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Ha Ha Hanukkah
Infinite Light – Meet Rich Leis

Infinite Light 2017 is NuRoots’ third annual citywide celebration of miracles. Infinite Light is a curated, eight-day festival of experiences that highlights the creative energy of Hanukkah generated by the diversity of the Los Angeles Jewish community. It’s a chance to unite, engage, and inspire thousands of young adults in their 20s and 30s with new ways to experience an ancient tradition.

We spoke with Rich Leis, a co-creater of an Infinite Light event Ha Ha Hanukkah, happening December 14th, at the famed Kibitz Room stage adjoining Canter’s, one of our favorite Jewish delis. Several renowned comedians and NuRoots community members will be performing on the very stage that everyone from Mel Brooks to Adam Sandler has graced.

Richy and his brother are the founders of Comic Cure, which employs the power of comedy to bring communities together to do good. He originally hails from Philadelphia and now lives in Glendale, produces many comedy festivals, and has been the opening act for such famed comedians as Dana Carvey and Jeff Garlin.

Tell us about yourself. How did you first discover NuRoots, and what has been your NuRoots experience thus far?

I’ve been a comedian and a comedy producer for 16 years. My brother and I started our own company “Comic Cure” in September of 2015, using the unifying power of laughter to uplift and engage communities around important causes. We produce live comedic events in South Florida, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia to showcase promising local talent and benefit local non-profit organizations. Additionally, we specialize in matching comedians with non-profit organizations and mission-based companies.

I first discovered NuRoots when I put together the Inaugural Los Angeles Jewish Comedy Festival and was looking for organizations to connect my young professional Jewish audience with.

From the initial introductions through today, I have had nothing but the most pleasant experiences with the amazing people at NuRoots. Brianna Zeigler and David Guccione have especially made me feel a part of the NuRoots family, and as someone who doesn’t have any family in California, it has been very warming.

Why are you taking part in Infinite Light? What have you enjoyed about it?
Infinite Light is an opportunity to share my passion for comedy and produce live comedy events, which have multiple purposes of laughter and bringing our community together.

What can we look forward to in your Infinite Light experience? What do you hope to achieve?
In the crazy times we are facing together as a community, it is important to take the time for us to laugh and enjoy each other’s company. It’s essential to publicly promote to younger Jews that whatever your level of traditional belief may be, there are organizations and group events that welcome everyone.

Do you have a favorite Hanukkah memory or tradition?
As part of a large family with more aunts, uncles, and cousins than I can count, I will never forget the sounds and smells of my childhood home during Hanukkah. From playing dreidel and eating latkes with applesauce to losing all my chocolate gelt. It’s comforting to know that even though we are all spread around the world during the holidays, we share these same warm memories.

What advice do you have for young people on their Jewish journeys?
Enjoy your journey and don’t hesitate to invite people to experience it with you. The only thing better than happiness is to allow others to enjoy it with you.

To sign up for events and learn more about Infinite Light, visit infinitelight.la/. To learn more about NuRoots, visit www.NuRoots.org or e-mail NuRootsLA@JewishLA.org.