At the GA, JFNA's Treasurer, Heschel Raskes, made a forceful plea for the transmission of cash with 50 days left in 2010 to support the core budgets and community projects of JAFI and JDC; Jerry Silverman a passing reference. One or two pleas a year aren't enough. So, while JFNA continues down its various paths unrelated to the needs of federations and unrelated as well to the purposes ascribed to JFNA in its Mission and Vision, cash, other than for Dues, remains an elusive concern, if that.
Every year at about this time the same plea -- would JFNA please organize and execute a formal lay-professional cash collection effort? And the answer always is, "yes" (not to me, of course, generally)...and, then, almost nothing happens. We had such an effort at UJA -- it was annually successful. We had one at the outset of what was UJC -- it was annually successful. Then, starting six years ago...nada. Here's why...
No interest? In part. A failure to involve lay leaders? In part. Consistently backing away from asking federations to affirmatively do something? In largest part. The end result was that but for a committed few JFNA professionals -- so few I can name them: Cheryl Lefland, Pam Zaltsman and Sam Astrof -- and, at one time, busy lay leader Michael Gelman -- that was the extent of the effort. And it failed -- miserably.
This wasn't and isn't brain surgery, friends. It was and is simply calling federation chairs and executives and asking how JFNA could help with cash collections. It was providing cash data to leaders who, in my experience, often didn't have any. It was pro to pro and lay to lay. It was tachlis. And JFNA couldn't and seemingly can't bring itself to do it.
So, my idea. Last year JAFI and the JDC both offered to join the cash effort. They were assuaged with promises from JFNA's leaders that "we get it," "we're going to be on top of this;" they didn't and they weren't. So, in the new "spirit of partnership," wouldn't it be appropriate to allow JAFI/JDC leaders to engage in the cash effort? This is not a new suggestion; just a necessary one.