By Allison Carter

What kind of Jewish fundraiser has a greeter named Baton Bob and an aerialist as entertainment? A fun, festive, surprise-filled party put on by Congregation Bet Haverim in honor of the Reconstructionist synagogue’s 30th anniversary and the 18 years of service by Rabbi Joshua Lesser.

More than 250 friends and colleagues raised their glasses to Rabbi Lesser at the event Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Gallery 874. The thought-provoking entertainment included performance art about domestic violence and an aerialist from the Race Circus. Baton Bob greeted guests and took photos with them.

Bet Haverim’s chorus kicked off the tributes with songs of freedom, a common thread in the social justice work for which Rabbi Lesser is known. Lanny Lesser and Alayne Lesser spoke of their pride in their son’s accomplishments.

Congregation President Shoshana Ben-Yoar talked about the rabbi’s accomplishments at CBH and his ability to bring people together in tough times, inspire people to speak out and act on what is right, and be a voice of fairness and justice beyond the doors of the synagogue.

She held up his sock monkeys, often featured in Rabbi Lesser’s social networking and now a pair because of his recently engagement to partner Alex Ramaldes.

Allison Carter is Bet Haverim’s communications and events manager.