"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again"
Do you, dear readers, think there is anyone (other than the CEO) who is engaged with this iteration of JFNA who doesn't believe that the organization is terminally broken? A Comment offering significant insight inspired this reflection:
"In 1995 Samuel Norich, the current publisher of the Forward wrote a brilliant 86 page essay titled "What Will Bind Us Now" A Report on the Institutional Ties Between Israel and American Jewry in which he posited that a merger between UJA and CJF would lead to a dramatic reduction of collective communal support of Israel.
The merged organization would lose focus and water down efforts as it aspired to be everything to everybody and include a domestic agenda that would polarize the American Jewish community.
He could not have been more prescient.
It is time to allow UJA to leave the union and merge the JAFI and JDC fundraising efforts under one roof and get JFNA back to its holy agenda of building capacity of Federations.
Under the current construct, the Jewish People lose."Of course every good idea, even this one, won't even be considered by JFNA leadership; this one because it would reverse the merger-created hegemony of the Large City Executives and the lay leadership oligarchy that has secured its power. But, that does not mean that this and other ideas should not be considered...immediately. It's long past time for an institutional reset, isn't it?
I don't know where such a reset might end up, but wouldn't a conclave called by JFNA where the issues of the future governance could be discussed by federation lay and professional leaders, academics, our Rabbis and foundation leaders have great value in and of itself? When the merger process convened a continental meeting on McDonald's Oak Brook Campus so long ago, that meeting itself was so valuable to all of us. It was a meeting called by UJA and CJF and, obviously, resulted in their institutional demise out of which we had hoped would arise something better. What we have today is so much worse that a total reorganization is called for -- one that might result, with better...far, far better...leadership in a rebirth of JFNA.
Friends, there is no rational basis for perpetuating a leadership and an organization that has resulted in one loss after another for the Jewish People, that has diminished rather than enhanced the Jewish communal professional cadre, that has lost the means to campaign and the passion that both propels and engages our donors, that focuses on increasing the number of donors rather than looking on with horror as the number of system donors falls beyond 60% the number on the date of JFNA's birth.
I still believe, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, that we can do better in every area -- for how can we do any worse?