“I have a Jewish soul, and the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta enriches that soul in so many ways,” Harry Maziar explains. Those are profound words from a man who has been profoundly involved with the evolution of Atlanta’s Jewish community center for the last 75 years. A former co-chair of the MJCCA’s Governance Board for five years and past president from 1981 to 1983, Harry is also the namesake of the MJCCA’s Harry Maziar Classic golf tournament that has raised millions of dollars for scholarships and programs since its inception nearly 15 years ago.
Having spent his adolescence competing in sports and socializing at the Jewish Educational Alliance (JEA) facility on the south side of Atlanta and then the Atlanta JCC on Peachtree Street, the 87-year-old native Atlantan has seen – and overseen – colossal changes through the years. “The JCC has been an important part of my life forever,” he acknowledges. It sparked a lifetime of special relationships with dozens of friends who he remains close to today. And his entire brood – three children and eight grandchildren – has followed suit with active involvement in MJCCA life, from preschool and athletics to BBYO and Book Festivals. “You want to talk about L’Dor V’Dor!” Harry proclaims. “The MJCCA is an integral part of all our lives.”
Fortunately, the MJCCA that exists today is largely because Harry played a major role in safeguarding its survival. At the request of Erwin Zaban and Bernie Marcus he helmed a new era of leadership to grow the MJCCA to a new level. Harry shares that in 2006, he, along with Jack Halpern, led a newly formed Governance Board that helped ensure continuing success. “Within the first year we had balanced the budget, and within a few years we eliminated all the debt,” he beams. “To this day, the MJCCA continues to flourish. Getting the agency through its crisis was the most challenging and satisfying part of any leadership role I’ve held.”
“The most impressive part of the MJCCA is not just the beautiful facility that rivals anything in the country, but also its reach,” Harry declares. “The MJCCA touches more people in more ways through its robust and inclusive programs and services. It’s open and welcoming to all, and the dedicated staff chooses to be here. I can’t imagine the community without this vibrant, active hub.”
The MJCCA has been an important part of my life forever.Harry Maziar