Friday, May 21, 2010


I remember fondly, many of us do, MAD Magazine, of blessed memory. It's iconic cover boy was the doofus Alfred E. Neumann, who uttered the constant refrain: "What, me worry?" And, friends, there we have it -- the tag line that should be on each piece of JFNA letterhead, on every Leadership Briefing, right under The Jewish Federations of North America -- What, Me Worry?

Dues? What, Me Worry? Those Yemenite Jews we used federation funds to place with the Satmar in Monsey, New York? What, Me Worry? The federations who will or cannot pay their Dues? What, Me Worry? Federation needs and wants? What, me worry? What is our cause, what is our purpose, what are the values and principles we cherish? What, me worry? What, me worry? What, me worry?

These are functions not of a lack of interest in the federation system; these are the results of a national organization that has placed itself in the hands of lay leaders who don't know how federations work. While Jerry Silverman has now visited over 50 federations since his engagement as President and CEO, where have JFNA's leaders gone to learn? Worse, the professional mentoring that seems to be going on consists of: "don't do this, don't do that..."

Assume that JFNA and many federations want change...transformational change...of those federations which need it. Has any thought been given to the reality that one can't change that which one doesn't understand. Where is the understanding of organizational guru James Collins' mandate that change cannot succeed if one ignores the organization's "timeless values and historic principles" when those in leadership seem to know not what they are or where to go to learn them?

But...what, me worry? No. No. No. And no.



Anonymous said...

The good news is JFNA may actualy hear your complaint. The bad news is they will hire some consultant or academic who has never held a federation paycheck or worked a card to come up with the answer. Richard, you worry too much!

RWEX said...

Dear Anon:

Sad...but true.

paul jeser said...

Mad Magazine is still around and kicking. Best periodical - still!