Yesterday's reminder to the UJC Executive of the time and place of today's meeting says it all about "travesty" -- if you come early "you can get a jump start on lunch." Travesty.
I have been blessed over the years in getting to know so many who today serve our system as CEO's of federations of every city-size, men and women dedicated to building Community with a capital "C." I have the greatest respect for them and how they are confronting the challenges of today to secure their Federations, our Federations for tomorrow. One of my friends in the field wrote me with such a sense of pain and estrangement -- here is what this terrific professional wrote, redacted to protect confidentiality:
"The irrelevancy of UJC is sad and comical. I took part on a conference call ... Howard (Rieger) was on the call trying to both explain and defend the ("off the top" Dues) proposal. Regardless of whether the proposal is right/wrong or good/bad...what I resent is his dismissive attitude, his patronizing comments and his utter disrespect for anyone's questions, opinions and comments. He is simply infuriating. Is there any wonder why UJC is irrelevant. I neither have the time, interest or inclination to take part in the UJC debate. It has no relevance to anything that I do on a daily basis when I am trying to help build a community, raise funds and meet the critical needs of our community. I am alone, as far as UJC is concerned ...(but) I will help to... build, support and sustain (my federation)...with or without any national assistance."
This is what those who have chosen to ignore the realities of what they have allowed UJC to become; what they have enabled. The shame is theirs as much as it is the "leaders" whose arrogance and hubris at $40 million now $37 million per year have cost us far more in terms of a national organization that is today without credibility or, in my friend's eloquent words, "relevance." UJC has a Compensation Committee (of course it consists totally of the "usual suspects" -- the very leaders who have tolerated the CEO's "conduct" for three years); it has an Operational Executive (whose Chair still seems not to have a clue as to her powers [or, perhaps, any interest in exercising them]) -- neither are interested. Are any of you? Tragedy.
And...last Friday one of my Federation's and one of UIA's, JAFI's and UJC's great, passionate leaders, Lester Rosenberg, was terribly injured in an horrific auto accident. He has been surrounded by his family in intensive care in critical condition ever since. The Chicago Federation asked for our prayers as did JAFI and UIA. While there are those certainly at UJC who know of Lester's condition, not one message from UJC asking our UJC Board to support Lester and the Rosenberg family with prayer at this critical time. I was not going to write about this but, after 5...five...days of UJC's silence.... Last June I wrote that all of our organizations must be led by those men and women who demonstrate that they love people. That love is what characterizes Lester's leadership; that lack of love by UJC's leaders speaks volumes under these circumstances. Such a simple thing. Given the choice between doing the right thing, the wrong or doing nothing....Travesty and tragedy.
We should all be ashamed.