Ma'asim Tovim Award

2013 Ma'asim Tovim Honorees to be honored at Convention 2013

The Ma'asim Tovim Award is the highest recognition a Region can give to one of its members.  It is usually given to individuals who have worked on behalf of the region for many years.  It is presented at the FJMC Convention.  This year's honorees are set forth below, as well as short bios and why they are to be so honored.  Their awards will be presented at the 2013 Convention in Danvers, Massachusetts.

2013 Honorees:

Anshei Darom - Steve Krodman

Steve Krodman was born in New York in 1952 and spent his formative years in Massapequa on the south shore of Long Island, a town that was also the home of Jerry Seinfeld, the Baldwin brothers, Carmine Gambino, and Joey Buttafuoco. He studied chemical engineering at Princeton University, receiving his BSE degree in 1974. After graduation, Steve moved to Houston, Texas to begin a 34-year career in the petrochemicals business, most of which was spent working for ExxonMobil Chemical. It was there that he met and fell in love with Donna, a native of Fort Worth. They were married in 1977, afterwards embarking on a series of household relocations that started with a move to New Jersey in 1979, where their first child, Melissa, was born later that same year.

The family migrated to Atlanta in 1981 where they were blessed with another daughter, Jocelyn, the following year. Then, after five years in the Heart of the Deep South, they moved to Glastonbury, CT... and two years later, to Trumbull, CT. In early 1991, they moved yet again, this time back to Houston. In July 1998 they left Houston to return to Atlanta, where they remain unto this day. If a rolling stone gathers no moss, then the Krodman clan is definitely “moss-less.”

Having attended a Conservative synagogue growing up, Steve had a “typical” Hebrew-school education and a solid Jewish identity despite growing up in a fairly nonobservant home. But it was when the family moved to central Connecticut in the mid-1980’s that Steve really connected with his Jewish roots. Finding themselves in an unfamiliar town with no friends or family nearby, affiliating with the local shul immediately connected Steve and Donna with the local community and helped them to feel at home. It was only a matter of time before Steve dusted off his long-unused Torah-reading skills, and with subsequent relocations (and at new synagogues) began learning how to lead services. After moving back to the Atlanta area, he and Donna affiliated with Congregation Etz Chaim, where Steve eventually became a part of the morning minyan group. He currently serves as one of the shul’s gabbaim, as well as leading various services and shiva minyanim throughout the year.

Steve’s involvement with Men’s Club began with an invitation to attend the annual Anshei Darom regional retreat at Camp Ramah Darom in 2002. Meeting inspiring, involved men from clubs throughout the southeastern United States was a catalyst for his becoming active in his own congregation’s Men’s Club, progressing from Treasurer to club President. This led to his moving on to various roles in the Anshei Darom Region, including executive V.P. (2007-08) and regional president (2009-10). Steve has participated in FJMC’s LDI several times and served as co-chair of the 2011 World Wide Wrap. As of this writing he has attended three FJMC international conventions; he may very well be the first person in FJMC convention history to lead a Ma’ariv service on the beach while using an electronic siddur on his iPhone.

Meanwhile, with both daughters having been graduated from college and living on their own, Steve and Donna are technically “empty nesters.” Steve has been retired from his career in petrochemicals for four years now. In addition to his ongoing avocation as an Online Journalist whose first site was recognized by Carnegie Mellon University as one of the 100 most informative blogs in the world, he is currently working on developing a series of books and animated cartoons geared toward youngsters but meant to be shared with their grandparents, focusing on providing children with a moral compass.

“One of the greatest thrills I have is seeing the wonderment of first-time Convention attendees when they see what FJMC is really all about – energetically sharing ideas and information so that every club can be the best it can be,” says Steve. “That’s what powers our Men’s Clubs and helps them to involve Jewish men in Jewish life.” Steve’s humor, intellect, enthusiasm, leadership, and kindness to all he meets make him truly a man among men. He serves as a role model for anyone who aspires to leadership, but perhaps more importantly, he is the kind of leader who attracts members who simply want to participate in Mens Club activities. With Steve’s continuing help in leading the way, the future for Anshei Darom and the FJMC is surely bright. Anshei Darom is proud to claim him as one of our own and to honor him with the Ma’asim Tovim Award for 2013.

Connecticut Valley - Phil Schulz

Phil Schulz joined the Men's Club of Beth El Temple of West Hartford, CT in 1999. He served the chapter in a variety of offices before serving as Co-President from 2002-2005. During his term as co-president, the Men's Club continued longstanding programs such as holding a monthly breakfast speaker series, assisting Hebrew School students in the decoration of the Succah, and preparing food for the annual Purim Carnival. Under Phil's leadership, the Men's Club re-affiliated with Connecticut Valley Region FJMC, adopted the World Wide Wrap Tefillin Program and reinstituted the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle Program, the proceeds from which were donated to the Temple's Camp Ramah Scholarship Fund.

