Monday, January 27, 2014


You know, it's near the end of the game, your team is down, the only hope is a miracle play -- it must be a "Hail Mary (pardon me) pass" -- one that fails over 97% of the time. And, that's exactly what Jerry Silverman is throwing (along with other stuff he's throwing) and throwing and throwing...

  • You saw one fall to the turf right before and during the GA: the $1 billion "special campaign" for a free Pre-School for every Jewish child. That pass fell to the ground when almost universally condemned for a lack of pre-planning, a lack of any support from Jewish educators, and the preposterous thought that JFNA could actually mount a massive campaign, having never done so in a decade while it planfully deracinated what had been a national FRD capacity that was the envy of every other fund raising organization;
  • Another is still fluttering in the air -- the future of the Global Planning Table, the collapse of which by its own weight is claimed, by Silverman himself, to presage the ultimate collapse of JFNA. While the present evidence -- the expenditure of what appears to be over $4 million with no results other than that a number of federations, some even initially enthusiastic, have opted out while JFNA continues inexorably on leading to...
  • One "Signature Initiative" now "rolled out" as the ultimate Hail Mary would create a new Company (in which your federation probably won't provide sufficient funds to enable its participation in this entity's governance [kind of like, ummm, the membership on the so-called "Partnership Committee," the decision-making body of the Global Planning Table Committee itself]) to brand, market and implement something called JPIE -- the totally immersive Israel and Overseas venture of JFNA, the Federations, the Jewish Agency and the JDC. This is such a desperate heave that it was thrown without the kind of financial commitment that could assure any possibility of success. (P.S., it is also JFNA's transparent effort to get on the last car of the train before the Government of Israel/Jewish Agency leaves the station without it.)
Sure, these are efforts to pump up JFNA but aren't these all being rolled out now, to be engaged in round table discussions in Santa Monica, to demonstrate how badly we need CEO Jerry to carry on, for continuity's sake if nothing else, to demonstrate that after four years of futility, we can't carry on without keeping Jerry at the helm JFNA's futility over the past four years notwithstanding. Meanwhile, our elected leaders and federation leaders who might influence JFNA's cringe away from effective remedial action, the action that might save JFNA from itself.

As these passes head earthward, let's remember the definition: "Hail Mary pass is a very long forward pass in American football, made in desperation with only a small chance of success." Yep, "...made in desperation with only a small chance of success."



paul jeser said...

My response to G.Rosenblatt's interview of new NY Fed Exec


My response:
Goldstein's response (question about being an 'outsider') reinforces his lack of understanding of the 'Jewish Communal Service'. He has no clue. Would his law firm appoint someone with no legal work experience as a managing partner? Of course not.

The issue is not if he will be successful - he may - but, what this appointment does to Jewish Communal Service. The Federations, in general, have lost their place in the community, and the Jewish Communal Service is disintegrating before our eyes.

It is a very very depressing time for those of us who have worked in the field when one of the icons is succeeded by someone who has no experience or training as a member of the Jewish Communal Service. It also shows that the leadership of the largest Federation in the country has no clue. AND, this appointment is also a result of the failed merger of the CJF and the national UJA.


Anonymous said...

I attended the farce in Santa Monica at great expense and, like others I have spoken with here, wonder why? I am a lay person who knows that these "table discussions" are nothing more than filler -- nothing we have ever discussed or concluded at a "table" has ever been incorporated into any JFNA program. In fact the entire program is filler for the pre-cooked, pre-packaged bs that is now JFNA. Michael Segal should be ashamed...and Silverman should be retired.Consultants and incompetence now rule. It's a horror story.

Anonymous said...

These meetings leave no doubt that, as you have written, the Global Planning Table is running JFNA rather than vice-versa. Maybe Siegal and Feinberg should resign and just acknowledge that Manning and Butler are in charge de facto and de jure. It's embarrassing to watch let alone to participate. I am ashamed that I just grin and bear it like everyone else -- but I am not coming again.

Anonymous said...

And to those who attend these meetings and report afterwards: did you stand up and say respectfully that the horror must end? Did you at least whisper in the halls to anyone who would listen that our federation thing is being kidnapped by executive cluelessness, private agendas, the self perpetuating games of consultants, the indifference of CEO' s who have the power to end the farce? it takes ONLY ONE and the dynamic is changed.

Anonymous said...


At the end of 2013 you Posted a letter to Dede Feinberg and Michael Siegal, could you jus tell us whether you ever received an answer?

RWEX said...

Allow me to respond to the last two Comments:

1. It must take TWO (if you consider this Blog to be a "whisper in the halls;" and

2. I have received neither a response nor an acknowledgment from either Chair. They're busy.