Super Sunday may not be as glitzy a production as the Super Bowl, but we all have a stake in ensuring we make it to the end zone.
The annual rite of passage for our Jewish community has become more than an important day for raising much-needed funds to support programs at home and beyond.
The daylong phone-a-thon at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy — slated from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in three shifts on Feb. 12 — provides the opportunity for Jews of all ages, from across the region and across the religious and political spectrum, to join together in common cause.
It's a day of solidarity as well as solicitation.
This year's Super Sunday comes as professional and lay leaders of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia begin the painstaking yet critical process of determining which funds will go where.
The Federation focuses its funding and programming through three centers — the Center for Social Responsibility, which caters to the needs of seniors and the disadvantaged; the Center for Israel and Overseas, which supports Israel-related Jewish identity programming at home, as well as programs in Israel and the former Soviet Union; and the Center for Jewish Life and Learning, which funds Jewish education, camps and other programs that bolster Jewish identity and life.
The response to a recent call for letters of intent for potential grants elicited an enormous response. A total of 261 letters flooded in to the three centers, together seeking upwards of $30 million in funds.
The sheer magnitude of the response underscores the vast needs — as well as the breadth of ideas and programs seeking to address those needs.
Inevitably, the amount of unrestricted funds available to fund these programs will not be enough to cover all the needs in our community and abroad. Planners will be left struggling to determine which worthwhile programs won't get funded. Will they have to choose between a new creative effort to reach young, unaffiliated families and feeding more struggling seniors? What about programs to help bolster much-needed connections to Israel or ones that support disadvantaged youth in Israel and have earlier benefited from Philadelphia's largesse?
This Sunday is the opportunity for each of us to stand up and be counted. Whether you're making those calls or are on the receiving end of the line, know that you're part of a critical network that keeps this community going.
It's not too late to sign up to participate jewishphilly.org and it's not too early to plan to answer that phone when it rings.
And don't forget the added bonus of giving to the Federation — a subscription to the Jewish Exponent. See you there!