throughout the chilly days of fall, cities across North-Central Europe host Jewish cultural festivals that go beyond mere street fairs to showcase finely curated klezmer, cinema and more.
As airfares drop and drab afternoons shorten, consider planning travel around these cultural events. A trip immersed in klezmer or Yiddish theater, say, will be more memorable than another tour of castles.
For aficionados of all things Yiddish, the 14th annual Week of Yiddish Music and Theater in Dresden, Germany, will take place from Oct. 17-31. Concerts, plays, lectures, and even Yiddish linguistics classes all explore the lingering influence of Yiddish in contemporary culture. The festival’s musical highlights include songs of the shtetl performed by a broad range of musical artists, from Yachad, a Russian-Ukrainian group, to Anakronic Okestra, which sets traditional klezmer tunes to hip-hop for an evening of dancing.
In addition to performances, the festival offers opportunities for visitors to engage with the local Jewish community, which is once again flourishing. Community Shabbat worship is held at Dresden’s award-winning New Synagogue; a guided tour of the synagogue is also on the program. There are also several café afternoons, when visitors can mingle over traditional German-Jewish cake with Dresden Jewish residents. (On that note, don’t be intimidated by the fact that lectures and discussions, as well as most festival websites, are in German: most urban Germans also speak English, music is universal, and Google’s Translate tool can help you figure out the website program schedules.)
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