Saturday, April 9, 2016


Only those who have overdosed on the JFNA Kool-Aid could possibly believe that anything at all is well at 25 Broadway. They are the ones fiddling while JFNA burns -- Dues unpaid and that reality undisclosed to the JFNA Board; Philanthropic Resources FRD without a Senior professional leader and without a professional staff for over what, a year?; the Israel and Overseas silo running amok without apparently any adult supervision; allocations to the legacy partners for which JFNA was bequeathed moral responsibility at an all-time low for the sixth consecutive year.* Beyond JFNA-Washington where exactly is the sun shining through? Please tell me/us.

And just where is the accountability? Maureen Dowd recently described a flame out in another context as: "...utterly unqualified and unintelligible, spouting (his) own special Yoda-like language..." She wasn't, but she could have been describing the Smilin' One. Maybe the JFNA lay leaders' mantra is "we won't find anyone better;" if so there is the reciprocal, "well we won't find anyone worse." Give it a try, folks. If this were the circumstance in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami...anywhere, Large, Intermediate or Small...there would be change, no doubt about it. But...not at our JFNA. 

When I finally received the JFNA 2016 Board of Trustees' Reference Guide (a valuable tool, BTW), I read it with interest and growing frustration. Forget for a moment that there's the let's pretend section on financial resource development, and similar; in fact, there isn't even a mention of the work of JFNA-Consulting Services. Does Consulting Services no longer exist? I know its long-time professional leader left (without any mention in any JFNA publication, no recognition...nothing) in 2015 for the greener pastures of the Jewish Federation of Greater LA, but there is still an excellent Chair and a Committee/Council/Work Group isn't there -- isn't there? -- even if they have nothing to do?

If you're into totaling stuff up, ponder this: two of your most major Departments -- FRD and Consulting Services -- have no senior professional leader, a void at both for over six months. The Young Leadership Cabinets lost their senior professional within a year of hiring who has just been replaced. Global Services: Israel and Overseas, with the most bloated staff of any area of JFNA, still hasn't a single measurable accomplishment (and, duh, the yet to be implemented, may never be implemented Wall space for the Reform/Conservative/Women of the Wall, if an "achievement" at all, certainly was not JFNA's); the Global Planning Table, after wasting a yet-to-be-revealed millions in staff and consulting costs, is no more; and Jumping' Jerry has farmed out more and more JFNA responsibilities to the Mandel Center for Leadership Excellence with no apparent accountability.

"Accountability" -- it seems to be a word the meaning of which is unknown within the lay and professional leadership of JFNA. Were it included in the Lingo Guide (yes, that's what they call it) section of the Handbook, it would read something like this:
A        Accountability -- Huh?
Each and every year, the Budget and Finance Committee and Board have been promised documented accountability and have neither demanded any nor received any. Ya' know, they just can't be bothered. This year the Budget actually created measurable goals for the FRD Department. We'll look at how well that's going in a future Post. And FRD at jana appears to be being "run" (if that's what it can be called right now) by a consultant -- an excellent one, but, still, a consultant with a contract no one has ever seen.

Meanwhile, the circus moves on.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lots of missing dues are offset by the savings of having no FRD - too bad because campaign should be the most important component of what we do and as a result are not doing.
Even more dues are being wasted by a bloated and unnecessary Israel & Overseas operation that provides no useful output (well, maybe yes a little damage here and there) or service at all - not to Israel, not to JFNA and not to our Federations.
We need to make campaign - core and supplemental - the centerpiece of our organization.
At most, there should be a very small liaison office in Israel (missions and institutional liaison functions only) and Israel & Overseas operations should be returned to the New York Office where they can serve Federation campaigns around the country.
This should be clear by now to just about anybody that knows anything about what JFNA needs to be and what it is today. What is not clear at all is why we have been willing to tolerate the current situation for so long - ignoring the utter waste and cumulative damage to everything we stand for.
Is it our lack of courage? our laziness? our apathy?
Whatever it is, we need to overcome it and stand up to change the situation right now!