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UJA-NNJ readies for Super Sunday

UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey has set a goal of $1.1 million for its annual Super Sunday fund-raising drive this weekend at its Paramus headquarters.

The fund-raiser is the federation’s largest throughout the year and draws hundreds of volunteers, who call thousands of committed and potential donors across the area.

Numerous local and overseas programs supported by the North American federation system have seen their budgets cut in recent months because of the country’s economic downturn. While the economy is in better shape than this time last year, organizers still expect a tough sell. “There’s a greater need,” said co-chair Jonathan Rochlin of River Edge. “There’s only going to be more need.”

The percentage of dollars going to local initiatives rather than overseas is higher than ever, said co-chair Joan Krieger of Franklin Lakes. Krieger also serves as UJA-NNJ’s assistant treasurer. “I see how this has impacted our community and some of the wonderful programs we’ve been involved with overseas,” she said. “Everything’s been cut to the bone. I hope people will step up to the plate to the extent that they can so that we don’t have to cut anymore.”

New Jersey’s 11 Jewish federations coordinated a statewide Super Sunday last December. They did not collaborate on this year’s fund-raiser, but many decided to keep the early December date, said Allison Halpern, UJA-NNJ’s donor relations director. “We found we did very well by doing it earlier,” she said. “Part of it was people want to make donations before the year ends. We raised more money from more people than we had for some years.”

Last year the federation collected $1,115,566 from 2,400 donations, 500 more donations than the previous year’s fund-raiser, which brought in $1,095,819. Because of local organizations’ increased needs, the federation held a second Super Sunday in March, which raised almost $200,000 from more than 400 donors. The federation has set a goal of $9.5 million of undesignated gifts for its 2010 annual campaign, according to Elliot Halperin, UJA-NNJ’s campaign director.

“This represents an increase compared to last year, despite continuing economic challenges,” he said. “Our campaign team, led by campaign chair Dr. Zvi Marans, is working hard to exceed this goal — and deliver even more assistance to people in our community, in Israel, and beyond.”

The success of last year’s Super Sunday at the height of the recession has made organizers hopeful of equal success this year.

“During both Super Sunday and Super Sunday 2 last year, our expectations were far exceeded,” Krieger said. “The number of people that came out and gave — both old donors and new donors — was just overwhelmingly gratifying. It shows that when they know the need is there, the people in our community are there also.”

In addition to calling, the federation will also run a blood drive and bone marrow screenings throughout the day.

Callers will stress the need for donors to do their part to help, Rochlin said. “Nobody has ever gone bankrupt by making a donation,” he said. “It’s not going to impact your lifestyle but it’s going to have a major impact on somebody.”

Those called won’t just be asked for donations, though. “If they need help we’re there to offer help, also,” Rochlin said. “If somebody says, ‘I can’t make a donation this year,’ we’ll ask if they need assistance. That’s the other side of why we’re calling.”

For more information or to volunteer, call (201) 820-3955.

 
 

Super Sunday callers net their goal

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Rabbi Randall Mark of Cong. Shomrei Torah in Wayne and president of the North Jersey Board of Rabbis makes calls on Super Sunday.
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Super Sunday visitors featured Israeli educators here as part of the UJA-NNJ’s Partnership Program with Nahariya. From left are Pamela Ennis and Machla Shaffer, UJA-NNJ partnership coordinators, and educators Yaakov Amichai, Mercedes Hadad, Iris Ginat, Avigayil Weiss, Aliza Klein, and Efrat Saar. PHOTOS BY KEN HILFMAN

PARAMUS — Nearly 450 volunteers helped the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey to reach its announced goal of $1.1 million in pledges during this week’s Super Sunday phonathon.

“This year’s Super Sunday was a tremendous success,” Dr. Zvi Marans, the chair of the federation’s 2010 campaign, told this newspaper.

“As of Tuesday morning, we’re still counting,” he added. “We’ve reached our goal of $1,100,000. We couldn’t have done it without the enthusiastic volunteers and the support of UJA-NNJ’s donors. It’s a support that reaffirms what we’ve always known: When our fellow Jews need us, no matter where in the world that need is, the people of northern New Jersey’s Jewish community step up to help in any way they can.”

