Thursday, July 11, 2013


You may recall that over two years ago the then Chair of the Board, Kathy Manning, and CEO Jerry engaged in their form of fund-raising, a letter to the federations, requesting that they support the effort to bring the last of the Ethiopians to Israel. A noble cause -- to successfully "Complete the Journey" begun seemingly so long ago would be a real feather in both the federations and JFNA's caps. But, while the Jewish Agency and the Government of Israel moved forward, the JFNA efforts lagged, in a most embarrassing way.
The federations' portion of this effort was $5,000,000; that hasn't changed. But, over two years later, the amount transmitted or committed (the word "committed" may mean something less than that to JFNA)  to the Jewish Agency from the federations has been $2,731,000 -- less than the amount sent to the Agency by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein's International Fellowship of Christians and Jews for this sacred purpose. And, that leaves JFNA with almost another $2.5 million to raise. And, there's the problem -- JFNA has told the Jewish Agency that it has "almost" raised this additional $2.5 million -- but, it hasn't. Not close. Nowhere near. Yet, the Jewish Agency has relied upon JFNA's "promise" to deploy funds it does not have, and for which it has no commitments from the federations themselves -- federations which never authorized JFNA to make these commitments on their behalf.

While JFNA has told JAFI that it has "commitments" for its share of the obligation, it appears to me most likely that JFNA will renege on another promise to its partners -- this time leaving the Jewish Agency holding the bag for over $2,000,000. 

Bear in mind that at no time did JFNA leaders have the courage to bring this matter to a vote of the JFNA members. Never any governance action; just a letter or two and a plea from time-to-time. This is a worthy cause, a sacred one and, certainly, part and parcel of our collective responsibility, but no federation is obligated to a fair share of the $5 million which JFNA has assured the Jewish Agency it would raise. We all recall multiple Missions to Ethiopia as part of this effort, but, one must ask, on how many of those Missions, frequently accompanied by the National Campaign Chair and Senior JFNA and federation Professionals, was there fund raising? And, the hard part, raising $5 million -- oh, that's someone else's problem.

This is just the JFNA shell game in practice. Our shame.



Anonymous said...

Richard, this is unbelievable -- what kind of organization has this become?

Anonymous said...

Richard you wrote recently about that JFNA should welcome dissent. You and your responders have personally attacked Silverman, Manning et al.
The question is will you welcome attacks on you?!
I have read many o your blog posts. You continue to provide provocative misinormation. You have revised alot o Federation history and you continue to act as i your Federation is disconnected rom JFNA's many problems and challenges.

paul jeser said...

Dear anonymous,

Please detail the 'provocative misinformation', and 'revised Federation history' you wrote about.

btw: your spell check is worse than mine :-)

Anonymous said...

To second anonymous: Many of the readers of this blog have had long histories with the federations and with Richard. I have personally been involved with federations for over 40 years and have known Richard for at least 30 of those years. On occasion I have found something that Richard misrepresented and have called it to his attention privately by email or by phone. When I was correct he immediately issued a correction in this blog. I don't know if you have done the same privately. If so I assume that Richard has published corrections. If not I urge you to either do so or go on this blog in comments and cite examples of things that Richard has stated incorrectly and submit it to reactions from the memories and experiences of others like myself who have been involved for decades. Don't make blanket statements and not be prepared to be specific.

Anonymous said...

Richard is a person of integrity who speaks his understanding of the truth with little self-censorship - a not popular place to be. Having personally and publicly been on the receiving end of a Wexler comment I would say nevertheless that his words and actions have always been for the communal good backed by facts and reasoning as he rightly or wrongly sees it. In a Jewish world where too many of our "leaders" think it undignified to discuss or write on the tough issues he is a welcomed voice.

RWEX said...

I'm blown away, my friends, by your love, support and understanding