Saturday, November 10, 2012


What has JFNA been best at these past six years? Hmmmm. Nothing...tenacity...wasting our resources...never, ever being wrong? All of the above? Well, nothing exemplifies all that is wrong than does the Global Planning Table. The GPT has been pursued with tenacity. it has wasted millions (millions that, by the way, could have been allocated to the Jewish Agency, ORT and Joint for their core budgets). and its leaders are never wrong...even when they are, they aren't if you get my meaning. Terrific lay and professional leaders (chosen in JFNA's belief, wrong I hope, that they [and, thereby, their communities] can be the most easily co-opted) have dedicated themselves to the GPT as have Chairs Manning and Butler, pros Caspi and Silverman and a consultant (paid...what???)

The latest GPT Update evidences so much that is wrong:
  1. The October 23 Update of "another meeting of the Global Planning Table Committee" relates that "All of the working Groups...examined the program areas Federations are currently funding collectively." Let's take a careful look at this: Neither the Jewish Agency nor the Joint nor ORT were allowed to be present for these "examinations;" though JAFI and JDC have seats at the Table...they were but invited in to make extremely brief presentations and then invited out. I am not aware of any serious discussion by GPT leaders with the leaders of the "historic partners" since the GPT went off on its own.
  2. From this insulting come in/get out we learn that "recommendations emerging from this process both reaffirm the importance of our on-going work (shhhh, no "zionism" allowed) and outline a set of far-reaching and bold new ideas..." HUH? What are these? Sorry, you are on a "need to know basis" and WE have determined YOU have no need to least not yet. We'll get back to you.
  3. We've already developed a set of "hypothetical outcomes" -- you know how those work, don't you, the JFNA way of evolving hypothetical into demanded outcomes. Oh, you haven't seen those either -- you will; when we think you're ready. Remember this leadership has the same belief as did Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men: "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH."
  4. It would have seemed to me that the optimal place for a discussion of the Global Planning Table with federation leaders would have been at the GA. And, there will be "...a series of stand alone (1 hour) sessions (whatever those are)" at the GA. What else is the General Assembly for if not that., not this group. On October 25 JFNA announced that there will be two "Webinars to Discuss Global Planning Table." When? November 27 or November 29. These are, after all, the Replacement Refs. Personally, I am holding my breath for this roll-out!! They are coming to the Global Planning Table Committee from a set of Working Groups and, then, unmentioned in the Briefing, they will then go to some decision-making Executive group and the Committee will appoint some Commissions to work in "specific assigned areas." HELLLOOOOOO Rube Goldberg. This Post is more deserving of the Halloween just past.
Equally poor is the quality of the draftsmanship. Each document emanating from wherever these things are being produced contains something incredible, nonsensical and incomprehensible. Case in point: "We also need to maximize the glue that connects each individual to Israel and the global Jewish people." By all means...maximize the glue. Read these things and weep.

Bottom line: today, and for at least the past six years, overseas allocations have been market-driven in the context of the reality that all decisions are essentially local. And, the market should be driving those divisions at the local level -- JAFI and the Joint are perfectly capable of taking the needs they identify and serve to the market. BUT. JFNA, which has proved to be incapable of evaluation of any of its own programs, let alone the programs of others, and which has refused to advocate for the work of its historic partners TO THIS DAY, now wants to dictate the overseas market through the Global Planning Table device; it wishes to take away from the local federation all allocations decisions and take away from the historic partners, to which JFNA now offers only lip service (oh, and criticism), the ability to plan, budget and implement. Does anyone...anyone other than those who worship at the feet of 215 Broadway...believe that the 157 federations will give up their allocations responsibilities delegated to them by their donors to this GPT device? Come on.

At the end of the day: we are wasting JFNA professionals and lay leaders time; we are wasting federation lay and professional leaders' time; we are wasting donors' precious money; we are creating false expectations; outcomes will be dictated and fail for lack of consensus; and will have destroyed decades of good will between the federations and the historic partners. And, why? Yes...and, why?

Sad...and scary.


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