I first became aware that a Disunited Jewish Communities Blog had been published when, as was the case with many others, an UIA Board member sent me the link along with the comment "How sad." I read the Posts and the Comments with interest and shared concern. Others, understandably, were more focused on the question: "who are the bloggers"? Many of those so concerned began to spread the word that I must "be the one." I received a number of phone calls each with the question: "Are you writing that Blog"? I wasn't; I'm not, but I am writing this one.
Those who know me, and I include Howard Rieger, Joe Kanfer and Kathy Manning, UJC's leadership troika, know that if I have a concern, a criticism or observation about UJC, I have no qualms about writing them and signing my name. In a moment of folly I even wrote a book about UJC's formative years -- United Jewish Catastrophes....A Love Story -- in my name. Yet, I fully understand the reasons that the "Boys/Girls of UJC" have chosen not to identify themselves. I appreciate their (his/her) passion and their concerns.
I am totally committed to the success of UJC, our collective enterprise. Sould UJC fail, many of our dreams will be at risk as well, None of us can afford to let that happen. All of us, not alone UJC's lay and professional leaders, have a real stake in UJC's success. At heart I am a fund raiser, so I always have hope. I have always believed that Joe, Kathy and Howard have a far greater commitment to the successes and achievements of UJC than any of us. They are committed leaders capable of recreating UJC as we had envisioned it at the time of the merger...or better. That is their charge. My differences with them are, have been and will no doubt be l'shem shamayim -- perhaps, someday, they will come to understand that.
Friends, if the federation professionals -- not alone the Large City Executives but the chief professional officers of all federations of every City-size -- engage fully and constantly (and, if appropriate, critically) and the lay UJC Board members demand proactive engagement consistent with their fiduciary obligations, then UJC will succeed beyond measure. For if UJC's owners -- the lay and professional leaders who are the representatives of their federations --abdicate their ownership obligations then surely, the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, it is in ourselves.
More to certainly follow.