Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Last month one of our Commentators noted that the 2014 General Assembly will be held in a Hotel far from the locations in Washington, D.C. that attract tourists and conventions. So I checked. And, it's even more ridiculous than I had first thought; In fact, it's unbelievable.

The GA will be held at The Gaylord Washington. If that name sounds familiar, think back to The Gaylord Opryland -- where some Nashville GA participants are still looking for their rooms. The Gaylord Washington isn't even in Washington, D.C. It's in something called National Harbor, Md. It's south of Alexandria, Virginia. It looks like a nice facility, relatively new and 20 miles from The Capital Hilton -- once a favored CJF venue for Quarterly meetings for those who remember them -- offered just for perspective.

Now I never liked the Marriott Washington Wardman Park for a lot of reasons but it was in Washington D.C. for G-d's sake. The Gaylord Washington is so far from Washington, D.C., it appears that you can't even see it from there. (I noticed on its website that one of the photos shows a room with a telescope!!)

I can hear the internal JFNA conversation now: "We're gonna have the GA at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel." "Sounds great." "Yeah, and they'll give us a real deal at a brand new Gaylord for a Washington GA -- a 'two-fer.'" "That's great. Maybe we can have the Gelmans Chair it; they haven;t chaired one for a while." "Has anyone here talked to any of our leaders in D.C. about this place?" "Yeah, no one has ever heard of it; they say it isn't close to anything." "Screw them, book it." 

So, why, you might ask, has what was once our "most important meeting of the year" been shuffled off to a convention facility, no matter how nice and relatively new, that is so distant from the sites that draw us to D.C. that there is no value to other than insiders who only like to play GA with themselves anyway? Is the GA now about JFNA and nothing else like so much of JFNA itself? Will the wonderful corps of Washington D.C. volunteers be able and willing to get there for three or four days?

(One reminiscence from the 2007 GA in the Opryland Hotel. As I was leaving the Hotel for the airport, I saw Isaac "Buji" Herzog sitting in the lobby alone. I went over to say hello. Asked him if I could help him in any way. "Yes, Richard," he answered, "can you help me find my room?")

And, so the gang that couldn't shoot straight has done it again. They just can't help themselves.



Anonymous said...

This is a joke, right?

Anonymous said...

Yes, absolutely - JFNA is one big joke.

Anonymous said...

You didn't look deeply enough or you missed it in the write up.

The complete name is Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

It is a World-class, four diamond Resort Hotel & Convention Center located on the banks of the Potomac River near Washington, DC. Gaylord National features a 19-story high, glass atrium with lush indoor gardens, award winning restaurants, a full-service luxury spa & salon and more. With 2,000 guest rooms and nearly 470,000 square feet of state of the art meeting space, Gaylord National is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway, your corporate meeting, wedding or other special event.

Obviously it was the 2,000 rooms that attracted JFNA for where else would they be able to put all of the delegates in the same hotel? Or perhaps the clue to the selection is in the portion of the name that calls it a Resort - as in This is the hotel of Last Resort.

RWEX said...


Anonymous said...

Richard, Do you believe in coincidences? I know they tell you they don't read your Blog; but today, in the aftermath, of your Post on the venue of the 2014 GA, Co_Chairs Howard Friedman and Gail Norry, have asked the multitudes for programming input.

Coincidence? Doubtful.

Anonymous said...

My Four GA program suggestions:

CEO's: no Jewish professionals need apply
Privatizing Your Federation: a new entrepreneurial model
Zionism: so 1948!
Making your giving to Federation free: the ultimate entitlement

Anonymous said...

This just gets worse. That Memo from the GA Co-Chairs is titled "If WE build it, will YOU come?" Huh? Then there is a "survey" linked to the Memo that approaches pandering in the extreme.

These must be the same people who bring us Tribe Fest.

Anonymous said...

The JFNAers just keep handing off GA irresponsibility from one professional to another -- and the results are always the same. Bad to worse. Now it's the SVP Marketing's turn -- Hey Renee, in case you hadn't noticed, you're not in Aipac anymore.

A very sad prediction said...

JFNA will wrap itself in the agenda of others at the GA: the AIPAC agenda, the PM's initiative and it's GPT variant, the new entepreneurial philanthropists with their own private agendas and a celebration of millenials as all preceding generations are dead and gone. We know what and who they are and we don't even have to guess at their price.

Anonymous said...

This is not a "gaggle." A "gaggle" suggests organization; this version of JFNA is disorganized in addition to being incapable of thoughtful planning to benefit federations.

Why do we need JFNA again? To keep our Lions?

Anonymous said...

To call JFNA a three ring circus would be an insult to circuses! I can't remember where I heard that, maybe on this blog.