Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Your Comments"....continued

We were reading your Comments with great interest and had concluded, sort of, that, perhaps, we could have the kind of give and take, the kind of dialogue, through this Post that we can't have within UJC because its top leaders won't/can't permit discussion or debate to take place. Then, along came a writer misnamed "Wise" to "rationalize" the humiliation, isolation and degradation of fine, dedicated professionals passionately committed to UJC as a "housecleaning" justified as a means to finally "rid" UJC of the invidious influence of United Jewish Appeal. It frightens us that there are those who actually believe, eight years post-merger, that these horrific "means" are justified by a fictitious "end." If you are a "leader" of UJC, "Wise," that, in and of itself, explains a great deal. We feel very sorry for you (and "umich65," you appear to be speaking in tongues).

We still hope that readers like "disappointed21," "oldjewpro," "tateh," "chai," "maya, "jon,""fotp" and others, even those who have attacked us about our perceived lack of "civility," to continue the dialogue that you have begun. (And, for a far more insightful Blog on the subject, visit

More later.


Steve Bergson said...

FYI : There's a Wikipedia entry for UJC at

Tateh said...

Being a volunteer I don't exactly "have a dog in the hunt" as we say here in Dixie but I do care about the stewardship of my dollars when they head North (and East). So maybe the dialogue needs to proceed somewhat separately on 2 levels. One is the issue of managerial integrity (where I have great sympathy for the blogging women and men of UJC)and the other is the direction of our Federation UJA movement. On the latter there may be an honest debate among differing people of good will.

Jon said...

Tateh is correct. I don't think that those of us outside UJC have much useful to say about claims of "suppression of dissent." So, frankly, such complaints -- though the stuff of interesting blogging and Forward front pages -- don't lend themselves to constructive discussion. I would, though, like to see your response to the several respondents, myself included, who feel that your substantive views about UJC's agenda and the changes taking place actually represent a big step backwards. Do you really think that more emphasis on the annual campaign and overseas allocations is what will carry the federation system forward in the 21st century?

Reb Yudel said...

I haven't paid much attention to UJC since before the merger, when I left the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, where the federated system was one of my beats. So I'm very grateful to our anonymous blogger for starting this discussion.

I have to disagree with Jon. From its beginnings, the point of UJA and the federations were the annual campaign. I can understand why UJC would want to follow the money away from the annual campaign. But in failing to grow the annual campaign, the movement seems to me to be writing off the younger generation, instead concentrating on making sure their endowments are filled by the estates of those who remember the Six Day War.

That seems a rather short-sighted decision.

The decision goes back nearly two decades, at least to Operation Exodus, back in (I think) '89 or '90. The story I heard was that Brian Lurie -- then the exec in SF, and whatever did happen to him? -- was given his "fair share" allotment and then promptly called his largest donors into his office. Presto, the funds were raised, and Operation Exodus was effectively over in San Francisco.

As someone who grew up walking in Walkathons for UJA, I was horrified at the failure to seize the opportunity to inculcate the next generations -- down to the school children -- in Jewish responsibility and UJA commitment. Resource Development is a good idea, but how much of the resulting UJC-federation fundraising is money new to the Jewish community, and how much is just competing with other Jewish causes?