Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nope, we don’t do that anymore.

I’ve spent most of this week catching up on emails (nearly there, thanks), preparing presentations for future federation groups (still looking for inspiration) and talking to colleagues around the world about different programs we’re running.

And in some cases … programs we’re not running anymore.

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen more and more this concept of exit-strategies in the Joint. How we’re phasing down from programs, empowering local leaders where possible, building local capacity and encouraging on-the-ground stakeholders to “own” the process. If it’s going to stay in our hands, at the end of the day, it’ll never be real, genuine or local.

I’ve written in the past about why I think some communities will need more time before we can phase out. We’ve phased out of over 30 countries in our history, Matnasim (JCCs) in Israel, Malben old-age homes, and much more. There’s still a lot left. But there’s a basic idea here that’s important - we have the responsibility to start the work where we can, where we’re needed, where we can make a difference. But it's not our task to finish it.

Rabbi Tarfon said “"It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it" (Avot 2:21) 
That’s not just a nice statement in the Ethics of the Fathers. It’s a business plan.

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