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Staff and Committees

Staff · National Artistic Advisors · Steering Committee · Programming Committee


Eleanor Shapiro, Director 2004 –present; Co-Director JMF 1997-2003

Former Development Director, The Crowden School & Crowden Center for Music in the Community; Public Relations Officer, San Francisco Municipal Railway; Public Information Officer, San Francisco Public Library; Staff Writer, Jewish Bulletin of Northern California. Community Outreach for SF Jewish Film Festival and the Magnes Museum; former singer/performer with Young Audiences (a program that brings music to public schools); teacher and journalist, based in Jerusalem, 1983-1990. BA, History and Judaic and Near East Studies, Oberlin College; MA, Journalism, UC Berkeley. Currently a PhD student in Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley.

Peter Bonos, Assistant Director, 2010 – present

Peter Bonos hails from Santa Rosa, CA and has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, where he studied music with Marty Ehrlich and Hankus Netsky at the National Yiddish Book Center. Peter headed the student organization, the Creative Music Collective, which provided concert booking at Hampshire College for local and touring experimental and avant-garde musicians.
Peter has been employed by the Hampshire College Media Services Department, Eremite Records, Pearl Street Nightclub, and Amherst Cinema Arts Center.
His expertise lies in the fields of event management, audio engineering and the performing arts.
An adventurous musician, Peter specializes in solo composition and experimental improvised music featuring extended trumpet techniques. Also active in Klezmer, Balkan, Rock, and Jazz, Peter has performed and recorded with an eclectic variety of bands and collaborative performances. Peter brings his passion for music community organization and cultural exploration to the Jewish Music Festival’.

Contact Peter at peterb “at” jcceastbay “dot” org

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National Artistic Advisors

Michael Alpert is internationally known for his performances and recordings of klezmer music with Brave Old World, Kapelye and other groups. A research associate with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, he is considered a major authority on traditional Eastern European Jewish music and dance. Alpert is the Emmy Award-winning musical director of the PBS Great Performances special Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler’s House. He was executive producer of Perlman’s two recordings of klezmer music on Angel/EMI, and directed the subsequent international concert tours.

Theodore Bikel (Honorary) made his concert debut at the Carnegie Recital Hall in 1956 in a folk song program. Every year since then, he has performed in concerts throughout the U.S.A., Canada, and Europe; including appearances with more than a dozen symphony orchestras. Mr. Bikel has recorded 20 record albums mostly for the Elektra label in addition to releases on Columbia, Peter Pan, and Reprise and was a co-founder of the Newport Folk Festival. His book Folksongs and Footnotes, published by Meridian Books (World Publishing) in 1961, had three reprint editions. He is also internationally acclaimed as a film and theater actor.

Yair Dalal is a leading figure on the Israeli and international world music scene, both as a soloist and in collaboration with his ensemble Al Ol. Born in Israel in 1955 to Iraqi parents, he has performed worldwide with artists including the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra with Maestro Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, specializing in original music inspired by music of the Middle East.

Ronnie Gilbert is a former member of the celebrated group, The Weavers, which brought folk rhythms and social activism to the mainstream, even as they were blacklisted during the McCarthy era. She has worked for many years as an actor, including work with Joseph Chaikin in The Open Theater and as a solo performer. She has more than two dozen CDs to her credit, as a soloist and with other artists.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is professor of Performance Studies at NYU. Her teaching, research, and writing encompass the aesthetics of everyday life, world’s fairs, museum theater, tourist productions, food and performance, Jewish performance, folklore, and ethnography.

Frank London is a Grammy-award winning musician and composer who plays trumpet and keyboards as a member of the internationally renowned klezmer ensemble the Klezmatics. He has performed with John Zorn, LL Cool J, Mel Torme, LaMonte Young, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Mark Ribot, Maurice El Medioni, Gypsy legend Esma Redzepova, and many others. His original work can be found on almost a dozen CDs. His film credits include John Sayles’ The Brother From Another Planet and Men With Guns. He has been featured on HBO’s Sex And The City, at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Lincoln Center Summer Festival, and was a co-founder of Les Miserables Brass Band and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

Francesco Spagnolo is Head of Research at the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley. Formerly the Executive Director of the American Sephardi Federation at the Center for Jewish History in New York. Since moving to the U.S. from his native Italy, he has worked as the Music Curator of the Judah L. Magnes Museum (Berkeley) and as a Lecturer in the Music and Literature departments of the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1997, he founded Yuval Italia, the Italian Center for the Study of Jewish Music. In 2001, the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem jointly issued his groundbreaking CD anthology, Italian Jewish Musical Traditions. He is a Research Fellow of the Jewish Music Research Center (Jerusalem) and recently completed his PhD in Musicology at Hebrew University.

