Super Sunday is the one day when every member of the Jewish community has the opportunity to help Jews everywhere — locally, in Israel, and around the world.
Whatever the event’s impact on community members, Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County leaders are optimistic that the Nov. 20 event, which will be held at the organization’s offices in South River, will be a resounding success.
Themed “The Good You See Around Every Corner,” the phonathon is expected to bring in $520,000, a 2 percent increase over last year’s total.
That total generally represents about 25 percent of federation’s annual intake, making community support all the more vital as financial instability continues to affect both individuals and agencies.
In keeping with federation’s mission “to bring together people, partners, and resources to fulfill the most important needs and aspirations of our community,” the funds raised are earmarked through partner agencies for such necessities as helping elderly Jews with food and medical assistance, aiding the resettlement of Ethiopian Jews and other immigrants in Israel, and providing respites for Israeli children who live with the threat of terrorism.
With the community’s support, the federation, in its mission statement, said, “We care for the vulnerable worldwide, forge strong connections with Israel, attract people to a more vibrant community, and inspire the next generation to embrace Jewish life.”
Federation dollars locally help to fund the Jewish Family & Vocational Service of Middlesex County, Jewish Social Services, Rutgers Hillel, Jewish Community Center, Jewish Historical Society, Birthright Israel, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the J-Team youth philanthropy group, Create a Jewish Legacy, and other Jewish community institutions.
Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva, Rabbi Jacob Joseph Yeshiva, and Solomon Schechter Day School of Raritan Valley also receive assistance from federation, and funds raised also support leadership development, grants for teen trips to Israel, and local synagogues.
“When you make a gift to federation, you touch so many lives in so many ways,” said campaign chair Keith Zimmerman.
“Super Sunday is one day when we can all come together to achieve something truly amazing,” said federation president Arlene Frumkin. “It’s one day to touch the lives of so many and make a world of difference.”
Gifts given on Super Sunday, she said, “will offer those of every age, background, and circumstance the opportunity for a brighter, more meaningful tomorrow.”
‘Unity and community’
The three Edison residents serving as Super Sunday cochairs have their own reasons for assuming the responsibility.
For Sarah Morrison, a Rutgers senior who last year served as president of the campus Hillel, it is the support given to Jewish college students at her school.
One of the youngest chairs ever to oversee the fund-raiser, Morrison said, “When I was called, the first thing I thought about was how much the federation has done for Rutgers Hillel,” she said. “The Middlesex federation gives Hillel $52,000 a year plus another $12,000 for its Shabbat dinner program. We would never be able to function as well without federation.
“I wanted a way to give back, and this seemed the most appropriate way.”
Cochair Melissa Jerushalmy is motivated by federation’s unifying force.
A new federation board member who cochaired last spring’s Main Event for Women’s Philanthropy, she said participating in Super Sunday 2010 proved particularly meaningful for her.
“To me, federation is a symbol of Jewish unity and community. We sponsor many worthwhile programs here and in Israel that without federation money could not survive. In this bad economy it’s more important than ever for people to support our cause,” said Jerushalmy.
For the third cochair, Brian Dube, who served in that role at last year’s event, it is the assistance offered to his children’s Orthodox day school that most moves him. Also a recent appointee to the federation board, Dube is active in his children’s school, Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva in Edison, and has witnessed firsthand the support provided by federation.
“They do a lot to support Israel and our community and many organizations,” he said. “They’ve been supportive of us at our school so we should be supportive of them. I want to run an event where I have the ability to raise as much money as possible for a very worthy cause.”