As you know -and if you do not, you skipped over pages 6-9 all too quickly – the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey (JFNNJ) plays a central role in assisting the individuals, institutions, and agencies that make up our community.

Especially in these difficult economic times, the federation, and hard-working affiliated agencies such as Jewish Family Service (we have three JFS operations in our area), are being called upon to do twice as much for ever more people – without, in most cases, easy access to additional funds.

That is where we come in.

This weekend, we have several opportunities to help. Whether our response is dictated by moral imperatives or by our own self-interest – after all, we all need their help, as do our schools and synagogues – we should seize the chance to make a contribution and thereby help make a difference.

On Saturday night, JFS of Bergen and North Hudson is holding its “Night of 100 Dinners,” when individuals throughout the area open their homes to other JFS supporters. Fine dining yes – but it is also a chance for participants to see 100 percent of their $200 “dinner check” go toward such life-saving programs as Kosher Meals on Wheels.

For those who have not registered for this event, there is a chance to help out the following day: Super Sunday.

No, this “Super Sunday” has nothing to do with pro-football, or Bowl games, or anything like that. What makes this Sunday super is the money raised during it for all the valuable programs JFNNJ runs in its Bergen, Passaic, and North Hudson catchment area.

We may not realize it, but federation plays a role in so many aspects of our lives. Is there an elderly person in your family in need of a day care program – or just someone to drop by and visit once in a while? Is there a place in your community for your child to get a Jewish education? Is there a class you can attend on Jewish themes? Is there a youngster you know who needs help in learning how to read? Is there a college student in your family who could benefit from the welcoming environment of a campus Hillel? Is there a synagogue you attend that needs to lower its operating expenses, or upgrade its security arrangements?

This barely skims the surface of the things federation does for all of us. We could stick our heads in the sand and say that JFNNJ has nothing to do with how we live, but we would be fooling ourselves and, in the long run, harming ourselves, as well.

When the phone rings – even in the middle of a football game – please remember why our fellow area residents are calling, answer the telephone, and respond generously.

Whether we take the additional step of being a caller ourselves (all we need to do is show up; see the article on the bottom half of page 6), or donating to the food and blood drives being held on that day, we need to remember that a community can exist only when its members acknowledge their responsibility to one another and act on it.

For more information about Super Sunday, call Dana Albert at (201) 820-3911 or e-mail danaa@jfnnj.org.