Jewish Federation umbrella’s CEO calls for post-Iran deal communal unity

Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), speaks at the JFNA General Assembly on Monday in Washington, DC. Credit: Ron Sachs.

( Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) umbrella organization, called for Jewish communal unity in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal at JFNA’s General Assembly in Washington, DC.

“Something was markedly and dangerously different about what [Jewish] Federations faced this past summer” during the debate over the Iran deal, Silverman said at a plenary session on Monday, noting that “too much of the language was vicious and beyond the pale, and has no place in our community.”

“It is imperative as we think forward and work to heal the wounds from that debate…let’s reinforce that Jewish Federations are places for diversity, evolving and adapting as North American Jews grow and change their perceptions of themselves, of Judaism, and of the world,” Silverman said. “We don’t need to be unanimous in our opinions, what we do need to be is unified as a community.”

He continued, “As we think forward, let’s remember that for all the trauma of the past year, our Jewish Federations and agencies continued their daily work in local communities educating our children, caring for our vulnerable, assisting our elderly, and ensuring that our vital work continues in Israel and around the world.”

Silverman said Jewish Federations should drive home the message that they are “places that welcome diversity…if you’re supporting Hillary Clinton or Donald trump, Stephen Harper or Justin Trudeau…if you’re among our very biggest donors, or you give little or nothing at all…what really matters to us is that you care and you want to be involved. This is the definition of community and the distinguishing character of our Federations.”

Posted on November 9, 2015 .