גיט אַ קװעטש דאָ פֿאַר אינפֿאָרמציעס אױף ייִדיש

The Yiddish Sof-Vokh UK, now in its third year, is a full weekend of Yiddish immersion including participant-led workshops and talks, singing and dancing, conversation, performances, films and nature walks. 

The 2024 Sof-Vokh will take place from from 21 to 23 June at Hillscourt, a hotel and conference centre, built in 1897 and located in the lush green surroundings of the Lickey Hills outside Birmingham within easy reach of a railway station. This year the Sof-Vokh has exclusive use of the centre, which will become a true enclave of Yiddishland for the duration. Your registration includes your room, all meals and all activities.

The retreat brings together around 60 attendees of all ages from across the United Kingdom, Europe and farther afield, including a range of language backgrounds from keen learners to native speakers. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow Yiddishists and reconnect with old friends. We strive to make the space accessible for participants with a variety of individual needs and may be able to offer bursaries for those who cannot otherwise afford to attend. We also offer activities suitable for families with children. See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information relevant to you.

The participants in the 2023 Sof-Vokh

The programme features an enormously broad range of workshops, talks, discussions and activities, which participants propose and lead themselves on a voluntary basis. In the past that has included everything from a talk about the history of Yiddish in Finland to a workshop on traditional pickling, from a spirited football match to a mini concert.

A theatre performance during the 2023 Open Mic with Marion Spir-Jacob and Mendel Salik

One special highlight of every Sof-Vokh are the two open-mic sessions, modelled after the monthly Yiddish Open Mic Café. These typically include musical performances, readings of literature new and old, theatrical sketches and special presentations from the weekend’s workshops. You can sign up for a slot beforehand or spontaneously during the weekend. Of course, performing is completely optional and applause is an equally welcome contribution.

The weekend also includes many opportunities to socialise and get to know each other: singalongs, Shabes dinner and havdole, all-inclusive vegetarian meals, coffee breaks with bountiful hot beverages and biscuits – and even some dancing. See the full schedule for the weekend here.

And if you need a restful break from all the excitement, you can explore one of the many scenic nature trails at Hillscourts’ doorstep. The film screening, which has English subtitles, is another chance for some quiet time. Also, all the activities and meals take place in close proximity to your room. Programmed events will be in the conference centre, which is a very short distance from the accommodation and dining block, along a path accessible to wheelchairs.

If you have any further questions, especially practical ones, see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Enough details – what is this experience really like, you ask? Participants have previously described the whirlwind weekend using phrases such as “a real delight”, “exactly what I was looking for” and “like entering a parallel universe” (scroll down for their full testimonials). You can read the coverage of the 2023 Sof-Vokh in the Forverts (in Yiddish).

Testimonials

Rooms and prices

All the attendees at the Yiddish Sof-Vokh will be staying at Hillscourt’s hotel rooms, which are in a redesigned Victorian schoolhouse, located directly adjacent to the conference centre where all the activities take place. Scroll down for descriptions and sample images of each of the available room types.

The prices below cover your entire Sof-Vokh experience, including accomodation, all meals (two dinners, two breakfasts, and two lunches) and all activities. The “early bird” prices apply to all reservations until the end of March. Starting in April, the higher price applies. All prices listed are per guest, not per room, and all rooms are first come, first served.

These rooms have one single bed and an en-suite shower room. 

Several accessible single rooms are available for attendees who use a wheelchair or have limited mobility. These rooms are on the ground floor and each have a walk-in shower with rails and a seat. If needed, please be sure to request this when booking (email us at svbookings@yiddishcafe.com), as there are limited rooms with these amenities.

These rooms have one double bed and an en-suite shower room. We reserve these for attendees sharing a bed, but will release them for individual guests later in the registration period, subject to availability or by special request.

These rooms come with one double bed and one sofa bed; one of them is divided into two ensuite rooms. They all have an en-suite shower room as well. We reserve these rooms for families with children, but will release them for other groups of attendees later in the registration period, subject to availability or by special request.

This ground-floor room with an accessible shower comes with two single beds. It is the only twin room in the hotel. Because of the small number of accessible rooms, we will reserve this for an attendee with limited mobility together with a companion, but will release it for other guests later in the registration period, subject to availability. To request this room, please email us at svbookings@yiddishcafe.com before your booking, as it is not listed as an option during registration.

Other details

Location

Hillscourt, Rose Hill, Rednal, Birmingham, B45 8RS, England

For advice on how to travel there by train, car, coach, plane, local bus or taxi, see our FAQ.

Amenities

All the rooms come with free Wifi, combination safes, tea and coffee facilities, a hairdryer and showers. There are no baths. (Your room will also have a TV – however, without any Yiddish channels. We recommend bringing a Yiddish book instead or joining us at the film screening.)

Individual needs

Click here for information about our bursary programme and to apply. If you have other individual needs that aren’t addressed by the accessible and family rooms above, check the questions and answers on our FAQ page or email us at svbookings@yiddishcafe.com.

Cancellation policy

We hope you don’t need to cancel! But we understand that plans change and we cannot always predict the future.

If you cancel on or before the following dates, you will receive the corresponding refund on your original booking.

  • Cancellation before 21st April: 100% refund
  • Cancellation from 21st April and before  21st May: 75% refund
  • Cancellation from 21st May and before 14th June: 50% refund
  • Cancellation on or after 14th June: no refund

Unfortunately, we cannot issue refunds for cancellations within a week of the Sof-Vokh.

To cancel your registration to the Sof-Vokh, email us at svbookings@yiddishcafe.com.

Highlights from Open Mic

Sofia Berg-Böhm sings her Yiddish adaptation of a Swedish song
Vivi Lachs sings “Katshanes”
Pini Brown sings “Mayn Yidishe Mame”

The Yiddish Sof-Vokh UK is organised by a group of volunteers from the Yiddish Café Trust, a non-profit making organisation with the UK charity number 1200053. We appreciate your support.