Comedian Modi to Bring Laughs to Baltimore Hebrew Congregation


Baltimore Hebrew Congregation will be putting on a night of comedy to raise funds for their education programs with the help of a beloved Jewish comedian. Mordechi “Modi” Rosenfeld, more commonly known as simply Modi, will be performing a stand-up routine to help support BHC’s E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center and JLab Youth Education Program.

(CarlMarks51, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

The congregation’s LOL Comedy Night is this year’s spring fundraiser, continuing the synagogue’s annual tradition of holding a large event meant to support their educational programs. The synagogue has featured many different Jewish entertainers and comedians, with Modi being the latest in a long line.

“We decided to go with a comedy show this year, because everyone likes to laugh,” BHC Director of Development Tracey Dorfmann said. Dorfmann was involved with planning the show and the slate of events BHC will be holding during the spring to benefit the Early Childhood Center and JLab.

A comedian and an actor, Modi has had roles on many different television shows, such as “The Sopranos,” “Madam Secretary” and “Crashing,” where he usually portrays Jewish or Israeli characters. He has also voice-acted for the popular game “Grand Theft Auto IV.” He’s even been honored for his comedy by the City of New York, who declared June 26 as “Mordechi ‘Modi’ Rosenfeld Day” in 2018.

But comedy was not initially in the cards for the Tel Aviv native, who moved to New York with his family at 7 years old. He spent several years working in investment banking before a friend suggested that he try stand-up.

“I used to imitate the secretaries at work,” Modi recalled. “”My friend said I should do it onstage, so he organized an open mic night in 1993.”

Modi balanced investment banking with comedy until 1999, when he quit his financial job to focus on comedy full time. Since then, he has performed for audiences across the country, both Jewish and not Jewish. But much of his comedy writing is especially relatable to the Jewish experience.

“Sometimes my jokes are pretty specific, so I have to explain what they mean to non-Jewish audiences,” he said. “But it’s a specific type of humor that people really enjoy.”

Modi also performs in his native Israel, which he frequently travels to. His shows there are performed in English. While current events in Israel always affect the time he spends there, he aims to spread a more positive image of the country and give people a respite from its political tensions through his humor.

“What’s happening in Israel is definitely a historic event happening to the Jewish people, because we all are a part of Israel,” he said of the country’s recent protests against proposed reforms to its judicial system. “But when I talk about Israel, I try to talk about it as pleasantly as I can make it. I’m a comedian, not a politician or a political commentator.”

Modi has many ongoing tours in different parts of the country aside from his synagogue performances, with a schedule of his upcoming performances posted on his website

“We wanted to feature a comedian with very Jewish humor,” explained Dorfmann on why BHC reached out to Modi. “And clean humor, because those are both things that bring the local community together.”

While LOL Comedy Night is scheduled for May 23, it has already seen a lot of interest. Dorfmann noted that over 200 people have already RSVP’d, and they have secured several sponsors.

“It’ll be a good time for us, in a Jewish context, to have some laughs together,” she said.

General admission tickets are $50 each. The ticket includes desserts, snacks and soft drinks and are available for purchase at

Dorfmann added that BHC will be hosting another event on June 6, featuring a scotch and bourbon tasting with author Laura Black, that will also be benefiting the Early Childhood Center and JLab.

“I hope that when I go to these events, there will be a lot of laughter and people coming together. There’s nothing I love to hear more than that organizations sold more tickets to my performances than they expected,” said Modi. “I love that I’m helping Jewish organizations to be bigger and better. It’s a gift God gave me — not the gift of comedy, but the gift of being able to help the community in such a fun way.”

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