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Jewish Journal

Money That Matters

by Michael Aushenker

February 22, 2001 | 7:00 pm

On Sun., Feb. 25, a local institution turns 25. Not a physical institution, like a building or a memorial, but an idea -- a community-wide esprit de corps that, over the years, has inspired thousands of people.

Super Sunday brings out the best in our community -- the roughly 5,000 people who volunteer and the thousands more who answer those calls. The daylong phone-a-thon has, in recent years, raised roughly 10 percent of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' United Jewish Fund (UJF) annual budget, a lengthy ledger that includes a who's who of beneficiary agencies: Jewish Family Service, Jewish Vocational Service, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Gateways Beit T'Shuvah and the Bureau of Jewish Education, to name just a few. Whether we are impoverished or wealthy, healthy or ill, Jewishly educated or new to our heritage, these agencies provide services a community cannot do without.

Take the area of immigration. For the period of January through September 2000 alone, the Federation's Refugee Resettlement Program, in coordination with various Federation entities, resettled 168 refugees from the former Soviet Union and 238 from Iran. The Federation's allocation of $464,473 will leverage close to $1 million in government funding this year to help refugees settle in Los Angeles. That means finding these new Angelenos employment, involving them in holiday programming and integrating them into L.A.'s Jewish and general community.

Below is the story of two such immigrants who have assimilated into Israeli society thanks to Federation programs supported in part by Super Sunday.

We are also highlighting two people on the other side of the equation. They are members of the community -- a physician and a psychologist -- who take time out of their busy lives to give freely of their energy and talent. Over the years, such community-minded folk have comprised those thousands of volunteers -- vibrant, diverse people of different professions, income brackets, ideologies and interests, coming together to build community.

This Sunday, The Jewish Federation, under the guiding hand of returning Super Sunday Chair Glenn Gottlieb, is hoping to build on last year's $5 million Super Sunday total. A projected 5,000 volunteers will take part in this, the single largest day of fundraising in the Jewish community, at sites in L.A., the West Valley and South Bay. And whether you're making the call or answering it, everyone is invited to come and pitch in.

For more information on volunteering for Super Sunday on Feb. 25, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., contact your local Jewish Federation offices: The Jewish Federation Goldsmith Center, (323) 761-8319; Valley Alliance, Bernard Milken Campus, (818) 464-3228; and South Bay Council, (310) 540-2631. To access the Super Sunday Web site, go to www.jewishla.org.

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