Hillel Comedy Night uses humor to explore Israeli customs

Matthew Watkins

The Bloom Hillel Jewish Student Center at The University of Alabama held its first ever Comedy Night Tuesday for around 50 students and faculty members.

The International Hillel Organization awarded a grant to the Bloom Hillel chapter on campus, which enabled them to put on this event.

The event aimed to promote the Jewish Student Center and provide a look into the culture of Israel with the Israeli Action Program. Director of Bloom Hillel Lisa Besnoy said the importance of this event relates directly to exposure.

“What we really want is exposure. We want to provide a home away from home for students while they are here,” Besnoy said.

The headline entertainment was stand-up comedian Benji Lovitt. Lovitt is originally from Dallas, Texas but currently lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. He specializes in observational humor as an American immigrant living in Israel. He’s been a standup comedian for seven years. 

“I just want to get people excited about Israel,” Lovitt said. “It is an amazing, magical place and not the stereotype that you see on TV.”

Lovitt put on a show that provided the Israeli exposure Besnoy alluded to earlier. One of the main themes of his show was highlighting how most preconceived notions about Israeli culture are not true, while also noting that some pieces of the culture are not widely known.

The night went off without a hitch. Students interacted with the show. Lovitt made sure to always have a learning opportunity in between the lines of his jokes. Lovitt got his message across to the crowd mostly by joking about the mixture of American and Israeli customs he experiences.

Lovitt ended the night by explaining to the crowd that Israel is an extraordinary place that should be experienced in person to completely understand. He built on his previous statements that Israel is not what is portrayed most often in American media.

The Hillel Jewish Student Center was founded in 1934 and has been a welcoming place for Jewish students as well as anyone interested in meeting new people. Anyone can participate in the events they host. If interested, please contact them at bamahillel@gmail.com.