1. Alan Hoffman, the Jewish Agency CEO/Director General, whom I had known for decades as a charismatic, even brilliant professional and one who always held his cards very, very close to his chest, gave an amazing and candid speech to the Israel Democracy Institute as reported in Haaretz -- Young American Jews Increasingly Turning Away From Israel. Read the entire Judy Maltz by-lined article at https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.5751616.
Certainly many will dispute the findings of a recent Survey cited by Hoffman that disclosed that disclosed that support for Israel among Jewish college students had fallen by an horrific 32% between 2010 and 2016. In addition, Alan disclosed that in a presentation to New York UJA he was bombarded with questions about religious pluralism in Israel -- "how could Israel do this to us?"
While Hoffman, who may (or may not, things change ya' know) be on the cusp of retirement, may have been teeing up a JAFI Jewish Unity Plan -- but even so, Alan's candor was as refreshing as it was revelatory.
2. And a kal ha'kavod to JFNA. The umbrella organization convenes its Board Retreat this morning in Atlanta and it actually has a very important Agenda -- filled with important "stuff." To me, the most critical, assuming it leads to change, is a Discussion document Rethinking the GA. Sure, it's long, long overdue; but it's here...now.
Finally there is disclosure that there is a "$2.5 million minimum price tag" annually for the GA and that there is what the authors very gently characterize as "[S]talled participation and a lack of consistent recruitment" laying the fault at the feet of the Federations.
Significant questions are raised, but the authors' "simple thesis is:"
"The GA must be a platform for what the system needs and for what it will use to achieve its business objectives. Otherwise, producing the GA is tantamount to putting on a play; it is entertaining but has no/limited functional application."Alternatives are offered but the critical thing is that there may be (one never knows) serious discussion among JFNA's/Federations' leaders of the reality that the current GA (as reflected over recent years) is comatose and alternatives need to be explored. I am, as you reguar readers know, more than cynical about JFNA's "table discussions;" more filler than substance, promised summaries never appearing let alone acted upon; farce. May this discussion, if that's what is going to happen, make a difference.
There is more to observe about JFNA of course and those observations will be upcoming.
So consider the good news.