July 18, 2024
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Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey to Feature Comedian, Actor and Writer Bruce Vilanch at November Livestream

(Courtesy of JHSNJ) The Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey (JHSNJ) will present an exclusive livestreamed performance by comedian, actor and Emmy Award-winning writer Bruce Vilanch on Sunday, November 15 at 7:00 p.m..

“We thought Bruce would be a perfect headliner for our annual fundraising event, as both he and the JHSNJ started out in Paterson, New Jersey,” said Ina Cohen Harris, president of the nonprofit historical organization. “We are so excited to present a native son in concert.”

For the past 40 years, the JHSNJ has collected and preserved documents, photographs, letters and other items relating to the heritage of Jewish life and culture in northern New Jersey. The organization’s collection area includes the city of Paterson, one of the main centers of Jewish immigration in northern New Jersey. Vilanch spent his childhood in Paterson, attending city public schools and graduating from Eastside High School. He went to Hebrew school and was a member of the Jewish teen group United Synagogue Youth, which he recalls fondly.

Vilanch’s performing career ranges from spending six years as a square on television’s “Hollywood Squares”—“to the left of Whoopi (Goldberg), if there is such a thing,” as he wrote in his autobiography—to writing 23 Academy Award telecasts and receiving several Emmys.

Vilanch also performed on Broadway, where he met Bette Midler and began collaborating with her on her comedy material. The 1999 movie “Get Bruce” looked at his work with many famous comedians, and the title of his November performance for JHSNJ, “We Got Bruce,” is a riff on that.

“We are grateful to Bruce for giving his time and talents to our organization, which is focused on preserving the Jewish history of his hometown,” said Executive Director Joy Kurland. “I know his performance is going to make us all laugh.”

While tickets for the performance are free, the JHSNJ is soliciting sponsorships starting at $180 for the event. “The JHSNJ lost its main funding sources when the coronavirus caused the state of New Jersey to shut down in March, resulting in the cancellation of our annual fundraising event,” Kurland said. “We hope that our members, and all fans of Bruce, will be generous in helping to make sure the JHSNJ exists in the future to preserve our priceless history.”

As Vilanch says in his hilarious stream-of-consciousness autobiography, he has “done benefits for almost any Jewish, LGBT or AIDS-related charity you can name” and has “a shelf of lucite awards from them that will be very dangerous to be around in an earthquake.”

For tickets, which include a link to the livestreamed performance, please RSVP to https://webinar-register.net/webinars/jhsnj/registration_201115.php. For more information, please email the JHSNJ at [email protected]

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