Laughter Reaches Across Faiths

This coexist cake was part of the food tasting part of the evening. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  BRICK – Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people of all religions and ages could come together for a day to laugh, celebrate life and forget about their differences?

  That’s just what happened when Rabbi Robert Rubin of Temple Beth Or invited about a dozen houses of worship from Brick and northern Ocean County to a “Solidarity of the Faiths” comedy show, held at their temple on Van Zile Road.

  Vermont comedian Rabbi Doctor Bob Alper spent some 90 minutes gently poking fun at religion, family life, seminary life, pop culture, air travel, and much more to some 200 attendees, who could also sign up for an ethnic food tasting after the show.

  “We want to have a good time, and have the whole community get together and celebrate together, in contrast to what’s going on in the world,” Rabbi Rubin said before the show.

  Rabbi Alper said he no longer has a congregation, but when he did he would always weave jokes into his sermons.

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  During his performance, Alper, 74, said one of his idols, Harrison Ford, now 77, is still making movies such as “Indiana Jones and the Enlarged Prostate.” A new movie in the Fugitive series is entitled “Dr. Richard Kimble Flees Assisted Living,” Alper joked.

Rabbi Doctor Bob Alper tells the crowd how crucial humor is in the world. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  He said he taught his cat, named Bob Jr., a trick: “feigning indifference.” Alper said the state of Vermont was independent for 14 years, but joined the Union to get cable.

  “In the summer, Jewish farmers in Vermont drive tractors with Florida plates,” he joked.

  Alper said that humor is important in life. “When people are sad, comedy cheers them. When people are angry, comedy calms them,” he said to the audience.

  He quoted Maya Angelou, who said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

  Temple Beth Or member Noel Biller chaired the event, which he said was created because of the news of the day.

  “There are shootings and misery in the news, but here in Brick we all get along, regardless of your faith,” he said after the show. “If we accomplished this, we have achieved our goal.”

  Father Ed Blanchett of Visitation Roman Catholic Church in Brick came to the comedy show with six St. Vincent de Paul Society members.

The crowd gets ready for the comedy show. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  “It was really great, the comedian was good at making everyone of all different faiths feel comfortable, and see the humor in our own lives,” he said after the show. “It was really great to be here.”

  Father Gary Breton from Brick’s Orthodox Christian Church of the Annunciation attended the comedy show with eight members of his parish.

  “It was a great show. As he says, laughter brings us all together and allows us to deal with some of the issues going on,” he said.

Rabbi Doctor Bob Alper, left, is joined by Rabbi Robert Rubin after the show. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door for the comedy show. The price for the optional food tasting was $18 per person. Rabbi Rubin said that after costs, the event broke even.

  In addition to representatives from various houses of worship, also seen in the audience was Mayor John G. Ducey, Council President Andrea Zapcic, Councilman Jim Fozman, and Councilman Art Halloran with their spouses; and Township Planner Tara Paxton.

These were two of the local religious leaders who were asked to stand. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)