Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Time to catch up on some correspondence and calls:

~ The all new new CEO. Last week UJC leaders received Board authorization to enter into negotiations (which had already begun in earnest) with the prospective single candidate -- the "out of the box" Jerry Silverman. His new contract was announced one business day later. along with "talking points" designed to respond to any questions, criticisms, etc. But not all!!

Several Federation leaders have called me with essentially the same message: "How is this person to give advice to lay and professional leadership about an organization that is 'drowning' within the context of an organization and a system about which he knows nothing?" Fair question -- particularly in a circumstance where the outgoing and incoming leadership (a couple of whom at least) have yet to demonstrate much of a knowledge either. Members of the Search Committee who have called or written have assured me that Jerry "...is a great guy" and while that is reassuring (and refreshing), it strikes me that that is but one criteria for UJC's CEO; he has raised a tremendous amount for Jewish Camps (from about 4-5 Foundations); increased the Budget (!!) and improved the quality of the staff. OK. Jerry better be the greatest thing since sliced Challah.

Then came the calls insisting that "I have heard UJC (usually referred to as "they") has agreed to pay this guy $700,000 (or, sometimes, it's represented as $750,000)." This is usually followed by: "Are they nuts?" I don't have an answer -- I don't know what the "deal" is or will be. However, I can tell you that (1) the new, new CEO would have been "nuts" to accept such an obscene amount; and (2) those "negotiating" such a deal must feel that this compensation isn't the federations' business, it's theirs and they can do with our money as they see fit.

~ Threatening the federations... In one of the most extreme, let alone bizarre, reactions to those federations (growing in numbers) who cannot or will not pay full Dues, there are UJC leaders who have privately discussed doing direct fund raising within those federations. They sit around, apparently, puff up their chests and boast to each other how it would "be so easy" to raise money in _______ -- "they do a terrible fund raising job themselves...." When asked "what would you raise money for? UJC Dues?" the answer is -- "for Dues, JAFI and JDC." Insane and certainly beyond rational thought. If JAFI and/or JDC need fund raising assistance in a community, I would certainly doubt that either would ask for UJC's "help" at this point; if the UJC leaders who are discussing this are serious, they ought to look at the FRD that UJC has done itself over the past 5 years -- other than a PM Mission, a big goose egg. But it makes 'em feel good to threaten.

~ Dues. I have been chastised for asserting that "Dues deals" are in discussion between UJC's leaders and multiple communities. I am told by UJC that "no deals have been made or are in discussion." I would stand corrected if I did not know of specific "offers" made to or under consideration by multiple communities at this time.

~ Yemeni Jews. Anyone in the vicinity of Monsey, New York, spotted any incoming Yemenite Jews? Has there been a sighting? Has there been any response...any... by UJC leaders to the letters they have received from the World Zionist Organization on this "relocation?" And just how much of the "UJC share, " of the $800,000 "ask" has been received by UJC? Even the Satmar are learning that this UJC isn't the "partner" they had hoped it would be. Just asking.


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