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People You Should Know: A Mix of MCA Generations

By Marc Rosenweig

Whether you’re 90 or 40 there’s a welcome waiting at MCA. Some members have been with the group since its inception. Others are just joining the relatively new MCA NextGen group---a movement to get younger members of the community involved.

Howard Agranat celebrated his 90th birthday in April, joined by at least 41 family and friends. “It makes me feel blessed and humbled,” said Agranat.

He was an early member of MCA. Agranat found his way to Naples after retirement in 1997.

“My only experience with Florida was the east coast,” said the Dorchester, Ma. native. “I vowed I wouldn’t go to Florida.” But that changed after he visited a friend in Pelican Marsh. “I said, ‘I could retire here’ and I bought his house.”

He retired after working at Gillette for more than 40 years. “The work was very interesting,” said Agranat, who worked for a variety of Gillette divisions in marketing and research, including appliances, razors, and personal care.

Arriving in Naples he joined Temple Shalom and the Federation. By the early 2000’s he was onboard with a fledgling MCA.

“It was a no brainer to join MCA,” said Agranat. “It’s a great way to meet new people. I’m not aware of a similar organization elsewhere with such a wide range of activities that’s managed by volunteers.”

He no longer participates in MCA athletic activities but he loves boating near his summer home on Cape Cod or an MCA cruise off Naples to Keewaydin Island. He enjoys the monthly luncheons and getting the latest updates from medical lectures.

Agranat is enthusiastic about MCA’s NextGen group which is attracting younger members. “It’s a great program. Having more opportunities to get together is one of the strengths of MCA.”

He eagerly praises his friend, MCA President Michael Sobol. “Mike, as first year president, has done an outstanding job. He performs his duties with boundless energy.”

Speaking of energy, Agranat says his Micro Labradoodle Bella takes him on a three mile walk every morning. “I walk because of her,” said Agranat. On one of those walks, he met an MCA member. “I met a member who went to five MCA events in five days. MCA is an important asset to the Naples Jewish community.”

That community continues to expand, with MCA a big part of it.

Max Deifik is a member of MCA’s NextGen group. He first joined MCA when a friend told him about the weekly poker game. Then Richard Wajs, who founded NextGen, reached out to him about joining the initiative.

“He said they were starting something new,” said Deifik, who is Vice President of Private Capital Management LLC in Naples. “Originally, it was planned for those 45 or 50 to 65. I told him I was 39.” Now NextGen is listed for those under 65. Deifik recently turned 40.

He said NextGen has some similar events to MCA, including dinners and sporting groups. He especially enjoys being a leader of the clay shooting group. “I love letting people experience the sport.”

Deifik says they try to hold a shooting event at least once a month. During the winter season there are two novice events with an experienced instructor. They often go to Port of the Islands off US 41 south of Naples where there are 16 shooting stations.

“I can shoot 100 clays (targets) in an hour to an hour and a half. I love golf, but that takes four plus hours out of my day,” said Deifik. “Safety is tantamount and it’s a great social event.” He also enjoys poker, along with some cigars and scotch.

Deifik has a busy schedule with his wife Cassie and their four-year-old son. He grew up in Naples and graduated from Barron Collier High School and FGCU. He says his mother, Celia Deifik, who recently retired, was one of the first female attorneys in southwest Florida.

Cassie is Managing Director of Jetset World Travel, a luxury travel agency. She grew up in New Iberia, La. They met when she transferred to the Ritz-Carlton in Naples after the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

“It’s nice meeting other Jewish couples,” said Deifik, about MCA and Next Gen. “There are close to 60 or 70 members (in NextGen). We’re attracting more members. We’re getting great feedback. It makes sense. I would have liked something like this earlier in life.”

That community continues to expand, with MCA a big part of it.

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