The Mormon and the Jewish Rabbi

 

I hadn’t been done 10 minutes with my performance at the Rabbi’s retirement party in Tampa, Florida, when one of the older Jewish congregation members came up to me and asked in her thick New York accent,

“Are you really a Mormon from Utah?”  

“Yes, ma’am I am,” I smiled in reply.

“Well I’ve never seen a Mormon perform at a Jewish Temple, this was quite the unforgettable experience!  Thank you for the laughs, you’re like a throwback to Sammy Davis Jr and you’re a doll.” 

As Dr. Seuss said, “Oh The Places You’ll Go!”

Nearly 2 years ago, my friend and fellow comedy performer, David Glickman, and I were inducted along with three other incredible people in the CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame together, forever linking us as brothers in speaking.

Last year he approached me with an idea.

 

David Glickman, CSP, CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame

 

David said,

“Jason, I know you’re mostly doing The Promise as a corporate message these days, and I love it by the way, it’s so well integrated with the comedy, music and message.  I’m thinking about having you come and perform for our congregation’s beloved Rabbi Birnholz who has served us for over 30 years.  Is this something you would consider?” 

I reminded him I’m a Mormon from Utah and if that would have any ramifications.

He laughed and said, “It’s not issue to us unless it is to you.  In fact, I think it’s funny that we would have a Mormon from Utah perform at a Jewish Rabbi’s retirement party, that is just as funny to say as it will be to have you there!” 

I asked why he would invite me of all his many friends who could do it.  He then paid me the ultimate compliment,

“We are opening this evening to the public, we will have children there as well as the older generation, and we are in need of someone who can deliver a show that is not only going to make them laugh a lot, but reaches all the demographics, and especially upholds the values you espouse in keeping the performance family clean.  You’d be perfect for it and we’d be honored to have you.”  

There are few compliments so gratifying.

Asking if they wanted The Promise speech or just the show (as I have still done a few here and there), he said they were after just the laughs, the show material, anything you deliver will be what we want.

And so, this past Saturday, David Glickman opened the show with an over-the-top best parody writing for one event I’ve seen, in an Alexander Hamilton re-write for the Rabbi, and delivered some of the funniest lines I’ve heard in honor of this great man.

And then he introduced me to the stage.

You must remember, I have performed in the world’s finest hotel ballrooms, airport hangars, military kitchens in Afghanistan, Disney World, Bill Gates’ front lawn, Charles Schwab’s backyard, in basements doing comedy, on balconies with fireworks overhead, in a castle in the south of France, on the beach in Grand Cayman, at an Italian restaurant in Kauai, and in arenas where The Beatles and JFK once graced the stage…

But ladies and gentlemen, I’ve never been invited to perform in a Jewish Temple.

A sacred space, turned into a cultural event for laughs, joy, and coming together as a community.

I couldn’t even pronounce the name – Schaarai Zedek – and went back to that mispronunciation over and over throughout the night to uproarious laughs.

 

 

The Rabbi even practiced for weeks to join me on stage and do The Blues Brothers routine I have done with a special few through the years, and he even dared attempt the cartwheel despite having multiple stents in his heart.

He had said to me, “I guess this makes us The Jews Brothers!”  I repeated the line and the crowd screamed with laughter.

All I’m saying is this was a special night, one I’ll never forget, one I’ll always be proud to have been a part of.

What does it have to do with The Promise?  Well, it has everything to do with it.

We all have a promise we’ve made in our business and lives, we are known for it, we are hired because of it, it’s what sets us apart, it’s what allows us to live life’s great adventure.

My Jewish friends from Tampa, FL, have a perception of me, in asking me to be there, saying I’m the kind of performer who would be cool enough to deliver something uniquely special for this type of audience, yet clean enough to allow all attendees a welcome experience, and spiritual enough to give them confidence I would realize the gravity of the moment.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a Southern Baptist, a Brazilian Catholic, a Mongolian Buddhist, or even a Utah Mormon – as religious differences and their subtle similarities can make us more connected when we embrace one another as a part of the make up of a wonderful world.

