We were up far past our bedtimes last night, but it was definitely worth it -- what with the amazing dancing rabbis and fundraising efforts of the 28th annual Chabad Telethon live in Los Angeles which raised $8.1 million in a six-hour span!
The Chabad Telethon was hosted by actor/comedian Elon Gold, who was joined by actress Leslie Grossman and piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick. Actor Jon Voight -- who has been part of the fundraiser for years -- led a colorful array of celebrity personalities, including Martin Landau, James Cromwell, Tom Arnold, and Kellie Martin, not to mention pre-taped messages from Larry King, Howie Mandel, Regis Philbin, and Kelly Ripa. The show was peppered with musical numbers, from classic tunes to modern versions of classic Jewish melodies.
One of the most memorable bits of the evening was when L.A. Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar was given 90 seconds to shoot as many baskets as he could, with each shot amounting to $1,800 toward the telethon total. If we're not mistaken, it was nearly 30 baskets! We were also incredibly moved by a video segment about the efforts of Chabad in Running Springs, California, to feed, house, and offer comfort to firefighters during the blazing fires of late last year.
It's always exciting to see watch the telethon and see how many funds are raised for Chabad's substance abuse treatment centers, education and outreach, and other activities for benefitting people of all faiths and persuasions. But when it comes down to it, we know that the amazing dancing rabbis are really what really brings in the big bucks!