December 18, 2018

Chabad’s Big Bash

Chabad’s Big Bash

The annual telethon offers a mix of celebrities,entertainment and appeals for necessary funds

By Rob Eshman, Associate Editor

Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin will once again be joined by JonVoight (left) and Jan Murray (right), at Chabad’s annualtelethon.As sure as the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, thedancing rabbis are returning to TV stations nationwide for the annualChabad telethon. Nothing in modern culture quite compares, or quiteillustrates just how topsy-turvy modern culture can be: Here areOrthodox rabbis in traditional 17th-century Polish noble garb dancingwith Hollywood stars in Armani suits, espousing lines of ancientTorah via the most advanced satellite technology, giving acenturies-old pitch for charity, and taking payment via credit card.What a wonderful world….

This year’s telethon will take place on Sunday, Sept. 7, from 5p.m. to midnight, on UPN Channel 13. Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, theWest Coast director of Chabad and founder of the telethon 17 yearsago, will lead the marathon endeavor, and comedian Freddie Roman willhost. Among the stars slated to show up — and eventually dance withthe rabbis — are James Caan, Mayim Bialik, Tony Curtis, Sid Caesar,Fyvush Finkel, Estelle Getty, Jan Murray, Tony Danza, Judd Nelson,Jon Voight, Regis Philbin, Edward James Olmos, Shelley Winters, theLimelighters, the Tokens and Ed Ames. Producer Jerry Weintraub ischairman of the event.

Last year, Chabad raised $4 million, which it says goes to supportits community-outreach and drug-rehabilitation programs and youth andsummer camps. This year, according to Chabad representative (and oneof Rabbi Cunin’s 13 children) Chaim Cunin, they hope to raise “abillion.” He’s only half-kidding, of course.