Musings on Volunteerism

agouraguy's picture

One Sunday morning last month I joined a few guys from my Men’s Club plus several other members of my synagogue to put a fresh coat of paint on our Preschool. This was a long-overdue project, and my club had agreed to work with our synagogue’s Buildings and Grounds committee to lead the effort. So picture this……I’m on a ladder with my paint can and brush, paint stains covering my clothes, and along comes my Rabbi to schmooze with the volunteers and see how the work is progressing. When he sees me he exclaims, “Wow! The International President of the FJMC is painting our walls! Can you believe it?” (You should know that since I became FJMC President, he always refers to me as the International President, with a strong accent on International. We always joke about him doing this, but I know he’s proud that I’m from his Synagogue, so why shouldn’t he brag?)

Of course I know that despite my Rabbi’s comments, I wasn’t doing anything special. I was simply participating in a Men’s Club volunteer project, hoping to do something worthwhile. Just like all of you do, week in and week out. That’s the culture of Men’s Clubs, isn’t it? To volunteer, to help out, to perform Mitvah projects, to help “repair the world” (tikkun olam). Yes, I know we’re not unique because many people are volunteers who aren’t Men’s Club members – but don’t you feel that being a committed volunteer is a particularly strong and significant part of being in a Men’s Club? Isn’t service and support to one’s synagogue and community one of the most important functions of most Men’s Clubs?

FJMC, in fact, relies on volunteerism to survive and to thrive. With a professional staff of only three, FJMC’s activities and initiatives are conducted through a volunteer organization comprised of over 60 committees and teams. Volunteerism is a core value of FJMC. And being a “flat” organization, there is no one, regardless of office or position or title, who does not roll up his sleeves and pitch in. We’re all in this together, and glad to be here!

I’ll bet that some of you have volunteered to take on some interesting, unusual, challenging, or maybe even humorous tasks, all for worthwhile causes. Please share your stories by commenting to this Blog. I’m sure that everyone will enjoy reading them.






A revised Blueprint for the Future was just published by USCJ.  I'd really appreciate reading comments from others, especially those that have a much longer history in the "movement" than I. Is that something you could facilitate?