To help raise money for his annual Hanukkah charity telethon, Anchelle Perl, Lubavitch emissary to the Long Island, N.Y., town of Mineola, has taken a page from Evel Knievel’s handbook.
Alongside performances by the band Shlock Rock and the so-called “Dancing Rabbis,” Perl will take a turn as history’s first Hasidic “stunt man” in an effort to raise money for causes sponsored by the National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education, whose Long Island branch he heads.
Though Perl will not be shot out of a cannon, he will ride onstage on a Harley Davidson and show video clips of himself racing an Aston Martin sports car along Jones Beach (and getting pulled over by a police officer), putting on tefillin in a hot-air balloon and fishing for money in a Dumpster.
“I’m probably one of the most frustrated marketers of Jewish life there is,” Perl said. “I always try to think outside the box. I wear a black hat, a beard, the whole nine yards. This is the one time of year we can bring joy, simcha, in an appropriate manner to everybody.”
Still not clear what motorcycles have to do with Hanukkah?
“There are physical candles, but we are also in the business of lighting up souls,” Perl said. “We all have oil and a wick; sometimes we just need a spark.”
The event will air December 10, live at 7 p.m., on Long Island’s channel 55, WLNY-TV.