Wednesday, June 17, 2009


At the onset of the "Rieger administration" at UJC, I sensed that Howard and I and so many others shared a Vision for the organization that would carry the organization forward-- that sense was expressed in my quotes appearing in the Jewish press at the time. Today...not so much. Yet, Rieger and I share some experiences in common and both of us found that a Mission experience could inspire our commitment to community as nothing other. In fact, Rieger has devoted several recent Views to not only the subject of Missions but to UJC's commitment to them. As with so many other things, the reality is somewhat different from the rhetoric -- very different. Once again UJC talks the talk but wholly fails when it comes time to walk the walk.

"UJC's commitment to them..." As someone once said: "show me the money." Out of one side of the mouth UJC enunciates a "plan" to transfer responsibility for Missions programming to the Joint and Jewish Agency -- no money, just responsibility -- and no discussion with JDC or JAFI. Out of the other side of its mouth UJC fires a substantial component of its Missions staff in Israel and transfers the Missions responsibility to New York and Development. Out of another side of its mouth (yes, UJC has multiple mouth parts) UJC brags on the annual Campaign Chairs and Directors Mission, out of the other side, only 18 months ago, its leaders tried to kill that Mission, now it has been dramatically under-funded, budgeted for $250,000 less than last year. The Prime Minister's Mission, which when I participated in 2007 raised a 15% card-for-card increase from its highest giving level participants, wouldn't even exist were it not for Chicago's insistence and the tenacity of Chicago's terrific professionals, Beth Cherner and Jeffrey Cohen; and the national subsidy for it -- gone -- while UJC speaks of its support for Missions from the other side of its mouth. Chicago will have a Prime Minister's Mission to kick-off the 2010 Campaign, UJC will have none. Chicago will have another incredible success. UJC will not have a Prime Minister's Mission for the 2010 Campaign.There are some positives: a terrific Missions Director, her knowing and driven supervisor and a relocation of Missions where it always should have been -- in the Campaign.

And, on and on the pea spins as the UJC shell game continues.

Why is UJC saying one thing and doing another? It's mainly this leadership's tradition.


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