Scottsdale Independent

Sold-out MEGA 2018 event furthers Federation efforts


Nearly 600 guests gathered for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix’s sold-out MEGA 2018 at the Scottsdale Hilton Resort in February.

The event raised $914,600 for the Federation’s annual campaign, according to a press release.

Featured guest David Gregory, broadcast journalist and author, discussed the role faith has played in his life and that of his family. He also read a few passages from his book, “How’s Your Faith?” — a question posed to him as chief White House correspondent during an interview with President George W. Bush.

Jewish Federations of North America President and CEO Jerry Silverman also spoke, sharing the work Federation is doing across the continent and around the world.

The evening was highlighted by the presentation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix’ highest award, the Medal of Honor, to Irwin Kanefsky for his decades-long commitment to Federation and the community.

“It was very humbling to be acknowledged in front of my friends and family. I will always cherish being part of a group of Phoenix Jewish leaders who have had the vision and passion to set the standard for Jewish communal involvement,” Mr. Kanefsky said in a prepared statement.

“It is very special to be one of only four couples in the history of this community to have both received the Medal of Honor.”

Irwin’s wife Shari received the Medal of Honor in 2014, the press release stated.

Additionally, Jonathan and Rachel Hoffer received the inaugural Harold z”l & Jean Grossman Award for their individual and united work for Federation.

“It was a blessing to witness Irwin Kanefsky receive the Medal of Honor for life time achievement and for me to stand in for Jean Grossman to present the inaugural Harold & Jean Grossman Award to Jonathan and Rachel Hoffer,” Marty Haberer, CEO, said in a prepared statement. “It was one of the most memorable nights of my 32-year career in Jewish communal service.”

The event was co-chaired by Ben and Sasha Ellis and Jerome and Anita Gutkin. Those contributing more than $12,000 to the Federation’s 2018 campaign, were invited to a pre-event VIP dinner co-chaired by Lanny and Marlene Lahr and Mike and Nichole Arko, where guests had the opportunity to meet David Gregory and received a signed copy of his book, the press release stated.