Friday, May 13, 2016


                        QUI TACET CONSENTIRE

It's abundantly clear to this observer that the lay leadership of JFNA and the most senior professional leadership of our communities lack the will or the energy to make JFNA the viable leadership organization it was intended to be at the time of its creation. Instead, like Nero, they fiddle while Rome burns. 

Friends, I have no answer to the question of why this so-called "leadership" has abandoned fiduciary responsibility for affability -- and, wow, are they ever affable...with each other. It's not that they don't know what needs to happen to make JFNA viable -- and "viability" isn't measured by how many times JFNA (Silverman) appears in the media or how many invites our "leaders" get to the White House -- they just can't remove the blinders long enough to do what must be done.

Any objective "leader" knows that JFNA, under the Smilin' One, is engaged in a walk down the up escalator. The fiduciary malpractice is on-going on a gross scale. It was once said by a limited partner in the New York Yankees during the George Steinbrenner era: "There is nothing more limited than being a limited partner of George Steinbrenner." Today, in practice, by their own choice, there is nothing more meaningless than being a Board Member of JFNA. 

It's all so painful to watch, let alone in which to participate. To paraphrase one of my favorite cynics: "What can you say about JFNA at this point that you haven't said about a colonoscopy?"

Worse than the mismanagement that has resulted in the massive professional void at "Philanthropic Resources" and Consulting Services, and, even with many (too many) sitting in the ineffectual offices at JFNA-Israel with the commensurate massive waste of federation resources, is an almost total lack of understanding that a weak, ineffective JFNA ultimately weakens the very federations which support it financially and in silence. So many communities are in need of services from JFNA -- and they don't/can't get them from an organization that is incapable of assisting its own constituency. This is what happens when "leadership" places loyalty ahead of accountability. By demanding nothing of its CEO/President other than showing up, and then compensating him as if he were an outstanding leader, the JFNA lay leadership has proved the adage that good gets better and bad just gets worse.

There is a Dutch social media group of Euro-skeptics calling themselves GeenPell -- that means "not a clue" -- they might have talking about JFNA for the last decade. And what do we do about it?

It was John Greenleaf Whittier who wrote: "For all the words of tongue or pen, The saddest might be 'what could have been.'" That's what those historians who will review the demise of the North American Jewish community will write about

Qui tacet consentire.



Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you have said Richard, except that this is not like going down an up escalator - it is like going up a down escalator!
The apathy and silence of our lay leadership is dragging us all down.
It is not blindness because we all can see it fine.
It is indeed a lack of will to speak up and to demand that something be done about it.
Those who are keeping their mouth's shut are not being affable - they are being totally irresponsible and causing great damage to our community and our People.

Anonymous said...

The big city execs are wrong to think that a weak and ineffective JFNA makes them look good. It weakens our communal system, weakens their own federations and ultimately weakens them as well.
Since they are the ones pulling the strings, this disasterous failure of an organization is mostly on them because they are the ones that have the power to change the situation.
But their power exists only because we have given it to them. It is now high time that we step in and tell them how we want them to use that power to start the process of correcting this terrible mistake.

Anonymous said...

It's not the execs.

Anonymous said...

To anon at 3:46, if it's not the execs who then? Since we've had multiple board chairs who allow the deterioration to continue, are they all in collusion?

Anonymous said...

No one's in collusion. Just because things don't go the way you want doesn't mean everyone's conspiring against you.

Anonymous said...

You're not doing much of a job convincing anyone it's not the execs!

Anonymous said...

The big city execs aren't competent enough as a group to carry off your elaborate theories. From the outside they may seem like a sinister cabal of unified malintent. But where has that ever been a true case? Nothing is as efficient as it looks from the outside. The truth is far more banal and unexciting.

Anonymous said...

If it isn't the big city execs that are causing this it is certainly they that are allowing it to happen and continue to go on this way unchallenged.
But in any case it is we the (lay) people that are ultimately responsible at the end of the day because we are the ones that keep saying "aye" to this sad state of affairs.

John Miller said...

The JFNA budget and the future of the CEO is none of you folk's business.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 10:38 pm and Mr. Miller, I'm just curious if either of you think that JFNA is doing a good job for the $30 Million budget to which each of your federations are contributors?

Dan Brown said...

The JFNA budget is supported by donor money. It's everyone's business Mr. Miller - and the IRS agrees! In fact, it's the law.

John Miller aka John Baron said...

I guess Dan Brown of all people (!!) can't recognize what was obvious a two subtle attempt at satire on my part.

Dan Brown said...

It's been a long day :)