Is there no end to it? Will there ever be?
Through an accident of history, absent any reason, any rationale, Jerry Silverman continues as JFNA CEO-President. This continued service is one of life's great mysteries -- like the appendix, Adam Sandler movies, Sean Spicer. There's no explaining them; there is no ex-plaining Jerry's service. He continues as CEO because...well, because he is the CEO. It makes no sense.
JFNA today is at a Kelvin Scale of fail. JFNA lay leaders, top down, are in denial of every observable reality. These well-meaning leaders have engaged in that which can only be termed, as in the brilliant Fargo 2017: unfathomable pinheadery. JFNA under Jerry is and has been since his unquestioning endorsement of the Global Planning Table right through today , an organization that has sped right through the intersection of indifference and irrelevance without once anyone in power considering how bad it has gotten.
Friends, as a great Cleveland leader, Richard Bogomolny, said in the beautiful documentary, Violins of Hope: we are charged "...to know what is morally right and the strength to do something about it." There is no one in lay leadership of JFNA who doesn't know that they have a fiduciary responsibility to assure that the organization is led in the best interests of the federations -- not in their own best interests, in the interests of the communities which they represent -- and, yet, they do nothing.
Let's say you serve on JFNA from a federation that raises 1/2 what it did 5 years ago but pays (and continues to pay) $495,000 in JFNA Dues. And for that half a million dollar annual payment your community gets almost nothing in return from 25 Broadway. How do you explain that to your community; how do you explain that to yourself? The questions that should be asked seem so simple; yet what questions are you asking? How do you permit this situation to continue? Oh, sure, it's simple and simplistic to look around and see that the leaders of the largest federations, whose Dues are proportionately even more egregious, saying nothing, does that excuse you from sitting silent?
The fact is that these JFNA lay leaders have forgotten or ignored the reality that they serve on JFNA's Board as representatives of their communities. Yet, they ask nothing of the JFNA Chief Professional Officer; and that's exactly what they have received in return...nothing.
We have reported on these pages ad nauseam the daily inanities of JFNA, under CEO Jerry an organization seemingly leaping from one shiny object to another shiny object without either plan or purpose. At no other time in Jewish organizational life has another institution embodied the maxim: If you don't know where you're going any road will get you there. (Although in JFNA's case it's "no road will get you there.") The latest road taken: https://jewishfederations.org/fedworld/local-federations-develop-strategic-relationships-with-chabad-centers-228687 In 9 long pages in Chabad Lubavitch World -- Jewish Federations & Chabad Find a New Way Forward -- the ideal working relationship ships between federations and the Chabad Movement are detailed highlighting the Toledo Jewish community and the JFNA-operated Network among others.
Having seen its work on the ground in the Republics of the Former Soviet Union, I have developed admiration for Chabad's work, for th3e dedication of their Rabbis on the ground; the JDC has developed a long-term relationship with Chabad country and community leaders there, though one not infrequently fraught with difficulties. If federated communities are now partnering with Chabad, if the JFNA Network is doing so, would it not be fair to expect some guidance from JFNA on best practices, how to do so? Well, of course, were there a JFNA. But in 2017, it's every community for itself. Send an insipid email to FedCentral; work it out on your own.
And continue to pay Dues to JFNA -- though not all are doing so -- as if you are getting back something in return.
And pray no one asks any questions.