"We cannot shy away from the immensity of the challenge before us or the depth of the pain we may feel. And as we grapple with the enormity of it all, let us not lose sight that members of our Jewish community also are touched personally by the issues at play, among them those who work in law enforcement, including police officers, and the growing numbers of Jews who are people of color."Like most of us I have a spectacular Rabbi who inspires his congregants week in and week out. I don't need Mr. Dockers pontificating on matters best left to the Rabbinate, to ADL or the Committee. If, however, Jerry wants to preach to us on issues that pass through his mind from time-to-time, I'm all for him pursuing smicha, getting a pulpit from a congregation that, unlike those who hired Jerry, will actually examine the totality of Jerry's background and experience including these years at the helm of JFNA and going back to college, post-graduate and federation experience.
One might ask Richard Sandler: are things going that well at JFNA as to allow Silverman the distraction (I know Richard is concerned with "distractions") of a sermon or two every few weeks? Yes, I know, the operation is being "run" (if that's the word for it!!) by Mark Gurvis (and, Mark, if you're running JFNA-Israel, you're doing a helluva job), relieving Jerry of the "burden" of internal management (raising the question, once again, of what are we paying Jerry to do, exactly, for his $800,000 [+/-]?) We sure aren't paying him for what has become a fortnightly bloviation like this one, are we? (Yes, another reason the Smilin' One has that big grin on his punim.)
No one would object if Silverman, like his predecessor, would restrict himself to writing about the challenges facing the federation system but he seems not to comprehend those at all. Fundraising challenges, the precipitous drop in the system's donors on his watch, federation-agency relations, the collapse of the Federation-National Agency Alliance, the further collapse of the Global Planning Table, the further collapse of the Global Jewry Initiative, BDS and what JFNA is not doing about it, JFNA's failed internal fund-raising, the deterioration of JFNA relations with JAFI/JDC (while pretending that things are "so much better") -- any/all of these matters are relevant to JFNA's constituency -- but, what does Jerry write about -- "race...identity...equality...respect...and (something Jerry calls) 'assumptions.'" These are matters with which we are all concerned, of course, but none are matters of which Silverman possesses any greater knowledge or understanding than any of us and in Jerry's case, evidently, less.
Any time that this CEO wants to take his Board into a discussion on topics relevant to the federations, that would be a first. He can't. And it is equally clear that the highest levels of lay leadership are unwilling to "counsel" Jerry either.
Friends, with Smilin' Jerry the phrase "just doesn't get it" has taken on new meaning.