Back to All Events

Jewish Labor Songs: A Concert and Sing-Along

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94115 (map)

Free program with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets. 

With International Labor Day (May 1) approaching, Oakland-based singer Gerry Tenney will perform and lead a sing-along of rousing and poignant Jewish labor songs, many of them in Yiddish. From the sweatshop poet Morris Rosenfeld, whose 1911 poem “Mayn Rue Platz” (My Resting Place) has become a classic labor song, to tunes popularized by labor troubadour Joe Glazer, American and European Jewish singers and songwriters have been at the forefront of music supporting the working class.

Renee Enteen, president of the Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco,  will share the history of the three Yiddish workers’ choruses that have operated in the Bay Area – in Oakland, Petaluma, and San Francisco. She’ll also display an exhibit about the three choruses.

Gerry Tenny with guitar.jpg

Gerry Tenney is a musician, recording artist, children’s entertainer, leader of the bands California Klezmer and The Lost Tribe, and president of KlezCalifornia, a Bay Area organization supporting Yiddish culture. He directed the local Jewish Music Festival in its early years and organized the first klezmer camp in California. He composed music for Rebels with a Cause, a 2000 documentary film about the activist student organzation Students for a Democratic Society. As a young man, he sang with the New York Jewish Philharmonic Folk Chorus, including a Carnegie Hall performance.

Program made possible, in part, by Judy Baston.
Program co-presented by the Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco, KlezCalifornia, and the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California.