Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs
From the Office of the President
"We are dismayed by the Knesset's passage to override the Reasonable Clause Law.
We stand with those who protect Israel's Jewish and Democratic nature."
Conservative Movement Deplores Knesset’s Passage of Bill to Override the Reasonableness Clause Law.
New York, NY – The Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism issued the following statement on Israel’s first of the Judicial Reform Bills to pass a Knesset vote:
“The Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism- the North American network of Masorti/Conservative Congregations- have always advocated for Israel’s founding values of democracy, equality and justice. We thus can only express our profound consternation at the Knesset’s passage today of a bill that sharply curtails the ability of the country’s courts to review government decisions.
Israel’s Declaration of Independence clearly commits the Jewish state to function fully as a democracy. Israel’s unwavering commitment to democracy has stood the country in good stead over decades of repeated assaults on the security of its citizens and its very existence.
The governing coalition’s choice to unilaterally pass this legislation represents a clear and present danger to the country’s independent judiciary, which may still come under further assault. Democracy requires independent legislative, judicial and executive branches. With no written constitution nor upper house in the legislature, the independence of Israel’s judiciary is indispensable.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition has created serious fractures in Israel and the wider Jewish world. In the face of their legislative aggression, we are heartened by the broad citizen coalition of Israelis who are resolved to protect the Jewish and democratic nature of the state.
We urge the government to refrain from introducing further judicial legislation and to participate in negotiations under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog. In these first days of Av, as we prepare to commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples, let us remember the danger that extremism and discord can pose to the Jewish people.
We stand with Israelis in this time of division and uncertainty. We will always support Israel and work to preserve and advance the Jewish state’s founding values of democracy, equality and justice.
International President, 2023 - 2025
FJMC provides opportunities to learn and exercise life/leadership skills which you may not have the opportunity to either learn or use in your work. (Such skills relate to working constructively with a group to accomplish something more than one person alone could not accomplish.)
Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs From the Office of the President
וְיִגַּ֥ל כַּמַּ֖יִם מִשְׁפָּ֑ט וּצְדָקָ֖ה כְּנַ֥חַל אֵיתָֽן
Let justice well up like water,
Righteousness like an unfailing stream.
Shalom Haverim (Brothers),
We are informing you of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC) participation in a momentous occasion. FJMC has accepted the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) invitation to participate in the 60th Anniversary of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington on Saturday, August 26, 2023. You can find information and registration details by clicking here.
The FJMC has a strong and friendly connection with the ADL, and we stand firm in taking action based on our shared Jewish values. Our Inclusion Initiative is how we honor God's creation and command. Walking in this commemorative march is one way to demonstrate those values, practice anti-racism, and stand up to antisemitism.
A close study of Jewish-American history would remind us of our people's extensive relationship with Dr. King and the civil rights movement. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Theologian, and Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, was another friend of Dr. King. Heschel joined King in numerous speeches and protests. At one point, he called King "the voice of God in our time." After walking with King and other religious leaders in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights, Heschel described the trek as spiritually moving, like he was "praying with his legs."
Our history as people who were freed from slavery in Egypt obligates us to stand with those who still find themselves oppressed by racism and bigotry. When God created humanity, we were made as everyone's neighbor with a collective responsibility to preserve each person's dignity and integrity.
What you can do:
We ask you to consider attending because, as Jews, we believe everyone is entitled to respect and dignity. We realize the event is on Shabbat and do not suggest anyone violate their usual ritual practices. However, If you can attend, please inform your Club President, who should notify your Regional President. If there is enough participation, the club or region might be able to arrange a bus or otherwise organize the participants. FJMC can assist with this.
While attending, please wear an FJMC shirt. If you don't have one, please ask your Club President to contact your Regional President, who will see that you get one. Since this will be such a large gathering, we know it will be impossible to have a central meeting point, but if you see other FJMC brethren, please march with them. The sight of many FJMC members together will be a strong statement of our values and commitment to protecting the rights of everyone.
Whether or not you can attend, please ask your congregation to commemorate this historical event with a Shabbat service and prayers. A Hearing Men’s Voices/Inclusion program with speakers from traditionally marginalized groups can also be a way to continue the work of the March on Washington. Men's Clubs can help to coordinate these events in their synagogues.
In his "I Have a Dream Speech," Dr. King preached that one of the main goals of his movement was to "transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood." I look forward to standing with you as individuals, clubs, and a community in this sacred endeavor.
International President, 2023 - 2025
We are pleased to announce that at the June 29 - July 2, 2023 Convention, we had an Executive Committee meeting and an FJMC Board meeting where we will vote on and approved the following new slate of officers:
Alan Budman (MAR)
First Vice President
Bruce Tomar (MAR)
Marc Cohen (MAR)
Creighton Cohn (Midwest)
Gary Katz (Western)
Alex Kiderman (Tri-State)
Javier Rosenzwaig (Hudson Valley)
Benny Sommerfeld (Western)
Gregg Pollack (Midwest)
Bob Watts (Seaboard)
Allan Kahan (Seaboard)
David Singer (NER)
Danny Mandeau (NER)
David Glass (Northern New Jersey)
Mitch Ross (Western)
The Federation of Jewish Men's Club, the largest and oldest Jewish men's organization in the world, will hold its Biennial Convention from June 29 to July 2 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown Hotel. It was brought to our attention that after the FJMC contract was signed, the Marriott contracted with Moms for Liberty, allowing them to hold a conference on the same dates as our Convention, and using space contiguous to ours.
Moms for Liberty will have speakers address their meeting on Friday, June 30th,, which include former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Robert Kennedy, Jr., and former Governor and Ambassador Nikki Haley.
At the FJMC we believe that every person is made b’zelem elohim - in God’s image, and deserving of loving-kindness, respect, and dignity. As such, the FJMC strongly advocates for equal rights for all, including the LGBTQIA+ community. At the FJMC we welcome all participants with love, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, which is why our Inclusion Initiative is a vital part of our programming. While the FJMC recognizes that Moms for Liberty and their speakers have the constitutional right to peaceably assemble, the FJMC does not endorse either the organization, its leadership, or the sentiments that they or their speakers may express during their conference.
Multiple discussions have been held with the Marriott Hotel management expressing our concern that the Moms For Liberty’s activities, speakers, and any protests which may result from their speakers or activities, or the security which may be imposed to minimize such actions, do not interfere or impede with the programs and activities we have planned and of which we’ve kept the Marriott Hotel informed.
For more information about our Inclusion Initiative, please click https://fjmc.org/inclusion-initiative-overview
Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs
From the Office of the President
May 1st, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs Announces New Executive Director
Baltimore, MD – The Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC) is pleased to announce that Rabbi Noam Raucher has been hired as its new Executive Director.
The FJMC involves Jewish Men in Jewish Life by strengthening its network of Men’s Clubs and individual members. As a partnership of over 200 affiliated clubs with more than 20,000 members across North America and around the world, the FJMC mentors leaders, develops and implements innovative programming for the Jewish community, and forms meaningful long-lasting connections among men and their families based on camaraderie, common interests, and core values.
Rabbi Raucher brings a wealth of experience to the position, having served in various leadership roles in the Jewish community. As a graduate of Hofstra University, the Fingerhut School of Education, and having received rabbinic ordination from the Ziegler School, Rabbi Noam has served in pulpits on both coasts for almost 10 years. Rabbi Noam has enjoyed teaching and learning from – and with – students at Pressman Academy in Los Angeles, CA and has offered spiritual and divorce coaching to the community as well. He is particularly proud of being a father to his two beautiful boys, Judah and Elijah.
“The Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, the largest Jewish men’s organization in the world, is thrilled to welcome Rabbi Noam Raucher as our new Executive Director,” said Allan Kahan, International President of the FJMC. “With his extensive experience in men’s involvement and passion for the Jewish community, we are confident that he will lead our organization to new heights and continue to strengthen our mission of involving Jewish Men in Jewish Life while promoting Jewish values and traditions in their families.”
Rabbi Raucher will be formally welcomed to his position at the 2023 FJMC Biennial Convention in Philadelphia in June (https://fjmcconvention.org/) and will support leadership development, club expansion, programming, fundraising and collaboration among the various arms of the Masorti/Conservative movement.
“I am honored and excited to join the FJMC as its Executive Director,” said Rabbi Raucher. “I look forward to working with the Executive Committee, Regional and Club Leadership, the Board, staff, and members to advance our mission and ensure that the FJMC continues to be a vital and impactful organization in the Jewish community supporting men’s health and spiritual well-being.”
