Super Sunday on January 27 promises exponential return on investments

by | Jan 11, 2013 | Featured

(Top row) Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz, Rabbi Israel Zoberman, Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin, Rabbi Michael Panitz, Rabbi Sender Haber, Rabbi Mordechai Wecker. (Second row) Cantor Elihu Flax and Cantor Gordon Piltch.

(Top row) Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz, Rabbi Israel Zoberman, Cantor Wally Schachet-Briskin, Rabbi Michael Panitz, Rabbi Sender Haber, Rabbi Mordechai Wecker. (Second row) Cantor Elihu Flax and Cantor Gordon Piltch.

When Jewish communities initiated the one-day Super Sunday phone-a-thon 30 or so years ago, they essentially were mirroring other successful fundraising events of the time, such as the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon.

Volunteers called from a bank of rotary dial phones, community members picked up their handset receivers and monetary pledges were made.

Twenty years ago that model still worked. These days? People still answer their telephones, but they also text, email, interact on social media and some are cellphone- exclusive, with no landline in sight.

“If we want to make the Federation inclusive of everyone, and make Super Sunday relevant and fun for investors of all ages, then we need to make it fresh and new. And we need to be able to use different mediums to reach people—whether that’s through texting, through Facebook, video, email and even through newer data styles such as infographics, that are all over sites like Pinterest,” says Amy Weinstein, director of the Young Adult Division of the UJFT.

At the helm of the Super Sunday Steering Committee this year are young adults who embrace these new technologies themselves. Over the course of several months, as they designed the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s 2013 Super Sunday, the committee explored what it might mean to incorporate some of these new portals for giving into the traditional phone-a-thon model.

“We had two great ideas that we came up with during our meetings,” says Aaron Goldmeier, Super Sunday Steering Committee chair. “One was the idea that giving to the Federation is an investment and the other was how someone’s gift creates a ripple effect, or makes a wave of change that can extend in ways they never even thought of. So we combined both ideas into one and from that we’ve created a video and a photo campaign, we’re giving people ways they can text in a pledge or post one on Facebook, and we’re showing how investing in the Federation can be relevant and easy.”

The theme of giving to the Federation as an investment touched Goldmeier personally. Last summer, the 34-year-old president of Hampton Roads Management Associates, Inc., was invited to attend the Sandler UJFT Men’s Mission to Israel, at no cost.

“I realized that if I was being asked to go on that trip, someone must have thought that I was worth the investment,” says Goldmeier. “So if someone was willing to invest in me, then I’d like to return it. If I can help someone here, or someone in Israel, or someone in Africa with the money and time that I have available to invest, then I’m going to do it.”

In the spirit of the “I Invest because…” theme, the committee took photos of themselves and others in the community, declaring in a few words why they invest. Statements range from Andrew Nusbaum’s “I invest for a better future,” to the Hampton Roads Board of Rabbis and Cantors, “We invest because we believe.”

As part of this year’s Super Sunday social media element, the committee is asking community members to post their own photos to the UJFT Facebook page with a statement written on a whiteboard, or in chalk, or through the use of a photo app, about why they invest. The effort promotes partnership, ownership and a shared experience, Goldmeier says.

“We’re hoping that by using a different kind of theme when speaking about the Federation, that we’ll be doing more than just asking people to give,” says Weinstein. “We’ll be giving them a bit of education about why this is such a worthwhile investment.”

The goals for this year’s Super Sunday campaign are to have volunteer callers representing every synagogue and agency that receives funding from the UJFT, and to receive more pledges than were made last year.

“The work we do ‘as one’ is the strongest work we can do,” Weinstein says. “With volunteers reaching out to all corners of our community, and community members learning about the incredible return on their Federation investment, and then making pledges that top $100,000, we will consider this year’s Super Sunday a phenomenal success.”

To watch the video created especially for Super Sunday, for more information about the day’s events or to sign up for a volunteer shift, visit, email, or call 757-965-6100.

by Laine M. Rutherford