Friday, September 3, 2010


Today let's focus on one of the major problems facing JFNA -- an organization whose top lay leaders appear not to have the ability to achieve the goals set for JFNA 11 years ago; instead the focus is too often on narishkeit, on minutia. They thereby ignore their responsibilities as our leaders. Or, more to the point, as we have come to learn, with the acquiescence of a very small group of federation lay and professional leaders, the revival of the disgraceful and discredited ONAD process -- with a different name: now the "Global Planning Table" with a budget of $250,000 and a consultant in tow, the JFNA-consultant negotiations, if not hiring, preceded the "Summit." (Sort of a "rebranding" in the worst sense, as it were.) Worse, in so doing, our leaders tie up critical JFNA professionals with this nonsense, failing to recognize how demoralizing their demands to elevate "JFNA the brand" at the expense of the federations and our partners themselves often become.

Instead of insisting that JFNA's work be focused, or that the JFNA Budget process be meaningful, or that there be good faith follow-up to the baby steps taken into the waters of collective responsibility, these "leaders" instead focus on...themselves...their positioning, their conduct of meetings, claims that he or she or you is "not JFNA," claims that your allocations are "JFNA's money," and on and on and on. And then they wonder why JFNA has no credibility with the federations -- even so many of those which continue to pay full Dues.

So what might awaken these "leaders" to their responsibilities? A Vuvuzela blown close to their ears; or, better yet, in this season, a Shofar? Or, as happened with the first group of then UJC leaders, a face-to-face visit with the lay and professional leaders of the federations (that fell through for reasons explored elsewhere). Or, a direct demand by the CEO and President that they stop -- Charles Bronfman used to employ the demand "ENOUGH" to great effect. I, like you, respect excellence; and I, like you, respect achievement. Maybe someday we will have both. But, really, haven't we had ENOUGH?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In fond memory of CRB's regular urging, "Enough" I suggest a new song. It is for the wrong season, but what the heck. I figure since Passover marks the beginning of the year – re-birth, etc and Rosh Ha-shannah marks the beginning of time maybe it is still appropriate for a new beginning for JFNA.

If only the federations understood and accepted what it meant to be owners of UJC, Dayenu.

If only the federations at the ONAD table recognized that they are representing not just themselves but all those federations not at the table, Dayenu.

If only the ONAD committee remembered that they and the UJC need to advocate for their ovberseas partners, Dayenu.

If only the members of the ONAD committees recognized that the "N" stood for Needs and the "A" stood for Assessment (of the federations) Dayenu.

If only the members of the ONAD committees could actually quantify Needs, Dayenu

If only UJC/ONAD could have forced federations to comply with their assigned fair share for dues and overseas needs, Dayenu

I am sure you can add other verses as desired.

L’shannah Tova