Please join us in welcoming Rabbi Noam Raucher to the FJMC. We look forward to working together to build a stronger and more vibrant Jewish community.
Gary S. Katz
FJMC Vice President - Communications
Allan R. Kahan, International President, 2021-2023
The Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs Inc.
300 E. Lombard St., Suite 840
Baltimore, MD 21202
(212) 749-8100 I International@fjmc.org
The Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) and the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ) worked together on this project to create an environment that makes all of us, no matter our unique identities and needs, feel welcomed and embraced in our Jewish Community.
We define Inclusion as:
the process, practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized; a commitment to welcoming, respecting, accepting, institutionally supporting and valuing diverse identities and communities of people.
While recognizing there are more underserved communities than the ones we focused on here, our focus was on:
Individuals with neurological and/or physical health challenges
Jews of Color
Families of all types
Final Thought: Please consider that most of us think we’re doing everything we can to make everyone feel welcomed – until we really talk to some of our members who consider themselves marginalized. The truth is we can do this better. And this guidebook will help you.
The main Inclusion section of our website may be reached by clicking here. The Inclusion Resource Guidebook in pdf format can be downloaded here. Let us know what else we can do to support your efforts and what you’re doing that we should include in the next update of the Guidebook. Additional resources besides the Guidebook may be found at the main Inclusion section.
Questions? Comments? Wish to request a speaker from FJMC to present the initiative in-person or virtually? How can we help you?
Contact Jerry Brodsky (email@example.com)
Allan Kahan, President of the FJMC, joined with other members of the Conservative/Masorti movement in supporting the movement policy against Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government’s ongoing refusal to implement the 2017 Kotel Agreement. For the copy of the statement, click on this link.
Posted on September 16, 2021
UNITED SYNAGOGUE OF CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM, WOMEN’S LEAGUE FOR CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM, FEDERATION OF JEWISH MEN’S CLUBS AND ADL FORM PARTNERSHIP TO COMBAT ANTISEMITISM
New York, NY, September 17, 2021 … The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), Women’s League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ), Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) and ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) have agreed to form a partnership aimed at combating the alarming rise in antisemitic rhetoric and violence through education and advocacy.
This partnership will make ADL’s expertise and tools readily accessible to almost 600 USCJ-affiliated synagogues, and nearly 40,000 WLCJ members, and FJMC clubs through the latter’s own vast media channels. ADL, USCJ, WLCJ, and FJMC will also deliver jointly designed educational materials to congregational and sisterhood affiliates and individual WLCJ members and FJMC clubs. They also will, in coordination with Secure Community Network, increase reporting and response to antisemitic incidents occurring at conservative synagogues, sisterhood affiliates and men’s clubs.
“USCJ, Women’s League and Men’s Club stand firmly side by side with the ADL in our new partnership. This collaboration will provide the education and training for our 600 member congregations, sisterhood affiliates and men’s clubs to raise the awareness necessary to respond to antisemitism on their home front " said CEO Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal.
“We are keenly aware at ADL that antisemitic incidents are on the rise in the U.S. and around the world, and that future trends indicate a dangerous trajectory,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director. “We believe that this partnership, which marries both ADL, USCJ, WLCJ and FJMC’s vast expertise and resources, will make serious headway in combating the scourge of antisemitism through education, advocacy, incident reporting and community awareness, and ultimately turn the tide against hate.”
Debbi Kaner Goldich, President of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, noted, “Women’s League for Conservative Judaism has been a leading advocate in the fight against antisemitism through its resolutions and education of our members in their affiliated Sisterhoods. In this partnership, WLCJ joins together with USCJ and FJMC and the ADL to condemn and combat acts of antisemitism in violation of the fundamental privileges of religious liberty and equality of citizenship.”
Designated ADL, USCJ, and WLCJ representatives have also agreed to collaborate on future joint programs and offerings including webinars and developing joint resources for USCJ, WLCJ and FJMC the communities and communities they serve.
During the conflict between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, ADL tracked a doubling of antisemitic incidents compared to the same period in 2020. ADL logged 251 incidents from May 11 through the end of the month, an increase of 115 percent. A total of 305 incidents were tallied across the U.S. for the entire month of May 2021.
ADL is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education and fighting hate online, ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate. More at www.adl.org.
About The United Synagogue Of Conservative Judaism (USCJ):
We strengthen synagogues. We are the network that ensures there are thriving centers of Jewish practice across North America, Israel, and beyond that celebrate both tradition and contemporary life. Together, we demonstrate what an authentic and dynamic Judaism looks like, inspire people to be a part of it, and advance its critical role in the world.
About Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC):
FJMC (Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs) is the international umbrella organization for a confederation of more than 250 men’s auxiliaries serving 25,000 men around the globe. Our chapters are concentrated in North America throughout the United States and Canada. The influence of FJMC’s programs and contributions is felt worldwide. FJMC’s mission is to involve Jewish men in Jewish Life.
About Women’s League for Conservative Judaism:
Since 1918, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism is the voice of the women of the Conservative movement and represents its forty thousand members on a wide array of national, international and religious issues. The mission of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism is to strengthen and unite synagogue women’s groups, their members, and individual members, support them in mutual efforts to understand and perpetuate Conservative/Masorti Judaism in the home, synagogue and community, and reinforce their bonds with Israel and with Jews worldwide. Women’s League accepts the Jerusalem Program, which is the platform of the World Zionist Organization. Through its ongoing Torah Fund campaign, Women’s League continues to financially support the students of the five worldwide Conservative Seminaries.
By Mark Gelfand
For over 100 years, the Abayudaya (“People of Judah”) community has been devoutly practicing Judaism in their villages near the city of Mbale, in eastern Uganda.
Their five synagogues cooperatively share an organization called the Abuyadaya Men’s Club.
The Men’s Club leaders, Allan and Sam, have been pursuing ideas that might support their communities, ideas especially urgently needed during the extreme lockdown times of COVID.
While the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) and the Kulanu organization had provided some support, a new proposal to establish an Abayudaya community chicken broiler farm would be a larger, less-manageable venture. (Click here to continue reading the article in the Boston Jewish Journal.)
Click at this link for a 25 minute video on the Abayudaya that was presented at the 2021 FJMC Convention.
The Seaboard Region of the FJMC established a fund to assist the Abayudaya during the COVID-19 crisis and is now collecting contributions to help the Hadassah School, as well as assist with the basic needs of the Abayudaya community. Funds go directly to the school and to the Abayudaya Men's Club, which is working to provide for the school and the community. Please go to Crisis Support for the Abayudaya to contribute.
Allan Kahan, President of the FJMC, made the following statement with respect to the position of the USCJ and Rabbi Jacob Bluemental, and the interference of the chaos which ensured when non-Orthodox Jews attempted to pray in their space during Tisha B'Av.
“The events of the night of Tisha B’Av are just the latest example of the despicable behavior of some fanatics against other Jews,” Rabbi Blumenthal said. “The rabbis assigned this day on the Jewish calendar to warn against sinat hinam, baseless hatred, yet this is how some act against their Jewish siblings. We call on all in the Jewish world, and particularly Israeli governmental leaders, to denounce this behavior and affirm the right of all to practice Judaism according to their traditions and conscience throughout Israel, including at the Kotel. We call on the new coalition government to quickly fulfill its promise in their coalition agreement to carry out the Kotel Agreement that has been stalled for years. The Masorti-Conservative movement affirms Ahavat Yisrael, a love for all Jews, and expects others to do so as well, particularly as we mourn and commemorate our shared history of destruction and suffering.”
Rabbi Blumenthal continued, “On our recent solidarity mission, we heard support first-hand for religious pluralism from leaders from within the coalition government and beyond. The hatred expressed on the night of Tisha B’Av means we cannot wait any longer. The government must immediately carry out the terms of the Kotel agreement, ensuring that all who wish to pray and celebrate at the Kotel may do so in safety and joy.”
Leaders of the Masorti Movement in Israel have noted that this moment – the aftermath of last night’s chaos- may be key in getting the kotel deal back onto the table.
(Context: The deal was approved by the past government and then tabled, so it only takes a cabinet level decision to implement it, which is well within the power, and we think, the plans, of the new, albeit fragile, government.)
