Friday, October 4, 2013


With the chagim and all we have a lot of catching up to do:

1. The GA - Worse Than We Even Thought. If you were wondering what drove the frenzied attempts to hype the GA -- changes in focus, agenda, venues, speakers -- as I was, the answer has come clear. After months of denial that there was any "problem" with attendance, the Co-Chairs learned, only by cross-examining CEO Jerry, that at a time when historic numbers told a story of 1,000 paid registrations, JFNA had received 400 -- yes, paid registrations were at a level 60% behind the annual pace. Appears that JFNA will be forced to pad its numbers with free "registrants" from Israel. JFNA professionals are already looking for scapegoats -- watch 'em whisper that it's all the fault of the LCE.

How many Registrants as of today, less than 45 days before the GA begins? We're hearing 700-800. A disaster.  JFNA runs an ad on Tablet Magazine seeking registrants-- "bubbles" in the ad state that the GA will be "inspiring" that it will be "momentous" and that it has something to do, apparently, with "Peace."  They still don't get it.

2. What is Jspace? And, then, what is's "Jewish organization of the year"? is a self-styled "Jewish online portal, a place where Jews from all over the world connect on the first online homeland for Jews." Got it? It's the "first online homeland..." (Sorry, I just vomited in my throat.) Anyway, staying on topic, Jspace anointed the JNF as its "Jewish organization of the year." And, appropriately so -- I have come to know JNF as a place of creativity deserving of the financial support it has grown for programs of substance and impact in Israel. (While JFNA dithers with "planning" for the Negev, JNF is building projects there.  BTW, JFNA didn't win!

3. What should a real, effective CEO be doing? As our friends at ejewishphilanthropy pointed out last month:
"The CEO is an organization's chief fundraiser. Good donors -- and even board members -- flee when they see problems that the board is blind to or doesn't want to deal with."
In the context of JFNA, we not only have a Board that is blind, it has been deaf and dumb as well. The CEO "chief fundraiser" has participated with his first Co-Chairs in driving JFNA away from its core purposes, two of which are/were directly related to raising more revenues and more donors.

And, he's still there? Or so we're told.

4. How about this? More than one federation whose Board members will be in Israel at the time of the GA have inquired about the possibility of these leaders attending one day of the GA. The answer: "There will be no day rates." Understand: GA attendance is in the toilet but there will be no day rates? You might ask: "where are these "decisions" made and how are they communicated: on stone tablets?

5. Multiple Choice: (a) JFNA; (b) Congress; (c) I can't choose

And, that's all the news from Lake Woenotgone for now.



Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if we soon begin to see a GROUPON for the GA!

paul jeser said...

What about... a 'free' visit to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem Emergency Room for every attendee. :-) just kidding...

Anonymous said...

The only thing that needs to go to the "ER" is JFNA. Too bad there isn't an "ER" to heal a very sick organization.

Anonymous said...

This is truly the gang that can't shoot straight. They get nothing right...ok, make that they get nothing, period. This situation can't be allowed to continue. I can't continue to waste donors money on Dues which we know are being wasted.

Anonymous said...

You might ask "who is running the GA?" The Co-Chairs? The newly minted Rene what's-her-name, who is credited at 25 Broadway for creating the AIPAC Policy Conference? Rebecca Caspi, who has yet to produce a single success for JFNA? Or, my guess, nobody. This is beyond a disaster.

Anonymous said...

As a Fed Exec I was stunned by first the mail and then letter. No advance notice...and as you said our allocations decisions were made in May/June. the issue had to be known by then.

A call with execs would have been helpful before the email. The email did not sit well with my lay chair since our community has given more overseas and is a leading federation in that regard.

Bad form to say the sky is falling when this, as you said, is no new revelation.