Monday, February 17, 2014


1. What Jewish organization, held in high regard, maintains two doors to its office suite -- one for one of its highest ranking pros, the other for the other of its highest ranking professionals (!)? If you enter the "wrong" door, you find a receptionist who sends you to the other door? Oh, and there are two receptionists, one for each. Sitting practically next to each other. 

2. The Philadelphia federation hired a new CEO (boy is she in for a set of challenges) using the esteemed Darrell Friedman to run its search. The hire was ignored by JFNA no announcement, no bells and whistles -- don't use Mandel, don't expect our promoting the results of your search. The new CEO also had some FRD and Federation experience in her background, albeit not much -- maybe JFNA objected to the new hire for those reasons.

3. CEO Jerry.

4. You know, I have made a lot of fun at the expense of what has come to be known as the Festivus. But, really, who would have thought that JFNA itself, the progenitor of the Fests, those who really believe it means something, could bring such shame upon itself. And it keeps doing so, again and again, and again. Why, this month alone, in its latest "promotion" of the unpromotionable, it beckoned its prospective attendees with this: "Want to hear megillah and celebrate Purim in style? Come to our Black and White Purim Ball (ahem, open bar)."  (Emphasis added) I mean, really, you want to bring shame to our national organization, keep up this kind of drivel.

Reflecting on this subject, one Commentator sent us a "reminder:"
"Zeek wrote this two years ago and is certainly correct that our leadership is stunned and off balance: "They cannot, in good conscience, believe that TribeFest—essentially a spring-break style fest of Jewish partying with content elements thrown in—is a worthy goal in and of itself, or that it represents or conveys the purpose of Jewish youth leadership going forward. After all, the leaders supporting TribeFest are among those who worked to support the Jewish State through thick and thin, who struggled to bring succor and welfare to millions of immigrants and war refugees during the twentieth century, and then partnered to fight for Soviet Jewry, and now raise resources to give our elderly dignity as our population ages. To think that they are declaring our crowning achievements to be a grand weekend of young people in Vegas (i.e., once upon a time, our community mobilized to drain swamps in the Galilee; in 2012 we successfully drained margaritas at the Bellagio.) would be to make a mockery of who they are and who came before them." (" 
5. Just when you think this Festivus thing can get no worse, JFNA sends another promotion, so revolting I thought of reprinting the whole thing here. (If you must, you can find it at But let me summarize: you register for $300, you can "send a friend for free" and, if you do, you get to go to the "Purim Party" for free. And here is how this is presented: "You get to share the experience with your friend, that’s awesome! And to show our thanks, we’ll get you into the Purim party on Saturday night for free. (Open bar. Hot Jews. This is a no-brainer.)" Their words, not mine.

Let me repeat: "THIS IS A NO-BRAINER." 'nuff said.

Jewish humor, indeed. Jewish tragedy in reality.



Anonymous said...

As usual you overlooked the positives. fortunately they did not include a definition of "Who is a Jew".

RWEX said...

Dear Anon,

(1) Send me the "positives" and I will print them in full; and (2) huh?

The Old Cynic said...

JFNA is committed to disproving the three of the four Jewish stereotypes about Jews: that we do not abuse alcohol and drugs; that we do not promote a promiscuous culture; and that we are all smart. The fourth: all Jews are rich is obvious central to their belief system as shown in their pricing policies for conferences and the lip service they pay to issues of Jewish poverty worldwide.

Anonymous said...

If you want to read something truly humorous, take a gander at the recent publication of"JFNA Development Cabinet Fundraising Recommendations" -- a collection of "guidelines" so old and so irrelevant to so many communities as to be another waste of time and effort.

Sometimes I believe that some lay leaders just have an insatiable need to see their name in print or their voice on a mic. Shame.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, the new CEO of the Philly Federation has extensive relevant FRD experience. She was the long-time head of the United Way of Westchester and Rockland Co. Federations and United Ways, while not identical, certainly share many, many similarities. Whether this turns out to be a good career move for her; only time will tell.

RWEX said...

And with all due respect to you Anonymous Commentator on Philadelphia -- there is NO legitimate comparison between the FRD responsibilities required of a Federation Executive and that of the CEO of the United Way of Westchester and Rockland Counties. What, exactly, are the "many, many similarities" to which you referred?

Rav Yoda said...

In defense of Anonymous's comments about the United Way, there definitely are similarities between the the two organizations. For example, both the United Way system and the Federation system serve as centralized, umbrella organizations for their communities. They function as community conveners on high priority areas, such as aging and strengthening nonprofits.

In terms of fundraising, they both hold large annual campaigns where people can donate money to an annual fund. The mechanics may vary, but the intent is the same. The United Way system is also struggling, like many Federations, with donors' demands to designate. United Ways in various communities have responded by establishing priority areas for people to direct dollars, such as Healthy Lives, Education and Safety Net. This has happend at the Philadelphia Federation and other Federations. Whether this strategy is successful remains to be seen.

I think the new Philly CEO's United Way background is a potential strength also in that United Ways spend significant resources developing relationships with businesses. This skill set could help Philly as it works to increase its revenue and devlop relationships with Jewish business leaders.