Thursday, February 27, 2014


In response to yesterday's Post where, in part, I lamented JFNA's silence on a number of issues, one Commentator underscored the shame of it all as follows:
  " JFNA did not launch a campaign to raise emergency funds for the Ukraine but have left it to JDC, JAFI and ORT to organize and raise the funds. As a federation professional I am aware of any number of federations that are actively raising funds for needs identified by the partners, yet there is no effort, statement, or coordination of this effort by JFNA."
This is the ultimate embarrassment, the ultimate insult to the CJF and the UJA, to those who bequeathed us the legacy of shared values and timeless principles -- our national organization and its leaders are not only silent about a set of circumstances that impact today on 300,000 of our extended family, it doesn't lift a finger to help them let alone lead the effort.

Here is what the Jewish Agency stated as it extended emergency assistance to the Jewish communities of the Ukraine:
"Since 1929, The Jewish Agency has ensured that Jews worldwide have a thriving and welcoming homeland in Israel should they choose to make Aliyah. While there is no increase in actual immigration from Ukraine, The Agency is seeing a rise in applications for eligibility. Should there be a sudden growth in Aliyah, The Jewish Agency has positioned the necessary resources for a successful absorption. At this point, the Jews of the Ukraine know that their Jewish brethren around the world stand with them and that they will not face alone whatever their future has in store." (Emphasis JAFI's)
And here is what JFNA stated: 
"________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________" (Emphasis JFNA's) 
And this silence has taken place while JFNA's lay and professional leaders have been in Israel. JFNA, making us proud.

Shame, shame, shame on us for sitting silently while letting this farce continue. While the forces of intolerance and xenophobia and worse threaten a portion of the Jewish People, our national organization sits on the sidelines playing with its "Signature Initiatives," with the inanity that is TribeFest, hiding its head in the sand once again.

Shame, shame, shame on us.



paul jeser said...

As many of us have known for a while, there was no doubt that the JDC, Sachanut and ORT would be doing their own direct fundraising in the communities at some point, as has almost every other agency or organization that has/had received funding through the Federation allocation process.

Time for a significant change. There, certainly, is no longer a need for a national UJA/UJC/JFNA, although there is a need for what the CJF z'l used to do. There also may not be the need for the Federations as we once knew them to be.

A g'zillion words have been written by Richard and others on the ills of the current system. We know it is broken - probably beyond repair.

HOWEVER, there needs to be one local organization that somehow can bring the community together. The Federation and the UJA/CJF used to be able to do that - no more.

About four years ago I wrote of a 'vision' of what this system could be. It gained no traction for many reasons. If not this plan, than hopefully, someone will come up with another plan. Something has to be done!

This is my vision:

Anonymous said...

Richard, our senior professionals are currently very engaged trying to figure out how to co-opt the new Government-JAFI Initiative into something they can take credit for. Between that and Festivius, their bandwidth is fully occupied.

And let's be honest, outside of NY and Chicago, does ANY federation really care what's happening in Ukraine?

Anonymous said...

To the second anonymous. either you are being sarcastic (which I doubt) or you are very much out of touch with what is happening in the communities. Federations and Jews around the country and around the world care as much about the 300k brothers and sisters in the Ukraine as anywhere else. If you look at the budgets of JAFI, JDC, and World ORT and the amount of funds they are investing in the FSU (including Ukraine) you can get a good idea of how much the federations i.e. Jews, care. After all, where do you think they get these funds, if not from federations across the country. If the federations i.e. Jews in these communities, did not care, do you think the federations would still be supporting projects in the FSU?

RWEX said...

To the faux JFNA "Anonymous" staffer -- good stuff. Unfortunately, the glove fits.

RWEX said...

A e-mailer whose id I have chosen to omit wrote:

Yes, beyond tragic. I lament the loss of past volunteer and professional leaders/colleagues who brought vision, passion and true gravitas to their work.
Perhaps there might rise a few who can create (recreate?) a valid, purposeful system.

I live in fantasy land sometimes.

Be well. Shabbat shalom"