Annual awards will shine on more stars

This year’s Jewish Community Awards Celebration will take an expanded approach to recognizing outstanding service. Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona President and CEO Stuart Mellan largely credits Federation board chair Shelly Silverman with the impetus for the new concept. “Our slogan, ‘Stronger Together,’ is what we try to actualize as a Federation; drawing on the strength of our partners to take it to another level,” Mellan says.

“There are many organizations honoring their own people at so many events in the spring. We are so interconnected. For all agencies to come together and to nominate lay leaders and professional leaders we believe should be honored and recognized makes sense,” says Silverman. “No one wants to go to seven different events. If we bring everyone together, everyone would want to come to one.”

This year, the Federation’s traditional top awards will be presented, and its seven beneficiary/affiliated agencies also will honor their outstanding volunteer or leader.

Stuart Mellan

“This is a wonderful evening every year. How can you not be inspired by the devotion to the community and all they accomplish with their commitment?” says Mellan of awardees. “Young people are just as committed as older ones. Newcomers, those who have made a lifetime commitment, snowbirds and retirees” — it’s a mix of volunteers that strengthen the community.

“Every agency will be highlighted so the community can learn about the all the good stuff going on around us,” says Silverman. “The goal is for us to all come together to celebrate the work we’re all doing to make a difference.”

Nomination categories for Jewish community leadership awards are Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Gary I. Sarver Young Man of the Year and Young Woman of the Year, and Ben and Betty Brook Community Professional. Nominations are due to gbarnhill@jfsa.org by March 9.

Criteria, in order of priority, include service to the Federation or its beneficiary agencies, community partners or affiliates; meaningful gift or service to the Federation; service to synagogues or other community Jewish organizations; and service to the Southern Arizona community at large and its non-sectarian organizations.

Shelly Silverman

Other awards will come from affiliates, Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, University of Arizona Hillel Foundation, Tucson Jewish Community Center, Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona, the Jewish History Museum and Holocaust History Center, and Tucson Hebrew Academy.

Comprising the awards committee are John Judin, Hillel; Phil Bregman, Handmaker; Jim Whitehill, JCF; Barbara Befferman Danes, JFCS; Hedy Feuer, JHM; Mary Cochran Wolk, TJCC; Neil Kleinman, THA; and Silverman.

At the awards evening, which will be held Thursday, May 10 at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, beginning at 7 p.m., the Federation also will hold a brief annual meeting and install new officers. An ice cream social will follow.