Our Team

Jana Mazurkiewicz Meisarosh

Jana Mazurkiewicz Meisarosh

Founder & President

Jana Mazurkiewicz Meisarosh is a PhD candidate in the Slavic Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is working on her dissertation on Yiddish Theater in Communist Warsaw. Originally from Poland, Jana holds a Master of Arts degree in Polish Philology and Jewish Studies from the University of Wrocław. Jana is not only a practicing academic but also an active theater artist and critic. She is an actor, director, playwright, and producer of Yiddish theater. In October 2017, she moved to San Diego and launched the Yiddish Arts and Academics Association of North America (YAAANA). Feel free to contact her at: jana@yaaana.com

Tanya Yakovleva

Tanya Yakovleva

Vice President

She studied Comparative Literature, Classical, Slavic, Jewish, and Media Studies at the universities of Kharkiv, Regensburg, Bari, and San Diego. She received her PhD in Slavic-Jewish Studies from the University of Regensburg in 2019 and since then she has been teaching for YAAANA. Tanya lives in San Diego where she obtained a yoga teacher certification. She sees her mission in bringing joy and equilibrium to people through yoga and Yiddish. Tanya is currently writing a book about Odessa 1905 in Russian Jewish Literature. Feel free to contact her at: tanya.y@yaaana.com

Josh Wortman

Josh Wortman

Treasurer

He is a San Diego-based technology developer and business owner. He grew up hearing bits of Yiddish, but never really learned much. Interested in and proud of his heritage, he believes it is important to stay connected to Yiddish, the language of his family. Josh is involved in several San Diego-based religious, philanthropic, and cultural organizations.

Yale Strom

Yale Strom

Artistic Consultant

He is also one of the world’s leading ethnographer-artists of klezmer and Roma music and history. He has conducted extensive ethnographic research throughout Eastern Europe since 1981, made nine documentary films, written twelve books, and has had numerous photo exhibitions throughout the world. He has also composed for theatre, film, radio, television and symphony orchestras. His band, Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi, has made fifteen recordings ranging from traditional klezmer to “new” Jewish jazz. He is currently artist-in-residence/professor in the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University.

Rabbi Philip Graubart

Rabbi Philip Graubart

Secretary

He has served as senior rabbi at Congregation Beth El in La Jolla for fifteen years. He’s also served in leadership positions at the Shalom Hartman Institute, The National Yiddish Book Center, and the San Diego Jewish Academy. He’s published six books. His latest novel Women and God will be published early next year.

Elizabeth Schwartz

Elizabeth Schwartz

Artistic Consultant

She is a renowned klezmer vocalist, specializing in the Romanian tradition. She is also an award-winning filmmaker and author. From her many appearances with Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi and as a solo artist, Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals) has built a loyal following among fans, critics and collaborators. Her first recording of Yiddish, Hebrew and Ladino vocals for the Naxos World label, “Garden of Yidn”(1998), debuted on Canada’s Mundial Top World Music poll. It was hailed as “a landmark in modern Yiddish song” (Sing Out! Magazine).

Marc Caplan

Marc Caplan

Academic Consultant

He has been an activist in the Yiddish world since the 1990s, when he began studying Yiddish in grad school and working with organizations such as Yugntruf, the Kultur-Kongres, and Arbeter Ring in New York City. Since receiving his PhD from New York University he has held teaching and research positions at Indiana University, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the Center for Jewish History (New York), the University of Michigan, Yale University, the University of Wroclaw (Poland), and Dartmouth College, where he is currently a visiting professor in Jewish Studies. He has also taught Yiddish at summer programs organized by Tel Aviv University and the YIVO Institute.

Amelia Glaser

Amelia Glaser

Academic Consultant

She is a scholar of Russian, Ukrainian, and Yiddish literature and an Associate Professor of Literature at the University of California – San Diego (UCSD). She also directs UCSD’s Jewish Studies program and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies program. She enjoys learning new Yiddish poems and songs and sharing them with her 2- and 4-year-old kinderlekh. She is currently writing a book about Yiddish poetry and internationalism in the 1930s.

Karen Bohrer

Karen Bohrer

Community Outreach Advisor

She has worked in areas of professional services marketing, corporate communications, and executive search and has served on the boards of a number of Jewish and other community organizations. Her background also includes having worked on more than 70 productions as a member of the creative team for a leading youth theatre—a perfect match for YAAANA’s theatrical endeavors. She grew up with Yiddish-speaking grandparents and is proud to be a part of preserving the language and bringing it to future generations.

Lea Wolinetz

Lea Wolinetz

Community Relations Specialist

Lea Sigiel Wolinetz is a daughter of Holocaust survivors. She is a former administrator in the New York City Public School system. Mrs. Wolinetz has served as Coordinator for the Jews of Czestochowa Exhibit and Outreach Manager for the Polin Museum in Warsaw. She currently acts as the Executive Director of the Worldwide Czestochowa Jews and their Descendants, and the Secretary of Częstochowa Relief Society. She resides in NY and has 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

Edward Meisarosh

Edward Meisarosh

Legal Consultant

He is responsible for managing the financial actions of YAAANA. He has been with YAAANA from conception to inception, from photo-taking to food-making, from editing to formatting, and from schlepping to kvetching.