The close of Todd Morgan's tenure as chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles could not have come at a more chaotic time: post-Sept. 11, with the umbrella outreach nonprofit still reeling from recent layoffs and its much publicized and scrutinized role in L.A.'s Jewish Community Centers crisis.
Todd Morgan, chairman of the board of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles:
"I hear bits and pieces from people out there in the real world who are hearing comments that are derogatory regarding the Jewish people, their role; Israel, its role; regarding the war. My mother at her beauty salon in Minneapolis told her its because of the Jews and Israel, and if they got on better with the Palestinians, this wouldn't be happening. We always seem to be the scapegoat when things go dramatically wrong. It happened in the mid-90s, when the former Soviet currency collapsed, and bonds collapsed, and they blamed it on Jewish businessmen. They also blamed the fall of communism on the Jews, and the beginning of it on the Jews. It seems we get blamed for many events, whether we play a major role or not.
A Gathering of Friends
Looking back on the last year-and-a-half, Lionel Bell feels satisfied with what the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has achieved during his term as chairman of the board. He cites the reestablishment of 6505 Wilshire as Federation headquarters and the launching of its $20 million capital campaign as two accomplishments that he is proud of. Bell is also happy about the Leadership Council he started, which has united the organization's young leadership presidents, and facilitated an exchange of ideas and the creation of overlapping programs.
Perhaps his choice of reading material best sums up Todd Morgan's worldview.