An early visitor to the federation’s Paramus headquarters here was Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5), who congratulated the phone-bankers on their efforts to gain donor support for Jewish causes locally, in Israel, and worldwide.

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George Hantgan made calls for donations on Super Sunday, after more than 50 years as a volunteer.

Local officials at Super Sunday included Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney, Sheriff Leo McGuire, N.J. Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, and state Sen. Bob Gordon. Hawthorne Mayor Richard Goldberg, while making calls, said, “It’s very important that we get together and raise money for our community to help education, and programs for all our people. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m glad to be here.”

During the 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. event, Super Sunday Co-Chair Jonathan Rochlin made frequent announcements regarding the total amount pledged to date, and thanked the volunteers, saying, “Keep up the good work.”

Leslie Felner of Fair Lawn was there to do a “triple mitzvah.” While she was giving blood in the Community Services Bloodmobile, she said, “Here I am, giving blood, and I just placed my name on a bone marrow registry, and I also made telephone calls for Super Sunday.”

Special visitors to Super Sunday activities included a group of six Israeli educators from Nahariya, here as part of the UJA’s Partnership 2000 Program. They were escorted by UJA coordinators Pamela Ennis and Machla Shaffer.

The week-long visit of the Nahariya educators will include visits to 15 local day and congregational schools, meetings with their “twinning partners,” teaching classes, as well as many other activities. Local educators will visit Nahariya for 10 days in the summer.

Super Sunday callers were of all ages. George Hantgan, a former Englewood resident, was the oldest. “I’m 93,” he said, “and this is my 58th year making calls for the UJA. I want to continue for at least a few more years.”

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Leslie Felner did a “triple mitzvah” at Super Sunday. In addition to donating blood to Community Blood Services, she placed her name on the bone marrow registry and made telephone calls for donations to the federation.

Youngsters making calls included cousins Jessica Goldstein of Ramsey and Shira Goldstein of Bergenfield, both 16, who represented the Bergen County High School of Jewish Studies. The youngest may have been was Emma Schwartz, 11, of Fair Lawn, who represented the Jewish Youth Encounter Program in Teaneck. She served as a “runner,” picking up pledge cards.

Pledges continue to be taken at (201) 820-3900.

 
 

UJA-NNJ taking to the phones for annual Super Sunday fund-raiser

Josh LipowskyLocal
Published: 10 December 2010

Meteorologists are calling for a rainy, dreary Sunday, but UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey is banking on bright and generous moods as it turns to the phones for its annual Super Sunday fund-raiser.

The federation’s biggest fund-raiser, last year it brought in more than $1 million for the annual campaign, which supports 60 local agencies such as Jewish Family Service and area day schools, as well as programs in Israel. This year organizers hope to again pull in more than $1 million, said co-chair Howard Chernin of Woodcliff Lake.

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Super Sunday is all about making a difference, says Howard Chernin, Super Sunday co-chair.

“This annual campaign helps us support so many great causes and agencies,” he said. “It’s extremely important that we’re successful at doing what we need to do.”

More than 300 volunteers are expected at UJA-NNJ’s Paramus headquarters on Sunday to make calls. People need to be passionate during tough times, Chernin said.

“It’s all about making a difference,” he said. “It’s the execution that matters. You just can’t execute [successfully] with one person; you need a community. We need everyone to help us.”

Jonathan Rochlin is Chernin’s co-chair, while long-time Jewish communal leader George Hantgan is Super Sunday’s honorary chair and David Smith is the community campaign chair.

Who: UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey

What: Super Sunday

When: Sunday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: 50 Eisenhower Drive, Paramus

For more information or to volunteer: Call (201) 820-3950

Chernin hopes to draw at least 400 volunteers on Sunday to increase the number of calls being made.

“The more calls you make, the more gifts you get,” he said. “The more gifts you get, the more dollars it translates into.”