During Phil's tenure as chapter Co-President, the Men’s Club worked collaboratively with other arms of the Temple by co-sponsoring an Israeli Art Show & Sale with the Sisterhood and assisting the USY with a car wash fundraiser, the profits from which were donated to cancer research. In addition, Phil, together with a dedicated group of Men's Club board members, instituted a Distinguished Service Award Banquet to recognize the significant contributions of exemplary men and women congregants who devoted many years of service to the Temple and the Jewish community of Greater Hartford. This dinner, which has become a signature event at Beth El Temple, is now in its 9th year. While serving his chapter as Co-President, Phil was an active member of the Temple's board of directors. In 2005, Phil was selected by his Men's Club to be honored as its Keeper of the Flame at Connecticut Valley Region FJMC's Keeper of the Flame Luncheon.

In the years following his term as chapter Co-President, Phil remained active in chapter affairs serving as a Vice President and FJMC Liaison and as a member of the Chapter's Constitution and By-Laws Committee. Phil also served on the Temple's Nominating and Rabbi Search committees. After serving two terms as Secretary and one term as Vice President of Connecticut Valley Region FJMC, Phil served as Regional President during the years 2009-2011. During his tenure, the regional board focused on increasing attendance at FJMC's International Convention and New England Region's Laymen's Institute (now "The Retreat") where Connecticut Valley Region assumed responsibility for the Holocaust Remembrance Program. While serving as Regional President, Phil chaired the region's Keeper of the Flame Luncheon which was attended by more than 200 people, the largest turn-out for that event to that time. During Phil's tenure, the region held a successful training seminar on Attracting Younger Members and Succession Planning for Chapter Boards for all of the Men's Clubs in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. For the last 3 years, Phil has served both his chapter and the region as a board member of Tour de Shuls Connecticut, a bike/run/walk community event that raises funds for the Tikvah (Special Needs Campers) Program at Camp Ramah in New England.

During Phil's association with FJMC, he served on the International Board of Directors for six years and was appointed by FJMC's International President to serve a two-year term as a director of MERCAZ USA, the Zionist organization of the Conservative Movement. Phil has also attended the Joel Geffen Leadership Development Institute and 3 International Conventions.

Florida - Marvin Krutchik z”l

Marvin was born in Brooklyn N.Y. He met his wife Elaine while attending the University Of Toledo where they both received their degrees. They have three sons, Ed, Brian, and Scott. The family moved from New York and has lived in Florida for the past thirty four years. The family grew at a rapid pace when his sons married and gave him six grandchildren, Alex, Brittany, Ethan, Rachel, Joshua, and Tova. His son Ed gave Marvin the gift of life by donating a kidney to him seventeen years ago. They had been married for 45 years when Marvin unexpectedly passed away on April 26, 2012.

Marvin was a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Marvin had spent most of his working career in private industry. He had served as Vice President and Controller for various corporations.

Marvin was a very enthusiastic sports fan having season tickets to both the Marlins and the Dolphins. He spent many years coaching youth baseball and basketball teams. Upon moving to Florida, he saw the need for kids to play baseball all year round. He helped organize a winter baseball league for boys aged ten to thirteen.

Marvin had been a member of Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus since moving to Florida. His devotion to Israel and Judaism was always a big part of his life. The family has visited Israel several times. Marvin and his wife went on the “March of the Living” as chaperones for high school students. For the last fourteen years Marvin has been a daily participant at the morning minyan. He was instrumental in making sure that the daily morning minyan never missed a day since he started attending. He truly was a “minyanaire”.

Marvin's involvement in synagogue life had made him very active in the Men’s Club. He served as Treasurer of the Men’s Club for three years, and had added the responsibility of being Vice President of programming. In that capacity he had coordinated many programs for the Men’s Club that included feeding the elderly on Thanksgiving Day, the annual Sukkot BBQ, and various Sunday morning breakfasts with guest speakers and documentary films. He also organized trips to see the Marlins play.

His strong devotion and commitment to Judaism led Marvin to become involved in the Keruv Initiative and became a trained Keruv consultant in 2005. In that same year Marvin was chosen as Beth Torah Men’s Club honoree for Man of the Year for the Florida Region.  Marvin had been President of the Beth Torah Men’s Club for the past 5 years. During his tenure as President of Beth Torah Men’s Club his club has been awarded the Quality Club Award every year. His club has been honored with numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze Torch Awards.  He was also a Vice President of Keruv for the Florida Region. Marvin served on the Board of FJMC and the Executive and General Board of Beth Torah. He was Chairperson of the Beth Torah Keruv Membership Committee, and involved himself in working closely on the Beth Torah Budget Committee. He was truly committed to Beth Torah and the Men’s Club.

