Thursday, June 7, 2018


Waxing nostalgic...

1. Last April, on the cusp of the celebration of Israel's 70th in Jerusalem, the New York Times and Israeli media reported on the chaos that erupted there over who would "star" in the public ceremony, the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, as had been traditional, or the Prime Minister. Ultimately, as it was reported, there was some agreement that the Speaker would utter 700 words, the Prime Minister, 500!! 

This reminded me so vividly of events surrounding the Israel 50th Anniversary celebration spearheaded by Charles Bronfman at the time of the CJF-UJA Partnership, z'l. The CJF Chair and I for UJA, as the Partnership Co-Chairs, were scheduled to deliver greetings at the Opening Ceremonies. Harold Cohen, the terrific UJA senior professional (now the JNF COO), had been given the responsibility to team with CJF professionals in the planning process. Harold told the UJA folk at a meeting a few weeks before the conclave: "Richard, you won't believe this: the CJF Chair is counting the words in your remarks and has demanded that they not exceed the number of words in his." I, incredulous, just said "Sure," knowing that I would follow the CJF leader...

For some reason, I sense, don't ask me how, that the dispute between Yuli Edelstein and Bibi Netanyahu is more serious.

2. Perhaps you remember that last month, landscapers (or the Secret Service) discovered a sinkhole in the White House Lawn. And I remember when JFNA wasn't a sinkhole. Do you?

3. Perhaps, like me, you remember when you could call CJF or UJA or, untila decade ago, jfna itself, to ask a question and the resources at the organizations were tapped to provide or find answers. Well, that was then. Today, apparently, if you have a question, turning to JFNA for an answer...well, here is an example of what passes for an answer: JFNA passes your question on to...FedCentral. Example: Renee Rothstein's:
"are you familiar with any federation folks who have installed large, publicly-facing monitors on which to display images/video/messages that support the organization’s overall branding/message? JUF is investigating best practice, and potential services ?"
("JUF" -- the Jewish United Fund -- is the FRD arm of the Chicago federation.)

The question garnered a few responses, the only one on point, came from a senior pro at... the Jewish Federation of Greater Chicago.

4. And, I remember in the first year of what is now JFNA, I went to our great partner in the merger, the brilliant Dr. Jeffrey Solomon to lament (as you, faithful readers, would understand, I do that from time to time) the then sorry state of UJC for one reason (!!) or another. Jeff comforted me: "Richard," Jeff said, "Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint." And, I was pacified -- for a day or two. I know that a number of you interact with Jeff in your work or socially; for those of you who do, please ask Jeff: "Is the f'ing JFNA marathon over yet?"


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