Super Sunday

Bradley A. Sherman, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s general campaign chair, makes a call to raise money during Super Sunday.

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland raised $1,396,626 in its annual Super Sunday fundraising event Oct. 10.

The event featured hundreds of volunteers from all over Cleveland’s Jewish community raising money for the Federation’s 2022 Campaign for Jewish Needs through telephone calls, emails, texts and social media.

During the event’s closing, Bradley A. Sherman, the Federation’s general campaign chair, announced this year’s Super Sunday saw 155 new gifts, totaling $55,000. Altogether, through donations made from 936 people, the event brought in almost $1.4 million.

“Super Sunday, I believe, is really kind of the heart of the community campaign,” Sherman told the Cleveland Jewish News Oct. 10. “It’s more than about raising money. It’s about bringing us together to do something collective.”

Volunteers raised money either virtually or by meeting in person under tents outside the Federation building in Beachwood or at remote locations, including the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood and Jewish day schools.

Having in-person opportunities with Super Sunday was vital to Sherman, as the event is traditionally commemorated in person aside from last year’s due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s virtual Super Sunday raised $979,315 through 900 gifts.

“This year, because of vaccinations and social distancing, we thought we could have some in-person components,” Sherman said. “But we also wanted people to have the ability to stay in their clusters. ... It’s a logistical coordination challenge, but in terms of participation, we’re seeing good participation.”

At the Federation, different groups a part of the Federation were invited to attend for a scheduled hour to make calls and write texts together. This included Women IN Philanthropy, Young Leadership Division, campaign volunteers and the Saltzman Youth Panel.

At about 11 a.m. Oct. 10, Sherman proudly announced that the event had already raised $342,000.

“It’s got the feel of a Super Sunday,” Sherman said. “It’s still early in the day, but we’re seeing people show up, which has been great.”

Volunteering at the event was Beachwood father-daughter duo, Michael Ebner and 14-year-old Keren Ebner. For the two, it was common sense to be present and support their Federation.

“The Federation does so much good work in the community, in the country and overseas,” Michael Ebner said. “I’m just looking forward to helping out and doing my part.”

The Federation also collected school supplies, toiletries and cleaning products for Afghan refugees arriving in Northeast Ohio through US Together, a refugee resettlement agency and an affiliate of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

Susan Hyman, an employee at the Federation and a volunteer for the collection drive, said the idea for the drive came about when volunteers expressed a desire to help the recent influx of Afghan refugees moving into the area. US Together provided the Federation with a list of items they needed.

“It’s really timely, and we wanted to do something that our volunteers would feel good about,” said Hyman, a Beachwood resident. “... People have been so generous. It’s pretty incredible how much has been dropped off in the first hour.”

Having the drive on the same day as Super Sunday gave the donation drive a “captive audience,” said Nancy Zimmerman, a volunteer and Beachwood resident. She added that it also helped show the Federation’s impact extends beyond the local Jewish community.

“One of the values of Judaism is hachnasat orchim, which means welcoming the stranger,” Zimmerman said. “... We’re doing the little that we can to provide Afghan refugees with school supplies, cleaning supplies and toiletries, just to make them comfortable and feel welcomed here in Cleveland.”

About 75 cars came through the collection drop-off with thousands of toiletry items, gallons of laundry detergent and cleaning supplies, and hundreds of school supplies.

This year’s Super Sunday also included tzedakah box drop-offs for children at the Federation building and at Beth Israel-The West Temple in Cleveland.

To Sherman, the day was a success.

“I want to thank all the Jewish day schools that stepped up to the plate, had their super sites and raised all that money,” Sherman said during the virtual closing of the 2022 Super Sunday event. “I want to thank everybody who came down here or who worked at home, you guys were awesome. Thank you for making this a great day.”

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