Friday, December 26, 2014


A reader asked:
Just out of curiosity, can you name some people whom you think would be better at the top professional position of JFNA? Would be interesting for your readers to know whom you are thinking about...
If this Blog is but evidence of the truth in the maxim that banging one's head against a wall over and over again expecting change is insanity, suggesting potential successors to the failed JFNA CEO of today is but another example of that head banging against wall.  Friends, I have done this before but there is no harm in looking this list over once again, with some additions and deletions. So, here it goes in no particular order:

  • Russell Robinson whose success leading JNF and his prior experience at UJA are evidence of his creative and focused leadership
  • David Fisher, the CEO and President of the Birthright Israel Foundation, experienced within and without the federation system
  • Jacob Solomon, the long-serving CEO of the Miami Federation, or Marc Terrill, Baltimore's likewise, neither of whom appears to have any interest in moving on but would bring a world of experience and compassion
  • Maxyne Finkelstein, the former CEO of UIA-Canada and JAFI NA, she is a great manager and builder of relationships
  •  William Daroff, the constantly successful CEO of JFNA-Washington, William is the only JFNA insider with the proven capacity to lead the organization
  • Jennifer Laszlo Mizrachi, the co-founder and driving force of The Israel Project, now the President of RespectAbilityUSA, has proved to be a force to be reckoned with, whp would shake JFNA out of its doldrums
  • Nasatir/Hoffman/Ruskay, the troika who have been actually running JFNA -- charge them to step forward as interim Co-CEOs for, e.g., 18 months
  • Cindy Chazan who stepped away from her role as EVP of the Hartford Federation to VP of The Wexner Foundation
Jerry Silverman is living proof of the futility of parachuting in one with no engagement in Jewish Federation life into the position of leading it. Failure -- and we surely live in the shadow the current failure -- can be a great teacher...but only if we learn from it.

In all events, whom would you suggest?



Anonymous said...

Any of these professionals would be such a vast improvement over what we have now -- of course, we have nothing now, less than nothing.

Anonymous said...

Look, each of those you have listed would do a far, far better job than the incumbent but with clueless lay leadership even the best of these will fail and the organization with it.

Anonymous said...

I know there are young professionals at any number of federations who have demonstrated more ability, more understanding and greater experience than does the JFNA CEO. The Comment to which you responded failed to ask the basic question: "Why do the lay leaders of JFNA and the senior leaders of federations put up with a CEO like the one JFNA has in place? Let Michael Siegel and Steve Hoffman answer that one -- of course they can't or won't.

Anonymous said...

The very fact that the LCE's as a group allow the current situation to continue means there are at least 4 names on your last that can't be trusted to save the sinking ship.

Anonymous said...

Richard this last comment needs your reflection.
If these Execs are supporting the current administration, how can you take the gigantic leap to see them as the solution?
That is insanity

Anonymous said...

Nothing significant happens at UJC/JFNA without it getting vetted by NY, Chicago or Cleveland.

If any 2 of these 3 object, fuhgettaboutit. Sometimes even 1 is enough. You can't understand the dynamics and dysfunctions of the system of 150+ Federations without understanding the role of the Big 3.