By Amanda and Marc Prine
As young Jews living in Greater Philadelphia, our region’s Jewish communities mean so much to us.
Our lives are changing: they’re getting faster; they’re getting busier; they’re growing more disparate and divided; and it often feels like they’re becoming less safe. For us, it’s a solace to know that always at the center of our communities is the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, an organization that connects us to our core identity as Jews by facilitating tzedakah (charitable giving) and kehillah (community).
But it’s more than that, too. It’s an organization that gives us security and safety in a world that’s becoming more dangerous for Jews of all backgrounds, and reminds us that we don’t have to face these challenges alone. And it’s an organization that cares for everyone in our region, across any political, denominational, economic or other divide.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is a special organization, and on Super Sunday — an annual event held in February — the vibrancy, diversity and strength of Philadelphia’s Jewish community is on full display in a way that always uplifts us, nurtures us, and brings us confidence and warmth. Held this year on Feb. 24 at five different locations around the region, it’s a day for all Jews to come together to connect with and contact other members of our Jewish communities, raising valuable funds for the greater good. It’s a powerful day, when we all unite for a single cause, knowing that an investment in the Jewish Federation is an investment in all of us.
Super Sunday may be a predominately Jewish event, but its impact is felt by many across our region. Jewish values of giving, inclusion and tradition intersect with Philadelphia’s commitment to brotherly and sisterly love — and many Jewish Federation-funded programs make a positive impact on the community as a whole.
Donations made on Super Sundays in the past helped to create the digital choice system at the Jewish Federation’s Mitzvah Food Program’s five pantry locations, where anyone who is hungry or in need is provided fresh meals and nutritional assistance. Donations also impact organizations like JEVS Humans Service, which has frequently been highlighted as one of the best career training programs in Philadelphia and trains all adults with disabilities. While Super Sunday is an event for the Jewish community, it is the entire Philadelphia community that we’re looking out for.
For decades, Super Sunday has been a bread-and-butter event for the Jewish Federation. As millennials and co-chairs of this year’s event, we are intimately aware of how the world is changing, and we are proud that Super Sunday is keeping up. Cold calling young people on their cellphones may no longer be the path to success, but as Super Sunday expands to include texting, emailing and social media, this day continues to be effective — and, most importantly, retains what is most special about it: our community.
In our busy world, when we sometimes go entire days without actually sitting down and talking to another person, it’s a warmth like no other to join friends, families and neighbors to make a real difference in our local communities, and also in our global communities. The Jewish Federation retains high standards and completes thorough evaluations of every program it funds, and because of that, we can all be confident that every dollar is being spent effectively and efficiently — whenever and wherever it is needed most.
This year will be a difficult one, as it’s the first community-wide day of service since the heartbreak in Pittsburgh. As part of the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community and the global Jewish community, we’re all still grappling with the tragedy, and the fact that anti-Semitism continues to be on the rise. In the days following the tragic event at the Tree of Life synagogue, we joined with thousands of other Philadelphians at one of the many local vigils, standing next to our interfaith family. We found solace and support as so many of us Philadelphians vowed to do our best to ensure this violence would not be repeated.
Super Sunday is the time to turn those words into action, to show strength in numbers and strength in raising valuable dollars to ensure these inclusive programs continue to thrive, to serve those who need help most, and to protect us against any and all challenges we face.
Amanda and Marc Prine are co-chairs of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Super Sunday event on Feb. 24.