The Jewish Music Festival started in Berkeley, California, in 1986 as a one-day event produced and hosted by the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay (formerly the Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center). Its programs have included performances, lectures and workshops devoted to instrumental music, song and dance inspired by the musical traditions of the global Jewish Diaspora. Initially called "The Festival of Musical Traditions," the initiative became the "Annual Jewish Music Festival" in 1989, and in 2009 reached its twenty-fourth edition. Over time, the Jewish Music Festival has developed a host of programs at venues in the greater San Francisco Bay Area as well as outside the United States. The Jewish Music Festival has been a steady vehicle for the development of the Jewish musical "revival" movements in North America, and specifically for Klezmer music, Yiddish and Ladino song; it has also provided a space for the presentation of the music of the Jews from the Islamic World and from Israel to north American audiences.
The collection includes digital copies of the promotional materials of the Jewish Music Festival collected and organized by its director, Ellie Shapiro. The materials document the history and development of the Jewish Music Festival from its second edition (1987) until 2009, and comprise program brochures, performance schedules, concert notes, flyers, mailers, postcards, anthological audio CDs, fundraising and survey documents and correspondence. These materials document the development of a community-sponsored public space in which a variety of musical genres inspired by the Jewish experience have been promoted.