Comedy for Koby, a delightful show featuring world-class Hollywood entertainers, lifts the spirits of Israeli audiences while benefiting a noble cause.

Founded by professional American comedian Avi Liberman, Comedy for Koby had its first run in December 2009; due to its overwhelming success, the project has continued on a semi-annual basis. This month, Comedy for Koby will entertain audiences on Dec. 5-12 in six cities, including early and late shows at certain venues.

Proceeds from ticket sales support the Koby Mandell Foundation (, which helps families of victims of terror and others who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

The Foundation was established by Seth and Sherri Mandell, American immigrants to Israel who suffered unspeakable loss when, in May 2001, their 13-year-old son Koby and his friend, Yosef Ish Ran, were stoned to death by terrorists.

Parents to three younger children, Seth and Sherri “knew that in order to go on, they needed to transform the cruelty of Koby’s death into acts of kindness and hope,” the Foundation website explains. “For that reason, they created the Koby Mandell Foundation, which provides healing programs for families struck by terrorism,” offering tools to better cope with the pain and to focus on positive personal growth.

Therapeutic programs include, for example, North American-style Camp Koby for children and teens, and support groups for bereaved mothers and widows.

Liberman, who hosts the show, brings different comics – all top-tier – for each run. In an interview with United with Israel, he said that his experience with Comedy for Koby has given him, as well as other stand-up comics who participate, a fresh perspective on what it means to be successful and “what is really important.”

“I think we often measure success by a dollar value, especially when it comes to entertainment. But when you do a show for a foundation like this one, where the name Koby Mandell is often associated with tragedy, and sort of flip it around and turn it into something that is associated with happiness, the dollar signs don’t seem nearly as important,” Liberman said.

“No matter what stressful thing we are going through, others have been through far worse and bounced back and affected [other] people positively. In stand-up, it’s often the gigs that have a unique twist on them that are the most rewarding, and not the ones that have the largest paycheck attached. That we can come over, make people laugh and raise charity for a great cause is like a double bonus.”

Another aspect Liberman appreciates is that “other comics come over here [to Israel], have a great time and go back [as] great emissaries of Israel…. Bringing these guys over and having them go back and spread it around that Israel is a great place is a great feeling and I’m glad I can help in that way.”

Comedy for Koby also plays on Israeli television and radio.

Author: Atara Beck, Senior Writer, United with Israel
Date: Dec. 3, 2013