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.