A Rabbi and a Pastor Walked into a Bar…
Rabbi Bob Alper and Reverend Susan Sparks are bringing the power of laughter to the region in an attempt to bring power – solar, that is – to Puerto Ricans who are still in the dark after Hurricane Maria devastated the island last fall. The Interfaith Council of the Northshire is hosting the comedic duo at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, for a benefit performance at Israel Congregation of Manchester (ICM). Funds raised from the evening’s proceeds will go towards providing portable emergency solar energy kits to those living in the island’s hard-hit central mountain range.
“The Interfaith Council is eager to extend critically needed help to fellow Americans, no matter where they live,” explains Reverend Jim Gray, chair of the Interfaith Council and pastor of the United Church of Dorset and East Rupert. “Working with fellow clergy, we decided to support the solar project, ‘Ponte Pilas,’ which was initiated by Eric and Heidie Hangen Vazquez, who are members of the Dorset Church. They recruited Dorset resident and friend Bill Laberge of Grassroots Solar to design a solar project for San Salvador, Puerto Rico. Their project has gotten off to a marvelous start, but there is much still to do. Funds raised will help provide solar energy to Puerto Rican families who are still without electrical power from the grid.”
A trial lawyer turned standup comedian, Sparks is America’s only female comedian with a pulpit, serving as senior pastor of the historic Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. After ten years moonlighting as a comic, she left the legal world for a solo trip around the globe that included working for Mother Teresa’s Mission in Calcutta. Upon returning home, she earned a Master of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary, writing an honors thesis entitled ‘Laughing Your Way to Grace.’ Her work on humor and healing has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, CBS, CNN and ABC.
Rabbi Bob Alper served large synagogues in Buffalo and Philadelphia, experiences that, naturally prepared him for his 30-year career as a full-time stand-up comic. He performs across North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Israel, and is heard regularly on Sirius/XM satellite radio. Alper earned a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary and is the author of three books. Northshire residents know him simply as ‘Sherri Alper’s husband who tells jokes in the aisles of Shaw’s.’
ICM is located at 6025 Main Street/Route 7A north. Tickets are $15 in advance at ticketor.com/icmvt, or $20 at the door. This standup show is appropriate for adults and children ages 11 and older. Refreshments will be available at a reception after the performance. For information, call ICM at 802-362-4578 or the Dorset Church at 802-867-2260.