You can find below KlezKanada’s community guidelines including some suggestions about online etiquette. Please also read carefully the code of conduct and our recording policy for the 2020 virtual retreat.
HELP BUILD A SAFE AND WELCOMING COMMUNITY FOR ALL
KlezKanada takes great pride in its diverse community and invites you to explore different ways to actively make sure everyone is not only welcome but feels as though they rightfully belong. We encourage you to be a good host and a good guest and to seek to strengthen the community by building respectful and appreciative relationships.
For 24 years, KlezKanada’s Summer Retreat has taken place at Camp B’nai Brith in Lantier, Québec, located on the traditional, unceded territory of the Anishinabewaki, Huron-Wendat, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), and Omàmiwininiwak (Algonquin) people. We gratefully acknowledge these original custodians of the land, thank them for having hosted us, and commit to treating the land with care and respect at the time of our next visit.
This year, as we gather together remotely from a myriad of different places and at a time of hardship and upheaval for so many, let us use this week to envision and enact, in some small way, the world we wish to see. At other times of the year, our actions large and small, individual and collective, may contribute to systems of oppression. Some of us are also subject to these systems of oppression in different ways. This week, in a spirit of togetherness and intentionality, let us actively work against these forces and build a community with an ethos of opening and striving, a place where all are truly welcome. As the old song says, let us work for a tsukunft where libe iz greser un sine klener, a future where love is greater and hatred diminished, and where we will at last bafray un banay undzer alte velt, liberate and renew our old world.
What is Klezmer? You may already know that “klezmer” literally means “musician”, but Klezmer has also come to encompass Eastern European Jewish music and its related culture. It’s the music of then and the music of now; some grew up with it, for others it’s new, but for everyone here, it’s the music which brings us together and serves as a glue in our community. KlezKanada seeks to explore the limits and boundaries of this tradition, so keep an open mind, and be aware that the plurality of experience and range of experience and knowledge are what makes this space rich.
Who comes to KlezKanada? In short, everyone comes, and everyone is welcome! Whether you want to rock out on the accordion, immerse yourself in Yiddishkayt or sing and dance along to your favourite klezmer tunes, KlezKanada is a place for anyone interested in Yiddish culture and Jewish music to come and enjoy themselves. We are proud of the religious and cultural pluralism in our community and we strive to create respectful spaces where everyone, of all levels of observance and secularity, and all cultural backgrounds, can coexist with authenticity, integrity, and respect. To see KlezKanada’s full statement on creating inclusive and respectful spaces within our community, we invite you to read carefully the Harassment and Discrimination Policy.
How can we help to make everyone feel welcome? At KlezKanada we encourage each other to be conscious of and celebrate differences in our community– whether in race, ethnicity, cultural and spiritual tradition, heritage, gender, or language. We hope it goes without saying, but please do not make fun of any group’s cultural or spiritual traditions, especially when they’re not their own. There are Jewish people of all races, and not all KlezKanada participants are Jewish. Don’t assume that someone is or is not Jewish based on race, and avoid making assumptions or asking unsolicited questions about people’s religious or cultural backgrounds. In general, it’s important not to push fellow “campers” to share personal information. Some folks may volunteer personal details while others may not- both are perfectly fine! Everyone, whether participant or staff, comes here to participate fully; having to implicitly or explicitly justify one’s belonging is a barrier to full participation.
It is important to be mindful of any written or verbal comments you make to others during the Retreat and to keep all comments and interactions respectful, whether they are made publicly or privately so that KlezKanada virtual spaces can remain safe spaces. Be aware that private chats can be seen by the moderator and that all sessions are recorded for posterity. Even if you feel certain that your microphone and video are switched off, please refrain from comments and gestures that you would not feel comfortable sharing with the whole group.
How does gender fit into the picture? KlezKanada aims to be intentionally inclusive of people of all genders. We actively want to facilitate women and non-binary folks coming forward and taking equal space both in formal and informal settings. We are actively supportive of those who are transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming (GNC). Please help us build a warm and welcoming space and refrain from making assumptions about people’s gender identities and pronouns. Specifically, if a workshop is interactive, we invite all participants and leaders to add their pronouns next to their login name and we remind our community that respecting pronouns is essential. It is also important to realize that it is not always safe or necessary for trans, non-binary, and GNC people to name their gender publicly.
