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The Community

"There is a new energy, a new shtetl, a new vibrance given to existing histories, a paying homage to traditions and a creation of new histories. new music, dance, poetry and art are taking on lives of their own and Philadelphia is feeling it."

Susan Watts

President, Founder, Community Klezmer Initiative

Community Klezmer Initiative (CKI) seeks to build a community that honors and perpetuates the culture of the many generations of Ashkenazi Jews that came before us. By celebrating Ashkenazic traditions as a community, learning about them and building upon them, we can experience the joys of our common history, and broaden its embrace to include all who are interested in and excited by this dynamic heritage.

The path to honoring the generations before us is paved with music, dance, literature, poetry and visual art. CKI not only presents opportunities to learn about the foundations of the culture through celebrations and workshops, but also provides artists with opportunities to create and present new works building on the essence of these expressive traditions.

CKI’s programming offers opportunities for artists to create and for community to enjoy and participate. Our programs invite community members to get to know their and others’ histories a little better and perhaps fill in some of the missing parts of their own story. Our programs are designed to capture the soul of our people through engaging, fun, and creative events.

What’s on the horizon is exciting. This coming season’s events are curated to offer a unique, rendezvous with Ashkenazic, Yiddish culture in all its beauty, grit and creativity.

Susan Watts
Founder and President
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