Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happiest and healthiest 2011.

~ Orlando, anger at The Jewish Week's Gary Rosenblatt, of all people, erupted over a simple conclusion -- that Las Vegas was a better choice for last year's GA than Orlando. A Past Orlando Federation President reported that the decision to convene in Orlando "...was made in a complete vacuum without communication or consultation of any sort with local leadership..." Then, David Bornstein reports, the decision to abandon Orlando for New Orleans was made in exactly the same arrogant manner. Bornstein, pointing out how the GA might have helped Orlando, concluded that JFNA "...relegated (Orlando) to the dump heap of irrelevance by the near-sighted national organization." Finally, Bornstein found JFNA to be itself "irrelevant."

Is this any way to run the federations' business? Orlando, even in extremis, continued to pay JFNA Dues. Their leaders must be asking themselves why. A couple of equally relevant questions to those raised by this former Orlando President is who made these decisions at JFNA; and pursuant to what authority? Remember these are the same folks whose constant refrain has been "we can't move (or cancel) the GA because we would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties...and, then, we did.

And, by the way, that great Tribefest -- chose Las Vegas without consultation with local leadership until after the fact.

~ The edgy comic genius, Stephen Colbert, introduced to our lexicon the word "truthiness" way back when. The word became so instantaneously important that the producers of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary selected truthiness as its 2006 Word of the Year. What does it mean? According to its author, "'truthiness' is what you want the facts to be, as opposed to what the facts are." JFNA has adopted truthiness as its "word of the decade;" they continue to present their own version of truth without regard to "what the facts are." Who was it who said "you are entitled to your own opinions, you just can't have your own facts?" Whether it's inflating GA attendance, the value of pulling Yemenite Jews into the orbit of Monsey, New York, who are and aren't "partners," the value of ish or Tribefest, the value of its Budget and consequent Dues to its owners, the constant rebranding of programs and areas of focus, and on and on...JFNA's truthiness is on display. It's not pretty.

~ Is it just me or did JFNA's Leadership Briefing that applauded the JFNA/federation raise of $2.4 million to support the efforts in Israel to deal with the horrific fires in the North strike you as well as rather paltry in light of the severity of that crisis? Then, to read on top of the small amount raised that JFNA again sees its role as second-guessing the costs assumed by JAFI and JDC and other providers? I do remember a time that we trusted our partners -- those same partners that JFNA wants to trust it? Come on.

Yes. JFNA, for me, the gift that keeps on giving.


1 comment:

Hope Kramer said...

I have to disagree with Gary Rosenblatt and our former President of the Greater Orlando federation and their take on the GA ending up in New Orleans and its impact on Orlando. When the decision was made to hold the event in Orlando, there was no executive leadership to inform. The lay leadership was working hard on our local issues and did not have a relationship with anyone at JFNA. In fact JFNA was in transition too so all parties were working on their own organizations. After I was hired as Interim Director, Jerry Silverman called me to let me know of the change in venue and their reasons why. Among the many, logistically, Orlando was not working out. If you know anything about our hotels, they are large and far apart (except for the Dolphin and the Swan which share land usage and space). The cost to bus people around far out-weighed the cost to change the venue. Additionally, Orlando did not need to be distracted by focusing our limited resources on hosting national and international participants. We needed to focus on us - our Jewish community. In return, JFNA has held, and will continue to hold, national meetings in Orlando. They have helped us develop a campaign plan and brochure and just about whatever else we need. They are acting as true partners and have been a great resource to us as we move through these trying times.