"Federations are much more comfortable, and unifying, when they stick to what they do best: Richard Sandler, chair of the JFNA board of trustees, described that threefold mission as relief for the needy, support for Jewish education and identity, and inspiring a connection to Israel."We might debate whether these are JFNA's or Federations' most pressing purposes, but, inasmuch as JFNA has for 9 years now, has not articulated (and stayed focus on) any mission, these three would be a magnificent mission for the organization.
Let's dig down and see where we are on this "threefold mission:"
- Relief for the needy: Federation agencies have been and are engaged on this Mission as they have been for decades; in some instances, for over a century. I recall our communities, including my own, confronting the "new Jewish poor" in the early 1980's, as the Council of Jewish Federations exposed the issues, the best practices, and highlighted the emerging challenges at at least two GA's. That was then; today? JFNA, the successor to CJF, is doing nothing.
- Support for Jewish education. Federations have dramatically increased allocations to Jewish education and, yet, Jewish education remains underfunded generally, teachers are severely underpaid, and, as a general rule, Jewish education does not, although it should, inspire our fund-raising. Meanwhile, what has JFNA done under this leadership to lead "support for Jewish education?" Well, while JESNA died away from underfunding, JFNA's leaders, lay and professional, did nothing, said nothing. Then, a few years later, Silverman led the theft of over $1 million from the National Agencies Funding Pool to fund a "Jewish Education Unit" that his budget couldn't support. JFNA is doing nothing.
- Inspiring a connection to Israel. Laughable...that's L.A.U.G.H.A.B.L.E. With no advocacy (and, no, the JFNA-Israel "Envoys" thing, isn't) for our institutional "connection(s) to Israel," at this date, year-end 2017, allocations to JAF/JDC/WorldORT are at the lowest levels ever, just as the year before these allocations reached the lowest levels ever, and the year before that...Worse, national Missions have reached such a nadir that in 2017 the Prime Minister's Mission, once the crown jewel of national Missions was canceled, another national Mission traveled to Argentina, etc., etc. JFNA-Israel is an unmanaged black hole of no accomplishments deveouring millions year-in and year-out. JFNA is doing worse than nothing.
Sandler's mission trifecta for JFNA was nothing more than words. The dots don't connect; does Sandler realize that reality?
No, the dots don't connect. Under Sandler/Silverman they never do.
Have a wonderful 2018.