Yiddish Experience speakers

The Yiddish Experience is part of the East Valley JCC’s Klezmer Music Festival on Jan. 13, 2019 at the EVJCC. See below for speaker bios, topics and times.

Janette Silverman

AncestryProGenealogists senior research manager

Janette began her genealogical journey more than 35 years ago as a hobby with her father. She served as the president of the Phoenix Jewish Genealogy Society, is an active volunteer with JewishGen, heading up the Ukraine Special Interest Group, and was lead co-chair of the 2016 International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies conference. She has worked with private clients since 2004.

How to Search for Your Ancestry: 12 p.m.

My Genealogy Journey: A Personal Story: 2:20 p.m.

Those attending the genealogy workshops will have the opportunity to participate in a raffle for an AncestryDNA kit (a $99 value)!

Leon Gildin


Leon Gildin is an award-winning author, producer and retired attorney. His book “You Can’t Do Business (or Most Anything Else) Without Yiddish” discusses the amount of Yiddish spoken in contemporary English by both Jews and non-Jews alike resulting from Eastern European immigration at the start of the 20th century . He is also the award-winning author of the historical fiction novel “The Polski Trilogy.”

Yiddish in America: 1:15 p.m.

Sandra Bernoff

Coordinator of the EVJCC’s Klezmer Fest Yiddish Experience

Sandra Charyn Bernoff has a bachelor’s degree in Yiddish literature and education and a master’s degree in education and has taught in both public schools and after-school religious schools. She served as the director of education in two Conservative synagogue religious schools and taught Yiddish to children and adults in Arizona, New Jersey and New York.  She was on the founding committee of Yugntruf, the international Yiddish magazine and social group, and serves as the “elder” of the monthly Yiddish group at Temple Solel in Paradise Valley.

Yiddish Curses and Insults Your Bubbe May Not Have Taught You: 1:50 p.m.

What’s Happening in the Yiddish World Today: 4:15 p.m.

Phyllis Avalon


Phyllis Avalon has taught public school for more than 30 years, as well as at Satmar Yeshiva, Patterson Catholic Girl’s School and every Hebrew school in Phoenix. She was director of ESL for Tempe public schools. Earning her Doctorate in Counseling, she’s currently running workshops for Infinite Possibilities and lecturing and also has a private practice as a counselor and life coach. She speaks eight languages and has traveled around the world several times. She was recently a featured speaker at the EVJCC’s Terrific Tuesdays group.

Experience Yiddish Poetry: 3:15 p.m.