Award-winning writer and producer, best-selling author, and stand-up comedian Carol Leifer will be the guest speaker at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Women’s Philanthropy 26th annual Connections brunch next month. Her topic will be “Judaism is in My DNA.”
“I speak about how the Jewish values imparted to me growing up in a middle-class family on Long Island informed the person and comedian I am today,” Leifer told the AJP. “I share stories that we can all find humor in being part of ‘the tribe.’”
“We’ve really upped our game. This will be a really exciting, fun, and upbeat event with a comedy club atmosphere,” says Karen Faitelson, Connections co-chair with Judy Berman. “It will be a PG performance,” Berman says, adding that teens and family are welcome at the brunch, which will be held on Sunday, March 10 at 10:30 a.m. at The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa. “We always have a fabulous speaker, but we really want to reach out this year,” welcoming women from all across the community, with a broad scope of interests, ages, and backgrounds,” Berman says.
Deeply committed to the Jewish community and her own Jewish upbringing, Leifer is a Lion of Judah, honored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles for her active role. She describes herself as simply “someone who loves making people laugh.” In her humor-filled presentations, Leifer shares her views on women’s issues, her Jewish roots, LGBT perspectives, animal advocacy, and her four rescue dogs, and trailblazing a career as a woman in the male-dominated world of comedy.
“I have found that wherever I travel, from Anchorage to Austin and everywhere in between, as Jews we are all the same,” she says.
Her observational-style humor won Leifer four Emmy nominations for writing on television shows such as “Seinfeld,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” and “Saturday Night Live.” A comedy icon, Leifer is known as “the real Elaine,” the main inspiration for the “Seinfeld” series’ character, Elaine Benes. Leifer also won the prestigious Writer’s Guild Award for her work on television’s number one comedy show, “Modern Family.”
Leifer has written for the Oscars telecast eight times, more than any other female writer to date, earning another Writer’s Guild Award nomination. Currently a writer/producer for HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” she has starred in five of her own comedy specials that aired on HBO, Showtime and Comedy Central. She holds the record — 25 times — for the most appearances on “Late Show with David Letterman.”
She has written two best-sellers based on her life. “When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win” recounts falling in love with a woman at 40, a breast cancer scare and adopting a newborn son at age 50. Her latest, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying,” chronicles her three-decades-long journey through show business.
Still active in stand-up comedy, Leifer performs at many of the country’s prominent comedy clubs, theaters, and universities solo and with celebrities such as Paul Reiser, Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld. Recently, Cyndi Lauper presented her with the prestigious Animal Advocate Award from Farm Sanctuary.
Both event co-chairs laud the “dedicated, hard-working event committee,” some of whom have served since Connections’ inception, along with new members from the Young Women’s Cabinet. YWC brings a new silent auction benefit to the event this year. Ceramic bowls painted and donated at a special event by the Pomegranate Division will be auctioned for charity.
The cost to attend the brunch is $40, plus a $180 minimum pledge ($18 for students) to the 2019 Federation Community Campaign. RSVP by March 3 at www.jfsa.org/connections-2019 or contact Jane Scott at 647-8471 or [email protected] At the brunch, YWC also will collect toiletry items for the children of Homer Davis Elementary School as part of JFSA’s Community Engagement program, “Making a Difference Every Day: The Homer Davis Project.”
A list of requested donation items is at www.jfsa.org/homerdaviscloset. The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa is located at 3800 E. Sunrise Drive.