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 throughout the United States and Canada. Although our chapters are concentrated in North America, the influence of FJMC’s programs and contributions is felt worldwide. FJMC’s mission is to involve Jewish men in Jewish life, but our influence goes far beyond men in the Conservative/Masorti Movement. Our programs have a profound impact on our congregations, our youth, world Jewry, and, when you consider the indirect impact of our Shomrei Ha’aretz environmental programs, all of humanity. The list of FJMC programs and activities is lengthy, but here are some of our more recent endeavors:
Table of Contents
- Shomrei Ha’aretz ("Green" Program)
- Wellness Initiative
- Involvement of Conservative Generation Y’s
- Yad Shel Chai (Young Torah Readers)
- Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle Program (Holocaust Memorial Program)
- Keruv (Outreach to Intermarrieds)
- World Wide Wrap
- Hearing Men’s Voices
- Hebrew Literacy
- Art of Jewish Living
- Enhancing Jewish Observance
- Sefer Haftorah (Haftorah Scroll)
The Leadership Council of the Conservative Movement has adopted this FJMC environmental program as its own. It includes the development of soy Shabbat candles (either tea candles in small tins or larger votive candles); plates and utensils made of soy, which are used in congregations across the continent; the development of a solar Ner Tamid; and a partnership with the Jewish National Fund that involves carbon offsets and eco-projects in our communities and in Israel.
For more info on Shomrei Ha’aretz, click here.
The FJMC encourages individual clubs to develop wellness and health activities locally. We also incorporate healthy food and walks into our weekend retreats.
For more info on the FJMC Wellness Initiative, click here.
This program, called Ha-Dor Ha’Bah (Engaging the Next Generation) will involve those in their 20’s and 30’s more in Jewish life – ultimately leading to their membership in Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods.
This program, first developed by a Men’s Club in Jacksonville, Florida, recognizes youth in the congregation who have read from the Torah 18 times since their Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Over the past 20 years, FJMC has woven itself into the fabric of Conservative Movement life through a variety of activities and publications which help to enhance Judaism in our homes and synagogues:
For more info on Yad Shel Chai, click here.
Men’s Clubs distribute these specially crafted candles to synagogue members to light on Erev Yom HaShoah to remember those who perished during the Holocaust. Typically, clubs request contributions to defray the cost of the program and to support Holocaust-related ventures. Youth from synagogues using the candles may apply for FJMC scholarships in the United Synagogue-administered “Darkness Into Light” program for Eastern Europe travel.
For more info on the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle Program, click here.
FJMC pioneered outreach to families with intermarried members through its Keruv program, including new efforts to make our synagogues and prayer services welcoming to all congregants. FJMC’s Keruv program sets no pre-conditions or goals of conversion. Two books - Intermarriage: Concepts and Strategies for Families and Synagogue Leaders and Engaging the Non-Jewish Spouse:Strategies for Clergy and Lay Leadership - form the basis for this program.
For more info Keruv, click here.
Each year on the morning of the NFL’s Super Bowl, FJMC promotes a special morning minyan at synagogues around the world where the mitzvah of tefillin is explained and demonstrated. This world-wide event is a fixture in synagogues throughout North America and in Australia, India, Europe, and South America.
For more info on the World Wide Wrap, click here.
FJMC produced a highly acclaimed video entitled, “The Ties That Bind”, which explains the traditions behind, and the use of, tefillin, and published “A Tefillin Spiritual Primer”, a pamphlet giving the prayers over the tefillin.
This book series focuses on various men’s issues, with each book providing discussion topics for group sessions and providing information on establishing a local program. The books include: “Listening to God’s Voice” (men’s spiritual lives); “Body and Spirit” (men’s health issues); “Our Fathers/ Ourselves” (men’s roles in the Jewish family); and “Work and Worth” (work in men’s lives).
For more info on Hearing Men's Voices, click here.
This program assists laymen to teach other laymen how to read Hebrew. Shalom Aleichem (out of print, used copies are available on Amazon) teaches the Friday night service, and Ayn Keloheynu (available on Amazon) teaches parts of the Saturday morning service.
For more info on Hebrew Literacy, click here.
This series provides understanding of how to observe Shabbat, Pesach (Passover), and Chanukah. It includes texts, teacher’s guides, and audiocassettes. A fourth installment of the series includes A Time to Mourn, A Time to Comfort, a practical guide for mourning customs and practices.
For more info on the Art of Jewish Living, click here.
FJMC has developed several programs to enhance Jewish observance in the home and in the synagogue, including easy-to-follow instructions on “Understanding Havdalah” and “Understanding Ma’ariv”; a booklet entitled “Your Home is Your Sanctuary” regarding the use of a mezuzah on the doorposts of our homes; a video on the choreography of the Torah service; and a Pidyon HaBen kit on the ritual of redeeming the first-born son.
FJMC commissioned a scroll of every haftorah read during the year and allows clubs and individuals to purchase individual ones. Outwardly, the scroll looks like a Torah scroll, but when opened, it includes personal dedications plus vowels and the trop.
With a New York office of only three employees, FJMC develops all its programs through a cadre of dedicated volunteers. We are a grass roots organization with much of our work being done at the local level. Individual Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods offer a variety of activities, including father-child activities; programs to enhance Jewish observance; speaker breakfasts; Men’s Club Shabbat; ushering at services; sports activities; and fund raisers. Our clubs are major forces in the activities of our synagogues.
Men’s Clubs are grouped geographically into 16 regions, with each region having its own programs and initiatives. When all of the component parts are joined together, FJMC is an outstanding and meaningful organization of which to be a part. Every congregation and Jewish community should have a Men’s Club presence to involve Jewish me. fjmc