Tuesday, June 3, 2014


The title of this Post is, for those of you old enough to remember Johnny Carson's Carnack the Magnificent, Carnackian. As in the answer to the question: "What is JFNA good for?" Let me count the ways:

  1. Based upon the representation from JFNA that it would provide $1,500,000 the Jewish Agency completed the journey for the Jews of Ethiopia. We warned JAFI on these pages months ago, long before the "Completing the Journey" non-campaign, that JFNA had proved itself incapable of raising these funds, but JAFI did so. Of course, JFNA didn't raise $1.5 million, it didn't even raise $1 million. Can't, wouldn't, couldn't. Nope. And, the consequences for JFNA -- none. In fact, CEO What-Me-Worry had the chutzpah to demand that the Jewish Agency and Joint significantly fund the "Signature Initiatives" without regard to JFNA's almost constant breach of its financial responsibilities to the overseas partners.
  2. There are those in the federation system who are incredulous that when those demands were made by, e.g., CEO Doesn't-Know-What-He's-Doing, that the Jewish Agency and Joint pony up millions for the Global Planning Table, they pushed back, unable to do so because of the Draconian cuts to overseas allocations. Some CEOs are really angry that our overseas partners just have resisted sharing in the funding of what have been mainly their own programs. (For example, do the chachams who are running the GPT want JAFI/JDC to take money from, e.g., MASA and then give it back to...MASA?) Well, these folks seem to be unable to connect the dots, so let me do it for them -- you have permitted, through disinterest or disingenuity or a failure of your leadership, the federations to reduce the core allocation since the start point of the allocations process under JFNA to be reduced by, e.g., to the Jewish Agency in an amount in excess of $100,000,000 and now you want/demand "skin in the game?" 
  3. Oh, and as to those "Signature Initiatives" and another project to be funded by a yet-to-be-determined "coalition of the willing" (as in the second Iraq War?)? Forget that, as the CEO advised the GPT Committee on May 14 that the JFNA Board must approve any fund raising campaign, the former JFNA Board Chair, she who appointed herself the Chair of the GPT Executive Steering Committee, suggested that the GPT (or JFNA as they are now one and the same) "hire a law firm" to advise that a Board vote is not needed.  Her rationale to avoid the governance process appears to be that as the JFNA Board approved the Signature Initiatives then by implication the Board approved raising the money for them. But, then, governance process was never important to her, was it?*
  4. And, as to the GPT's own "rules" for the Signature Initiatives, let's focus on getting ten federations to each commit $500,000 in new money in each of the first three years -- $5,000,000 -- in "skin in the game." These leaders have figured a way out of that as well. Now, if you have a foundation willing to participate in an Initiative and, say, that Foundation has an address in, let's say, Detroit, then we'll credit any contribution from that Foundation as if came from, let's say, Detroit. Fund-raising JFNA style. 
  5. You may remember that at the time that the Israel Action Network was formed as a "separate Company" we predicted it would become, among other things, a "budget maker" for the JCPA which would pay any number of its professionals and employees out of IAN funding. Well, so it has. And, now, that will be the "model" for the Signature Initiatives substituting JFNA for JCPA. It appears intended that the Initiatives, will contract through a new "Company" with JFNA for any number and amount of services covering any number of JFNA professional and employee costs. As we have said, and all of the evidence establishes, the Signature Initiatives are not about the Federations, not about the Jewish Agency, World ORT or the Joint -- they are all about the GPT and JFNA. 
As one Commentator wrote:
"Seems to me the time for alternative action has arrived:
*create an alternative fiscal agent for the transfer of overseas funds
*retain a small talented Pool of consultants with federation bonifides
*organize and promote a Focused conference/consultation on "the future of Federation in the 21st century", leading to action steps.
The talent is there, the raison d'ĂȘtre exists, can a will to action follow?"

To which another responded that the LCE would merely veto the concept.

As Carnack the Magnificent would say: "Nothing."


* I anticipate that just as Manning denied stating that the use of the word "Zionism" in a GPT document was "too controversial" and demanded a full scale investigation of my sources and my (further) denunciation even as she knew my report was completely true, she will deny that she ever suggested "redefining" "campaign" in any way or that she was merely "joking." 


Anonymous said...

so much of this blog is thought-provoking and worthwhile, but it's hard to read the blind defenses of JAFI and guaranteed "partner overseas allocations." Maybe Federations have cut their blessed "core" allocations to JAFI because it's still bloated, still doesn't know what its mission is, still isn't transparent, still can't execute and is still a weak partner?

Anonymous said...

Also, what has become of those incredibly important strategic initiatives that Jerry was going to have his staff implement? What about the universal preschool idea that he touted at the G A?

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, yes, the Silverman "Strategic Initiatives" -- well, never mind. Guess Michael Siegal never asked him about those.