Hudson Valley - J Harold Nissen

Harold’s start in Men’s Clubs is a common story. In 1958 while reading the New York Times sitting in the Synagogue Library and waiting to car pool one of his daughters home from Hebrew school, he was invited to join a group of men who were having their monthly Sunday morning breakfast meeting. This was Temple Israel Center’s monthly Brotherhood’s Breakfast meeting at which the men got together and discussed various projects that were being done for the men and TIC. Within time, Harold became active and took on various Brotherhood projects for Brotherhood.  Harold became active in the New York Metropolitan Region in the 1960’s and  went to his first National Convention in 1969 when Morton Tabas was National President who convinced Harold to take a more active role. Harold became involved with Leadership Training Fellowship or as it was called LTF.

Harold was very interested in the work of LTF because it was NFJMC’s involvement with education of our youth. Harold continued to work closely with Rabbi Joel S. Geffen, Z”l and other Regional members in the LTF program. Rabbi Geffen took a great interest in preparing new members to be leaders in FJMC.  As a result of Harold’s close relationship with Rabbi Geffen, he was instrumental, during his presidency, to use the interest from the Geffen Fund to enhance the training programs in what is now the annual LDI (Leadership Development Institute).

Harold became First Vice-President of the New York Metropolitan Region in 1973 and shortly became acting President; he was elected president serving two terms from 1974 to 1976. While active in the Region, many new clubs became members of the New York Metropolitan Region. Harold always continued to work in the Region even though his activities had started on the National level with LTF. He always felt the Region is one of the most important parts -the heart- of FJMC, and that the Regional officers are extremely important assets.  Harold was a previous Awardee of the Ma’asim Tovim Award while active in the New York Metropolitan Region, as it was then called with a change of name to New York Metro. Harold’s activities continued with New York Metro until the formation of the Hudson Valley Region.

After serving as President of the New York Metropolitan Region, Harold was placed on the Executive Committee. As a new member of the Executive Committee, he began to work with Past President Arthur Bruckman, Z”l to secure two publications for the FJMC, SHALOM ALEICHEM, our first publication, intended to teach the Friday night service and AYN KELOHEYNU, our second publication, to teach our Saturday morning service. Both publications were prepared by the late Rabbi Noah Golinkin, Z’L.  These books started The Art of Jewish Living which morphed into the Hebrew Literacy Campaign and in turn morphed into our other numerous educational publications.

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Harold became involved with what is now generally known as the “YELLOW CANDLE PROGRAM” (one of our trademarks). Harold at that time used to go to Boston quite often and met a young member of FJMC, Joseph Winokur, Z”l. At one of their get togethers, Joe Winokur told Harold that he saw a candle at one of the FJMC conventions and wanted to make a memorial for his father, and possibly tie it in with the Holocaust. Harold and Joe worked together for quite some time to develop a prototype and a program for this purpose. In the mid 1980’s, the YELLOW CANDLE PROGRAM was adopted under Dr. Jerry Agrest’s watch. FJMC then obtained trademark protection; it is one of our strongest programs and carefully used because it helps our Youth to remember the holocaust.

Before Harold became International President, Rabbi Simon asked him to prepare a job description for the members of the Executive Committee. This task required a great deal of research, thinking and an understanding of the abilities of the elected members as well as those appointed. This was a completely new undertaking and required a consideration of the strengths of the individuals chosen

As international president of the FJMC, Harold along with Ron Wolfson created the publications A TIME TO MOURN. Harold worked very closely with Ron WOLFSON reading every page as it was written so that it would become an excellent teaching vehicle for those who want to know what should be done and what can be done to comfort every one.  As one of Harold’s last functions as International President in 1993, Harold joined with Burt Fischman to emulate the Boston region and to do the Birkat in a joyous way so that attendees who had had such a grand time at the convention would leave on a high note. We still continue it and it is good to see the Regional colors waving and the ruach each night.Harold has done other work. Harold brought FJMC into the computer age! Harold had a set of books done by hand, as was done in all the previous years, and another set which Harold did with his wife’s and children’s help on an APPLE 2E computer. Harold was also involved with our VCR publications, one of which took FJMC in a new direction; our Shabbat Torah Service VCR was prepared as a teaching vehicle and this was the first time that two publications were made, one was egalitarian with women involved and the other solely men.

Harold has enjoyed the many years of involvement in FJMC and is deeply honored to receive this award, one of the highest honors Federation can bestow.

KIO - Ronnie Feerer

Ronnie is a member of the Agudas Achim Brotherhood in Columbus, Ohio. Ronnie’s involvement with Agudas Achim began as a young boy when he would come to shul with his grandfather the late Stanley Hillelson. He had his Bar Mitzvah at Temple Israel because that is where his family went at the time, but he always had a passion for Agudas Achim. He joined the synagogue in 1986 and later served on the Brotherhood Board, Synagogue Board, and served as President of the Brotherhood from 2006-2010. Ronnie has enjoyed co-chairing and chairing the Brotherhood’s Boys’ Night Out,since 1991. He also served on the Jewish Community Center’s Board, and in 1982 started the still-strong “Sports Spectacular” bringing in all-star speakers and athletes.

More recently, Ronnie has been a Big Brother to an 8-year-old child. Ronnie begins every day with services at Agudas Achim, picking up bagels, often opening the shul and helping to make sure there is a morning Minyan. He has also been the head usher for the past 15 years, ensuring that there are enough volunteers to usher for the holidays. In 2009, Ronnie began co-chairing Jewish Community Day at Huntington Park, inviting participation from all of the Columbus synagogues. He visits individuals in the hospitals and nursing homes on a regular basis, and enjoys helping people in the community however he can. Ronnie has also been the chair of his club’s Boys Night Out program for more than a decade. That program is one of the most successful in the Federation of Jewish Mens’ Clubs and brings in over $30,000 each year.

In addition, to all of the work that he has performed on the club level, Ronnie has served as a Vice-President of his region and has been responsible for programming and food at many regional events, including tri-regional retreats. Ronnie is also a member of the FJMC Board of Directors. The KIO region is very proud to honor Ronnie Fereer, by unanimous selection of all of the past regional recipients of the Ma’asim Tovim award as this year’s KIO Ma’asim Tovim award winner. For all he has done for his synagogue, community, region and the FJMC, Ronnie truly is a doer of good deeds.

Lake Ontario - Al Mervin

Al Mervin says “ it is an honour to be recognized by your peers for the work you have done in an organization”. Al Mervin’s family have been members of Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue in North York Ontario since 1959. Al has been involved with Beth Emeth Men’s club for almost 20 years. In that time he has served on numerous club committees and became president of Beth Emeth Brotherhood in Toronto in 2001. Under Al’s presidency Beth Emeth’s brotherhood raised thousands of dollars with great events including Dinner Draws, Golf Tournaments, and Sales of Yom Hashoah Candles. Al’s most rewarding accomplishment as president was his brotherhood purchasing a Sefer Haftorah from the FJMC as a gift to Beth Emeth  Bais Yehuda Synagogue Synagogue. Beth Emeth’s brotherhood was one of the first clubs ever to purchase the Sefter Haftorah,  This is a gift that keeps on giving as Beth Emeth uses the Sefer Haftorah Scroll every Sabbath.                                                  

As the Sub region president in the Great Lakes Region, Al was able to initiate the Man of the Year Breakfasts. They were the only sub region to have this annual event and the funds raised helped many of their members attend the FJMC Conventions. In 2007, the FJMC realigned the regions and created the Lake Ontario Region.  Al Mervin became the first president of the Lake Ontario region. The Lake Ontario region continued the Man of the Year breakfasts as well as an Annual Retreat.  The Cholent Contest was a big hit at the first retreat and continues today as one of the special events every year at retreat.

Al will be attending his sixth consecutive convention in Boston in 2013, with his first FJMC convention in Toronto in 2001. Al will tell you that one of the benefits of being involved in the FJMC is the opportunity to make new friends from the all over the country and see them at convention and LDI throughout the years. Al’s current position is co-chairman of LDI Consultant Training and looks forward to his continued involvement in the FJMC for many more years.

Al is married to his lovely wife Jan for almost 36 years. They have two children Lisa, a graphic designer and Jason, a teacher in New York and his wife Cheryl.  We thank Al Mervin for all his time and energy he has devoted to the Jewish Community in Toronto and all his achievements in both the Beth Emeth Brotherhood and the FJMC. Mazel Tov to Al Mervin and his family on  being chosen the Ma’asim Tovim Honoree for the Lake Ontario region.

Michigan - Hal Baker

Hal Baker and his family join Congregation Ahavas Achim in Southfield, Michigan in 1960. He became a charter member of the congregation’s “Mr. & Mrs. Club” in 1965 and twice served as its President. Following the merger of Ahavas Achim and Beth Aaron, Hal continued to be active in the new congregation, Beth Achim, and served as Men’s club President from 1984 to 1987 and again from 1994 to 1995.

When Beth Achim and Adat Shalom merged, Hal continued his leadership within the Men’s Club, becoming President of the Men’s Club from 2002 to 2005. He has also contributed to the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs on a regional level, serving as Vice-President of the Michigan Region for the past four years.

