Despite protests by another Jewish group, Chabad of California officials took in a record $6.15 million on their 10th annual "L'Chaim--To Life!" telethon Sunday.
Entertainers including Jon Voight, Jan Murray, Sally Kirkland, Richard Benjamin and Macdonald Carey appeared on the seven-hour program, broadcast live on KCOP-TV. Officials of the ultra-Orthodox sect say the contributions will be targeted for drug rehabilitation, elderly, immigrant and homeless programs.
Earlier in the day, a group called Friends of the Bayit staged a protest over Chabad's takeover of a Jewish student housing co-op near UCLA to make way for clients of the homeless program. The controversy was mentioned only in passing on the program by producer Jerry Weintraub, the telethon's chairman. Chabad denies any wrongdoing, saying it took over the building after other Jewish groups declined to provide support for the student housing program.