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Kibitznik’s Choice: the Boston Workmen’s Circle

Alyssa Goldstein
June 21, 2012

by Alyssa Goldstein

Looking for a place where you can join a Yiddish song circle, attend a radical Purim spiel, take a class on labor history, and march for economic justice? If you live in the Boston area, you’re lucky enough to have a place with such a diverse range of Jewish and social-justice activities: the Boston Workmen’s Circle.

Like other Workmen’s Circle branches around the country, the Boston Workmen’s Circle experienced a decline in membership in the 1960s. However, it experienced a re-invigoration in the 1980s and today looks to be a thriving community, with a wide array of activities and events to enjoy.

The BWC offers Yiddish classes for all levels, as well as lectures, conversation groups, sing-alongs, a chorus, and a monthly klezmer jam. They host secular and radical holiday celebrations and shabes dinners. They have lots of activities for young people from preschoolers to adults in their ’30s, including the Jewish cultural Sunday school, secular Bar/Bat mitzvah programs, Teens Acting for Social Change, and holiday celebrations organized by and for people in their 20s and 30s. There are plenty of things for families too: from an annual family retreat to “family mitzvah days” for volunteering. The BWC also offers adult education courses, a book group, and visiting lecturers.

For activist-minded folks, there’s plenty to do as well. There are three social justice committees: The Jewish-Muslim Relations Committee, the Middle East Working Group, and the Acting for Economic Justice Committee. BWC members recently baked cookies to thank the elected representatives who supported the Temp Worker Right to Know Bill and teamed up with the SEIU to support unionized janitors. Check out their facebook page and their calendar to keep up to date with all their activities and events!