Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Jack Benny may not be known to all of you. He was a brilliant Jewish comedian from Waukegan, Illinois, who presented himself on "stage, screen, radio and TV" as a world-class misanthrope. Placing one of his most brilliant routines in the context of UJC and the federations: "UJC to the leaders of the ________ Federation: 'Your money or your membership.' Silence. UJC: 'We said your money or your membership. Which one is it?' Federation leaders: "We're thinking....we're thinking.'"

When UJC announced Jerry Silverman's engagement, it sent out Talking Points to Board members anticipating we might be called by the press to comment -- or to acquaint us in a simple format with Jerry's qualifications.

That got me thinking a bit myself. And I am very upset. "About what," you ask? About the fact that my son, Jon, wasn't recruited for the position as UJC CEO and President. "Is he qualified," you ask? Well....OK, you decide.

He is from the "Now Generation" and could serve UJC for many years. He has led the design and marketing efforts for two of the largest athletic shoe companies in the world; he knows how to relate to his generation and generations younger. He is a great communicator. He knows how to team build within a complex organization. He met the wonderful woman who would become his wife on an Israel trip. He and his family keep a Kosher home. He likes to go camping with his family. He knows what a Jewish federation is. He would like to earn $700,000 per year.

Did my son receive a call from the UJC Search Firm? No. Was he disqualified because he is my son? Had his name come up, he might have been. Was he interested in the UJC job? Probably never heard of it. But, this dialogue in my head is about qualifications -- obviously, he's got those. For sure. in abundance. And, just to reassure you; he rarely listens to his Dad. So, had he been considered, you could have rested easy.

If Jerry does a great job as we hope... then for Jon, maybe next time.

In the meantime, I did get a call from the press asking for comment. I forgot the bullet points.



Anonymous said...

Richard, i work for the Federation system and I have a a question for you. How is the selection process for such a big job? (CEO of UJC)?
I mean, if there's 150 plus federations, i would expect that the person taking that job would come from that system. What is the idea of appointing somebody who despite his talents, does not have a strong Federation background? I'm not sure how this whole process happens, but i cannot see how someone can succeed in such a big job without extensive experience in the system he's supposed to lead!
Mr. Spinoza

RWEX said...

M. Spinoza,

Excellent question. I am almost certain it is one the Search Committee asked themselves. They found Jerry to be, as the say in the National Football League Draft, "the best person available" and more. Let me get my Talking Points...

Anonymous said...

are you still a UJC board member? i thought that you were fired?

RWEX said...

To "Anonymous" -- I remain a Board Member of UJC. If the current, out-going leaders had their way, I wouldn't be.