Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Some of you, no doubt very few, may remember the contretemps in 2012 over something called the "Second Membership Criterion." A number of federations, including mine, said that their support for or even participation in the Global Planning Table fiasco would be contingent upon JFNA adopting and implementing a second condition of JFNA membership -- a financial commitment evidenced by an allocation to needs in Israel and overseas. (For those of you who don't remember, originally that was to be a  significant allocation to the Jewish Agency and Joint core [a "red line that shall not be crossed" to some communities, a red line that would be crossed without consequences almost before it was drawn]).

After some "negotiation" -- probably like the negotiation that resulted in the JFNA CEOs ridiculous employment contract -- the end product was so watered down as to be illusory -- a minor percentage to any Israeli cause ultimately to be substituted with a minor percentage to programs emerging from the DOA GPT.

And, then what? NOTHING. NADA. GORNiSHT. A watered down, meaningless Second Membership Criterion. We were told "this is the best we could do."  And those who advocated for a meaningful criterion -- uh, in the words of Emily Littela: "never mind." Let's move on.

Except, in the JFNA 2011 Tri-Party Agreement with JDC and JAFI, the Second Membership Criterion, to be agreed to by them, with them, was integral to the totality of the Agreement -- no Second Membership Criterion agreed to by JA/JDC, no Global Planning Table (as the then JFNA Board Chair, playing contract lawyer, demanded such a cross-collateralized Agreement). Oh, forgot, as Emily Littela said....

So much for principle -- expediency triumphs. So much for "red lines." So much for nothing. 

We have a system today so without integrity that contracts can be breached, "red lines" and the systemic principles underlying them, ignored, and core values destroyed with impunity.

So sad.


No comments: