Tuesday, October 4, 2016



  • ...The two FRD consultants who have remained unnamed for what is now months since their hiring? Well, we still don't know who they are. (Well, we do, but we are not free to utter their names.) Yes, while they are busy contacting the communities assigned to them by another consultant, JFNA's "announcement" of their engagement still does not identify them by name; and there has been no announcement even to the JFNA staff identifying them either. They are truly the stealth consultants. Here's how the "process" (has anyone ever counted the number of "processes," all ad hoc of course, JFNA has in place at any one time?) apparently works, it's simple: Vicki Agron, also a consultant, of course, decides the federations where the two consultants she hired for JFNA will work; no one knows the criteria, if any, Vicki uses to identify the communities which will be served or those who don't meet the secret criteria. Thus, if your community wants consultant assistance, you best call Agron -- she won't be calling you. So long as this is all a secret, I guess Smilin' Jerry thinks it's fine, if he knows anything about it at all. To me this is nothing more than noblesse oblige -- top down dictation from 25 Broadway. If this makes any sense to you, tell me so. This is just the way that JFNA conducts its business.  
  • ...The $1,000,000 SS+K contract the terms of which remain locked under a false claim of "confidentiality?" The Chair affirmed to me that he was totally and completely satisfied not only with the terms of the SS+K/donor/JFNA contract but with the ad hoc "process" (really...none) by which the arrangement between and among donor/JFNA/consultant was approved. It's all apparently in furtherance of JFNA's or, more than likely, the donor's "Israeli advocacy." (More on that in an upcoming Post.) We just have to take Richard Sandler's word for it; he is the Board Chair, after all. Well I still have received no explanation as to why Board members may not see even appropriately redacted copies of consultant contracts upon request. This again is just the way JFNA conducts its business.
  • ...The invitation extended to Lord Rabbi Sacks to headline 2016 GA?  You know, the invitation demanded by a lay GA Co-Chair overriding JFNA staff's warnings, to a clergy member who has shown no tolerance toward the Religious Movements supported by the vast number of North American Jews? Well, the objections to Sacks has almost wiped the smile off Jerry's lips ad has certainly sent the CEO into hiding on the subject. So Lord Sacks is still on the GA calendar. One would think that JFNA, with a succession of GAs already suffering from year after year of minuscule lay attendance, would not engage in practices that will keep more lay leaders away.  But this is just the way JFNA conducts its business.
  • ... Why has JFNA abandoned an historic commitment to the Jewish communal profession?  We have all heard JFNA speak to its "commitment" to the communal professionals; it has all been lip service. Nothing more. This year JFNA abandoned the system's historic support for FEREP, the "Federation Executive Recruitment & Education Program" that has meant so much to the professional movement for so long. Then it dropped its financial support for Mandel part of which historically was dedicated to professional education. Friends, couple these acts of abandonment with the JFNA CEO's acceptance of (or was it capitulation to his demand) to serve on the Advisory Committee to LeadingEdge, a communal professional support group. Maybe LeadingEdge should give Silverman some professional education. Once again, this is just how JFNA conducts its business.
Four matters cloaked in secrecy by JFNA dictate. So there you have it: secret Consultants, secret contracts, a secret speaker selection process and a secret abandonment of its responsibilities to the communal professionals. JFNA makes secrecy an art.

These four matters alone suggest that matters at 25 Broadway are in chaos, unmanaged chaos -- this is not "management by chaos," friends, that would suggest that there is some management going on. This is "non-Management by chaos." Things at JFNA have gone from worst to worser, from dumb to dumber. And it's going to get far worse if the most senior lay leaders don't step in...

...but they won't.


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