JFLV CEO Weekly Message - Everything Is A Priority

The movie, The Incredibles was an animated feature marketed toward kids.  While watching with my kids, I found a profound business concept in the dialogue between the hero and his evil nemesis.  The evil “Syndrome” (pictured above) says to Mr. Incredible, "When everyone is super, then no one will be."  I thought for a moment and changed the words to, “When everything is a priority, then nothing will be.”  Whether in our personal or professional lives, one of the hardest determinations to make is setting levels of priority.  The fact is that everything is a priority.  Isn't that the case?  It sure feels that way. 

In the Jewish community, there are as many thoughts on priorities as there are stars in the sky.  I receive calls and emails on a daily basis telling me that one thing is a priority, only to be told ten minutes later that the very same thing isn't really a priority.  The fact is that everyone is correct, everything is a priority.  The problem is that even though an issue is a priority, there are times when we - as a community - are not able to address these priorities due to lack of resources.

The worst phone calls and emails that I receive are those where our community does not have the resources to provide aid.  These are not small issues, they are scholarship requests, emergency housing needs, food assistance, and a number of other critical needs.  Rest assured, I don't simply refuse to help, but I try to find another resource for that person to call on in their time of need.  This leads to a round of phone calls to our partner agencies and synagogues, but we are all in the same boat.  Often times I am able to find some assistance for the needy, but it comes at a cost as the assistance comes from a non-Jewish organization. This goes fully against everything I adhere to according to our Jewish communal responsibility of Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh (All of Israel is responsible for one another).

The issue in our community is that our priorities far outweigh the amount of support given to address those same priorities.  In a community of 60,000 - 70,000 Jews, I hear about a near infinite number of needs and priorities.  Yet, when it comes to the Federation Annual Campaign - The Campaign for Jewish Needs - there are a finite number of contributors.   In a community as strong, vibrant, and vocal as ours, only 1,100 people contribute to the one fund in our community that addresses all of our needs - simultaneously - no matter where someone falls along the spectrum of life.   The Federation is the only organization in Southern Nevada charged with the responsibility of assessing and addressing the priorities and needs of the entire community. 

To be clear, at the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, everything is a priority, everything is important, and everything is worthwhile.  There is no room for frivolity or excess, because we are using the community's resources to address the needs.  Per our last audit report, $.90 of every dollar is applied to this purpose.  I am committed to keeping our efficiency at the highest level possible and I am constantly reviewing our management to ensure that this is the case. 

But all of the belt tightening and watchdog efficiency will only go so far, we can not address the needs and priorities of our community without an increased level of support from the community.  There is an ever increasing number of people counting on the Federation help, therefore we must count on the community to help us do our job.  So, be incredible and help the Jewish Federation ensure that every need and priority is addressed by clicking here.

As always, I welcome your comments at todd@jewishlasvegas.com.

Shabbat Shalom!


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