On the main stage at last week’s General Assembly — the annual gathering of the Jewish Federations of North America — speakers urged Jewish communities to come together after a summer spent arguing about the Iran nuclear deal. Said JFNA CEO Jerry Silverman: “Too much of the language was vicious and beyond the pale and has no place in our community.”
To begin the healing, the 3,000 Jewish communal professionals, lay leaders, and college students at the GA –— including a large contingent from the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ — focused on the kinds of things that bring Jewish communities together. Panelists from the Greater MetroWest federation shared their innovations in creating inclusive communities for Jews of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and walks of life; in deepening the connection between New Jersey’s Jews and their brothers and sisters in Israel; and in making Jewish education affordable and of the highest quality.
While political squabbles make headlines, these are the kinds of activities being undertaken by federations day in and day out. Thousands of individual donors offer what they can, and federation planners encourage programs that help foster strong and vibrant Jewish communities — here, in Israel, and around the world. As Silverman put it in his keynote speech, “If you go to synagogue weekly or hardly ever, if you’re supporting Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, what matters is that you care and want to be involved.”
Nov. 22 represents an opportunity for all members of the community to be involved. On Super Sunday, hundreds of volunteers in Whippany and Scotch Plains, as well as South Florida and Ofakim, Israel, will be contacting community members and seeking their support for the federation’s 27 partner agencies in New Jersey and its partnerships in Israel. There will be activities for children, teens, and young adults; social action projects; and speakers offering updates on issues at home and abroad. (For a full schedule, see jfedgmw.org/super-sunday.)
Super Sunday is a fund-raiser, but it is also a day for a community to come together, lay aside its disagreements, and pledge solidarity to the Jewish people — the entire Jewish people. Whether you take part in person or on the phone, it is a day to show you care.