Cantor Ramon Tasat sings in Hebrew, Ladino, Spanish, Italian and English. He holds a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in Voice Performance. A featured artist in international music festivals, he has produced 9 recordings and a book, Sephardic Songs for All. Dr. Tasat is an expert and a scholar in Sephardic music, and is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to teach Sephardic music at universities throughout the country. He has performed on stages throughout the world, including at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Israeli Embassy; Italian Consulate (NY) Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island; Harvard University, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

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Steering Committee

Denah S. Bookstein
Former Board Member, JCCEB (formerly Berkeley Richmond JCC), social worker; gallery owner. Former chair, subcommittee on disabilities, SF Jewish Family and Children’s Service; participant, Mitzvah Care Program – a joint program of SFJFCS and the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center. BS, MA, MSW, University of Michigan.

Arthur Goldman
Vice President, Ritchie Commercial Corporation
Past president, JCCEB (formerly BRJCC); trustee, board member and past president, Congregation Beth El, Berkeley; former board member Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay. Former assistant director, National Commission on Urban Problems, Washington, D.C. (a Presidential Commission); former planner Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C. BA, Brown University; Masters of City Planning, Harvard University.

Tony Phillips
San Francisco native; twenty years experience in general business litigation practice, with emphasis on legal malpractice and insurance coverage disputes; former Senior Editor of the Stanford Law Review, and federal appellate court clerk. Musician playing mandolin, fiddle, guitar and related instruments with various Jewish music, world music, bluegrass, and other groups; member, Steering Committee of the San Francisco Mandolin Festival; legal advisor, KlezCalifornia, an annual Yiddish music and cultural program. BA, Harvard College; JD, Stanford Law School.

Laura Sheppard
Director of Events, Mechanics’ Institute Library, SF 1999 –
Former producer, Jewish Music Festival, 1998-99; past producer, opening parties for the Degas Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1988) and Earth Day, Times Square and other locations (1990-1992) as well as other public festivals and events for more than 25 years. Former actor and recipient of two NEA Awards; former NEA theatre site reviewer. BFA, Theatre, Boston University’s School of Fine Arts.

Julie Sherman
Outreach Coordinator, Jewish Music Festival, 2005
Former program director, Community Health Partnership of Santa Clara County, a non-profit health organization working with a low-income population; quilt display coordinator, NAMES Project, Israel Tour, 1990; lay leader of the Jewish community in Santa Cruz, 1982 – 1995; former board member of Aquarian Minyan.

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Programming Committee

Carole Baden, Program Associate, JMF 2005; recipient Dean’s Talent Award, Oberlin Conservatory; Sephardic and Mizrahi music specialist.

Steve Baker, Director, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse and the Berkeley Society for the Preservation of Traditional Music.

Ben Brinner, Professor of Ethnomusicology, UC Berkeley, Department of Music.

Paul Hamburg, Judaica Librarian, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley

Laura Sheppard, Events Director, Mechanics Institute Library, San Francisco. Former producer of Jewish Music Festival (1998, 1999); Board Member, KlezCalifornia.

Ed Silberman, Early Childhood Educator; folk, klezmer and Yiddish music specialist.

Dore Stein, Producer/Host of “Tangents”, a KALW radio program that explores world and roots music, and creative jazz hybrids; former music director at KKSF, where he was a five time Gavin Award nominee, a major industry award recognizing excellence in radio music programming.

Susan Swerdlow, Conductor of choral music at the College Preparatory School in Oakland. She also trains choruses for Oakland Opera Theater and Berkeley Opera. Former music director of Sacred and Profane Chamber Chorus.

Alexandra Wall, former Staff Writer at J Weekly, the Bay Area’s Jewish newspaper, with special interest in the arts and inter-cultural relations.

Raya Zion, Workforce Development Manager, San Mateo County Central Labor Council; Fundraising Committee Chair, Chen Shapira Jewish Culture Fund; Israeli-born specialist in Sephardic, Mizrahi and Arabic music.

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The Jewish Music Festival is a fiscally sponsored project of the JCC East Bay