Thursday, February 16, 2017


There's always something...

1. I was pleased to read that President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law and Middle East peace negotiator, Jared Kushner, received Rabbinic permission to travel to the January Inauguration parties and balls on Shabbat. The Times of Israel reported:
"The special permission was given based on the Jewish principle of placing the preservation of life over religious observance, known as 'pikuah nefesh,'"
Parties and Balls = preservation of life. I got it. I don't understand it, but I got it. Actually, maybe the President threatened their lives if they didn't attend the parties celebrating his election -- as in "if you're not at the parties, you're dead (to me)." 

2. After years of active resistance, the WZO has entered into a settlement ordered by the Israeli courts that will provide 250,000,000 Israeli shekels for Israeli Holocaust survivors. Is this enough? Is this equitable? JFNA has been advised of the settlement -- perhaps, it's trying to figure out how to take credit for it, having done nothing to secure this result. 

3. To its shame, JFNA has disclosed that allocations to the core budgets of the Jewish Agency, the JDC and WorldORT have fallen to the lowest levels in history -- or, as JFNA's Treasurer recently reported, the 2016 year-end results "were off a little." Shrug; let's move on; the federations let you down, not us. Let's be clear JFNA has failed its overseas partners as never before. Period.

4. JFNA  convened its 2017 Investment Institute in Florida last weekend. The Institute leaders gathered about the most impressive roster of speakers that I have ever seen listed for any organization and they should be congratulated. That was the list I first downloaded. Then several of you brought to my attention that JFNA Jerry had added himself to this incredible list. Many of you asked me "Why?" I do too. 

5. Last month Chicago's Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation closed the 2016 Annual Campaign at $84,282,000, a record of unsurpassed achievement. Many ask me "how is this possible?" Well, you combine an incredible professional staff with not just Steve Nasatir's indefatigable leadership but the example of his own face-to-face FRD, a dedicated and committed laity, creativity, hard, hard work and a communal tradition and a wonderful esprit de corps. "Leadership," you know, it really works.

6. When JFNA ceased its CEO Search services, dropping that federation benefit (such as it was in the implementation), I have been waiting for the next shoe to drop. It has:

"To Apply

JCC Association is conducting the search on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul. Qualified candidates can apply for this position at – please include a resume, cover letter and salary requirements. 

Deadline to apply: February 17, 2017"
Perhaps, the St. Paul Federation has decided it's just a JCC in all events; certainly it could have used this moment, while the Minneapolis Jewish Federation is seeking a CEO as well, to explore a merger; or, most likely, this is a Hatfields and McCoys deal up there. 

There was time, a few years ago, when JCCA, seeing the void at JFNA, actually discussed providing services to federations. Perhaps, inasmuch as the void just keeps growing, they are revisiting that "plan."

7. Finally, with the assistance of a number of you, as we do from time-to-time, we wish to highlight a couple of entries from FedCentral:
"Looking for best practices on notes of condolence -- specific language. Thank you."
"Hello, I'm looking for a platform to manage integrated online & live auctions. Does anyone have any recommendations?"
It's hard to comment when you're speechless.


Anonymous said...

Funny. I didn't see you attack Nasatir's compensation in the same mean-spirited way you attacked Shrage. Guess I must have missed something.

Anonymous said...

Speechless ... at young professionals asking their peers for advice and best practices? Terrible.

Anonymous said...

I am speechless as well at the apparent lack of resources at JFNA to answer questions on subjects like "condolence notes" and "live auctions." Pretty clear that JFNA has left "young professionals" and "old" ones to sink or swim without JFNA's involvement.

This abandonment of the federation professionals is symptomatic of all that is wrong with JFNA.

Anonymous said...

I think anon 10:14 misses the previous anon's point. Far better to have a platform in which these peers network online and share solutions than have some faceless national entity share one monolithic version of "best practices"

RWEX said...

To Anon 10:05 -- You're very perceptive but for the fact that in the Post to which you are referring: (1) I hardly "attacked" Barry Shrage; and (2) Chicago, with essentially the same Jewish population as Boston raised $84 million last year, CJP raised $45 -- though there is more, that should suffice to explain why in my opinion (but most important, in the opinion of the Board and Officers in Chicago) Steve Nasatir is under compensated.

RWEX said...

Several of you have sent further Anonymous Comments on the same subject which I have had to reject. One is a classic asking me if I had read the Post on "...Compensation" WHICH I WROTE. So, not for the first time, I have to remind some of you that this is my Blog, not yours; I put my name to everything that I write -- if you wish to attack me I will publish your screedf IF YOU PUT YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS on it.

Anonymous said...

JCCA has long ago started "eating Federation's lunch" in many ways. Their consulting services are part of the dues structure--they are onsite, effective, and bring their expertise to the field.

Their Mission department does a great job, and in many cases, coordinates P2K and Sister City programming into their missions.

JCCs get a call from their consultant on a regular basis...even if nothing is wrong...just a "how are you doing? What's new? Attaboy! Is there anything we can do for you."

With the continued national trend of combining both organizations under one CEO and one board (there are 30 different iterations of this across the country), one wouldn't be surprised at a casual discussion amongst EDs at a national JCC gathering,"I can see the day, not so long in the future, where WE run the JCC with a community campaign."

I used to think this was "JCC talk." Not so much any more.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing, JCC representative. Now tell us how many JCCs have dropped out of the JCCA in the last few years because of the latter's poor leadership and irrelevance.