Sunday, January 19, 2014


In the realm of the absurd, it's hard to top JFNA:

  • A new national Mission: "Absorb history and culture  as you eat and drink your way from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, through the Galilee and across the Negev. Dine in Israel’s best restaurants; meet chefs, farmers, winemakers and food writers. Taste goat cheese on the farm where it’s made, and sip wine surrounded by the grapevines that produced it. April 28 - May 6, 2014." ARE THEY SERIOUS?
  • Upon Nelson Mandela's death last month, all JFNA could find was a 1996 speech from President Mandela at the UJA 1996 International Leadership Reunion in South Africa to publish as, I guess, a tribute.  It was an OK speech and a grand event, but reading it brought to mind not only the event (when the ILR was the ILR)  the South African leader's historic role in the birth of modern South Africa, his later embrace of Yasser Arafat and JFNA's abandonment of the ILR. ARE THEY SERIOUS?
  • Speaking of silence. When a national "academic" organization voted to boycott Israel last month, all of us were gratified when scores of university presidents rejected both boycott and this organization. The Philadelphia Federation issued a strong statement condemning the organization. JFNA? Silent. ARE THEY SERIOUS?
  • In December the Jewish National Fund held a breakfast in Los Angeles that drew 1300 guests -- in other words, a simple breakfast outdrew a succession of JFNA General Assemblies. Is anyone asking "why" or "how" JNF has accomplished this in Los Angeles where Federation must be unbelievably jealous (or should be)? No, the senior professional at JFNA actually believes that under his version of "leadership," JFNA is the most important Jewish organization -- anywhere. Maybe his lay Co-Chairs agree. ARE THEY SERIOUS?
  • The Inanity that is TribeFest: An anonymous Commentator observed his/her personal experience: "I cannot in good conscience go to another TribeFest knowing how much it costs the community. It actually sickens me a little when I think back on all the drinking and carousing and lack of purpose. All of us there were already committed to Jewish something or another. No new blood was brought in. I guess some people hooked up and that's ok, but still, all that money for a glorified singles weekend? $2 million?? Are you serious??" No, ARE THEY SERIOUS? 
  • Oh, then there is the 2014 GA. The dates have already been announced, "save the dates" e-mailed and the venue? It's back to Washington, D.C. where the last General Assembly (where Registration was announced as "3,000" vu den?) had an actual registration count of 942. Almost a decade ago, JFNA gave up on its most successful series of Washington Conferences because it could no longer compete with the annual AIPAC Policy Conference. But, since, two progressively more poorly attended GAs have been held in D.C...and, now, another. So recruiting starts earlier; hopefully, so does program planning that includes lay people. The idea six years ago was to find more and more attractive GA venues. I love D.C. but... ARE THEY SERIOUS?
About anything?



Anonymous said...

Allow me to add an ARE THEY SERIOUS? About the GA. Have you seen the location of the GA headquarters hotel? Check it out. If you wanted to pick a venue so removed from the Washington D.C. where you or I might want to be, this is the place. I have serious doubts that Washingtonians will want to be here let alone out-of-towners.

This is just the place that Silverman would pick. Are the JFNA Co-Chairs, one of whom is from Washington, aware of this balagan?

Anonymous said...

Where do I take this Mission idea? We fly to a room in New York City; we put on the Googles and pretend we're in Israel; we have some great dinners at Kosher restaurants; then we have a virtual caucus and preteen we raised all the money for tha J-PIE thing.

Anonymous said...

OK, allow me to add an ARE THEY SERIOUS? I hear that a major federation, whose last CEO quit "abruptly" after years of failure, will be replaced by a person from outside our system who has never raised money in his/her prior position. What's wrong with this federation? What's wrong with us? Do we have no talent pool at all?