Our Organization

General Profile

Building Community, Membership and Participation through Jewish Culture

Over the centuries, the term “wandering Jew” has described our migration from country to country. But today’s Jews are wandering in a different direction… away from their Jewish heritage. What can we do to bring them back – to reignite their passion for Jewish history, life and culture?

In seeking direction back to our Jewish identity, one can look to the theatre, where “Fiddler on the Roof” still plays to global standing room audiences of Jews and non-Jews alike, decades after its premiere. Performing arts, film and television, literature, comedy, art, music, language, even food – all of these elements “bake” Jewishness in as a key ingredient.

Such is the powerful attraction of our very Jewishness – our Yiddishkayt – a celebration of our centuries-old rich Jewish culture. And that is the impetus for a new and exciting non-profit venture on a mission to bring our precious heritage back to the forefront of Jewish life – the Yiddishkayt Initiative.

Global Reach

A Global Cultural Clearinghouse for your Organization

Numerous organizations have discovered the key to building membership and increasing participation – Jewish cultural programming. They’ve done it by sponsoring events ranging from solo performances to small theatrical productions, concerts and local festivals. But few have the on-board personnel to produce or present events beyond their local contacts and resources.

What’s needed is a global resource for Jewish culture and entertainment staffed by experts in both subject matter and production.

The Yiddishkayt Initiative can design events responsive to the specific size, demographics, cultural interests and budget of a wide range of organizations, including Federations, JCCs, synagogues, Hadassah chapters, Hillel chapters, men’s groups, women’s guilds, special interest clubs, youth groups, summer camp programs and educational institutions.

From South Florida to New York to Toronto to Romania, our reach extends to all corners of the Jewish cultural world.

Future Vision

The Beginning of a Jewish Cultural Renaissance

For thousands of years, the treasure trove of Jewish culture has educated, inspired, entertained and most importantly, bound together the Jewish community. These riches are still there. Together, our Yiddishkayt – our Jewishness – can thrive into the 21st century.

The Yiddishkayt Initiative will be on the forefront of this movement. Our record of accomplishments includes the establishment of the Joseph Papp Yiddish Theatre, which has presented highly acclaimed theatre productions in the United States, Israel, Romania and Canada. Our leadership team has strong relationships with many Jewish organizations, including the UJA/Jewish Federation, Center for Jewish History, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the Forward Association and many other prestigious Jewish institutions.

Our future goals include a Jewish Culture Initiative, the Fund for Jewish Cultural Programming, a Center for Jewish Cultural Studies, a Theatre Conservatory and the establishment of an Association of Jewish Cultural Societies worldwide. Planned future projects include major documentary films, movies and television presentations, cultural festivals, publishing and performing arts programs.

We look forward to a time when “wandering Jews” will find their passion for Jewish history, life and culture through the Yiddishkayt Initiative.

Our Founders

AVI HOFFMAN
AVI HOFFMANCEO of Yiddishkayte Initiative
CEO Avi Hoffman is a world-famous actor, who specializes in Jewish culture and Yiddish theater. His long-running “Too Jewish” trilogy has been seen by millions on PBS and in venues around the world. He has produced and presented shows throughout North America, Europe and Israel. International Festivals include Romania, Poland, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Tel-Aviv and other European cities and countries. His connections in the theater, entertainment and film communities are extensive. He has received a Congressional Award and was named a “Sage” by The New York Times. Both he and his mother were recently inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame.
MIRIAM HOFFMAN
MIRIAM HOFFMANFounder / Professor of Yiddishkayte Initiative
Founder Professor Miriam Hoffman is a world-renowned scholar of Jewish and Yiddish culture, with a 60-year academic career that includes 25 years as professor of Yiddish language and Jewish culture at Columbia University. Her 700-page “Key to Yiddish” textbook is a standard for Yiddish educators worldwide. She is an award-winning playwright, author, and columnist for The Forward, having published thousands of articles over 35 years. Her collaboration with the late Broadway impresario Joseph Papp allowed for the creation of a Yiddish Theater bearing his name.

Board of Directors

Professor Miriam Hoffman – Chair Emeritus
Avi Hoffman – President and CEO
Rena Berkowicz Borow – Treasurer
Joan Liman, MD, MPH – Director
Rabbi Bruce Warshal – Director
Susan Papp Lippman
Richard Lippman
Steven Eisenberg, Esq.

Legal Advisors

(Pro – Bono) Steven Eisenberg, Esq.
(Pro – Bono) Alvin Entin, Esq.
(Pro – Bono) Jerome Cohen, Esq.
Adi Rappoport, Esq. – Gunster
Robert Harris, Esq. – Lazarus and Harris

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