The chairs for this year’s Super Sunday can fully relate to its theme — “The good you can see around every corner” — from their own community leadership experiences.
The nine chairs — who all represent beneficiary institutions or agencies of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County — are hoping that when people answer their phones on Nov. 21, they will give generously.
Last year’s annual phonathon fund-raiser at the federation’s South River offices brought in $522,000 — which rose to $557,000 after several nights of follow-up calls — despite the gloomy economic picture.
That total represents about 25 percent of federation’s annual intake, said its associate director, Susan Antman, who added that community support is all the more vital as financial instability continues to affect both individuals and organizations.
The federation’s campaign goal is $2.4 million, a 5 percent increase over last year, she said. “Likewise, we hope to see a 5 percent growth in what we bring in for Super Sunday — to $549,000,” Antman said. “Through the network of agencies and programs we fund, the federation helps alleviate poverty, provides emergency relief, supports the community, and ensures a Jewish future.
“The good we do is something every Jew in Middlesex County can share in.”
Federation funds support such efforts as helping elderly Jews with food and medical assistance, assisting in the resettlement of Ethiopian Jews and other immigrants in Israel, and providing respites for Israeli children who live with the threat of terrorism.
They also advance vital services locally at schools and synagogues and provide an array of services that strengthen Jewish identity.
The monies raised through federation “do a lot for our school,” said Super Sunday cochair Brian Dube of Edison, who represents Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva in Edison. “They do a lot to support Israel and our community and many organizations. We feel like it’s a very worthwhile thing to be involved with.”
Dube, whose wife, Sandi, is RPRY’s PTA president, said he understands that people are hurting financially but hopes those who are able to give would help federation surpass last year’s total.
“Even if the economy’s bad, you should still give charity,” said Dube. “There’s the old adage, ‘You get what you give.’”
Cochair Ilana Lutman of New Brunswick, a board member at Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley in East Brunswick, was also a Marion and Norman Tanzman Fellow, participating in a federation program through which she received leadership training and traveled to Israel this past summer.
Since that experience, she said, “I’ve seen the crucial work of federation and how everybody pitches in to do what they can do to help their fellow Jews.”
“I am a Schechter parent and it’s a two-way street,” said Lutman. “Federation supports us and we support federation while also helping to support our fellow Jews. “
Lutman sees volunteering for Super Sunday as part of serving as a role model to the next generation: “It’s important for children to see their parents being active and helping the community,” she said.
Lutman urged others not only to give generously, but to join in making phone calls; Super Sunday, she said, “has a great atmosphere and you have fun while you work.”
Other cochairs are Taryn Webber, representing the Campus for Jewish Life; Nate Reiss, Jewish Historical Society of Central Jersey; Lee Livingston, Jewish Social Service Committee of New Brunswick and Highland Park, Inc.; Jack Goldberg, Jewish Family & Vocational Service of Middlesex County; Richard Bullock, Rutgers Hillel; and Arlene Borowsky, the Jewish Community Center of Middlesex County.