Monday, November 7, 2022

Train Wreck at Federation

Hope For The Future: As many of us New MexiJews recall, January 28, 2013 was not a good day for the Jewish Family Service of New Mexico (JFSNM). And it was a terrible day for the New Mexico Jewish Community. That was the day that the JFSNM Board announced that the organization would soon cease operations.

As many of us New MexiJews recall, January 13, 2015 was not a good day for the Jewish Academy of Arts & Sciences. And it was a terrible day for the New Mexico Jewish Community. That was the day that the Jewish Academy Board announced that the school would soon cease operations.

Train Wreck

But now, as many of us New MexiJews are suddenly aware, November 4, 2022 - last Friday - was not a good day for the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. And it was a most terrible day for the New Mexico Jewish Community.

Worse than the closing of the Jewish Family Service of New Mexico (JFSNM). Worse than the closing of the Jewish Academy of Arts & Sciences. 

The absolute worst.

Last Friday, many of us New MexiJews received this email letter from Robert Efroymson, President of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico (JFNM).

Dear members of the New Mexico Jewish Community,  

 I am proud to have recently been elected President of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico by its board of directors. The Federation has played an important role in the life of Jewish New Mexico for decades. However, I must be blunt: my tenure will be a short one. The main task we face is an orderly shutdown of the organization. 

There have been news articles and rumors aplenty, so I will be brief, and make only a few points. We are almost out of money. We have no employees. Critical insurance has been canceled. We cannot fulfill the purposes for which the organization was founded. 

 You might ask if we can recover. Surely, we can raise money again, hire new employees, get another insurance carrier? That might be true, but we must be honest. Decisions made by the prior leadership of the organization have placed us in a very poor position.  It is regrettable that it has been months since the former Executive Director sent his “report” to the community.  It is also regrettable that it was sent. 

I would like to say more about how we came to this pass. The truth is that there is much we still don’t know. One of the chief tasks the board has undertaken is to conduct an independent accounting review so we can report to the community what has happened.   

 In the meantime, I would ask members of the community to continue the charitable activities which the JFNM has historically facilitated. The Jewish Care program is now under the auspices of the Jewish Community Center, and money to support it can be directed to them. Organizations like UNM Hillel and others that previously were supported by JFNM can accept contributions directly.  

 There are many other charities that we have supported, both locally and internationally, over the years. You will have your favorites among them, and I urge you to look up the best way to give. Now is an excellent time to contact the Jewish Community Foundation about setting up a Donor Advised Fund.  

 I know this is not the news you wanted to hear. We will communicate further as we have more information. 

Robert Efroymson
President, JFNM 

Many of you have known for months that things were not good at the Jewish Federation. But many of you may not have been informed, may not have read about it, and therefore may not have known. 

And now, the Big Question seems to be

What's Going On Here

The first thing you may have noticed is that the Jewish Federation of New Mexico's website is down, and has been down for a while.

JFNM Website

One immediate effect of JFNM's "temporary maintenance" period is:

 The Jewish New Mexico's Community Calendar of events and classes,
which is powered by Abq Jew and shared with the Jewish Federation,
appears to be unreachable.

Therefore, let Abq Jew assure you:

The complete Community Calendar is always
available on Abq Jew's website, right here.

Abq Jew Community Calendar

But that, as we are now all aware -

Tip of the Iceberg

was just the tip of the iceberg.

Where JFNM?

The Jewish Federation of New Mexico
was in trouble. Deep trouble.

JTA Logo

To begin to understand what has happened and (at least, to some extent) why, Abq Jew points you, his loyal readers, to a series of three articles written by JTA's Asaf Elia-Shalev.

Sephardic citizenship bids at risk amid ‘implosion’
of New Mexico’s Jewish community leadership
March 30, 2022

Read More



New Mexico’s Jewish federation is on brink of collapse
with no staff or funding for programs
September 19, 2022

Read More


Three
New Mexico’s cash-strapped, lawsuit-plagued
Jewish federation announces closure
November 4, 2022

Read More

At this point, Abq Jew is sure that many of you are asking -

What, Abq Jew hears you ask, is gonna happen next? To which Abq Jew can only reply, in the now-famous words of Tevye der Milkhiker -

Don't Know

However -

In the past few weeks, a new JFNM Executive Board has taken office, and some progress has been made.

Want to help your favorite programs?
Please contribute to them directly.

  • And, as stated above, 

The complete Community Calendar is always
available on Abq Jew's website, right here.

Abq Jew Community Calendar

Abq Jew chooses to conclude with the hopeful words of Shelly Prant, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque - as reported by JTA's Asaf Elia-Shalev in his September 19, 2022 article. 

... she believes the community will rally to ensure essential programs will continue and that her organization and others are prepared to pick up any slack created by the problems at the federation.

“There’s a core group of people in Albuquerque and around the state that are really caring, passionate and philanthropic,” Prant said. 
“And they’re really taking all this very seriously and trying to help, and so at the end of the day, we’ll be okay even though right now, it is challenging.”
OK In The End


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