Monday, June 4, 2018


I became acquainted with something new and different in story after story about the corrupt enterprise being run by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Donald Trump's appointee, Scott Pruitt: "SCIF." yes, the "Sensitive Compartmented* Information Facility" where, at unheard of expense, Pruitt could be assured that his discussions took place in absolute secrecy. Pruitt's SCIF cost an astonishing (only in the sense that the cost was not properly approved in advance [and, probably, would not have been]) $43,500. 

Our own SCIF -- for that is what JFNA has become for the last decade -- is JFNA itself. Our institutional SCIF. Yes, at a cost of $53,000 per year, we have built the ultimate institutional "Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility" for one and all. Insiders have access to information that no one else down the JFNA food chain can access. Questions are looked upon with disdain, answered with either a "I'll have to get back to you" which, when you hear it, you know no one is getting back to you. The harder you push for answers, the greater the likelihood is that you will be viewed as somehow traitorous and you will be shunned.

And, then, in 2016-2017, we...those of us on the Board but outside of the inside...we began to get some insights, some information, heretofore denied us. Over Richard Sandler's transmittal, JFNA began to publish Mid-Year and Year-End Progress Reports -- these were revelatory; not of progress but of the total lack thereof.

My intuition informs my conclusion that Board Chair Richard Sandler (a) read these Reports  (which bore his name), (b) noted that the CEO did nothing to either effect "progress," or effect "change;" and (c) like the superb lawyer he is, concluded that the only way to achieve "progress" and "change" would be to end the Silverman regime. We don't know this for sure because Richard, to date, has adhered to the story that Jerry decided to "retire;" and, that's fine, so long as JFNA pays Jerry off to secure his early albeit not early enough retirement...NOW.

One of you recently questioned why no one has received an accounting of how emergency and special campaign funds have been spent by JFNA:

"Richard, could you please post the distribution report published by JFNA from any emergency?

I have searched high and low and cannot find one.

The first time I looked was the First Lebanon war and I was told that JFNA hired someone to prepare the report. I am still waiting. 2nd Lebanon war. Katrina and every subsequent disaster, still no reports that I can find.

It seems that JFNA is really good about announcing how much money we “raised”, but reporting, not so much....

Curious that in essence JFNA has gone out of the campaign business and has become the national allocations committee of all disasters. One might think that at least they would report where are money went.

When there is no publication of such results it requires one to wonder why.

What is it that they are hiding?

I, for one, won’t be giving any more emergency funds to them without available reports after the fact."
Is JFNA so hidden within its SCIF, that it believes that its work is beyond scrutiny and that it has no responsibility to be accountable?

Are these questions too much to ask for starters?


* Yes, I know that "Compartmented" is not a real word.


Anonymous said...

Another service bites the dust:

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that effective, May 30 JFNA has discontinued the Speaker’s Bureau. Over the past decade the marketplace has transformed and Federations have changed the way they vet and secure speakers. As a result of this shift we are taking a different approach as well.

Two years ago we launched FedCentral as a depository for Jewish knowledge and information sharing. Today we have 3,577 users and 70 percent of them are “active.” By far, the second most popular discussion on FedCentral is about sharing speaker recommendations. We hope you will continue to use FedCentral and your Federation community as a resource for finding new speakers and arranging speaker engagements.

If you are currently in the middle of negotiations with a speaker who was part of the Bureau; have already booked a speaker and have questions about the booking or need other assistance, please contact Carmen Spicer, Marketing Department Assistant, at (212) 284-6704 or at

Thank you for your understanding.

Jerry Silverman

Anonymous said...

The plot thickens....yesterday was Speakers Bureau
Subject: Outsourcing of JFNA's FedWeb Platform Support

Dear Colleagues,

The following email regarding the outsourcing of FedWeb was sent to executive directors today. I wanted to make you aware of it directly.

While I realize this may cause some initial anxiety, there are tremendous advantages to having a seasoned technology company manage the platform. They are quite committed to it. You are welcome to call Steve, or myself, if you want to discuss this further.

Please make sure you or your appropriate staff join the Town Hall next week. We will set up a second one for those of you who can’t make it. It is scheduled for Thursday, June 14 at 2:00 pm ET. The Town Hall will provide an opportunity to meet the Fusion Labs team, learn more about the transition and ask questions. Here is a link to register for Town Hall.