed and recorded with Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Esperanza Spalding, and continues to tour internationally with Midwood, The Klezmatics, and many others. 

Based in New York City and Northampton, MA, Richie Barshay is an AmSAT certified Alexander Technique teacher and maintains a private practice for performing artists and others to regain better mind-body coordination and ease of movement.

Yoshie Fruchter

Yoshie Fruchter is a guitar, bass and oud player from New York City whose playing and composing combines a unique blend of rock, jazz, experimental, and Jewish styles. He has released two albums with his band Pitom in addition to touring internationally with Midwood.

Sarah Larsson

Sarah (Jagoda/Goldstein/O’Brien) Larsson, a local to Minneapolis, is a member of The Nightingale Trio, called “a revelation” by reviewers and previously seen on Classical MPR and at The Cedar Cultural Center. Drawing from deep roots of vocal folk music from Eastern Europe and North America, Sarah infuses her interpretations of traditional music with a harmony sensibility rooted in and liberated from years as a classical choral singer. Sarah’s new project, Red Thread, further unspools the line of folk tradition, merging original song with rich textures and vocal harmony from the Balkans, Yiddish, and Americana tradition.