Tuesday, January 26, 2010


1. Some of my correspondents have been particularly observant of late:

One noted that in my litany of anticipated "miracles" from Jerry Silverman, I omitted "walking on water." Well, he is already doing that -- just don't fall off that log m'boy.

Another wrote me suggesting that "the Jewish Federations of North America no longer exist, so why keep writing about it." Yes, but...hope springs eternal that some event, some audacity, some boldness, will lead JFNA to real relevancy. Will it be soon enough?

2. Will the day ever come, even in this era where lip service is given to "greater transparency" where our Federation Boards are provided ample opportunity to debate issues to come before the Jewish Federations of North America Board prior to Board meetings, retreats, etc.? Is this too much to ask? Federations debating proposed national policies in advance would empower their representatives at JFNA to speak to their federation position on the issues, with a real "idea exchange" at the national level. Perhaps, please G-d, this would even drive consensus towards the collective enterprise to which we are all, on the surface, committed. Do you want The Jewish Federations of North America to be bottom-up, participatory driven or to remain top (that tiny slice of leadership balanced at the very point of the triangle) down? Will our leaders ever focus on the disappointing lay attendance at meetings such as that just concluded in Dallas, or the "all important" FLI one year ago, etc., etc., etc. and what that lack of lay participation portends for the organization and its leaders' hopes and dreams? Doesn't look like it.

3. I, along with you, felt incredible, unbelievable pride when, in the aftermath of the horrific tragedy that was the Haiti earthquake, Israel sent 200 emergency care workers to Haiti and Israel's Shaare Tzedek Hospital immediately dispatched a team to set up an emergency field hospital. Do you think the day will come when after a parallel tragedy in Israel (G-d forbid) Arab nations (or for that matter European countries) will dispatch aid or even words of comfort? Rhetorical question? Our everlasting debt to the State of Israel increases.

4. GA'10 has been moved to New Orleans. The JTA milked this story as if it were the "scoop" of the millennium. It wasn't. But there is a story there -- "beyond the headlines." Many of us will remember that the major reason given for not canceling the annual GA to make it an every other year event was "we have non-cancellable contracts with major penalties that kick in if we cancel." But, now we can cancel 10 months in advance, no problem, from a Disney venue to New Orleans. Was Disney given notice? Is there a penalty? In its Briefing on the subject the reason given for the switch -- an inability to accommodate the Lion of Judah Conference back-to-back with the GA in Orlando -- something that could be done in N.O. Eh, not so fast. In reality no City other than Las Vegas has more available hotel rooms than Orlando. Could the real reason be that the JFNA NWP just didn't want to meet in Orlando? Just asking. New Orleans is a perfect venue given JFNA's work there during Kristina and since but just tell us the real reasons for the switch and the cost. OK?


1 comment:

paul jeser said...

As much as I appreciate the 'plug' for Shaare Zedek, the fact is that the Israeli hospital in Haiti was organized and funded by the IDF. SZ's staff played a significant role, for which we are very proud, but so did Doctors and nurses from the IDF and other Israeli hospitals. It was a great team effort and proved, once again, that Israel is a 'light unto the nations.'

paul jeser
nat'l dir of major gifts
dir of the western region