Wednesday, May 7, 2014


The title to today's Post is actually, in practice, JFNA's operating theme -- the organization and its leadership can be counted on to over-promise and under-achieve in every area of its work. I was reminded of this by an Anonymous Comment directed at another Anonymous Commentator to our Post on, vu den, TribeFest 3. Read on:
"... a lot of Birthright money comes from federations? Kindly back-up your comment with facts; how much did all the federations together give to Birthright last year out of Birthright's total budget? Certainly millions, but I doubt it is much more than about 6% of the total. While that is still millions of dollars, it is FAR BELOW the 1/3 of Birthright money that the federations were supposed to kick in."
So, even the most admired and supported program of our era -- Birthright -- remains underfunded through a JFNA unable to inspire us or deliver on the promises it has made. 

But you could, if you wish, look at any area of supposed commitment and you will not be surprised to learn that time after time JFNA has shown no its multiple asks for funding for project after project and the results show it. Where would you wish to look: "Signature Projects," supposedly the precursor to, what else, the "Signature Initiatives" of the Global Planning Table; ""Finish the Journey," the final push to bring the Falash Mura to Israel; the Ethiopian National Project; the Ukraine Assistance Fund (which some believe has been fully funded, but as there were no articulated goals [and as to which JFNA insisted that the fund-raising not be called a "campaign"], who knows how to define "success") measuring "success" is impossible; even Operation Promise (still in a prominent place, believe it or not on the JFNA website a decade after it was shut down); and on and on. One failed promise after another. This is not to mention $1 billion for a free pre-school education for every Jewish child thrown out there at last November's GA with neither forethought nor follow-up.

Oh, if you ask JFNA's so-called "leaders," they will no doubt tell you that its the federations' failure not theirs; after all, JFNA just throws the programs, the projects, the campaigns out there, it's up to the federations to see them through. There is no commitment at 25 Broadway to anything (except, of course, the Rube Goldberg labyrinth that is the Global Planning Table and the inanity that has been the annual TribeFest) and the continuation of UJA/CJF programs on a diminished basis. That's leadership JFNA-style. 

Starting in the years of Howard Rieger's CEO-ship, JFNA started sending passionate, even accusatory, letters to local communal leaders pleading for funding for one or another project as JFNA fund raising -- and the lack of funding priorities defies and defies reason right through today. (Of course, one thing has  remained clear -- JFNA's singular priority has been and is the payment of its Dues, everything...that's EVERYTHING...else is secondary.) JFNA operates by the mantra "if you don't know where you are going, every road will take you there." All of us know damn well that where everything is a priority, nothing is.


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