The economy is better than it has been in recent years but many are still struggling and out of work. Not everyone who donated in the past is able to this year, though. If someone says he or she cannot donate because of financial troubles, volunteers have been directed to point that person to one of UJA-NNJ’s agencies for help.

“Super Sunday is the time when we reach out and speak to hundreds of people not only to ask for their support but also to find out if they need help,” said Howard Charish, UJA-NNJ’s executive vice president. “Each year, through crisis lines manned by our Jewish Family Service agencies, we uncover individuals in dire circumstances and immediately deploy assistance. Super Sunday is doing acts of loving kindness on a grand scale.”

The day will also include a blood drive from noon to 4 p.m. and a drive to collect toiletries, kosher food, and cleaning supplies for Jewish Family Service clients.

Volunteers can expect incentives throughout the day, said Allison Halpern, UJA-NNJ’s campaign strategic planning director, who is coordinating the volunteer effort.

Petak’s is donating food throughout the day for volunteers, and as an added incentive, the agency that sends the most number of volunteers will receive a dinner catered by Foremost Catering. Other prizes have been donated for callers who pull in the most donations.

“We’re really blessed that groups from different congregations and schools and agencies do participate and we just want to bring that to the next level and give incentives,” Halpern said.

New this year is a Youtube training video in which Chernin gives volunteers a crash course in calling, from opening to closing.

“We go through a whole training method in four minutes,” Chernin said. “We tried to make it nice and easy and bring it up to date.”

While some volunteers have been calling for years — Hantgan has been calling for 60 — UJA-NNJ is also expecting many first-time callers, particularly young volunteers from Bergen County High School for Jewish Studies, Hillel, and the day schools.

“We have our littlest volunteers, whose parents are our volunteers and lay leaders, to people in their 80s,” Halpern said. “It runs the gamut.”

To watch UJA-NNJ’s Super Sunday training video, visit www.ujannj.org/supersunday.

 
 

UJA-NNJ’s Super Sunday raises funds for charities

Hantgan celebrated for 60 years at Super Sunday

For George Hantgan, Sunday was indeed “super,” in two ways: For one, he took great pleasure in manning the phones to raise funds for UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, just as he has done for the federation’s various incarnations for the past six decades. And two, he was presented with a plaque honoring him for those same 60 years of service.

Hantgan, who was honorary chairman for UJA-NNJ’s Super Sunday, said he was gratified to have taken part in a “righteous cause” all these years, recalling how the Bergen County Jewish population had blossomed from a small community to a large one during that time. “And I had a role to play,” he said.

Hantgan, 94, now lives in Palisades, N.Y., but is a former resident of Englewood, where he founded the United Jewish Fund of Englewood and Surrounding Communities in 1951. He served as its executive director until 1981.

Participation in Super Sunday is a family affair for Hantgan. His wife of 61 years, Hon, was seated next to him. “I am always by his side,” she said. Theit daughter, Roberta, came up from Washington, D.C., to take part, and grandniece Elizabeth Levi drove over from Riverdale, N.Y.

“It’s easy to serve for 60 years,” Hantgan said in an interview. “First you have to pick the organization you want to work with, but then you have to live another 60 years. That’s the hard part,” he laughed.

 
 

UJA-NNJ’s Super Sunday raises funds for charities

The phone room was buzzing with exuberance as a 300-plus army of volunteers punched their telephone keypads and sounded the call for donations in UJA Federation of North Jersey’s annual Super Sunday fund-raiser.

“It was a fantastic day, with a lot of energy,” said Howard Chernin, event co-chair. “We accomplished a lot of good things for the Jewish community.”

The amount raised was still being tallied on Wednesday, but it was expected to exceed the $1 million goal, said Howard Charish, federation executive vice president.

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Shalyn Gallatin of Wyckoff calls the old fashioned way, while Dan Shlufman of Tenafly texts an appeal. Photos by Charles Zusman

Participation spanned the generations. George Hantgan, 94, took part in his 60th Sunday fund-raiser and was honored with a plaque for his years of service. (See related story.

