… there aint any.
Yesterday in New York, the United Jewish Communities (UJC) issued a press release announcing that the 2004 General Assembly will be held in Cleveland on the 14-17 of November. Amongst the speakers expected to address this most august convention of Jewish leadership are Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Josh Malina of the West Wing, James Carville, Israeli Olympic gold medalist Gal Fridman, CBS News correspondent Dan Raviv, and Shabtai Shavit, “former head of the Israeli Mossad” (as opposed to what? the Uruguayan Mossad?).
The theme of this year’s GA is “Imagine” as wonderfully demonstrated by the accompanying swanky art-deco graphic from the GA Web site. Presumably, it’s not a Lennonesque “Imagine” that is being referred to (Imagine no religion, it’s easy if you try…) but rather some other kind.
Imagine that the federation movement’s best days are ahead of us. Imagine a community inspired by big life-altering ideas; and then, thousands of volunteers and professionals motivated to work together to develop the applications and learn the skills that will move those ideas from the pulpit to the real world.
I might say you’re a dreamer, and I’m not the only one … I believe that the federations are in or are soon to be in a severe crisis. Their volunteers and leaders are getting older and older and a younger generation hasn’t been sufficiently trained, or does not give enough of a rat’s ass, to take their places. This isn’t news really – heck, even Big Daddy Steinhardt knows that. I’m not expecting innovation from our Federations – bureaucracies are typically really bad at that. But is it too much to ask that they show a little teensy bit of creativity? Some tiny measure of “Imagination?”
Accredited bloggers were part of both the DNC and the RNC. That sort of thing isn’t so innovative anymore. But dang, what a great opportunity to include a whole other constituency. How cool would it have been if the GA simply borrowed a tried and true idea and had a team of bloggers cover the annual convention? I mean, I don’t want to brag or anything, but in the month of September, this stupid little blog has had over 80,000 visitors. How many of you have been to your local federation’s Web site this month? Or ever? And Jewlicious isn’t even the busiest Jew blog by far. Can you imagine Dan Sieradski (Jewschool) waxing poetic on the state of contemporary Judaism while boogeying at the Young Leadership reception? How about Michael and Chris of Kosher Eucharist blogging despite a bad hangover at the Sunday morning Hillel University Student Program? Ariela Krevat of Urban Achiever bumpin’ booties at the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Reception? I dare not even imagine Luke Ford at the GA, though I’m sure that would be both interesting and fun. I can go on and on. You get the point.
So I think what we’re going to do is perhaps pass the plate around. Let’s see if anyone out there agrees with me. I can’t speak for any other bloggers but our laya is free around that time. And she swears far less often than I do. Anyone want to send her to the GA? Heh…. just contact us and we’ll figure it all out.