Immortality Does Not Apply To Organizations

As I wrote on Friday, it is a known fact that when the JAFI BoG comes to town, both Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post are extensively read to see what is being said about them and the programs they hold dear. Particularly the Friday and Sunday editions. And neither paper disappoints.

We kicked off the weekend Friday with Haaretz’s article that began with JAFI’s request to the Knesset for funding assistance and ended with this observation:

“But neither is there room any more for a mega-organization of this kind, with its multi-layered structure of governance, so resistant to change and adaptation. If there is any future for the Jewish Agency, it is as a coordinating body – meaning it would subcontract some of the activities it used to carry out in-house and close down most of the rest.”

Read more here.

Now we have this morning’s Jerusalem Post weighing in with a lengthy lead editorial; here’s a small excerpt:

“The crisis in the dollar, and how the organized Jewish world should respond, will be high on the agenda of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors when it meets today and Monday in Jerusalem. The agency is facing is own budget shortfall…

THIS BRINGS us to a new buzzword circulating in Jewish organizational life – “silo.” At all times, but especially in these, it is essential that key players engaged in communal work communicate, coordinate and network. As with an isolated silo, communication that is only vertical, that does not interface with other entities doing similar work, is an extravagance the Jewish world can ill afford.

In the 21st century, we cannot put up with organizational duplication, unnecessary competitiveness and petty rivalries. It would be tempting to go through the lengthy roster of organizations, from the 51 members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, to the scores of others orbiting the Jewish world – some like spent asteroids – and ask whether each is essential for Jewish security, welfare, administration and continuity. In our nonhierarchical world, however, only those who foot the bill have the prerogative of telling an organization: Your time has passed.”

Stay tuned; I have no doubt there will be more. It should be an interesting few days beginning with the Prime Minister’s on, then off, now on again address a few hours from now at the opening Plenary.

update, the Prime Minister’s remarks:

Jerusalem Post: Era of mass Aliya is at an end

Olmert outlines to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors his vision of a new Israel-Diaspora relationship.

Haaretz: Israel can’t keep taking handouts from Diaspora Jews

The prime minister also said that the Jewish Agency will have to undergo a dramatic change in its organizational structure and its method of management.

Arutz Sheva: Olmert to Jewish Agency: Maybe It’s Time to De-emphasize Aliyah

“We must stop talking in terms of big brother and little brother, and instead speak in terms of two brothers marching hand-in-hand and supporting each other,” he said.