Monday, June 7, 2010


Ever notice how some things just seem to disappear off the JFNA radar? Things that were "critically important" at the time?

1. There were some critical presentations on collective responsibility at the JFNA Board meeting last month. Misha Galperin and Steve Schwager for JAFI/JDC respectively, Steve Nasatir and Jacob Solomon for the federations and Kathy Manning in her introduction of the session. I have to believe that these leaders remarks are in writing (in the instance of Misha and Steve Nasatir, I know this to be the case) but has JFNA distributed these presentations or put them on the JFNA website? No...too busy counting the hits (or making them) on ish? Visiting the White House? If there is a ball to be dropped, no institution seems more capable.

Further, it is my understanding that it is JFNA's responsibility to build consensus in support of its role and federations' collective responsibility to the Israel and overseas partners. This JFNA obligation is not subject to deferral or delegation to some federation CEOs. Yet, JFNA's leaders remain mute. Apparently, they fail to comprehend the implications for JFNA and our system should consensus not be a more or less immediate result.

2. You remember of course the "criticality" of bringing Yemenite Jews to Monsey, N.Y in a JFNA/Satmar partnership...or something like that. JFNA engaged in out of bounds "emergency" fund raising with federations (something it never has done with the federations for JAFI or Joint) but never disclosed (a) how much was raised or (b) how the funds were spent. JFNA assured the federations that it...that's JFNA...would monitor the "situation" of the Yemenite Jews brought to America. Has it? Will it? Can it?

3. On the Budget and Dues. Some federations are urging that Dues be "indexed" to annual increases and decreases in Annual Campaign; others are asking (watch, those "asks" will soon become "demands") that Dues reflect the totality of federation assets -- endowment but not designated dollars raised. These arguments are made by federations whose campaigns are down -- but all federation campaigns were reduced last year, some severely. Where is the equity? And, just how does JFNA respond, if at all?

4. "Consensus??" creep. You remember the FLI? That infamous meeting of fewer than 50% of the federations present in Ft. Lauderdale where numerous matters were discussed and leadership claimed "clear consensus" on any number of matters even though the entire meeting bogged down in discussions of Dues. The current leaders of JFNA have interpreted that FLI to have "resolved" that there be "planning tables." Absent definition or real resolution the best I can understand is that the "global planning table" is just another brand name for ONAD. (A rose is a rose is a rose.) So now the JFNA Budget includes a $250,000 allocation to the Global Planning Table for...? (Your guess is as good as mine...or theirs I think.) If this is how JFNA's governance works...OMG.

5. Nice article on Manning-Kaplan in JTA -- For Manning-Kaplan Duo, Jewish nonprofits are the ties that bind. Required reading? Put it on the JFNA Connect Blog?

6. Shuffling through the Jewish Federations of North America website, I came upon a JFNA reference page identifying Blogs relevant to the federations' and JFNA's work. Chevre, UJThee and Me was not listed. Mirabile dictu. Sadly, much pettiness continues at JFNA...and little else that benefits our federations beyond what the Council of Jewish Federations offered in the evermore distant past. We'll fill you in soon.

7. The GA will be held November 7-9 (I think). This year JFNA has deleted from its Budget a $500,000 GA subsidy and hired a brand new consultant to engage sponsors and, I assume, attract new and "regular" donors. So, I was surprised when an FOB (Friend of the Blog) sent me a copy of the solicitation for booths and stuff at the GA announcing that the Assembly would be November 6-8!! Good start. I see a large deficit looming. Is there a Jewish organizational corollary to Murphy's Law? I am thinking JFNA's Law.

And, can you think of any I may have missed?


No comments: