You, Your Club and the FJMC Wellness Program


At a recent convention, FJMC Past President Bob Braitman challenged the FJMC members to commit to improving their health and asked our leadership to develop programming to assist in that effort. Here is a summary of where we are to date.


  • To increase awareness of health and wellness issues by our members
  • To encourage Men’s Clubs to adopt wellness programming as an integral part of their mission- No one else in the shul is doing this sort of work this is a unique and special niche.
  • To add visibility and vitality to Men’s Club programming on a local level
  • To create another “portal of entry” for men otherwise not involved to play an active role in their Men’s Club

Implementation Plan:

  • The best FJMC programming originates at the club level and is then shared adapted and used by other clubs and regions throughout the organization. Accordingly, the first stage of the wellness program will be to use a number of venues to increase awareness of the program and to offer a variety of programming models.
  • Regional leaders will be trained at LDI (Geffen Leadership Development Institute) about opportunities for wellness programs in the clubs in their regions and asked to work with clubs to develop programming. Also some programming may work best on regional or sub regional level and regional boards may be involved in planning these.
  • Active publicity will be given to the program with regular features in HaShofar, other mailings to regional and club leaders and coverage in the FJMC pages of CJ: Kolot. Regular updates with ideas and suggestions will be sent to regional leaders.
  • A new Torch Award category was in place and awarded for wellness programming
  • The convention committee included wellness activities as part of the convention program and to feature healthy menus at mealtimes (see below).

Summary of Responsibilities

  • Clubs
    • Develop and implement program
    • Identify program leaders (ideally not current club officers) e.g. build a group of physicians and other health care workers to promote the initiative
    • Pilot clubs prepare to teach others at convention through workshops and/or Torch Award entries
    • Create metrics for measuring wellness achievements
    • Create database to record these metrics
    • Create database of participants (members should “enroll”)
    • Distribute timely and regular messages to participants (see FJMC below)
  • Regions
    • Identify and encourage clubs to participate
    • Facilitate training (bring in FJMC consultants) to provide tools for clubs to succeed
    • Develop some region-wide programming-Regional walks/runs/bike rides/golf tournaments/tennis tournaments (can be fundraisers at the same time)
    • Make wellness programming a selling point to attend convention
  • FJMC Wellness Committee
    • Be a central clearinghouse for materials gathered from clubs and other wellness sources
    • Distribute these materials to club wellness chair for dissemination to participants (send out regular “health tips”)
    • Work with convention committee for wellness programming at the convention
  • FJMC Convention Committee
    • Program Wellness major address and breakouts
    • Wellness Torch Award Category (see below)
    • Ensure that meals offer “healthy” choices and minimize excessive dessert receptions
    • Program time for physical exercise and emotional downtime
    • Support “Walk to the Convention” Program
  • FJMC Foundation for Jewish Life
    • Sponsor “Walk to the Convention”

Challenges and Obstacles

  • Sensitive Topic-Not everyone wants to deal with it
  • Failure of most “diet” programs
  • Failure to change behavior
  • Time
  • Expense


  • Speaker Programs
  • “Hearing Men’s Voices” type discussions
  • Weigh-ins (men’s only weight watchers)
  • Competitions within regions, between regions
  • Club and individual profiles in a database or online service
  • Organized exercise programs
  • Walk/run
  • Work out at a gym (or onsite at the shul)
  • Bike trips
  • Golf outings
  • Lap swims at JCC
  • Ice Skating
  • Ballroom Dancing

Support People and Systems

  • Health Professionals
  • Fitness experts/personal trainers
  • Websites
  • JCC-work with local JCC for break for our members on the program

FJMC Wellness Program: The Torch Award

  1. Torch Award was created and awarded for clubs with wellness programs. Criteria for excellence included:
  2. Clear definition of goals and documentation of completeness and achievement of these goals (it would be important here to have a measurable goal and evidence that the results were in fact measured, this “metric” should be usable by other clubs in their programs (see #5)
  3. Extent to which Wellness program involved a wide range of members. What is its value in club building?
  4. Did the program enhance the club’s reputation in the community in promoting and enhancing wellness of its members? Does the program enhance the image of the FJMC, region and/or your club?
  5. Is the program usable by other clubs? Are materials transferable?
  6. Extent to which program involved other aspects of synagogue life-school, women’s groups, professionals?
  7. Publicity materials