Friday, April 20, 2012


JFNA, proving once again that you can fool even the best and brightest all of the time, appears to have gained almost unanimous support for a so-called Second Membership Criterion that panders to the least in us while actually weakening support for its supposed beneficiaries, our "Historic Partners," JAFI/JDC. It's both pathetic and par for the course. What is astounding is that the leaders of federations which supported a real "model partnership share" in the 90's now support a phony partnership share today. Why, because "'s the best we could do -- so shut up."

Like you, I have reviewed Manning's e-mail of March 9 transmitting Towards a Second Criterion for Membership in JFNA bearing a date of April 24, the date on which this junk will be voted on. One of those I respect the most once dismissed an important research work on the framing of JFNA as " for wrapping dead fish." That leader supports this Criterion as if it were something beyond "fish-worthy."

Forget for a moment that the base line called for in this Criterion of a 10% allocation to "anything overseas" is (a) disgraceful, (b) fails to offer any hope to JA/JDC for a core allocation increase and (c) is at a lower percentage by far than the current core allocations percentage (allocations divided by annual campaign) to the Agency and Joint. Forget that the substantive description of the Criterion as stated in the April 24 document is unchanged in any way from that of last September (but for a wholly vacuous, hortatory Preface that pledges eternal support for the Historic Partners while the Criterion itself [and, of course, the GPT] undermines that support to zero and, further misrepresents as reality that there is a Committee dealing with joint marketing and fund raising). The Preface promises that which the Criterion totally fails to deliver.

Forget that the "aspirational goal" of 20% to "anything overseas vetted by the Global Planning Table...starting with the 2014 campaign allocations" offers the so-called "Historic Partners" no comfort. What we will have substituted for increased resources when this fish wrapper is adopted, is the continued deconstruction of our system's historic values and responsibilities.

On April 8, 2011, a little over one year ago to the day, one of the federations' best and brightest wrote Manning and Silverman: "JFNA and the federations have obligations connected to the merger (that created JFNA). One of the most important from our perspective is that JAFI and JDC...were asked to give up their ownership rights (in UJA) in return for a promise by the new organization to advocate and provide collective unrestricted allocations to (the Agency and JDC) on an on-going basis. We believe that...the proposal that suggests unrestricted allocations would be optional violates our merger agreement." This leader went on to articulate for his community -- that we will insist that there be created a Second JFNA Membership Criterion that incorporates an unrestricted collective allocation to JAFI and JDC at no less than a floor level minimum to be decided. And, one year later we have this: a Second Membership Criterion that fails to incorporate any (let alone any additional) core allocations support for the Historic Partners and, thereby, further erodes the very allocations to the Partners the Second Membership Criterion was supposed to protect.

So, what we have ended up with is a Second Membership Criterion that is all about JFNA and further distances the system from the Historic Partners that Criterion was supposed to bring closer. When the Jewish Agency and Joint are in your communities raising funds directly, remember this day and how your community voted at JFNA's behest.

All one can say is shame on us.


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