FJMC Advantage - February 2014

Welcome to The FJMC Advantage, a monthly newsletter to help YOU build YOUR clubs and regions.

This month's theme is: Yellow Candles

(Next month's theme will be: Regional Retreats, Summer Programs & Convention)

HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR YELLOW CANDLES YET?                              

It is not too late.  You can still order Yellow Candles until March 27, 2014 and for the next two weeks (until March 14), you will get free shipping with orders as small as five cases.  You can either click here, call 1-800-391-7293 (after 9am MST), fax to 1-602-368-6357, or send an email.

YELLOW CANDLE RESOURCES ABOUND                                                   

The FJMC has many tools available for you to make your Yellow Candles Program the best it can be.  Need a sample letter to include with your candles?  Click here.  Looking for ways to manage costs and generate donations?  Click here.  Need a bimah announcement?  Click here.  Did you know the FJMC even has a Yellow Candle Program Implementation Guide?  It has current information for 2014/5774 and includes a timeline and some ideas.  I would also strongly encourage you to peruse the Yellow Candles website for lots of additional ideas, especially if you haven't looked at it lately. 


WE'RE ON OUR WAY TO A MILLION CANDLES                                         

We want to remember the 1,000,000 children that perished in the Holocaust.  We can't get there without you so be sure to register at the Million Candle website. 


HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW FJMC YELLOW CANDLES?                            

New for 2014 the Yellow Candles feature artwork by Israeli artist Dubi Arie.  The new art really elevates them to the next level - it is truly spectacular.  For more information about the new candles, click here and for more information on Dubi Arie, here's a link to his website.   






The new Men's Club Shabbat Planning Guide is now available online with new ideas to improve your Men's Club Shabbat.

Also, don't forget to register your Men's Club Shabbat.  It only takes a moment and it helps all the people in the nearby clubs find your celebration.  Bring honor to your club and help improve Men's Club Shabbat for all of our clubs.


Learn more about Greenfaith's Energy Certification Program and save money!  Participating congregations have saved significant money ($6,000 - $50,000) through Certification activities.  Greenfaith is a partner of FJMC Shomrei Ha'aretz - Stewards of the Land.


Also learn how the FJMC Composting Initiative helps your club engage younger men while you help clean the environment and provide healthier activities for you, your friends and your family.   


ASK THE ADVANTAGE                                                                               
For those new to the FJMC Advantage, 'Ask the Advantage' is a place you can ask for advice on an issue you or your club are facing, whether it be programmatic in nature, club member interaction, transition related, or something as specific as dealing with a difficult member. 


Dear Creighton, there are a couple of guys that come to our club activities and want to join our club, but they are not members of our synagogue.  Should we allow it?  Signed, We Need The Dues. 


Dear Mr. Dues,  I would look first at your club (and possibly your synagogue) bylaws to see if there are any restrictions that must be followed.  If there are not, then I would strongly suggest that you not only allow it, but encourage it.  I am hard pressed to think of a good reason not to welcome anyone into your club that wants to be a member.  The main argument I have heard against this is that if we allow this to occur that there is no benefit to actually joining your shul.  However, Men's Clubs can be an excellent portal to entry and welcoming someone into your club is a great way to show him how wonderful your congregational community is, ultimately leading to a membership in your shul, a win-win for everyone. 




TORCH AWARD WINNER'S SPOTLIGHT                                                  

Each month I'll spotlight a Torch Award Winning Program that you can adopt for your club.   


There were several outstanding submissions for the Yellow Candle/Yom Hashoah Torch Awards and I think they were all outstanding programs that any club would be wise to emulate.  I want to point out a few that operated on different levels:  for a large scale program, I suggest looking at Temple Ramat Zion's Yom Hashoah Program (Northridge, California) where that club organized a community wide commemoration with leaders of other religions and local dignitaries; for a program centered more on the synagogue, see Etz Chaim's (Marietta, Georgia) Community Garden Renewal Project, where that club refurbished their synagogue's Holocaust Memorial Garden; and for a program that focused more on individuals, there is Beth El's (West Palm Beach, Florida) Remember A Child Program where each participant committed to saying Kaddish and Yizkor for a child that was killed in the Holocaust.  NOTE:  You might need to sign in to the FJMC site to see these Torch Award submissions.  If you don't have a password, now would be a perfect time to get one...they're free!  



LINK OF THE MONTH                                                                                

This month I suggest you take a look at some tips for building volunteer leadership in your clubs.  There are some great things to think about (and implement). 


OY, AM I SORRY                                                                                        

In last month's Advantage, I incorrectly indicated that Torch Award Winner Congregation Agudath Israel is in Camden, New Jersey.  It is actually in Caldwell, New Jersey.  My sincere apologies to the congregation and its Men's Club.



...JUST ONE MORE THING                                                                         

A bit of humor you can use at your next Board Meeting, Presentation, or just to add some amusement to your day. Send me your submissions but please, keep them clean(ish).  



One very windy day, a rabbi was walking down the street.  Suddenly, a strong gust of wind blew his hat off his head. The rabbi ran after his hat but the wind was so strong it kept blowing his hat farther and farther away and he couldn't catch it.  A young gentile man saw what happened and was able to run after it and catch it.  He gave it back to the rabbi who was so grateful he not only gave the young man $20 but also blessed him.


On the way home, the young man decided to stop at the racetrack and see if this blessing would bring him luck.  After spending several hours there, he returned home where he had the following conversation with his wife about the afternoon:


"I arrived at the fifth race," said the young man, "I looked at the racing program and saw that a horse by the name of 'Top Hat' was running. The odds on this horse were 100 to 1. It was the longest shot in the field.  It seemed like quite a coincidence, so I bet the entire $20 and won.  In the next race, there was a horse named 'Sombrero' and the odds were 30 to 1, so I bet all of my winnings on that and guess what...I won that too and I was up over $40,000."  "So, did you bring all of that money home?" his wife asked excitedly. 
"No, I didn't," the man slowly said, "I lost it all on the next race.  There was a horse named 'Chateau' and I figured since that meant hat, I had a sure winner.  I bet it all on him and he lost." 
"You idiot," the wife screamed, "that's a house, a hat is a chapeau!"  "It doesn't matter," the man explained, "my streak would have ended anyway.  The winner was some Japanese horse named Yarmulke."