Last July, Marty Haberer, chief development officer for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, went on his 40th mission to Israel. According to Marty, the 40th trip was as exciting as the first.
“When I get the privilege to be at the [Western] Wall in Jerusalem, every time I put my head against that wall – [whether it’s] the second time, the fifth time, the 19th time, the 32nd time – I always look up to the sky and say ‘Wow, I didn’t know you had this planned for me, Lord! You brought me back again!’” says Marty. “Once would have been more than sufficient. How blessed am I?”
Marty has spent the last 30 years in Jewish communal service, including 28 at federations. He has been with the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix for 19 months.
All of his trips to Israel have been missions, taking American Jews to experience what’s happening in Israel. Marty marvels at “putting your feet on the ground where all this biblical archeology and stories [took] place. [Being] on the ground where Moses was standing and couldn’t get into Israel and where King David set up the 12 Tribes of Israel. For me, it’s an incredibly emotional experience to be wandering around and kicking up pottery that’s 2,000 years old. America is an amazing place, but you are never going to [walk] and kick around stuff that’s 2,000 years old,” says Marty.
Marty’s passion for Israel carries over to his excitement about the guest speaker for the Federation’s MEGA Israel 2017 event, former Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. He says no organization has ever brought in a sitting or former prime minister of Israel, “so this is big for Arizona.”
Marty stresses that the Israel connection is a big part of many Jews’ identity. “It connects us to our ancient history and our modern day, 68-year history,” he says. “Barak has a place in the recent history of the country. He had a significant impact on Israel, the peace process and moving Israel into its place today as one of the great high-tech countries in the word,” says Marty.
Part of the motivation behind inviting the former prime minister to speak is to bring attention to the fact that Israel will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in less than two years. “A lot of [federation’s] focus in the next year-and-a-half…is going to be on Israel,” says Marty. “Israeli-themed activities and events, Israel conversations, all of those things that [raise] the consciousness of ‘Israel at 70.’ This is the launching point for that.”
MEGA Israel is the kick-off event of the 2017 Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign, which will be presented in tiers. The reception and program begin at $150 cover charge per person, with a minimum household contribution of $365 to the 2017 Annual Campaign. There is also an optional pre-event dinner or pre-event dinner plus roundtable discussion with Prime Minister Barak ($12,000 or $25,000 minimum contribution, respectively). Co-chairs for the event are Carrie and Morrie Aaron. Co-chairs of the 2017 Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign are Julee Landau Shahon and Rudy Troisi.
“I was fortunate to have had Prime Minister Ehud Barak in my former community in Sarasota, Florida,” says Marty. “He really communicates nicely with donors and is a special guy. We are thrilled to have this opportunity in Phoenix.”
What: MEGA Israel 2017 featuring former Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak
When: Wednesday, March 1; 6:30 pm reception, 7:30 pm program begins
Where: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 E. Princess Dr., Scottsdale
For more information, call 480-481-1754 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org and/or jewishphoenix.org/megaisrael.