by Deborah Shatz
(EJNews) – On September 11, Beth Israel congregation celebrated its 110th anniversary in Edmonton with a fabulous gala event that honoured Darlene and Gordon Bushewsky and Karen Leibovici and Stephen Zepp. And what an amazing gala celebration it was!
Converting a shul into a “hameshe” comedy club is no easy feat but under the capable hands of co-chairs Michael and Jodi Zabludowski and their amazing team of volunteers, Beth Israel (the family shul) was transformed into a wonderful club.
Melany Allen and her crew did a remarkable job with gorgeous decorations that perfectly suited the theme and the occasion. The foyer was set up as a lovely welcoming and socializing area with sumptuous hor d’euvres served with champagne. The social hall looked beautiful and inviting with several stations that comprised a delicious dinner menu catered by Susan and Eddie Yedgarova. The sanctuary looked fantastic with a comedy club banner and red curtains to frame the big event. The event ran smoothly thanks in large part to the shul Executive Director Luba Allen and the rest of the office staff.
The evening was emceed by Global T.V.’s Mike Sobel who kept the program light, entertaining and on time. Each of the speakers, including the Zabludowskis, Shul President Stan Kitay, NCSY representative Shoshy Bernstein and Rabbi Daniel Friedman, rose to the occasion by injecting humour into their presentations while at the same time describing how special Beth Israel is to them.
The honourees were both introduced by their sons – Isaac Bushewsky for Gord and Darlene and Adam Zepp for Steve and Karen. Their introductions were warm and heartfelt and set the stage perfectly for the remarks by the honourees.
Gord and Darlene spoke warmly about how they came to be involved with the synagogue, as well as the importance of family, friends and community. Karen and Steve also stressed the importance of friends and family and the honour it has been to represent the larger community (the city of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta) in public service.
The entertainment for the evening was superb. Local comic Andrew Grose was the starting act and he warmed up the audience perfectly with a repartee that edged to irreverent but never crossed the line. Even he was surprised that jokes about ‘breaking wind’ could be delivered from ‘whatever you call this stage.’ And his Tim Hortons humour had the crowd rolling in the pews with laughter.
The event headliner, Wendy Liebman, winner of the Best Female Stand up by the American Comedy Awards, delivered a hilarious set that combined smart and sarcastic with downright funny and left the audience wanting more.
The evening closed with more schmooze time in the social hall, dessert featuring flambage stations, fruit skewers and a fabulous 110th Anniversary cake.
Yasher Koach to the honourees and the event co-chairs and everyone else who contributed to the success of the historic event. Scroll down to enjoy our Edmonton Jewish News photo gallery.