Coasts apart, the twin announcements were in parallel, sounding in so many ways the death knell of a once proud system -- (1) the self-immolation of a professional cadre that were at the forefront in building the federation system, now, willing to be mere bystanders while the bricks are pulled out one after as another; and (2) the burial of a community of such great and continuous unrealized potential while the national system could only look away...impotent.
For ejewishphilanthropy the story of Fingerhut's appointment was but a minor one, same for jta. These were page 2, under the fold -- mere mentions. The major story in the former was East Bay's collapse.
The Jewish Federation of the East Bay was over a century-old when it decided to go out of business on July 1, 2019. And the Jewish Federation of Greater San Francisco wanted everyone to know that there will be no merger -- just a matter of figuring out "how we can work together" according to Dan Grossman, the San Francisco CEO. Or, as the FedWorld rag put it: The Jewish Federation of the East Bay comes together with the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. (Whatever that meant.)
And, to further confuse matters:
"East Bay Foundation Director Lisa Tabak said key community priorities such as Jewish summer camps and youth Israel trips can continue to count on Financial support. 'All our designated and special interest funds will be honored."Uh huh.
As we have observed on these pages, back in the days pre-Silverman, JFNA had a major, experienced Consulting Services Department that, among other things, helped communities through matters just like these. (In fact, at one point during Silverman's predecessor's term as CEO, Consulting Services was designated to run the Continental; FRD function -- one of the more idiotic assignments in institutional history given that the Consulting Services professionals were not fund raisers, among other things.) Now, San Francisco and the East Bay remainders will apparently work it out for themselves.
What is especially sad is that the JFNA leadership fail to understand their own irrelevance -- that's what happens when you operate within a bubble of your own making -- the Jewish communal version of Get Smart's "cone of silence." A short time ago a JFNA leader was interviewed by leaders in a SE Florida community: it was hard to watch this leader squirm when asked a softball question about JFNA's roles and purpose: "Jewish unity, bringing people together, yada yada yada." Twenty years after the merger...and...nothing.
Welcome to JFNA, Mr. Fingerhut.