Taking part as a family and at the other end of the age spectrum, were the Goodman sisters of Paramus, Rivke and Miri, 10, Laili, 7, and Sari 4. The girls gave contributions themselves, saved from their allowances, then served as assistants on the phone floor, collecting pledge cards from the callers. They were accompanied by their father, David Goodman.

“We like to treat other people the way we like to be treated,” explained Miri.

What do you call what you’re doing, the girls were asked. Rivke thought a minute: “A mitzvah,” she said.

A group from the Bergen County High School of Jewish studies was part of the youth contingent. “I believe it’s important for the Jewish community of New Jersey, and it’s a good cause,” said Zach Lang, 16. Israel Scouts from Fair Lawn and Tenafly also manned the phones.

A contingent from Hillel at William Paterson University was there: Adam Kleinman, Meliss Brown, Allison Warburg, Solomon Pinskur, and Marissa Zubalsky.

New this year was collecting for a special fund for assistance to victims of the recent devastating forest fire in Israel. Contributions to that fund were expected to be in the “tens of thousands,” said Charish, as pledges still were coming in by mail.

Three settlements are in line for long-term aid — Yemin Orde, Ein Hod, and Kibbutz Beit Oren — said Stuart Levy, community shaliach at the UJA-NNJ

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The Goodman sisters of Paramus brought donations saved from their allowances. From left they are Rivke and Miri, 10, Laili, 7, and Sari, 4.

Sharyn Gallatin of Wyckoff recalled working the phones last year and said that “people seem more willing to give this year. It’s very gratifying.” One woman tripled her gift, Gallatin said.

Sitting next to her, Dan Shlufman of Tenafly gave a nod to technology and pressed his Blackberry into service. He texted an appeal to someone and got a hefty pledge back in return.

He said while rejections get him down, a positive response gives him a second wind and he keeps on calling.

The fund-raiser was a two-way affair. In his instructions to the callers, co-chair Chernin said if those called said they couldn’t give because of their own problems, the callers should ask if perhaps those on the other end of the line needed help themselves. Representatives of Jewish Family Services were on hand for referrals.

Money was not the only way to give, and Perry Bindelglass of Franklin Lakes donated blood to North Jersey Community Blood Services in their van parked in the UJA-NNJ parking lot.

“I try to give as often as I can, and there is no better time than the present,” said Bindelglass, who was also volunteering his time on the phones.

While party politics may be the norm in Washington, the tone in Paramus was bipartisan, with politicians from both major parties taking a turn at the phones.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, a Republican, gave a brief address and then was eager to get down to business. “Thanks for inviting me and give me a phone,” she said.

In remarks to this reporter, she said that the poor state of the economy makes it ever more important for organizations like UJA-NNJ to continue charitable work, “filling the gap that government can no longer fill.”

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Dist. 37) sounded the same theme, saying cuts in government budgets and social services make charitable work vital. She cited new statistics reporting a rise in child poverty in Bergen County from 5.5 percent to 7 percent.

“If we don’t have organizations like the UJA, it’s going to be much worse,” she said.

Weinberg was joined by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Dist. 37). Charity is the “ultimate gift,” he said. “The Bible, the Koran, and the Torah all talk about helping those less fortunate,” he added.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to ask people to give to a greater cause,” said Freeholder-Elect John Felice, a River Edge resident. “We’re all brothers and sisters. We have much more in common than we have differences.”

Other political leaders attending included new County Executive Kathleen Donovan, State Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Dist. 38), Hawthorne Mayor Richard Goldberg, Closter Mayor Sophie Heymann, and Bergen County Freeholder John Driscoll. State Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-Dist. 32) was represented by Linda Quentzel.

Charities served by the federation break down to 62 percent for domestic recipients and 38 percent for Israel and other overseas recipients, according to UJA-NNJ. Domestically, the beneficiaries include those made needy by the economic downturn, senior services, Jewish education, and Jewish life on campus. Overseas, the money goes to aiding vulnerable Jewish populations around the world, residents of the former Soviet Union, the absorption of refugees in Israel, and Nahariya, the UJA-NNJ’s partner city in Israel.

