Super Sunday: The communitys call to action

This Sunday, we advise Bay Area Jews to turn down the volume during the football games. That way, they’ll be sure to hear the phone ring when federation volunteers call.

And call they will.

This Sunday, Nov. 19, is Super Sunday, the annual fundraising phonathon sponsored by Jewish community federations across the country. It’s not only a proven way to meet annual campaign targets but arguably the prime community outreach effort of the year.

Super Sunday is much more than a two-way relationship between a federation volunteer and someone on the other end of the line. It’s also about community celebration.

Walk into the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Palo Alto’s Kehillah Jewish High School or Oakland’s Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay on Sunday and you might not believe your eyes. Hundreds of Jews of all ages and income levels, working together, phoning together, noshing together, and talking up the many federation programs that reach out to Jews around the world.

It’s positively inspiring.

Why do they do it? Why do so many give up a precious weekend day to make these phone calls? Besides the fun factor, the main reason is: Super Sunday serves as a potent reminder that we Jews are in this together.

Without community, and without the financial resources to serve that community, it’s not unreasonable to imagine the eventual dissipation of Jewish unity in America.

After all, the pressure’s on. Assimilation, intermarriage and the distractions of modern life potentially threaten the cohesion of the Jewish community, both locally and nationally. We have to work hard to make the center hold. And it doesn’t come cheap. To meet the needs of our synagogues and day schools, our JCCs, museums and charitable efforts here and abroad — especially Israel — takes money. Lots of money.

The federation system, despite the enormous challenges it faces, remains the most efficient and successful mechanism for meeting those needs and raising those funds.

Though wealthy donors have always stepped up to the plate, their large gifts alone cannot carry the load. Every segment of the Jewish community must participate in order for federations to meet their goals.

That’s where Super Sunday comes in. The enormous effort expended by volunteers on Nov. 19 will be well worth the effort, bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars by day’s end. That financial foundation keeps our community strong.

So expect a call this Super Sunday. Then, answer the call.