Sunday, September 9, 2018


Thanks to an insightful reader for this Comment to our Post, COMPARE AND CONTRAST...AGAIN:
"Once upon a time there was an organization called the United Jewish Appeal. It was then "merged" into what is today called JFNA. Actually, rather than being "merged" into JFNA, it was taken apart and thrown away.

Today, JFNA has no collective campaign - only FRD consultants and advisors.
Sometimes we decide to open a mailbox - usually not. Passively opening a mailbox is not the same as running a campaign but that seems to be all that is left of what once was.

Is there anybody out there that doesn't think that we have failed miserably aa an umbrella organization?
We have become an umbrella that is incapable of opening up to stop a drizzle, never mind a heavy rainfall.

We have become a useless but expensive umbrella. We have lost our way, lost our vision, lost our mission, lost our value to our federations, our partners and our people."
Our correspondent offered some telling points. To me the most telling is that what we have "...seems to be all that is left of what once was." The years of this Blog have been my attempt, feeble though it has been and is, at atonement for my role in the creation of what is JFNA.

There have been points along the way in this tragedy where strong intervention by those of us who knew better might have made a difference but we were restrained -- restrained by our natural inclination to offer constant, even unquestioning, support for our leaders. I will offer one example: we structured the merged entity to strike a balance between our national responsibility for financial resource development and other services to federations. After the first five years of operations, the professional head of FRD felt threatened by a new CEO. Seeking to gain the CEO's favor, the FRD pro and the Campaign Chair agreed to reframe JFNA (then UJC) as a support function to the rest of JFNA, rather  than retain FRD's status as one of the "pillars"of JFNA. I/we wanted to support the Campaign Chair and the FRD senior professional -- that was a terrible mistake, both short-term and long-term.

BTW, whatever "favor" this act of altruism and self-sacrifice gained the FRD senior pro was short-term -- very short-term. She was soon forced out after months of agony. 

A "useless but expensive umbrella"...indeed.


1 comment:

RWEX said...

Sent by a friend who shall remain unnamed:

"I was intrigued by the your UJ & Thee New Year's supplement in which you quote a clever commentator comparing JFNA to a functionless umbrella. Since you thereafter acknowledge a degree of responsibility in having allowed things to come about as they have, I suggest you spend more time in Shule on Yom Kippur doingan AL CHAIT until your heaving chest is black and blue.. Better yet get a Rain Coat!!!!!!"