Super Sunday is an opportunity to give — time, money, even blood — but it’s also a chance to receive a lot in return.
In addition to the phonathon and other tzedaka opportunities, organizers of the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey’s Dec. 4 community event are promising a day filled with family activities for young children, others designed for teens, and some of particular interest to adults.
The gathering — on the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains — will also represent the latest step in an anticipated merger between the Central federation and United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, which chiefly covers Essex and Morris counties.
The two federations have shared aspects of planning, marketing, and programming and the two events will be carefully aligned. Each will include a children’s program run by PJ Library, which promotes Jewish literacy among young families. Both will include Israel advocacy training at lunchtime, and each location will include a large screen with a video feed from the other.
The Community Relations Committee of MetroWest and Central NJ, an early product of the merger that began last July, has a specially coordinated schedule for Super Sunday (see sidebar).
Lay and professional leaders of UJC MetroWest and the Central federation have been in merger discussions for much of the year. No date for the official merger has been announced.
Activities designed to engage attendees of all ages will fill the schedule at the Central Super Sunday gathering. Parents will be able to do crafts and baking with their young children, and bring them to hear popular author Jacqueline Jules read from her books.
For teens, from 12:15 to 1 p.m., there will be pizza lunch and “Growing Beyond Your Jewish Comfort Zone,” a workshop presented by Dana Levinson of Fanwood.
Levinson, a graduate student in Jewish studies, told NJ Jewish News, “I plan not to lecture but to facilitate this conversation as someone who has been in their shoes: someone seeking a meaningful and exciting connection to Judaism but who perhaps did not know how to get involved or what kinds of opportunities existed locally for Jewish teens.”
She said her goal is to launch “a real conversation about Jewish identity, and encourage our teens to examine the choices they make in their lives, and perhaps consider them in a Jewish context.”
Levinson said she will present such opportunities as summer programs, youth groups, camps, and travel, which, she said, “can all be experienced through a Jewish lens.”
Teens will also have a chance to talk with Natalie Elgrabli, the federation’s Israeli shliha, to hear about recently released soldier Gilad Shalit, make Hanukka cards, and do some Israeli cooking.
The adult programming, in addition to social action projects and a chance for newcomers to learn more about federation activities, will include a presentation by Chris Silver exploring issues related to “Jaffa Mosaic,” an exhibition of extraordinary photographs taken by a group of Jewish and Arab women. A reception at 3 p.m. will be followed by the talk from Silver, a senior program associate at the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues.
The task force is a coalition of North American Jewish organizations, foundations, private philanthropists, and international affiliates committed to promoting the welfare of all Israel’s inhabitants, Jews and Arabs alike. The photo exhibit, first seen at the Wilf campus in September, showcases pictures from a photography workshop held in Jaffa last year. Noa Guez, an artist and art therapy student, organized it as a way for local women to use cameras to share their daily experiences in the hope that it would influence social policy.
The show has toured seven cities across North America. Silver told NJJN, “The photographers behind the stunning pictures have created a powerful mosaic of daily life in Israel. Stories of cooperation between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens are rarely told but they shine through the photographer’s lens.”
The exhibition was brought to the JCC in Scotch Plains through a grant from the Phyllis Bernstein and Robert Kuchner Fund of the Central New Jersey Jewish Federation Foundation.
Sandy Sobel, who is cochairing Super Sunday with fellow Scotch Plains resident Meredith Levy, said, “Super Sunday is an amazing event; it’s a great opportunity for the community to come together, and it’s the culmination of all we’re taught — to give back, to give tzedaka, to take care of the elderly and teach about Israel and about our identity.”
For more information about Super Sunday, go to www.JewishJerseyCentral.org.