~ Maybe someone will explain why JFNA leaders couldn't even express their condolences upon Danny Allen's, z'l, death. There is no excuse for this sad neglect of common decency with respect for a professional who worked so hard and so long for the Jewish People. There is no excuse for the neglect of Jewish humanity let alone responsibility. Shame of them.
~ I have unrequited respect for Eric Goldstein, the former lay leader who accepted the challenge of succeeding John Ruskay as President and CEO of New York UJA-Federation, certainly one of, if not the most complex of federations. While I don't profess to understand why Eric has led his community to turn inward, a sharp U-turn away from historic collective responsibility. I'm sure there is reason behind a series of decisions. At one and the same time there can be no explaining why, as reported in the Times of Israel and elsewhere, Eric would announce that "American Jews want 'to throw up' due to Netanyahu's policies." https://jewishstandard.timesofisrael.com/us-jews-leaders-want-to-throw-up-due-to-netanayahu-policies/
All of you have been readers of this Blog over the years know that I am one who believes our organizations must speak out on all issues impacting on us -- on the North American Jewish polity. But...in this way? Never. Goldstein's diatribe must have been born of the frustration of losing donors who believe that "Israel has rejected" our religious practices, our concerns...but that doesn't excuse the language used in any way. I hope that by the time this Post is published, Goldstein has apologized in every possible way.
~ Many of you have written me to question why Sandler (the past JFNA Board Chair) and Silverman (the soon to be past JFNA CEO) were JFNA's "representatives" at the Trump White House Chanukah celebration. I sense that in Jerry's case he has believed for years that these invitations are in personam, that he's invited because he is Jerry Silverman. HE IS WRONG. Why Sandler would be there is also a mystery -- isn't he from LA; isn't he out of office?
As we've pointed out on more than one occasion on these pages, the best practice, one always practiced at UJA, z'l, was to use these invitations to cultivate our donors and our future leaders. I can't remember a single occasion where we extended those invitations to the past leaders of the organization, unless to Max Fisher, z'l. Trust me, I knew and loved Max; Richard Sandler, a fine man and a wonderful Jew, is no Max Fisher.
When will it end; when will it ever end?
~ Y'all recall that after a specious set of recommendations on collapsing JFNA subsidiary UIA while expanding the work of the exercise in futility JFNA-israel, 4 federation leaders serving on the Committee which raised the Recommendations filed a forceful, thoughtful set of objections in a Dissent. Well, on Monday, December 17, the JFNA Executive Committee received the apparently Final Report and, its been reported privately (!!) included changes that, it was asserted, accommodated the Dissenters; heard the objections from UIA itself and, then...did nothing!! No vote...nothing.
So JFNA...so...nothing.But let us close out 2018 on a more positive note. Bob Hyfler, consummate communal professional, whom I first met in his senior professional role at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, and, then, at JFNA in its formative years, wrote us with his own perfect tribute to Danny Allen's, z'l, memory:
"While attending (Danny's) funeral I considered the clearest lesson I learned from Danny. Danny always understood the nature of history, structure and change in the Jewish world. He was never enamoured with any single structure for its own sake and certainly not the permanency of any one structure. What motivated him always was a fearless commitment to protect the eternal purposes embedded in those structures he served with an uncompromising honesty: the survival of our people and our values; our responsibilities, big and small, one to another; and the hope and promise that Israel and the Zionist ideal represented. Danny leaves this world with his legacy and integrity intact. Shalom Chaver."A happy and healthy 2019 to each and every one of you and your families.