As lay leaders in organizations ranging from the local -- federation -- to the national -- whether it's, e.g., the NCESJ, JCPA or another -- to the continental -- JFNA -- to the overseas -- JDC or JAFI or another, we have either demanded greater transparency or ignored or deplored the lack of transparency depending upon the organization and our loyalty to it. The result is a mixed bag and worse.
But the worst example of a lack of transparency must be JFNA where otherwise bright and ambitious leaders demand nothing of an organization that taxes their member communities with their pro rata share of a bloated Budget and those taxed beyond reason ask for nothing in return. As has so often been the case, Bret Stephens, writing in The Wall Street Journal, offered an assessment of President Obama that resonates as well as a critic of the JFNA of today:
"...lofty in its pronouncements and rich in self-regard, but incompetent in its execution and dismal in its results."There you have it, succinct and direct and so insightful.
Claims of successes by JFNA insiders are, in the phrase of the week/month/year, "jiggery-pokery" and just plain "applesauce." I mean...really. Those claims do not comport with reality in any way, shape or form. I have offered these pages, on more than one occasion, to anyone who wishes to restate the specifics of JFNA's "triumphs." I do so again, right here, right now. But, I won't hold my breath.
Those who steered the merger that created JFNA handed over to the leaders of today a structure that would have worked if it had been implemented; and a Vision and Mission worthy of the federations. Yet, these leaders used their power to ignore the Vision and Mission they were bequeathed (I would wager that Jerry Silverman has no idea what I am talking about) to assert a set of personal agendas and to waste millions in pursuit of them with nothing to show for these "efforts."
And, what are the consequences of these almost constant failure(s)? Actually...there are none. The perpetrators have, on the professional side, had their contracts extended and, on the lay side, received the congratulations from those very failed professionals they have rewarded. It is now a self-perpetuating oligarchy, ratified by an unthinking, unquestioning Board of federation leaders who would never permit these failures to multiply at their own federations. If you showed these lemmings a sand dune, their first reaction would be to immediately stick their collective head in it. With the merger they accepted ownership but have ignored the responsibilities that came with it.
Sometimes facts force us to confront the reality we really don’t wish to believe. Today's leadership refuses to face the facts. The only thing that is transparent at JFNA is failure.
This clown show has convinced me and others that we sit on a JFNA "suicide watch" but, while JFNA's bankruptcy, morally, organizationally and intellectually, is self-evident; death is not yet assured. It's close though.