Our friend, mentor and teacher, Dr. Burton L. Fischman, Z-L, passed away April 3, 2018. This is indeed a sad day, and the men of the FJMC shall miss his great wisdom and personality.
Some of the comments from FJMC leaders, both current and past, are shown below:
Burt was my mentor, friend and inspiration. I will miss him. DK
From the time I met him at the first LDI . . . through my presidency and beyond, I continued to learn and grow from him. He was funny, entertaining and just a real mench and most of all my friend. MM
"In one very brief encounter at my first convention, Burt helped me see my way through the toughest part of my life." SD
"Individually and in groups when we sing the Birchat, we need to be a little louder and even with more Ruach to make up for Burt. I will miss him as a friend, mentor, and humorist." TS
"There are no words to express the great loss to FJMC . . . May we honor his memory by our actions at FJMC and beyond." AG
"He was the unseen star of every convention or leadership seminar over the past 25 years . . . enabling all of us to exceed our own expectations." SG
"A venerable spirit not soon forgotten." SS
"Captain Ruach; Being with you was a gift, learning from you was an inspiration. Your commitment to all things right is my strength. Being your friend was a blessing." BK
"He was such a wonderful person, mentor and friend. We will all miss him dearly." KM
"Burt was a great mentor and will be sorely missed by the his immediate family, his FJMC family and everyone that he touched." DS
"Burt impressed me with his ability to get individuals involved while educating them, he knew how to let loose. I was extremely impressed with how the took a prayer which everyone would run through like an express train and made it a joyous event with camaraderie, bar none. He took a Birkat and made it a joyous and happy event leaving everyone with an “UPPER"." JHN
My friend will be missed
Burt’s mission was in bringing the membership of the FJMC to legendary levels of leadership through his passion for the organization. He was the unseen star of every convention or leadership seminar over the past 25 years, by enabling all of us to exceed our own expectations and truly stepping forward to make the FJMC uniquely placed to bring Jewish men to Jewish life.
Each and every of our international leaders has a story of his relationship with Burt and of the work they did to meet his high standards. Each of those leaders took Burt’s passion and skills back to their home congregations, from Toronto to Ft. Lauderdale, from Boston to San Diego and to all points in between.
Captain Ruach’s carefully planned mishigas with napkins enticed our members to stay until the end of the Birkat, turning what had been an Exodus into a simcha. Burt brought us closer to the understanding that being a men’s club leader was not about the hard things, but about making the hard things both easy and fun.
My Dear Friend Burt
I first met Burt 20 years ago at the FJMC Convention in the Catskills. He was warm and welcoming. When he trained me to be a Consultant, he said it's a good idea to have a prop when you speak. It's a good way to get the attention of the group. I've used this advice ever since then. When you were with Burt, you knew you were with a man that (really) cared about you. He was the best. The 2019 Convention won't be the same with him. May Burt's z'L memory be a blessing. You'll be missed my friend.
Dan Hammer - Hudson Valley past president.
My beloved teacher
Burt Fischman taught me. I cannot think of a better tribute to a person who's very essence was to make us all better men. Burt did it with a smile but was extremely serious about the work that he did for the FJMC. Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Fathers) says "Assume for yourself a Master, aquire for yourself a friend". Thank you Burt for sharing your wisdom, ruach and love of life with us.
Goodbye Captain Ruach - You Will Forever Be Missed
Burt was so many things. When I first attended an FJMC International Convention, Burt was the man who brought ruach to the otherwise regular after dinner service. Then I attended my first LDI and he was an amazing teacher. He taught me the importance of creating relationships with the person that you were trying to communicate with. Everytime I heard Burt speak he taught me something new and did it in a humorous fashion. And then as a leader within FJMC I got the opportunity to work with Burt firsthand and he taught me (in the most gentle and subtle of ways) how to be a better leader and better run an event. When he made a suggestion I knew it was the right way to go. My regret is that I will not have more opportunities to work with and learn from Burt. You will be missed, but your teachings will live on through the multiple generations that you inspired.
So Inspired by Dr. Ruach
Burt's leadership qualities were only exceeded by his humor and his being such a mensch. At my first LDI, he we had to give 2 minutes speeches on a FJMC program in front of Burt and others. I worked hard and mine went well. However, it was amazing how how deftly and with care, he gave helpful suggestions to others on their presentations. We all so benefited from his knowledge. That evening I saw him on a table waving a rag and pushing up the ruach. Wow! It was amazing. But, there was so much that was amazing about Burt. Who else would become a personal trainer in his 70's? We, the FJMC community, have been so lucky and benefitted so much from having Burt with us. I am consoled that his legacy will live on with us for ever.
It was an honor knowing and working with Burt
May Burt's memory be a blessing. I first met Burt at the 1995 International Convention at the Pines. I was a first timer and tasked with leading two training session. This guy from Providence RI kept calling me to make sure I was prepared - who was this nudnick? I was told I need to have handouts and I should wear at tie and sport jacket. By the time Convention rolled around, I was trembling and could wait to get my first presentation over. I came into the room early and there was Burt. Do you have you handouts? Where are you going to present from? and several other words of advice. I started to present, Burt stood in the doorway. When I finished and I as wrapped up, Burt came over to me and said "you are going to make it in this organizaiton." He became my mentor and friend from that point forward. He knew when to call to give me some suggestions (OK yell at me) and he knew when I could use a little praise. He taught me how to mentor and taugh me alot about life.
May each of us continue to increase his memory in that the work that we do for the FJMC and how we do that work. He taught and mentored us. now it is our turn to pass down his teaching to the next generation of leaders. Individually and in groups when we sing the Birhat, we need to be a little louder and do it with even more ruach to make up for our friend Captain Ruach.
I will miss him as friend, mentor, advisor, and humorist. Captain Ruach your memory will always shine bright in all of us whom you touched. We are all better men and leaders because of you. To Rhoda and the family, thank you for sharing Burt with us and May you be comforted with all the mourners in Zion.
Tom Sudow, Honorary President and Chairman of the Board
I was fortunate to be able
I was fortunate to be able to be with Burt during Men's Club events and his spirit and passion for Judaism were always very inspirating.
Burt was a mentor and friend. I will miss him dearly.
Shelly Pike - Past FJMC Midwest Region President
I will miss you my friend and collaborator
Burt was my mentor, friend and inspiration. His positive demeanor and humor always brightened my day. In his final years I was privileged to be invited to collaborate with him on FJMC Executive Committee training and that gave me yet another opportunity to learn from this exceptional teacher and mensch. May his memory be a blessing.
I had the pleasure of meeting
I had the pleasure of meeting him only recently at convention. We sat next to each other in one of the breakout sessions and he made an immediate impact on me. I knew right away what a kind and special caring person he was. It was later in the week that I actually learned of his passion and enthusiasim during the birchat hamazon.