How will KlezKanada make virtual spaces accessible? We are aware that not everyone has equal experience with Zoom and online workshops, and that being able to access and use all the features of the online retreat is also an accessibility issue. It is important to us that every person feels as comfortable and welcome as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time during the week, even in the middle of a session, for whatever issue, big or small. During the festival, we’ll have ample assistance available to help participants navigate new technologies and platforms (Include the details of the tech emergency help person / helpline here). Technical accessibility during the Retreat is also a community responsibility. In order to participate, you need access to a computer and a steady internet connection suitable for video calling. We also ask community members to be patient with those who have less experience with online meetings.
How can we make the online community a safe and productive community?
-Be aware that all the technologies that we use (including but not limited to Zoom and Google) have their own privacy policies and you are subject to these;
-KlezKanada may use audio and visual recording during the week; by taking part you give consent for recordings or pictures of yourself to be used for promotional purposes.
-Please check with instructors before recording any class or workshop. Any recordings you do make are strictly for private use only.
-Please note that the recording of films and concerts is not permitted.
Zoom is a wonderful invention in that it enables us to meet and create a community at a time when we need it most. Nevertheless, navigating online discussions and classes poses a different set of challenges which we should all reflect upon in order to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate.
Be aware of the time lag on Zoom as this can make it easy to talk over each other. Be courteous in navigating who speaks first and if you do inadvertently interrupt someone, remember to invite them to speak after you finish.
Give space for everyone to actively participate. Everyone is strongly encouraged to come forward if you want to say something/suggest a tune/ask a question in discussions, or during tune learning moments, especially if you have not already done so… Equally, if you have already shared multiple ideas or questions in a single session, consider stepping back a little and encouraging other people to lead as well.
Jamming With the exception of some adventurous sessions (hats off to Dan Blacksberg!), the online format of the 2020 retreat does not allow for synchronous music-making. Nonetheless, we still invite you to reflect upon and ensure equal participation in group sessions in whatever way possible. For some tips on how to do this, perhaps you will be inspired by the KlezKanada jamming philosophy below.
What is a Jam? Jams offer a chance for people to play informally together mixing all levels and instruments. They are an essential and fun part of KlezKanada! In order to make sure that everyone gets their share of this valuable space, we have come up with the perfect acronym for it:
Join in: Many people hold back in jams because they lack confidence, or feel that they aren’t good enough. But jamming is for everyone! If you only know how to play one note, then play that one note! Jams are a great space for learning so we strongly encourage you to dare to play!
All people have an equal right to contribute. If you suspect that you have more confidence or more experience than others, or if you play a louder instrument… use this week to learn about stepping back, and supporting others. Also: making space in a jam is not about putting people on the spot to lead or take a solo; it’s also about playing quieter, or slower…Did everyone get that – let’s do it a bit slower… What tunes do you know? I’d love to hear one! While this year is different because it will take place remotely, it’s important to remember that taking up space is not merely physical –it’s just as important to check-in with oneself and others over a virtual jam session and making sure everyone is able to contribute and take part in the online space. Always feel welcome to ask questions (for example, by writing a question in the Zoom chat box) –this will be helpful for the whole group and increase access for everyone.
Be Mindful of the people around you. While jamming, ask yourself these questions:
- What is my intention? Am I sharing? Am I truly listening? Jamming is not about being the star, it is a chance to construct a group experience built on respect and inclusion.
- Who is leading? Does everyone who wants to get the chance to start a tune? We want people of all skill levels to have the chance to practise leading, especially those who are new at leading jams, as this is the key to sustainable community-building.
- Before starting the virtual jam, check if everyone who wants to participate online is able to participate. Because of online limitations, it is important to confirm that participants are ready to start the jam and are not dealing with technological difficulties that could stop them from contributing
The text on this page has been updated to fit the virtual requirements of the 2020 KlezKanada Retreat. It is based on our work on equity and inclusion over recent years, and is based largely on discussions between, amongst others, Zoe Aqua, Joanna Britton, Maia Brown, Asa Brunet-Jailly, Magdalena Hutter, Jeyn Levison, Sebastian Schulman, Rebecca Turner, and Michael Winograd. It also draws, with thanks, on texts from Annie Kaufman and the “Let My People Sing” program. It’s a living document: we invite you to read, engage and give us your feedback so we can continue to grow these ideas throughout this week and in future years.