Monday, April 4, 2016


In 1930, in the midst of the Great Depression, baseball's greatest, Babe Ruth, was paid $80,000.  A reporter asked the Babe how he could justify being paid more than Herbert Hoover, the then President. The Babe responded: "I had a better year." I was reminded of this exchange by a recent article which you can read at

Therein you will learn that the Prime Minister of Israel earns $12,500 per month or a little more than $150,000 annually. (And, almost all of the PM's expenses are covered including, as we have come to learn, a lot of ice cream.) So, I thought we might wish to compare the relative pittance paid the Israeli Prime Minister with the outrageous, egregious compensation paid annually to, e.g., Jerry Silverman and Becky Caspi.  And, trust me, neither of them "had a better year" than Bibi Netanyahu, whose own year wasn't the greatest, by the way..

That Smilin' Jerry (and, yes, I recall in earlier commentary on his compensation, I wrote that I now understood why he was smiling) earned was paid more than 400% more than the Prime Minister of Israel is incomprehensible. In fact, remove the PM's compensation from the equation and the conclusion remains: incomprehensible. The same could be said about Caspi's compensation -- she, an Israeli citizen, must be laughing all the way to the bank given that she earned about 200% more than the Israeli Prime Minister.

I don't know about you, my friends, but I would like to learn, I would be thrilled to learn, of the accomplishments of either of these professional leaders in the past year. In fact, I would welcome a list of them over the past 5 years. I sense that I would be handed a blank page...almost totally blank in any event. 

I recall that at a meeting of the Consulting Services Committee at the 2005 General Assembly in Toronto, Howard Rieger gave an excellent five minute summary of the work and successes of United Jewish Communities -- it was a complete list of some real accomplishments (so excellent that I suggested to Howard that he publish the list and distribute it at the UJC Board Meeting later at the GA; he didn't). Maybe Jerry and Becky could just provide a list to Richard Sandler -- wouldn't that be special?

As we began with a sports reference, let's close with another comparing Marco Rubio to a failed athlete:
"In the end, Rubio was a checklist candidate -- the type of politician a party would build in a lab, not someone molded by the crucible of a campaign. 'He was Kwame Brown basically,' said Pfeiffer, referencing one of the great NBA draft busts of all time. 'Great on paper, but didn't have the skills to play the game on this level.'"
One thing one could never have said about Jerry was "he was great on paper."

In all events, if you asked the Smilin' One and Becky why their compensation exceeds the Prime Minister's by such outrageous percentages, don't expect to hear "I/We had a better year."



Anonymous said...

Richard-you hit the nail right on the head. I can see paying people a fair wage for the position they have, but the compensation for these two borders on disgusting. Especially since as you state, their compensation has no direct correlation to results.

Anonymous said...

they should be paying us compensation for damages for every day that goes by!