The current JFNA has morphed from the Keystone Kops to Replacement Refs with no apparent appetite on the part of federation leaders to do anything but look on in astonishment and general disinterest.
Wags have described the N.F.L., the National Football League, as the No Fun League. In National Jewish life, we've got the N.F.O. -- the No Fun Organization. Have you heard any laughter emanating out of the hallowed halls at 25 Broadway -- other than perhaps the cackle coming out of CEO Jerry's office when he tears open the envelope containing his paycheck?
No, when the NFO's lay and pro leaders are totally focused on secrecy/"confidentiality," on its Board Chair assuring that not only won't "zionism" appear in a GPT Visioning statement because but on making certain no one finds out about it; and all those cover-ups of this and other failures, where's the room for joy, for laughter?
Oh, I know, we "won" a national Jewish fraternity's award, and we may win the Tagline of the Year award from some other esteemed organization, and Our Board Chair and National Campaign Chair successively from a national Women's Charity that competes for funds with our federations -- these should be the cause of raucous laughter.
But, then there are the failures -- Tribefests 1 and 2 -- in the first, attempting to attract the unaffiliated to a Desert conclave -- even calling it "Birthright in the Desert," (now that was funny!!!) -- and, failing that, focusing Two on anyone young, stocking it with Cabinet members and the affiliated, offering everyone a subsidy, headlining Mayim Bialik and Rachel Gratch, spending $2 million or more but never accounting for the expenditures, calling it "building momentum" -- if these are successes, then I am wrong -- there are those at JFNA who have a sense of humor.
Was it funny when the Board Chair closed this year's International Lion of Judah Conference by singing her remarks -- as she seems to do so often it has become cliche -- rather than ximply and strongly thanking these wonderful philanthropists for elevating the cause of federations? No...not so funny.
And, so it goes...JFNA...the NFO...no fun, none at all.