Volunteers to take the field on Super Sunday
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Volunteers to take the field on Super Sunday

It’s Super Sunday time.

The annual telethon of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey has returned to its traditional pre-Super Bowl Sunday time slot.

And with it, the federation has rolled out a football theme, as volunteers prepare to take to the field – well, the phone banks – to dial for dollars.

“This is the time for the Jewish community to move forward and help each other,” said Howard Chernin, one of the chairs of the event. “We’re trying to raise that million dollars.”

The federation hopes that its hundreds of volunteers – 300 already have signed up – will make a total of 15,000 calls on Sunday, reaching out to everyone in the federation’s database who hasn’t already pledged for this year’s annual campaign or isn’t in line to be solicited in person rather than by phone.

“Open your heart, open your wallet, and let it all fall out,” says Chernin.

Raising money is a clear goal for the day, the federation’s largest one-day fundraising event.

Another important goal – perhaps the most important – is bringing in new donors.

“This is a community effort. We’re all in the room for one thing, to help that community,” Chernin said. “This is a great day because the community comes together.”

High school students, college students, and members of the federation’s new group for 20-somethings – eNgageNJ – are scheduled to show up and help out the team.

“It’s a day to strengthen our community and make it more vibrant,” said David Goodman, the federation’s president.

Jason Shames, the federation’s CEO, emphasizes the organization’s ability to bring the community together as a team.

Soon after the last Super Sunday – held in December 2011 – the federation became the community’s focal point as Bergen County officials convened safety events in the wake of the string of synagogue fire bombings.

The federation again brought in federal homeland security grants for area institutions.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the federation enabled its Jewish family service agencies to feed the elderly who lost food due to the power outage.

And through grants, the federation created new programs such as the iEngage series of courses, which focus on the relationship between diaspora Jews and Israel.

That is in addition to its ongoing work in helping Jews in Israel and its new sister city in the Ukraine, Lviv.

“All of this happens because of our annual campaign,” Shames said. “All of us together, we’re stronger than we are as individuals.”

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