FJMC Advantage - November 2015


November 2015 Issue

Welcome to The FJMC Advantage, a monthly newsletter to help YOU build YOUR Clubs and Regions.

This Month's Theme:


Editor's Note:  We are sorry about the formatting imperfections in this issues of the Advantage.  We're aware of the problem and are working dilligently to fix it but didn't want to delay publication any longer while we sorted it out.


Just a friendly reminder that now is the time to get the word out on your World Wide Wrap (check out the implementation guide) and put together your plans for any video conferencing you plan to do, register your wrap, plan your activities, and of course, make sure you have your "tefillin cheat sheets" to pass out (see Torch Award Spotlight, below, for more information).   

Please note that even though the "official" date of the wrap is 2/7/16, your congregation can always celebrate the "Wrap" when it's right for it - you can even do it more than once (some people even do it 6 mornings a week!)    

If you need more information or are looking for some help with your wrap, just ask our WWWrap Chairs, Don Grenadir or Irwin Harris.

We're In It For The Tie!


We're counting on all of our clubs to register their support for the World Wide Wrap (XVII), so, while you're reading this (and it's fresh on your mind), take a moment (literally) and join "The Count Us In" campaign right now.  Just click here to register (note: you will need to sign in with your password to do so and if you don't have one of those, click here).  How else will the rest of the world know that you "Wrap?"

Registration is free, and the consequences are priceless.  For more information, ask Irwin Harris or Don Grenadir.


It's a win-win-win!  Build-a-Pair invites 5th to 7th graders to learn all about the mitzvah of tefillin and even build a "model" set of their own (ideally with their Mens' Club's help).  Then, they are invited along with the parents to the World Wide Wrap where they can show off all they know to their parents, who are usually very eager to learn themselves.  We've been doing this for many years at my shul and it has made our Wrap that much better.  If you aren't yet doing it - MAKE THIS THE YEAR!  Click here to order the complete kit which includes the materials and instructions you will need for this program including how to construct 'model' Tefillin in which they place Hebrew script which they write, insert 'straps', and create 'wRAP' songs to sing during the World Wide Wrap

DON'T DELAY - TIME IS RUNNING OUT.  If you need more information, contact the guys in charge of Build-a-Pair:  Ira Ungar or Warren Sufrin.  They will be happy to help you build a pair.  


WERE YOU THERE WHEN?                  

Our indefatigable Shomrei Haaretz Chair, "Dr. Mike" Miller discussed the Green Faith Shield System at the 2015 FJMC International Convention?  It is a great opportunity for you (and your club) to do more for our planet.  Here's the basic overview:

1.  Create your team - just a few people maybe 2- 4 people and make sure to fill out your Shield Application.

2.  Build and execute an action plan - There are 13 best Energy and 7 best Water practices laid out for you here.  Some you need to do and others are optional. They include holding an energy / water or weekend, a worship service, and educational classes and activities for people of different ages (Young Children, teens, and adults).

3.   Have the individual households take the Energy/Water Pledge,

4.  Publicize your good work in your synagogue, region and community!  

For more information, just ask Dr. Mike.


Saving Energy: You can save energy and money with LED exit signs; reducing air leaks by looking at dust lines or using a candle to find them and then seal them up; your hot water heater is working 24 hours a day, and does not need to - turn it down; retrofit and/or replace fluorescent bulbs - which might be the most important opportunity for lighting efficiency - retrofitting existing T-12s with the ½ '' smaller T-8s is a great start.

Saving Water: To saw water (and money) try installing faucet restrictors that reduce flow by 20% but maintain pressure; replacing old toilets with models that achieve 1.3 gallons per flush can save 2-3 gallons per flush; leaking faucets, appliances, and irrigation systems can waste 10-20% of water; using porous rubber hoses to irrigate landscaping can save 30-40% over sprinkler; eliminating plastic bottled water, and serving your filtered tap water can reduce your carbon foot print on the earth.

If you try just a few of these, you'll be amazed at how simple and easy they are while still being effective!


Join Rabbi Simon and FJMC President Alan Gottesman on an FJMC mission to to Israel from May 26, 2016 - June 5, 2016.  The trip will focus on the high-tech start ups in Israel and include meetings with entrepreneurs and visits to technology companies, along with all of the amazing religious and archaeological wonders in Israel and a chance to spend time with our Masorti brethren in the Holy Land.  For more information, click here or contact the co-chairs, Greg Gore and Tom Sudow.  ACT NOW as the deadline is fast approaching.


Each month I spotlight a Program that was submitted for a Torch Award that you can adopt for your club.

In keeping with this month's focus on the World Wide Wrap, I am re-running a prior spotlight about the "Tefillin Cheat Sheet", a 4x6 card on how to lay (wear) tefillin.  The card includes complete step-by-step instructions and all of the prayers in Hebrew, English, and transliterated.  This won a Gold torch award for Congregation B'nai Amoona in St. Louis (in full disclosure that is my club and I created the card with Jay Englander).  Many clubs have added their logos to these cards and provided them to the participants at their World Wide Wraps, making them available in their chapels, and using them to teach about tefillin.  If you would like a file that you can add your club or region's logo to, just send me an email.

NOTE:  You will need to sign in to your account on the FJMC site to see these Torch Award submissions.  If you don't have an account, they are simple to create and can be done by clicking here.  The delightfully outstanding webmaster will make sure you have access to the right information.


A bit of humor you can use at your next Board Meeting, Presentation, or just to add some amusement to your day.  Send me your submissions but please, keep them clean(ish).  

While leading the Friday evening services, the Rabbi noticed a member of the congregation, Max, walk in with a St. Bernard dog. The Rabbi, horrified, asked the Cantor to continue the service and went to talk to Max.  Rather pointedly, he asked Max what he was doing with a dog in shul-

Max responded: "we came here to pray."

Oh, come on," said the Rabbi, "you, sure, but the dog?"

"Yes, him too," Max said.

Rabbi: "Don't mess with me - Dogs can't pray in shul or anywhere else."

Max: "Its true!"

"Fine," says the Rabbi, "then show me what the dog can do."

"OK" says Max nodding to the dog.  The dog proceeds to open up the barrel under his neck and removes a kippah and a tallit, puts them on, grabs a siddur and starts davening perfectly - in Hebrew!

The Rabbi is so shocked he listens for a full 15 minutes. When he regains his composure, he is so impressed with the quality of the praying he says to Max, "Do you think your dog would consider going to Rabbinical school?"

Max, throwing up his hands in disgust says,"YOU TALK TO HIM! He tells me he wants to be a doctor!"

Interested in some of the other FJMC Publications?