Hal has chaired the Men’s Club Yom Hashoah Yellow Candle Program at Beth Achim and at Adat Shalom since 1965. He has also co-chaired the Synagogue’s annual Chanukah Sing-a-Long program for the past 30 years, which takes Men’s Club members and religious school students to senior residences to bring music and Chanukah cheer to the elderly.

Beyond the synagogue, Hal has been a very active supporter of the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon for 35 years. In addition, he and his wife, Marsha, are both devoted volunteers on behalf of teen suicide prevention. Hal was an employee of Sears for 42 years, and for the past eight years has worked for Adat Shalom. Join us in congratulating Hal for his years of service to FJMC, his shul, his region and his community. Kol Hakavod!

Mid-Atlantic - Dr. Stephen Davidoff

In recognition of his impact upon his work, his synagogue and the wider Jewish Community, Stephen H. Davidoff has been selected to receive the Ma’asim Tovim Award and will be honored at both the Annual MAR Man of the Year Dinner on December 2, 2012 at Adath Jeshurun and at the FJMC International Convention, July 2013 Danvers, MA.

Steve was a science teacher in the Cheltenham Township Public Schools, a Teaching Associate with the Temple University Intern Teaching Program, Director of Research and Evaluation for the School District of Philadelphia and an Adjunct Professor of Education for both Temple and Widener Universities. He is founder and CEO of Davidoff Associates, a school service consultant organization specializing in program evaluation. His biography may be found in "Who's Who in American Education". Recently, the Delaware Department of Education has designated Steve as a Distinguished Educator. His major professional publications have appeared in Urban Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, AERA Abstracts, ERIC, and the Handbook of Research in Teaching.

Steve is a past International President of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs and has a long record of service to the FJMC, its Middle Atlantic Region and his synagogue, Congregation Adath Jeshurun of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

He has chaired numerous congregational committees and is a past Secretary and Vice-President of Congregation Adath Jeshurun. He was designated "Hatan Torah", Bridegroom of the Torah, for his extensive service to the Congregation. During his Presidency and Honorary Presidency of the Adath Jeshurun Men's Association, his club was the recipient of nine national Torch Awards including the most coveted award -- First Place -- Best Overall Activities. He continues to serve Adath Jeshurun as an Honorary Director and as a member of various committees.

Steve was President of the Middle Atlantic Region (MAR) FJMC from 1984‑1986. His term of office was characterized by creating the MAR Guide to Organization, Program and Services, establishing regional participation in the citywide services for the Jewish blind, fostering implementation of congregational level Tay-Sach awareness screening programs, making provision for Purium entertainment at Homes for the Jewish elderly, breaking ground for the Lee Linder MAR Ramah Poconos Recreation Center, and endowing a Classroom at the Mandel Education Center. He is a recipient of the Samuel Horowitz Award for distinguished service to MAR.

Steve served as International President from 1997–1999. During this time, FJMC developed and published the Hearing Men’s Voices Series and produced the Ties that Bind, a world acclaimed educational videotape dealing with Tefillin. The latter was produced in two versions – traditional and egalitarian – a first for meeting the diverse needs of the Conservative Movement and its synagogues. The tradition of the “President’s Torah Mantel”, a needlepoint Torah Cover (crafted by his wife, Chellie) resides in the synagogue of the FJMC President -- was established and implemented during his term of office. Since 1999, this FJMC iconic symbol has graced the synagogues of succeeding Federation Presidents and has been touched and admired by thousands of individuals across North America. During his Presidency, Steve served on the Leadership Council of the Conservative Movement, Vice President of Mercaz, Vice President of the World Council of Synagogues and on the Board of Trustee of the Jewish Theological Seminary. To date, Steve is the only FJMC President to participate in the Commencement Exercises of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He continues to serve FJMC as the Secretary of the FJMC Foundation for Jewish Life and Co-Chairs the recently created Long Range Financial Planning Committee charged with creating a blueprint for the financial well-being of FJMC.

Steve and Chellie (nee Luber), live in Montgomeryville Pennsylvania. He enjoys listening to music; reading sea stories, science fiction, and military action novels; and building model ships. Their daughter Lisa, a proud graduate of Pennsylvania State University, is a Customer Relationship Specialist with US Trust, Private Wealth Management Division, for Bank of America.

Mid-West - Evan Rumack, DDS

Evan Rumack lives in Arlington Heights, IL. He is the proud husband of Merle for 43 years and has three children, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren. Be sure not to ask him about those grandkids; you may never get away. After attending Northwestern University, he went to the University of Illinois College of Dentistry and then returned to Northwestern for his specialty training in endodontics. He has served as president of the Illinois Association of Endodontists.

