Saturday, February 9, 2008

Brother, can you spare a few grand?

Tomorrow brings that time of year again, Super Sunday, when L.A.'s Jewish federation will raise about 10 percent of its yearly support. This year, Jewish social-service agency are eagerly anticipating the outcome of tomorrow's effort because state funding is shrinking at the same time the economy is skidding.

I lede the Jewish Journal's annual advance-article with the obligations of Alfred Katz.
It was 1952, and Katz was a first-year surgical resident at Cedars of Lebanon. His wife, Cecilia Eve, had just given birth to their first son, and she told Katz they needed to thank God by giving $35 to The Federation.

"I said, 'We can't give $35,' and she said, 'We must,'" Katz, 82, recalled Monday. "She called up The Federation and they asked, 'Who solicited you?' and she said, 'God.'"

More than half a century later, the Katzes still give consistently to The Federation. And on Feb. 10, Alfred Katz again will be working the phones trying to get other Jewish Angelenos to give back, something he's done each Super Sunday, save one, since the annual fundraiser's 1979 inception.

"There are so many Jews who are needy," he said. "We were lucky; we survived. We have kids and grandkids, and we were so blessed by God. It's important that we give."


The Web Guy said...

I meant to ask you this before.

Did Katz really say "$35"?

Because $36 would have been more traditional, since it is 2 X 18 in Hebrew numbers -- two times "Chai" or life.

Brad A. Greenberg said...

Yep. That's what he said. I don't think there was any deeper religious meaning to it.