Monday, October 9, 2017


On the cusp of the New Year, two educators, writing on behalf of Jerusalem U. in ejewishphilanthropy, offered an inspirational message. In A New Year's Message: Embrace Change, the authors, Lior Krinsky and Dina Rabhan, concluded as follows:

"As an organization that fully embraces innovation, we constantly grapple with the tensions of evolving to remain relevant and fresh while staying true to our mission and purpose as a goals-driven, Israel and Jewish identity education organization.
We will continue to communicate our challenges and self-assessment with bold transparency with the intention of contributing to a communal conversation about Israel education. Our shift toward dynamic, complex and nuanced Israel education is far from complete. We have a lot of work to do, and a lot of content to create. We’re excited to share our journey with a growing community of educators, and look forward to continuing on in this exciting new venture." 
Incredibly refreshing isn't it to read an organizational leadership writing about "embrace innovation," "evolving to remain relevant and fresh," "staying true to...mission and purpose," "goals driven," "self-assessment," "bold transparency." Compare and contrast these leadership commitments to that which is not happening at 25 Broadway, a place where there are no commitments and where there is no accountability.

For JFNA's leaders don't/can't "embrace change" because they don't believe that any change is necessary.

I am told that internally, within its professional cadre, JFNA has adopted as its latest jargon,  the "need for 360 degree thinking." Someone at HQ must have read an article and said to themselves: "wow, this sounds really good." As one article still fresh today, two+ months after publication, stated: "Third Space Thinking promotes the integration of Adaptability, Cultural Competency, Empathy, Intellectual Curiosity and 360-Degree Thinking into how you view the world." In other words: "meaningless absent understanding."

"360-Degree Thinking, takes a holistic, multi-dimensional and analytical approach to problem solving. By developing this skill, you’re able to convert information into insights and then connect the dots to move into action. I recently saw the process of creating a ritual out of this attribute broken down into three components: hindsight, insight and foresight." 
If you believe that the JFNA of today is capable of "...a holistic, multi-dimensional and analytical approach to problem-solving," please raise your hands. That's what I thought. Here's my base thought: you first have to identify the "problems" before you can apply any kind of thought, 360 degrees or otherwise, to problem solving. If JFNA's senior professional leader thinks otherwise, he is wrong. 

Sadly, instead of "embracing change," JFNA continues down its chosen path of pursuing bright, shiny objects, the most current of which is the 360 degree thinking of which it is incapable. Let's unpack all of this...or, whatever.




Anonymous said...

An admirable objective, maybe. But neither JFNA's CEO or Sr VP Israel is capable of 360 thinking - on Israel or anything else except their overcompensation. What JFNA needs - snd quickly - is a change in leadership in both those positions.

Richard Sandler - are you paying attention to anything at 25 Broadway?

Anonymous said...

נער היתי וגם זקנתי...I was young and now I am old. And have never seen a Jewish organization throw around as much meaningless jargon as found in that which Richard quotes.Say it ain't so somebody!

Anonymous said...

This version of JFNA has neither the ability to "embrace change" nor the ability to see itself for what it has been allowed to become -- an organization without apparet purpose, without goals. If one looks at the GA agenda, as yo8 did in yur last Post, you have the proof of what you have published today -- a JFNA with absolutely no focus whatsoever, trying desperately to be all things to all people when it is really nothing for anybody.

Anonymous said...

We should hold Sandler and Silverman's feet to the fire, however we shouldn't let the members of the JFNA executive committee over the last 7 years off the hook. They, along with the compensation committee who extended Silverman's contract, are complicit in all this.
Regarding this 360 concept, I would bet that JFNA will say that senior management has been engaged in this practice and it has had a transformational effect on their leadership.
You are correct; JFNA has become a shiny object organization, and volunteer leadership is totally complicit.

Anonymous said...

This leadership can’t even find the shiny object.