~ Just amazing...The JFNA Community Heroes thing with its own website and spokesperson -- one Andy Neusner -- is in full swing. Just ask Andy...
On November 21 Andy announced that the semi-finalists had been voted in -- unlike the NCAA (or any other event with "semi-finalists") in my experience, there are 20. And, looking at the bios of each, it seems that each "Career" or "Volunteer" "Hero" received the identical number of "votes." Yes, each nominee received 239,804 votes, if you believe any of this.
Then I looked at some of the nominees -- "semi-finalists." A very eclectic group to be sure. Some self-nominated, any number of Rabbis and a Rebbitzen, some dedicated to Jewish students on campus, one dedicated, apparently, to raising her family and seeking "justice" for her husband who was tried and convicted of financial fraud, bank fraud and money-laundering. He is appealing. Her interest: "social justice." Somehow...meets the criteria for a Community Hero. There are those working on critical health issues. Some excellent folk; some not so much. And, we're so proud.
If Heroes legally qualifies, as I think it does, as a Lottery, based on research and work we did for clients setting up similar contests in Illinois, Heroes as operated is arguably in violation of New York law. But, I sense no one cares. As usual.
Oh, and who is Andy? The Web Content Manager and Manager, Jewish Community Heroes, for JFNA. Great job, Andy!! Really.
~ Now let's turn to Jewish Women International. JWI has selected Kathy Manning as one of its 10 Jewish Women to Watch, announcing her selection in their magazine with an appropriately laudatory article last month. JWI is doing great work: "JWI is the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls -- through economic literacy; community training; healthy relationship education and the proliferation of women's leadership." The organization is devoted to dynamic and robust initiatives to "...protect the fundamental rights of all girls and women to live in safe homes..." its programs to prevent abuse in the home and combat illiteracy appear to be exemplary. Kathy deserves this honor and it comes from a fine organization.
A question: should the Chair of a federation or of JFNA accept an award at a fund-raising event -- a luncheon or dinner -- during the federation annual campaign calendar and while serving in high office? For example, the event honoring Kathy on her selection will take place in Washington in December. Kathy has sent out personal invitations to a lengthy list of friends and acquaintances (I am not on it...surprise, surprise) many of whom will come to D.C. to honor her...and raise money...or attempt to. Thus: no matter how important the organization, should a federation or JFNA Chair accept an award at a fund raising event during the annual campaign cycle.
Now in Chicago and, perhaps, your federation as well, there's a strong communal tradition that dictates that a federation Chair not accept organizational honoraria during his/her terms. In addition, our officers are not to publicly support political candidates, etc. But, at JFNA, there are neither traditions nor rules.
As I wrote -- just asking.