Friday, December 28, 2012


~ Never apologize, never explain. Where professional bloviations, hyperbole and cliches have reached the credibility level of that Iraqi Information Minister's during the Gulf War, you have found JFNA. I have been reviewing the bizarre spread of emergency funding allocations from the "$5 million" Emergency  Fund announced by JFNA but funded with unwarranted trust by the federations,

~ But, first, pardon me for asking, but where, exactly, has the money gone before and now? For example, where and to whom has JFNA ever reported how it distributed Cast Lead emergency money? What happened to the funds raised in the midst of the Second Lebanon War? What organization received $100,000 just weeks ago for delivering laptops to a school it does not run -- how was that money used? And, the money for Haiti disaster relief -- how much was collected and how was it disbursed? Can we have some answers...please?

~ And... ZAKA does wonderful and sacred work. It also fund raises in all of our communities. Luckily, its holy service was almost unnecessary in this most recent Terrorists' War on Israel. So how does JFNA justify a $200,000 grant of federation funds? Am I missing something, or did some opportunist professional within JFNA Israel merely believe that a grant of this size would curry favor with the Orthodox community and a group of lay and professional leaders asked no questions, but just went along?

~ THE WORST. All of the above are but prologue to the sad case of the JFNA and the Sderot Regional Medical Health Center. Its work being located in the midst of the terrorists' bombs, it is underfunded and, consequently, understaffed.  It sought emergency funding, pleading with JFNA for funding over four weeks of the most critical needs -- according to published reports, over the most critical four week period, not a single JFNA  professional visited the Center.

While JFNA was patting itself on the back on its allocations, it denied any funding to the Sderot Regional Medical Health Center...none. You see, JFNA, according to those who inquired, "is only funding 'resilience centers' through the 'Israel Trauma Coalition.'" (And, whose "resilience centers" might those be -- those created by the Israel Trauma Coalition, perhaps?) Thus, federation funds allocated by them to support in the main the needs of residents of southern Israel, were diverted solely to institutions created by a federation beneficiary; none other "qualified."

So, here's what it sounds like to me -- JFNA handed over multi-millions of dollars in allocations decisions first to JFNA-Israel, whose competency is at best "questionable," then JFNA-Israel turned over those decisions to the Israel Trauma Coalition, which has been elevated to "partner status" at JFNA because...well, because a single North American Federation demanded it? Could that be why?

I am reminded by this of the worst  of the Chicago political machine back in the day immortalized by the brilliant Abner Mikva's recollection of his first job interview with the Daley Organization, memorialized in the title of his first book: "You ain't nobody 'til somebody  sends you." At JFNA-Israel it seems to work like this -- though JFNA-Israel has an enormous staff (all the more enormous given the lack of visible achievements over the last 6+ years), it delegated allocations  decisions to a beneficiary which determined that funds for respite care should go organizations created by it and it alone, and then foisted those on an unwitting Committee some 7,000 miles away.

And 3,000 wait for treatment in Sderot...and wait...and wait. And we continue to trust those who failed to earn it but demand more of it day by day.


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