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January 24, 1986 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-01-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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28 Friday, January 24, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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its fund-raising goal, and said that things
are not going so well this year.)
Hillel is the most obvious example of
this divisiveness. Thursz states that the
youth services (BBYO, Hillel and CCS)
received $7.5 million in BBI funds last
year. "You don't butcher the cow to feed
the calf," he says. "We have been starv-
ing the cow. It's noble, but not financially
sound, maybe." For all its nobility, Thursz
obviously feels somewhat unrequited. "No
federation funds were coming to Hillel un-
til recently" he says, "but many people
didn't know B'nai B'rith had anything to
do with Hillel."
In answer, says Rabbi Sam Fishman,
associate national director of Hillel,
"Where you stand is where you sit," im-
plying that one's opinion of this matter is
dictated by position in the organization.
He "bristles at the word 'loyalty, — when
it is used in the context of Hillel allegiance

Beverly Davis

President of

B'nai B'rith Women


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Speaking with clear
disdain about the time
when the women
"served coffee at BBI
functions," she says that
BBW has finally prior-
itized women's issues
and made a place for
itself among other
Jewish women's
organizations.

to BBI. Hillel, he explains, was establish-
ed not as "a functional arm of B'nai B'rith
but as a BBI charity, and it just outgrew
B'nai B'rith's capacity to support it."
Abie Ingber, piesident of the association
of Hillel and Jewish campus professionals,
feels that Hillel is doing a phenomenal job
on a shoestring budget because "Hillel has
learned to sleep with B'nai B'rith and the
federations and other funders. The na-
tional (BBI headquarters) has not been do-

I

ing as good a job in effecting mergers and
arranging for the dollars and cents to be
there."
Ingber is also bitter about how BBI
funds are allocated. "Every penny of
membership money goes to maintain the
machine," he says, with only extra collec-
tions being slated for youth services. On
its BBI budget, Hillel can't compete with
the starting salaries tha&congregations of-
fer rabbis. Neither can it make up the dif-
ference in benefits, since B'nai B'rith
"refuses to consider cost of living in-
creases." Confrontations such as these
have erupted into formal contract negotia-
tions. Hillel leaders claim that the negotia-
tions have been unproductive because the
BB/Hillel commission working on the pro-
blems had no real power.
Rabbi Oscar Groner, past international
director of Hillel and a Hillel staffer for
over two decades, sees the "parent/child"
conflict as a case of power given and then
denied. At one time, he explains, BBI said,
in effect, "we are allocating functions to a
group of lay leaders in whom we have
faith." Several years ago, Groner asserts,
BBI felt they were losing control and so
took the power back. At that time the
Hillel leaderg' were considered disloyal.
"They tightened the purse strings and
said they needed to ratify the relationship
between Hillels and other community
organizations." BB I's ccontrol over Hillel
"was always implicit in the constitution,
but they started exercising it." Similar
constitutional struggles with ADL and
BBW have pointed to a dichotomy bet-
ween what is in the documents and what
really takes place.
A look at BBI's financial allocations
seems the logical place to verify charges
of protagonists and critics, alike. Unfor-
tunately, the fundraising structure is enor-
mously tangled. Every branch raises funds
for itself as well as receives monies from
BBI. (BBW gets no monies from BBI, but
gives money to the youth services and
ADL.) A BBI member conceivably could
receive solicitations from his lodge, the
BBI president, the local Hillel, the local
youth committee, and the ADL. This com-
petitive fund-raising scheme is an ad-
ministrative nightmare, but one which
BBI leaders feel is more effective than a
centralized effort. Exclusive of dues, tours,
camps and insurance, BBI raised $21.9
million last year.
For each of the last eleven years, BBI
has increased its budget 8-11 percent
above the preceding year, but still there is
strife over ranch support. The balance
between what a program raises and what
it needs comes from BBI. The general
fund, from *Nth BBI pays program sup-
port, is also the source that covers ad-
ministrative expenses (i.e. the office of the
executive vice president and publication of
the monthly magazine). When Dan Thursz

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