Friday, September 26, 2014


This is another cautionary tale. It is what happens when there is no internal accountability, no management, no almost anything. As you read what follows, measure the return on investment and let me know if you calculate any at all. For the following is a list of those on the employment roster of JFNA-Israel from the page-after-page list of JFNA personnel (names have been redacted), just positions and that favorite JFNA activity -- titles. 

Please pay close attention:

  • Senior Vice President, Israel/Overseas, Executive Office
  • Managing Director
  • Executive Vice-Chair, UIA
  • Coordinator, Executive Office
  • Senior Director, Donor Relations/Emissaries/Speakers/VIP Travel
  • Senior Associate,Communications and Government Relations
  • UIA Israel Deputy Managing Director
  • IT Manager, Fianance and Administration
  • Grants Executive, Communal Advancement
  • Missions Consultant/Giving/UIA/Missions
  • Special Assistant to Director General (?) and Director, Special Projects
  • Senior Manager, Missions
  • Operations Director, Global Planning Table
  • Missions Consultant
  • Coordinator, Global Planning Table
  • Executive Assistant/Executive Office
  • Assistant Director, Program and Planning, Global Planning Table
  • Grant Manager, UIA
  • Coordinator, Donor Relations
  • Office Manager/Finance Manager
  • Associate Director/VIP Travel
  • UIA, Israel Representative
  • CFO/Deputy Director General
  • Israel-American Jewish Relations/Executive Office
  • Assistant Director, UIA, U.S. Grant
  • Senior Associate, Communications and Media Relations
  • Managing Director, Communications and Media Relations
  • Senior Bookkeeper, Payroll Supervisor
  • Grant Coordinator/UIA
  • Associate Director/ VIP Travel
  • Associate Vice-President, Global Planning Table
I have probably left out a couple, but who could blame me, and what difference would it make? In fact, other than the UIA personnel, what difference have any and all of the JFNA-Israel professionals made, starting at the top? Really.

I have been told, though I find it hard to believe, that JFNA has two professionals at the Knesset every day to monitor Knesset activities. I sense that there is such a fear on Silverman's part of being surprised by some piece of legislation that these staff persons linger and take notes -- a kind of Jewish "early warning system" and kind of ineffective like everything else. What the heck do these people do and what the hell has this exploding bureaucracy provided the federations...and at what cost? (There is a rumor that Silverman was able to "persuade" Philanthropist Jay Ruderman, JFNA's turn-to funder of last resort, to pay for one of the "spies.")

Then, consider the number of personnel, including the two Knesset "spies," dedicated solely and exclusively to the support of the the CEO of Israel/Overseas. I count 6 -- that's almost 20% of the total personnel and if one backs out the UIA personnel, that's well over 30% of a bloated bureaucracy dedicated to the support of the CEO -- an unconscionable percentage. But not at JFNA. (Just for comparison's sake: When I chaired my law firm with 80 lawyers and a para-professional staff of over 100, we had a CEO and her assistant...and that was it.)

Finally, when JFNA first emerged from the cocoon of merger, an Israel Task Force of federation lay and professional leaders did some prodigious work. Led by the great philanthropist, Marvin Lender, and Bob Aronson, the then dynamic Detroit CEO, the Task Force offered a series of recommendations all premised upon moving the system's Israel Office back to New York headquarters. It was a recommendation built upon two premises: that it would significantly reduce systemic costs and would more effectively control policy and the bureaucratic expansion that we have now witnessed. (It should be noted that under the two predecessors to the current Senior Vice-President/Managing Director/Director General, Menachem Revivi and MK Nachman Shai, there was no massive hiring and support system as is evidenced above.) Those recommendations fell on deaf ears. More's the pity.

Perhaps, some controls would be in place were the immediate Past Chair of the Israel/Overseas Committee not so totally ignored that he quit over 6 months ago, with no successor appointed until Chicago's David Brown was named, and, as is usual, no hue and cry from any Committee member about the fact that the Committee had not met since last year's GA, if then. Maybe this is the model for those who wish to abolish all JFNA Committees in the interest of expediency; no doubt Brown will assure a voice for lay leadership out of this continuing mess.

Bottom line, this listing of personnel demonstrates nothing more than the total absence of professional management and accountability at JFNA. A lot of questions come to about: who the hell is minding the store? Give that person a contract extension.




Anonymous said...

Give that person a contract extension? Didn't JFNA just do that for Silverman?

Anonymous said...

Remember when the leaders of JFNA were "committed" to tearing down the "silos" of UJA/CJF? Now look what this CEO and a blind lay leadership have created; a whole new crop of silos (Global Planning Table, Israel/Overseas, Marketing) as never before.

Anonymous said...

Do you think anyone in so-called leadership of JFNA has done any introspection during this Holiday period? Any at all? If so, one would expect an announcement from Siegal that "we can no longer operate in the way that we have. Today I am announcing that I will lead a new CEO Search process designed to find a CEO of both excellence and experience to lead JFNA."

But...that's too much to ask for, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

While no one is paying attention $30+ million of donors' funds are being totally wasted every year.