A community that cares needs to answer the call

A community that cares needs to answer the call

Dec. 6 will be a momentous day. That’s the date of this year’s Super Sunday phonathon for UJA MetroWest, the biggest UJA phonathon of the campaign year and one of the largest campaign events of the year. It will be a momentous day because, every year, Super Sunday is the campaign event that:

• sets the tone for the year,

• creates the momentum to help UJA reach its annual goals,

• brings the MetroWest Jewish community together,

• helps our fellow Jews in need, and

• celebrates us as a community of all ages, as a people, as one.

And Dec. 6 will be a momentous day for another reason — because it has to be.

Last year was a devastating one for the economic health of our society. Millions of jobs were lost, as were trillions of dollars in investments. Businesses closed all over the country, and there were fears we were headed for another Great Depression.

At UJA MetroWest, the economic downturn had a serious impact on our annual campaign. The campaign raised nearly $3.5 million less than in the previous year. As a result, our allocations to our beneficiary agencies suffered significant double-digit reductions, and the level of service the agencies could deliver was diminished at the very time when needs in the community for social services were increasing every day.

Because those who have the least have the most to lose, and despite the debilitating UJA shortfall, we still allocated $500,000 to help those most severely affected by the economy and $100,000 for social services in Israel during the war in Gaza.

We responded to the top priorities, even as we continued to struggle to pay for the regular, day-to-day services.

And the economy has yet to recover in a meaningful way. Unemployment continues to rise and families continue to struggle to keep their homes, pay their bills, and retain their health coverage.

It is imperative that we maintain our regular, day-to-day services: programs and transportation for MetroWest seniors, hot meals for underprivileged Israeli children, Jewish education, special classes and training for the developmentally disabled, and much more. Those who depend on our support should not have to suffer as a result of the economy and its impact.

We need as many of you as possible to be with us on Super Sunday — by helping make phone calls, by responding generously when you are called. You are needed to reverse the trajectory of last year’s campaign results, to restore the services that so many of our neighbors, of our fellow Jews, need to live with safety and with dignity.

And there is another reason. Beyond the material support in food, counseling, education, and so much else, there is the spirit of generosity and caring that we give to each other, and that is as much what we need from each other as the more tangible forms of help. When Jews are in trouble, the most immediate and indispensable support they need and must receive is — each other. We are what we turn to, we are the support we require, and this is the real meaning and reason why we are a people.

In this spirit of community, no one is a supporter and no one is a recipient. We are all supporters and we are all recipients. We gather together so that none of us will be left alone.

That is the true meaning of Super Sunday, not just to raise support, but to be that support. We look forward to seeing you on Dec. 6, to speaking with you by phone, to being together with you.

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