Or Chadash to honor retiring Federation CEO

Stuart Mellan

Congregation Or Chadash will host “Celebrating 25 Years of Gratitude,” a dinner honoring Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, on Friday, Feb. 21.

Mellan will retire in May, after more than 25 years at the Federation. Or Chadash also got its start 25 years ago.

Over the years, Mellan and Or Chadash Rabbi Thomas Louchheim have joked about stealing each another’s thunder, says Jim Whitehill, a member of the event planning committee. Or Chadash, which held its first Shabbat service on Aug. 18, 1995, had a front page article in the Arizona Jewish Post on Sept. 1, 1995, while Mellan’s appointment was front page news on Sept. 29.

While they enjoy teasing, “both would say each made the other’s star shine brighter,” says Whitehill, adding that both organizations have a deep commitment to tikkun olam (repair of the world), which their senior leaders share.

The evening will begin with a happy hour at 4:30 p.m. at the Harvey and Deanna Evenchik Center for Jewish Philanthropy, 3718 E. River Road, followed by dinner at 5 p.m. After dinner, the event moves across River Road to Or Chadash, 3939 N. Alvernon Way, for a Shabbat service featuring birthday and anniversary blessings, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Mellan will deliver a sermon on gratitude. A dessert oneg will follow the service.

The cost of the dinner is $75 per person or $125 per patron, with name recognition in the event program. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Federation in Mellan’s honor. RSVP by Feb. 14 at www.orchadash-tucson.org/mellan or call 512-8500.