Tuesday, May 26, 2009


One of the more repetitive "Anonymous" Commentators to this Blog reflects the confusion that exists among many of the few lay and professional UJC leaders who confuse criticism of them, their acts, their behavior with criticism of UJC itself. Most recently, in a Comment so vilifying I refused to publish it, I was accused of having "demonized UJC" in the Posts of this Blog. Any fair reading of these Posts knows that my concern and focus have been on the impacts of a failed leadership on UJC, on its potential and on its future. It is not UJC that has failed, it is its leaders who have failed United Jewish Communities and the federations which own it.

UJC has been overwhelmed by a small leadership cadre that is so bewildered that they have thoroughly confused UJC with themselves -- dissent from their policies and "you're harming UJC," criticize some desperate scheme of theirs and "you're damaging UJC." This particular "Anonymous" loves to use the word "pathetic" -- as it turns out, an apt self-description.

Now, as to "demonization." By almost any definition, the verb does not apply to an institution -- however, given the confusion that exists among this leadership as between the institution and themselves, it's easy to understand how this "Anonymous" correspondent might reach his conclusion. It's interesting that the Thesaurus uses the word in a sentence as follows: "Power has demonized him." But, for synonyms the same source suggests: "alter, change, modify, transform." I doubt that this "Anonymous" even contemplated the possibility that these Posts have been an attempt to jolt UJC back on course, back to the core values that were embedded in its Mission and Vision (which this leadership, true to their course, unilaterally modified).

I have heard from so many of the "best and brightest" who have left UJC, often fired in particularly uncaring and "un-Jewish" ways, and who were sacrificed, quite literally, so that the Kanfer- or Rieger-driven programs and plans (often themselves never approved) could go forward unchallenged, unquestioned. Our system has lost many of these -- typically young, bright and dedicated men and women -- without a care in the world or any pushback on our system's, let alone UJC's leaders, part. I will write more on this painful chapter in the weeks ahead. The loss of so many will be the legacy these leaders will leave behind; it is the singular loss from which UJC and the federation system will never recover. If anything has "demonized" UJC's leaders, it has been their actions with regard to a generation of men and women dedicated to UJC and the federations.

One of my friends recently advised me: "These people will be gone by August and the GA, respectively, they're not going to change." My response: "It's never too late." Or, maybe it is.


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