Mazelpalooza, one of the biggest parties of the year. continues to grow, with an expected turnout this month of over a thousand people. The event was first started in 1998 by the Young Leadership Division at the Federation in Phoenix. It has always been held on Christmas Eve – the perfect time to attract a large Jewish crowd.
This annual event takes place in many cities across the U.S., albeit with a different name. For example, a big party called “Light It Up” is held in Las Vegas, Seattle calls it “Latkepalooza” and it’s the “Matzo Ball” in New York City.
The evening is one of the many events hosted by NowGen, an initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, to engage Jewish young adults between the ages of 21 and 45 through meaningful programs.
“It is the primary social gathering for Jews in Phoenix. For many Jews, this is the only “Jewish” event they will attend all year,” says Stacey Cohen, senior director of NowGen. “People who have moved out of town will come back for Mazelpalooza, because they know it’s a great place to catch up with old friends and meet new people. It also serves as the primary fundraiser for NowGen Phoenix, providing key funds that help support Jewish events throughout the year, such as NowGen Kickoff, Shabbat Hop and more.”
The well-attended Mazelpalooza is a carefully crafted event that requires a great deal of effort to put together. Leila Mikal is one of the event chairs.
“This event is six months in the making,” says Leila. “Our NowGen board members and our Mazelpalooza committee have been working very hard on making this event what it will be: the best year yet – because not only is it the first night of Chanukah, it’s on a Saturday night – and there will be upwards of close to 1,000 Jews dancing and partying their hearts out. There is no other event in Arizona [where] there are so many young Jews at one location, all there to have fun.”
Past events have been held in posh hotels and clubs (generally in Old Town Scottsdale), ranging from the W Hotel and the Valley Ho to Mint and Livewire. This year, the festivities will be held at the Maya Day and Nightclub in Scottsdale. Attendance has steadily increased every year since its inception as word gets out that Mazelpalooza is the hottest ticket in town for the most entertaining event of the evening.
“The sheer size of the event makes it fun,” says Stacey. “Young adults connect with friends from around the Valley and the country – plus we have a professional DJ, a photo booth and this year we’ll have some unique entertainment provided by Maya.”
Co-chair Mitch Cohen is excited about the evening and knows it will be another smashing success.“We are sure that if you ask 100 people what the best part of Mazelpalooza is, you will get 100 different answers,” says Mitch. “However, from our point of view, the best part of Mazelpalooza is seeing that you had an impact in making these 1,000-plus Jews have the time of their lives on this particular night, not too mention seeing people that you might have lost contact with or have not seen in a year. It’s like a reunion of sorts – for everyone!”
Mazelpalooza is not only a guaranteed good time, but attending is actually a mitzvah: $18 (tax deductible) from every ticket sold will be donated to the annual campaign for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.
Location: Maya Day and Nightclub, 7333 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale
Sponsors: NowGen Phoenix and Steve LeVine Entertainment
Date: Saturday, Dec. 24
Time: 9 pm-2 am
Tickets are on sale at mazelpalooza.org
General admission: $36 (available until 5 pm, Dec. 24)
At the door: $45
$18 from each ticket will be a donation to the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix Annual Campaign