Despite a gloomy economic picture, Monmouth County’s Jewish community showed its commitment to helping fellow Jews by rallying to increase Super Sunday donations by $5,000 over last year.
Volunteers crowded the Ruth Hyman Jewish Community Center in Deal on Dec. 6, dialing givers at home and securing $355,000 in pledges to the annual campaign of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County.
“As the economy worsens, the needs increase,” said campaign chair Sheri Tarrab between calls. “Super Sunday is such an important fund-raising event for the community.”
The federation raises money for local Jewish educational and social service agencies and programs as well as projects in Israel and other overseas communities.
“At least 60 percent of the money stays in Monmouth County,” said Tarrab. “People should also know that gifts made now are not due until Dec. 31, 2010, but knowing what that pledge will be enables us to plan for allocations.”
The strong one-day showing heartened federation executive director Howard Gases, who acknowledged the 2009 annual campaign “has been an extreme challenge.” He expects the campaign to raise about $1.85 million, down from last year’s $2.3 million.
“I am extremely proud of the community; because of its generosity others will benefit here and around the world,” said Gases. He singled out the federation staff and the Super Sunday committee and its chairs Andy Krantz and Cheryl Markbreiter, both of Wayside.
“We had more than 200 volunteers, which is the largest turnout we’ve had in a couple of years,” Gases added. “Many of our staff came at seven in the morning and didn’t leave until nine at night.”
The JCC hummed with activity as synagogue and community leaders of all denominations made calls next to teens from youth groups. Other volunteers stuffed envelopes while youngsters served as pledge card runners.
“We’re here to show our support for the federation and Jewish community in Monmouth County,” said Rabbi Levi Wolosow of the Chabad of Morganville, who came with his family.
“It’s an important effort of a united Jewish community,” agreed Rabbi Michael Goldstein of Temple Beth Torah in Wanamassa. “It’s also a way to reach out to people. When I call I not only ask for money, but also if there is anything the Jewish community can do for them.”
Many volunteer callers were mindful of the economic crisis. As she manned a phone in the building that bears her name, Ruth Hyman noted, “I know people are suffering and I’m happy if I can get the same as last year from some people.”
Andrew Goldwasser, 14, of Marlboro said, “I’m doing this for the Jewish people who need help. It’s for a good cause.”
“It’s a nice thing to do for people,” said Bria Krupnick, 14, of Wayside. “It’s a mitzva.”
Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Dist. 11) came to show support for federation. “It’s important now more than ever because there are so many people in need,” she said.
Ellen Goldberg of Tinton Falls, a former youth director at Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, said she has been volunteering for eight years. “This is something small, yet so important that I can do for the community,” she said.