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.