"Silence becomes cowardice when the occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly."The continuing silence from JFNA lay leadership in the face of JFNA's lack of any, let alone effective, professional leadership, raises institutional cowardice to levels never before experienced. It is as if the small cabal at the top of the JFNA food chain believe that the institution's Board members are like a Greta Garbo -- the cabal believes that the Board members only desire is "to be left alone." In that these leaders are so wrong -- the Board members want to engage and they want to be led. What they get back is nothing -- or worse than nothing (think of all those table discussions where results are promised; and, then, nothing.)
We all can see in JFNA an institution in such terrible decline that it appears to be in a death spiral from which, under the extant professional leadership, it cannot emerge. And, because we can see, as apparently they cannot, we all know this is the objective truth even as those in leadership are in continuous denial.
These leaders look at the heap of garbage that is JFNA (except in the excellence of its Washington work and its self-adulation) and they see art. I am at a loss, as you are, that a small self-perpetuating group of proven lay and professional leaders at the federation level can continue to deny what's indisputably true -- that JFNA is stuck on some form of hamster wheel of perpetual mediocrity -- but deny is what they do. I know that I don't have to trot out a further dissection of JFNA's desiccated state -- the facts cry out to every reader and, I expect, to every JFNA Board member when they look at themselves in the mirror. And, yet, they do nothing, and they say nothing in fear of leadership's retribution were they to point out that the emperor has no clothes.
And, so, the failures continue as if ineluctable. It is as if the leaders have chosen to compensate the CEO by the misstep. The brilliant journalist, Mark Leibovich, recently described another dysfunctional operation in words that so perfectly describe what is happening within JFNA when he wrote: "...the interests of self-perpetuation drive nearly everything." In this environment there is no striving for the excellent, no assurance that any effort once initiated will be followed up, that any prioritization is ever set -- at all times the next bright shiny object will distract the entire organization from any thing it was pursuing until the latest distraction.
I have begged so many times for a laity that would take a careful look at the organization; a careful look at what we expected JFNA to be when it was formed compared to what it has become today. AND THEN TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. If the current leadership can't or won't they should resign. If their attitude is "let someone else do it;" then they must let someone else do it and get out of the way.
I see an almost ready willingness to abandon the basic principles on which we have built our communal institutions -- and this both amazes me and disappoints me terribly. How can one explain a Board whose members would not permit this dysfunction to perpetuate in their own home communities but tolerate it without even comment at the Continental level. And how can one explain the apparent disinterest on the part of the Large City Executives who, as a collective, in an earlier iteration of JFNA stood tall and helped expedite a change in its professional leadership when they saw that the then sitting CEO was not up to the job. Today -- they are silent.
Friends, if you believe that outside of JFNA-Washington, JFNA has pursued and achieved excellence in any endeavor, write me (name attached or anonymously) citing the success. I would welcome your input. And don't hide behind the claim that you, JFNA leaders, don't read this Blog for those denials are in the same category as President Trump denying that he watches Morning Joe. I welcome your critique and...that list of achievements.