One of the ways that people can support Israel this upcoming week is by attending a Jay Leno stand-up event that is taking place at the Jazz at Lincoln Center on Sunday. The event which is being held as a fundraiser for Israel’s national EMS service is supporting an organization that maintains 3,000 Jewish, Arab and Christian volunteer EMTs, paramedics and doctors who respond to any and all medical emergencies and provide professional first aid free of charge to whomever needs it. Supporting this life-saving cause in a country that has known grief all-too-well recently is not the only reason to come out and attend, audiences can also expect to have a great time.
The beneficiary organization, United Hatzalah, is taking some of the more entertaining singers of Chassidic music and mixing them together with a comedy performance from the famed Tonight Show host, Jay Leno. Lipa Schmeltzer and 8th Day will be providing the music for the evening, while Leno is bringing the bang for the concert goer’s bucks. Leno has more than a few similarities to the host organization.
“Jay Leno is not a Jewish guy, but he loves Israel. He is a clean comedian who is funny and has a big name and is coming out to support United Hatzalah,” said Eli Beer, Founder of United Hatzalah who has been saving lives for over 25 years. In addition to sharing a love for Israel and for helping people, Leno and the host organization also share a love of motorcycles.
Leno, a renowned car collector, has in his private collection 117 motorcycles, almost as many as the EMS organization. Leno’s bikes range from the classic 1923 Megola Sport Racer to his Y2K jet-powered-car-bumper-melting motorcycle. According to Motorcycle.com “Leno looks for motorcycles that were ahead of their time, in their time,” and “machines with story behind them.” Both elements are things that he shares in common with United Hatzalah whose innovation in using motorcycles equipped as ambulances has enabled the volunteer organization to cut down ambulance response time to under three minutes country wide in Israel. The EMS organization has been so successful that other cities and countries have begun to copy their model, making the organization ahead of its time, in its time. Each and every motorcycle that Leno owns has its own story as do the motorcycles that are used to save lives, as each life-saving rescue becomes part of the story of that motorcycle.
To have Leno perform at the fundraising concert for the EMS organization is certainly kismet. Leno, who has hosted major Israel events before, is expected to play to his audience and bring out “his Jewish” side both in the content of his jokes as well as in the stylistic nature of his humor. “The main reasons we took Leno is because we feel a connection to him in that he is a big lover of Israel and his comedy is clean, something that is very important to our audience,” said Beer.
Adding to Leno’s ‘Jewish’ pedigree is his history in working with Orthodox Jewish script writer Marvin Silverman for many years while hosting the Tonight Show. According to Jewish radio talk show host Zeev Brenner, who is close friends with Silverman, Leno is “a great choice for the concert as he is very funny, clean and a big lover of Israel.”
In 2014 and 2015, Leno hosted the Genesis Prize award ceremony in Israel, following which he was attacked on social media for his support of the country. Leno brushed off the attacks and kept coming back to support the Jewish state in spite of the chastisement.
“People want a good time and people want to do good deeds,” said Beer. “So for those who cannot physically come to Israel, like Leno did, but still want to help, here is a golden opportunity to come on out and support the country. Perform one of the greatest gifts of loving kindness that there is and help us save lives. This is an act of charity that keeps on giving for generations and generations to come.”
Lipa Schmeltzer who will be performing his stylistic combination of Jewish humor and Chassidic music at the fundraising event alongside the headlining comedic superstar said “Leno is such an Ohev Yisroel (lover of Israel). I am excited to be performing with Reb Yankel Leno in order to support the people of Israel and United Hatzalah”
Beer said that while all of the performers are great, Leno in particular will be a treat for the audience. “People are coming from all over, places as far away as Denver and California just to participate in the fundraiser. People are going to have a great time and they will be helping us save lives in Israel. Leno is going to be saving lives in Israel. What could be more Jewish than that?” asked Beer.
The concert and comedy show is set to begin on Sunday, April 10th at 7:30 PM at the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. Tickets are available by calling 1-646-833-7108 or visiting the website www.eveningforisrael.com