Sunday, March 20, 2016


Yes, having been blessed with the power of prophesy, Cassandra was cruelly cursed in that no one would believe her. And, here am I.

About one year ago I told the then heavily-recruited lay leader being pursued, after others turned the position down, as National Campaign Chair. to take the imprecations of the Board Chair and Smilin' Jerry with a major grain of salt. They were promising this terrific lay leader the earth, the moon and the stars if he would only accept the position. Yet, it seemed evident that the offers being made were wholly illusory, made by those who had proved already to be incapable of carrying them out. 

Then, things got worse. The candidate accepted the promises as worth their weight in gold, impressed by the sincerity (false) with which they were made. Harold Gernsbacher accepted the position -- and, shortly thereafter, the rebranded Philanthropic Resources thing was made devoid of its senior professional in New York -- meaning that other than Missions professionals, there were none -- and a Business Plan for Financial Resource Development, written by the National Campaign Chair himself, appeared to be incorporated into the 2015-2016 JFNA Budget in haec verba. Yes, a "Plan" without a staff to implement it but with modest measurable as goals was on paper for all to see. We'll get back to those later.

Further, it turns out that there had been no real Campaign Cabinet for years...and there still is none. It wasn't so long ago that the Cabinet was effectively visiting federations, assisting in Annual and Special Campaigns, actually fund raising. My most recent memory of the Cabinet's "agenda" a few years ago was of too frequent focus on criteria for the Sapir Awards. And, then, there was campaigns.

And, with the "Plan" now incorporated into the Budget, JFNA retained a great consultant, Vicki Agron, esteemed by many for her decade-long leadership in the UJA, and her commitment to the "cause," the then JFNA FRD effort before being constructively terminated from that role by Smilin' Jerry's predecessor. And, Vicki did what she does so well-- she drafted an FRD Plan. It was completed and submitted, we believe, before the 2015 General Assembly. Agron knows what was in her plan, presumably so do Jerry and Harold and, maybe, Richard Sandler -- but no one else seems to have seen it. And, of course, the implementation of any plan -- the Campaign Chair's, Vicki's or any other -- requires a staff...and there remains none.  And there remains no Campaign Cabinet to vet any Plan. (I know all of this borders on the ridiculous, but this is JFNA after all.)

Agron, whether within her contract or outside of it, attempted to recruit a top level fund raiser. She actually almost succeeded as we understand it but the Smilin' one made a hire impossible with an unacceptably low offer from which he would not negotiate an appropriate compensation package as is his prerogative.

So here we sit, approaching a new Budget cycle, without staff. and with a secret plan.

Sounds like JFNA 2016.



Anonymous said...

so I guess we are back to the treadmill - lots of energy, going nowhere!

Anonymous said...

Richard: The excerpt below from an article in The Sun caught my attention, just shortly after I viewed a clip of an AIPAC participant being beaten in D.C.:

"The big news in my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. this month has been the appearance, near a major highway, of a billboard criticizing America’s foreign aid to Israel. “We give Israel $10 million a day! That money could send our kids to college,” the sign reads.
It’s the most recent offensive in a nationwide campaign. Similar signs have cropped up in Orlando, Fla.; in Northern California, in Des Moines, Iowa, and in at least a dozen other cities, according to the Anti-Defamation League."

I am dreadfully concerned that the 'Jewish Leadership' both in the Diaspora and in Israel, is ignoring the same red-flags of a larger, 'long-game' offensive that is going to put our future in jeopardy.

The short version is that for a few generations, the Palestinian people specifically, and the rest of the Arab world generally, has been indoctrinated to hate Jews and drive Israel into the sea. Any Palestinian who was born after 1970 has been educated in their schools year after year.....and the very effective consequence is that generations (and future generations) of Palestinians know only one 'fact': That they must destroy Israel and the Jews.
It's been a brilliant PR indoctrination, and the organized Jewish Community has ignored it for decades.
Now with the incident today in D.C. along with the article in The Sun, I fear that the 'long-game' of changing the attitudes of Americans (and the world) has now arrived on our North American shores......and the question is: What are we going to do about it?

I believe that we are beyond the concept of whether or not 'it could happen here' has.

What does this have to do with JFNA? Well, some organization needs to take the lead in convening smart people, coming up with a 'long-game' plan, and funding it, to combat the successful anti-semetic campaign that is obviously now in place in North America.
Maybe it isn't JFNA, an organization that is desperately looking for a purpose.
If not, something needs to be done.

If anyone thinks that this is far-fetched, I only ask that you think about what 50 years of Palestinian indoctrination has produced; and then think about what the mind-set of non-Jews here in this country could look like 20 years from now.

The alarm has sounded.......if we just listen.