Hundreds of Volunteers Power 2012 Super Sunday

Hundreds of volunteers made calls to raise money for UJA-Federation of New York on January 29th. Hundreds of volunteers made calls to raise money for UJA-Federation of New York on January 29th.

The joyful sound of teens rapping a song of support set the beat on January 29th as hundreds of volunteers spent Super Sunday making calls and raising more than $735,000 from 1,045 donors for UJA-Federation of New York.

From Manhattan to Long Island to Westchester, callers obtained funds for UJA-Federation’s annual campaign. “This event brings together the New York Jewish community to raise much-needed funds,” said Jerry W. Levin, president of UJA-Federation, “The generosity of our donors provides a safety net for our community.”

What is Super Sunday, what is it about?Raising all this money, give us all a shout.

Anastasiya Martinova (left) and Elizabeth Barshay were part of a group of teen volunteers from Marks Jewish Community House (JCH) of Bensonhurst Anastasiya Martinova (left) and Elizabeth Barshay were part of a group of teen volunteers from Marks Jewish Community House (JCH) of Bensonhurst at Super Sunday.

Kicking off the calling, a group of teens from Marks Jewish Community House (JCH) of Bensonhurst, clad in bright orange t-shirts, performed an original rap song that they wrote and had been rehearsing for weeks. “I’ve been coming to Super Sunday for four years. It’s a tradition for me. I’ve been at the J since I was four, and it’s important for me to give back,” said Anastasiya Martinova, 18, one of those responsible for the song.

Young people were conspicuous throughout the day and around the region. On Long Island, Bari Morchower, a Hofstra University student and Hillel member, made calls enthusiastically. She said, “I went on Birthright Israel last year and so now it’s even more important that I support UJA-Federation because I’ve experienced the benefits of UJA-Federation’s work. I could never give back the amount that I’ve gotten.” Members of many other Hillels from the area also participated.

We’re one generation, one kehilah,We value this day, this day of tzedakah.

Families Feeding Families Teen Chairs Marlee Baumberg (left) and Kate Schnitzer, both from Scarsdale Families Feeding Families Teen Chairs Marlee Baumberg (left) and Kate Schnitzer, both from Scarsdale, stand in front of boxes ready to be filled with donated food.

In Westchester, in addition to volunteers who raised funds through phone calls, more than 120 teens sorted and packed food donations that will be distributed through UJA-Federation’s beneficiary agencies, including the Bronx Jewish Community Council and Westchester Jewish Community Services. The donations were collected during a month-long food drive involving 31 synagogues, Jewish community center, and other community organizations. Stephanie Tessler, a chair of the initiative, said, “Families Feeding Families is the ultimate team effort of committed individuals, organizations, and synagogues working towards a common goal.”

Supporting the foundations of a wide variety,Helping create a stronger Jewish society.

In New York, many callers were volunteers or staff members from UJA-Federation beneficiary agencies. “Super Sunday exemplifies UJA-Federation’s successful efforts at addressing the needs of and caring for the Jewish community both here and abroad,” said Ilene Marcus, a Super Sunday chair and chief of staff at the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. The other chair, Alex Budnitsky, CEO and executive director of the JCH of Bensonhurst, said, “Each of us can help in our own individual way, but when we leverage our collective voice, we can multiply our impact and truly make a difference in the lives of everyone in need.”

Families Feeding Families Teen Chairs Marlee Baumberg (left) and Kate Schnitzer, both from Scarsdale, stand in front of boxes ready to be filled with Brent Weitzberg (left) and Michael Hochfelson, of Hofstra Hillel, make phone calls on Super Sunday.

Jonathan M Harris, former chair of the general campaign for UJA-Federation, added that “Super Sunday has been a long-standing tradition” and the funds are urgently needed as the region reels from the recession of the past few years.

Family programs, Jewish scholarships,Food for the elderly, and it doesn’t stop at this.

This year saw an increase in Super Sunday volunteers. In New York, it was standing room only as callers filled the 200 seats for both morning and afternoon sessions. Those who made calls said the work of UJA-Federation inspired them. Claire Zizov from the Kings Bay YM-YWHA said as she made calls, many of which succeeded in bringing in donations, “I don’t give up.”

“UJA-Federation is a great cause,” said Alyssa Blumenthal, of Hillel at Queens College, who was excited to obtain several donations. “If you’re going to give to a Jewish charity, this is it.”

With all of our help it will last forever, And it’s all because we’re good together.

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