Monday, April 26, 2010


Some new stuff:

1. Leonid Nevzlin was the International Chair of the 2009 General Assembly. It was not widely publicized, nor was Nevzlin ever publicly thanked, but this GA would have been an absolute financial disaster had Nevzlin not only financially supported it but essentially picked up the deficit -- a deficit that JFNA has not and will not disclose. So, good for JFNA. The 2010 General Assembly has been moved to New Orleans as you know. Who is in line to pick up the 2010 deficit -- one that is as sure to occur as is the sun rising in the East? Neither the federations nor, certainly JFNA, can afford a GA financial catastrophe. So, the recent announcement that the Israeli entrepreneur and thought leader, Eitan Wertheimer and his wife will be the International Co-Chairs, may be the best bail out plan for the 2010 GA. Have the Wertheimers been told what the GA cost Nevzlin? And when they learn, then what?

2. A great friend and senior federation professional took the time to write me in criticism of some of my comparisons between the Aipac Policy Conference and the GA. But, here is how he/she concluded his note: "The GA needs to be improved in many ways, but its success or failure, unlike Aipac's Conference, is a symptom of JFNA/Federation success or failure, not the direct product/cause of success or failure. That is, it is possible to have a great JFNA national system without a great GA; Aipac's trajectory today is so very much intertwined with its Policy Conference. They do recognize that and invest their resources appropriately. They know what their business is; our system doesn't."

3. On the subject of the GA, when many suggested strongly that the GA become a bi-annual event, one of the most telling responses was: we contract for the venues years in advance and to cancel would be cost-prohibitive. Then...bam...Houston canceled for D.C. in 2009 and...boom... Orlando canceled for New Orleans this year without batting an eye. Just tell us the truth...ok?

4. Then there is pandering. Telling 220 young leaders in Boston, as Jerry Silverman did a few weeks ago, that those of us over 40 years old "...are just guests in your century" asking them "[S]o how can we educate, learn, support and empower you to practice leadership..." he may have been asking the wrong people.

It appears that today JFNA has steered the Young Leadership Cabinets toward an annual "leadership effort" such as a "Habitat for Humanity-like" single day effort in New Orleans or a "Lead+Read=Succeed" effort in Boston and a Cabinet Retreat and a strained set of proposed YLC Alumni Missions or get-togethers at, e.g., the Aipac Conference. There is so much more that could be done if the JFNA Young Leadership Cabinet (and Cabinet graduates) programs were "federation-centric." What about it, Jerry?

5. And on to patronizing. If you have read the JFNA stuff of late, as I am certain you do, you will learn that "NextGen" has been replaced with the strange designation of "emerging adults." What the hell does that mean? "Emerging" from, where? Is this an alien invasion? Who dreams this stuff up? One dictionary defines "emerging" as "coming to maturity" -- but is that what JFNA means? "Coming out into view from concealment" -- is that what JFNA means? Or did they mean to term our next generation as "the rising generation"? Or is jargon to be the new substitute for substance?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

5 responses to 5 comments

1. And in the future if we sell the GA to a certain casino owner in las Vegas, will Sarah Palin be our keynoter? Then again, George Soros has even more cash on hand...

2. AIPAC has a great conference but in their consistent tilt rightward they haven't exactly preserved even the appearance of an American consensus on ME policy

3.A bi-annual GA -yes. But restore the quaterlies to take care of real business.

4.Note to Jerry: You are not the leader of the Jewish world -- you are the leader of the Federation movement in the Jewish world

5. If only John Stewart would do one show on Federations - now there's a GA session!