Tuesday, December 21, 2004

There's 'externally focused,' and there's self-neglect...

The Masorati (Conservative) movement in Israel is in deep financial trouble, with a near-permanent overdraft of NIS 2m. and difficulty paying employees' salaries. According to The Jerusalem Post, they're blaming this on lack of financial support from the American 'parent organization' (although there is no direct quote in the article saying this explicitely).
Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the New York-based International Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement, tried to explain to the Post why the organization isn't putting its money where its mouth is:
"I agree that it is amazing and I believe it is going to change in coming months... You must understand that the Conservative Movement is special in the sense that it is not as internally focused as Reform and Orthodox Jewry.
"For us communal life is equivalent to a mitzva. No other religious movement is so involved in such a wide range of Jewish-related activities such as the Jewish Federation, Hadassah and various philanthropies.
"We are an extremely external-focused movement with many responsibilities. As a result we have a lot of financial obligations. But the [Conservative] rabbinate is keenly aware of the problem and plans to mobilize its congregation."
Israel, I wouldn't hold your breath. I rather suspect that when the Conservative movement does get its financial house in order, JTS, which suddenly and shockingly revealed a debt of $50m. a few weeks ago, might have first dibs on that money.

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