The Promise is your Signature Move.  It is what you are known for, why they hire you, why they bring you back, why they tell their friends about you.

And when you live the promise on and off your stage, where congruence meets consistency in your life and business, that is what matters most.

“Folks, have you heard this one: A Mormon and a Rabbi walk into a bar…” 

 

 

~ jason

Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration.  Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys.  He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite.  jasonhewlett.com

Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.

 

Comments

  1. Oh, sure, Jason, YOU think it went well. After your performance, I’ve now been thrown out of the synagogue, asked to renounce my religion, and they want to reverse my circumcision. Thanks a LOT, pal.

    No, of course, I’m completely kidding. Dear readers of Jason’s blog, I wish you could have all been there this past Saturday night to see Jason live up to The Promise and completely fulfill the vision I had for this special event almost a year ago. Jason, just like you sang as both Nat King Cole and Natalie, you made the evening “Unforgettable.”

    Forever grateful…..for your performance and for our friendship.

    • Jason Hewlett

      Hahahaha David you are so awesome. Thank you for reading, commenting, and your friendship. What a fun night it was!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful evening. David did confide in me that when he announced the event a few months earlier, he told the congregation that he had “booked a Mormon.” Apparently, most of the older folks in the congregation misunderstood and thought they were going to see “The Book of Mormon.” But it worked out just fine. Wish I could have seen it!

    • Jason Hewlett

      Hahahahaha! Oh man, that is funny. I’m sure it was disappointing, as BOM is quite the hit. But it was fun. We spoke glowingly of you of course.

  3. Linda Swindling

    Wow…two of my favorite funny men: Jason and David! Waytogo you two. It is just funny to say, “So a Mormon from Utah goes into a Jewish Temple in Florida to see the Rabi…” Love it!

    • Jason Hewlett

      Hahahaha! Thank you Linda, it is so cool to know people like you and David. And yes, that line is funny!

  4. The dancing. The music. The irreverence. Oy!

    Well done Jews brothers!! A beautiful way to send off a wonderful man into retirement after serving his community for 31 years.

  5. Very few words, you amaze me. Thanks for what you have done and will do to make life just a little better to those you reach by living your promise.

  6. It’s funny Jason. Here you are starting your new career appearing on the borscht belt and you don’t even know what borscht is. And even if you think you do, you haven’t tried my Bubbie’s borscht (Bubbie is Yiddish for grandmother, by the way. Sheesh, do you have a lot to learn).

  7. Terry Chapman

    Another great performance (as expected 👍). My wife and I saw you at the Net 2018 Conference and loved it. I have been singing… well not singing. I am one of only a handful of men in our congregation of 10,000 that have been asked specifically not to join the choir… I have been proclaiming just how good your are. I realized from your talk that, I too, had discovered My Promise as an electrical engineer a few years ago and it has transformed my working life.
    Thanks for all you do.

    • Jason Hewlett

      Hahaha You’re funny Terry! I’m sure they’d love to have you join the choir, sometimes in life we just need to stand there and mouth the words 😉 But seriously, congrats on finding your engineering talents, certainly a great skill and helps the world in great ways!

  8. “The Promise is your Signature Move. It is what you are known for, why they hire you, why they bring you back, why they tell their friends about you.
    And when you live the promise on and off your stage, where congruence meets consistency in your life and business, that is what matters most.”

    Yes! Wonderful! “The Promise” and “Signature Moves” The combination I have hoped for since “The Promise” was born. This is a dream message!

    ox
    Thomas

    PS ~ “Jews Brothers”? Outstanding!

    • Jason Hewlett

      Thank you my Brother, it’s been quite the ride. Thank you for always believing in the message and encouraging me to stick with it.

  9. Suzanne Oliver

    Jason, thanks for sharing this amazing experience! You are a master at creating meaningful, fun, positive experiences and lasting memories for many, myself included!

  10. Paul Jones

    Jason, what is it that the Jews say at the end of the Seder, “next year in Jerusalem?”

    I say, next year you and the good Rabbi do the Bohemian Rhapsody lip sync from “Wayne’s World” in Jerusalem for an encore.

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