JFNA-Istan, located at 25 Broadway, NYC, is a strange, foreboding land. A place that should be dedicated to trying to build consensus among 157 different tribes, instead it is a place that is all about...itself. On any given day JFNA-Istan is a place where, thanks to quotidian efforts, $30,800 is invested/wasted in...itself -- projects and marketing about...itself. Those 157 federations and 400 non-federated Network communities send their money (think of Foreign Aid to Iraq), hoping it will not all be wasted.That's hope against hope, good money after bad. JFNA-Istan is both purposeless and feckless -- the worst things (other than corrupt) that a Jewish organization in receipt of at least $30,300,000 a year of our money...that's ours...can be. And us? We look away, we avoid looking at the disaster we have created by our inattention -- and we can't look away when the results are as bad as they have been the past 6+ years. But look away we have and we do. For who would really want to see what we have, by our silence and our acquiescence, created and perpetuated?
Just like its namesake country and its operational model, JFNA-Istan is a place where dissent is never tolerated, confused with disloyalty. It was a the President of a Jesuit institution who recently praised dissent in a critical context when he said: "This expression of conscience was in the tradition of the deepest values we share as a people. One need not agree with her substantive position to support her right to free expression." Of course, that was in America, and we are in JFNA-Istan. In JFNA-Istan dissent is treason and the treasonous are first isolated, then degraded and, if all else fails, word is passed amongst the mullahs (and accepted by them as fact without further inquiry) that the treasonous can't be "trusted." And these are good and honorable men and women.
No. JFNA-Istan is a place where only those who "are JFNA-Istanis" are permitted into the Mishkan, decorated by the High Priestess herself. And it is She who shares the password she created with only the privileged few. Yes, it is she who has uttered the word "collective" so often and in so many inapt circumstances, that she and her followers believe that they demonstrate their commitment to this core concept by repetition alone. It is she and the CEO/President of JFNA-Istan who believe that something called the "Global Planning Table" will somehow increase allocations to Israel and overseas needs (and to JAFI and JDC) because the High Priestess has declared it so. No, the GPT is but an act of futility and desperation, as is so much that goes on at JFNA. There is so much bad that the infrequent "good" (like the recently announced "regional alliance" in southwest Florida) gets lost in the back wash.
JFNA-Istan, like its namesake, is a place from which thoughtful leaders should announce either a planned, swift withdrawal, or a massive takeover. Sadly, neither will probably happen. Rwexler