The Big 3: Talk, Talk and More Talk

In the ongoing battle for the hearts, minds and dollars of the American Jewish community, representatives of the JDC, Jewish Agency and the Jewish Federations met yesterday in New York City. Based on the press release issued a few minutes ago, one must conclude nothing concrete was resolved – just to continue talking. Presumably, for now, the current allocation ratio remains intact.

The Jewish Federations of North America, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Jewish Agency for Israel met this week and agreed to pursue a framework to revitalize Jewish Federation collective overseas funding for Israel and Jews worldwide.

The three organizations, which together deliver social services and care to needy Jews and provide Jewish and Zionist education in more than 70 nations worldwide, have been convening since late last year to consider ways to increase overseas funding amid the economic downturn.

Meeting at JFNA offices in New York on Monday, a committee of the organizations’ leadership agreed to explore several key strategies to increase the share of Annual Campaign funds the Jewish Federations provide overseas.

The organizations have been meeting since last December to find ways to meet growing overseas needs. The economic downturn has affected the ability of JAFI and JDC to maintain programs, with funding down generally and with the dollar’s purchasing power declining. Meanwhile, social needs in Israel and worldwide have only intensified.

“We came together in a collaborative process, and we are going to move ahead in a positive and constructive manner,” said Kathy Manning, chair of The Jewish Federations of North America, and Jerry Silverman, President and CEO of JFNA. “We will continue our discussions, and ultimately we remain unified in our goal of more effectively meeting Jewish needs worldwide.”

The three organizations agreed to continue studying key proposals to increase funding for overseas needs.

“Today we reaffirmed our joint commitment to increase fundraising to meet critical needs in Israel and around the world,” said Dr. Irving Smokler, President of JDC, and Steven Schwager, Executive Vice President and CEO of JDC.

“Through our efforts together, we will continue to build Jewish identity – and ultimately our community – around the world,” said Richard Pearlstone, Chairman of the Board of JAFI, and Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of JAFI.

JFNA will keep the Jewish Federations updated on new developments concerning this important issue.