Monmouth County Jews are being called to action — for a day of entertainment, education, and raising funds for a host of community services.
The Jewish Federation of Monmouth County’s much anticipated Community Action Day — taking place Sunday, March 11, at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft — will provide an “experiential community engagement” opportunity, said federation board chair Dr. Stuart Abraham.
The daylong event will include a campaign phonathon, a PJ Library family performance, a security preparedness training program, and a community briefing on the threat from a potentially nuclear Iran.
The aim of the event “is to provide a wide range of Jewish activities to engage everyone in the Jewish community,” Abraham said. “During the phoning sessions, we will assess how federation can help the community and what residents would like to see federation engaged in.
“Now is the time to transform what was once called Super Sunday into a multi-dimensional community event engaging volunteers and the broader community.”
Community Action Day is a “new and improved version” of Super Sunday, a major fund-raising phonathon that Monmouth federation has traditionally held along with most of the other 155 members of the Jewish Federations of North America. Monmouth federation leaders determined that the new approach required a new name.
Funds raised will support projects in Israel and Jewish communities in need overseas as well as a range of cultural and educational institutions and programs in the local area.
“Regardless of which side of Route 18 you live on, your level of religious observance, or your place of origin, federation makes an impact on your life as a Jew in Monmouth County,” said the organization’s new director of marketing and communications, Ian White, who started the position on Jan. 30.
Federation’s level of engagement with the entire community is going to be far more pronounced than ever, said White. Community Action Day “is a way of reaching out, especially to new members of our community, where we will explain the significance of what we do and showcase the resources that we support from the Shore communities through the western part of the county.
“As close as we are to New York City,” White said, “we are still a somewhat isolated suburban community with a unique cultural mix that makes us stand out.”
Deborah Rettig of Manalapan, a member of the federation board, is serving as chair of the phonathon committee.
Highly visible issues’
The security preparedness training session, from 3 to 5 p.m., highlights one of the ways federation is being proactive and adding value for its partners, said White.
“Given recent concerns about Iran and anti-Semitic incidents in our own backyard, we have arranged a special security preparedness training program for our community partners — by invitation only — featuring the expertise of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s and Sheriff’s offices and the Department of Homeland Security,” said the federation’s executive director, Keith Krivitzky.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle in Washington, where Krivitzky worked prior to his Monmouth County post, was attacked in July 2006 by a terrorist who shot six women, one fatally. Krivitzky, who was not an employee at the time, noted that security systems implemented by the Seattle Jewish community became a model for communities nationwide.
Security concerns extend around the globe, and are particularly pressing in light of the threats coming from Iran, so organizers have scheduled, from 8 to 9:30 p.m., a community briefing with experts that will provide important information about Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and the implications for Israel and the United States. “This is a must-see program for anyone in our community concerned about Israel, United States foreign policy, and the broader terrorism and energy security challenges facing the U.S.,” said Krivitzky.
The panel will feature Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-Dist. 6); Gil Lainer, consul for public diplomacy at the Israeli consulate in New York; and Dr. Len Cole, an expert on bioterrorism and terror medicine and an adjunct professor of political science at Rutgers University.