This article was written by OneFamily volunteer Eilleen Eisenberg, who organized the event with Hollywood legend David Zucker, writer/director of a string of classic comedies.
Growing up, there were two movies my brothers and I would quote constantly – “Airplane!” and “Top Secret”. We still re-enact some of the scenes together. They serve as cultural pillars we can access again and again to get that instant connection. So you can only imagine my excitement and enthusiasm when I suddenly had the opportunity to host a special event with OneFamily: a screening of David Zucker’s hit “The Naked Gun.” Even better, I even got to host an open Q&A with the legend himself, the writer/director of those films that formed so much of my identity.
It also meant a great deal that the event took place at OneFamily, an organization that is doing such important work helping victims of terror. It’s a cause that unites all of society and I’m thrilled to play a part in helping them fulfill their mission.
It was a chilly night, so we began the evening by warming up the guests with hot chocolate and gooey marshmallows as they met and mingled.
Soon after, the attendees were invited to take their seats as OneFamily founder Michal Belzberg shared her story on why she started this incredible organization along with her parents, Chantal and Marc Belzberg.
The lights dimmed as the screening of “The Naked Gun” began. The room was filled with non-stop laughter from teenagers, adults and seniors.
But there was more to come.
Immediately following the film, I sat down with David Zucker for a brief interview followed by an open Q&A with the audience.
After welcoming Zucker “back home to Israel” (he had hosted a screening of his hit “Airplane!” for OneFamily in September), Zucker explained that he returned here to help consult on an Israeli film called “Mossad”; a spoof directed by Alon Gur Arye. He joked that “… they don’t need me for a drama!” I felt that was perfect timing to open up the Q&A to the audience.
Questions consisted of topics such as his work on “Airplane!”, what it was like to work with particular actors, and his experiences in Israel.
But, the highlight of the evening was when audience member David Graniewitz of Jerusalem (originally from England) told Zucker that before he married his wife, Minda, on their first date, he took her to see “The Naked Gun.”
“If she had said that she couldn’t understand why I found the film funny as it was puerile and immature, that would have been the end of that. But she didn’t,” David said, adding that he and his wife will soon celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary.
“I suppose you could say that it was David Zucker who brought us together as we realized that we had at least one thing in common,” he said.
Ari Louis, also of Jerusalem said, “Believe it or not, I have never seen The Naked Gun before. It was such a great thrill to see it for the first time with the director taking questions about his picture.”
After Zucker finished answering questions from the audience, I turned the attention back to the director. I told the audience that I wanted to introduce Zucker to an exotic Israeli fruit. After asking the attendees to guess the name of the fruit (some shouted “Pomelit” while others shouted “Sabra”) I took out a box of Crembo and handed one of the colorfully foiled-wrapped treats to Zucker. More laughter followed and we then passed boxes of Crembo around the room for everyone to enjoy. Attendees then had the opportunity to meet with David Zucker and snap a few pictures with the comedic icon.
But for me, the most important thing that came from this event took place the day after, when I met with Meir Pavlovksy, the young gentleman who photographed the event. While going over the pictures with him, I found out that he himself was a terror attack survivor and OF Member. Who would’ve thought that the quiet, sweet gentleman snapping pictures on the previous evening was actually a terror attack survivor? Wow. I wasn’t expecting that.
After sharing his story with me and while watching the videos documenting his attack and miraculous recovery, Pavlovksy told me, “As a survivor of terror, being around OneFamily is simply part of me. It brings additional love, comfort and joy to what I already have.”