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A new twist on Super Sunday
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A new twist on Super Sunday

Lay leaders and staff who greeted visitors at Super Sunday included, from left, Jewish Community Campus and Jewish Community Center Princeton Mercer Bucks executive assistant Pat Ficarotta; center president and past federation president Don Leibowitz; c
Lay leaders and staff who greeted visitors at Super Sunday included, from left, Jewish Community Campus and Jewish Community Center Princeton Mercer Bucks executive assistant Pat Ficarotta; center president and past federation president Don Leibowitz; c

For Yishai Cohen, Super Sunday 2010 at the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks was a highly satisfying experiment in community engagement and partnership.

“We tried a different model this year, and it was a very good day,” he told NJ Jewish News in a Dec. 7 phone interview. For the first time ever, the PMB federation combined its full day of fund-raising with a busy schedule of social and educational activities and hours of entertainment and community outreach. “In the past we just had a phonathon; that was it,” said Cohen, the federation’s director of campaign development. This year, he said, it was a multi-faceted day of giving and doing for all ages.

Two weeks after tallying up the proceeds from the Nov. 21 event, which took place at Rider University in Lawrenceville, Cohen was pleased.

“We raised $225,000. Our goal was $150,000,” he said happily. “The goal of the day was obviously to raise money, but we wanted to change the paradigm to make the day more appealing at large, not just for the fund-raisers.”

Like Cohen, Emily Josephson of Princeton Junction was delighted at the outcome, calling it “a new adventure” for the community.

The vice president of community relations and allocations said the federation was “hesitant to take any focus away from the phone-calling aspect of Super Sunday. However, the day turned out to be successful from both a community spirit standpoint and a fund-raising standpoint, as we greatly exceeded our fund-raising goals for the day.”

Judy Bortnick of Princeton Junction — Super Sunday cochair, along with Penny Pierce of Plainsboro — called it “a grand community day” with “something for all ages. Everyone had positive feedback and enjoyed the wonderful programming,” she wrote in an e-mail to NJJN.

In all, an estimated 500 people took part in the proceedings.

The morning began with a symposium on aging and caring for people in need run by the Greenwood House’s Marcus Home for the Jewish Aged in Ewing Township and Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County. While some 30 vendors sold Hanukka gifts and books in a room at the campus’ Bart Luedeke Center, Jewish organizations handed shoppers information about their various community programs.

JCC Princeton Mercer Bucks organized a full day of family-oriented activities. Storyteller Lisa Garwood related lively tales of tikun olam, a group called RAK-DAN led community members in Israeli folk dancing, Israeli entertainer Yossi performed in concert, and students from area religious schools took part in a song festival.

Children were also treated to such attractions as balloon sculpture and face-painting.

It was Cohen’s first year as the person in charge of PMB’s Super Sunday. An Israeli by birth, he grew up in East Brunswick and moved to the area from Broward County, Fla.

Noting that last year federation raised $211,255 on Super Sunday, Cohen said leaders were gratified at this year’s achievement. “We weren’t sure how the whole community portion of the day would work out,” he said, “but it was very successful.”

Everyone at the federation, said executive director Andrew Frank, was “especially grateful for the extraordinary efforts of the JCC, synagogue educators, and area rabbis — partners who helped plan the day and encouraged students and congregants from throughout the community to participate.”

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