The Comfiest Seat At The Gala: A Sneak Peek at our Virtual Museum

Rebecca Ward
December 19, 2022

Last week, guests joined us from the comfiest seat in the house for a virtual gala and a preview of MAZON’s new virtual museum. 

Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky, chair of MAZON’s Board of Directors, greeted our community of virtual attendees with a call to rededicate ourselves and our communities to our highest ideals. “The story of the Maccabees rededicating the Temple reminds us that the achievement of these highest ideals relies not on miracles, but on our actions, our work, and our commitment to seeing those ideals realized,” Rabbi Pitkowsky shared. “Tonight, during Hanukkah, and every day forward, we carry that mantle – to continue to strive as a people, a community, a country, so every person is supported in the fullest of their humanity, and allowed to live a life of dignity, beginning with food on their plates.”

MAZON President & CEO, Abby J. Leibman, welcomed guests and introduced the Justice Award for Advancing the Response to Hunger. “We have launched the Award in order to recognize the remarkable contributions of those who had a vision of America in which no one went hungry, where those who did struggle were never shamed nor vilified, nor ignored. These courageous individuals stood up for the vulnerable in America, to be champions for food justice for all of us. Those remarkable advocates are still among us, and with this award, we honor their work that takes us closer to making that vision of America a reality.” This year, the inaugural Justice Award was presented to Marcie Zelikow in recognition of her deep commitment to ensure that everyone has the resources they need to keep food on their tables.

The inaugural Justice Award for Advancing the Response to Hunger was then presented to Marcie Zelikow, who truly exemplifies the message and the meaning behind this award. Marcie has made creating a better future for America’s most vulnerable the centerpiece of her philanthropy and her advocacy. Marcie has invested in and cultivated others to follow her lead, building a network of leaders who share her vision and commitment. As she accepted the award, Marcie shared her moving personal journey — finding herself as a single mother of a young child, and struggling to ensure she could put enough food on her table — and why MAZON means so much to her. Marcie relied on support from her community, just as many food insecure Americans must, to provide a better life for her and her family. Marcie has never forgotten how difficult that time in her life was, and she has dedicated herself to ensuring that no one else in this country would have to struggle as she did. MAZON is honored to present the inaugural Justice Award in recognition of her dedication, passion, and remarkable commitment to ending hunger in America.

Throughout the event, musical guests Fiddle & Fret delighted the audience with a brand new song about the Hunger Museum and the various engaging, interactive, and innovative ways guests will be able to explore exhibits about the history of hunger in America when the museum launches in early 2023.   

Following the evening’s entertainment, guests saw a sneak peek of the Hunger Museum. Naama Haviv, MAZON’s Vice President of Community Engagement, toured guests through the virtual halls, previewing exhibits that illuminate the political, economic, and cultural influences of the time, revealing the expansion and dismantlement of the American social safety net over the last century, and how — with history in mind — we can forge a path forward to end hunger. Please sign up here to receive the most up-to-date news about the Hunger Museum, and to be the first to explore this unprecedented resource. Public and private tours will also be available in early 2023. With your support, MAZON can continue building this groundbreaking experience through the creation of new exhibits, expanded learning resources, and engaging programs and events. Memberships and Patron opportunities are available — please contact Rebecca Ward for more information.

We are so grateful to our guests and many sponsors that made this event a success. We’re also grateful for the event team who truly created a virtual event like nobody had ever experienced before. Thanks to Someone’s In The Kitchen for the beautiful gift boxes, to Mister & Mischief for creating a brilliantly interactive, engaging take on virtual celebrations, and all the actors and musicians who brought their vision to life. We are continually grateful for the Hunger Museum team who have helped bring this project to fruition, including Caroline Luce, Ph.D, Loyal Design, Picksell Studio, Emily Rich Design, and Peter Chesney, Ph.D.