Thursday, March 25, 2010


1. From an organization whose leaders appointed a Chair of Israel-Overseas (make that "Global Operations") who represented a community whose allocation to the Israel-Overseas partners of JFNA would fit in the tip of a thimble, comes a new appointment equally bizarre. JFNA is convening a Committee or Work Group or whatever to make recommendations on the core allocation to one of JFNA's overseas partners. One of the intended appointees is from one of the three communities cited in the recent Post The Cutting Edge of Nothing as allocating nothing to the partners' core budgets. Is this a joke? Is there any credibility to a twisted "process" such as this one? What's up?

2. As readers know, based on the first meeting between and among JFNA, Federation, JAFI and JDC leaders last year, there was real hope that the Silverman-Manning leadership was moving the organization into a major advocacy role in recognition of the organization's moral responsibilities, the obligations set forth in the merger agreement and the reality that absent advocacy JFNA had failed in those obligations to its partners and to the mantra its leaders so often recite -- kal Yisrael areivim zeh l'zeh. It has become clear since that historic meeting that JFNA has backed away. Why? Well, it seems that some federation professional leaders (curiously, most from communities whose allocations are significantly higher than the dismal norm) want no part of, nor will they support, an active national advocacy role (and those who don't oppose such advocacy apparently don't care enough to argue). So, as JFNA leaders may internally debate whether the organization should be a leader in any area, its actions vis-a-vis advocacy strongly suggest that its leaders haven't the courage of their own convictions...or just make that "the courage."

3. I am beginning to wonder if the current leadership of JFNA has decided to continue the sad practice of the politics of personal vilification and in personam attacks on those who disagree with their practices and policies as did their fine predecessors. Are vendettas being replicated hidden this time by smiles? Are leadership roles being meted out by virtue of leaders' personal rather than federation or institutional loyalties? If the current leaders need examples, call or write at your convenience. Jerry Silverman "gets it" -- he understands how wasteful these actions are -- but on this one, he appears to be overruled.

4. In her speech at the Aipac Policy Conference, the Secretary of State stated in part: "As Israel's friend it is our responsibility to give credit when it is due and to tell the truth when it is needed." I am certain that many disagree expecting our government to be in lock step with Israel on all things. Take this statement down many levels and you get to my message to the lay leaders of JFNA: "As the federations' friend and as JFNA's as well, it is my responsibility to give credit when it is due and to tell the truth when it is needed." I don't expect that JFNA's lay leaders have any respect whatsoever for that obligation. Sorry, but I believe that a strong dose of "truth" is coming.

5. After the inappropriate attempts by the Obama Administration to humiliate Prime Minister Netanyahu arising out of, at worst, an insult to the Vice-President, one might have expected more than a a wimp-like "statement" from the Conference of Presidents. A suggestion to my friends at the Conference: as you can't or won't speak for us, given what has transpired since the Biden visit, just send on the Krauthammer column of March 19 -- The Biden Incident.

6. Let's close with some wonderful and positive news. Last Wednesday Jerry quietly announced that he had brought Mindy Hepner back to a senior position at JFNA. A wonderful professional and role model, Mindy had left the then UJC in what I believe to have been understandable frustration during the prior regime -- this time she returns to a set of critical and challenging roles apprpriate to her training, education, background and abilities. A great hire!! Need more.


No comments: