Super Sunday fundraiser reaps $700,000

Volunteers showed up for Super Sunday dressed in their wackiest Purim finery, but when it came to making calls for the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation fundraiser, they had their game face on.

Held March 11 at two sites — San Francisco’s Jewish Community High School of the Bay and Palo Alto’s Oshman Family JCC — the event brought in more than $700,000 for the annual campaign.

That pads the $10.3 million raised thus far, toward a target of $19 million.

“Super Sunday is a special day on the Jewish calendar,” said Joe Levin, interim chief development officer. “It brings us back to our roots, and symbolizes the strength and vitality of the community.”

Super Sunday co-chair Deborah Stadtner focused on recruiting volunteers to make calls. More than 200 showed up, connecting with 600 donors over the course of the day. Twenty-two percent increased their donations over last year’s gift.

“The mood was fun,” Stadtner said. “The room I was in was packed with young people, which was exciting for me to see.”

One of those was Alex Reicher Alouf, 12, a sixth-grader at Brandeis Hillel Day School volunteering for her first Super Sunday. She must have been blessed with beginner’s luck, because she raised more than $3,000 during her shift.

Her mother, Jewish community activist Jan Reicher, felt understandable pride.

“It’s a great way to pass down the value of tzedakah,” said Reicher, president of the JCF’s Women’s Philanthropy Division. “[Super Sunday] is not just a telethon, not just a gift-closer. It’s a community builder, a real opportunity to let people know what’s different about federation.”

Among those innovations are the federation’s four new development and grant-making funds: Community Core, Israel and Global, Bay Area Initiatives, and Innovation. Each addresses a different aspect of Jewish life.

This year, donors were given the option to allocate a portion of their gift to one of those funds.

“It’s no longer about a number,” Levin said. “We’re engaging individuals in a more meaningful conversation about where they want to make an impact in the Jewish community.”

For many years, Super Sunday was a major production, with volunteers from all over the Bay Area flocking to phone banks. In the years since the economic downturn, the event has downsized, too. But in the last two years, Super Sunday has regained some of its former glory.

“There are still the jellybeans and M&M’s,” Reicher said. “It had a Purim theme, and some people in costumes. It looked more like Mardi Gras.” — dan pine

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.