Saturday, October 11, 2014


On practically the eve of Yom Kippur, as if to give the leaders of the GPT and JFNA more for which to atone a few days later, the Global Planning Table Committee and its oversight committee (I have no recollection of what that is called, only Rube Goldberg knows for certain) met at 25 Broadway and by phone. If you didn't know about the meeting, that's because you, like me, weren't supposed to. 

I was pleased to know that some in leadership believe it's time to declare victory, make the GPT into some form of Israel and Overseas Think Tank and fertig. The Strategic Initiatives that might be or get funded (it looks as if only one -- the "voluntary" Initiative funded by Foundations -- that one pursuing issues related to Israel's Civil Society focused on marriage this time -- has any chance of funding). 

Unfortunately, that would mean that Ms. Manning and her claque would not have taken over all of the critical overseas and domestic functions of JFNA as has been their apparent goal so you can imagine the push back at a sensible strategy. Sturm und drang. Yes, screeching for the idea of "today Israel, tomorrow the world" was Michael Gelman -- you remember him, of course, as a wonderful and generous philanthropist with his wife Susie, often articulate, and, as JFNA Chair of the Executive under Ms. Manning, her henchman, for lack of a better term. Gelman argued for an all powerful Global Planning Table (like the all-powerful Oz, I guess) wherein the validating Partnership Committee (where most of the participating Federations sit) would be erased and all dictates "decisions" would now flow directly to the GPT Executive Committee (chaired by. Manning...of course (who, you will recall, Chairs JFNA By-Laws Committee which is pushing for the elimination of JFNA's Committees, so why not; and, perhaps, in the future, by...Gelman) where sit but certain self-selected Large Cities and a few constituency leaders. Further, I have been told, in ALL...Israel and domestic activities (e.g., UIA, the "split," JAFI, JDC, World ORT) would report to the GPT Executive. 

So, at least you had discussion at this obscure "Table" of these polar extremes -- one an excellent idea to staunch the bleeding and restore (if that's the right word) JFNA to its proper leadership role for all federations; the other to drown the system in that very blood. I don't think anything was resolved but, based on past experience, Manning (with David Butler and one of his D.C. clients, Gelman) will be twisting the arms of the most malleable to get her way. And, on that note, within the next ten days or so, the Global Planning Table Committee will be learning from the Global Planning Table "Partnership Committee" (that's the one that leadership proposes to rid itself of) chaired by Ms. Manning (c'mon who else could possibly Chair such a thing) its recommendation on the fiction of the "split." That recommendation, I have no doubt, will be to eliminate or drastically change that which the federations have ignored in practice for years. But, a recommendation, any recommendation keeps you know who at the microphone. 

And, where, you might ask was CEO I-Agree-With-You-and-I-Agree-With-You-Too in all of this? As he is wont to do when he does't know which side to choose, he "filibustered" in such a ridiculous way that no one knew where he stood. He called the GPT "an amazing success" that "...has already changed the world for the better." He is the Cheerleader-in-Chief, blind to all that is right in front of his eyes, when he should be the CEO. He called the GPT's "accomplishments" "significant" even though there have been none; and he foresaw the GPT as the permanent planning arm for Israel and Overseas. Fund raising for the "Signature Initiatives" -- terrible, of course, but CEO Jerry I-Only-See-Blue-Skies-and-Unicorns said FRD for the Signature Initiatives "is looking very good" at unnamed federations. (Is this how the man sold khakis?) A disgrace.

This, of course, brings me back to Max Kleinman. In the absence of any lay leaders, Max delivered the d'var torah. No mention that he's on the GPT/JFNA payroll to raise the very money Jerry and his crew haven't.

Let me try to sum this all up -- the vast number of federations and the Network communities are no longer relevant to nor within JFNA. Just pay your Dues and leave us alone. Or, maybe you hadn't noticed. Yeah, you, the ones who pay the Dues...awake from your slumber.

So it goes in the Lake Woebegone of the Global Planning Table where Jabbawokees dance among the snowflakes while JFNA dies a slow death.



Anonymous said...

Richard, Why do you keep writing that the GPT is killing JFNA? JFNA under this leadership, lay and professional, is already dead, they just don't realize it; and the GPT is an unfunded joke, demanding to be taken seriously.

Watch, the next move, given the GPT Initiative funding failures will be to erase the self-imposed funding condition precedent and just go forward spending a reoriented JFNA Budget on the GPT while Siegal looks on in typical bewilderment.

This is all a sick joke.

Anonymous said...

Yes, maybe the think tank idea is an improvement. However in all great likelihood it will be staffed by consultants and resources and part time guru's who like Ms. Manning have no affinity for or real knowledge of our history and our current federation realities. Where are the planners of yesteryear? I see only empty rooms and empty tables and the ghosts of collaborations long forgotten.

Anonymous said...

There is no saving either the Global Planning Table or JFNA -- next to fall will be the majority of federations. The irresponsibility of the current leaders of Federation is so apparent to anyone who looks, as you have, even the surface of mediocrity in all things.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong, can't Kathy Manning find work as a lawyer anymore? I wish she would disappear from Federation. Disgust!