Jerry Silverman, the new CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America (formerly known as United Jewish Communities), got involved in the Jewish world after a long career in the business world.
That background showed at the opening press conference for this year’s General Assembly, where he suggested some ideas that seem as if they could have been taken directly from a corporate management handbook.
For starters, there was his stated goal of turning the G.A. into the “Super Bowl of the Jewish world.”
That means, according to Silverman, making the G.A. bigger, adding more content and extending it beyond the three-day time frame. Silverman said he would like to see the G.A. become the main annual gathering of the Jewish community and as such last at least four or five days.
Silverman also promised to be much more attentive to the needs of those participating at the G.A. Staff members are in charge of talking to participants — whom he calls “mystery shoppers” — getting a feel for their needs and wishes, and reporting back to headquarters. This informal feedback is to be used to inform planning for future assemblies.
General Assembly = Super Bowl
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.