Wednesday, July 5, 2017


The CEO of the Columbus Ohio federation recently announced his decision to leave the position and that community's lay leadership extolled a small number of accomplishments. 

Those Columbus lay leaders described the challenges the communal leadership now faced:
"...we recognize that change can be hard. But, it can be exciting, too.  We believe the Federation is at a crossroads and a leadership change presents the opportunity for bold action. We are concerned about our current model and recognize that in today's climate, collaboration with our partner agencies and the Columbus Jewish Foundation is critical. It is our goal to explore all options to position Federation for decades to come. As always, we welcome your input and feedback. Your support has sustained the Jewish Federation of Columbus for years, and we are counting on it now."
Here were communal leaders stepping up to the challenges and opportunities offered by professional "leadership change." They hadn't shied away from hard choices; and, now, they were unafraid of confronting the future and embracing the challenges. Yes, in this case the professional leader appears to have left behind some progress and accomplishments but compare this excellent description of what can be achieved through a galvanized leadership commitment to build something better to the stasis JFNA's leaders have endorsed by their total refusal to face facts; their refusal to even consider that, in the midst of an almost total (JFNA-Washington excluded) organizational collapse, change at the most senior professional level is the basic starting point for change.

Compare and contrast...

Yes, please, compare and contrast the difference between a local federation leadership demanding of themselves change and facing up to the challenges while the JFNA leadership is refusing and has refused to even acknowledge the reality that drastic change is needed and has been needed while they blind themselves to that reality 24/7.

And, why is that? As Columbus' leaders know, change is hard but also vital; at JFNA leaders just cannot stand the thought of "hard." Proof, debate is stifled and those lay leaders who raise questions well know that they risk a shunning (a stealth shunning to be sure, unaccompanied by written blacklist but a shunning nonetheless). One has to be strong to be willing to be shunned by the group he/she so desires to be part of; but, trust me, as Groucho Marx almost said: "sometimes it's best not to join with leadership of an organization without purpose or mission even if they would have me."

And, while I congratulate Columbus' leaders for their willingness to take on the challenges of change in Columbus, where are those same leaders and those of my federation and yours -- those leaders who are willing to leave it to others when it comes to the $52 million waste that is JFNA. And, what we have determined is simple: there are no"others" at all.

...none at all.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Richard, JFNA leadership is not accountable to anyone.
Need we say more?