Sunday, January 27, 2019


This evening and tomorrow the JFNA Board will convene in New York City. Many of you have written the Blog (anonymously) with incredible insights both as to what to expect (more of the same) and what needs to happen (growth of a collective spine) in response to a self-defeating set of Recommendations on JFNA global responsibilities -- Recommendations which, if adopted, will defenestrate UIA in so many ways.

In Tragically Blind we pointed to the consequences of JFNA Board members'lemming-like response to these Recommendations that should never have seen the light of day. Here is what one of you wrote:
'They will probably suggest a "compromise" to get rid of only 20 UIA board members instead of 25 (leaving 12 instead of 7). Hopefully folks will be smart enough to realize that this would make no difference at all because the real isssue is that they want to make the UIA Board a total "puppet" board of the JFNA Board, which is itself, at least up until now, a "puppet" of the bureaucrats that run the organization. 
The true ideological basis of the proposed changes in the Global Operations recommendations is CONTROL: to get active lay leadership out of the way, to gain complete bureaucratic control of UIA's functions (free of UIA lay interference), to get the Jewish Agency and advocacy for it off the JFNA agenda and to let the I&O Israel Office continue unsupervised to do whatever it pleases (no need for control there evidently).
If Board members are going to go along with this, they should at least uderstand that this is what is really on the table. If they do understand, they shouldn't be looking to compromise, just to say NO!" 
Excellent insights...excellent advice.



Anonymous said...

honest question -- what does UIA do today? What do you think it should do? why does it need to exist as a quasi-separate piece?

Anonymous said...

It's basically a pass through.

No real harm if it's eliminated, but this doesn't get to the main structural issues currently plaguing the Federated system.

Anonymous said...

Only if you discount a group of people who actually know something and perform their function.

Compare and contrast with I&O's unblemished record of failure.

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of UIA will do nothing to solve JFNA's problems or to relieve budgetary pressure. Its functions would have to be created if they didn't already exist. The whole thought is a mere tactical attempt to distract us from the real issues and the real problems of the organization.
UIA operates efficiently and with serious and passionate involvement of true lay leadership.
Leave it alone so that it can continue its good work and start fixing what is obviously truly broken.

Anonymous said...

So, despite some refreshing but "manageable" opposition, they have gotten consent to lay the groundwork for the following:

* "reaffirm" commitment to advocacy for the Israel and overseas agenda (less so for our "partners") - really?

* kill UIA as we have known it for over 90 years, including "retirement" of 25 dedicated UIA lay leaders (even more if we include the Advisory Committee) and totally controlling at least 4 of the 7 board members left - no outside lay advice needed - get out of our way!

* close down and get out of the Israel missions business - there are more popular global targets for missions anyway - Israel doesn't sell so well anymore!

* "restructure" and "integrate" UIA's work - exert total control with no further lay interference!

* get JAFI out of JFNA - let them take care of their own affairs!

* let the I&O Global Operations Office in Jerusalem continue to run rampant supporting and promoting "boutique philanthropy" by bypassing our traditional partners whenever possible and even competing with them by duplicating efforts in areas where our 3 traditional partnets have much more experience, knowledge and capacity.

This will be a serious setback for our overseas partners, for Israel and for our ailing organization which has just decided to make things worse.

Lets hope that things can be fixed, probably by creating alternative operational vehicles and coalitions outside of our suicidal current organizational framework.

Anonymous said...

Despite best efforts to oppose the Gernsbacher report by some of our most repected leaders, the report was adopted in a kind of bully-ish fashion. It appears that JFNA cares the most about generationg dues and not as much about Jews in need. It is sad to see an organization that so many of us have devoted so much of ourselves to for many years become so meaningless.