Meet the Klezbians, the invite-only, music-playing group holding annual queer seders in B.C.

The Klezbians
The Klezbians formed a band in 2014 comprising members of their invite-only feminist seders in Victoria, B.C. (Photo courtesy of the Klezbians' Facebook page)

It’s going to be a special Passover seder this year in Victoria, B.C. for The Klezbians, an all-woman musical group that performs Klezmer music. They’re marking 10 years since the band formed to play professionally in 2014. And even before that, the band and their wider group of Jewish lesbian friends have been holding annual inclusive seders, by invitation only, at a private home.

These seders started as an alternative to the women’s unpleasant memories of their experiences as lesbians at their own traditional family seders, which were usually not welcoming spaces for them or their partners. Over the years, guests have created their own seder rituals, including making their own haggadah. The seder is usually accompanied by live klezmer performances of their favourite Passover songs.

For a special Erev Passover edition of The CJN Daily, we’re joined by two of The Klezbians to hear their heartwarming story: Debby Yaffe is a retired women’s studies professor from the University of Victoria who plays guitar, and Susan Dempsey is a psychotherapist and counsellor who plays the accordion.

What we talked about:


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.