Standup comedian Cory Lupovic will perform at Congregation Beth Israel’s gala next month. (photo by Joan Ullyett)
Congregation Beth Israel’s Be the Light Gala Presented by Gerry & Ruby Gales & Family takes place June 4.
The fundraising event features the Candlelight Experience – the synagogue will be lit by hundreds of candles and a string quartet will perform songs by ABBA and Queen. The night’s emcee will be Dr. Erik Swartz, comedian Cory Lupovici will perform and Howard Blank will serve as auctioneer.
The “Be the Light” theme was inspired by the concept of people either being a light to Beth Israel and the Jewish community or how the synagogue has been a light to those in need.
“It gives us light and hope,” said Gerry Gales about why the family donated to the synagogue. “The work the Beth Israel does for the community is essential and must be supported,” he said.
Formerly known as Friends of Beth Israel, the newly redesigned and revamped event will include a mix-and-mingle cocktail reception for major donors followed by the concert (compliments of Beth Israel), dinner and entertainment. It is being planned under the leadership of Beth Israel’s new director of development, Jacci Sandler.
Swartz, the emcee, is head of pediatrics for Richmond Hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care, and is a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia. Born and raised here, Swartz graduated from Vancouver Talmud Torah and attended medical school at UBC. After years studying and practising elsewhere in Canada and abroad, he and his family returned to the city in 2008, and have been members of BI ever since.
Lupovici is a Chinese-Jewish comedian based in Vancouver – he spent his childhood summers at Camp Hatikvah and is a King David High School alumnus. Lupovici describes himself as an observational comic, in that he observes his parents and makes fun of them to strangers. His jokes mainly stem from his unique background and are a mix of personal anecdotes and silly everyday observations. With a Montreal Jewish father and a Hong Kong Chinese mother, the well of humour and rare perspectives is deep.
Rounding out the event’s main performers is Blank, chief executive officer of Point Blank Entertainment Ltd. Over the past 25 years, Blank has helped raise more than one billion dollars for organizations across North America, and his auctioneering is something to behold. He has received many accolades and awards and is recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the British Columbia Community Achievement Medal and the Order of Canada Sovereign’s Medal for volunteerism. In 2021, he was featured in Business in Vancouver’s BIV 500 as one of the top executives in the province.
Funds raised from the gala will help ensure that the synagogue continues providing programming and services to the community. Attendance at BI for morning and evening minyan, as well as for various programs, is back to pre-pandemic numbers – this isn’t the case at most Conservative synagogues in North America. Most recently, BI had more than 800 people in attendance for its Purim programs and well over 350 people for its Passover seders.
Tickets for the June 4 gala can be purchased until May 19 at bethelightgala.com.
– Courtesy Beth Israel