According to the Chabad of Boca Raton Program Guide: “Jewish education forms the backbone of every Jewish community. No matter where you are in your Jewish educational study, our programs promise to enhance your growth. Regardless of your current level of knowledge or your particular interests, we have a class, lecture or program for you and your family.”
Therefore, Chabad of Boca Raton program director Rabbi Arele Gopin believes it is very important to provide a range of Jewish programming for those already involved with the Chabad and for those who may be interested in checking it out.
Gopin said: “Our programs are geared to make every Jew in Boca Raton feel welcome at Chabad, whether it is a Shabbat Dinner, Hebrew class, lecture, film or any other of our many activities. There is something for everyone.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 7, for example, the Chabad hosted David N. Weiss — top Hollywood (California) screenwriter and Modern Orthodox Jew — at the Chabad of Central Boca Raton. The evening was titled “Shrek of a Trek,” in reference to “Shrek 2,” one of Weiss’ more popular pieces of work.
Weiss shared his twisting journey from secular, Reform Jew to dynamic Christian youth leader and born-again Christian back to becoming a hugely-successful screenwriter able to embrace the disciplines of Orthodox Judaism despite the challenges of living and working in Hollywood.
Weiss said: “I met an Orthodox Jew while working in Ireland and we talked about things. I learned that he didn’t have any holes in his theology despite not embracing Jesus. I then went to an Orthodox service and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the tradition that had been hidden from me before that.”
The first thing Weiss was involved in writing after embracing Orthodox Judaism was the “Rugrats Chanukah Special,” perhaps the piece of work he is most proud of. It is now a perennial favorite, shown every year before Hanukkah since it premiered in December of 1996.
About Weiss’ appearance, Rabbi Gopin said: “David Weiss’ story is that of Chabad; inspiring others to make positive changes in life, not only in spite of obstacles, rather using those very obstacles as stepping stones for growth.”
Another program coming up for the Chabad of Boca Raton is a presentation by humorist Lenny Dave at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 15 at the Chabad of Central Boca Raton (17950 Military Trail).
Dave will be presenting “100 Years of Comedy!” — Which highlights a century’s worth of funny men and women by playfully tracing the roots and branches of Modern American comedy. The presentation will be a fast-paced, humorous trip down Memory Lane — from vaudeville, Broadway, radio and night clubs to the Silver Screen, records and television.
Dave’s credentials include a recent two-year term as president of AATH — The Association for Applied & Therapeutic Humor. This international organization, founded in 1987, is a diverse community of professionals — who work in fields such as health care, education, business and faith communities — who study, practice and promote “healthy humor” and laughter.
Dave explains “healthy humor” as: “It’s as simple as understanding the difference between ‘laughing with’ versus ‘Laughing at.’ One is helpful; one is hurtful. One builds bridges; one builds walls. Just as the comedian must decide from which perspective he or she will voice their humor, it’s up to each one of us to decide how we’ll use humor in our daily lives — to unite or divide, to heal or to wound.”
Dave sums up his act as follows: “Nothing can be less funny than trying to explain humor, comedy and why we laugh. But, in ‘100 Years of Comedy!’ my joy comes from presenting the long list of laugh-makers and letting the audience decide for themselves … and they’re never shy about expressing their opinions!”
Tickets are $10 in advance ($18 at the door). For more information, or to reserve tickets, visit chabadofbocaraton.com or call 561-994-6257.