Here’s the ask- if you have connections with local Federation leaders or with JFNA:
Please contact your local federation CEO and ask them to speak up, ideally publicly, on behalf of the importance of implementing the already approved kotel deal. Please also ask them to speak with JFNA leadership about this. Last night’s events at the section specifically set aside for egalitarian observance demonstrate how crucial it is that our people around the world see themselves as having a place at the Kotel and in the Jewish state. (emphasis added)
We are pleased to announce that the Executive Committee members of FJMC elected for the term July 2021 to July 2023 are:
Allan Kahan (Seaboard)
1st Vice President
Alan Budman (MAR)
Marc Cohen (MAR)
Elliot Feldman (NER)
Gary Katz (Western)
Alex Kiderman (Tri-State)
David Singer (NER)
Benny Sommerfeld (Western)
George Nadas (AZ)
Javier Rosenzwaig (HV)
Tom Sudow (KIO)
Bruce Tomar (MAR)
Bob Watts (Seaboard)
Karl Rubin (KIO)
Mark Givarz (Midwest)
A message from Hazzan Mike Weis of the Cantor's Assembly
One of the prime directives of the CA's mission to Uganda in 2019 was the creation of a one-of-a-kind music project to support the Abayudaya community. I am pleased to say that that project has achieved the first stage of completion: a complete, full-color, multi-media, virtual Haggadah that tells the story of the first 100 years of existence of the Abayudaya community in words, pictures, music and video.
Published by the Cantors Assembly and produced by Hazzanim Mike Stein and Jeremy Stein, this haggadah is only seeing a limited Beta release for this Pesah.
Given the obvious time constraints, we are seeking as much feedback as possible, and would like to get this into as many hands as possible. Though there is a suggested donation of $18 per copy, in truth, this year, we just want people to use the haggadah and provide us with feedback so that we can make it even better for its official release next spring.
If you have the opportunity to share this with your communities prior to Pesah, that would be ideal. Otherwise, anytime you can do so would be most beneficial.
All proceeds from this project will go to benefit the Abayudaya community.
To learn more visit this page on the Cantor's Assembly website.
To purchase or download the Haggadah, click here.
Israel & The Abayudaya Community: A Rabbinical Dialogue
A Marsorti.org webinar will take place on Sunday, March 7th, 2021
at 9:00 AM, PT / 12:00 Noon, ET / 7:00 pm, Israel time / 8:00 pm, Uganda time.
The Abayudaya Jews of Uganda seek equality and inclusion in Israel, in the global Jewish community and, in the Zionist community. In Israel they face ongoing discrimination and legal challenges in their quest for full recognition by the State.
As we begin to prepare for Pesach, a holiday of questions, Masorti brings together distinguished rabbis across countries and time zones to explore some answers (and maybe more questions…these are rabbis!) in a Zoom webinar.
The speical guest speaker is Rabbi Gershom Sizomu. Rabbi Gershom Sizomu is the first native-born, ordained, Black rabbi in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is also the first chief rabbi of the Abayudaya in Uganda, a member of the Ugandan Parliament and a Grammy award nominee. He will be joined by:
- Rabbi Gordon Tucker, Vice Chancellor for Religious Life and Engagement at JTS, Member of Masorti Foundation Board
Rabbi Andy Sacks, Director of the Masorti Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly in Israel, Director of Masorti Israel’s Religious Affairs Bureau
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rector and Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy, American Jewish University, Member of the Masorti Foundation Board
We also recommend Background Information on the Israeli Supreme Court Case Regarding the Jewish Community in Uganda.
This was posted on The Rabbinical Assembly website on January 26, 2021.
The Seaboard Region of the FJMC established a fund to assist the Abayudaya
during the COVID-19 crisis and is now collecting contributions to help the Hadassah School in Aaron’s memory, as well as assist with the basic needs of the Abayudaya community. Funds go directly to the school and to the Abayudaya Men's Club, which is working to provide for the school and the community. Please go to Crisis Support for the Abayudaya to contribute.
The FJMC Convention 2021 scheduled for June 30-July 4 in Chicago has been canceled. The next full FJMC International Convention will be in 2023. There will be a Virtual Convention held from June 6 to 13. Activities will be mostly on the two Sundays with shorter agendas on the weekdays. Stay tuned for more details.
Due to the Coronavirus affecting all parts of the United States, Canada and the World, the option to Prepay convention as described below has been suspended for the time being. Further information to follow.
Great question. Not only is this an easy, no risk way to manage your cash flow but you are also helping The FJMC meet it’s own down payment deadlines.
The Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs joins in expressing our shock over the violence that took place at the United States Capitol Wednesday afternoon. We call on the leaders of the U.S. and all concerned individuals to condemn this attack on The United State’s democracy in the strongest of terms. We support the peaceful transfer of power, which has been the symbol of democratic societies and governments and has been the hallmark of the United States since the very inception of the country
We express our gratitude to law enforcement for re-establishing control of the Capitol, and pray for their continued safety and the security of elected officials and their staff.
Jewish communities thrive in democratic societies where our civil liberties are guaranteed and leaders affirm the rule of law. Now is the time for all political leaders to unequivocally denounce hatred and to work to heal the divides of the nation. We must recognize our differences, but strive to bring people to civil dialogue in peace and mutual respect. Political differences are part of a democracy, but so is civil discussion. Hatred spewed by any part of the political spectrum historically has had negative consequences for the Jewish community.
The Talmud warns us, “Pray for the welfare of the government, for without it... man would swallow his fellow man” and thus every Shabbat morning, during the Torah Services we pray, “May citizens of all races and creeds form a common bond in true harmony, to banish hatred and bigotry, and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our country.”
May we move forward into time of healing and may the Almighty grant us peace.
For more information, contact: Tom Sudow, President, FJMC firstname.lastname@example.org 216 396-4030
FJMC joins with our good friends and partners as Men of Reform Judaism
ELECTION 2020 — A JEWISH PERSPECTIVE
The Washington Post called Rabbi David Saperstein the "quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill."
Newsweek Magazine said about him "the most influential rabbi in America."
December 21, 2020 at 8 p.m. ET
Rabbi Saperstein made a very memorable presentation at the 2017 International Convention of the FJMC and we are delighted to join MRJ for this event.
Lots going on and please forward this information on to your friends, club, regions - help spread the word!!!!
D’VAR TORAH PARSHA NASO
I am a Jew because in every place where suffering weeps, I weep.
Edmond Fleg (1874-1963) was a Jewish French writer, thinker, and playwright of the 20th century. His life experiences are reflected in his writing. One of his pieces is called “I am a Jew” (1927). Part of this work reads -
“I am a Jew because in every place where suffering weeps, I weep.
I am a Jew because at every time when despair cries out, I hope.”
As I think to the events of this past week, I an ever reminded of our sacred obligation of Tikkun Olam - "repairing the world." Tikkun Olam has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social justice. It is one of the important tenants of our faith.
As Jewish men, we cannot be silent or turn a blind eye to the events, which encompass us, and the actions, which are causing so much pain to our neighbors. Arnold Eisen, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary wrote this week, “ We are horrified and saddened by the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others who have come before. This is a devastating and dangerous moment in our country, the history of which is so stained by racial injustice. This injustice has been on dramatic, public display—from the disproportionate rate of COVID-19 deaths to the pervasive racism in many areas of public life….We know that these three recent murders, and so many others, have caused acute pain in the Black community, in the Black Jewish community, and among many in our broader American society. We must acknowledge this pain and respond in every way we can.”
In our Torah Portion this week, NASO, we read in Numbers 6:23, the three-fold priestly blessing -
The Lord bless you and protect you!
The Lord deal kindly and graciously with you!
The lord bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!
Rabbi Ron Kronish, the Founding Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) provides an understanding to the three parts of the blessing.
The Lord bless you and protect you!
And we could all use the blessing of Divine Protection to help us navigate the difficult journeys in our lives.
The Lord deal kindly and graciously with you!
The second half of this 2nd blessing adds the words “May the Divine Presence deal graciously with you”. The attributes; graciousness, loving-kindness and mercy are essential if we are to live moral lives. They will enable us to be more fully human; they help us care for the underdogs and the underprivileged in our communities; and they will help us relate to all human beings with greater understanding and compassion.
The Lord bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!
Too many people have become apathetic and only care about themselves, and maybe their families, but have given up on seeking cohesion for their communities or peace for their country. We need to be blessed with the attribute of seeking peace and pursuing it actively in our lives, for the betterment of our people and all peoples in our world.
