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Famous TV Host who Once Wanted to be a Rabbi to Discuss Succeeding with a Mental Health Disability

RespectAbility Summit Features Marc Summers on Monday, July 31

headshot of Marc Summers wearing a black suit and blue shirt with arms crossed in front of a kitchen set

Marc Summers

Rockville, Md., July 28 – RespectAbility invites you to our one-day summit, From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities, geared toward bridging the gap between entertainment, politics and disability advocacy. This free and entirely accessible event is open to congressional and Senate staff, journalists, disability advocates and other interested parties.

As a kid, Marc Summers, born Marc Berkowitz, was raised in a Jewish household and originally was inspired to become a rabbi before he began his rise to stardom. In an interview with the Jewish Times, Summers explained:

“I got the TV bug and went to talk to Rabbi Weitzman of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, and I told him that I wanted to be a rabbi but also to be a performer. Regardless, I wanted to help people. He told me, ‘As a rabbi, you can help a small congregation a lot, but as a performer you can help a lot of people a little.’ I decided that I would rather help a lot of people, so my path was set.”

While he does not consider himself to be a practicing Jew, he says, “Judaism to me is more of a way of life!”

Summers channeled his ambition to succeed in the entertainment industry to his passion for helping people into his professional life.

Currently hosting the longest-running show on Food Network, Unwrapped, some will remember him as the former Host/Producer of Nickelodeon’s Double Dare and What Would You Do? He also is the Executive Producer of Restaurant Impossible on the Food Network. In October, a new documentary about his life called On Your Marc will be released.

After finding success as a television host, Summers directed his efforts toward public outreach and philanthropy. He has been a supporter of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation dating back to 2007, serving as a member of the Board of Directors.

In addition to his philanthropic work, Summers has been a spokesperson for mental illness after sharing his experience with OCD and his private battle with cancer. He previously served the National Spokesperson for The Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show and Dateline discussing the issue, and wrote a book, Everything In Its Place, The Trials and Tribulations of OCD. His openness helped the more than 4 million Americans who have OCD.

Summers is one of America’s TWICE EXCEPTIONAL talents. Living with disability enabled him to find the creativity, charm and connection with millions of people in his audiences.

The summit will take place on Monday, July 31 from 8:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The summit is free and will celebrate the good that can be done to end stigmas and advance opportunities for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

For more information on the Summit, please contact Lauren Appelbaum at 202-591-0703 or laurena@respectability.org.

Meet the Author

Rachael Schindler
Rachael Schindler

Rachael Schindler is a Jewish Inclusion Fellow. She took an interest at an early age in intellectual and developmental disabilities through personal connections and her mother’s occupation. Schindler is a rising junior at Brandeis University, majoring in Health: Science, Society and Policy and Legal Studies.

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