Sunday, December 13, 2009


Sing that to the tune of "if I were a rich man..." A recent expose in Haaretz ( alleged that UJC's Nachman Shai gamed the IDF pension system to enrich himself to the tune of about 3 million NIS. The article suggested that the person who was once the Director General of UJC's Israel Office acted as if he were part of Chicago's political machine, deploying his contacts on the road to apparent unjust enrichment. I hope the story isn't true because of my affection and respect for Nachman. But...

In addition to the pension issue, this article raised the question, the serious question of what severance deal Nachman negotiated with UJC when he left his position at UJC Israel? Was it a lot of money or a little? Was the pension deal Nachman had with the IDF disclosed? Or, in its wisdom, in another non-negotiation did UJC just hand over a lot of money...your money. Was it one year's salary, two years, more? I will hazard a guess, no one asked and no one told. So I'm asking -- how much was it and what is The Jewish Federations of North America going to do about it? Let me guess -- "'s past history; we're looking forward, not backward. High road. Next question." And, the reality -- it wasn't their money.

One commentator to the Jerusalem Post story merely wrote "shameful" -- that correspondent could have been referring to Nachman and a whole group of people.

"If I were a rich man," "if I were a Nach man," indeed he is.



Anonymous said...

Why would he have gotten severance from UJC? He left to get a full salary from the Knesset. He was on a leave of absence from the army while employed at UJC. Nobody would have agreed to give him severance. Your facts must be wrong!

Anonymous said...

Will you please post the link to the JPost article you reference?

RWEX said...

I am sorry. The article appeared in Haaretz. I made the correction in the body of the Post with the Link. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Anonymous said...

Correction to the first Anyonymous' comment: Nachman was not a member of the Knesset when he left UJC; he was still only a candidate on the Labor slate.

Anonymous said...

As long as we are correcting: Nachman was never a candidate on the Labor Slate. He was elected as a member of Kadima.

The other good question is: Did UJC make the pension payment to the Army?

Jewish Philanthropy News and Views said...

Kadima slate - not Labor.

Anonymous said...

You may have affection for the man, but respect?
Can anyone enumerate any achievement of his to the benefit of UJC? All he did was use the UJC to increase his ego and his purse. Just ask the succession of secretaries who resigned after being reduced to tears by his screaming invective. In light of his previous behavior, it would be surprising if he was honorable enough to forgo the severance pay that was probably part of his contract with UJC.

RWEX said...

Boy oh boy!!

The JHerusalem Post reported today that the Israel State Controller is "investigating Nachman Shai's Pension." If back in the day UJC made payments on Shai's behalf into the pension, the facts will out soon enough.

Anonymous said...

should the salaries and all contract details of senior non profit staff be subject to public scrutiny?

When a shul and a synagogue Rabbi part ways are the details of and leading up to the separation an appropriate subject of press scrutiny?

Should a lay person ever be present at a Federation meeting when an agency with whom they have a fiduciary relationship is up for allocations review?

When on a mission, are there expenses that are picked up by end user agencies when the mission is sponsored by a local Federation or JFNA who must then make dollar decisions pertaining to the host agency?

Is it ok for a Federation staffer to accept a free meal from an agency exec? What about bumping a lay person or staff person's kid on a waiting list for birthright or pre-school?

No, I am not asking anyone to answer these questions on one foot but the torah of intra-community ethics and transparency has yet to be seriously discussed, let alone written. And the answers are shades of gray.