A funny thing happened on the way to the temple

A funny thing happened on the way to the temple
By Merle Exit

Jonathan Forgash had been attending the Astoria Center of Israel for much of his life.

Currently a member of the board of directors at the 90-year-old synagogue, he came up with an idea last year not only to raise some funds but to involve the community as well by hosting a comedy night.

“When we did this last year,” Forgash said, “I had some old Jewish guys like my father and some comics that I got off of Craigslist. We served wine by the glass for $5 and held a raffle with certificate contributions from the community.”

He also asked Steve Hofstetter, who runs the Laughing Devil in Long Island City, for some assistance in putting the show together.

“There was some controversy as the comics performed at the bema (the raised platform at the front of the temple) and many of the non-Jewish attendees thought it to be sacrilegious,” Forgash said. “A few blue jokes, a tiny bit of swearing might have made them uncomfortable at first, but everyone certainly enjoyed the evening”

This year Forgash, who owns a catering company serving the sets of movies and television programs, turned to Hofstetter again to provide the comics. On Dec. 14, Josh Gondelman, Jane Condon and Jim Medrinos will be the performers at Temple of Comedy Night at the Astoria Center of Israel.

“We are charging $20 per person at the door. Tickets can also be purchased through Laughing Devil as well,” Forgash said. “Last year we netted $1,500. I’m looking at a net of $4,000 this time.”

There are currently 20 gift certificates to fine restaurants, food shops and other local businesses as the raffle.

If you go

Temple of Comedy Night

When: Saturday, Dec. 14, Doors at 7 pm for wine bar, show begins at 8 pm

Where: Astoria Center of Israel, 27-35 Crescent St.

Cost: $20

Contact: (718) 278-2680

Website: www.astoriacenter.org