Tuesday, June 19, 2012


~ Incoming...and Outgoing.  Several of you have written to warn me that the now lame duck chairs will no doubt "school" the incoming Board Chair with the same sad viral misrepresentations about your Blogger that they have so "effectively" spread from Chicago to the offices of the JAFI Board Chair -- funny how those same ugly misrepresentations didn't influence the current JAFI Chair's predecessor. You may not remember  that 6+ years ago, the current Board Chair and her predecessor visited with one of our system's most respected mega-donors. Immediately after that visit, this friend called me: "Be careful, Richard, they're out to get you and they won't stop until they do." And, here I stand...and they continue...vendetta unrequited. So sorry.

~ Earth to Jerry. One of our major federations is in meltdown (we will write further in the future of the disaster that is the "model" of what can happen when a small group of controlling lay leaders who know little if anything about federation combine with ineffective professional leadership in an environment of reduced campaigns). Guess they thought that given the ridiculous amount of Dues they pay -- how does mid-six figures sound? -- the least they could do would be to have CEO Chair and President Jerry fly in for a little support; that's what cheerleaders do, I guess. Any attempt to understand what's going on there...any possibility of understanding the implications...any ability for JFNA to provide any real guidance or mediation before there is an implosion of epic proportions? Are you kidding? If given the choice of counselling or even constructively criticizing sitting lay and professional leadership even behind closed doors, mediating a potentially catastrophic community split or just cheerleading in a community paying mid-six figure Dues, what would you expect  Jerry would do/did? You'd be right. Called this the "best led federation in the country" or words to that effect. Earned those Dues, didn't you? Reinforced the brand?

~ The Bizarro World of the GPT. Please know that all you have read on these pages about the most irrelevant directions the Global Planning Table has already taken represents but the smallest part of the avalanche of paper that has cascaded down on the Committee members. But, that's not all -- the multiple directions that the GPT will take will be decided this month; then the games will begin -- options will be given to the federations as if the directions have not been chosen, months of discussions will ensue and, then, by the 2013 GA, the very directions determined by the few will be dictated to the federations as if the decisions were theirs. Farce? Yes. Waste? Oh, yeah. And, I am still wagering that the once all-controlling one is angling to be appointed GPT Chair.

~ What Journey Are We "Completing?" Y'all remember the plaintive missives from Kathy and Jerry urging the federations to come up with, what was it now, $5 million, or was it $3.3 million, or some other number, to get the remaining Falash Mura in Ethiopia to Israel? And you, of course, remember, that in meetings with the Prime Minister (or maybe it was in one of those JFNA "letters") JFNA leaders "demanded" that the aliyah be expedited. Now, Jerry and Kathy are wringing their hands because the federations haven't responded -- not with $5 million, not with $3.3 million but with maybe...could be...$1 or $2 million? Whatever it is, it's $3.5 million short.  So in conference calls with the CEOs, Jerry, with Paul the Silent, have been pleading for funding with what is now called Completing the Journey II. Now I don't recall a Completing the Journey I but if anyone can rebrand anything its CEO Jerry. And if there was a "I" and "I" is over isn't the Journey "completed?"

Also, it's now a "Campaign." To JFNA "Campaign" is but a word...like "collective." They don't know the meaning but it just sounds soooooo good when it rolls off the tongue.



Anonymous said...

Interesting that you mention "one of our major federations is in meltdown". Perhaps we have a different definition of "meltdown" or a different definition of "major". I can think of more than one in Florida and Arizona that should fit that discription. Maybe you don't count these as in "meltdown" since "meltdown" implies that at some point they were once solid.

Anonymous said...

As a federation CEO I can tell you that there are federations in "difficulty," federations in "disarray," federations in "meltdown" and federations that are "out of business" but don't know it. None are doing well and none are receiving any help whatsoever from JFNA unless you consider a visit from Jerry Silverman to be "helpful" -- I just consider such a visit to be a waste of time for me and my staff.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing. You mention a community in turmoil and six readers from different places are sure you are talking about them. Reminds me of what my Sociology 101 professor said on the first day of class: "When one couple divorces that's unfortunate. When 40%+ of couples divorce that's sociology."

Anonymous said...

I don't know about sociology but I do know the rality of which all of you (and Wexler) have written. It's worse than just "some" -- it's the many...and they have no place to turn. Where is JFNA -- planning more "events," worrying about the Baltimore GA, picking people for the next White House meeting, plotting to further undermine Wexler? Do the leadres there have a clue as to bad how things are or are they just overpaid for optimism?

Anonymous said...

Not to worry folks! Rumor has it that JFNA is engaging a new consultant to tell us that all is well at 25 Broadway and that with a few changes all will be perfect. Strategic planning is as always the last refuge of the failed and clueless.

Anonymous said...

As a long time Federation professional who got their training in an old school MSW program, here is what I can tell you. While I may not agree with Richard always, I do know that people dont put the time and energy into writing a blog because they hate an organization that much. It is clear to me that Richard truly cares about the Federated movement and is using this forum because he wants to help the organization improve. What is the most upsetting to me is that JFNA sees this as a "traitor in their midst". I only wish that there were more people out there who were just as passionate about keeping this system moving forward and together we could ensure there is no Federation in meltdown. Alas though, the biggest organization in meltdown is not a federation - but JFNA.

RWEX said...

It's my birthday. I can't think of a better present.