On Friday evening these words are also used by parents to bless their children. This week I have heard about the talk that African American parents must give their children. The one where they remind their children that when they leave the safety of their homes, they have to keep their guard up, mouths shut, and hands on the wheel in even the most casual encounters with law enforcement. It’s an unfair but necessary burden that is carried by the African American community, one which is reluctantly passed down to children in the hopes of keeping them alive and safe.
This is a time for us to be blessed with the attributes of seeking peace and actively working for the betterment of the world. The recent murders that have led to rioting and looting which are not the answer; peaceful protest can deliver a strong message regarding the challenges facing our world. We must work to seek peace by helping to repair the world.
We are taught, “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed.” (Leviticus 19:16). I call on the Jewish community, to do all in our power to respond responsibly to this moment of crisis by taking action to build a more just world and to remember the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel -“Morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”
“I am a Jew because in every place where suffering weeps, I weep.
I am a Jew because at every time when despair cries out, I hope.”
May the Lord bestow his favor upon all of us and grant our neighbors and us peace.
Tom Sudow, International President
Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, Inc.
During these trying times, when Covid19 has caused many of us to be working from home, and most of us are staying in our homes to avoid potential exposure, the FJMC has launched a new initiative of on-line webinars, involving a multitude of subjects, including leadership development, As this is a 'developing initiative' check back to the home page of this initiative, https://www.fjmc.org/webinars, and when you see a presentation which you're interested in, tune in. Now more than ever, you'll understand the reality that Men's Club goes beyond your synagogue parking lot.
World Wide Wrap hats are now available from a separate website. They are great for those who are training others to put on tefillin. They will make this year's Wrap extra special.
The hats are available in several styles with two different logos:
- regular WWW logo
- regular WWW logo with "Tefillin Trainer" underneath
We recommend that you go to the top bar of the linked website and choose "shop by logo". It will show you both logos. Choose the logo you want. Then choose the style.
The hats range in price from $27.00 to $32.95. The $32.95 hat comes in specific sizes.
The Plenary Session of the FJMC Convention voted to approve the following 2019-2021 leadership. You may view photos and biographies of the candidates under the About Us section of the main menu.
- President - Tom Sudow (Kentucky/Indiana/Ohio)
- First Vice President - Allan Kahan (Seaboard)
- Vice Presidents
- Alan Budman (Middle Atlantic)
- Stephen Dix (Anshei Darom)
- Elliot Feldman (New England)
- David Singer (New England)
- Benny Sommerfeld (Western)
- Bruce Tomar (Middle Atlantic)
- Treasurer - George Nadas (Ansh-eh Zafon – Former Lake Ontario Region)
- Secretary - Mark Givarz (Midwest)
- At-Large Members
- Norm Katz (Western)
- Art Lashin (MAR)
- Jon Norton (Midwest)
- Dan Granek (New York Metropolitan)
- Honorary President - Stan Greenspan (Ansh-eh Zafon – Former Lake Ontario Region)
At the left you will find a photo taken at the November 12, 2018 Leadership Development Institute in Maryland. It shows Irwin Harris of the Tri-State Region Tree of Life congregation, with Alan Pressman of the Hudson Valley Region. Irwin is wearing a "Stronger than Hate" T-shirt. This 'Stronger Than Hate' logo has been adopted as one response to the terrible events in Pittsburgh which eleven Jews were killed during Shabbat Services.
Please consider purchasing a "Stronger than Hate" T-shirt at the www.pittsburghstrongerthanhate.com website. The sanctuary, where much of the shooting occurred, is deemed to be uninhabitable in as much as the congregants no longer feel comfortable praying in the defiled sanctuary.
At least $6 per shirt goes to the Tree of Life congregation. As of November 18, 2018, $60,000 had been raised for Tree of Life from the sale of these shirts.
There is a link a video on the company that is printing the shirts that you may find here.
The FJMC Statement on the Shooting at the Tree of Life may be found here.
Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs
Office of the President
Gentlemen, I have the sad duty to tell you that our friend and esteemed member, Steven Krodman, succumbed to ALS Friday night, January 11th.
The funeral will be at Congregation Etz Chaim, Steve’s shul, in Marietta, GA. at 11:00 am on Monday, January 14. Steve leaves his wife of over 40 years, Donna, his daughters Melissa and Jocelyn and granddaughter, Nanu (Naomi).
His life touched hundreds an active member of Etz Chaim, and as a the past president of the Anshei Darom Region, and he touched thousands through the myriad of FJMC activities he either led or was part of over the years.
Steve was an integral part of the FJMC 2019 Convention committee as one of the 2 chairman. He was involved with planning and decisions up until the last month or so, and we will discuss how we will honour his memory in the next few days.
Donations in his memory may be made to either the FJMC on the donations page https://www.fjmc.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=45 or through a fund being set up by Donna at Etz Chaim to be known as the Steve Krodman Men’s Club Scholarship Fund, specifically to allow men to attend retreats and conventions who may not have the funds to do so. https://www.etzchaim.net/payment.php
Funds are needed to help offset some of the costs of the shiva, as Steve and Donna moved into a community with very little street parking, requiring expensive valet parking to keep the parking manageable. Those donations can be made through the FJMC website, just indicate your choice in the comments area.
We will have a broader e-mail sent to our members as soon as possible.
Baruch Dyan Emet.
Dear FJMC members and supporters,
We join Jewish organizations and communities across North America and beyond in expressing our grief over the shooting attack Saturday, October 27, 2018 at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Unfortunately, we now know that the victims include Daniel Stein, past president of the men's club there, several other members of that club, as well as family members of our brothers across the continent. Many of our leaders from the Tri-State Region (comprising the greater Pittsburgh area) learned of the attack during Shabbat morning services for their biennial retreat with leaders from the KIO (Kentucky-Indiana-Ohio) Region.
It is a testament to the brotherhood and the life-affirming principles that underscore FJMC's mission that the retreat participants comforted each other both by recognizing the shock and pain arising from this tragedy and by continuing to celebrate Shabbat together in part as a tribute to the victims of this attack.
Sadly, we at FJMC know that this deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in American history represents merely the worst example in a rising trend of hatred for Jews and other minorities and marginalized groups in our society.
Even worse, early reports now suggest that the perpetrator targeted Tree of Life because the congregation served as a Pittsburgh venue and co-sponsor for National Refugee Shabbat, a program that underscores values at the heart of one of the FJMC's signature programs, the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candles project.
Over 35 years ago, when FJMC leaders in Boston and Toronto created the Yellow Candle, they did so not just as a vehicle for home observance of Yom HaShoah, but also in order to raise funds needed to secure ransom for Syrian Jewish refugees. Our brothers, now of blessed memory, understood that "Never Again" means that hatred and violence targeting any marginalized people cannot be tolerated anywhere at any time. And now, here in what is supposed to be a safe place, the madness continues. Is it simply hatred? Is it fear of the other? We have to keep asking; we have to keep searching; we have to speak out - on our own behalf as targets of hatred, and on behalf of others who do not have a voice to be heard - so that hopefully, eventually, we will be able to make this kind of madness stop.
We therefore re-commit ourselves to honoring the origins of the Yellow Candles program in order to continue advancing lessons from Jewish history and tradition. We must respond to these forces of darkness by shining light into our communities, and we can do that in part by embracing the enduring mission that is at the heart of our Yellow Candles program.
