On the cusp of 2010 The Jewish Federations of North America announced a teleconference on Philanthropy in Israel. Two wonderful speakers "...will discuss the new Israeli nonprofit landscape...." Notice of the Teleconference was well-timed -- on December 30, as JFNA was about to let its partners in Israel and Overseas -- JDC and JAFI -- know that core cash allocation shortfalls to them both will be in excess in the aggregate of $30 million, JFNA's Israel Office will act as if nothing is amiss. One must question whether whether there is a total lack of a grasp on reality in the far reaches of The Jewish Federation of North America.
Yes, the organization's work must continue. But, what exactly is that work? "The new Israeli nonprofit landscape" or the reality that our national organization has wholly failed to support our partners in Israel and overseas in any tangible way? Should that support be a constant -- of not only 25 Broadway but in the offices of JFNA-Israel...or does JFNA-Israel operate totally independent of the agenda of The Jewish Federations of North America? We are speaking of an institution out of control...for no reason.
Then, just this past Wednesday, JFNA issued one of its periodic Economic Crisis E-Newsletters. Maybe I just haven't been paying sufficient attention but, as I recall, all of the earlier Crisis E-Newsletters highlighted one or more federations "best practices" in meeting the continuing crisis. Now, for the first time, like an epiphany, JFNA decided to roll out the JDC efforts, in the midst of the crisis to meet the needs of the elderly in the FSU. Was this the national organization's subliminal attempt at allocations advocacy? Was it a gesture to show support for the Joint? Was this to be followed by something more -- like an advocacy plan? Or is this just, shall we say, more of the usual?
All one can say is "you have got to be kidding me." But, they are not.