 
 

For Jewish adults and kids, Superbowl Sunday scores with fun and tzedakah

On Super Sunday, the alefs and bets in Green Bay and Pittsburgh will be thinking about X’s and O’s.

They’ll even be up for a little friendly wager.

On the morning of Feb. 6, many hours before the NFC champion Green Bay Packers battle the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, Rabbi Shaina Bacharach of the Conservative Congregation Cnesses Israel in Green Bay says her religious school will square off against the school at the Or L’Simcha, Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.

“The losing city will make a contribution to the tzedakah of choice of the school in the winning city,” Bacharach said. “If we win, their rabbi will also wear a Packer shirt and kippah afterward. If they win, I’ll wear a Steeler shirt and cap.”

Shelly Schapiro, the Pittsburgh school’s director of education, says the schools hope to connect through Skype and “verbalize our challenge to each other,” adding that she hopes to raise some “ruach,” or Jewish spirit, with the activity.

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For Super Bowl XLV — that’s mem, hay in Hebrew — Jewish institutions are offering a schedule of events including parties and pools, as well as opportunities to do mitzvahs. Edmon J. Rodman

Bacharach adds, “We’ll encourage the kids to wear Packer gear to Sunday school and show their Packer pride.”

After all, cnesses Israel has a Packer connection: “One of our members, Rick Chernick, is on the team’s board of directors,” she notes.

The activity between the Wisconsin and Pennsylvania schools is part of the game plan of fun and tzedakah-oriented events being executed for adults and children on Super Sunday.

Synagogues and men’s clubs of most Jewish denominations will be among those joining the religious schools in holding events for the big game in suburban Dallas featuring two of the National Football League’s storied franchises.

In Pittsburgh, a local men’s club has arranged a Super Bowl pool to raise money for an Orthodox synagogue.

“We sold out,” said Dale Moritz of Pittsburgh’s Poale Zedeck congregation, who organized the pool. “We sold 100 tickets at $10 apiece.”

Ticket-holders will have their names entered on a “you pick the score” game that is set up on a printed grid. The score at the end of each quarter determines the winner.

“You might think you’re winning,” said Moritz, who feels the pool adds some drama to the proceedings on the field, “and then you get knocked out by a field goal at the end of a quarter.”

In shul, like everywhere else in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are the topic of conversation, Moritz acknowledges.

“But only after kiddush,” he adds quickly.

At B’nai Israel, a Reform temple in Oklahoma City, Super Bowl Sunday also will carry an element of chance, albeit gastronomical.

The temple brotherhood, which organizes the Super Bowl party, prides itself on baking homemade pizzas for the crowd. Brotherhood president Lou Barlow, the veteran organizer of the event, hopes to introduce this year a dessert pizza he calls “The Elvis” made of peanut butter, bananas, and syrup — reminiscent of the King’s favorite sandwich.

Barlow describes the scene in the temple kitchen as “beer, knives, a 500-degree oven, and too many cooks.”

“What could possibly go wrong?” he asks.

“We have the best time,” says Barlow, who sees the kitchen camaraderie as both an opportunity for members to become better acquainted with each other and a way to introduce new taste sensations like “The Elvis.”

The brotherhood also uses the occasion to hold a “Souper Bowl” by collecting cans of soup for Oklahoma’s Regional Food Bank.

Elsewhere in the Midwest, in Nebraska, Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, plans on using Super Bowl Sunday to level the playing field for the developmentally disabled.

Janet McCarthy, the Omaha program coordinator for a New York-based organization affiliated with the Orthodox Union, says Yachad’s Super Bowl party will be held in a rented elder-day-care center with a large-screen TV.

“All the Yachad members are totally engaged,” McCarthy writes. “What is most enjoyable is their freedom to be a true spectator. That includes the right to stand up and yell, to jump up and down, and to dance and sing at halftime.”

“Everyone is looking forward to the Black Eyed Peas,” she adds, referring to the popular band performing at the intermission.

Heading south to Mobile, Ala., a day that highlights intense competition may introduce an atmosphere of cooperation for two synagogues.

