The United Jewish Communities has kicked its most vociferous critic, Richard Wexler, off of the organization’s executive committee.
Wexler, who is famous in federation circles for his written and spoken tirades against the UJC, has long been a thorn in the side of the umbrella organization of the North American Jewish Federation system.
But as the chairman of the United Israel Appeal, one of the three organizations that merged in 1999 to form the UJC, he held an unofficial seat on the UJC’s Exec.
But, that is no longer so, according to the UJC’s chairman Joe Kanfer.
“The bylaws called for the chair of UIA to be a member of the exec com for only the first five years following the merger -– which is long past,” Kanfer wrote in an email. “After that he was an invited guest, though correspondence at times may have used the term ex-officio incorrectly as there is no such by law provision. He is no longer an invited guest.”
This puts the final exclamation point on the UJC’s statement that Wexler, who recently resigned from the UIA, is no longer wanted by top leadership, who have grown wary of his antics, which include a blog UJ Thee And Me, which regularly pans the UJC, its president and CEO Howard Rieger, Kanfer and other leadership.
Wexler had been up for nomination to continue as the chairman of the UIA. But when it became clear to him that the nominating committee – that he hand picked – was not going to choose him, he withdrew his name from consideration.
Wexler says Kanfer and Rieger forced the nominating committee’s hand. Kanfer, for one, openly admitted to the Fundermantalist that he lobbied against Wex. For libel purposes, I won’t mention exactly what he said about the lay leader from Chicago.
Wexler was slated to hold that seat on the UJC’s Exec until his term was up this fall, but he was left off the invite list to a recent meeting of the committee, he told the Fundermentalist. When he inquired about the snub, Wexler received a letter from Rieger telling him that he no longer had a seat on the Exec.
The Fundermantalist has not seen the letter, but it doesn’t sound like it was a cordial goodbye.
“Their reasoning was my blog, and there may have been some other scurrilous stuff in Rieger’s letter,” Wexler said.
This move was clearly a personal message to Wexler, though, as Kanfer said that the new chairman of the UIA, Bruce Arbit, would be invited onto the committee.
Wexler, though, thinks that the directive to get rid of him came from Rieger, which would be something of an unprecedented move in the non-profit world – in which professionals usually bend over backwards to appease lay leaders, not go out of their ways to chastise them.
“We seem to have reached a point in the UJC’s history, when the walls between lay leadership and professionals have become so blurred that a professional could have the audacity to take an action like this against a lay person,” Wexler said.