Stan Greenspan, International President
Rabbi Andy Shugerman, Executive Director
Tom Sudow, 1st Vice President
Aaron Altman, Vice President
William Becker, Ph.D., Vice President
Alan Budman, Vice President
Allan Kahan, Vice President
Jeff Schulman, Vice President
Bruce Tomar, Vice President
Steve Dix, Treasurer
David Singer, Secretary
Joel Kurtz, Member of Executive Committee
Ken Matlick, Member of Executive Committee
George Nadas, Member of Executive Committee
Allan Gottesman, Honorary President
Larry Allen, Past International President
Jerry Agrest, Past International President
Mark Berlin, Past International President
Robert E. Braitman, M.D., Past International
President Steve Davidoff, Ph.D., Past International President
Norm Kurtz, Past International President
Bob Levine, Past International President
Michael Mills, Past International President
J. Harold Nissen, Past International President
Daniel Stern, Past International President
Andy Alper, Board Member
Creighton J. Cohn, Board Member
Mark A. Druy, Ph.D., Board Member
Greg E. Gore, Board Member
Stephen A. Neustein, Board Member
Bruce Sicherman, Board Member
Kenneth A. Turkewitz, Board Member
Eric M. Weis, Board Member
Larry Wiederhorn, Board Member
Norman Katz, Member of Executive Committee, San Diego, CA US
Bruce Sicherman, Board Member, US
David Kalmeyer, Past President, Southwest region, OverlandPark, KS US
Aaron Inver, Congregation Beth El, NJ US
Robert Watts, 1st Vice President, Seaboard Region, Annandale, VA US
Harold Waisel, President, Brotherhood of Temple Israel, Sharon, MA, Sharon, MA US
Mitchell Daks, Treasurer, Western Region, Porter Ranch, CA US
Philip Wachsler, MA US
Dr. David Edwards, past region president, Pittsburgh, PA US
Mike Rosenberg, Past President, Tri-State Region, US
Elliot Feldman, President, New England Region, Sharon, MA US
Stuart Mantel, NNJR Trustee, , NJ US
Daniel Mandeau, International Convention 2019 Co-Chairman, Newton, Ma US
David Glass, Regional VP, Northern NJ , Springfield , NJ US
Edward Margolis, Yom Hashoah Yellow Candle, Logistics Chair, US
Get Ready for Convention 2019 in Toronto on July 3-7.
THE WESTIN HARBOUR CASTLE, TORONTO, CANADA
You don't want to miss our 2019 International Convention. Toronto is a great place to plan a family vacation, with the CN Tower, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, St. Lawrence Market, Royal Alexandra Theatre, Steam Whistle Brewery, Hockey Hall of Fame, and a host of other attractions for your entire family.
For all members outside of Canada, make sure your passport is up to date.
Convention 2017 in Washington, DC was a great success. For 2019, we're heading back north to Toronto. Our 2001 Convention in Toronto was also very well attended. For 2019, we've selected a beautiful waterfront venue and we're planning on a number of exciting activities for you to explore the city. So plan to come early or stay a few days after convention.
Registration opens soon.
Joe Swerdlow & Steve Krodman z''l
Convention 2019 Chairs
Danny Mandeau, Co-Chair
July 19, 2018 7 Av, 5778
We, the Masorti/Conservative Movement representing two million Jews around the world, are outraged by the arrest this morning of Rabbi Dov Haiyun of Moriah Congregation in Haifa, who was awoken at 5:30 am by police for the "crime" of officiating at a wedding outside the authority of the Israeli ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. Rabbi Haiyun potentially faces two years in prison for officiating at this wedding.
Rabbi Haiyun, who was ordained by the Masorti/Conservative movement at Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem, is the first to be arrested for this act since the law forbidding any rabbi outside the Rabbinate to officiate at a wedding was passed in 2013. Today's actions against Rabbi Haiyun marks a new and dangerous step in the ongoing attack on religious freedom and civil liberties in Israel; one, thankfully that was thwarted by order of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.
We uphold the right of rabbis of all Jewish streams, not just those under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate, to conduct a wedding ‘according to the law of Moses and (People) Israel.’ We stand in solidarity with Rabbi Haiyun and all our colleagues in Israel who bring couples together in love and marriage according to the traditions of the Jewish people.
Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs
Jewish Educators Assembly
Jewish Youth Directors Association
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
Seminario Rabinico Latinoamaericano
The North American Association of Synagogue Executives
The Rabbinical Assembly
Women's League for Conservative Judaism
Zacharias Frankel College, University of Potsdam
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University
Statement Posted on: Wednesday June 6, 2018
In a blow to the unity of the Jewish people, Israel’s Interior Ministry last week rejected the aliyah application of Kibita Yosef, a member of the Abayudaya Jewish community of Uganda, currently in Israel as a volunteer on a kibbutz. Explaining its May 31 refusal, a ministry spokesperson reportedly stated, “This is a matter of principle regarding conversions in this community — it is not about one specific applicant.” But such a statement amounts to a de facto dismissal of the legitimacy of the 2,500-strong community that has been practicing Judaism for a century.
It is outrageous, disrespectful and very possibly unlawful for the Interior Ministry to reject the validity of conversions performed abroad by a major Jewish movement. The Abayudaya Community are members of Masorti Olami (World Council of Conservative/Masorti Synagogues).
This decision reverses over two decades of government policy that has conferred Jewish status for purposes of immigration and citizenship on those who convert abroad through a major Jewish movement. It is not only an affront to the Abayudaya, but also to the entire worldwide Conservative/Masorti movement.
This announcement comes on the heels of other hostile acts from the government toward African converts to Judaism, including the government’s forced deportation last December of Yehuda Kimani, who arrived in Israel with a valid visa to study at The Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Israel should be home to the entirety of the Jewish people, and not cede to sectarianism or to the whim of whichever political parties or chief rabbis happen to be in power at the time. We stand with Kibita Yosef, the Abayudaya member whose application for permanent status under the Law of Return triggered the Interior Ministry’s verdict. He is a Zionist just as we are Zionists. He is a Jew entitled to Israeli citizenship, just as we are, and we will support his appeal of this decision to Israel’s High Court of Justice.
We stand with all the Jewish Abayudaya people and all our Jewish communities of Africa and the world. And we demand that the Interior Ministry reverse its decision immediately and accept Kibita Yosef's aliyah. Moving forward, we are committed to using all means at our disposal to achieve this result for him, and for all the other Kibita Yosefs in the world waiting to make aliyah.
Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs
Jewish Educators Assembly
Jewish Theological Seminary
North American Association of Synagogue Executives
Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism
Zacharias Frankel College
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
Click for several meditation suggestions:
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
If you would like to make a contribution to honor Burt's memory, click the button below: To post a comment, which will be posted here and shared with Burt's family, you must be logged in.
On February 11 & 12, 2018, the FJMC Executive Committee held a meeting at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. On Monday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at our new shared office space with Women’s League in the Interchurch Center near JTS. The new office is on the same floor as our previous office. The advantage of our sharing office space is lower expense and increased synergy between our two arms of the Conservative movement.
One advantage of holding the meeting at JTS is that we were able to join the morning service in the sanctuary in the bell tower section of the seminary.
The ribbon cutting took place on Monday. Attending the celebration were (L to R, rear row) Gideon Aronoff, Executive Director, Masorti Foundation; Hazzan Zach Mondrow, Cantorial Assembly; Stan Greenspan, President, FJMC; Steve Portnoy, President, Men of Reform Judaism; Rabbi Andy Shugerman, Executive Director, FJMC, (L to R, front row) Rabbi Lilly Kaufman, Executive Director, Torah Fund; Linda Sussman, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg, Rabbinical Assembly; Lucy Becker, Women's League for Conservative Judaism; and Vivian Leber, Women's League for Conservative Judaism.
Posted on: Tuesday, November 28, 2017
In light of the growing number of reports of sexual harassment in recent weeks, as evidenced in the proliferation of posts using #MeToo and #GamAni hashtags, the Conservative Jewish movement, as represented by the Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Women's League for Conservative Judaism, Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs, North American Association of Synagogue Executives, Cantors Assembly, Masorti Foundation, Schechter Institutes, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, the Ramah Camping Movement and the Jewish Theological Seminary has issued the following statement:
"In the wake of ongoing revelations of alleged sexual misconduct, including the willingness of more and more women, and sometimes men, to tell their stories publicly, the Conservative Jewish movement condemns the behavior of those who use their positions of power to take advantage of others. We must be better attuned to these incidents, develop procedures and policies to prevent them, and condemn and when appropriate prosecute the perpetrators.
Jewish tradition prohibits physical or sexual abuse and teaches that kvod habriyot, the dignity of each person, is to be honored and maintained, and that onaat dvarim, verbal, and by extension other nonphysical abuse, is strictly forbidden, and cannot be tolerated at any level.
We must work to ensure that our Jewish organizations and also our society at large emphasize standards of propriety and respect, and that we have in place policies and structures where those abused or harassed can safely report incidents and know their concerns will be taken seriously. We agree with the Child Safety Pledge, signed by top philanthropists in the Jewish world who have committed to support only those schools, camps and other institutions that work with children to take steps to 'prevent, report and investigate sexual abuse of minors.' Let us ensure that our Jewish institutions meet their criteria."
Below, please find a statement protesting recent policies in Israel that severely curtail expressions of religious pluralism.
The statement was presented on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 in the course of a reception at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC attended by delegates of the Biennial Convention of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs and the Men of Reform Judaism.