Evan has been a member of Congregation Beth Judea in Long Grove, IL since 1976. He served on the board of directors for 25 years except for stints as facilities and membership vice-presidents. He has also served as the adult education chair. Evan was a member of the rabbi search committee to find the successor for Beth Judea's retiring rabbi of 30 years. Currently, Evan co-chairs the Hesed and Bikkur Cholim committees and is a member of the Rabbi's advisory council. He is also taking classes to learn to read Torah and hopes to make his "debut" before convention.

In addition to being a past president of both Beth Judea's Men's Club and the Midwest Region of FJMC, Evan has been active in FJMC since attending his first convention in 1997. He has chaired a convention health fair, the Torch Award program and the Ma'asim Tovim awards. He served as the women's program chair for the Chicago convention in 2007 and as the convention manager in 2009 in Philadelphia.

Evan has attended numerous FJMC Leadership Development Institute sessions in the past 10 years and has presented programs on Growing Your Club, Work and Worth, Teambuilding, Multi-generational Programming, and Bikkur Cholim at conventions over the years. He has also traveled as a consultant presenter to other regions' training sessions.

Evan currently serves as one of the FJMC editors for CJ/Kolot magazine and chairs the Regional Advisory Think Tank for FJMC. He is thrilled to be honored by the Midwest Region and thanks all involved in his selection. Evan also extends a "Yasher Koach" to all the Ma'asim Tovim honorees.

New England - Mark Druy

Mark Druy grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mark settled in the Boston area in 1981 after earning an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Brown University and a doctorate degree in Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Mark and his wife Johanna were married in 1984 and live in Arlington, MA. Their oldest daughter, Shaina is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a Bachelors of Science in Finance and their youngest, Naomi, is a junior at the University of Vermont majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Johanna is a self-employed management consultant and is the author of several books on the staffing and management of high technology product development organizations. Mark is a business and product development manager for an analytical instrumentation company in Andover. In their spare time, Mark & Johanna are avid ballroom dancers. Mark is also an accomplished downhill skier and bicyclist. In particular, he enjoys riding his bike for numerous charities including Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters and the New England Region Tour de Shuls ride (of which he is a co-chair) to support the Tikvah program at Camp Ramah of New England.

Mark is a past president, treasurer, and recording secretary of the Temple Emunah Brotherhood and currently serves as the President of Temple Emunah, Lexington, MA. Prior to his term as President, Mark was the Vice President of Programming and Executive Vice President of Temple Emunah. He is currently the co-chair of the 2013 FJMC Convention, a member of the FJMC Executive Committee, and the Honorary President of the New England Region, in which he has previously held Treasurer and Vice Presidential responsibilities.

Mark has been attending FJMC conventions since 2001 (Toronto, CA) and the 2013 convention will be his 6th convention. Mark’s early involvement in the Temple Emunah Brotherhood was as the co-chair of the Yiskor Book Fundraiser for several years which provided $15,000 yearly to the Temple’s operating budget. Growing up in a Reform tradition, Mark took advantage of many Adult learning opportunities at Temple Emunah and became an adult Bar Mitzvah in 2009. Mark is now a regular Torah reader at Temple Emunah and continues his Jewish learning.

New York Metropolitan - Jay Steinmetz

Jay has served on the New York Metro Regional FJMC for a few years now, and is currently 3rd Vice President for the region. Jay moved into East Meadow with his wife Michele in 1987 and has three children, Shari, Aimee and Jordan. He joined the East Meadow Jewish Center in 1990 and became involved with the Men's Club immediately. Jay has been an executive board member of the club and is currently the President. Jay is a past “Mr. Men's Club” and very active on many committees. He helps construct the shul's outdoor sukkah, is involved with fundraising, on the Men's Club softball team, and helps out wherever and whenever he's asked.

Jay is the owner of a successful contracting business, Home Improvements By Us, Inc., which was established in 1985. His company specializes in residential remodeling. Jay is also very involved with community service in East Meadow. He is a standing life member, former director and a distinguished past president of the Kiwanis Club of East Meadow. He is currently the Community Service chairman and Chairman of the holiday food drives. The club collects food to feed the 125+ needy families of his community three times a year.

Jay became active in the NY Metropolitan Region of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs a few years ago and was just elected to the position of 3rd Vice President for the year 2013-2014. He is his club's liaison and the regional chairman for the upcoming International Convention to be held this July in Boston, MA. Some of Jay's hobbies and interests are: Softball, golf, skiing, camping and going to the beach.

Northern New Jersey - Eric Weis

There is a Hasidic saying, "When passion burns within you, remember that it was given to you for a good purpose."

Eric Weis quietly utilizes his passion to focus on the courage of his convictions and his passions, which makes us fortunate to have him as a member of Shomrei Torah and the Northern New Jersey Region of the FJMC.

