Thursday, March 5, 2009


Two weeks ago, in a Post from Jerusalem, I reiterated a request I had made in writing of KanferRieger before the Federation Leadership Institute-- that they distribute the letter sent to them by Marlene Post and Bill Hess on behalf of the American Zionist Movement with regard to our federations' partner, the Jewish Agency for Israel. In my letter prior to the FLI, I had asked that that letter be handed to each participant at the Palm Beach Event. No surprise, heard nothing back. In my Post I offered to print the AZM letter if RiegerKanfer did not. They didn', here it is:

American Zionist

Dear Joe:

The reported proposal to significantly change the exclusive relationship between UJC and the Jewish Agency has caused deep concern and dismay among the 16 core embers of the American Zionist Movement. The AZM is the umbrella representing Zionist organizations in the US, which span the spectrum of Jewish life. Our members include the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist streams of Judaism, as well as organizations from the right, left and center. We all care deeply about the Jewish Agency for Israel and its future as the premiere social service, education and aliyah agency. It has served this role for the 60 years of the existence of the State of Israel and for decades before.

The Jewish Agency is the product of a proud Zionist Movement whose democratic foundations helped establish the partnership among the WZO/KH/UJC. It represents a unique paradigm in the world -- a place where Jews from all backgrounds, interests, abilities and geographies, can sit, deliberate and build a Jewish future in Israel and around the world.

The Jewish Agency has adopted the major objectives of the Zionist movement and incorporated them into its core programming and activities. The work of JAFI reflects and enhances 2,000 years of yearning of the individual Jew for a homeland, a relationship with that homeland and ultimately aliyah to the Jewish State.

It is reasonable and the responsibility of a sound organization such as UJC to reexamine and renovate itself from time to time. We have always understood the role of UJC to be to help Federations increase funding for the prime overseas (partners) -- JAFI and JDC. The proposal under discussion would be a total renunciation of that role and responsibility. As a major partner in an historic enterprise, it is shocking that such a fundamental change in your relationship to the Jewish Agency would be considered, especially at this time. We ask you to consider the most constructive and positive ways in which UJC, through the Jewish Agency, can build strength among successive generations of Jews who will continue the goals of the upbuilding of the State and the gathering of its people. The AZM is there with you.

With Zion greetings,

William D. Hess, President Marlene Post, Chair, AZM Board"

This beautiful letter was (a) never responded to by UJC leadership and (b) never distributed to the attendees of at the FLI. Reading it one has to wonder: Why not?


1 comment:

Bill said...

Toda raba, Richard.

Bill Hess