Comedian Joel Chasnoff to kick off URI Hillel’s grand opening celebrations, March 5

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KINGSTON, R.I. — February 16, 2010 — As part of URI Hillel’s grand opening celebrations for the Norman M. Fain Hillel Center, stand-up comedian and author Joel Chasnoff will perform on Friday, March 5 at 8 p.m. Free and open to the public, his performance will be held at the new center at 6 Fraternity Circle, on the University’s Kingston Campus.

The Norman M. Fain Hillel Center, Hillel’s first permanent home at URI, opened its doors Jan. 25. A grand opening ceremony will be held Sunday, March 7 at 2 p.m.

To kick off the festive weekend, Chasnoff will perform after a student-led Shabbat service and dinner that begins at 5:30 p.m. Dinner is free for students and $15 for non-students. Reservations must be made for both students and non-students by Wednesday, March 3 by calling 401.874.2740 or emailing

Chasnoff is a comedian and writer with stage and screen credits in eight countries. He is the author of the comic memoir The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah (Simon and Schuster), a hilarious and poignant account of his service in the Israeli Armored Corps. A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically, calls Crybaby Brigade “A great tale, a Jewish ‘Jarhead’. It didn’t make me want to join the Israeli Army, but it made me very glad Joel did, so he could bring us back such a funny, thoughtful, and poignant story.”

Chasnoff is not your grandfather’s Jewish comedian. With humor that’s clever, sharp, and never degrading, Chasnoff ‘s comedy is a smart mix of personal anecdotes and keen observational humor, centered on the theme of the absurdity of modern American life. Clips of his work may be viewed on YouTube.

On tour, Chasnoff was the warm-up act for Jon Stewart and Lewis Black of The Daily Show. Joel recently returned from a USO Comedy Tour of Japan and Korea entertaining American Marines. He’s supplied his voice to numerous cartoons and has performed at more than 500 colleges, clubs, and Jewish conferences in North America, Israel, and Europe. When he’s not on tour, Chasnoff teaches stand-up comedy at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.

For more information, please contact URI Hillel at 401-874-2740.