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Stand-Up for the Arts: Saturday, February 10

A night of laughter and community support at The Kaplen JCC this Motzei Shabbat.

This Saturday night, February 10, at 7 p.m., Kaplen JCC on the Palisades is thrilled to present the highly anticipated “Stand-Up for the Arts 2024,” an extraordinary evening dedicated to celebrating the healing power of laughter and the profound impact of the arts within our community. This special event, headlined by charismatic actor Michael Rapaport alongside special guests Sarge the Comedian and Olga Namer, promises an unforgettable night of entertainment to support a meaningful cause.

Presented through the generosity of The Kaplen Foundation, the event directly supports arts and cultural programs for all ages at the Kaplen JCC, and especially the immediate needs for art therapy of children affected by the Israel-Hamas war. A portion of the proceeds will also support senior programs utilizing art therapy to combat Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and a future JCC Community Theatre production targeting education about antisemitism. All of these important programs represent a testament to the JCC’s “shared commitment to the arts and their indispensable role in fostering unity and well-being.” The proceeds of the event will be deployed on an as-needed basis, said CEO Steve Rogers.

“The arts are an integral part of the soulful heartbeat of the Kaplen JCC community,” said Rogers. “They are not just performances and exhibits, but rather threads that weave together the rich fabric of our collective identity, inspiring joy, understanding and a profound sense of belonging for all who enter through our doors. Whether it is the fine arts, music, dance or drama, the arts encourage expression, serve as communal experiences that bring people together, offer opportunities for education and skill development, and improve mental well-being.”

According to Rogers, “Stand-Up for the Arts” as a comedy event is a new concept, while winter events to support the arts are not. The Kaplen JCC previously featured an event titled “Patron of the Arts” that presented in-person conversations with nationally acclaimed celebrities such as Alan Alda and Anderson Cooper.

On the February 10 billboard are three great comedians, virtually guaranteed to leave the audience breathless from laughing.

Michael Rapaport, seasoned American actor and comedian hosts the worldwide phenomenon “I Am Rapaport Stereo Podcast.” He has appeared on the sitcom “The War at Home,” and has more than 60 films on his list of movie credits. He also directed the award-winning documentary “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest.”

Sarge the Comedian rocks audiences with humor that resonates with everyone—young, old and in-between. He is also a gifted self-taught keyboardist, author and motivational speaker. (I watched a few of his YouTube videos; you’re gonna wear out your laughing muscles on this guy! Just saying…)

Olga Namer, born in Brooklyn, was raised in an Orthodox family and was married at age 17 and divorced at 20. She shares her unique perspective, described as “funny, honest, authentic and sarcastic.” She is the 2018 winner of the “Ladies of Laughter” award.

Regarding how the comics were selected, Rogers said: “In the post-massacre world, Michael Rapaport has been a prominent pro-Israeli voice. When we decided to host a comedy event during a period of continued mourning for our brothers and sisters in Israel and Jews around the world, Rapaport was a natural choice. Once he was signed, we decided that the entire lineup for the event would be composed of performers with ties to Israel and or Jewish culture.

“Joining Rapaport, we thought it would be nice to have a more traditional comic (think Borscht Belt.) Sarge, who is viewed as a modern-day Don Rickles, fit perfectly. He is incredibly talented and will have the audience literally rolling with laughter. We also wanted an up-and-coming and hilarious comic to complete the bill. After watching hundreds of hours of YouTube comedy, we discovered the amazing Olga Namer.”

Rogers said that the arts are infused throughout the Kaplen JCC. “We have specific departments in the arts sphere, such as our acclaimed Performing Arts School (dance and drama) and our renowned JCC Thurnauer School of Music.

“The Performing Arts School develops talent and imagination while building confidence, self-image, and the joy of performing. We strive to inspire children, teaching students to appreciate drama as a form of communication and expression, whether they are aspiring performers or simply taking class for fun.

“Since 1984, the School of Music has inspired thousands of students and families, transforming lives and sharing the joys of music. Through outstanding instruction, concerts, master classes, community events, and partnerships with local schools, Thurnauer offers opportunities for everyone in our community, from infants to senior citizens to connect with the world of music. We also have an adult community theater program and the Waltuch Gallery, which features Jewish art and/or works by Jewish artists.”

The early childhood, camp, seniors and special services departments use art as part of their regular programming, Rogers added. “The dance, drama and music programs feature public performances. Our dramatic arts department presents five to six plays annually, plus more in the summer; and our dance and music recitals are in the multiple dozens.” He also noted that these programs are consistently booked, and The JCC Thurnauer School of Music has a national reputation for training young students in instruments of all types and in voice.

Seats are still available for “Stand-Up for the Arts.” Hope to see you there for what promises to be an unforgettable evening of laughter and fun, in support of the amazing arts programs of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades.

Tickets will not be available for purchase at the door, and must be purchased before 12:00 p.m. on Saturday. To purchase tickets, contact Jeanine Corrubia, assistant director of development, via email at [email protected] or by calling 201-408-1406.

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