Sunday, December 5, 2010


The horrific Carmel forest fire which cost so many Israeli lives is a tragedy deeply felt. The idiot, Jeffrey Goldberg, used the occasion to state that our philanthropy has no place in these circumstances -- clearly Goldberg failed to understand at all the costs imposed on our partners in their work moving thousands to places of respite while the flames threatened them. And, quite clearly, Goldberg gave not a whit.

At one and the same time, there emerged a "parade of funds" and at least ten mailboxes opened -- often in duplication and redundancy -- each seeking our contributions. Sure, the Jewish National Fund did so, as did ZAKA, Mizrachi (?), American Friends of Magen David Adom, the JDC, the Haifa Foundation, JAFI, and the World Zionist Organization (the WZO???), something called AMEINU and OMG, J Street... while multiple federations sought funds, independently, not to be outdone, the JFNA created a Fund.

There used to be a Coordinating Committee. Then again, there used to be discipline and a national organization. Today?
Each "Fund" is out there seeking donors. Do I give through my federation, through JFNA, through JNF, JAFI, J Street, the JDC? Or the ones that will surely follow? Proof that multiple appeals end up producing fewer dollars? Proof that when organizations are weak, they grasp for purpose...while the cause, the tragedy get lost in the "process?"



paul jeser said...

Goes back to the 'merger.' UJA was the advocate basically for overseas needs. CJF worked with the FEDS - especially in times like now. W/o a CJF type of organization all hell breaks loose.

Even with this new environment, with 'friends' like goldberg who needs enemies.

Anonymous said...

The JCC movement response to it's Presidents and Exec Directors urging them to support the Federation response. At least there is some cooperation.

December 5, 2010

To: JCC Presidents
JCC Executives
From: Alan Mann and Gary Lipman
Re: The Fire in Israel

We all watched on Friday and throughout the weekend as a tragic fire engulfed parts of Israel. Based on the latest information, the fire, while not yet extinguished is now under control, thanks to an unprecedented international relief effort with contributions by more than 20 nations. Unfortunately the relief was too late for the 41 Israelis who sacrificed their lives helping to evacuate people to safety, and for a significant portion of the beautiful and tranquil Carmel Forest. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of those who lost loved ones as well as with all of our friends throughout Israel.

We at JCC Association, including our JCC Association Israel Office, working with our partners at the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the Joint Distribution Committee, urge you to help support emergency relief and recovery efforts. Currently several JCCs have placed signs and solicitation materials in their lobby encouraging their members to provide support.

Currently JFNA is leading a range of fundraising activities including emergency mailboxes. JFNA and its partners are planning for how to deploy these resources with our partner agencies most effectively.

For the latest report on JDC activities, click here .

For the latest report on JAFI activities, click here.

For the latest report on Israel Trauma Coalition activities, click here .

Those who wish can donate to a special JFNA emergency fund. Checks should be sent to the Israel Forest Fire Disaster Relief Fund, and made payable to The Jewish Federations of North America, care of: Wall Street Station, PO Box 148, New York, NY 10268. Funds can also be donated online at this dedicated page .

To see information on how to donate via your mobile device, visit this special information resource page on the crisis, which includes news stories and other materials, and will be regularly updated.

We will continue to monitor the situation and Israel’s needs during this period and will keep JCCs informed as we learn more.

RWEX said...

Good for JCCA.

One of our more bashful correspondents wrote me to assert that "the fire has extinguished our system."

And then there is ZAKA, whose heroic work is an inspiration evidences the worst taste when it headlines an appeal "a BURNING need for new equipment..." Sad.

Anonymous said...

Federation's shouldn't have opened special mailboxes in the wake of the fire. Instead, they should have sent out the following e-mail:

"Fires in Israel -- DON'T SEND MONEY

In the wake of the tragic fire in Northern Israel, our Jewish Federation system sprung into action. Our partners, JAFI and the JDC removed people from harm's way, set up summer camps, (etc etc).

This is what you pay us to do.
Your annual gift funds an infrastructure that can respond on a moment's notice when there is a crisis anywhere in the Jewish world. We responded to this most recent crisis because your generosity allows us to. We were there the day after the fire because we were there the day before the fire.

Thank you for your generosity. Because of you, no Jew anywhere in the world is ever alone."

This would have differentiated the Federation system from the rest of the wolf crying opportunistic fundraising organizations in the Jewish world, with the exception of JNF, which is really best placed to meet the new critical need, namely replacing the burned up trees.

One person's view...