For example, unlike at every prior Israel-focused, Israel-based GA, JFNA will offer no site visits. If a federation contingent wishes to visit a project it funds, b'hatzlacha; but the entire construct of past GAs -- to acquaint leaders with a broader set of projects/needs -- we won't be doing that any more. Why? Well, it's a mystery.
JFNA "plans" (and "plan" is cetainly a term inconsistent with what is going on here) to offer what Becky Caspi and her ilk are calling "real conversations" rather than meetings, site visits or other "events." Apparently, JFNA conflated site visits with "events" and then characterized them as "non-interactive" and, therefore, omitted.
Friends in leadership of Israeli NGOs tell me that JFNA-Israel has reached out to them to produce Israelis to be part of the GA Program (I assume in "real conversations"). Yet, when asked for specifically what JFNA wants, these leaders are told, "we need Israelis who have 'exciting' stories to tell." Some suspect that they are being asked to provide nothing more than "filler" to prop up an undefined event. JFNA appears to be hiding the lack of substance behind jargon -- you know, like "interactivity" and "connectivity."
So, what the hell is going on here? As has been chronicled on these pages and in a series of JFNA Mid- (and Year-) End "Progress" Reports, JFNA itself has confessed error -- GA after GA have failed to interest lay leaders to Register. NOW...NOW...it certainly appears that the laity (and communal professionals) have even less reason to attend -- buy a round-trip ticket to Ben Gurion, pay for an over-priced Tel Aviv Hotel, pay the Registration Fee, pay for meals...and get even less of a meaningful experience than at the prior GAs you didn't (or did) attend in prior years.
Those who are leading this GA (and just whom are they??) appear to believe that Tel Aviv (and Jerusalem) and Israel are the attractions (just as last year they assumed -- incorrectly --that Los Angeles would be the draw) so Program just doesn't matter. Your takeaway will be the Beach or Dizengoff; it won't be learning (unless there is inherent value in revisiting an Israel project of your own community).
For Registrants, if any, this GA will be the most expensive for you in history. The most expensive in every way. It's early yet so start saving up; you won't want to miss a General Assembly dedicated to "talking," to dialogue:
"Israel and the diaspora. What a relationship! For generations, we’ve been together. Through thick and thin. And this year, we’re celebrating 70 years of partnership. But even in the best relationships, misunderstandings can happen. A difference of opinion here. A misinterpretation there. That’s why we’re heading to Tel Aviv. To talk it out and ensure that our next 70 years remain strong. Together." "If I have this right the GA will be about "Talking. Together." For three days. For G-d's sake one of the JFNA tag lines for the event is "We need to talk." (The other, at least for the moment, is "The GA takes on Tel Aviv" -- maybe you can explain that to me!!)
The Prelinary Program is available -- and I pray that it is strictly "preliminary." Here it is: https://cdn.fedweb.org/fed-42/2/GA2018_2-Page-Program_v11.pdf?v=1525282652 There are going to be "Rooftop Raps" and "Dialogue Dens" and a "takeover" of Rehov Rothschild when we "Take it to the Streets." *Sorry, I just threw up in my throat.")
If this is really the proposed GA Program, is it too cruel to ask whether Jerry Silverman can be forced to "retire" again?
So, if you can afford it, come to Tel Aviv to "[T]alk it out" and "take it to the streets."
We'll return to GA coverage when we better understand its purpose.
"and the diaspora. What a relationship! For generations, we’ve been together. Through thick and thin. And this year, we’re celebrating 70 years of partnership. But even in the best relationships, misunderstandings can happen. A difference of opinion here. A misinterpretation there. That’s why we’re heading to Tel Aviv. To talk it out and ensure that our next 70 years remain strong. Together."