Negev Gala Hears Heartfelt Reflections Of Honouree Steven Schipper
Updated: May 30, 2019
An enthusiastic crowd gave the guest of honour a standing ovation at the Negev Gala event at the Concert Hall on Monday night, an occasion dedicated by the Jewish National Fund to raising funds for construction of a new physiotherapy center for Beit Halochem Ashdod. Intended to provide rehabilitation and support services to Israel’s wounded military veterans and civilian victims of terror, honouree Steven Schipper called it “A sacred home for disabled veterans and victims of terror attacks”.
A pre-gala reception allowed young entrepreneurs to mingle and hear a few words from community leader Larry Vickar and outgoing JNF Canada – Manitoba/Saskatchewan Regional Branch president Jessica Cogan, who co-hosted the evening with incoming chair Nola Lazar.
At the outset of the ceremony, Lt. Gov. Janice Filmon brought personal congratulations to Schipper and his family members. Earlier this month, Schipper was awarded the Order of Manitoba for his career as Artistic Director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and in the arts. Deputy Premier Heather Stefanson and Mayor Brian Bowman also addressed the assembly to reiterate their support for the Jewish community and the State of Israel. The co-hosts then gave special recognition of board member Dick Rothberg for his many years of dedication.
In his keynote address, Schipper spoke of his parents both being Holocaust survivors who met in Montreal. Mentioning their eternal gratitude to Canada, he also paid tribute to his wife Terri and to her parents for their commitment to Jewish traditions.
Enumerating achievements of the state of Israel, he cited “That Israel revived the Hebrew language is a miracle“ and lauded the freedom for all religions to be practiced without fear, noting “Israel has taken the exile out of Jews.” Schipper's commitment to supporting the Beit Halochem facility was evidenced by his remark that, given how the IDF "defends us from terror attacks", we are obliged to support injured veterans and innocent victims of terror and help them resume productive lives.
Beit Halochem Ashdod is the 5th and newest center being built in Israel and JNF will help to build. It will serve almost 7,000 injured and disabled veterans, as well as victims of terrorist activity, who are living in that region of the country.
The headline performer was "Mr. Professional Complainer himself" Elon Gold who got on an early roll remarking he was "Jewish famous".
“I have friends who’ve hosted the Oscars .. I have friends who’ve hosted the Emmys ... I’ve hosted the Chabad telethon."
Elon talking about his brief tour of the city on the ride in from the airport and being shown the corner of Portage and Main.
As he understood his guide, “You stand here for 7 minutes - you freeze to death!“
A long riff centred on ethnic humour, portraying Israeli men as "Jewish Schwarzeneggers" who inevitably translate their Hebrew remarks during a conversation into English, while Jews of European descent can be counted on to compete on a scale of suffering with each other, like 'who had the longest hospital stay'.
Star of a hit Netflix comedy special, the 48 year old has starred in FOX’s ‘Stacked’ and NBC’s ‘In Laws’, made many appearances on ‘The Tonight Show’ and had a recurring role on the hit show, ‘Bones’.
Elon was also a writer and performer on ABC’s ‘The Dana Carvey Show’ and has guest starred on ‘Frasier’, ‘the Mentalist’ and Chappelle’s Show among many other credits.
His Bronx upbringing and extensive travel provides a great platform for his observations about Jewish life and living.
Later this summer Elon will be making his 12th appearance at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.
A highlight for the over 1000 JNF supporters, including many non-Jewish supporters of Zionism, was the variety of canapes, light sandwiches, and post-ceremonial desserts and dainties, as prepared by Executive Chef Joel Lafond and his team at Congregation Shaarey Zedek.
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