Tuesday, January 20, 2009


In 2002, UJC was in a desperate search for a successor Chair of the ONAD process. I was then Financial Relations Chair and had met at the 2001 General Assembly with Joe Kanfer and the Akron chief professional in a cordial attempt to resolve hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid allocations. Those allocations receivables were still unpaid when I received a call from Joe Kanfer. UJC, he told me, had reached out to him to Chair ONAD. He asked if I thought it appropriate, given his federation's failure to meet its commitments, for him to accept the Chairmanship of ONAD whose focus was on Israel and Overseas Allocations. Joe recognized that it would be impossible for him to carry out that Chairmanship even as UJC's leaders wanted him for the job. Those leaders who offered Joe the position should have known better.

Now, Kanfer, himself, has designated an Intermediate Federation leader as the successor to Toni Young as Chair of Israel Overseas:Global Operations (the infamous IO:GO). It's bad enough that in doing so the Board Chair ignored the entire roster of Federation leaders who have served under Toni's Chairmanship on the IO:GO Council. No, worse, much worse, is that this federation lay leader, no doubt a terrific guy, comes from a federation for which the allocation to Israel and Overseas -- to JAFI and JDC -- is not even an after-thought. This leader's federation's 990's disclose the following -- in fiscal year 2004-2005, an allocation net of Dues (Dues for this purpose estimated throughout at $50,000) of 8%; in 2005-2006, an allocation net of Dues, of 4%; and, according to that feedration's 990 for 2006-2007, a total allocation to UJC of $100...$100!! If you reread the Strategic Planning Work Group Recommendations, one positive was the suggestion of standards (not minima, standards) for allocations for Israel and JDC. And, out of the box UJC's leaders ignore their own Recommendation.

It's not as if the IO:GO Council met more than a couple of times -- Toni Young seemed to make all decisions in consultation with Becki Caspi, UJC-Israel's Senior professional, Kanfer and Rieger -- it's that many of those serving on the Council were from communities that actually made a serious allocation to Israel and Overseas needs. All of them....all of them...were disregarded in the selection of the new Chair. This choice evidences all the reasons that no one...no one...in current UJC lay or professional leadership should participate in the Search or Nominating processes -- they have disqualified themselves.

I submit that if you were the greatest lay leader in the history of Jewish life, the allocations record of your community would disqualify you from any national leadership role. To be anointed by this UJC "leadership" as the Chair of its Israel/Overseas effort neatly symbolizes the total disdain these "leaders" have for those they claim to be UJC's "partners." It also evidences not only how little the Board Chair has learned but, in fact, how much he has forgotten.

"Why," you ask? Ask them.


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