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Super Sunday offering numerous ways to give
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Super Sunday offering numerous ways to give

Staff Writer, New Jersey Jewish News

Local youngsters help out at last year’s Super Sunday.
Local youngsters help out at last year’s Super Sunday.

Hundreds of people are expected at the JCC of Greater Monmouth County in Deal on Dec. 12. Phones will be ringing all over the county, as volunteers call donors to collect pledges for Super Sunday 2011 — the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County’s biggest annual fund-raising event of the year.

“On Super Sunday, volunteers raise money to support the entire Jewish community. Donors give through federation to improve the lives of Jews in Monmouth County, in Israel, and throughout the world,” said campaign director Evan Levitt.

This year’s goal for Super Sunday remains the same as last year — $355,000, about 20 percent of the entire year’s campaign. Levitt expects about 200 people to come to the JCC to volunteer.

In addition to the phone calls, Super Sunday offers hands-on opportunities to help the Jewish community, including a couple of firsts.

A winter clothing and food drive run by Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Monmouth County will welcome donations from community members. And, for the first time at Super Sunday, a bone marrow drive for the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation will be held. “This is a day when hundreds of people come to one location. These are two easy ways that don’t take a lot of time to make a big difference,” said Levitt.

Registering with the Gift of Life requires only a cheek swab and a few minutes.

The foundation was established by Jay Feinberg in 1991 after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Any hope for survival required a bone marrow transplant. However, at that time, few Ashkenazi Jews were on bone marrow registries. When Feinberg was told that his chances for finding a transplant through a match were slim, friends and family members stepped up and, with Feinberg, founded the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. To date, Gift of Life has registered more than 175,000 possible donors and made over 7,000 matches. Among them was a match for Feinberg, which he found four years after establishing the Gift of Life. He continues to run the foundation from its headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.

Feinberg has won many awards, including, most recently, the first Jewish Community Hero of the Year Award granted by Jewish Federations of North America this year.

This year, Super Sunday is cochaired by two veterans of the event, Debbie Rettig of Manalapan and Cheryl Markbreiter of Ocean, who held the dual position in 2008 (and it’s the third time in a row for Markbreiter, who cochaired with Andy Krantz last year). They agreed to take the helm again this year because, they said, they are inspired by federation’s work helping others. And supporting federation, said Rettig, provides a strong bond with the local Jewish community as well as a “link to Israel. Federation funds so many good causes here and overseas, including funding the poor and helping new immigrants in Israel from Russia and Ethiopia.”

The cochairs’ focus in organizing the fund-raiser has been on involving young families and teens. Members of many area youth groups have already signed up to volunteer, and Rettig and Markbreiter are recruiting high school students. “Hopefully, they will be inspired to work for federation and other Jewish causes as they get older, and they will want to be involved,” said Rettig. She said she also sees Super Sunday as a day to bring people together at a time of rising anti-Semitism. “This is an opportunity to unite the Jews of Monmouth County,” said Rettig.

The day will include different shifts of callers, each working for an hour and a half. The first shift begins at 9 a.m.; the day concludes at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact the federation at 732-866-4300.

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