The Liberation of the Constituent Agency
Publication Date: January 1994
Publisher(s): Jewish Communal Service Association of North America
Series: Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 70:4
Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive
Keywords: Cooperation; Communal Organization; Efficiency
Coverage: United States
It is not the intent of this article to advocate agency autonomy at the expense of community cohesiveness. Every effort must be made to reconcile respect for federation priorities that involve the survival of Jews and Judaism with the responsibility and integrity of fulfilling agency mission, which is also related to Jewish survival. In reality, there are times when federation is simply unable to balance its priorities in a way that ensures acceptable agency standards. In response, agencies can neither sulk nor engage in acrimonious activity and cannot bolt the federation process. Defection is destructive, whereas planning alternative strategies is constructive. Creative agency strategy in the face of crises and its consequent autonomy should not be viewed as a retaliatory secession from the federation process, but as a responsible leadership response to protect the agency and provide fiirther content to the continuing decision-making process within the community. Ultimately, it is the role of the constituent agency to liberate itself to the degree that it can honor its purpose while always being mindful that it is part of a larger constellation in which its collaborative input contributes to the quality of Jewish life.