Thursday, March 14, 2013


Sadly, as most of you are aware, one of JFNA's least attractive characteristics is a lack of institutional self-awareness. It has become almost genetic. Examples:
  •  The continuing abuse of the basic concept of the "collective:" This week the CEO was quoted in a self-congratulatory release on what appeared to have been an otherwise excellent Development Professional Institute:  “The Institute reflects how high a priority JFNA assigns to supporting development professionals as the demands of their roles change,” said Jerry Silverman, JFNA president and CEO. “Our investment in them helps them to realize our collective goals.” One of the chief objectives of the Institute was to provide participants with the opportunity to build peer networks and learn from each other, Silverman added."    As we have noted before, friends, the CEO, after 3+ years, fails to comprehend the meaning of "collective" in the context of federations' ethos. Time and again, JFNA has just inserted "collective" as an adjective. not as the compelling value that distinguishes federations' sacred work from all other charities. (And, no, I am not neglecting the hyperbole of the CEO's suggestion that JFNA "prioritizes FRD. As with most things, if just saying it made it so!!
  • 13,000 women and men, 2,000 of them students, attended the recently concluded AIPAC Policy Conference. Remember that number. Maybe 1,000 men, women and a few students attended the 2012 General Assembly. One organization, AIPAC, knows its purpose and pursues it with passion and commitment; JFNA, on the other hand, has forgotten its purposes and drifts aimlessly like the Carnival Triumph, sewage in its wake, powerless. The 2,000 students at the AIPAC Conference are treated as adults in Washington; the close to 1,000 who attended, e.g., TribeFest, a JFNA "signature event" pandered to the same age cohort with Olympic swimmers and some B-list personalities, in Las Vegas (next year in...New Orleans). Why does one organization succeed and the other fail? Rhetorical question.
  • Have you ever noticed the similarities between the current iteration of JFNA and the game of futility "Whac-a-Mole?" That's the game where you delete a "mole" whose head has popped up only to find it reemerge through another hole, where you smash it again ad nauseum. The game name is used colloquially "to denote a repetitious and futile task." JFNA'a version of "Whac-a-Mole" is played with things like TribeFest and Select Core Priorities, which, just as you think they have disappeared in their failure and futility, they pop back up again devouring millions of dollars and 1000's of hours of time. Yep, JFNA --the Jewish institutional version of "Whac-a-Mole."

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