Monday, July 2, 2012


A little while ago I, like you, received a classic Leadership Briefing announcing Jewish Federations Unveil New Tagline. If you haven't heard the fabulous news, see

Within 10 minutes of its distribution, I received 93 e-mails off-line, none of them Anonymous, from Federation lay and professional leaders of every City-size. Comments ranged from what a waste, where was this processed?, how much was spent on this idiocy? to big deal!, where was a contract with Interbrand approved?, even _________ processed its new tagline through its Executive Committee and several just contained epithets.

I, like you, remember an historic tagline -- We Are One. UJA didn't engage Interbrand, it processed the tagline through its leadership and it didn't have to be explained. Your reading will disclose that The Strength of a People. The Power of a Community required two full paragraphs and 6 bullet points for us to understand it. Or, just maybe, the geniuses at JFNA just don't believe that anyone but they could possibly comprehend it.

The complaint here is not that JFNA developed a tagline: it's that they did so in the shadows, engaged a consultant in the shadows and some group at JFNA has now unilaterally imposed the tagline without any governance process. And the organization held a Board meeting just weeks ago filled with the obscure where this could have been fully presented and debated and, no doubt approved. And, somehow, "[I]mmediately, 20 federations began to use it..." Somehow, 20 federations found out about it!!

Friends, as so many of you pointed out, this is no way for our organization to proceed. Yes, the fiefdoms of old have been deconstructed -- and in their place, fiefdoms have been created that operate with no controls, no standards, unmanaged.

I would say that if this occurred at my federation or yours, heads would role...of course this couldn't have happened at my federation or yours.



Anonymous said...

And, please remember that tagline from the annals of Dockers: "No waist too fat to fit."

Anonymous said...

Your memory is failing, Richard. This research was discussed at the last JFNA Board meeting. There was no approval. The cost of the Research was announced to have been $50,000 -- I don't believe that was the total amount. None of this was ever specifically approved in any budget. What could your federation do with $50,000? Or mine?

This is like the Mafia; ask a question and you're dead to them.

Anonymous said...

No, Anonymous only has it half right. Apparently to hid what they had already done they presented the $50,000 marketing/research cost (never approved) for tagline research they had not already done.

These guys have an inherent aversion to the whole truth.

Anonymous said...

Process Shmocess! What non profit talks this testosterone laden language of power and strength? We connect Jews to each other, we care for those who need us, we practice inclusivity and we are on call 24/7. We are not Mr. Clean or The Avengers. We are...

Communities that care. A people that stands together.

Anonymous said...

I am the Chair of a Large City. How do we put a stop to this....duplicity for lack of a better word? Disclosure of "research" for allegedly $50,000 AFTER THE FACT? Not in my business; not in my federation.

Usedtobeimportant said...

A few choice replacement taglines for :The Strength of a People. The Power of a Community"

The US Marine Corps version:
The Few. The Proud. The remaining Federations.

The Lexus Version:
The relentless pursuit of mediocrity.

The one based on true, hard, cold, gut analysis: The retirement of a chair who sat too long. The search for another new Exec.


Anonymous said...

Add: knocking off MSNBC -- "Leaning every which way but straight"

Anonymous said...

Was it Silverman's brainstorm for Dockers: "Calling all men. It's time to wear the pants."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that was a good one. To which one might respond, paraphrasing a Comment to Dockers: "Hey, federations, isn't it time to grow a pair?"

paul jeser said...

If it were not so sad this whole thing would be funny.