Tulane Hillel will honor “Big Pastrami” Sarah Mack at first Schmancy gala

Tulane Hillel will hold a “Schmancy” benefit evening on Nov. 20 at the Goldie and Morris Mintz Center for Jewish Life. The Hillel’s first gala will have “the allure of a classic New Orleans Speakeasy and all the comforts of a Lower East Side Manhattan delicatessen.”

As part of the evening, Tulane Hillel will present its first Big Pastrami Award, which will recognize leaders in New Orleans who have made an impact on the city’s resurgence and recovery. The first award will be presented to Sarah Mack, a leader in the movement to monetize wetland carbon offsets, which is anticipated to stimulate up to $1.6 billion of private investment into wetland restoration over the next 50 years.

A Ph.D. in the field of Global Sustainable Resource Management from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Mack has become an internationally recognized leader finding innovative solutions to address the global challenges of climate mitigation, urbanization, and pollution through wetland and water management.

Previously, she worked as Technical Administrator of the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, serving as emergency liaison between S&WB and other agencies in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Rabbi Yonah Schiller, executive director of Tulane Hillel, said Mack “provides an inspiring example of an innovative leader. Her efforts in the critical field of environmental research and development speak for themselves, and she is an incredible role model for the more than 150 Tulane undergraduates who participate in Tulane Hillel’s leadership incubator each year. New Orleans is lucky that Dr. Mack has made it her home, establishing herself as an international expert in introducing wetlands to emissions trading markets. I look forward to her sharing her experiences with our leadership students in an upcoming seminar.”

The Hillel is also establishing the Leading Forward Awards, which will be presented to roughly half a dozen individuals who have been nominated by the community. The awards will recognize those who represent the mission of Tulane Hillel. Nominations were being taken through Oct. 31.

Schiller noted that “Leading Forward is the name of our student leadership incubator, and it was a natural extension to create community-wide “Leading Forward” Awards. As we inspire our student leaders to make an impact in the local community, we will showcase local leaders, across a wide variety of professions, who have made community involvement a priority in their busy lives.”

Schmancy will start with a patron’s reception at 6:30 p.m. and the party at 7:30 p.m. The Speakeasy will be upstairs and the deli will be downstairs. Admission is $99, with patron levels starting at $250. Dress code is “schmancy,” and valet parking will be provided.

To celebrate the Big Pastrami Award, Tulane Hillel and Hillel’s Kitchen will have an organic pastrami sale from Nov. 3 to 21, where one can buy a Pastrami-Gram, an individual sandwich or a tray of sandwiches.