Saturday, January 30, 2016


1. First, congratulations are in order. JFNA's Board of Trustees, at their Winter Meetings, actually discussed what federation commitments to the collective really mean. It was about time. 

2. JFNA is hosting its annual Professionals Institute at the end of March. It looks like an excellent program that could have some excellent take home value. Several of you sent me the Save the Date or Invite or Announcement or whatever it was because it came to them from Vicki Agron, who has joined the JFNA roster of consultants with her tremendous enthusiasm. (Don't try to respond to Agron's e-mail address on the Invite -- it doesn't exist.) 

If you read these pages you are no doubt aware that JFNA has no FRD function -- there are no senior FRD professionals at 25 Broadway (although offers are out and "help is on the way"). But one of the professional Co-Chairs of the Institute (at least the FRD part) is a well thought of fund raising pro from D.C. (how's the Annual Campaign going there, BTW?) Anyway, here's the tentative "FRD Track" at the thing:
"FRD track highlights:
  • Psych 101: Drivers of philanthropy from the donor perspective
  • Up Your Game: How to leverage your leadership and build a winning team
  • Fire Away: Rapid-fire best practice sharing and table conversations
  • Get it Together: Maximize fundraising through collaborative strategies"
So, I'm guessing that there will be at least one "Donor" to provide that "perspective" (Or, perhaps, either a hologram or the indefatigable Harold Gernsbacher.) And, clearly, this was not a "track" dictated by Smilin' Jerry inasmuch as it promises "best practices" as opposed to the JFNA rebrand of FEDovation.

Sadly, unless some superb senior professional will have agreed to join JFNA and restart FRD there from the ground up by the Ides of March, s/he will have had no hand in prepping this "track;" and who knows who the presenters will be (other than my friend Vicki Agron) -- but how can they have a "track" without a a presentation on "The Importance of Story-Telling to Successful FRD" by one of those omni-present consultants?

I don't know what the Program for the rest of the Institute will be but I'm hoping that there will be at least one presentation by the ubiquitous Debra K. Smith on "How to Earn $300,000+ And No One Knows What You Do." If invited, I'd show up for that one...or the one Smilin' Jerry could lead on a similar topic "How to Earn $700,000+ And No One Can Name a Single Accomplishment."

Anyway....should be great. Sign up now.

3. And, then, there is the question of whether the JFNA Board Chair, Richard Sandler, has yet challenged Smilin' Jerry, who for 5+ years has been able to hide behind the JFNA Iron Curtain, pulling it down when convenient to shield himself and his administration from all debate, all questions while smiling' away, to a real transparency -- the same thing he had demanded and received as Board Chair in Los Angeles. Here's what one Commentator to the Blog asked with regard to the apparent debacle that has been exposed as to the Seattle Federation's Dues "deal:"
"Regarding Seattle and their dues, it would be interesting to find out if they alerted JFNA of what they were going to do and why, and what JFNA's response was. Perhaps they invited Jerry Silverman to address their Board on what they receive in return for their level of dues, or even perhaps go over the JFNA budget line by line. I would think that each Federation has the right to ask for those two responses. 
It doesn't happen at the JFNA Board meetings; nobody goes up to the microphone to question anything.But at the local Federation level, the rubber meets the road, and questions will be asked, with answers demanded.....Did that happen in Seattle?
And we all know that this is the tip of the iceberg, and once the word gets out about Seattle cutting their dues, others will follow."
Who at JFNA exactly made the decisions with regard to Seattle's purported Dues "deal?" Who approved it? What other federations have made "deals" that reduce their Dues? What is the Board Chair going to do to assure transparency -- isn't that transparency one of the critical values of Jewish organizations.

4. As an Addendum...when I read the JTA Update on Sunday a.m. January 31, announcing that the Government of Israel and Women of the Wall had reached an "historic agreement" assuring unimpeded access to at least part of the Kotel, I wondered how long it would take Smilin' Jerry to grab some credit for doing...exactly what? Cheering Women of the Wall and the Jewish Agency on from a distance apparently is worthy of self-congratulations.  And, you must view the JFNA Video -- One Wall for One People* -- to the end. There you will see Silverman (who also served as narrator) arm in arm with Natan Sharansky and the Women of the Wall. No mention that that shot was taken in November 2013, the last time JFNA served as an advocate on the issue, having decided its best role, as always,m would henceforth be as a "monitor of the situation."  

Again..."what the Hell?"


* Of course, the agreement grants unlimited access to a very limited area.

1 comment:

Dan Brown said...

The Kotel agreement is a hope and a prayer. Let's see if it actually gets implemented.