Tuesday, March 27, 2018


In the course of one of our discussions on these pages, I was asked if there was a framing statement of Mission for what was to become the Jewish Federations of North America at the time of its creation. Here it is:

"Jewish federations across North America commit themselves to the renaissance of the Jewish people in North America, in Israel, and throughout the world. Thus, we articulate, in word and deed, the mission of this new entity to: Utilize our financial and human resources to improve the quality of Jewish life worldwide--honoring the covenant that 'All Jews are Responsible One for the Other,' and that only through unified action can we solve our community's most pressing problems; Nurture vital experiences of Jewish life and learning in North America to create a compelling culture of shared meaning, shared responsibility, and shared values as Klal Yisrael, one people in all its diversity, with a shared commitment to its future; join in partnership with our fellow Jews in Israel in building unity and mutual respect and solidifying Israel's central role in our Jewish identity and future; Inspire Jews to fulfill the mitzvah of Tzedakah, securing the financial and human resources necessary to achieve our mission of caring for those in need, rescuing Jews in danger, and ensuring the continuity of our people; provide the strategic resources, assistance, and direction to help local federations fulfill their individual, regional, and collective responsibilities of Tikkun Olam, community building and Jewish renaissance; and Involve more of our fellow Jews in the work of our community and provide opportunities for a new generation of leaders to continue our sacred work of caring for one another."
I think it is a pretty safe bet that the current leaders -- lay and professional alike -- have no idea this Mission ever existed; it is even a safer bet that if they did know of it they have discarded it, ignored it, disregarded it.

I was so proud to be part of the process, the discussion, that led to this Mission statement that framed the merger. I was so proud that the "system" then -- lay leaders of the United Jewish Appeal and the federations --- sat together and committed to a Mission of such breadth and depth.

As proud as I was then, I am now filled with disgust at the manner in which the current iteration of the Continental organization bears no resemblance to what had been intended for it. 

We are all responsible, each of us to the other for what might have been....and for what is.



Anonymous said...

About mission statements--this is from Israel's Declaration of Independence. My reaction to Israel's current leadership is the same as yours to JFNA's. How the mighty have fallen.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Anonymous said...

Can any of those in power at JFNA, lay or professional, offer a Mission for the organization that they might claim they've actually worked successfully to fulfill? ANONE?

Anonymous said...

A mission statement and the bylaws written to support it, are a contract between the members. Nothing more and nothing less.

The abandonment of the stated mission is just a breech of contract entered into by its members.

I rarely have nice things to say about people or organizations who don’t live up to their agreements.

The scope of abandonment at this level can only be described as criminal.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting - with all the JFNA professionals who follow every word on this blog, not one has been able to respond to 9:47 with an actual accomplishment!!!

To quote Bibi, "there will be nothing because there is nothing."

And JFNA keeps digging a bigger hole for itself and the American Jewish community.

And the fault lies with Silverman, Sandler, Hoffman, Nasatir, Solomon, and a long list of wanna-be professionals and lay leaders who are neither professional or leaders.

Anonymous said...

Why would you think that people that work at JFNA would have anything good to say about the organization,its leaders or its accomplishments? They know better than anyone how bad things really are there.