Lawyers Division Honors Musoff, Mechanic rss
More than 600 people came together at the Waldorf-Astoria on December 8th as UJA-Federation’s Lawyers Division honored Jonathan L. Mechanic and Scott D. Musoff and made a record collective gift of $1.6 million.
Keith D. Krakaur, chair of the Lawyer’s Division, thanked members of the audience for their support at the annual event, which was sold out and drew nearly twice as many people as in 2010. Krakaur talked about the scope of the work UJA-Federation supports as a result of the generosity of donors: “The number of people who benefit is staggering.”
In presenting Mechanic with the Judge Joseph M. Proskauer Award, Rob Speyer, co-chief executive officer of Tishman Speyer, said, “I would put his skills up against any lawyer in the country.” He added, “I think of him like the Lady Gaga of our industry. He’s larger than life, and he backs up his schtick with a brilliant mind and a heart of gold.
Mechanic, a partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and chairman of its real estate group, said he was honored to be “in the footsteps of great lawyers” who previously received the award. He recalled his first connections with UJA-Federation in childhood when he put money in a tzedakah box for the organization. He also cited his powerful experiences as an adult on UJA-Federation missions to Israel and Cuba, where he saw the enormous difference that the financial support of the group has made. He thanked his family and colleagues for their support of him and UJA-Federation.
Musoff, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, received his James H. Fogelson Emerging Leadership Award from Jay Kasner, who is also a partner at Skadden and is an active lay leader for UJA-Federation. Kasner said Musoff is “completely committed to excellence” and cited his “deep commitment to Judaism and Israel.”
Musoff, who also thanked family and colleagues, said he was “humbled” by the award and spoke about how he has been affected by seeing the impact of UJA-Federation’s support at a variety of institutions and programs in New York and in Israel. He showed photographs of a recent trip he took with his family to Israel where they were moved by their visit to an absorption center for Jews from Ethiopia. “I can think of no better plan than to invest in UJA-Federation,” he said.
The evening’s guest speaker was Dan Senor, the author of “Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.” Senor said Israel “continues to be one of the most dynamic start-up nations despite all the chaos” in the region. He said that much of Israel’s dynamism has been fueled by the successful inclusion of many immigrants to the country and how UJA-Federation has been crucial in helping those immigrants. In talking about the political fragility of the Middle East, he said, “Particularly because Israel is at a hinge moment, your support is so important.”
In what has become an annual tradition, the lawyers group did not have a main dinner course at the event and the money that would have been spent on the food will be donated to four UJA-Federation beneficiary agencies to feed those in need: the Bronx Jewish Community Council, the Jewish Community Council of Canarsie, Project Ore of the Educational Alliance, and Selfhelp Community Services. A group of attendees will also volunteer to serve a meal at Project Ore.
Also, for the fifth consecutive year, Young Lawyers After Dark was held immediately following the program. More than 200 people attended the event, which included a silent auction to raise additional money for those in need. The Young Lawyers Division is part of UJA-Federation’s commitment to engage the next generation of leadership. In conjunction with Emerging Leaders and Philanthropists, thousands of young people are engaged each year through social, volunteer and educational programs.