Friday, May 22, 2015


The organization that hasn't a clue what it should be doing or what it could be doing has now found a new way to pass the time and waste our money -- it's called FedWorld. Its premier "Edition" appeared on-line on April 29.  The next day -- the "2nd Edition" -- arrived with the tagline "The most exciting thing to hit your inbox." JFNA, masters of hyperbole. It's a web paper ostensibly promoting federations or JFNA or something -- but, really, if the first "editions" are the best evidence, it's about...well, whatever JFNA decides is "newsworthy." This has to be among the biggest wastes of time on a growing tab of time wastes at 25 Broadway...yet...inasmuch as all of the JFNA-related Nepal information (which is after all the bulk of what JFNA appears to about today) is highlighted on the JFNA home page.

So what's going on in FedWorld according to JFNA? Well, there's:

  • Federations/Philanthropy: There's Nepal 
  • JFNA Notes: Let's see -- there's Nepal
  • Then there are cites to articles...on "other" publications -- Chronicle of Philanthropies, JNS*
  • Oh, yes, there are references to the work of the Secure Communities Network and the IAN
  • And links to "critical" stories in the Federation world -- e.g., Bernie Sanders running for President and a New York Rabbi will receive a "Papal knighthood."
  • The "2nd Edition" -- more of the same; and in the 3rd iteration and ever since, JFNA discovered that "'millennials' generation can become the new wealth builders and philanthropists;" and on and on, more and more on Nepal 
I didn't read anything about Prime Minister Netanyahu's Coalition Agreement with United Torah Judaism that abandoned all efforts in support of a positive change to Israel's Conversion Law. JFNA hasn't even sent one of its "letters to the Prime Minister" on the subject -- guess there is no time what with the Nepal Fund and all.

There isn't even accuracy. In a reference to its work in FRD for Ukraine, FedThing reported a $5 million total -- just about 25% more than actually transmitted to date. For JFNA that's called "accurate reporting." I assume you need your own tout sheet to put out data like this.

Sure, there's more --this one pager is as chock full of nothing as can be stuffed onto a single page...but, really, should any of JFNA's meager energies be devoted to this? How many staff were required to input on this thing? One, five, ten? And wouldn't one be one too many? Then, the JFNA Budget document discloses that this thing is JFNA Program Priority -- already with a "circulation" of 7,000 although elsewhere the "mailing list" is said to be 6,000 (this from the same organization that thinks that 3,000 are still attending GAs) JFNA projects a 10% "increase" -- and to get there -- to 6,600 -- all JFNA has to do is buy a few mailing lists don't they? Waste follows waste...all the way down the drain.

I remember a meeting -- I think it was five years ago at my federation where a small group of us met with the recently hired new CEO, Silverman. Among the suggestions for him was one from Steve Nasatir -- JFNA should publish a weekly  column of sufficient interest that it would be picked up in the Jewish media promoting federations' work. And five years later...we get this stuff?

We constantly see our organization flailing about looking around for "purpose," because its leaders fail to understand that its purposes have been lost -- strengthening federations, strengthening our partners, more dollars and more donors. Take a look at FedWorld and tell me how this thing strengthens strengthens anything.

Do you think there is anyone...a single 25 Broadway who has questioned: "Isn't it time, after 16 years of existence, that JFNA be known for a single achievement?" Instead, having achieved, nada...there seems to be the attitude that "Let's just work on brand recognition" even if the brand stands for, nada...not a thing.

For reasons I will never understand, the JFNA lay leadership, the basic check and balance on an unknowing, directionless professional leadership, just sits by and permits the professionals to apparently do whatever they wish, no matter the waste, no matter the distraction -- apparently without even a question. 

Vayezmir!!! The mess marches on. The circus rules.


* I don't question the beauty of our communities fulfillment of the mandate of tikkun olam as expressed in our donors contributions to the Nepal effort, or Katrina, etc. But, when a minor Mailbox/Fund effort, and that's what Nepal is, becomes a daily JFNA obsession, it is a reflection of JFNA's aimless purposeless wanderings as well.


Anonymous said...

I am hoping that Richard Sandler will address JFNA's mission and purpose once he takes the least his reputation in L.A. as a no-nonsense guy should give us hope.
If he doesn't......well, I don't want to go there.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many readers of this blog actually receive Fed World. I have been involved in the federation system at various levels for over 30 years and have attended dozens of GA's and several missions. How did I get excluded from the list of "6,000" who have received the mailing?

RWEX said...

To Anon 1: "Let us pray."

To Anon 2: Consider yourself fortunate.

Anonymous said...

let the nonsense cease, please please, for the sake of Zion.....we must form a blue ribbon commission to rap our heads around the notion of collectivity thereby establishing a table (not global, but continental. don't want to leave out our friends in the great White North), with planning yielding to some super duper important signature platforms (I meant initiatives!), and thereby developing two distinctive organizations 1)one for community development and 2)the other for overseas is so simple and elegant and could save our system....and, for cost savings, we could headquarter the overseas arm in Nepal...thoughts?

Anonymous said...

"What we don't need" is JFNA as it currently exists. I endorse the last Anonymous' suggestions in their entirety (I am not too sure about Nepal though). But don't even think about Michael Siegal leading this -- there is no hope for him as a leader -- that would require more than a smile and appointing others to positions.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:38 I think that anon 11:14 was addition to Nepal headquarters, we can call one the council of jewish federations and the other the united jewish appeal

Anonymous said...

There can be no greater proof of JFNA futility than this FedWorld "effort". Who asked JFNA to produce this: how do the federations benefit from this; do we or anybody really need further self-promotion of JFNA -- proving what, exactly? Some leaders need to join together and put an end to this embarrassment (I am talking about both JFNA and this FedWorld of theirs) and end it now.

Anonymous said...

Do any of your readers who may also be readers of FedWorld wish to stand up, even anonymously, and defend this publication? Let's hear from them.

Anonymous said...

This is the saddest of times. Over the course of a decade the lack of professional and responsible lay leadership at JFNA has destroyed the fabric that UJA, CJF and the federation had created over 60 years and federation leaders just sat on their hands as if nothing was happening watching the destruction of everything they had helped to build in total silence.

Why? They just didn't want to be bothered. Certainly they knew what was happening. It's terrible and this FedWorld is just another example of failure, stupidity and worse.

Anonymous said...

How can you say that this FedWorld has no added value? It repeats (or links to) articles from other Jewish media that we have missed (or that we can read again) and it distracts us (or so they think) from the realization that JFNA has absolutely nothing going. Maybe they can now get to work with ads on the comic inserts to the Hebrew version of "Bazooka Joe."