The GA is Coming to Town

They say timing is everything. But one wonders, is it the upcoming UJC General Assembly, next week’s Jerusalem Mayoralty elections or Nachman Shai’s announcement he plans to enter politics, that was the catalyst for his scathing comments in today’s Jerusalem Post for the municipalities lack of cooperation in planning the event:

“the Jerusalem Municipality hardly helped us, not like Tel Aviv, which told us we could have whatever assistance we needed. When such an important conference comes to Jerusalem, City Hall should be bending over backwards. The people attending this event are bringing in lots of money by staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and shopping. What is this city doing for them?”

Here’s the complete story: Shai slams Jerusalem for doing little to help host the GA

Meanwhile, the UJC continues to advertise heavily in the Israeli press to encourage local participation. But, if they were serious about attracting an Israeli audience someone really did not do their homework. I have been told by several that a $300. registration fee is just not in the cards for those living on an Israeli paycheck. And they’re correct. There has been a long failure of conferences and events seeking to attract the Israeli NGO community that have not succeeded due to unrealistic registration fees. The UJC has now joined the list. They should take an example from the WCJCS whose two day conference immediately following the GA is charging their Israeli participants 100 NIS.

While we are on the GA, we wonder how many people are really attending. Yes, we hear the stories the Jerusalem hotels are booked and the GA has registered 3000. But we also hear this number includes 800 NextGen program participants, at least 400 Lion of Judah dual-attendees (many of whom are in Israel solely for that program) and all the staff, speakers etc. of the UJC and other organizations involved in planning the program. I’m sure it will be like Nashville, where when questioned, the UJC would only provide the gross attendance number claiming they had no way to break it down.

All said, we are looking forward to the upcoming GA, the inclusion of many sessions engaging the next generation, social entrepreneurship, Tikkun Olam, and the like; the extensive ‘Seminars on Wheels’ choices and the program adjustments addressing the global financial crisis.

Attendees have already started to arrive; we extend a welcome to all and wish the various conferences much success.