I wrote about the clueless requests for funds six years ago -- since then the pile would probably reach from desk top to ceiling. You might also ask of CEO Jerry: rank these requests for funds for me, please -- and, no doubt, after you would hear "Well, there's JFNA Dues" you would then hear "Let me get back to you on that"...or "Huh?" They don't have a clue.
Right off the top of my head, the "asks" are out on:
- Core Allocations
- Strategic Initiatives
- Select Core Priorities
- Israel Action Network
- Secure Communities Network
- And, I am pretty certain many of you know of far more than these...
Friends, as we have learned, where there are no priorities, everything is a priority which means that nothing is. Read the JFNA Budget and the lack of any priority is self-evident. Perhaps that is why, among other things, there were 89 votes (and maybe more) against the 2015-2016 Budget in JFNA's Delegate Assembly last week after unanimous approval by the rubber stamps of the Budget and Finance and Executive Committees, an unheard of "nay" vote.
And, then, there is this...
On May 7, Jerry "I'll-Ask-The-Federations-to-Fund-This" sent a Memo to his colleagues: "Background Information on Federation-supported efforts on behalf of Ethiopian Israelis." Building on the violent protests that erupted among members of the Israeli Ethiopian community the previous weekend, the relatively accurate document ends with the suggestion that it is once again time to "Complete the Journey." OMG!!
Some history is in order. Some of you young'ns probably don't remember the long forgotten dismal failure that was the "ONAD Process." (Just writing those two words brings a bit of vomit to the back of my throat...but, never mind.) Well, back in Year 2 of ONAD that Committee made a simple request of the federations -- maintain your core allocation and provide an additional 5% to assist the Israeli Ethiopian community through the Ethiopian National Project -- essentially a joint venture among the Ethiopian communal leadership, the JDC, JAFI and the Federations. The federation response? Chicago and Houston...2 of 155 or so federations... responded with the requested increased funds. (Now, there's no reason CEO Jerry would know that as he likes to pretend there was no organizational history before he was hired; at least he is unaware of any.)
That was bad enough, but then, during the Rieger regime, you may remember, CEO Howard sent an impassioned plea to the federations demanding that we immediately fund the amounts required to bring Ethiopian Jewry to Israel -- it was and is our obligation and, if we didn't do so, then we had "failed in our responsibilities," Howard wrote. He expected checks to role in -- they didn't. And, finally, under the Jerry Regime we were told that it was our obligation to "Complete the Journey" for which the federations' share would total, first, $5 million, then reduced to $3 million and, final reduction, about $1.5 million, leaving JAFI and the Joint holding the bag. This whole sordid history ought to be directly in front of us if once again JFNA adds "Complete the Journey...Again" to its ever-expanding "list of asks."
Meanwhile, JFNA transfers
What did Santayana tell us, again, about repeating mistakes?
ON A CRITICAL NOTE, PLEASE REMEMBER TO MAKE A DONATION TO ASSIST THE HOUSTON JEWISH FEDERATION IN MEETING THE CRITICAL NEEDS CREATED BY THE HORRIFIC FLOODING THAT HAS IMPACTED ON THE HOUSTON JEWISH COMMUNITY. LINK TO www.houstonjewish.org/houstonflood