Sunday, October 26, 2014


1. How it is supposed to be done.  I guess when your organization -- in this case, JFNA -- does not know how and does no fund raising, it certainly doesn't know how to say thank you to donors. With different leaders, it might learn. Take, for example, how JNF thanked its donors as it explained the application of proceeds from its fund raising during and after the recent Terrorists' War in Gaza:  JNF didn't bother with ridiculous "branding" -- no Stop the Sirens b.s. -- JNF just went out and raised millions, then it told its donors what it did with the money "you" contributed.

2. JFNA's Sad Lack of Meaningful Support for the Jews of the Ukraine. You remember that JFNA first asked the federations for $1 million, by letter...yep, a letter. Then, JFNA raised the request to, what, $3,000,000? Or was it, somehow, $2,300,000 -- as it appeared to be in self-serving summary of October 10. By letter. In any and all events, while our extended Ukrainian mishpacha is threatened by upheaval, one which continues, and the impending vicious Ukraine winter, JFNA has received the paltry sum of a little in excess of $1,128,000. Has anyone asked Jerry Silverman what the "needs" are or might have been anticipated to be? An amount far in excess of $10,000,000? Or did Silverman merely choose to ignore the real needs, never discussing them with JFNA lay leadership, or with JAFI or JDC? What's wrong with this picture? 

Now, after criticism from many sources and on these pages for the woeful lack of support, JFNA convened its "Ukraine Emergency Committee" (or whatever it's called) for the first time in weeks to discuss doing something. Anything. As is the case so often for this outfit, too little too late but good for meeting!

3. Do Federation CEOs have time to simultaneously lead other organizations? Apparently so. The CEO of one federation -- one that has not done very well at all for the last 15+ years is busying himself with leading a start-up NGO dedicated to Israel Mission experiences for newlyweds -- a noble proposition to be sure, but come on. Read the whole story: 
If all were well with his federation, would even starting up a new NGO be a good idea let alone being directly involved in its operation? Where is the continental guidance? Is there any? 

4. How is the GA Going? From all that I hear and read, not well...disastrous early Registration (even though JFNA reduced the lay Registration fees and eliminated the discount for early Registration). Perhaps folks looked at a map and saw where the venue is located. Then, the updated Speakers Directory appears to list every Federation professional registrant. Sadly most of the Federation "Speakers" other than those from, e.g., Baltimore, Nashville, LA, etc., are from communities that are in stasis or worse -- what do these CEOs really have to offer to a so-called "hands-on" GA -- a recipe for communal failure? And, the Program? Hardly "hands-on;" hardly a "Program" at all.

Just further evidence of the futility all around us. If any more was needed.



Anonymous said...

I assume that it is the lack of leadership and direction of JFNA that has led your own federation (and others) that raised 8-9 million to send only a small percentage of that to JFNA and to direct all the rest.

As to the director of the emerging NGO, I believe he has submitted his resignation to the federation (some time ago).

Anonymous said...

You must be wrong about the GA -- Jerry Silverman just sent out a plea for registrations while at the same time claiming 1300 already signed up -- and you know how well he counts.

Anonymous said...

I too am amazed that JFNA lists among its exhaustive Speakers directory for the GA tens of professionals from seemingly every failed federation of every City-size in our universe. Who wants to hear from them? What do we have to learn from them? How to fail and fail again and again? Is this Silverman's desperate attempt to keep these federations paying their Dues? Or can't he tell the difference between success and failure as he only knows failure himself?

Anonymous said...

It's really pretty simple math. No registration (or under registration) means no money. No money means you can't pay speakers (and comp them on registration.) Inviting federation professionals to speak means they can get the federation to pay the bill to register the exec and make sure that the exec attends thus getting the numbers up for registration purposes. I can't wait to see how empty the rooms are at these sessions.

Anonymous said...

It's as simple as those who have commented have concluded -- the vast numbers of folks "out there" have concluded that neither JFNA nor the federations that pour money on that sad place are worthy of our continued support.

Siegal, you and your Co-Chair, whoever she is, keep killing our dreams. Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Hello -- NOW the CEO i seeking funding to assist Ukrainian Jewry, NOW? What's with this guy? What are his priorities? This just goes from bad to worse.

Anonymous said...


Whatever happened to your sense of humor? JFNA hasn't lost its. For this GA JFNA has engaged a "poet in residence" as well as countless "consultants in residence." And you think this will be a failure??

Anonymous said...

A "poet in residence?" This group needs an "embalmer in residence."