Drawing over 500 attendees from the United States, Canada, France, Uganda, and Argentina, this interdenominational gathering marks the first time that both groups have co-hosted a convention.
The statement's authors and co-signers represent a consortium of liberal Jewish groups, spanning both the Conservative and Reform movements and comprising The Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel, ARZA, MERCAZ, The Cantors Assembly, The Women's League for Conservative Judaism, The Women of Reform Judaism, The Men of Reform Judaism and The Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs.
Statement In Protest of Increasing Limits on Religious Pluralism in Israel
The Conservative (Masorti) and Reform (Progressive) movements are home to the overwhelming number of Jews in North America. Our communities have long been the backbone of support for Israel. For example, experts estimate that more than 80% of AIPAC supporters are affiliated with our movements.
In light of those facts, it is painful to describe the anger, frustration, disillusionment and disappointment throughout our communities concerning the most recent developments with regard to the Kotel, conversion and the authority of the Rabbanut (Chief Rabbinate of Israel). These developments, offensive as they were, unfortunately do not stand in isolation but are only the most recent manifestations of a lack of respect for nonOrthodox Jewry both in Israel and in the Diaspora.
It is not our purpose today to recount a litany of betrayals of the religious ideals and values on which the State of Israel was founded, a State meant to be the homeland for all Jews. We know, and you know, that we are speaking of more than just what has transpired over the last few weeks; nonetheless, to embrace what, in some ways, is a Middle Eastern metaphor, these straws have broken the camel’s back.
It is not a hollow statement when we say we love Israel. We visit Israel often. Many of us have family in Israel, and we all have friends there. It is precisely our strong bonds with Israel that now compel our candor, bluntness perhaps more typical of our Israeli friends than that of North American groups.
It is important for you to understand, and therefore we emphasize it, that this is not some pro forma protest which can be air-brushed away. This is not a debate about geo-political issues. Rather, it goes to the heart of whether Israel perceives non-Orthodox Jews as legitimate. It is beyond absurd that Israel is the one democracy in the world where Jews cannot freely practice their faith in accordance with their beliefs.
The government’s actions risk dividing the worldwide Jewish community at a time when it must remain united. We count on you to make clear to the Prime Minister, the Israeli Government and Members of Knesset, that a few soothing words or exhortations for patience will not fix this. We expect concrete actions. It should matter to you that we care about all of this not only because of our own commitment to Israel but also because we want our children and grandchildren to share that love for Israel – and we are at risk of that not happening.
Rabbi Charles Simon will retire from his role as FJMC Executive Director after the International Convention in July. FJMC is putting together a Festschrift which will provide a historical perspective on the impact Rabbi Simon and the FJMC have had on the Conservative movement over the last 35 years.
We who love and respect Rabbi Simon and his contributions to Conservative Masorti Judaism through his leadership of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs are invited to honor and give tribute, and thank him for making a difference in our lives. His vision and mentorship has provided us with the support to be the leaders of the Conservative/Masorti movement in the 21st century. We also now acknowledge that FJMC through Rabbi Simon has become important to the Men of Reform Judaism as they rebuild with the vision and support of FJMC programming and resources.
Alan Cooperman of the Pew Research Center made a presentation on Jewish Demographic Trends at the FJMC Keruv Advanced Training Workshop in Bethesda, Maryland on March 17, 2017. Please see the below video, or for all four parts of the presentation, please follow this link.
The FJMC, with funding from the National Center to Encourage Judaism, has awarded $1,000 grants to twenty Conservative/Masorti Congregations in North America that met requirements for a welcoming website. An application and proposal were submitted online, and the project was to be completed by March 6, 2017. A list of the winners with their website addresses are below. A photo of representatives of the award winners who attended the FJMC Keruv Advanced Training Workshop in March 2017 is shown. For additional photos, please follow this link.
NCEJ/FJMC Welcoming Website Grant Award Winners
|Adath Shalom, Morris Plains, NJ||www.adathshalom.net|
|Beth Jacob Congregation, Mendota Heights, MN||www.beth-jacob.org|
|Congregation Agudas Achim, Austin, TX||www.theaustinsynagogue.org|
|Congregation Agudas Achim, San Antonio, TX||www.agudas-achim.org|
|Congregation Beth Torah, Richardson, TX||www.congregationbethtorah.org|
|Congregation B'nai Amoona, St. Louis, MO||www.bnaiamoona.com|
|Congregation B'nai Israel, Sylvania, OH||www.cbitoledo.org|
|Congregation B'nai Israel, Tustin, CA||www.cbi18.org|
|Congregation Brothers of Israel, Newtown, PA||www.cboi.org|
|Congregation Neveh Shalom, Portland, OR||www.nevehshalom.org|
|Congregation Shaaray Tefila, Glens Falls, NY||www.shaaraytefila-gfny.org|
|East Midwood Jewish Center, Inc., Brooklyn, NY||www.emjc.org|
|Flemington Jewish Community Center, Flemington, NJ||www.flemingtonjcc.org|
|Kol Rinah, Saint Louis, MO||www.kolrinahstl.org|
|Midbar Kodesh Temple, Henderson, NV||www.midbarkodesh.org|
|Ohev Shalom of Bucks County, Richboro, PA||www.ohev.org|
|Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, Pasadena, CA||www.pjtc.net|
|Temple Beth El, Stamford, CT||www.tbe.org|
|Temple Beth-El, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL||www.templebeth-el.net|
|Tifereth Israel Synagogue, San Diego, CA||www.tiferethisrael.com|
The Nominating Committee has nominated ....
for the 2017-2019 leadership
- President - Stan Greenspan (Lake Ontario)
- First Vice President - Tom Sudow (Kentucky/Indiana/Ohio)
- Vice-Presidents - Aaron Altman (New York Metro), Bill Becker (Seaboard), Alan Budman (MIddle Atlantic), Allan Kahan (Seaboard), Jeff Schulman (Northern New Jersey), Bruce Tomar (Middle Atlantic)
- Treasurer - Steve Dix (Anshei Darom)
- Secretary - David Singer (New England)
- Honorary President - Allan Gottesman (Florida)
In addition, incoming President Stan Greenspan will be selecting four additional men to serve on the Executive Committee.
We wish all the nominees a hearty Mazel Tov, Yasher Koach for the work that got them to this point, and for the efforts on behalf of the FJMC they'll be making in the coming years!
We also want to acknowledge the work of those whose terms on the Executive Committee are ending (Vice Presidents - Mark Druy and Gary Smith; Treasurer - Dave Mandell; At large - Greg Pollack), Yasher Koach for the work that you have done for the FJMC.
This year, 2017, the international Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) brought the annual “World Wide Wrap” to Cuba because we recognized that here we could serve a population of Jewish people yearning to bind themselves to their Jewish identity.
Rising (2016) by Elyssa Wortzman
A descriptive video explaining Rising is now available by clicking here.
As a result of growing international interest in commemorating Yom HaShoah, FJMC with the aid of noted artist Elyssa Wortzman developed, Rising. The Yellow CandlesTM label, employing Hebrew, Spanish, French and English reflects FJMC’s cooperation with World Jewry. Partners in this endeavor at the Seminario Latinoamericano, Marshal Meyer in Buenos Aires and the Men of Reform Judaism.
The label addresses the question "How do you transmit memory and loss to someone who does not have a direct connection to the past event?”, an increasingly familiar theme today as fewer survivors of the Holocaust remain.
Candles and programmatic material to enrich Holocaust engagement can be found at the Yellow CandlesTM home page.
Yellow CandlesTM featuring Rising will be shipped out on a first come first served basis. Remaining orders will be filled from stock featuring The Mission - by Israeli Artist, Dubi Arie.
Sustainably sourced compostable dinnerware is an appropriate option for FJMC Club Functions. FJMC has a special purchase agreement with World Centric. World Centric is committed to 100% certified compostable products made from renewable, plant-based materials. From cups, plates, bowls and cutlery to trays, to-go containers, napkins and garbage bags, their 200+ product line meets your foodservice needs both at home and in professional settings. Their products are non-toxic and require less energy to make than petroleum-based products. Best of all, these products will turn to soil when composted, allowing the process of growth to begin again. When you register and apply the coupon code, you will receive a 15% discount. Please review our Shomrei Ha'aretz webpage to find out on how to set up an account.
