Super Sunday 2021—A Different Kind of Day

September 18, 2020

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In a “normal” year, Super Sunday—a much beloved tradition—is simply one part of the Tidewater Jewish community’s fundraising lifecycle. In a critical fundraising year, with rising needs and a true imperative to meet them with immediacy, Super Sunday 2021 became a different kind of day.

Tidewater’s Super Sunday has traditionally heralded the closing of the community campaign. And until quite recently, it was held each year in late-January or early-February—a time when the campaign is well past its half-way mark.

This year’s Super Sunday took on a new relevance, coming as it did at the beginning of the campaign. Its goal this year was not only to close donor gifts, but to engage in conversation with these donors and to ask them: “How are you doing during this strange time we’re living in? How have you been during these past months of isolation?” And, to listen to their responses with a critical ear.

This Super Sunday, for all its quirks and differences, provided a unique opportunity to take care of community members at a time when they may have just needed that caring voice on the other end of the phone.

By the numbers: More than 60 volunteer callers participated in Super Sunday 2021.
• 20 made calls from the back lawn of the Sandler Family Campus.
• 4 small calling groups participated from Ohef Sholom Temple and from several host homes.
• And for the first time ever, about 30 volunteer callers participated from their own homes.

Each call made was not only an “ask” for gifts of support, but a way to connect the community together during a time of necessary distancing. The opportunity to ask our donors how they are doing speaks to our collective desire to fulfill the mandate of taking care of one another.

Kol Yisroel Aravim Zeh b’Zeh—All Jews are responsible for one another.

And it ties in with our reasons for fundraising each year—to be able to take care of one another in good times and in difficult times—through the services and programs of the agencies that are funded through the community campaign run by the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

At the end of the day (and with the return-calls from donors who’d received messages on their voicemails throughout Super Sunday), Super Sunday 2021—this strange hybrid of live and virtual calling—received 315 pledges worth more than $280,000.

Return calls continue to come in at the time of printing and gifts continue to be made online at jewishva.org. The Federation’s Facebook page asked donors to keep making pledges throughout the week, because all pledges made during the week of Sept. 14–19) would be counted in the Super Sunday totals. 2021 could very well set a record for most gifts and most dollars raised during a UJFT Super Sunday. What a joyful accomplishment this would be in a year which has seen perhaps less than its fair share of joy!

This year’s campaign tagline is “Today. Tomorrow. Together.” Never have these words meant more than they do right now. All efforts today will determine what kind of a Jewish community is shared tomorrow. “Together, we will get through these difficult days and build and strengthen the Jewish community, ensuring a bright future for us, for our children, and for generations to come.”

- Amy Zelenka, UJFT campaign director

Letter to the Editor