JAFI’s Many Challenges

As the Jewish Agency gathers in Jerusalem this week, conversation centers around the budget, the bylaw changes and who will ultimately replace Zeev Bielski as Chairman of the Executive. It will be an interesting few days, both at the Inbal and in the political corridors of power. The only thing for certain, JAFI is undergoing significant and needed change. These few days will hopefully set the stage for JAFI to become more efficient and manage better in the 21st Century.

In discussing some of the challenges JAFI faces, Richie Pearlstone, JAFI’s Board Chair, made some points that are applicable to almost every organization going forward:

  • The nature of fundraising in America is changing – this is the landscape we are facing.
  • JAFI must and can adapt to the new models we are witnessing.
  • Cuts are here as a symptom of how people raise and give money.
  • We need to find new sources of funders and new sources of funding including our natural partner, the Government of Israel.
  • We need an affordable infrastructure.
  • We must remain ahead of the curve.
  • The big question is how we get this into our budget framework; there is no best way – no perfect way but it has to be done.

Committees will meet and priorities will be assigned. Meaningful change is the name of the game. One suggestion made from the floor was for Keren Hayesod to completely take over the budget for youth aliyah. Following on the heels of Nefesh B’Nefesh taking responsibility for significant parts of aliyah from North America, it clearly puts on the table JAFI’s mission going forward.