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Oy Vey Cabaret is a showcase for temple

Temple Beth David Jewish Center will present the third annual Oy Vey Cabaret this weekend.

The show's originator, Carla Becker, remembers the very moment her rabbi planted the seed for the musical variety show. In 1996, he pulled a group of temple newcomers aside and told them God had given each of them special gifts they share with family members and friends. He said that one day he hoped they would share those gifts with the people at the temple.

"I thought to myself, well, I don't bake," Becker said. "But I can sing a little."

The rest, she said, is history.

Becker, who grew up in a New Jersey neighborhood she calls "the little League of Nations," said what she loves most about the show is the different types of people it draws.

"People of all different faiths and nationalities come to the show," she said. "And we all just have a ball together."

Becker started singing about six years ago. Her first experience was singing in the car with friends, but she quickly graduated to karaoke.

"The more I did it, the more I loved it, and now I don't know what I ever did before."

Tammy Clark performed in the first two Oy Vey Cabarets and is looking forward to showing audiences how far she has progressed.

"The first two years, I had a ball, but I was scared to death," she said with a bright laugh. "This year, we're going to have a lot of fun. I'm comfortable performing now."

If Clark is comfortable, it is no wonder. The former childhood development worker started singing six years ago at a local karaoke club. She now makes her living singing at area nursing homes.

"One night after I sang, this woman met me at the door and asked if I would sing at her nursing home," Clark said. "It's the best thing I ever did."

Clark said her show is more than just entertaining for the audience. She calls it "musical therapy."

"Emotionally, they give so much back to me," she said. "It's such a great time."

Becker, Clark and the rest of this year's performers will put on the show in the center's new 200-seat sanctuary.

"This year's show is so special," Becker said. "All these people have faithfully been coming to a multipurpose room and now the payoff is finally here."