Thursday, April 5, 2012


Perhaps this should be titled "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here." The GPT is another hopeless exercise in hyperbole, complexity and ignorance. And nothing illustrates all of this any more than the mailing to Federations reprinted below. This is a consultant's dream and a federation nightmare all at once.

So, please read below (no, I didn't write this as a parody), note how federations are now merely bystanders to a process that is the captive of consultants and JFNA professionals. Judge for yourselves whether anyone involved has a clue.

"Global Planning Table                                                                                                      March 12, 2012

In an effort to ensure that Federations are up-to-date about our work, we have prepared this memo to assist you in communicating an update on the work of the Global Planning Table to your colleagues and lay leaders. Should you have any questions about the information below, please do not hesitate to contact Joanne Moore (

After two in-person meetings, one conference call, and extensive consultation, the GPT Committee is working through the process described below to reach consensus around collective priorities for Federations. Please note that community input will be solicited at this year’s General Assembly (GA) in Baltimore rather than through community discussions.

We believe that community input will be most valuable later in the process after the GPT Committee has had a chance to make progress on outlining and understanding the issues. We intend to make this an important part of this year's GA. We hope that community members will participate in the on-line survey and will be thinking about other ways that communities can have real input into this process.

Idea pieces. We are inviting a carefully selected and diverse group of thought leaders in the broader Jewish community (both within and outside the Federation "system") to submit a 3-5 page essay and analysis of "Global Jewish Needs and Challenges". These essays will be shared with the GPT Committee (and with permission more publically) in an effort to inform the committee’s thinking.

Partner Presentations. We will hear presentations in April from our historic partners, the Jewish Agency and JDC, regarding what they are currently doing, where they see challenges and opportunities for the future, and how they propose our system should address those challenges and opportunities. 

GPT Committee Questionnaires. To engage committee members and understand their thinking at this point in the process, we are asking committee members to complete a brief questionnaire.

Working Groups. During the April meeting we will review and agree on 3-4 broad work areas and identify subsidiary topics within each work area, to be considered more fully by Working Groups of the GPT Committee. These Working Groups— which will be expected to do their work in late spring and during the summer months—are intended to be the foundation for the Commissions we will be forming, for the second stage of our Committee’s work. 

On-line survey. While the Working Groups are conducting their process, we will also launch an on-line survey to solicit input from people within and outside of Federations. Stay tuned…

GA & GPT. As was envisioned through the Global Planning Department, we have begun to discuss how to use the GA as a venue for soliciting feedback and input from Federations and others. These discussions are in their infancy but we hope will progress in the coming weeks.

Working the SharePoint knowledge sharing site for the GPT.  We are developing a knowledge sharing website for the Global Planning Table that will enable committee members and Federations to access information and data as well as view updates of the Global Planning Table’s activities and accomplishments."

OK. Now take a deep breath and note, as Iam certain you already have:

     1. None of JAFI, JDC, World ORT or the ENP are mentioned anywhere as informants or participants in this convoluted "process."

     2. Federations will be invited in "feedback and input" at some point.

     3. There will be a "knowledge sharing website." What will they think of next.

This just becomes more and more shameful.



Anonymous said...

They really haven't got a clue.

All these genius MBA's - miracle they can find the nearest subway stop to 25 Broadway.

Anonymous said...

You read the stuff JFNA is circulating re: the Global Planning Table and you realize that this group souldknow how to build a Table but they sure understand how to make a one-legged stool.

Anonymous said...

A prediction: after all the processing and all the horse trading and politicizing and following an "Israeli Spring", increased Palestinian unrest and perhaps new Knesset elections the Four of the following five planning and investment points will emerge:

1. A Haredi National Project
2. A Young Israeli Families National Project
3. An Israeli Arab National Project
4. An FSU-Eastern Europe Jewish Identity Initiative
5. A "One Jewish World" peoplehood project

(And I won't even send a bill for the above insight and 8 minutes of my time including

Anonymous said...

Richard, I think this letter got released 20 days early. Surely it was an April Fool's joke (or perhaps it was a JFNA Fools joke.)