By KATHY CARLSON
Superheroes answer their phones when they ring, especially on a certain Sunday this month.
That’s the message from organizers of this year’s Tzedakah Funday event benefiting the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. The event runs from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Gordon Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Feb. 11. You can volunteer at jewishnashville.org/TZF.
“Donating the two to five minutes to receive a Tzedakah Funday call pays dividends for dozens of programs and thousands of individuals,” say Mollie and Bobby Perry, who are on the Tzedakah Funday committee. “It’s also easier than screening your friend’s call and having to explain why when you run into him/her at Pilates.”
Serving with the Perrys on the committee are chair Rachel Iroff and Eric Mirowitz.
The annual fundraiser, traditionally held on the Sunday after the Super Bowl, brings in about 20 percent of the pledges to the Federation’s annual campaign, which funds scores of programs and initiatives that help Jewish Nashville and fellow Jews around the world, including in Israel.
This year, Federation is partnering with the JCC’s new Sunday Funday program to provide Tzedakah-themed free family activities during Tzedakah Funday. The family programs start at noon and run through 4:30 p.m., and there’s free food and ice cream bars for participating families. Activities include making family tzedakah, saving and spending boxes and assembling emergency kits for distribution by local Jewish agencies supporting Jewish students. The kits are sponsored by Cash & Carry.
“We’re celebrating philanthropy,” said Joel Abramson, financial resource development officer with the Nashville Federation. “It will be a really big day. Come to help our community and make an impact.”
For the Perrys, being involved in community projects is a family tradition.
They’re both Nashville natives who were classmates at the University School of Nashville from kindergarten through 12th grade. After college and two years working in New York, the couple returned to Nashville in 2009 after getting engaged.
“We both grew up in households with parents and siblings who were (and still are) very active and involved community members,” they said in an email.
In addition, Mollie has been friends for years with Carolyn Hecklin Hyatt, the Nashville federation’s community engagement associate. “Carolyn’s enthusiasm for the Federation’s mission and its program is infectious. When Carolyn asked us if we would consider serving on the committee we were very excited to get involved,” they said.
“We would love to see lots of families participating in this year’s programming—
enjoying themselves, making new friends, and helping the Federation continue to fund the dozens of unique projects and organizations that serve and protect thousands of people here in Nashville and worldwide.”
In addition to the new family programs, there’s another innovation for people who like to text, with the Text to Give option. Community members can text in an amount they’d like to pledge, and they’ll receive a follow-up call from a Federation professional to formalize the pledge.
Of course, people can always pledge the traditional way: when they receive a phone call from a volunteer on Tzedakah Funday.
It’s a good way to keep traditions going. As the Perrys said, “We are very lucky to be members of such a long-standing, welcoming, diverse, and charitable Jewish community here in Nashville and we cannot afford to take it for granted. It is a true pleasure to attend events, share our time or expertise, and provide philanthropic support.” •