Sunday, March 29, 2009


Yes, the Humpty Dumpty that is UJC today has already broken apart into so many pieces that no army will be able to put Humpty Dumpty together again. Woe unto the cheerleaders, the enablers of this mess.

A few weeks ago UJC published its 2008 Annual Report -- The Voice of One. The Power of Many. If you have any idea what the tag line means, please share. (Does it mean, the "voice of Joe Kanfer," the "power" of Kanfer, Rieger, Gelman, or something else?) It is a very well done Annual Report weaving together mini-reports of Federation CEO's like Seserman, Galperin, Englander, with outrageous data -- e.g., sure enough the head count on GA08 is back up to the astounding 4,500 -- and incredible fantasies. (I don't understand why UJC refuses to be bound by the facts [or, maybe I do]. In the body of the Report appears the following -- "UJC also produces key events...which give federation professionals and volunteers opportunities to leverage the power of one to address the challenges of many." [Emphasis added.] (Do you sense a recurring theme? And, if so, what does this mean???)

Then, as reported recently, in its "alternatives" to be debated somewhere/sometime for UJC Dues relief -- it is important to note that there is a vast difference between "Budget relief" and "Dues relief" as if the two are not bound at the hip -- UJC proposes to reconstruct its financial resource development commitment to the levels pre-merger. Incredible fantasy -- Alice Through the Looking Glass stuff. It's as if elevating FRD is to KanferRieger only their second highest priority; the highest is making certain FRD is irrelevant.

Most have learned over the last four years that to this leadership facts are no more than Silly Putty -- shaped by KanferRieger into what they believe people want to hear at the specific moment in time they are being spoken. Now, everyone has caught on to the game being played day in and day out. More than one person high up in the echelons of UJC's top-heavy professional structure has bemoaned the reality that "...they demand loyalty but give none.." Even the loudest cheerleaders for UJC -- and there are more than a few (who usually argue this way: "What's the alternative?") -- admit in their private conversations "we have a disaster on our hands" -- and then cheer lead some more. Three "strategic plans" in four years each with the shelf life of a piece of fruit tells all of us of the waste of our precious dollars.

Now, it appears to some that in what may be a futile effort to salvage UJC's "survival," some federations believe it must be done at the expense of the Jewish Agency and JDC. Under this scenario, our system's historic partners, for which there has been no institutional support or advocacy under this UJC leadership, should trade core allocations for promises from either an UJC leadership that is incapable of delivering on anything or from a group of federations which while sincere, can commit only for themselves and none other. Others want to turn back the merger to make of UJC a new CJF. As if that's a good idea...or as if that hasn't already happened de facto.

All one can conclude is that UJC is so badly broken that it may be impossible to attract the best and brightest to succeed the Chairs and CEO. I, with you, know how badly we need a strong national organization led by those who can truly lead us out of the wilderness, away from the precipice to which we have allowed ourselves to be delivered. It won't be too soon; the only question is, will it be too late? Or is it too late already?


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