As we all know, Israel has just suffered its worst forest fire ever, with at least 42 lives lost. Like many of you, whenever there is trouble in Israel I want to be there. Did you know that you and I are there, in a way? You and I are there because our overseas partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, are providing emergency support services, including evacuation centers, programming for displaced children, and counseling and supervision for vulnerable populations.
You and I are there not just in emergencies, however. We are there when an elderly Holocaust survivor in the former Soviet Union receives her daily visit from the social worker, and her monthly food package. You and I are there when an elderly parent here in MetroWest needs a warm, caring environment. We are there when someone loses a job and needs help with a resume, bill payments, or housing. You and I are there when a teen participant in the Diller Teen Program or the Iris Teen Tzedekah program makes the vital and life-long connection with living and giving Jewishly. We are there when representatives of this federation and the Jewish Federations of North America sit with members of the Knesset to convey the urgency of understanding the ramifications of the conversion bill to Jews in the Diaspora.
You and I are there because of our support of the annual UJA campaign. Without our financial commitment to the campaign, the federation cannot provide the funding that supports all of the programs I’ve just described. So, when the call comes this Sunday, December 12, please be there. Answer the call and know that you are there, whenever there are Jews in need, wherever we can create Jewish community.
And, if you want to actually “be there,” come to the Aidekman Family Campus in Whippany on Super Sunday. Super Sunday is a fun, engaging place to be — you have to come see it for yourself! The Mama Doni Band is going to be there, my friends from the JCC Margulies Senior Center will be with us, there are exhibits and vendors and a wonderful, haimish atmosphere. I look forward to seeing you there, and to being with you wherever the Jewish world needs us.
A personal note: once again, I will have angels on my shoulder as I make my Super Sunday calls. Last week I lost two men very dear to me and to their respective families and communities, and to whom the values and goals of their federations meant so much. Marvin Epstein and Steve Schwarz were men of Jewish learning and action, past presidents of the Bayonne and Wilkes-Barre federations respectively. If you happen to be one of the people I call next Sunday, know that I am calling in their names as well as my own, for the greater good of the Jewish community. May their memories be for a blessing.