Monday, February 13, 2012


As all of you know, whether you are regular readers of this Blog or merely "experience" JFNA with any regularity, or have been told by JFNA how great it is to have your organization as a "partner," JFNA throws around terms that they either (a) don't understand or (b) don't mean, or both. And, as trust is the most critical characteristic of success, JFNA by its misuse and abuse of the concept and definition of "partnership" has destroyed the trust of those who could...and its greatest supporters and best "partners."

First, let's be sure that we are all on the same page. "Partners" have been defined generally as bound to work with each other " the greatest common advantage, to be just and faithful to each other" in every way. It is a relationship requiring trust and good faith.  Got it? OK. Now all of you who believe that JFNA behaves like a partner with those it calls its "partners," please raise your hands. Hmmmm. Seeing none, let's continue, bearing the definition in mind.

So, let's look at JFNA and how it treats those it calls its "partners:"
  • The "historic" partners. When JFNA's "leaders" refer to the Jewish Agency and Joint as "our historic partners," I have the sense that "our" doesn't include JFNA, but references the there is no evidence...none...that JFNA has treated the Jewish Agency and the Joint as its defined partners over the last six(+) years. Core allocations are at an all time low to both organizations and JFNA has not raised a hand or its voice in support of these true "partners." The Global Planning Table is structured, even mandated, to further erode these core allocations in every way. So much for "partnership," agreed?
  • The "other" (overseas) partners. Specifically, World ORT and the Ethiopian National Project (the "ENP") have been defined as the "other partners" in JFNA's meaningless way. True, JFNA's leaders made a special appeal for funding the ENP and, in JFNA's meaningless way, that letter appeal was it. Funding for both of the "other partners" has fallen and both have been left to the whims of the GPT. Yet, "partners" they may be called, they have no seats "at the Table" and, in fact, were told that they could not attend the GPT meetings in Orlando. So much for "partnership," agreed?
  • Our National Agency partners. The system's national agencies -- those we have historically supported as part and parcel of our collective responsibility as they were the agencies our system actually created. You remember them; JFNA would like to forget them...and, more or less, has. JFNA recreated the national agencies support system as The Alliance -- a voluntary National Funding Council the purpose of which, as it has worked out, is to hide the desire of some federations to deeply cut national agencies support behind a planning facade. In fact, there has been no real national agency planning since The Alliance was formed; but there has been serious reductions in national agencies funding. The Alliance, at least to some of us, is to the National Agencies as the Global Planning Table will be to the Jewish Agency and JDC. So much for "partnership," agreed?
  • The partners in TribeFest. You may remember last year that JFNA proudly announced, before the financial and purposeless Festivus 1, that it had "over 40 partners in TribeFest," most with the experience and participant base with which JFNA was so desperately seeking to associate itself. Turns out, in its quest "for increased numbers," with its massive subsidies JFNA is sucking the very life out of these "partners." One of them, operating a significant and successful Festival for youngsters for what is now its 8th iteration, at a cost of about 1/10th of the TribeFest, and with the same intended audience, and the same "performers," (and, of course, more) has seen numbers reduce because of this "leech effect" of Festivus. I had suggested in 2009, when JFNA Fest first reared its head ("we're going to Vegas," screamed Jerry at the New Orleans GA), that JFNA just support these successful efforts...but no -- we'd rather throw a million dollars at our own. Of course we would.  So much for "partnership," agreed?
There was a time in the now not so recent past when our national organizations were truly partners -- they understood partnership; they worked hand-in-hand with our partners who performed our work for us, in Israel and overseas, at the national agencies. But, that was then and this is now. Bottom line, it's clearly best not to be JFNA's "partner" -- in fact, if you hear JFNA "leaders" call you a "partner" run away as fast as you possibly can.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

JFNA's partners - perhaps selected federations: NY, Cleveland, Chicago.

As to the mid-size group, pretty much off JFNA's radar, left to fend for themselves. Maybe not such a bad idea.