Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Are We To Be?

We have come to grips with the fact that we are but mushrooms here at UJC. Leadership has made sure that all of us (that would include most of you) are, apparently, on a "need to know" basis. UJC "leadership" will decide what we "need to know," ya' know, and that ain't much!!

Through our grapevine, we have learned that at its 6 or 7 hour Board meeting in Newport Beach, the few Board members who were there (and there were very, very few laypersons) heard reports including those on two massive Supplemental Campaigns that this leadership plans. How did we learn this? As most of you did, we guess -- through press releases and Howard's View. So, we guess that this means these "plans," approved by no one outside of UJC's leaders, will be implemented as if they had unanimous federation support.

We had hoped that Federation programs reflecting the challenges our communities face in these hard times might have been the subject of discussion. Like, Detroit's generous assistance to Jewish homeowners victimized by the subprime loans they took out. But, we only read about that in the Jewish press. We thought we might learn more about Chicago's creative plans to offer a significant "new-born gift" to each family registering a baby for a Jewish pre-school. But, apparently, not enough of a "big idea" to merit discussion. And so on, and so on it goes.

Isn't this crazy? Whose organization is UJC? Is it the "property" of its leaders or of the federations? You decide. Or they will.


NextGenRep said...

I thought you were taking a break, but I guess the rush of convening this loshon harah fest is too alluring to resist. Just a word from someone young enough to realize that you and your bandwagon jumpers failed to do what was necessary 10 - 20 years ago to ensure the system adapted to modern times, and now you hide behind this anonymous blog to publically humiliate the current administration as they try to right the ship you sailed to the edge of oblivion. You have no idea how ridiculous you all appear.

Current leadership may not be perfect, but at least they are admitting to their shortcomings are bringing in outside experts to help fix institutional problems, such as initiatives in marketing and organizational management. Mocking these attempts only perpetuates the problems and you should begin to wonder what you really care about - the future of the system or you own ego.

Speaking as a "next generation" Jew who is involved with the system, I see more positive hope in where UJC is going than any time in recent memory. You have had your time to vent, now please recognize that you are doing more harm than good. And did I mention that you appear like a disgruntled old man (or woman) trying to regain your youth by living vicarioiusly as an online, populist superhero? Please.

Tateh said...

Dear Nextgenrep,

With all respect,these bloggers, whether their analysis is right or wrong, gave their lives to this Federation/UJA thing and feel strongly in regard to its future and direction. We, you, can argue with their facts, assumptions and values but we should not question their motives nor should we ignore their pain and sense of marginalization. Indeed, your totally inappropriate generation bashing and dismissive language only serves to make their arguments stronger. I do not believe whistle blowing is loshon harah -- I do wonder where an appropriate outlet for dissent exists. That BTW is not a challenge to these bloggers but a challenge to you and the leadership with whom you have aligned.

NextGenRep said...

There is only on response to Tateh’s assertion that this blog is not loshon harah – HA! And that cheeseburger is “kosher style…” wink, wink.

I did not mean to cast unilateral aspersion at people older than myself. My only point is that the dialogue here is like listening to a bunch of grumps sitting on a park bench or in the barber’s chair reliving the halcyon days of the past and bashing the present. It’s just so old fashioned. Since we don’t know who the author is, why should anyone care whether he or she is in the loop at UJC?

And, actually, I am not particularly aligned with this leadership or anyone else at UJC or UJA or whatever. If there was new leadership tomorrow, I would evaluate them fairly as well. I am aligned AGAINST this disgusting, self righteous and cowardly attempt to air dirty laundry with one sided facts and perspectives while patting yourselves on the back for doing it. Do you honestly think that the stink from this public display of rancor will actually HELP endear the federation name to next generation donors?

The administration is trying to make changes. Change takes time and doing things differently. I, at least, respect their efforts (such as new organizational management consultant, great places to work initiative, national branding initiative, collaborative model, center for jewish philanthropy, bringing concept papers to the board for discussion before implementation, etc.) and think they are making hard fought progress in charting some new direction. They deserve better than what they are getting.

youngjewish said...

I have to disagree with nextgenrep. I assure you, I am most likely younger than you are. And as a former UJC employee, I must agree with UJC boys/girls. As my first job in the Jewish Communal field, I was completely turned off. The "next generation" is completely abused, undervalued, and disrespected. I know many younger employees that have left UJC, left Jewish communal work, and will no longer contribute to their local federation.

UJC boys/girls, thank you so much for this blog. I think in theory, the federation system is a wonderful, important part of the Jewish community. In practice, UJC caters to the wealthiest communities and leaves small communities (the ones who actually need assistance) to fend for themselves. This is paralleled in the way they treat individuals as well. I understand they don't have much need for me and my $18 now. It's just too bad they don't have the foresight to see that in 20 years I won't be donating my millions to UJC either.

Also, if they are going to employ young, recently graduated, jewish professionals (with the pretense, I might add, of helping us "get our foot in the door"), they have a responsibility to present a environment in which that individual can thrive. And hopefully that will lead to a lifelong career in jewish service. Instead, they are driving us away.

A Citizen said...

With all due respect, these comments are irrelevant. They focus entirely on persons (albeit they are anonymous) and motives. Folks, let's get our eye on the prize and talk substance.

It's not who's younger, or who represents a prior generation (aka UJA refugee). It's identifying what's right and duplicating it and identifying what's wrong and fixing it. That's what we all should be focused on.

UJC today is a mess. Maybe the current management team has put in place solutions that will soon become evident. I don't know. But UJC has little in the way of support among federations. And federations themselves are losing support every day. That's not Howard's fault -- he inherited this situation (which is not to say he hasn't made it worse -- I am not judging).

We have some serious issues so please let's get beyond childish hissy fits and self righteousness. The blog is what the blog is -- get over it and let's look for substantive conversations that lead to what I think we all want -- a vital, high quality and sufficiently resourced Jewish community.