Jonathan Siegel, the Super Bowl party organizer at Cong. Ahavas Chesed, says he’s inviting members of the neighboring historic Spring Hill Avenue Temple, a Reform congregation, to his join the crew from his Conservative congregation.

“They have a lot of kids,” says Siegel, a father of three who hopes to create a “comfortable, family-friendly event. “I thought the Super Bowl party was a way to bring the Jewish community of Mobile together.”

“Let’s Come Together,” suggests the party flier.

In downtown Dallas, not far from Cowboy Stadium in suburban Arlington, Chabad is inviting out-of-town Packers and Steelers fans to put aside their rivalry for a day or two and join them for a Super Bowl Shabbat.

“We are expecting fans from all over,” said Zvi Drizin, a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi who often works with young adults.

The program includes Friday evening services and a dinner, where Drizin says that “we are planning on serving super bowls of matzoh balls.”

Shabbat morning services the next day will feature the Torah portion Terumah, which is about the building of the Mishkan, the holy sanctuary. Drizin, who is still trying to find a ticket for the big game, is planning on giving the d’var Torah.

“Terumah is about how everything is contributed,” said Drizen, who is thinking of how he will tie his talk into the Super Bowl. “And that’s all about teamwork.”

JTA Wire Service

Edmon J. Rodman writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 
 

A donation in time

When dialing for dollars is a mitzvah

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Last year, George Hantgan marked 60 years of Super Sunday volunteering. With him from left are his daughter, Roberta Hantgan, his wife, Hon, and his grand-niece, Elizabeth Levi.

“Give us a couple of hours,” says Howard Chernin, “and make a world of difference.”

Chernin chairs the Super Sunday telethon, the largest one-day fund raising event for the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.

Each year, Super Sunday raises around $1 million from 2,000 donors.

That is a lot of phone calls.

This Sunday, volunteers will be manning the phone lines — a hundred of them — once again.

And Chernin wants you to join the volunteers.

In particular, he is looking for people to help fill out the three-hour shifts that begin at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. He will be happy, however, to see you even at 9 a.m., or at the start of the noon shift, as well.

Chernin has been making Super Sunday calls for a decade now. It is not as hard as it may seem, he stresses. “You’re just talking to somebody. If you can talk to somebody, you can make a phone call,” he says.

“When you’ve got a person sitting next to you and they’re making the call, it makes you want to make the call. It makes you want to bring in something, whether it is $18 or $72 or whatever it is.”

Chernn says he is bringing his 16-year-old daughter to help make calls on Sunday. She will be joined by peers from the Bergen County High School of Jewish Studies, as well as a contingent of college students from Hillel.

In a four-minute training video (at http://www.jfnnj.org/SuperSunday), Chernin lays out the basics. It begins with the instruction to smile. “It will help you relax, and the other person, on the other end, will hear it in your voice,” he says.

Most of the calls go to people who have previously given to the federation. Not all of them, however. For one in 10 of last year’s Super Sunday responders, it was the first time they donated to the federation.

Chernin says that when the volunteers make the calls, they should be listening for signs that the person could benefit from assistance from the Jewish community.

“You’re going to hear stories, ‘I’d love to help you but my husband just lost his job.’ You should say, “By the way, if you need some help, we’re here to help you,’” and pass the call on to a representative of Jewish Family Services.

Volunteers who are afraid to talk to strangers are welcome, says Chernin, and can find ways to help, but “we really need those phone-callers.”

“Give me three hours of your Sunday, I’ll show you how to make a difference. You’ll walk out so positive and excited that you did something good.

“We’re helping adults living in assisted Jewish housing, Ethiopian teens, congregations and synagogue schools, day schools, seniors in the former Soviet Union. There’s so much that we’re doing using this money.

“In our Northern New Jersey community, there are so many families who need help. That’s what federation’s offices are all about, that’s what Jewish Family Service is about. We’re here to help you in time of need.

“This is the easiest way to give back. We’ll feed you, we’ll make you laugh, you’ll get a little tear in your eye talking to people,” he says. “This is a great day.”

 
 
 
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