~ The Prime Minister's Mission. After three years with no PM Mission, JFNA placed one on the calendar for October 4-11. It named past UJA Chair and UJC founding Chair of the Executive, Joel Tauber, as Mission Chair in commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of Operation Exodus for which Tauber deserves great credit. As has been the case for too many years, the Mission would be built on a Chicago contingent, led by Renee and Lester Crown, of 35, the hope was, as in the Mission we led in 2007, that a national recruiting effort led by Tauber would produce, as did that Paris-Jerusalem Mission, at least an equal number of participants from around the country. It didn't.
Even with some great federation leaders aboard, fewer than 15 were recruited to join the Crowns and Chicago (most of them recruited by a single committed JFNA Development [ooops, make that "philanthropic resources"] pro including, to her credit, Kathy Manning) -- Tauber, himself, could only make the St. Petersburg portion -- an apparent scheduling conflict for the Mission Chair(!?). The Mission will be a huge fund raising success for Chicago, kicking off our 2011 Campaign with gathering momentum. What it could have been for JFNA...it won't be.
~ Rebranding...again. JFNA has "rebranded" its Development effort -- in fact Development no longer exists (did you miss it?). It's now Philanthropic Resources. This will no doubt make a huge...make that huuuuuuge...difference. Somehow, our marketing guru, the CEO himself, who at a meeting with Chicago federation leaders early on in his JFNA service, maybe even before it began, stood tall and behind the renaming of the Development effort to the "United Jewish Appeal," forgot. Let's drop any pretense that JFNA has anything to do with, can I say the word, Campaign. More on this in a full Post dedicated to the subject.Is there someone in a dark room somewhere coming up with these rebrands?
~ What I Am Reading Now...Continued. I have been remiss in not bring to your attention the excellent Blog, http://religionandstateinIsrael.blogspot.com While I know our friends at JFNA have back-burnered the Conversion legislation controversy for six months, I hope they are still reading, if nothing more.
~ Tribefest (cont'd). So this Tribefest "thing" has now been set. I call it a "thing" because other than a "party" or "fest," there's no substance to it whatsoever...at least not yet. Read all about it on something called "Facebook;" March 6-8, 2011 at the Mandalay Bay even as community stalwarts Sheldon Adelson and Danny Greenspun each own magnificent hotels with more than competitive pricing and a consuming interest in helping their Jewish community and People. The fact that JFNA has proceeded with this event with almost no consultation with the Las Vegas federation astounds. Could you conceive of a circumstance where JFNA would come to, let's say, Miami and meet with the Mayor and a member of Congress without notice in advance to or consultation with Jacob Solomon and the federation? It wouldn't happen -- so why Las Vegas?
Then there is this. A "chaver of the Blog" (a "COB") wrote in response to our Post on the subject: "So many Native Americans are of Jewish descent. They intermarried with Jews who were exiled from Spain in 1492 are probably the truly "Lost Tribe.' And if we can start new federations on tribal lands think of the revenues we could generate for annual campaigns..." Uh-huh. Must mean generate for annual "Philanthropic Resources."
But...there has been a serious miscalculation here. The emerging generation wants to be treated seriously...to be taken seriously. At the Young Leadership Cabinet Retreat a few months ago, you will recall, our next and future leaders who raised but a small amount compared to other times, were treated to...a comedian and a casino night ("which can be replicated in your communities.") Now, casino night trumped with a Tribefest. This is the ultimate in patronizing. It's all so sad.