Saturday, October 21, 2017


1. JFNA is now promoting the "Amplifier Giving Circles" -- you can look it up. I did. Think of Giving Circles as one step up from "bowling alone." Apparently, a group of nice people gather together to express their philanthropic goals and having identified them, fund them, and monitor them. They focus on projects the group deems worthy, they fund them, monitor them and accountability and engagement are assured. JFNA is encouraging this through...FedCentral. Uh huh. All of us should remember that the concept of "federation" arose out of what were, perhaps, the first Giving Circles -- in most places a group of dedicated men (back then all men), sat around, probably smoking cigars, identified communal needs and then funded them. And, here we are, back to the future.

2. At the end of last month, one of you wrote me of a new JFNA hire -- the Associate Vice President for Federation Services. An excellent idea...and the hire appears to be a person of great enthusiasm and eclectic interests with good experience as a Birthright Israel professional. I read that the catalogue of this new JFNA senior pro included  "working in the Jewish world in a variety of areas" -- including the Jewish Education Project. I wish this professional great success; I'm certain she is a quick study. And she will have to be inasmuch as it appears from the job title that she will be at the interface of JFNA and the federations without any intensive federation experience. 

3. I think all of who know him or have interacted with him find Jerry Silverman to be a sweet and compassionate guy, a winning public persona. But, I remain totally confused almost every time he gives an interview. Why, Jerry, why? Example, recently to The Jerusalem Post:
"Silverman told the Post that he is '...the eternal optimist when it comes to the Jewish people, because I believe in the people of Israel...I believe that over time we will be able to bring this back together and focus on what is really key, which is the Jewish people.'" 
OMG...WHAT DID THIS MEAN? Friends, I have become convinced that Jerry needs an interpreter to accompany him on all interviews...or, better yet, not even give them. 



Anonymous said...

JFNA is itself evidencing all that could go wrong with a federation institution if in fact it is any more a federation institution. Great job assisting Houston, some federal grants and what else? My fed pays 6 figures in Dues and the ROI is so small it doesn't even register.

Anonymous said...

Silverman needs to retire -- should have never been hired; should have retired at the latest before his contract was renewed. This fiasco has gone for years and years longer than rational. The quote you've used is merely further evidence of Jerry's confusion and of the willingness of some in the Jewish press to print anything. This will never end will it?

Anonymous said...

Richard, has the Board Chair like his predecessor been duped into keeping Silverman as CEO, or is he just plain lazy, too lazy to see what has happened to the organization he is supposed to be leading as it is no longer relevant to the federations on a day to day basis?