Actors’ Temple 101st Anniversary Gala Dinner
The Actors’ Temple in New York City celebrated its 101st Anniversary Gala at the venerable Friars Club on Monday night, March 19, 2018. What a magnificent event this was, celebrating the storied history of this Times Square area institution. The evening also featured a tribute to its most famous congregant, Al Jolson. Founded in 1917 as Congregation Ezrath Israel, the building constructed in 1923 has been designated a national landmark for its part in American history.
Carol Ostrow, the Temple President, welcomed the guests in her opening remarks. Her support for the synagogue and its many events was palpable. Rabbi Jill Hausman, whose energy is boundless, offered a prayer and greetings.
Comedian George Bettinger entertained the crowd with his fine wit, and his impersonation of Jack Benny was priceless. Tony Babino was a star. His impersonation of Al Jolson and his rendition of such Al Jolson favorites, April Showers and Mammy, brought the crowd to its feet.
Many other performers, such as Jack Benny, Henny Youngman and Milton Berle graced the Actors’ Temple sanctuary. Even Ed Sullivan and Frank Sinatra came calling. The sanctuary features tributes to these outstanding performers of the early and mid 20th Century. When visiting this landmark please be sure to visit the Actors’ Photo Gallery. It will bring back fond memories. Also, view the hundreds of plaques on its walls for a view into the past. The building also houses an off-Broadway theater which offers some unique performances. Be sure to see Goldstein: A New Musical About Family starting on March 26th.
The congregation led by Rabbi Jill Hausman is very diverse, attracting all types of people including performers, politicians and educators. You are made to feel welcome and appreciated. Feel free to express yourself. Your opinions and contributions actually count. Please take advantage of the many educational programs offered each week and feel free to attend the Friday night Oneg Shabbat for food and socializing. You will make new connections with caring and creative people.
The Actors’ Temple is a most worthwhile institution to support. So many memories were created here. Let’s be here for another 100 years.
Austin Rybstein, Editor
New York Jewish Guide