OK so you jokers put up a pic of me in a tux, presented absolutely no context and of course the conversation inevitably devolved into football and Brett Favre. Before that happened though, one of our readers left a comment stating that our Night of Unity fundraiser was “epic.” That it was. I had just flown in the night before after a whirlwind tour of New York and Montreal via Rome and Tel Aviv. Of course our crew in LA had worked like crazy people to organize the event and by the time I walked in, everything was basically done. The El Ray Theatre was packed to capacity with fancy shmancy LA Jews who donated big time to JConnectLA and Jewlicious and who enjoyed an awesome evening in honor of fellow Moroccan Jew David Suissa. Suissa who is a columnist for the LA Jewish Journal, a community activist and philanthropist, received our first annual Jewish Unity Award and we all enjoyed the open bar, yummy food, various entertainers and the musical stylings of Moshav and Matisyahu.
OK so really? I was totally overwhelmed and tux or no tux I felt completely out of my element. Everyone was all fancy and dressed up! The one thing that stood out in my mind though was that none of this would have happened, none of it, without the support and imagination of the Jewish community of modest little Long Beach, CA. Both on a communal and individual level, the Jewlicious Festival has benefited from the sort of support for innovation that many talk about endlessly, but few actually bring to fruition. Except for those guys down in the ELBEE.
It’s no secret that we’ve always wanted to do a Festival on the East Coast. I’ve even managed to start basic discussion on the issue with some communal leaders here and there, but after 6 years, the Jewlicious Festival is still available only in Long Beach. This despite many requests from young Jews around the country. Only modest lil’ Long Beach has been able to pull this off year in year out, both in times of plenty and times of economic distress. So yeah, big ups to the Alevys and the Alperts and the Booksteins and the inumerable volunteers who help make our Festival happen and prosper.
The Night of Unity provided an opportunity for the Jewish Community of Los Angeles to step up and put in their 2 cents, so to speak. Truth is we didn’t make a massive amount of cash, but we did increase our local profile significantly. That’s been a problem as even after 6 years, many people still think we’re some kind of Chabad program.
Seriously. I mean do I fucking look like a Chabadnik?
I know Rabbi Yonah is well, a Rabbi. And that’s been obvious in all the publicity he’s been getting of late, from being featured in Vanity Fair, to being a Jewish Heroes Finalist to his selection in the Forward 50. But message to secular Jewish America: NOT ALL RABBIS ARE LUBAVITCHERS, ok? And the Jewlicious Festival is the only gathering in the world where you will find everything from Breslav Chassidim to Lesbian Peace Activists. OK? OK! Now give us some money so that we can help spread the love!
So, back to the original point of the post. Our fundraiser. It was an old skool affair featuring an honoree, VIP tables, big donations, sponsors and all that. But it wasn’t stuffy. People mingled, shmoozed and rocked out. All our student and young adult leaders were in attendance and rubbed shoulders with the attendees. It really was an old skool meets new skool kind of thing and please shoot me if I use the term “skool” one more time. Whatever, it was fun. Now we’re in full Festival prep mode. Oh what fun awaits. Yay. Stay tuned!