If JFNA were a hospital patient, it would be in the ICU and periodically appearing on the heart monitor to flatline, approaching the need for hospice care. We all know how it happened, how we got to this day -- we were there at the beginning and, now, we are close to the end. We have seen the patient decompose over the last six+ years into a sclerotic, semi-comatose invalid.
Sure, we know that periodically specialists -- let's call them LCE -- are called in to resuscitate the patient, applying the defibrillators time and time again, only to see the patient lapse back into the sorry state that brought them to the bedside in the first place. So here are the questions: can this patient be saved and, if so, how? It's costing us $30,000,000 +/- to keep it alive and all we have to show in return are some nice federal grants, a few worthless acronyms, a whole helluva lot of overpaid professionals and a mess of consultants -- in other words, almost nothing. And, we, in the main, sit idly by, pretending stuff is happening and ignoring the comatose, sclerotic body at our feet.
Some of you have questioned how this can be; how federation leaders -- in the main smart , knowledgeable and decisive elsewhere -- sit by and let what has happened happen without a peep. Let me respond with an example that might "explain." Years ago, in my community, we elected to the Federation Board an attorney whom I knew to be both brilliant and combative in both his law practice and personal life. He was a generous philanthropist as well and had served earlier with distinction on at least one Agency Board. He had been to Israel on Missions and was well-acquainted with the issues facing the Jewish community. He agreed to serve on the Board and regularly attended meetings. For two years he sat at meetings month-after-month and said nothing...not a thing. On several occasions I asked him why and he just shrugged his shoulders...it was truly inexplicable. He had so much to offer and he said nothing at all.
Oh, in private he expressed his growing dissatisfaction to any who would listen but at meetings he merely smiled and voted. And after his two year term he left the Board. I still don't understand it; just as I will never understand where the voices of JFNA Board members have gone; you know, the voices they use at their own Federation Board meetings -- but, at JFNA, uh uh. As they have allowed the organization itself to go comatose, so they themselves are found in the same sorry state.
JFNA, where everyone is comatose.