Even though the fall season has barely gotten off the ground, the Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ is gearing up for an earlier-than-usual Super Sunday, this time coming on Sept. 25.
The annual call-athon will be held at the federation’s South River offices, where volunteers from day schools, synagogues, and other organizations and agencies that benefit from generous donations will do their part to make the day a success.
Federation chief development officer Elena Herskowitz said the annual campaign, which ends on Dec. 31, is “on pace” to meet its $3.4 million annual goal.
“Traditionally, the majority of our gifts come in during the final quarter of the year,” said Herskowitz, adding that the federation expects to be in the vicinity of the $2 million mark by the end of the event.
Federation raised just over $200,000 at last year’s Super Sunday. Another $100,000 that had been raised weeks earlier through a related community call day was added to the overall Super Sunday figure.
“It’s important to give to federation because its professional staff is best situated to assess the needs of the Jewish community at home and abroad,” said event chair Jeffrey Schwartz of Monmouth Junction. “They excel and can turn on a dime when any crisis arises, God forbid. They know how to activate the community, where to get the money, and how to get it quickly to those in need.”
Schwartz, also first federation vice president, cited the serious predicament faced by local Holocaust survivors several months back when it became apparent there would be a shortfall in funds allocated for vital services.
Once the federation became aware of the problem, “We reacted by creating a crowdfunding site within days,” said Schwartz.
In less than a week the site raised about $200,000 on-line, which “went a long way to covering the shortfall,” he noted.
“In my opinion there is no other Jewish philanthropy poised to act so swiftly to get the job done and get the money where it is needed on a daily basis,” he said. “Locally we’re caring for the most vulnerable, the people who are most in need. People like that are often invisible in the community, but our professionals and staff have the know-how and contacts to learn about their needs and mobilize the community.”
Schwartz said he wouldn’t ask others to do what he himself was not willing to do, adding that he supports the federation because it's where he can have “the maximum impact on the Jewish community here, overseas, and in Israel.”