Nice letter. Really nice letter. Read carefully it is the notice that this community is withdrawing its support of the collective. I know this federation well -- I once knew it as an outlier among federations in its geographic region -- its leaders, lay and professional, were totally committed to the sharing of financial resources on a collective basis. Then, gradually, as its annual campaigns diminished, it more and more turned inward. And, now this -- a really nice letter fooling no one. Bottom line, it's a sad and saddening letter and Seattle leadership is neither the first nor the last to send one like it.As we shared with you during the summer, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle has adapted its business model in response to the changing needs of our community, both locally and around the world. Consequently, we are no longer making grants through an annual allocations process.Our focus now is on Core Programs that we are executing in pursuit of our mission to create Jewish Connections for Life. The goals and direction of our Core Programs are informed by the 2014 Greater Seattle Jewish Community Study. One of the Core Programs will be Israel and World Jewry, whose goal is to build and strengthen connections between the Jewish community of Washington State’s Puget Sound region and Jewish communities in Israel and around the world, as well as to help Jewish communities in need.We have established a committee to review the impact of our investment in programs in Israel and overseas, and we anticipate having additional information to share in April 2016. The committee may contact you if they have questions about your organization’s programs during the planning process.Please keep up the great work that your organization is accomplishing, and we will be in touch when we have more information to share about our Israel and World Jewry investments."
But my sadness extends far, far beyond this community or others engaged in the same withdrawal from the collective. It is a sadness and disappointment that the moral compass that once were UJA and CJF is nowhere to be found at JFNA. Nowhere to be found. With all the talk of "envoys" and "ambassadors" marching out to assert the need for greater financial support for the core of our system's historic partners, at the end of Calendar Year 2015, core allocations from the federation system reached their lowest levels...ever. Under the professional administration of the grossly overpaid CEO, we have experienced 6 straight years of record low core allocations, one after the other, after the other.
Some would argue that "the law frowns upon exercises in futility" and that advocacy for increased core is just that -- an act of futility. Much like this Blog. This ignores the seminal truth: that JFNA was bequeathed the absolute moral obligation to advocate for the exercise of collective responsibility. Instead, its professional leaders clearly can't comprehend even the concept and, truth be told, many of its lay leaders can't be bothered.
It was a nice letter. A really nice letter.