Wednesday, May 2, 2012


~ A Sign of the Apocalypse. Jewlicious was a "partner" in Tribefest. I know its leaders to be persons of exceptional good will. We also learned that a Jewlicious "representative," the writer of a very positive opinion piece on Festivus was present as "Press" and no other leader of Jewlicious was present. Hence, the ramblings of one of its leaders about Festivus 2 titled JFNA'S TRIBEFEST HIT THE JACKPOT included the following:

"TribeFest is the best thing going for JFNA — a significant organizational and communal accomplishment for the largest charitable network in the Jewish world. So while participation on a national level at their annual General Assembly convention is down, and Federations around the country are downsizing, TribeFest’s 1,500 delegates is more that last year’s participation and shows no sign of slowing down."

Not surprising, Jerry S. reprinted the thing in its entirety. Let us merely note that if TribeFest's focus is now federation-centric, we need it even less. But...onward to LollapaJewza!!!

~ Even when they do right, they do it wrong. JFNA convened a March King David Society event with the Palm Beach Federation at which Former President Clinton was the draw.  I have written earlier that I thought this was a good indication that JFNA had a vague memory of a successful FRD heritage founded in the UJA's annual Palm Beach weekend.  No surprise, they screwed it up.

The National Campaign Chair was there -- a nice, small crowd of major donors was there. From what I have heard, a good welcoming dinner at a beautiful home. Fund raising? This was a JFNA event after all.

Someone (duh??) apparently dictated that the event also be about the Board Chair. So, after the former President's speech, as the evening dragged on toward 8:30, then 9 then 9:30, she sat as the gentle inquisitor of the evening, asking her pop-up questions of the ex-President without regard to the fact that the audience had yet to eat and many had left or nodded off. What could have been a fun event for all turned into a long night for everyone but Kathy. (No, I'm not sure if she sang. That would have been nice.)

If JFNA can't even run a "party," seemingly it's current raison d'etre, what's left? Festivus 3?

~ When All Else Fails. Yes, I am aware of the Cigar Nights, Deli Nights, and there are probably even Bingo Nights but is it a sign of the times or of desperation when a federation creates a Man Cave event? Once a community of great potential with approximately 35,000 Jews. Well, here's the description of the Man Cave Night:

"Many men will be supporting the Jewish Federation...when they participate in the inaugural Man Cave 2012 event...The evening's highlights will include an open bar, cigar tasting and scotch tasting with a 20-minute educational session. Food trucks...will be on hand. Private jets and exotic cars will be on display..."

Unlike the Festivii (the echoes of which resonate here) there will be a a minimum gift $200 for "adults" and "$100 for young men..."

What's next? Pork Night?



Anonymous said...

Jewlicious thinks if they play nice JFNA will throw money their way.

Anonymous said...

So typical Kathy Manning, egocentric as ever and inconsiderate of everyone else. When if ever, will she step down? I guess she wants to make sure she alienates the entire donor base before she leaves. Well, she is off to a great start. Too funny!

David Abitbol said...

Good grief. In reference to the comments of Anonymous #1:

We play nice, or try to anyway, with everybody. I can tell you unequivocally that we are not seeking any money from JFNA nor are they in any position to give us any money. Rabbi Yonah, who attended TribeFest as press, wrote a somewhat nuanced piece that reflected his honest opinion of the event. You can read it on Jewlicious here.

That being said, read what Rabbi Yonah actually wrote: "I asked many participants about their level of current involvement in the Jewish community. While only the Federation surveys will be able to tell exactly, anecdotal evidence suggests that most of the participants are engaged in some way with their Jewish communities back at home." Got that? It seemed that most of the participants were clearly affiliated. As such, this apocalyptic post does not in any way contradict your own assertion that "...if TribeFest's focus is now federation-centric, we need it even less."

I went last year on the promise that TribeFest was meant to attract unaffiliated Jews. My experience did not compel me to return BUT we did bring along a random and very unaffiliated 20 something University student and she was sincerely enthralled by the programing. If Jerry is listening, that's the key to saving Tribefest. Turn it into an event geared towards the unaffiliated and Birthright and MASA alums. Then maybe I'll come back.

In any case, I'm afraid that ship has sailed. My understanding is that TribeFest 3 will be a very scaled back, not very festive, leadership-oriented event.

For those who are disappointed, we welcome you to join us this August at the Jewlicious Summer Fest or next February at the 9th annual Jewlicious Festival. If we're still around.

In conclusion, and getting back to Anonymous 1 again, your analysis sir (ma'am?) is both simplistic and crass. Spare me please.

Don't worry Mr. Wexler, we're still possessed of exceptional good will. Rumors of a pending apocalypse have been greatly exaggerated.