In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, recent missile attacks from Gaza on Israel, and a continued downturn in the economy, supporters of Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County know their efforts are needed more than ever.
That’s why when the federation holds its annual Super Sunday fund-raiser on Jan. 13 at its South River offices, droves of volunteers plan to be there making phone calls.
“Whenever there is an event or storm like Sandy federation always has a special drive and is ready to help,” said Sylvia Koss, who, as a life member of the federation board, said she has seen federation in action from many perspectives.
“I know that what federation does also helps people in Israel, in Russia, and wherever Jews all over the world are in need,” said Koss of East Brunswick, who has been involved with federation “as long as I can remember. I may have retired from working, but I never retired from volunteering,” she said. “I’ve really seen what federation does for the Jewish community here and overseas.”
“Once a year, just for a day, we ask our community to come together to volunteer and contribute around a shared vision,” said federation associate executive director Susan Antman. Participating in Super Sunday is an easy way to put Jewish values into action, she said, “ensuring our collective ability to support and respond to Jewish needs here, in Israel, and around the world. It’s an empowering experience with powerful outcomes.”
She noted that gifts of any size help not only those who are struggling but also build and strengthen the Jewish community and protect the Jewish heritage. “Super Sunday gifts enable federation to inspire the next generation — through PJ Library, weekly Shabbat dinners at Rutgers Hillel, Birthright Israel and teen grants, and activities at our preschools, day schools, and religious schools,” said Antman.
Dorothy Thompson of Monroe said she and her husband, Ed, have been volunteering for all 52 years of their married life, dating back to when they lived in Bayonne and Edison before moving to Monroe.
“We do it because we’re committed to Judaism and to Jewish people here and around the world,” she said. “The best thing we get out of it is the feelings in our hearts.”
Both have previously chaired Super Sunday, been copresidents of federation’s Greenbriar Division — a role Dorothy is again filling — and both serve on the federation board. Ed is also a member of several federation committees, and Dorothy is a Lion of Judah.
Iva Dyckman, cochair of Super Sunday’s phonathon committee, is urging everyone to participate as a donor. “The more people who answer the call and make a gift on Super Sunday, the stronger our response can be to the pressing and changing needs locally, in Israel, and around the world,” she said. “Helping others is part of our tradition, and it feels good.”
“We sometimes don’t recognize the breadth of support that is provided to the community through funds raised from Super Sunday,” said Adrienne Ross, a new member of federation’s allocations committee, which distributes nearly $1 million to programs and services throughout Middlesex County and around the world. “It is only through the collective generosity of the community that we can make a difference.”