Come together and laugh with us! The Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana cordially invites you to a 2020 Annual Campaign Event featuring comedian Benji Lovitt, live from Israel via Zoom. Join us virtually on Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 4:00pm CT. Visit federationonline.org/campaign2020 to RSVP.
Since making aliyah in 2006, comedian Benji Lovitt has performed for audiences around the world including Birthright Israel, Jewish Federations, synagogues, Hillels, and more. His perspectives have been featured on Israeli television and radio and in outlets such as USA Today, Time Magazine, BBC Radio, The Atlantic, and the Times of Israel. Benji has worked as a cross-cultural trainer with groups including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, his humorous observations on the war led to his being called in Israel “the only reason to go on Facebook.”
The Illiana News recently caught up with Benji over WhatsApp to ask a few questions.
IN: I understand you are a native Texan. What was your Jewish upbringing like?
BL: As far as I could tell, I was an average Jewish kid. New Yorker parents, public school and Hebrew school in the evenings, summer camp beginning in 5th grade....that’s really what led me here. Camp turned into to my summer Israel trip, then to my gap year in Israel, and the rest is history. We went to a Conservative synagogue, celebrated the holidays, and of course, had a family with “eccentric” characters.
IN: What was the moment you knew you were going to make aliyah?
BL: There wasn’t a single moment that I recall. It was a process of realizing I wasn’t happy living where I was, wanted to move, was interested in spending at least a year in Israel, and then understanding that going through the official aliyah process made the most logical sense. Like all major life changes—marriage, parenthood, etc.—it’s hard to really know what you’re getting into beforehand!
IN: Some of our readers may remember you performing for us here in Munster once before, several years back. What's changed for you since then?
BL: Wow—so much. It’s been almost 10 years, I think. I got my own place, a car, and a puppy (the latter two in recent months). I was just starting to do standup full-time back then, so I’ve come a long way. Not only figuring out the business side of things, but becoming so much more comfortable in my own creative skin. My material back then was probably in the voice of a new, kvetching immigrant, whereas now I really get this place a lot more and can make native Israelis laugh with my insights. I enjoy making fun of myself and Americans as much as, if not more than, Israelis.
IN: Tell us more about the new puppy!
BL: He’s giving me lots of material! Every new experience is ripe for jokes, and as an immigrant, even more so. I’m definitely learning lots of new Hebrew words (how surprising I never learned “neutered” in my previous 14 years.)
IN: What's your must-see recommendation in Tel Aviv? (ignoring Covid for the moment)
BL: So much. The beach is obvious. The food scene is blowing up. As far as tourist attractions, I’d say the Nahalat Binyamin artist market. I still go there to get great stuff.
IN: What do you love about performing for Federation audiences?
BL: They’re usually people who are affiliated Jewishly, have been to Israel, and get the jokes!
We cannot do all that we do for the community without you. Your gift to the Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana's 2020 Annual Campaign will help make the coming year the one we all want—filled with renewed health and healing.
or call (219) 301-0960 to pledge your gift. Thank you for your support!