The Ashkenaz Foundation is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to fostering an increased awareness of Yiddish and global Jewish culture through the arts. Through its biennial festival and an expanding slate of year-round programming, Ashkenaz showcases the work of leading contemporary artists from Canada and around the world working in music, film, theatre, dance, literature, craft, and visual arts. Ashkenaz places an equal emphasis on the need for preservation and innovation within this cultural milieu.
The Foundation incorporates in its mandate and programming many other manifestations of pan-Jewish music and art beyond klezmer/Yiddish, including a strong commitment to Israeli music and art and to the art and culture of Sephardic, Ladino, and Mizrahi Jews. Ashkenaz also actively pursues fusion and cross-cultural exchange with artists from outside Jewish cultural traditions through commissioned work and special projects. Ashkenaz places a strong emphasis on local and emerging talent, as well as on education and community outreach. Ashkenaz forges partnerships with other entities and like-minded organizations in areas of overlapping interest or cause.