Eight-year-old Lauren Kaufman closed the first pledge, a donation of $5000, at the Sunday February 12 kickoff for Super Week, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ annual fundraiser. It was the first-grader’s first time working the phones, side by side with her dad David, a twenty-year Super Week veteran, representing a crew from the Hillcrest Country Club.
It was a fast start to the day for the room full of volunteers at the Federation’s Goldsmith Center headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard, and for another group working at the Milken Jewish Community Campus across the San Fernando Valley in West Hills. Together the volunteers raised nearly half a million dollars by midday.
The approach was different from previous years, according to Federation president Jay Sanderson, who told the Forward that topping last year’s Super Week total of $4.6 million was not necessarily the point this year. “We’re reaching out to new donors,” he said, “trying to broaden our reach.” The volunteer who signed up the most pledges by Super Week’s end would receive airfare for two to Israel. Meanwhile, Federation contacts who regularly donated more than $6000 were being tapped on a more personal basis. “We’re establishing relationships,” said Sanderson.
Two of the four declared candidates for mayor of L.A. — Wendy Greuel and Jan Perry — both showed up to lend a hand. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky — as yet undeclared in the mayoral race — was also expected to drop by to dial a few numbers. Sunday was also Community Service Day with volunteers at sites across the L.A. area donating their time to work with children, teens and adults with disabilities.
The Federation, which funds Jewish Family Services, among many other agencies aiding the community’s welfare and well-being, expects a total of more than 300 volunteers to participate in the Federation phone-a-thon at the two locations.
Rex Weiner is a Brooklyn-born, third-generation journalist who from 1992 to 1997 covered the entertainment industry as a staff reporter for Daily Variety, where his column, Lost and Found, appeared weekly. His articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Observer and LA Weekly, and he contributes regularly to Rolling Stone Italia. His screenwriting credits include “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane” (20th Century Fox), and he was one of the first writers of the TV series “Miami Vice.” He is a founding editor of High Times magazine and a co-author of The Woodstock Census (Viking, 1979), one of the key texts analyzing the impact of the ’60s generation on American society. He is currently based in Los Angeles and in the town of Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, where his fluent Spanish and capacity for tequila come in handy. He can be reached at email@example.com.