Hearing Men's Voices ("HMV") is one of FJMC's most popular programs. HMV engages men in Jewish life by building male relationships and extending Jewish community. HMV facilitates intimacy among men through dialogue. Men meet in groups to discuss common issues. The quality of dialogue can be rich and enjoyable.
Sports have been a special draw for men. The FJMC has planned a session on men and sports and prepared a short booklet as a guide: Physically Competitive Sports (You and Your Child) A Facilitator's Guide. We invite you to use this as a springboard for other sesssions on sports, movies, religion, relationships, humor, television, youth, aging - there is a world of ideas for discussion.
For further information on Hearing Men's Voices visit the Programs section our our website.
Rabbi David Wolpe states in his forward - "Royalty, Religion, Sex and Mystery is a book of modern interpretation and midrash. It takes the stories of the Bible, explains them and then helps them come to life. What did the Levite feel as a survivor when the ark fell and Uzzah was killed? What is the story of David confronting a giant supposed to teach later generations? How did the rabbis succeed in making their reading of the text the one that became Judaism as we know it?"
In Royalty, Religion, Sex and Mystery, Rabbi Simon presents us with a great sweep of Jewish History and lore, beginning with the Ark of the Covenant (delightfully told from teh Ark's point of view) to teh establishment of Rabbinic Judaism. Using historical eveidence and various points of view and narrative voice, he retells the Books of Kings and Chronicles. With compassion and humor, he uncovers the possible motivations, thoughts and feelings of teh characters, both men and women. The drama is replete with politics, rebellions, alliances, merciless acts, acts of vengenance, courage, loyalty and pathos. The backdrop is the historical rise of kingdoms and then empires and the develpment of literature, religion, and theology. Rabbi Simon has truly followed Rav Kook's dictum to make the old new, and the new holy. - Dr. Amy L. Sales, Senior Research Scientist, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University
To purchase the book, refer to the FJMC Store.
Early in July, campers from Camp Ramah - Wisconsin were singing along with Norm Kurtz, Orin Rotman and Evan Rumack of Congregation Beth Judea Men’s Club in Long Grove, Illinois. Norm, Orin, and Evan led educational sessions with Solelim and Shoafim about the laws and customs associated with wearing tefillin and answered a variety of questions from campers. We’re very grateful to Norm, Orin and Evan for making the trip to camp and for facilitating a contribution of 15 sets of tefillin to Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Yasher Koach to Congregation Beth Judea Men’s Club, the Midwest Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, the International Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, and various individuals for this meaningful gift.
The FJMC has launched a Friends of FJMC Campaign.
Those willing to pledge a minimum of $18.00 a month will help ensure that the organization's programs and influence is sustained in the months and years ahead. To learn more about this exciting initiative and how YOU can become a part, click here.
The site of the 2017 FJMC International Convention is the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Crystal City, VA. There will be programs starting on Monday evening, July 17th. Washington is a great place to plan a family vacation, with the Holocaust Museum, the Israeli Embassy (a FJMC Reception will be held on Tuesday night at the Embassy, so you'll want to plan to get to Convention early), the Smithsonian Institution and its incredible museums, National Gallery of Art, the Newseum, the Washington National's Baseball Stadium, the Capital, and a host of other attractions for your wife and family.
The dates of the Convention itself are Wednesday, July 19 - Sunday, July 23, 2017. The Woman's League, the parent organiztion of your congregation's Sisterhood, will hold thier Convention immediately thereafter, starting on that Sunday, July 23rd.
Visit the Convention Registration Site for more information.
Bill Becker & Joe Swerdlow, Convention Chair & Co-Chair, are planning an exciting time.
Since the traditional Shabbat service isn't to everyone's liking, this book, written by Dr. Bob Braitman and Norm Kurtz, two Past International Presidents of the FJMC, and actively involved in exploring other ways to get people involved in prayer, is an excellent resource for experimenting with other types of services which will get members into the door and involved. Sold through Amazon.com, the paperback book is available to be ordered, by clicking on the image of the book.
We've 'partnered' with Amazon for the publication of our new book "Biblical Leadership After Moses." The book was written and published in honor of Captain Ruach, Burt Fischman, receiving the Lifetime Achievment Award from the FJMC. To order and learn more about this exciting publication, click here.
The FJMC and the Cantor's Assembly have jointly published "A Guide to Introducing a Meditative Experience in Congregations." The preface to the paper is available on the following page link (click here), where a complete copy of the paper, in pdf format, can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of the page.
Whether it is to congratulate your club's new officers, or your region's Ma'asim Tovim Honoree, your newly elected Regional Officers, or one of the newly nominated international officers, the Convention Tribute Journal is now 'OPEN FOR BUSINESS / TRIBUTES" and you can place your tribute by clicking on this link.
Tools for Your Shuls, a new newsletter has been launched by the FJMC. It provides congregational leaders and clergy 'tools' and ideas to implement outreach for your congregation, due to the changing demographics of the Jewish community. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here. To download the first issue, click here.
Tribe Magazine, an electronic and hard copy publication for the greater Los Angeles, California Jewish community, highlights the fact that Men’s clubs offer a place for'good ol boys' in Los Angeles, to get and stay involved in their synagogue. The article explains that Men's Clubs can be serious, practical or just plain fun. Read the artticle by clicking here.
Why is it that the use of the Mikvah is one of the most neglected observances, and even - G-d forgive us - a joke in some circles? Times are a changing and more and more Jewish men are discovering the spiritual cleansing and purification of the Mikvah in a spa like environment that is private, clean as well as being darn right luxurious. If there is a joke, it's because many Jewish men still do not know this. For further information and to read the article, click here.
While most of the news involving the United Nations is negative with respect to Israel, our FJMC representative to the UN (as NGO - Non-Goverment Organizations) reports on where the contributions of Israel are being appreciated and suggested implementation for other nations. To read the report, click here.
Strategies for Clergy and Lay Leadership is a new publication by Rabbi Charles Simon, and can be used by any synagogue seeking to adjust to demographic change as a blueprint for discussion and planning. It provides a step-by-step guide to inclusion, taking into consideration the unique culture of each community. To find out more, or to purchase it, click here.
The FJMC has published an Implementation Guide for its recent publication - "Jewish Men at the Crossroads." Jewish Men at the Crossroads represents the most comprehensive collection of Hearing Men’s Voices (HMV) essays to date. The book offers thought‐provoking essays and discussion questions on topics of critical importance to men, andwhich can be used to effectively engage men through HMV programming.
In his July 2012 article, “A Game Plan for Renewal: The Demise of National Movements and their Rebirth,” Dr. Steven Windmueller of the Jewish Institute of Religion at Hebrew Union College reports on his research showing that many religious, political, fraternal and social movements in North America are in decline. He offers several reasons including increasing membership costs, multiple competing causes and interests, the replacement of traditional memberships with social networks, and the lesser interest and loyalty of younger adults to their parents’ institutions. He further suggests that “an increasing secularization of American postmodern society” intensifies this trend for many diverse liberal religious groups, and cites the substantial decline in membership of Conservative synagogues over the past decade as an example.
When I read this article I was a short year away from beginning my term as FJMC president; it impacted my thinking and helped me formulate my vision for FJMC and the types of activities that we should pursue to accomplish that vision. Read Entire Article
There is now an easier way to access the Club and Regional Officer manuals. Just log on to the website (through the Member Log on) and you'll be presented by a new Leadership menu, and within the Leadership Menu are Leadership Documents. You'll see the manuals as the first two entries in the table, and you'll be able to download the pdf's to your computer or mobile device.
In March, Gail and I had the pleasure of traveling to France as part of the 2014 FJMC/Masorti Olami Mission to Provence and Cotè d’Azur. The main purpose of the Mission was to build relationships with the two Masorti congregations in that part of the world, click here
As FJMC works to build and strengthen men’s clubs and at the same time collaborate with other arms of our Movement to address the issues facing Conservative Judaism, it’s been very enjoyable and rewarding for me personally to be able to form good relationships with the leadership of these other organizations. The presidents of United Synagogue and Women’s League and I meet by phone every other month; I serve on the Boards of JTS, the Ziegler School, and Mercaz; and I’m a member of the Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism which includes the professional and lay leadership of every arm of our movement. To read the entire blog, click here.
In this thought provoking article by Rabbi Charles Simon, FJMC and Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, Big Tent Judaism/Jewish Outreach Institute, they discuss what our synagogues might be like were a Conservative/Masorti synagogues choose to respond positively to demographic change implied by intermarriage. And they raise some of the issues that will have to be thoughtfully considered and employed. To read this thought provoking article, click here.
