an opinion piece by Jack Ukeles in The Forward:

UJC’s Dilemma: When to Lead?

In the 10 years of its existence, UJC has been unable to define a clear mission. At the most basic level, there has been the question of whether UJC should lead community federations or serve them. A UJC that leads is proactive; a UJC that serves is reactive. If the mission is to serve, there is a built-in paradox: The large federations foot most of the bill for the UJC budget, but need very little service; the smaller federations pay a small share of the bill but need more service.

UJC is owned by the federations. But the owners have been ambivalent about what kind of an umbrella organization they want. Most seem to want a weak central body. At the same time, paradoxically, they want visible results that can come only if they voluntarily give up some of their power. The owners of UJC need to come to grips with their own ambivalence. If they want UJC to lead, it has to have power; if they want UJC to follow, they can’t complain if it doesn’t lead.