In 1981, Eric and his wife Fern came to Wayne New Jersey from Clifton New Jersey. They joined Shomrei Torah, since the Rabbi, Jeffrey Segelman, was a personal friend. Following in the footsteps of his father and father-in-law, he immersed himself in our congregation. Eric began by joining its Men’s Club, becoming its Treasurer, managing the building, re-engineering the basement, re-designing the sukkah, co-chairing the capital campaign and serving on the executive board as a Trustee and Vice President. In 2009, Eric created the “Sushi and Sake in the Shomrei Sukkah” program which is now in its third year; he lists Sukkot as the holiday he loves most. It pleases him that the event brings many of our members and families together.

Presently, Eric is a member of the Ritual Committee and chairman of the Israel Connection at Shomrei Torah. Often, he can be seen at Shabbat Services and at minyanim. In the Ritual Committee, he is working on a new program called Yahrzeit Buddies which will help to bolster minyan attendance in our synagogue. Eric has been president of Shomrei Torah’s Men's Club multiple times and has served in multiple capacities in the Northern New Jersey Region (NNJR) of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC). He was NNJR’s Regional Man of the Year in 2003 and rose to become its President in 2009. In NNJR, he implemented a system of three sub-districts and oversaw the development of a strong Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle program. His last accomplishment was the establishment of a regional focus on Israel, linked to Mercaz and the Masorti Foundation.

Eric is a member of FJMC’s Board of Directors and previously chaired its national Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle campaign. This year, Eric earned FJMC’s national Ma’asim Tovim Award. He is now taking on an important role in its Sefer Haftarah program. Last year, Eric was named to the national board of MERCAZ, the Movement to Re-Affirm Conservative American Zionism. He has attended many MERCAZ and Masorti events, and was recently asked to serve as a delegate to the American Zionist Movement Biennial Assembly. One of these days, he hopes to attend a World Zionist Congress.

Eric’s life and work experience have taken him all over the world. He worked for the National Weather Service and lived in the Canadian High Arctic. After graduating from Bowdoin College with degrees in Economics and Physics, he became the International Sales Manager for a leading manufacturer of nuclear materials and equipment. In 1976, Eric visited Israel for the first time, on a business trip. His first evening in Jerusalem was transformative and helped to ignite his passion for Israel. It did not hurt that his father was deeply involved with Israel in the 1950s and 1960s. Speaking of his father, Eric remembers that he chanted Maftir Jonah on Yom Kippur afternoons. Years later, at an 80th birthday party, Eric gave his father a dedicated Jonah haftarah scroll. His father proudly declared that it was the best gift he had ever received.

On a personal note, Fern and Eric have been married for almost 32 years. Sarah, their daughter, age 23, recently made aliyah and lives in Jerusalem. Josh, their son, age 27, is a successful food and beverage manager and event planner. Their dog, Goldie (named for the Golden Medina) has trained Eric well. Eric is also a dedicated son, as he sees to the well-being of his own mother and Fern’s wonderful mom as well. "Good men need no monuments; their deeds are their shrines." Mishne Shekalim, 5:2

Seaboard - Jeff Moss

Jeff was born in Brooklyn, and grew up in Stuyvesant Town in lower Manhattan, where his father was the cantor of the local Conservative synagogue. Jeff spent his youth active in synagogue life, ranging from activities as part of a Torah reading corps to religious vice president of the USY chapter.  After graduating with a degree in computer science from NYU and a master’s degree from SUNY Binghamton, he moved to the Washington, DC area in 1974 when he went to work for IBM.

Joining the JCC, Jeff became involved in Israeli folk dancing, which had been a passion for many years. It was there he met his wife Debbie. They joined a couple of local dance groups, and performed at many venues in the Washington metropolitan area.  Jeff and Debbie joined Kehilat Shalom in Montgomery Village, MD, where they both become active. In addition to serving as Gabbai, Jeff was instrumental in the formation of its Men’s Club, and served as its first president, while Debbie served as Sisterhood president.

After joining B’nai Israel in Rockville, Jeff joined the Men’s Club and quickly became involved in its activities. After serving as secretary for two years, followed by serving as synagogue vice-president for ritual affairs, Jeff took on the role of Men’s Club president.

During his tenure, the Men’s Club mailed a few hundred pounds of used books in English to a school in northern Israel. The club also became involved in the FJMC World Wide Wrap program, expanded the Yom HaShoah yellow candle program, and began selling and installing Sukkah kits to members of the congregation. In addition, the club became active in Seaboard region activities, participating for the first time in the BYMOY dinner.

As past president, Jeff remained active in the Men’s Club, taking an active role in Men’s Club Shabbat and coordinating the packaging of the Yom HaShoah candles. For his efforts and dedication, Jeff was awarded Bnai Israel’s Blue Yarmulke Man of the Year award in 2006. Jeff is still active in his club, mentoring subsequent club presidents, initiating a “Jews and Brews” program with the Rabbi, and running Hearing Men’s Voices programs.

