Monday, May 21, 2012


History has shown us that every dictatorship requires collaborators; those who can be counted on to "follow the leader," unquestioning and without regard to the values they once appeared to hold dear. So, why should JFNA be any different?

JFNA's leaders, and, in particular, its Officers and members of the sacred "inner circle," in most instances without the benefit of serious Federation CEO input, rely instead on two things: (1) unquestioning loyalty to the Board Chair and (2) their belief that all must be well if they are involved. The result, the creation of the circumstances of JFNA's failure: a series of programs that are either copy-cats of those inherited from UJA and CJF and continued (often re-branded to appear somehow different); or wasteful "experiments" gone bad and repeated over and over again. The latter are programs which, in the main, are disconnected from any vision or purpose. This abject and unquestioning support has resulted in the waste of our money as if it were theirs and, when the financial pressure became grave because so much had been spent on so little, that shortfall became the pretext for these "leaders" to demand a bigger budget with the threat of rollbacks in just those programs that might actually have value to the federation -- like FRD.

And, permit me to distinguish between those leaders who have labored to save JFNA from itself and those who just line up like puppets and nod their heads up and down, some with such unnecessary enthusiasm they may have damaged their necks. The former are at least trying to effect change, albeit minimal; the latter, merely Quislings. I feel sorry for the former but applaud their efforts; I feel only contempt for the latter.

And, sadly, we knew and know these collaborators. We had reason to believe upon their election or appointment that they would perform in their JFNA leadership roles as they had in our federations. And, we were so wrong. They became the enablers, the pathetic sycophants without whom the Board Chair and CEO could not have moved their personal goals forward. These men and women, in the context of, for example, the Global Planning Table and the Second Membership Criterion, turned their backs on their own communal values as if they no longer believed in them or, suddenly, they knew much better. 

But, then came the results of the Nominating Committee: a Committee "gone rogue." With the Board Chair not on the Committee, the Committee acted with independence (and without any apparent instruction). This could be a turning point for JFNA. Let us hope so.

In the meantime,  congrats to all of you collaborators, you have created the institutional version of the Edmund Fitzgerald...but, of course, you "...are JFNA."

Know this...without the collaborators, JFNA would be in a far better place. It couldn't be worse.


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