A Conversation With Yossi Abramowitz

An in-depth interview in today’s Jerusalem Post with Yossi:

‘We know for sure from the last quarter-century that an energized Jewish people energizes a federation system. What no one has figured out yet is how to reverse this formula: for an inspired federation system to energize the Jewish people. That connection hasn’t yet been made, articulated, sold and implemented,” says Yossi Abramowitz.

To manage the current financial crisis and solve the deeper problems in Jewish life, the UJC must take a hard look at some underlying structural realities. While he insists on remaining positive throughout the discussion – “it’s about taking a good system and making it great” – Abramowitz articulates concern about the future of the federation system. It is a system that depends increasingly on the vacillations of major donors, who easily jump ship to local universities or hospitals or to the growing world of private Jewish foundations.

“Federations by nature are very big consensus-based organizations with a lot of sensitivities,” says Abramowitz. “Anyone in the hot seat as chief executive or director of development has an overwhelming fear that they’re going to make a mistake and lose a major donor. Jewish leadership is about empowerment. But as major donors become fewer and more important, and older, and start to look elsewhere to immortalize themselves in their own private foundations, federation leaders are being disempowered.”

Check out the complete featured article, A Renewable Light, by Haviv Rettig here.