Monica Piper
Monica Piper

Los Angeles-based Emmy-winning comedian Monica Piper (above) will headline a weekend of festivities at Temple Emanu-El Nov. 2-3 to welcome its new rabbi, Matthew Zerwekh.

A writer for the animated children’s TV series Rugrats, Piper has also written for Roseanne and Mad About You and has performed her own special on Showtime.

Her first love, professionally speaking, is performing live. “I do a lot of temple gigs,” said Piper. She will soon begin rehearsals in Los Angeles for an updated version of her one-woman play Not That Jewish, which ran for 16 months in Los Angeles, then off-Broadway for seven months.

Rabbi Matthew Zerwekh
Rabbi Matthew Zerwekh Newsroom

Earlier this year in California, she played former Miss America Bess Myerson — “all 5 feet of me” — as an offstage voice in an autobiographical play by Myerson’s daughter, Barra Grant. “I was much more convincing as the voice of Bess Myerson then I would have been as the physical embodiment.”

The weekend events begin with Shabbat services at 7 p.m. Nov. 2, where Rabbi Ken Kanter, associate dean and director of the rabbinical school at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, will formally install Zerwekh. On Nov. 3, Torah study with Kanter and Zerwekh begins at 9:30 a.m. followed by Shabbat services at 10:30 a.m.

The installation celebration kicks off at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 with hors d’oeuvres and wine. Piper performs at 8:30, followed by a dessert afterglow.

Tickets for Saturday night are $100, and sponsorship packages are available. Call (248) 967-4020 or click on the installation celebration tickets link at or email by Oct. 29.