Wednesday, July 9, 2014


That Midwestern Federation that I didn't camouflage very well earlier this week and which you identified as Milwaukee had postponed acting on its Draconian cut to the overseas core allocation when its Board met a few weeks ago. This deferral offered some hope that Federation Board members would reexamine the unanimous recommendation of that Federation's Executive Committee to cut that allocation from $1,462,250 to $684,740 -- an unheard of reduction in a single year of $777,500 -- 53%. What happened?

Well, to his credit, even though he leads JFNA itself away from responsible advocacy for the overseas core allocations without realizing that that is exactly the impact of the GPT, Jerry Silverman called the Milwaukee CEO to urge responsible allocations; and many Milwaukee leaders urged reflection by the current Milwaukee Board on its history of Continental leadership. It might have been nice if the JFNA Board Chair and Chair of the Executive had called the Milwaukee Board Chair but...never mind.

And, then, the Federation Board answered: it cut this critical life-giving and life-sustaining allocation to $780,100 -- a cut of only $682,150!! That's a 47% cut. That's a horrible disregard of communal responsibility and of collective responsibility by a federation once known for its leadership. So much for Continental advocacy -- one must ask, was CEO Silverman even aware of the contemplated deconstruction of Milwaukee's overseas sharing before someone handed him (he doesn't read this Blog, you know!!) the original Post that disclosed Milwaukee's intended action?

And, here is how the JFNA CEO has described how the Jewish Agency and Joint Distribution Committee are dealing with the terrorists' war on Israel -- JA and JDC will now have to do so with $777,500 less due to Milwaukee's tragic decision:
  • Currently has over 4500 young adults in Israel on short term immersion experiences, and an additional 3,000 on long term.
  • Security briefings have been provided for all tour operators and participants, and none are currently within 24 mi. of Gaza (an Onward group from Be'er Sheva was moved northward).
  • Programs operating between 24-49 miles north of Gaza must brief participants on how to act if sirens sound, and must remain within proximity of safe shelter.
  • Parents of all Onward participants (270 currently in Israel), have been contacted and other programs either have already sent or will be sending communications shortly.
  • Staff from a Jewish Agency subsidiary, Amigour, are performing damage assessment caused by rocket fire for the National Property Tax Authority.
  • Better Together, which serves children and youth has activated program managers in communities in the 24 mi.range.  Activities for children have been suspended and large public gatherings are now prohibited in those areas.  Currently the BT staff are putting together alternative activities that can be offered, with an emphasis on what can be done to keep the children occupied should there need to be extended stays in public shelters.
  • There has been a 150% increase in those seeking help for shock and anxiety.
  • The overly demanding work of the previous weeks is already wearing down the professional staff who have been dealing with a spike in demands for help, related to the abduction of the three teenage boys. Over 100 therapeutic workshops have been set up to provide support to the population of the South, especially to parents and a show is being put on for children to educate them about safe responses to the situation.
  • Currently there are 3,600 Birthright participants in Israel.  BRI reviews all security measures and implements the most stringent security recommendations throughout the trip to ensure comprehensive safety.  No effort or expense is spared as it relates to the security of participants.
  • We are collecting information on the impact of the situation on Federation partnership cities. 
  • The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia,’s Israel representative, Talia Lidar, reports that Philadelphia’s partnership city, Netivot, which has been heavily impacted.  Nothing communal is operating, the kids are at home with no activity, and the shopping centers are empty.
  • Arie Levy, Federation CJA Montreal, reports that “Beersheva is empty today with shops closed and all educational activities shut down. There are some children’s activities in shelters. There is no talk of evacuation; this is not a region that is easily evacuated. The authorities have implemented their emergency protocols for volunteers and staff. The Trauma Center is open in the Teacher’s Center.”
And one must ask, does anyone with leadership responsibilities understand that the system is falling/has fallen apart?



Anonymous said...

If one is going to be fair to the Milwaukee Federation and its lay and professional leadership, you should also publicize what, if any, cuts were made to local allocations and what the impact of local dollars is on Jewish life. I have no idea what the discussions were in the allocations meetings, but I feel pretty confident that they were serious and reflected a very painful balancing act of spreading a limited (and possibly declining) number of dollars over a number of worthwhile, and yes competing, needs.

Anonymous said...

All local agencies received the same allocation with the exception of one agency who took a $10,000 cut over a principle matter. Federation overhead was not reduced. There was an almost $400,000 reduction to the campaign and 100% of that shortfall was deducted from the Overseas Core Allocation to JDC and JAFI.

If that was not bad enough, a further $280,000 reduction was made to JDC and JAFI core for other programs .

This was an over 50% reduction to JAFI and JDC.

You want to be fair to Milwaukee? Fair to what?

Was this allocation fair?

RWEX said...

Thanks for clarifying. I think these facts indicate I was more than fair, if fairness was due, to a lay and professional leadership of a community -- women and men who seem to not understand the meaning of "federation" whatsoever. I am sorry for those in a once great federation that was historically committed to doing the right thing for the Jewish People.