Commitment to Renewal

Editorial

Published January 27, 2010, issue of February 05, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Even if the reasons for doing so are prosaic, there’s a welcome symbolism in the decision by the Jewish Federations of North America to move its annual General Assembly from Disney World to the city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Federation officials say that there wasn’t enough space in Orlando to accommodate the thousands of expected attendees. Still, they had to be aware of the message a meeting in New Orleans sends — one of commitment and renewal, just what an organization struggling with its own identity and mission must convey.

Welcome, too, are some of the priorities set by Jerry Silverman, the new president and CEO, especially the emphasis on growing the talent pool of potential federation leaders. Would that the rest of the Jewish communal world shared that commitment.

Since early November, when the Forward published a major survey showing that only 11 of the 75 largest communal organizations had a woman leader, the gender gap has, unfortunately, grown. Silverman’s former employer, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, replaced a female acting CEO with a male appointee, dropping the overall percentage of women to 13%. Meanwhile, the only woman to ever lead any of the major federations — Jennifer Gorovitz in San Francisco — is still doing so in a temporary capacity.

To address his new priority on talent, Silverman told JTA that his organization is considering creating a professional training program to recruit talented recent college graduates. That builds on what he told the Forward last November: “I don’t know that we’ve put enough emphasis on grooming women, building their capabilities, expertise, leadership.”

Silverman seems to get it. Perhaps by the time the G.A. meets in New Orleans next November, there will be something to show for it, too.






Find us on Facebook!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.