As you may have heard, last Sunday was Super Sunday, the biggest one day phonathon for the annual UJA Campaign here in MetroWest. And it was a wonderful success in terms of dollars raised – over $1.6 million from almost 2,400 donors. The day was just as successful in raising community as well. In addition to making those very important phone calls, there was a lot to do: a Hannukah celebration, Israeli vendors, a tailgate party (Go Giants!) and so much more.
Because I was there all day, I had another perspective on the community that makes up Super Sunday and, indeed, all of MetroWest. The range of ages represented truly went from our youngest to our most senior members. And there was something for all of them to do to make the day so terrific. From the infants who allowed those of us without babies to hug and kiss and ooh and ahh, to the very serious six and seven year olds who gave out candy and picked up the pledge cards, to the middle schoolers, and teenagers making phone calls (come to the fourth session next year and be inspired by our teens and college students!) to the YLD crowd that brought those delicious babies to those of us of a certain age taking in the whole scene, it was a panoply of the Jewish life cycle in action – bringing Jewish values to life through tzedakah and tikkun olam (and many pounds of Hershey kisses!)
But to me, the most amazing volunteers are the Margulies Senior Center participants from the JCC. I have had the privilege of getting to know these independent, interesting and lively folks when I have spoken to them over the last three or four years about my various trips to Israel, Ethiopia and Poland. They have their own (very successful!) UJA Campaign, which is chaired by someone who is a personal hero of mine. Her name is Marcia Gabbe. Marcia is 91, turning 92 in February. Born and raised in Newark, she has made volunteering part of her life while she was a teacher in the Newark school system, while raising her two children Steven and Maxine (Steven is a noted physician and Maxine is an art teacher and a weaver specializing in Judaica) and has been a member of the Center since 1972. When I spoke with her on Sunday, I asked her why she is still volunteering and why it’s so important to her to raise funds for the annual UJA campaign. Marcia believes that she and the other Margulies Seniors receive so much from their participation in the Center’s activities that they simply must give back to the UJA campaign that supports the JCC and their programming. As for volunteering her own time, she quoted Winston Churchill’s famous saying as her credo: “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.”
We would all do well to take Marcia as a role model – I know everyone I saw at Super Sunday, from youngest to oldest, was instinctively following her lead. Thanks to all who helped plan this great day, both lay leader and professional, thanks to all who participated and thanks to all of you for saying “Yes” when that call came.
Have a Super week!