It’s become an annual ritual; for 29 years I have psyched myself up each year for Super Sunday. For some reason, I have never really taken a moment to think about the impact that this marathon day has on me personally.
No doubt at the end of day and at the conclusion of Super Week I am excited about the dollars raised. But in Central New Jersey, Super Sunday is not just a massive one-day phonathon; it’s a day that brings together community members from all walks of life — young, old, and those in the middle.
It’s a day when Elizabeth neighbors meet and interact with Westfield, Warren, and Watchung residents. It’s a day when in addition to hundreds of people volunteering time to be on the phone, scores of volunteers are involved in social action/mitzva projects, including donating blood, making Hanukka crafts for the homebound elderly, collecting new toys and books for children, connecting with our family in Arad, Israel, or just simply having fun as a family.
Just this week it hit me — Super Sunday is a day that so beautifully illustrates and symbolizes people taking responsibility for one another, regardless of age, where they live, or whether they are rich or poor. It’s community coming together.
This coming week, in parshat Vayishlach, we will read the famous story of Jacob wrestling with the angel through the night. The angel, realizing that he could not defeat Jacob, dealt a debilitating blow to Jacob’s leg, dislodging his thighbone. The Torah tells us that we commemorate this event through the prohibition of not eating the animal’s sciatic nerve.
Why is it important to recall Jacob’s injury? Many theories are given about the meaning of this story. One answer focuses on the detail that, prior to Jacob’s encounter with the angel, he moved his family across the river. We remember this incident because Jacob’s children allowed their father to be alone at night on the other side of the river. They failed to escort him across, thus leaving him exposed to danger.
The failure of Jacob’s children to accompany their father also symbolizes the younger generation’s responsibility to connect to their parents and grandparents. By leaving Jacob alone on the other side of the river, Jacob’s children jeopardized the transmission of Jacob’s legacy. The younger generation bears responsibility not to allow the older generation to remain alone, not to allow any “rivers” to separate them and the previous links of Jewish tradition.
Thus, on Super Sunday we all have an opportunity to bond between young and old and ensure that as a people we will remain strong.
I look forward to seeing you on Super Sunday — Dec. 6 at the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains — when we will continue to preserve the ageless chain of Jewish tradition and responsibility.