Help us light 1,000,000 candles on Yom HaShoah in memory of the children who were victims of the Holocaust. Yom HaShoah Yellow CandlesTM are now available featuring new artwork by world renowned artist and survivor, Dubi Arie. Check the Yellow Candles pages to find out information about the Yellow Candle program and see a picture of the new candle packaging. Order your candles today. Register your commitment to light a candle on Yom HaShoah. Answer the 1,000,000 Candle Challenge.
Chicago Jewish News Guide to Jewish Chicago, honored our very own Burton Fischman, more commonly known as 'Captain Ruach' for his spirited rendition of Birchat HaMazon (the blessings after a meal), as a Jewish Chicagoan of the Year for 2013-2014. To read the article, in which his FJMC is prominently mentioned, click here. And from his FJMC friends, a hearty (and spirited) Yasher Koach!! And you can leave your comments to Captain Ruach below.
President Myles Simpson unveils an on-line blog, to facilitate communication between members and leadership, about the issues which clubs and members are concerned about. Through this blog Myles hopes to accomplish two key objectives: (1) share information as well as his views on a variety of topics related to FJMC, Men’s Clubs, and the Conservative Movement that you will find interesting and relevant; (2) provide a means for you to comment on what he has written and offer your own views on these topics. The topics that he will cover will range from basic information on how to build and strengthen your club, to provocative issues like the future of the Movement or the role of men in Jewish life. You'll find his blog "Myles Musings" under the About Us menu item.
The Board of Directors of the FJMC has approved an increase in Men's Club dues of $1 per club member, effective in our next fiscal year (starting Sept. 1, 2013). The FJMC is also launching a Membership Campaign for our Men's Clubs to help you grow your membership, starting at Convention. We’re developing new training and promotional materials to help you attract new members, which will also be previewed at Convention. Now here is the real good news - when your club is successful with its membership campaign, it will receive a 50% discount for each new member over your membership totals for the current year as reported to the FJMC. As an example if you grow from 75 members to 85 members next year, instead of your dues being $935 in the following year, they would only be $880. The FJMC is delighted that over the past 10 years we have only raised dues by a $1 and we have been able to keep membership affordable to allow for maximum participation in the organization.
Please share this information with your clubs. A Briefing Package describing the dues increase, membership campaign, and dues discount with details and examples can be downloaded from our website by clicking here. Questions can be sent to Myles Simpson, VP Region and Club Services, at email@example.com.
The Nominating Committee has nominated ....
for the 2013-2015 leadership
- President - Myles A. Simpson (Western)
- First Vice President - Allan Gottesman (Florida)
- Vice-Presidents - Mark Druy (New England), Stan Greenspan (Lake Ontario), Allan Kahan (Seaboard), Ed Margolis (Florida), Steve Neustein (Tri-State) and Gary Smith (KIO)
- Treasurer - Joel Shrater (Western)
- Secretary - Alan Budman (Mid Atlantic)
- Honorary President - Mike Mills (KIO)
In addition, incoming President Myles A. Simpson has selected four additional men to serve on the Executive Committee: Bill Becker (Seaboard), Dave Mandell (N New Jersey), Warren Sufrin (Tri-State), and Bruce Tomar (Mid Atlantic).
We wish all the nominees and appointees a hearty Mazel Tov, Yasher Koach for the work that got them to this point, and for the efforts on behalf of the FJMC they'll be making in the coming years!
A Wealth Management Conference will be offered...
the morning of Convention, Wednesday, July 24th, prior to the Convention activities beginning. The Conference fomat of panel presentations and multiple breakout sessions will have two tracts: a novice tract for those just beginning the process or retirement planning, with such subjects as preparign to operate independently; what to do with inheritance; Long Term Care insurance: assessing Financial professionals; Budgeting; Estate Planning; and Tax Planning, charitable donations and mission investing. An intermediate tract will be available for those who have dealt with many of the initial efforts, and will cover: budgeting for retirement and setting investment goals; advanced investment area to tempt you, including EFT's, MLP's, REIT's, Oil Well, Drips, and selling Call options; diversification options for lowered risk and greater rewards; Israeli bonds as a part of a smart portfolio; and what you can learn from Newsletters.
For further information, check the Wealth Management Seminar page at the Convention web site, which can be reached by clicking here.
Something you may not know is that if you make a post to Facebook, it isn’t necessarily seen by many people. We all have too many friends, and if we saw everything each friend or organization posted, we would be completely overwhelmed. So Facebook uses an algorithm to present posts that it determines are most relevant to you. One key criterion in the algorithm is the engagement of posts. If the posts are being liked and shared by many people, they are more likely to be presented to you.
A way to make it more likely that you will see posts from particular pages is by upping the notification parameters for that site. So right now, go to https://www.facebook.com/FJMC.ORG and sign up for more notifications from FJMC by clicking on the three-dot (…) button on the top right. Select the Follow Settings and the Notifications. See this instructional video on sharing posts.
Facebook offers both Pages and Groups. Pages are the public face of an organization while Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests. For example, the TV show Shtisel has a public page maintained by the TV studio and there are various Groups that allow people to discuss the show. Some clubs have chosen to have a Pages and other Groups. When you post to a Page, unless you have administrator rights, your post goes to the community area rather than the newsfeed. For more information on Pages and Groups see this Facebook Tips site.
FJMC’s Facebook presence has evolved over the years. At one point we had as many as three FB pages, but we are in the final stages of merging all three into a single page. https://www.facebook.com/FJMC.ORG is the official page. The FJMC HQ page will be merged with the FJMC.ORG page.
Social media survey that we conducted in our last HaShofar indicated that about two thirds of us check our Facebook pages regularly. So let’s make the most out of this tool. Start sharing!
FJMC also has Twitter presence (@FJMC_HQ), so you can hear the latest news of the orgnization? Become a follower on each, and spread the news, telling your club's members to join in on the conversation.
The FJMC adopted a new tag line..... "Leadership, Innovation & Community" which in a short three-word expression, encapsulates what Men's Clubs and Brotherhoods bring to the Jewish Community. It strengthens LEADERSHIP - mentoring leaders at the club, region and international level. It does this through the development of INNOVATIVE programming and material for our clubs and the member families of the Conservative / Masorti movement world-wide. And it builds COMMUNITY which allows Jewish men to form meaningful long-lasting relationships based on camaraderie, common interests and core values. FJMC brings meaning to the lives of men, and through our programming, touches hundreds of thousands of people each year.
In the coming months, you'll be seeing the new tag line, and a new logo, used throughout the organization to create a unified identity.
Some call it creative, some may call it colorful, but whatever you want to call it, the FJMC’s Build-a-Pair program reached new heights in 2012, as 1220 youngsters assembled Build-a-Pair model tefillin, and learned about the mitzvah using FJMC Build-a-Pair Curriculum and kits. The Build-a-Pair concept, a FJMC Torch Award winning program, is a fun and educational program for 5th through 7th graders, and is an adjunct to the World Wide Wrap held on Super Sunday, February 5th. Students learn about Tefillin, 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.
And speaking about the World Wide Wrap, 194 clubs from around the world, including Australia, El Salvador, France, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, Portugal, and Spain, (which is why it is called the WORLD WIDE WRAP), as well as throughout the United States and Canada, in Conservative / Masorti congregations, learned about and celebrated the mitzvah of tefillin. With the spreading of the Wrap to more and more countries, will the FJMC have to rename it once we have a colony on the moon?
The FJMC's Hador Habah initiative, to involve younger men in synagogue life, was recently highlighted in JWeekly.com, a publication of the San Franciso Jewish Bay area.
“We’re trying to make men realize the tremendous impact they have on their children,” says Rabbi Charles Simon, the executive director of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, who writes and speaks extensively on the importance of men volunteer taking charge of their personal lives.
Simon says his organization has been involved with men’s issues since 1999 but is now making a concerted push to attract younger men. At the group’s recent national convention in Costa Mesa, Calif., a curriculum to engage men at different ages was unveiled; it is to be piloted at several Conservative congregations next year.
Eighteen months ago, the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs launched HaDor Habah, Hebrew for “the next generation,” a project that brings men younger than 45 to training seminars so they can learn how to lead men’s activities for their peers. Nearly 70 men attended the second annual seminar in January.
To read the entire article, click here.