Sunday, June 15, 2014


I am saddened by the reality that CEO How-Did-I-Ever-Get-This-Job appears to have "bought" the extension of his ridiculous contract by telling the Board Chair what he wanted to hear -- "I, CEO Jerry, after almost five years, have seen the light and I will direct the total reorientation of JFNA toward whatever it is you want Chair Michael." All of you readers out there; raise your hand if you believe CEO I-Don't-Have-a-Clue -- I see your hands up over there Chair Michael and Chair Dede, and the other members of the Compensation Committee plus three, but otherwise...nobody believes this bull.

I know there is to be a "real" reorientation because I have read the JFNA Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015. I commend it to your attention. What do I mean by a "total reorientation?" Try this:
"JFNA will invest in initiatives that focus on helping Federations fundraise, including refocusing on high potential donors, affinity groups, national missions, speakers and community consultations. We will focus on strengthening our approach to talent acquisition; on- boarding (the winner of the JFNA "jargon of the day" award); and professional and lay leadership training."
Uh huh...and they also have a bridge to nowhere to sell you. CEO Jerry still fails to understand how or why, apparently, federations raise money -- you recall that he believes the annual campaign is nothing more than "counter-cultural." JFNA is woefully understaffed to conduct any FRD effort that would accomplish the noble goals quoted above -- the Senior professional tasked to lead "Philanthropic Resources" may have a clue how funds were raised at New York UJA-Federation but, trust me, that version of FRD is unique to New York. And, where is that guy's staff? Where is the meat on the bones of this total reorientation at 25 Broadway? Best I can tell, there is NONE.

But, all of that aside, the Board Chair wanted a return to FRD, so CEO Jerry was right on it! In words. And, apparently, for Chair Siegal words were enough to justify keeping CEO Jerry in the most expensive seat in the Federation system --he's full of words, signifying nothing. One would have thought if your senior pro so facilely and transparently keeps making stuff up, he would have been through -- but not in our time where our leaders shut their eyes to reality and just put on the blinders and hope...against hope...that they will wake up and "things will be different." 

Oh, what else?
"JFNA will strengthen the impact of our Federation System on the major issues facing our people..."  How?? "We will develop sharply defined implementation models for the Global Planning Table Signature Initiatives and pursue the opportunity provided by the Government of Israel/World Jewry Initiative to advance major projects aligned with Federation System priorities and potential responses to the Pew study."
OMG!! That's it. That's JFNA today. Oh, there's other stuff -- like throwing another $200,000 at the GA -- problem solved. Now, just "get 1,000 Registrants" and "Re-Imagine 2014 GA." And, that will be success? TribeFest may have disappeared along with the Jewish Leadership Forum...but, one never knows.

Yes, CEO I-Danced-The-Harlem-Shake knew that he could fool some of the people all of the time and...they were the right people.



PAUL JESER said...

Richard - I know that this is not on topice, but having just returned from Israel 2 hours ago and personally seeing and feeling the shock and saddness and frustration I thought that it should get as wide circulation as possible:

The Sussmans b'Aretz

There is no other news in this country right now. There is simply nothing else to think about, to talk about, to write about.

My boys are missing. Three of them.

Scratch that.

They aren’t missing – they’ve been taken – kidnapped – abducted by people whose sole goal in life is to destroy us. To tear us down at our root. To hit us at our core. They handed out candy in Gaza when they heard of the abduction.

The news does an amazing job of trying to turn the tables. Most of the articles that I’ve read continually refer to the boys as settlers – not as human beings, Israelis, Jews, 16-year old kids. No – they are settlers. Which of course, allows them to take the pressure off a bit. If they were settlers, then they deserved this, they had it coming, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And let’s throw into the mix the other point they love to emphasize. They were hitchhiking. Well, then they definitely deserved to be kidnapped.

Let’s get something straight. If you don’t live here, if you aren’t walking in my shoes at this very moment on the soil of Eretz Yisrael, then you just don’t have the full picture.

We ALL hitchhike. We live in very small communities here in Gush Etzion and many people don’t have cars. Even those who have cars typically have only one in the family. And if the kids need to get to school (which can be very far away, in particular for high school boys like Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel), then they have to rely on the bus system and on the help of neighbors and friends.

These boys were kidnapped five minutes from my home at an intersection where virtually all of our kids, and many adults, take rides. People drive by all the time taking the passengers to the local communities or to Jerusalem. It’s the way the country works.

Every parent that I’ve seen on the street has a stunned look of desperation on their faces. And we all mumble the same thing. “But my kids are there all the time. My kids tremp (take rides) everywhere. What if?”

And then we avert our eyes, wipe our tears and sigh with the what-ifs heavy on our lips.

Because it’s not a what-if for the families of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach.

And that means that it’s not a what-if for us.

These boys go to school with many of my neighbors.

Not to mention the active-duty soldier sons in our yishuv who were called up over Shabbat; whose parents are now wringing their hands as well, hoping that their boys come home safely.

These boys are my sons. And my heart is bleeding.

All of our hearts are bleeding.

There is no other news in this country at the moment. These are our boys.

I can’t tear my mind away from thoughts of their fears, their horror, their desperation. What in Gd’s name are they going through? What are their families going through? I try to stop myself from thinking about it, but it’s the only topic of conversation.

And how do you explain to your children who want to be safe, who want to be taken care of, who take rides because it’s how they can get around, that they are still safe?

There is no other news.

And there should be no other news in every Jewish community in the world right now, and in every Jewish news source.

Because nothing else matters until our boys are returned home safely.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Michael Siegal doesn't know what he doesn't know -- just like his CEO.