Wednesday, November 18, 2009


~ After watching all of the GA Plenary speeches on the Web a second time -- and they were, in the main, uniformly excellent -- putting politics aside, if that's possible in this era of partisanship and, let's face it, outright hate in some quarters, the absolute best speech by far was Rahm Emanuel's. It was "Jewish;" and it captured the essence of our work with humor of all things -- this from a guy who had no real relationship with our community in all the years he lived here in Chicago. He spoke of the "(values) central to our faith and experience" and thanked us for our "...advocacy for those most in need" wherever they may live. He was gracious and self-deprecating. Good stuff. From a surprising source.

~ So, a regular reader wrote: "After reading the fawning adoration of Jerry Silverman in your Blog and in the article in the JTA, Silverman looking golden, and in, I don't have to eat anything with sugar in it for weeks. Don't you realize that anyone would look better in light of what went on, or didn't, over the prior half decade?" My answer: "Yes."

~ I continue to wonder what the public and private role is of the National Campaign Chair. I saw Michael Lebovitz co-introduce the Sapir (is it time to [a] retire that award now that Chicago has won it five straight years; and [b] change the name?) Award but so many others of lesser positions be given greater exposure and honor at the podium. If the National Chair's role is to be elevated, as it should be, my suggestion (made on these pages before): get rid of the still- born and truly superfluous Center for Jewish Philanthropy and consolidate all FRD under the National Campaign Chair -- for starters.

~ I know the visit to the White House for a GA meeting with the President and key staff was last minute but...could there be some thought given at the highest levels of The Jewish Federations of North America to inviting high level donors to such gatherings? I mean having senior JFNA staff there is a nice "gift" and having some federation CEOs there may be good hasbara for the JFNA, but what about using such events as a catalyst to fund raising? Were there some institutional memory, it might help. Hello??!!



paul jeser said...

R.Emanuel's rhetoric (GA speech) doesn't hide the fact that the administration's actions are not friendly - to say the last. The response to Gilo, the way they treated the PM, recent appointmetns, underline the fact that we have an administration that doesn't understand the realities of the middle-east.

Anonymous said...

Get with the program Richard -- we live in the age of the professional superstar with big salaries and bigger egos. In a day gone by pro's were content to work closely with leadership to make it happen and were not overly concerned if they missed the photo-op. Not anymore. Isn't it interesting that when the bottom fell out of so many campaigns last year there were not many behind closed door meetings of local community benefactors to make things whole?