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Chairman of UJC’s national campaign resigns

NEW YORK (JTA) — The chairman of the national campaign of the Jewish federation system has resigned, citing frustration with the system’s top lay leader, JTA has learned.

David Fisher, who was the chairman of the national fund-raising campaign of the United Jewish Communities, submitted his resignation in an angry letter addressed to the UJC’s chairman, Joe Kanfer.

“I have found trying to lead during your term, frustrating, ineffective, and unfulfilling and candidly, something I believe you were not interested in allowing,” Fisher wrote to Kanfer in a letter dated Feb. 3. “There was the periodic lip-service to my role and contribution, but your resistance to my leadership and true involvement was palpable.”

The resignation comes less than a week before more than 200 leaders of the federation system are set to meet in Palm Beach, Fla., to discuss changes to the UJC and the federation system.

One of the proposals under considertation is a plan to end the exclusive funding relationship the federation system has had with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which now split the money that the system raises for overseas needs. The proposal has sparked strong debate.

Last week, the chairman of the board of the Jewish Agency, Richard Pearlstone, shot off an angry letter to Kanfer and other top UJC leaders insinuating that they wanted to abandon the Jewish Agency during its time of need. UJC officials rejected such claims.

Kanfer, for his part, praised Fisher, while saying that they lacked a common vision.

“David did good work for the Jewish people and always did what he thought was best, and perhaps he did not share our view of the path to the future success of the federation system, but I know we both share the same dreams for Klal Yisrael, and I thank David for his service,” Kanfer told JTA Tuesday evening.

“David did not share the agenda for change that UJC leadership feel is necessary to revitalize the federation system,” Kanfer added. “We are going to have to embrace change if we are going to raise the dollars and engage the donors of the future. David did not share the same perspective for the future or change."

Fisher was not available when JTA tried to reach him at his office Tuesday evening.

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