Thursday, January 7, 2010


In an apparent "response" to the onslaught of the JDC upon The Jewish Federations of North America or in an attempt to assuage that "partner," JFNA leaders have called together a dormant JAFI/JDC Work Group to meet once again -- and at its initial meeting, to do so sans JDC or JAFI.

This JDC/JAFI 'Split' Work Group is the "external" type of Work Group. In this instance CEOs of various City-size federations and, I assume, some JFNA professionals and federation lay leaders, as well, all well-intentioned, have begun a process with no control over where it may head. Its purpose, one would assume, is to review the agreements reached by the Joint and JAFI. Instead, recent correspondence to JDC suggests that this Work Group has succeeded to the mantle of the discredited ONAD process " chart a path which will lead us (JAFI, JDC and the federations) to an equitable solution..." It appears to this writer that there are still JFNA lay leaders who hearken back to the 2009 Federation Leadership Institutes's prescription for "planning tables" with an invite to JAFI/JDC to participate at the next meeting later this month. Whose Work Group is this? What is this Work Group's charge?

Maybe at the next Work Group meeting John Ruskay will restate that portion of his Tenth Anniversary address dealing with collective responsibility. Maybe the entire Work Group should reread the Plant Report, Sonny Plant's, z'l, study and recommendations at the funeral pyre for ONAD. This Work Group should know that Plant's Committee's conclusion -- "(that) [U]ntil the collective core allocation increases, it is unrealistic for the federation movement to determine the current uses of the current level of the collective core" -- echoed the ONAD Committee's prior recommendation under Alan Jaffe's Chair (prior to Alan resigning to assume the Treasurer's office at JDC). Leaders should never rely on others to report what a document or an agreement (or both) stated or concluded. All should know the context in addition to the written word. This Work Group has a heavy burden and a great opportunity -- it cannot allow itself to become a "mini-ONAD" and it must resolve a potential systemic calamity.

This Work Group will meet on January 20. JAFI and JDC have been "invited." May the meeting be a step toward reconciliation, within the context of the understandings heretofore reached by the Jewish Agency and the Joint.


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