Southfield Rev. James Lyons will tour
the U.S. on behalf of Israel.
Indivisible As Night
It was a long journey before
Julius Lester's Jewish conversion.
LISA JACKNOW ELLIAS
Jewish parents have limited options
when it comes to toddler day care.
Mendel Kaplan addresses Detroit comm unal leaders last year as Joel Tauber, Jewish Welfare Federation
executive committee chairman, listens.
Facelift At The Jewish Agency:
An Assess ent One Year Later
ooking back on my first year as
chairman of the board of governors
of the Jewish Agency for Israel, I
believe that the Agency's mandate is to
continue the work of 40 years for the
development of the Israel we have dream =
ed of, the Israel for which we have waited
In order to most effectively achieve
Israel's development, one must first get the
Agency's own house in order. When I
assumed office, I suggested to the Agency's
board of governors that a careful assess-
ment be undertaken of those assets which
were required and those which are not in-
tegral to today's activities. Further, the
board was asked to review the Agency's
operations so that its administration would
not remain politicized.
From the start, the Agency faced three
fundamental questions: how to coordinate
activities to achieve effectiveness and effi-
ciency; how to address the problem of
duplication of program; and how to manage
assets under the Agency's control.
Underlining the task of revitalization,
and reorganization, was the concept of ad-
vise and consent, which the Diaspora.,
leadership had always claimed the right to
exercise. This concept proved very difficult
to achieve; in attempting to do so, the in-
Mendel Kaplan, a South African
businessman, is chairman of the b oard of
governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
coming chairman was constantly criticiz-
ed by the Israeli media and political leader-
ship. While the question was rasied as to
whether Diaspora leaders had the right to
reject a democratically elected member of
any major party as candidate for chairman
of the executive, or as treasurer, the
Diaspora leaders held firm, insisting on
their right to advise and consent. They did
so in the belief that the Agency could only
operate effectively if meritocracy were the
rule, and not the exception, in personnel
appointment and retention.
The decision was then made to cen-
tralize the Agency's activities under the
chairman of the executive, Simcha Dinitz.
Further, the job-description of the Agency's
director-general, Gideon Witkin, gave him
responsibility for all aspects of the
organization's departmental activities; and
by centralization of these activities, the
feudal irrelevancies of competing empires
were completely removed.
This move evolved from our insistence
that the Agency must look upon itself as
a professional organization, as all directors
general no longer represent a party affilia-
tion, and may only be removed by the
chairmen of the board of governors and of
the executive, respectively. Appointment of
personnel below the level of director-
general must have the approval of Messrs.
Dinitz and Witkin.
The Agency has already streamlined
operations, reducing staff by 360 by Decem-
ber 1, 1988, and centralizng operations by
closing many offices. For example, the
Continued on Page 10
A middle-aged team reigns
in B'nai B'rith basketball.
STEVEN M. HARTZ
is a class act.
A look at recent teen events
through the eyes of local correspondents.
CARLA JEAN SCHWARTZ
An accident led to a helping
career for Louis Golden.
Life In Israel
February 10, 1989
Sabbath ends Feb. 11
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS