Friday, February 18, 2011


Today's Post title is my addition to "the check's in the mail," "Drinking? Why no, officer," "I gave at the office" and other statements to fear and disbelieve. What brought this one on, you ask?

Well, I was paying attention at the JanuaryJFNA Board meeting when the North Shore Federation's Shep Remus, serving as the Chair of Global Operations:Israel & Overseas, introduced JFNA's Global Ops Director General, Rebecca Caspi, to present the ("I know it's confusing") "Select Core Priorities" to the gathered Board members. The presentation was not just "confusing," it was also stupefying. Here's the deal -- no matter how much your federation allocates to overseas needs, no matter whether you have increased, decreased or maintained your 2010 core allocation, your federation can reallocate 10% of that allocation to one or more of a set of JDC- or JAFI-defined Select Core Priorities. If the intent was, as the JAFI-JDC leaders stated, to increase federations' Israel-Overseas allocations -- that would be great. But JFNA's leaders, in response to a frustrated federation leader, said: "This is just an interim step. When we have the Global Planning Table up and running, we will have ever greater control with how our federations' allocated dollars are spent." (Or words to that effect.) There you have it.

While JAFI indicated to those assembled that one/the intent of the Select Core Priorities "process" was to increase the total funds to both JAFI and JDC, I heard no one from JFNA echo that hope. Further, there was no indication that a new JFNA/JAFI/JDC advocacy initiative, mandated by the 2010 JFNA/JAFI/JDC Agreement (the "Agreement") has yet to be planned or even given any apparent thought to by JFNA. The JFNA "attitude" (so filled with "attitude") is this: "We'll implement those parts of the Agreement that we care about, the rest...not so much." (An example -- JFNA formed a Work Group/Committee/Sub-Committee (whatever they may call it) on creating a second membership criterion -- a community's capacity allocation for overseas needs. The Committee/Work Group/Sub-Committee's one recommendation to date -- that all allocations be paid through JFNA. Why? "Because, after all, we are JFNA." (While all of this is on-going, JDC has written its Board members advising them that they will be the frontline within their federations to advocate for the Joint's Select Core Priorities.) It's ONAD all over again. As predicted.

JFNA may continue to refer to JAFI and the Joint Distribution Committee as "partners" but someday soon JFNA's leaders will be called upon to act like partners, to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. So far, it has been all talk, no walk, and not just for months, but for years.

I think that by now we know a joke when we hear it.


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