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Answer the call

When the Associated Press was looking for a national model of an “aging in place” program, its reporter turned to Verona LIVE. Administered by the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, the program provides a range of services to help older residents remain in their homes despite their advancing years. Verona LIVE combines the resources of the Jewish Vocational Service, Jewish Family Service, Daughters of Israel nursing home, and JCC MetroWest. The result, the AP reported last week, is a community where older people can “plan ahead realistically and constantly reassess their prospects for successfully aging in place.”

When the Jewish Agency for Israel was looking for a shining example of its Loan Funds Initiative, it turned to The Mack Ness Fund. Administered by the Jewish Federation of Central NJ, the Ness Fund supports economic development in Israel’s Negev region. Its projects include an economic development program in Arad and an Israel Venture Network that mentors small business entrepreneurs. Without these programs, says JAFI, “new immigrants and economically disadvantaged native-born Israelis thus stand little chance of receiving bank financing, no matter how promising their initiative may be.”

Verona LIVE and the Ness Fund are just two examples of the myriad ways federations are making the world a better place for Jews in Israel and right next door. Only the federations can coordinate projects like these, tapping the generosity of their donors and the talents of their partner agencies in providing services to the populations that need them. And the need is great: Whether the beneficiary is an elderly couple in the former Soviet Union, or a child who couldn’t attend a Jewish summer camp without a subsidized “campership,” the economic downturn has made the work of the federations and their partners more essential than ever.

Dec. 4 is Super Sunday. Both UJC MetroWest and the Central federation will be holding separate phonathons. This year the two federations are cooperating as never before, sharing planning and marketing in an effort to cut costs and raise excitement on both sides.

Whether you plan on attending Super Sunday events or will be on the receiving end of a phone call that day, your job is easy: Answer the call. When you do, you’ll be improving Jewish life right next door, in Israel, and around the world.

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