Sunday, July 12, 2015


Ambien is an incredibly popular drug for the "short-term treatment of insomnia."  It has been known to both work effectively to induce sleep but, as advised at there are severe side-effects:
"Ambien may impair your thinking or reactions. You may still feel sleepy the morning after taking this medicine, especially if you take the extended-release tablet, or if you are a woman. Wait at least 4 hours or until you are fully awake before you do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Some people using this medicine have engaged in activity such as driving, eating, walking, making phone calls, or having sex and later having no memory of the activity."
Yes, quite clearly, JFNA is the institutional version of Ambien. Sleep has been induced, memory has been wiped out and JFNA leaders have waited some 16 years now "to do anything" whatsoever.

The latest exercise in sleep-walking, finger in the wind decision making can be found in the announcement in FedWorld, that epic JFNA publication, which trumpeted "JFNA reacts to comments by the Israeli Religious Affairs minister regarding Reform Jews" on July 8. And, reading the Times of Israel lengthy piece, here's what JFNA had to say on a Israeli Cabinet action impacting on the vast majority of Jews in North America: “'I do believe that there is a lack of real understanding of what Reform and Conservative Judaism actually mean, especially as it pertains to the Diaspora,' (Jerry) Silverman said Tuesday." Ahh, the courage, the strength, the passion, the anger...the...nothing. Let's just excuse the rejection of Reform Jews as non-Jews to "a lack of real understanding."

I don't exactly know what has induced the deep sleep in which JFNA has found itself -- I think it has been a combination of things:

  • A series of ineffectual now inept professional leaders (almost continuously from the birth of the organization);
  • An organization that put all of its eggs in the single basket of the Global Planning Table forgetting that the top down dictation of policies never works when the funding required must come from the bottom up -- literally four years and at least $4,000,000 wasted on this thing. And this is not 20/20 hindsight. This Blog was not the only place of criticism of this wasted effort from the get-go; but no one in power at JFNA was listening -- this Empress had no clothes and, even today, she fights to preserve her position (Chair of the GPT decision-making Committee) with neither funding nor professional support. Silverman into last year was pleading with his colleagues that "if the GPT fails it will be the end of JFNA." And, in fact, it should be the end for him;
  • Many lay persons -- well-intentioned (in the main) leaders who pursued personal agendas, took steps, often not consciously, to erase institutional memory -- who lacked the vision, the strength and the will to chart a course for JFNA'S success; and
  • Always...always...a small group of CEOs, certainly believing they were dictating orders to the JFNA CEO that were in the best interests of the system (in the sense of l'etat c'est moi), proving absolutely that even the "brightest bulbs in the box" can't micro-manage or macro-manage a complex organization from hundreds, even thousands of miles away. They have watched as the system that many of them have helped to build with such dedication erode away and it must bring them the same pain that we all feel...but, they sense the kind of hands-on effort it would take to effectuate change and they believe that they can just mitigate the damage that JFNA in its current condition can wreak...and that that is enough. They are so wrong.
So the institution sleeps, rousing itself to exercises in futility -- a "Solidarity Mission" to Paris with no follow-up, a "Solidarity Mission to Kiev" as if a single Mission will inspire non-existent fund-raising, FedWorld, yada yada yada. 

So the institution sleeps. Shhhhhh.



Anonymous said...

With great relief I just read comments by a handful of CEO's and others that Federations are relatively perfect and without sin. JFNA was predictably silent. So good to know that all is right with the world. The nabobs of communal negativism should get with the program and stop corrupting impressionable minds.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a few leaped to the defense of the system without rebutting a single issue raised. How about that?