Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Rabbi Zvi Hersch Weinreb is sure earning his salary

The Orthodox Union seems to have 'repeat organisational crisis syndrome'. R' ZHW is, by all accounts, a very sane and reasonable gentleman, but, boy, he must have his hands full -- Lannergate aftermath, Shechitagate, Savitskyaliyyahgate, and now JewishActionGoldsteingate. (See the mournful list of links below!)

I know nothing about the inner workings of the OU, but when small Jewish organisations become big(ger) Jewish organisations, a whole different quality of management thinking and skill is required. (in fairness - perhaps they are on top of it - I don't know). Heading an institution that almost doubled in size in six years, and now has 200 employees and an annual $18m budget (admittedly $CAN, but it's still a lot!), I know of what I speak. Management structure and process are essential - they are not luxuries, nor are they "non-Jewish" or "inapplicable to a 'real' Jewish organisation". Good process, management and reporting should ensure a measure of consistency in the application of standards and ethos to the programme of your organisation, and should prevent aberrational incidents. They may still happen, but at least you then have some process to deal with them. I wish R'ZHW the strength and wisdom to navigate through his organisational troubles, and the time then to devote himself to building an institution instead of putting out fires ...

Lannergate resulted in the OU issuing these excellent guidelines.
Shechitagate - Failed messiah.com has the archive.
Savitskyaliyyahgate -- Reaction in the Jerusalem Post etc.
JewishActionGoldsteingate - good response by Joe Schick (series of hat-tips to j-rants , which led me to hirhurim , from where I followed the links ...)
-- and along the way the OU also pulled its hechsher from ElAl ! Someone, somewhere, commented on the contrast between the OU's pulling of the El Al hechsher over a cheese sandwich in Prague (maybe Budapest) and its sorta defence of what happened at AgriProcessors ......

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