You could stay home this Sunday, Dec. 12, and — hopefully — answer that Super Sunday call with an enthusiastic pledge of financial support for the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey’s Annual Campaign. Or you could go to the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains and join in the festivities any way you wish.
While volunteers making the calls are invited to make their own pledges first, so they can ask from a position of strength, there will be no other pledge requests at the event.
Cochairs Lisa Israel of Westfield and Ellen Zimmerman of Scotch Plains said that as important as it is to give generously to support the federation’s programs, they are just as eager to have people come together, learn about those programs, and enjoy being part of the community.
Their co-vice chairs are Elizabeth Isser of Westfield and Meredith Levy of Scotch Plains. Also working with them has been a committee of about another 35 people. They will be busy through Saturday evening, putting together the final touches — and then at their posts first thing Sunday.
The event opens to the community at 9 a.m. and lasts until 8 p.m., with food and music and entertainment, information booths and social service projects, in addition to the phone calling.
On the day itself, things usually unfold with an ease that belies all the hard work of the preceding months, but those involved know just how much it takes.
At one of their last preparatory meetings, the committee hammered out the details. Seated around a big table in the Weinberg conference room at the Wilf campus, each committee member described the progress in his or her particular area, including the kids’ arts projects, the “tween” social action activities volunteer Rachel Toporek will lead, the T-shirts volunteers will receive — donated for the third year by Victor Herman — and the training for phone callers.
Whom to call and what to say is always a tough question. Debbie Rosenwein, the federation’s director of planning and allocations, works each year with the lay volunteers preparing for Super Sunday. At the Nov. 30 meeting she asked for their views, for example, whether they thought it a good idea for people to call their own friends, how to connect with those who haven’t given before or inspire those who give to increase their gifts, and how to encourage newcomers to come to the event — so they can find out for themselves what this endeavor is all about.
David Sanders of Westfield, a longtime federation activist with his wife, Karen, said he knows there are differences of opinion on the issue, but that he chooses to keep a wall between fund-raising and friendship. On the other hand, he puts up no such wall when it comes to engaging his family in volunteering.
His son, Daniel, and his friend Sadie Jezierski, both 14 and freshmen at Westfield High School, had just been in a meeting of the federation’s teen advisory group and were lured in to talk with the committee. They both plan to work at Super Sunday — as they have done in previous years; this year, however, they are ready for the “big time.” “We’re in high school, so we can make phone calls now,” Daniel said, and both declared themselves eager to reach out and do their part to help fund federation’s work.