In response to the Post on the General Assembly in Jerusalem, one of you wrote:
"Restore our Relevance said...
A simple suggestion to save not only the GA but Israel -Diaspora relations: Announce that during the GA there will be a gender mixed minyan at the Western Wall fully supported by JFNA, individual federations and any other groups Israeli or Diaspora that will sign on. Validate the leadership of Women of the Wall and show that we walk the walk of inclusivity and gender equality."We, of course, know that JFNA seeks to establish its relevance in Israel and has long talked the talk of gender equality while being wholly unable (or unwilling) to walk the walk. Here was a suggestion that, were it implemented, would mean action rather than "letters to the Prime Minister." Let's see if anything happens.
And, often, it is the press -- be it ejewishphilanthropy.com or The Forward or Tablet or others -- which have highlighted issues ignored by our national
So it was with an article in The Forward by Willam Rapfogel on July 12 -- The Ignored Jewish Poor. While citing statistics in New York City evidencing that "half a million American Jews (are) living in poverty," ignoring the reality that in all of our communities there is a "new Jewish poverty" impacting on our People, creating a new underclass, whom, in too many cases, our historic safety net has missed or underserved. Yet, Rapfogel ignored the extent to which the New York UJA-Federation has responded and how quickly -- and, of course, few know the impact Jewish communities have had on this new Jewish poor -- for example, the J-Help actions and fund raising by the Chicago Jewish United Fund of the Federation.
Those of People who are living in poverty abroad and in Israel have been particularly "ignored." Whether in Kiev or Jerusalem the wealth gap is dramatic and more and more Jews are living below the poverty line -- they are the ones who have been truly ignored by us. They are invisible to us -- the new immigrant Ethiopians, the dying remnant of Holocaust survivors, immigrants from the FSU, and on and on. Our national
What is "our business" any more? For the federations, at home, direct assistance to the "new Jewish poor" is a paramount purpose. For JFNA, one has to question whether there is even an awareness, except at JFNA-Washington, of the potential creation of a Jewish underclass in America; and at JFNA-Israel, they seem to be constantly busy with self-promotion that truly denigrates our system's potential and its work.
Wouldn't this "new Jewish poverty" and how we could deal with it be worthy of a day-long conference; be the focal point (not "just another session") at the November GA? Would not the "new Jewish poverty" in our communities and in Israel and abroad be worthy of Special Campaign consideration?
Just asking of course.
And, then, there is JFNA itself. Apparently the Sr. Vice-President for Proofreading was absent the day this beauty of a GA Briefing went out. Intended to encourage more Registrants for the Jerusalem GA, after answering its own question with an emphatic "You can't afford NOT to go," JFNA went on as follows:
"Airfare varies widely, depending on where the flight originates and whether you fly direct. To keep travel costs down, considering flying out of a nearby city and/or changing planes in Europe."Duh... Now, I don't know who writes this stuff, but I do know that the full Registration fee for this year's GA is $1 less than $700. (And, "that includes several breakfasts and lunches...") Yep, look at the Program on-line and determine for yourself whether "you can't afford NOT to go."