Super Sunday Surpasses $1M Mark
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Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News.
By Bob Jacob
The Jewish Federation of Cleveland raised $1,097,191 in support of its 2017 Campaign for Jewish Needs on Super Sunday Sept. 25 at the Federation’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building in Beachwood.
This marked the fifth consecutive year the Federation has surpassed the $1 million mark on Super Sunday, which ran from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pledges totaling $1,065,621 were received at last year’s event.
Rochie and Jordan Berkowitz of University Heights, who made calls on behalf of the Federation while in high school some 20 years ago, are in their second year as co-chairs.
“It’s an amazing testament to the work the Federation does to continually reach out to our community and improve the level of service that they can provide to those within our community,” said Jordan Berkowitz, who is a member of Heights Jewish Center Synagogue in University Heights,
“It’s the single largest opportunity for the community to come together to raise money to get involved and to on behalf of the Federation. It’s really a great day. There’s lots of different opportunities to get involved and to volunteer. This year, we have different service projects, so people are putting their heart and soul into the projects they’re able to do this year. Obviously, we need people to make phone calls. That’s a super, super important part of what we do, but this year, we’re tying to broaden it with a lot of opportunities to give back beyond just making phone calls.
“There’s not a lot of opportunities for us to do that and for a community to come together for a single cause and just see all the different organizations and all the people representing the organizations they benefit from is a beautiful thing to see that.”
The Campaign for Jewish Needs helps the Jewish and general communities in Greater Cleveland, Israel and 70 countries around the world. Ninety-one cents of each dollar donated goes directly to the community for programs and services.
Sarah and Scott Zimmerman of University Heights and Kerry and Daryl Kertesz of University Heights are the other co-chairs.
“There’s so much energy in the room, so many people making calls and doing great things. We’re so excited to be here,” Sarah Zimmerman said. “It feels fantastic to do so much good for our community to raise so many dollars in one single day is just an amazing thing.”
Scott Zimmerman said, “It’s really been a wonderful event, a great turnout, everyone is very excited, lots of phone calls being made and looking forward to helping the community. It’s really wonderful being part of something that’s so good for the community today.”
Rochie Berkwitz was impressed that so many young people packed the room.
“For me, it’s the young kids, the next generation coming already from the high school, making the calls and beginning their relationship with the community,’ she said.
Rochie Berkowitz remembers making phones as a student at Beatrice J. Stone Yavne High School, while Jordan Berkowitz recalls making calls as a student at Brush High School in Lyndhurst.
“We used to go to the Stone Auditorium, back when they were using phones with cords on them, and now we’re using fancy cell phones and Facebook,” he said.
“As a kid, you don’t necessarily recognize the tremendous amount of work that goes in to just creating an event like this, and the staff is so amazing, and it’s just an honor for them to ask us to represent the community the way they have. As a kid, you don’t look into the future that far, but it’s amazing to look back that I have benefitted so much from the work the Federation does and to be able to give back is really important for us.
“A strong Federation represents the backbone of the community, People come here, they see wow, there’s such an amazing organization that really provides a broad base of support for all the organizations in town.”
Rochie Berkowitz said that her time as a co-chair has been a “very humbling experience.”
“I hope they (the volunteers) see and appreciate everything the community does to come together to help each other, whether it’s feeding the hungry or comforting the sick, everyone coming together, committed to helping each other, that’s the most important thing, and it inspires us all to keep working together and appreciating what everyone brings to the table.”
Some 800 to 1,000 volunteers made calls and reached 1,637 donors during the 10-hour phone-a-thon, and 167 new gifts were received.
Children’s activities took place for most of the day. Kosher meals and snacks were available.
There also were performances by Jewish Family Service Association’s Horvitz YouthAbility program, the Mandel Jewish Community Center’s Playmakers Youth Theatre and the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland youth choir.
Super Sunday sponsors were KeyBank, Benesch and the Cleveland Jewish News.
For more information about the campaign, visit jewishcleveland.org.