Jeff also took an active role in Men’s Clubs at the regional level. Following two years as treasurer of the FJMC Seaboard region, and its coordinator of the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle program, Jeff stepped up as president of the region. In this role he was instrumental in the expansion of the region, visited clubs, and took an active role in the regional retreats and the Blue Yarmulke dinner.  As past regional president, Jeff has continued being active in regional activities, especially the Blue Yarmulke program and the retreats. He appreciates his role being a resource and ‘go-to’ guy for the regional board.

In his professional life, he is a lead programmer in the Informational Technology division of GEICO Corporation. In addition to his work at GEICO, he is the Cantor at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, and has been leading services there on the High Holidays and on Shabbat and Festivals since 1986.

Jeff thanks Debbie for her love and support. Debbie has become an honorary Men’s Clubber at the club, regional and even national levels. 2013 is the sixth FJMC convention for both Jeff and Debbie.  Jeff and Debbie live in Gaithersburg and still continue to do Israeli folk dancing. They are immensely proud of their son Aaron, 31, a GIS specialist, his wife Jessica, a CPA, and their son, Richard, 26, a civil engineer with the Navy and a budding stand-up comedian.

Jeff is humbled at receiving the Ma’asim Tovim award given to him by his friends and fellow Men’s Clubbers of the Seaboard region and thanks them for the honor. He also wishes congratulations to the honorees from the other regions. 


Tri-State - David Edwards

David Edwards is a member of the Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha Congregation in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. Dave was born in Durham, NC, graduated from Duke as a chemistry major and received a PhD in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He met his future wife, Mary Dawn, in Chapel Hill, where she was a medical student, and he followed her to Pittsburgh, where she did an internship and residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Dave arrived one year later as a Post-doctoral fellow in Biochemistry. They were married in 1972 and following his two year postdoctoral fellowship, Dave joined the faculty in the Psychopharmacology Program in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Pittsburgh and later served on the faculties of the Schools of Dental Medicine and Pharmacy, until his retirement in 2011 as Professor Emeritus. They have two wonderful daughters, Miranda (“Ziggy”) and Rachel and one grandson, Jude.

Dave has been an active member of his shul and of its award-winning men’s club, known for its Sunday morning brunches with about 30 speakers per year. He was the club president from 2000 – 2002 and then served as President of the Tri-State region of the FJMC from 2007-2009, during which the first Tri-State-KIO-Michigan retreat was held. He also created the Hazak newsletter for the region. Dave has been involved in many FJMC activities, including international conventions (this is his sixth, all accompanied by Mary Dawn), the FJMC Mission to Israel in 2006, and several LDI’s. He was editor of the Advantage newsletter 2009-2011 and is currently co-chair of Youth Activities and has served on the Registration Committee for this Convention.

Dave has been a volunteer worker for many Jewish and scientific organizations and for community causes; for example, serving on the synagogue’s Social Action Committee, the Pittsburgh Dafur Emergency Coalition, a volunteer amateur radio operator for the Pittsburgh Grand Prix and other public service events. He served for 33 years as an alumni interviewer for Duke, was a Treasurer of the Pitt Stock of the Month Club for 12 years and was a judge at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2012. He has particularly taken pleasure and satisfaction in driving elderly or handicapped individuals to shul, and in some cases taking them shopping or to baseball games.

Western - Steve Berger

Steve was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in the San Fernando Valley. He graduated from California State Long Beach with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Technology and a Master's Degree in Administration from California State Dominguez Hills. For the past twenty two years, he has owned a family run printing business, Masters of Printing in Northridge, CA.

Steve and his wife Natalie joined Temple Ramat Zion in Northridge forty-one years ago. They have been active members since the beginning. Steve was involved in the Men's Club and held many offices including Secretary, Vice-President, chairman of the World Wide Wrap, Men's Club Shabbat, barbecues and dinners. He was president of the club and made sure the men's club received the Quality Awards.

Steve became very active in the Western Region and held many offices including Communication, Administration and Executive Vice-President. He became President for 2010 and 2011 and oversaw 24 regional clubs. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies for the American Jewish University. Steve was on the committee for the Red Yarmulke Humanitarian Awards and Dinner. He is also on the Western Board of Directors of United Synagogue. During the 2011 International Convention in Coata Mesa, CA, Steve worked in many areas including the beach party, insurance, printing and decorations. Steve serves on the International Board of FJMC and the Think Tank.

Steve and Natalie have been married for 43 Years. They have two Sons, Allan & Jason. Jason with his wife Carolyn have three sons and live in Seattle, WA. Steve is happy to be involved with his Temple, FJMC and his Community. He is honored to receive the Ma'asim Tovim Award.