When comedian Elon Gold does his standup spiel at Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim’s Annual Event this June, Adam Ben-Zev, the shul’s president, believes he will have had plenty of time to prepare new material, as Gold has not performed for the synagogue since just before the start of pandemic lockdowns.
“He’s had two years to sit at home and think about what’s going on during the pandemic,” said Ben-Zev, a resident of Pikesville. “And he’s excited to talk about it.”
Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim will hold its Annual Event with Elon Gold on June 13 at the Marriott Owings Mills Metro Centre.
“It is a community-wide celebration of Suburban and the [Institute for Jewish Continuity, the shul’s educational arm], and what we do for the community,” Ben-Zev said. “So it’s a celebration of that and each other, and it’s an incredible night of laughter, [celebration] and, really, enjoyment for all.”
In addition to representing an opportunity for celebration and socialization, the event is also the shul’s largest annual fundraiser, said Ben-Zev. Money raised will go toward general synagogue operations.
Before the pandemic, Suburban Orthodox would hold a banquet and a raffle as two separate annual fundraisers, Ben-Zev added. With the return of regular programming, the shul decided to combine both into a single, grand event.
When asked to describe the evening’s headline entertainment, Ben-Zev called Gold a very funny and proud Jew with incredible jokes and great impersonations.
“If you’ve heard him before, and you’ve heard him a second time, his material is always different the second time and is guaranteed to be different the third time,” said Ben-Zev, adding that Gold has also been featured on Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” “He’s that good.”
“He is great with working in the crowd without working in the crowd,” Ben-Zev continued. “He knows the organization as well, so he works the organization into his act.”
This will be the third Suburban Orthodox event that Gold has participated in, said Ben-Zev. The previous two were Suburban’s banquets in 2018 and in February of 2020, just before COVID really burst onto the scene.
In addition to the comedy stylings of Elon Gold, the event will also include what Ben-Zev promised would be “an incredible culinary experience,” as well as a silent, Chinese auction, in which guests would purchase virtual tickets, like in a raffle, that they could then dedicate to a certain package of auction items to increase their odds of winning.
In past years, as many as 500 attendees have come to the event, said Ben-Zev, and he anticipates it will be no lower this year. He expects some attendees to fly in for the event from as far as Los Angeles, Toronto, Israel and South Africa.
Regarding social distancing measures, Ben-Zev noted that masking would be optional, and that, to mitigate any issues, Suburban booked a much larger venue then they normally would have.
“Hopefully, people that we haven’t seen in a little bit of time will feel comfortable coming out and being with us and celebrating with us and being part of us for the next 50 plus years,” Ben-Zev said.