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by Sherrie Saag


The music, memories and merriment of Campaign Cabaret 2015 came alive Sunday evening, October 11 at the Joslyn Art Museum. Over 100 community members sang and danced their way into our hearts as they recreated the joy of the first and second Campaign Cabarets from almost thirty years ago.

Howard Kooper and Jay Noddle welcomed everyone into the theater. Kooper enthusiastically said, “Thank you for making my dream come true. Campaign Cabaret is here!”

The magical, musical evening, first staged at Peony Park in 1986, brought together young, old, natives and newcomers for a Jewish Omaha “walk down memory lane”.   Whether it was Eadie Tsabari and Jack Scioli singing a touching rendition of Aytz Chaim/Hashivenu, Rebecca Wolfson and Robert Yaffe in beautiful harmony for “Tell our Children Now”, or Lisa and Howard Marcus sharing the emotional beauty of “Shehecheyanu”, Jewish Omaha’s lovely voices were on full display!

Jimmy Friedlander and Andee Scioli were two powerful voices on stage and many agreed, they “raised the roof” of Witherspoon Hall.  Murray Newman introduced “A Prayer”, sung by Danny and Steve Denenberg, Tami Field and Jeff Taxman and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

“Bubbie Boogie”, featuring Terri Zacharia, Karen Javitch, Laurel Krausman and Beth Dworkin and “Zaydes on Patrol”, featuring Gary Nachman, Larry Gilinsky, Robert Yaffe and Don Gerber brought laughs from the crowd; proving Patty Nogg’s exclamation that, “Grandparents are the best!”

“It was a beautiful and uplifting evening,” shared Ellie Batt.

Andy Ruback closed the evening by reminding everyone, through his own story, why the Federation’s Annual Campaign is so important. Andy was a JCC camper, a BBYO’er, a teen employee in the kid’s lounge and an ARTZA Israel trip participant. His kids attend the CDC and his wife, Theresa, is traveling on the Women’s Mission to Eastern Europe in just two weeks.

Ruback urged others to think about why they give and said, “The blessings of this community touch all of us at different times throughout our lives.”   So why do I give?, he asked everyone,  “I give time and money to the Jewish Federation of Omaha to impact someone’s life and to help create more blessings.”

Then he posed the questions: “Why do you give?”, “What’s important to you?” and, “Is a thriving Omaha Jewish community on your list?”

“To past,  present and future members of our community, look at the beauty you’ve created…What will you bring to the future and will you join me in creating more blessings?”

Joanie Jacobson was as invaluable to this year’s production as she was 30 years ago and was a force behind the scenes. “It is TRULY about the Jewish spirit, isn’t it? What a community, we’re so incredibly lucky, all of us, to be living in it!”

Kudos must also be extended to the team that cast the show, chose the songs and scheduled and coordinated the show: Production Chair Andee Scioli and Production Coordinator Beth Friedman. “They were present at almost every rehearsal and Andee could step in and sing every number if someone was absent. The show wouldn’t have come together without both these remarkable ladies,” said Director of Community Impact Louri Sullivan.

Annual Campaign Chair Jan Goldstein described Campaign Cabaret as a “powerful force. It represents what we as a Jewish Federation are all about – being involved, being Jewish, remembering our traditions and participating in the privilege of creating a strong committed community.

Last night was one of those special moments in the history of our Jewish community when our Campaign theme, “For Every Generation … Federation” was evident.  Adults, teens, kids of all ages enjoyed a truly memorable evening.

Want a sneak peek? Watch the video to see what we’re talking about, or check out our photo gallery.