Photo Feature: 'Tuesday Night Live' Debuts in Jerusalem

“Tuesday nights in Jerusalem will never be the same!” declared Jeremy Gimpel at the close of Tuesday Night Live, filmed before a capacity audience.

Ezra HaLevi ,

Tuesday Night Live (TNL)
Tuesday Night Live (TNL)

“Tuesday nights in Jerusalem will never be the same!” declared co-host Jeremy Gimpel at the close of the second hour of Tuesday Night Live, filmed before a capacity audience. Deafening cheers filled the room, packed with immigrants to Israel from across the globe. The diverse crowd of all ages included students studying in Jerusalem and long-time Jerusalemites curious about the posters plastered across the capital advertising the first Jewish TV show broadcast to the world from the holy city.

Ari Abramowitz (right) and Jeremy Gimpel (left) with Michael Isley, one of the show's backers, just before doors opened.
(Photo: Shelley Shafran)
The doors open at 7, allowing the crowd to eat and peruse the booths prior to the show.
Reservations are checked and granted priority seating.

A new immigrant masseur and personal trainer looks for new customers.
A new olah (immigrant) sells hair-coverings and bags she has sewn.

At 8 PM the lights dimmed in the main auditorium and the show's band, Ruach (spirit), named for spiritual Sabbath retreats held by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, opened with an upbeat funkified rendition of Carlebach's Yibaneh Hamikdash – the Temple Will be Rebuilt.

Rachel Gluck warms up the crowd.
Ruach, with Simcha Gluck, Eliyahu Dov Shur, Yosef Adest, Moish Berger and David Fuchs.
Jeremy and Ari on stage
(Photo: Shelley Shafran)

“The last time I was on stage was as an angry punk band in Long Island, being a disgruntled Jew in the exile,” Simcha Gluck confided Wednesday. “Being on stage with all these Jewish people and the positive energy – I was just thrilled to be a part of this huge sanctification of G-d’s name from Jerusalem.”

Ari and Jeremy took the stage without any pomp and launched directly into their unique blend of humor, Jewish history and down-home Torah teaching. “This show isn’t about us, it’s about the Jews of Jerusalem coming together and speaking to the world,” Gimpel said.

“Every Jew is different in his personality, soul, observance and views but in the end we are all different parts of the same body and that body is called Israel,” Abramowitz added. “Judaism is not only a series of abstract rituals, but we are a people and a nation born from one family with a long eventful history and a beautiful shared destiny.”

Gimpel continued: “We want the world to hear the voice of a new generation in Israel. The voice of a proud, courageous, spirited people who have triumphed against all odds. 2,000 years ago the Jewish people were exiled from the Land of Israel and scattered across the world. For 2,000 years, every force known to humanity tried to extinguish the flame of the Torah and the Jewish people. For 2,000 years not a day went by that the Jewish people didn’t face Jerusalem and pray to come home. If you were in America you faced the east, if you were in Africa you faced north, others faced south and Jews in the Far East faced west. All of us pulled to Jerusalem like a magnet, knowing that one day Hashem would have mercy on His people and bring us home.

“The world only hears an ‘Israeli’ voice - a voice of politics and pragmatism. We want to the world to hear, not an Israeli voice, but a Jewish voice - from Jerusalem. We want the world to finally experience an encounter with the authentic Jewish Israel.”

The night progressed with audience participation, beginning with a rousing monologue by Israel National Radio Programming Director Yishai Fleisher, who said: “My parents ran away from Russia. It wasn’t a great place for Jews to live. But we, Jews from North America, choose Israel. We don’t come here as a place of refuge, but because it is a great place, where G-d hangs out, and we are very lucky.”

INR Programming Director Yishai Fleisher addresses the crowd.

Other audience members got up, sharing their stories of leaving a successful career in Los Angeles or finding out they were Jewish after harboring an inexplicable interest in all things Jewish-and-Israel-related for years.

Two recent immigrants talk of their Aliyah with the enthusiasm of audience member of MTV's TRL.
Lorelai Kude, a recent immigrant from Los Angeles, says she chose Israel.

The audience involvement went so smoothly, many assumed it was choreographed. “It 100% was not,” says producer Rachel Gluck. “I was actually worried about how it would go, and it surpassed all expectations.”

Producer Gluck with the banner "Inspire the world, ingather the exiles, empower the Jewish people" in the background.

During the second segment of the show – two shows will be filmed back-to-back every other week – Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat and Ohr Torah Institutions was a guest. After speaking about the joys and difficulties of his decision to leave the pulpit of New York City’s Lincoln Square Synagogue to establish the community of Efrat near Bethlehem, he took a question from the crowd:

“Would you advise American rabbis to dismantle their communities and encourage their congregants to move to Israel?”

“That is like asking whether rabbis should advise their congregations to eat kosher or keep the Sabbath or not. Living in Israel is a Torah commandment no less than those. Sometimes I think that if living in Israel were a chumra (stringency) like wearing a black hat, all of Brooklyn would move here. But it's only a mitzvah (commandment)!" said Riskin to cheers from the audience of both immigrants and Jewish tourists.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin

Michael Isley, a sponsor of the show, was very pleased.

“A lot of people came up to us after the show and said ‘Finally someone is doing this – it is so necessary,’” Gluck said. “We already have hundreds of reservations for future shows.”

"The amount of energy that Jeremy and Ari brought to the show was incredible, the band was amazing. If this was only the first show, I can't wait to see the rest," said Marc Gottlieb of Neve Daniel.

Tuesday Night Live plans on having as future guests Rabbi David Aaron of Isralight, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass of Nefesh b’Nefesh, columnist Caroline Glick and many others.

"Ari and Jeremy," as the radio and now TV duo is known to their audiences, kept politics distant from the show. "We want to bring a diverse crowd of Jews together for each show simply to celebrate the beauty of Jerusalem, of Israel, and of being Jewish. That's what it's about," they summarized.

Mitch & Naomi Schneider, a couple that made Aliyah this week proudly displays their new ID card.
Ari and Jeremy with Rabbi Riskin, the show's first guest.

This first show will be aired on and beginning Thursday.

Arutz-7's Yoni Kempinski mans one of the cameras.

Live shows will be recorded on:
January 15 & 29, February 12 & 26, March 11 & 25, April 8 & 22, May 6 & 20, June 3 & 17, July 1 & 15

For free reservations to join the studio audience, email rachel [at] thelandofisrael [dot] com  with your name, phone number and how many seats are desired.

(Photos: Ezra HaLevi)