First, read part of this message:
"Rabbi Elazar taught us that one who causes others to do is greater than one who does. For it is said, the work of righteousness shall be peace and the effect of righteousness shall be calm and confidence forever (Bava Batra, 9a).
It's pretty evident that Jerry sees the role of the Federation CEO as that of "inspirer" -- as he sees himself. The one whose responsibility is to inspire others as that's the higher calling. Of course, in his pandering, Jerry seems to have ignored the fact that the CEO today has become the focal point of the "doing" not just the inspiring. But inasmuch as Jerry doesn't do either, he apparently can't give credit to those CEOs for what they do. It's really both pathetic and bathetic.His idea is fairly straightforward: There are people who do good, and there are people who cause others to do good. The former are praiseworthy, but the latter are exemplary.Each professional in our Jewish communal world brings to life this beautiful teaching from the Babylonian Talmud by encouraging others to support programs that provide so much sustenance, whether literal or spiritual."
But there is something worse, a lot worse, in this pandering and prattling of he who continues to be absolutely incapable of understanding what our system must be if it is to succeed. At the core of this message is Jerry's relegation of lay people to the role of order takers. You see, in Jerry's construct of roles, the CEO is executing "the role of righteousness," the lay leaders are those "who do good," the CEOs those "who cause others to do good." Rather than equals...well, you can see where laypersons fit in this equation.
After 5+ years, and a few before that at a minor Jewish agency, Jerry Silverman continues to have no understanding...none at all...of the lay-professional partnership let alone the respective roles of lay leaders and communal professionals. Of the need for balance in the relationship. Sure, the occasion of the JFNA Professionals Institute inspired Jerry; I have no doubt others as well. But look at the "faculty" and see how many JFNA professionals led any session; see how many lay leaders presented. I think you know the answers.
Friends, there seems to be no understanding, at least none at the most senior level of JFNA, that a Federation CEO today, of any City-size, has to seek out mentoring and counsel among his/her colleagues and they are doing so. All JFNA has to offer these CEOs, beyond a one- or two-day "event," is an annual pedestrian, more and more irrelevant GA, it's FEDCentral, essentially a JFNA "vehicle" for federation professionals to interact with each other (I guess we used to call that a "Conference Call," and...nothing.
It's past time for a change at the top of JFNA, and every time that Smilin' Jerry puts pen to paper, he proves it.
* On further review Silverman (and all of us) would have been better served on the cusp of Passover, if he had written a Pesach message instead of this attempted, failed paean to "professionals."