Tuesday, April 17, 2018


1. If it's something (or someone) recommended by Caroline Glick or Morton Klein, I know it will be both unreasoned and unreasonable. I am never disappointed.

2. When the Israeli Chief Rabbi -- N.B. the Chief Rabbi -- calls African-Americans "Monkeys," as Tablet reported he did in a sermon, no less, on March 17, you might think that that would merit condemnation from JFNA. Nope.

3. The following appeared on a major Federation website (I have omitted that community's name):
"Twenty+ Exciting Prototypes Emerge from Innovation Platform
We had a terrific two days with the Innovation Platform last week, resulting in over 20 exciting prototypes and great insight about leverage points for innovation. This followed the very important work of the (community)  platform the week before laying out a vision, framework for action and key elements of strategy for Jewish (community) going forward. The group zeroed in on what the Jewish community needs most, and determined how innovation can deliver meaningful change. Specifically, they asked, how can we stimulate authentic collaborations that will benefit the entire community; how can we distribute resources more broadly across the community?
A prototype is a tangible expression of an idea. The purpose of prototyping is to allow the Front Porch to explore our future by testing ideas that align with our biggest community goals, then putting them into action on a small scale. Another way to think about it is that a prototype is like a “landing strip” for an idea. Some prototypes will take off, others will fizzle, but our goal is to learn by experimenting. The Front Porch Prototype Boot Camp, a session in which teams will work together to map out potential ideas, and plan their launch and roll out,.."
If any of you can decipher the meaning of all this, please explain it to me. I have intuited that this was written by intelligent people. Don't ask me how. It seems like a long and complicated route to the emergence of new ideas.

I am reminded by this of an old non-PC joke. Helen Keller is invited to a seder. During the readings the hostess sees Ms. Keller vigorously rubbing a piece of matzah with a deepening frown on her face. The hostess finally asks: "Helen, is there something wrong?" And Keller responded, holding up the matzah: "Who writes this crap?"

4. And, then there was that "Gala" at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago convened by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews at the end of March to celebrate...well, to celebrate Founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his achievements in leadership of the IFCJ. We had written of Eckstein's evident hope that the President would attend the "Together in Fellowship" thing, or, that at least Eckstein could bring his greetings to the President personally and directly. It wasn't to be, As reported in JNS ("At Mar-a-Lago, Christians and Jews celebrate Israel, unity and a strong partnership"), Trump "had to depart" for Washington but left behind a video (the story and the video can be found at: https://www.jns.org/at-trumps-mar-a-lago-christians-and-jews-celebrate-israel-unity-and-a-strong-partnership/ ) where he appeared in a white golf cap ("USA") and an open collar golf shirt; apparently right off a Trump golf course. I'm not really certain after viewing the video that the President knew the organization he was addressing. I'll leave it to you to judge: here is a portion of Trump's remarks:
"It’s a great honor to have everybody at Mar-a-Lago, a special place for a special group of people,” Trump told the gathering in a video message recorded shortly before the gala. The president left his weekend retreat several hours before the start of the event to head back to Washington, D.C. “I wanted to be there so badly. I had to leave—we have some pretty big things going on with our country, but our country is doing really well. Your taxes are down, your regulations are down, a lot of good things are happening, we’re appointing a lot of fantastic federal judges, and I think you are all very happy with the results. So I’ll see you next time. I hope you have a fantastic evening.”
Then, I will leave it to you to judge whether, at the end of the day, retaining Mar-a-Lago at great, great cost compared to other venues was worth the "investment" even as a "strategic decision." (BTW, it didn't appear that President Trump mentioned Rabbi Eckstein by name in his brief remarks. Wait 'Til Next Year.)

5. Pesach must be thought to be a high point on the annual Calendar for Jewish organizations (and HIAS) to engage in an orgy of Direct Mail solicitations. (I have expressed on these pages that Direct Mail is not going to raise most organizations a significant amount, but so what, the assault continues.) In any event one of the solicitations I received (from an organization which I won't support) tried to personalize its message. The envelope was well-addressed, but the solicitation letter started "Dear Ronit."

OK then.



Anonymous said...

Regarding point 3, I am so sick of buzzwords and this piece of dribble is no exception. Also, If I had a dime for every time I heard the expression "reach out" in a meeting, I would be quite rich.

Anonymous said...

I think that Anon. 10:51 meant "drivel" but "dribble" works. This is what I think is generally know as "consultant-speak:" inpenerable gibberish to demonstrate how smart we are. Meaningless gibberish. Richard, please tell us the community that is no doubt paying for this stuff.

Anonymous said...

I hit the Link to the article on the IFCJ "Gala" -- photo suggests a very poor attendance (how many there were comped?), the Trump video was hysterical. Was this supposed to be a news article, or part of the Eckstein hagiography?

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Anon 11:38 for pointing out my spelling error. Eckstein is the textbook case of solipsism.

Anonymous said...

hile Glick and Klein are not always right,they are more right than wrong. We are fortunate to have their voices just as we’re fortunate to have yours.