Thursday, November 20, 2008


A long flight back from Israel gives one time to reflect. I've been reflecting!!

It seems clear to me that what has been missing at UJC is an educated system-view of the federation system -- a comprehensive coherent system-view -- that would guide UJC in the development of its plans, budgets, policies and programs. Instead we have had the system viewed through the prism of a domineering Board Chair who not only lacked an understanding of how federations work when he was elected, he still doesn't have it two years later -- or he is basically disinterested in how federations work (which has led Joe Kanfer to act without apparently caring about what federations want). When one is so lacking in a clear understanding of federations claims, by virtue of his "election" and nothing more, that he "speaks for the federations," our system is in terrible trouble.

Even though I have differed with Kathy Manning on many issues, I have felt that she still does not sense or understand that as Chair of the UJC Executive, she is a co-equal of the Board Chair, not subservient to him. And that is too bad because Kathy has demonstrated that she is sensitive to the issues that are of concern to federations. As all of us know, she is articulate, she knows the right questions to ask and possesses the intelligence, grace, sense of humor and commitment so vital to leadership. It's still not too late...or, maybe it is.

UJC under its present CEO and Board Chair doesn't relate to its federation owners and, therefor, has disqualified itself from speaking for them. That would not be the case if there were any evidence that this leadership duo really cares about them. With which federations have the Board Chair and CEO directly engaged over matters other than dues (and excluding City-size group gropes)? On more than a "fly-in," spend two hours speaking on what's on their minds, "fly-out" basis? Yours? Mine? Our system's beneficiaries used to rely on the national organization to convey their message to the federations; today, at a time the federations own the system, the beneficiaries are forced to "go direct," no more able to rely on UJC to be their advocate let alone "partner." The result is the systemic disarray we are experiencing at a time we...all of us...require a system that unites us with purpose to confront the economic realities that impact us and all that we are committed to do.


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