This topic should be updated to reflect the new initiative for an all-in-one membership issued by USA Judo, but covering all the organizations on one membership card. It is called the "All American Membership." The annual fee is $100. Part of that fee goes to each of the other organizations.
The card includes the picture logo for each of the three organizations: USA Judo (sometimes called USJI), U. S. Judo Federation (USJF), and U.S. Judo Association. If you belong to all three, your basic membership number will be printed on the card. There is no indication of the card of life membership in the USJF and USJA.
The organizations are trying to find more common ground in working together for the benefit of United States Judo. Especially worthy of comment is the current level of cooperation between USJA and USJF under the leadership of Kevin Asano (President of USJF) and Gary Goltz (President of USJA).
There is now greater uniformity of rank granting and other administrative issues between USJA and USJF. Though the differences were historical, as someone else mentioned, the current model is quite useful. For those who prefer a yudanshakai system, USJF works well. It provides a kind of regional association within which a lot of essential work can be completed by people who know each other well. On the other hand, the USJA open model makes it possible for more direct interaction with the National organization, and gives greater latitude to the head instructors of each dojo for promotions and other duties.
I enjoy belonging to all three organizations, as well as to what I regard as my main dojo, the Kodokan in Japan. Since I am no longer an active competitor, USJI is not as useful, but I feel I benefit from the membership anyway. I belong to a USJA club out of my immediate geographical area, a different USJF club (my own NPS Judo Club) under the Yudanshakai system, and am a welcome visitor to one of my favorite nearby USJI clubs. Therefore, the All American Membership is a good thing for me.
It might be something others in this forum would also appreciate. You need to contact USJI for more information regarding enrolling for this kind of membership.