As the economic crisis continues to take its toll on Jewish communities locally and around the world, the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County is committed to being there for those who have fallen on hard times.
But to provide everything from meals-on-wheels for the elderly and educational programs for the young here, to assisting Jewish communities in Israel and around the world, the federation needs those who can to give generously during Super Sunday on Nov. 22.
The annual phonathon will bring together hundreds of volunteers at the federation’s South River offices.
For cochair Naomi Lasky of Somerset, supporting federation is almost a no-brainer. Describing herself as “a third-generation federation person,” she said she wants to teach others about what it has to offer. “I want to teach my children and let the community know everything federation does.”
Lasky has seen federation in action firsthand as a member of its allocations committee and as the wife of a local rabbi — Eli Garfinkle of Temple Beth El of Somerset.
Cochair Iva Dyckman of East Brunswick became involved with federation about three years ago “because it is a wonderful organization that gives a lot to all different organizations locally, in Israel, in all areas of need.”
An active member of the Young Israel of East Brunswick, Dyckman is a board member of Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva in Edison, a federation beneficiary.
“This community is dependent on the generosity of those who can afford to help their neighbors and fellow Jews overseas,” said federation associate executive director Susan Antman. “We always come through.”
Under the theme What Happens Next Is Up to You, volunteers will pitch in for an effort that last year brought in $586,160 — roughly on par with the previous year — despite the gloomy economic picture.
The total represents about 25 percent of federation’s annual intake.
The funds are earmarked through partner agencies for such efforts as helping provide poor, elderly Eastern European Jews with food and medicine and assisting in the rescue and resettlement of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Federation monies in Israel fund educational and social service endeavors.
Locally, a donation to federation benefits day schools, synagogues, the Jewish Family & Vocational Service of Greater Middlesex County, senior services, Rutgers Hillel, and other institutions.
Debbie Friedman of East Brunswick, also a Super Sunday cochair, said federation “appeals to Jews on so many levels, from secular to observant and from big donors to small donors.”
“No one in our community should ever go hungry,” said Friedman, a member of the East Brunswick Jewish Center. “We need federation for our community to remain strong.”