Thursday, August 11, 2016


                If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.

With it's usual fanfare and self-congratulations, a few months ago, JFNA rolled out FedCentral, the latest in a line of FedCentric, FedWeb, FedOvation, FedWorld, FedExchange, etc., stuff -- as if attaching a "Fed" to anything and everything gives that operation relevance and importance.. Now, JFNA recently announced that this FedCentral "thing" has 2,500 "users." For the past weeks I have had the benefit of looking at just what's going on on this web-based vehicle for federation folk to interact with one another through a JFNA-enabled vehicle. Here's how JFNA described this latest "innovation:"
"New FedCentral is here! A Wikipedia of shared Federation knowledge, the new FedCentral puts the best resources of the Federation movement at your fingertips."
And maybe it's true -- so long as one has no expectation that "best resources" has anything to do with JFNA itself -- because FedCentral removes JFNA from the picture as anything other than a website -- more about that later.

Not to demean the requests that one may read weekly on FedCentral but they are often pedestrian -- does anyone have a Campaign Plan, how about Campaign Launch materials, anyone have a list of local and overseas endowment opportunities, can anyone send me their campaign film, an example of an annual marketing plan, and the like -- and exemplify with each question how little JFNA itself offers the federations for $30 million in Dues. And this is not to minimize the value of a vehicle for federation leaders, lay and professional, to communicate directly with each other. Yet, clearly, FedCentral is at heart a vehicle that evidences just how perfectly JFNA has distanced itself from that which were presumed to be its responsibilities. Is this just another example of "JFNA as convener?" Set it up and walk away?

For years this Blog and others have been ignored when we demanded that JFNA collect and disseminate federation "best practices." Then JFNA began to spout FedOvation as some kind of innovation when it was nothing more than some new-some old wine in a new bottle -- doing what should have been done but, for reasons known only to Silverman and his claque, never was. But even those "best practices" seem not to be making a dent, if one looks at the requests for help being made on FedCentral. 

To me all that FedCentral has done, beside the commendable "hooking up" of federation professionals and some lay leaders, is evidence all of the failures of JFNA in a single location. From reading the litany of requests on the FedCentral vehicle, it's hard to conclude anything other than (a) JFNA has neither the professional capacity nor the will, if that capacity exists, to assist the federations in anything other than Washington grants, some Missions, and a sad GA; and (b) there is a flood of new professionals entering the system who have no or limited experience and no training in the field and JFNA ain't there to help. Wouldn't it have made a difference for JFNA as an institution if it had that capacity and will to respond to the most simple of requests from federation professionals? Instead, JFNA makes itself ever more irrelevant to the federations.

It's really quite pathetic. All jargon, no substance. What's the value added that JFNA provides for a $53 million Budget?

Rhetorical question.



Anonymous said...

A convenor, a facilitator, a bulletin board - even better than Facebook! It is just so FEDy!
So what if it has given up its campaign functions and its mission of advocacy for the collective needs of our people?
So what if it is lead by folks that don't have a clue and those that are supposed to be in charge evidently don't care or think it isn't their role to intervene.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 6:22: sarcasm?

Anonymous said...

I just had pizza, it was FedDelish; then I saw a shooting star display, it was FedAmazing; then I saw what JFNA isn't doing, that was FedDisaster.

Anonymous said...

It would appear that we could say that we aren't Jews very well FED.

RWEX said...

OK, friends, like so many of you, I am FEDUp but let's now turn our Commets back to the question raised in the title of this Post. Thanks.

Former. Fed Exec said...

After 10 years away from the role of Federation Exec, I'm deeply troubled by the profound loss of direction and dysfunction at JFNA!
It should not surprise anyone given the bizarre decision made in the early 90's to merge 2 mediocre dysfunctional organizations that lacked clarity of the changing world, and thus their changed missions and priorities, ultimately failing the extraordinary system that truly served the Jewish Community and our overseas brothers and sisters.

Perhaps it's a March of Dimes parallel, but our survival challenged relating to Istael's survivability, saving Soviet Jewry and addressing anti-demotion as socially unacceptable behavior for Americans had been addressed successfully!
We failed to effectively establish the"Critical Agenda for the Future", and here we are!
Never mind!