“Dance, clap, and sing” was the motto this Chol HaMoed at a virtual Succosmania presentation broadcast presented by the renowned Chazaq organization. A whopping 15,519 devices tuned into the 11 airings of the action-packed three-hour stunner.
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. It was just two weeks ago when tens of thousands of Yidden joined Chazaq for a 48-hour pre-Yom Kippur inspirational presentation. The z’man simchaseinu seemed like the perfect time for Chazaq to once again organize a star-studded Sukkos virtual experience like no other.
“This extraordinary program was offerred to the Jewish community as a show of gratitude for the overwhelmingly tremendous support showed to the Chazaq organization at the pre-Yom Kippur fundraiser,” said CEO Rabbi Yaniv Meirov.
Chazaq knows that Chol HaMoed is a time for family fun, filled with cheerful laughter and brilliant smiles. Many of us are stuck at home in quarantine recovering, while others in the New York area have recently learned that our yeshivos will be closed for the foreseeable future, and many businesses and restaurants are being restricted. Chazaq knew they had to do something special and memorable during these most difficult times.
With a remarkable lineup, the Chazaq Family Succos Extravaganza was there with families each day of Chol HaMoed in our sukkos, dining rooms, and living rooms to keep the smiles forever widening and the joy of Yom Tov ever so rich.
When Chazaq puts together a program, the best talent on the market is sought. American daredevil Bello Nock has been making children and adults alike cheer and gasp for decades; and this Sukkos, Bello joined the show! Circus stunts come second nature to Bello, who is a seventh-generation performer. It wasn’t long ago that Bello joined Chazaq at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center for amazing feats with none other than the Big Apple Circus! This Chol HaMoed, Bello took a break from rappelling off Madison Square Garden and hanging out of a helicopter far above the Statue of Liberty to join the frum world for a jaw-dropping show from his home in Florida!
What would Succosmania be without Uncle Moishy’s Sukkos Song? Chazaq worked with the esteemed production team of Suki and Ding for joining on its mission of delighting children the world over.
Yossi “Joey” Newcomb is no stranger to Chazaq, performing most recently at a Motza’ei Shabbos kumsitz. Yossi shares a special connection with Chazaq as both began their journeys in the Kew Gardens Hills section of Queens. Chazaq evolved into an international powerhouse, inspiring all walks of Jewish life with Torah inspiration, while Joey has become an internationally sought-after musician, delighting Jews in every corner of the world. The To Be A Yid singer is most recognized for captivating Orthodox world Jewry with his rendition of the melody Thank You, Hashem. Joey lives his life to bring simchah to klal Yisrael, and Chazaq’s Succosmania was a picture-perfect fit.
Everyone’s favorite cousin took the stage, as well. The hilarious Cousin Nachum is known in the Jewish world as the warm-up comedian for Uncle Moishy, but he is truly an act of his own. “Chazaq has invited Cousin Nachum to its live stages more times than any of us can count,” said Mr. Chazaq himself, Robbie Aboff, their events coordinator. From juggling to jokes, and to the absolute glee of kids, Cousin Nachum rarely seems to ever be able to stand up straight. Robbie added, “Sometimes his hat will fall off and other times his nose just won’t stay put, but Cousin Nachum is most definitely the definition of a fan favorite.”
Chazaq is never satisfied with only a great show; they want a performance to remember for a lifetime. The majestic nature of Simcha Leiner has completely changed the face of the contemporary Jewish music scene since he sang at weddings some dozen years ago. Simcha lives true to his name, bringing bountiful enjoyment to all who experience his vocal passion. Also a star from Chazaq’s previous Big Apple Circus production, Leiner was a choice artist to bring into our homes this Sukkos. Simcha has a unique appreciation for our generation’s youth, releasing the single Stand Up For Each Other in 2019, combating bullying and teen suicide. It is nearly one year that his latest album, Kol HaKavod, hit Jewish music stores. It is Chazaq’s honor to host Simcha, and they wish him continued success in mesmerizing his listeners for many years ahead.
The circus is simply not complete without a world-class magician taking the stage. Chazaq needed an entertainer who mastered both small and larger crowds and always finds new intuitive ways to keep his viewers enthralled. Here stepped in the incredible Arjay “RJ” Lewis, a former lead magician for Princess Cruise Lines’ resident entertainer. For half a century, Lewis has been showing off spellbinding slight-of-hand magic, starting as a youth in Manhattan’s Times Square, mixing juggling with a bit of ventriloquism. Lewis gained renown for stints on both the silver screen and Broadway, and remains determined to combine his bar-none skill and wonderful persona to excite his audience. The audience rose to their feet to cheer and applaud the charm and wonders of illusionist R.J. Lewis.
Due to popular demand, Chazaq made special accommodations for the marvelous presentation to be made available in the United Kingdom and Eretz Yisrael, too! Appreciation is extended to TorahAnytime for providing the livestream software for the Chol HaMoed event and to Eran Jacobs of BSD Productions for handling the video creation.
Although over 15,000 devices tuned in, many more thousands watched as brothers and sisters, cousins, and extended family crowded around computers and tablets to celebrate this Chol HaMoed and bear witness to these phenomena, absolutely free of charge.
By Steven Saphirov