Sigh. Is it the beginning of the end or just the end of the beginning?
~ As JTA reported just before the New Year, the Boston Globe wrote that "...Combined Jewish Philanthropies has hired a gay rabbi as its first interfaith ambassador, a role in which he runs interfaith parenting workshops and presides at interfaith marriages." I am going to assume that the Globe article was based on some Boston federation press release, otherwise why is the fact that the rabbi in question is gay relevant at all? The Boston federation has done some wonderful outreach to the interfaith community, now, you can answer the question: is one role of a federation in 2011 to "...preside at interfaith marriages?"
~ Many Israeli-based NGOs and non-profits were anxiously anticipating a meeting with Joanne Moore, JFNA's Sr. V-P for the GPT on her seven to ten visit to Israel immediately after the New Year (what travel agents would call a "fam trip"). Oooops, trip canceled with neither explanation or rescheduling. Your guess is as good as mine...or theirs.
~ But, speaking of travel to Israel, as his faithful aide, Becky Caspi, dutifully reported, in the first week of 2012, CEO/Pres Silverman, returned to his reported "triumphant" whirling dervish opposition to venal proposed changes to the "Law of Return" last year (a virtuoso Jerry one-man show that had no evident impact on the process), this time focused on responding to the ultra-Orthodox assault on tolerance and a civil society. Just as in his last intense expression of outrage on our behalf, inexplicably Jerry decided to go it more or less alone, with Caspi playing Ms. Sancho Panza to his Quixote.
You must think that there is no systemic "playbook" for just such a response to these types of activities in Israel that directly impact us. It's simple -- JFNA reaches out to the federations and asks for a contribution of lay (remember them) and professional leadership to a Mission of, say, 200 leaders from across North America to study and react to the current situation on the ground in Israel. Under the current leadership circumstances, JFNA asks the Crowns and, say, LA's Stanley Gold to lead the Mission. In Israel, JFNA-Israel isn't asked to play tour guide for CEO Jerry, but to arrange face-to-face meetings for the Mission with the Prime Minister (can they still arrange those after Itzik Shavit's, z'l. death?) and relevant Cabinet Ministers, the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, Rabbinic leaders of Israeli Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist leaders, the leaders of Beit Shemesh, women and children who have been the heroic subjects of the taunting and attempts at humiliation, leaders of Israel's media and members of Knesset.
But no. Jerry chooses to go it alone. End result? Same as in the "Who Is a Jew" legislation in 2010-today. Jerry comes home. We read the JFNA Daily Media Guide to learn what others are doing.
Aren't we just proud?