Welcome to this new blog! This is an experiment in trying to identify effective ways for FJMC leadership to communicate directly with club members. Through this blog I hope to accomplish two key objectives: (1) share information as well as my 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 I’ve written and offer your own views on these topics. The topics that I’ll 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. I plan to set up a regular schedule of these (I'll post at least monthly), and will monitor your comments to be sure that I respond in a timely fashion where needed. I’d also welcome your suggestions for future topics for us to discuss. So let’s begin!
Today’s blog will address our plans for FJMC over the next two years. There are three focus areas that we plan to work aggressively during this administration: growth, club support, and programming.
- Growth refers to both your club growing in number of members, and FJMC growing in number of clubs. It’s my belief that bringing new members into your clubs will make them stronger, and stronger clubs mean stronger synagogues and a more vibrant Jewish community. Therefore I want to challenge you and your club leadership to grow your club’s membership by 20% over the next two years. At convention we officially launched our 2013 Membership Campaign, and we’ve created several tools to help you attract new members: updated training material, a new marketing video, and a customizable recruiting brochure. These are all available on our website, just click on the 2013-14 Marketing Campaign link on the Clubs tab. At the same time, FJMC will be working through our regions to enroll new clubs, by clearly demonstrating the value of being affiliated with FJMC. (I’ll discuss the topic of “value” in detail in a future blog.)
- Our regions already provide great services and support to our clubs, and our team of consultants is already in place to work with our clubs when they are needed. Over the next two years, however, we plan to take a more proactive role to support clubs and address their needs. We’ve restructured our consultant team and reorganized their operating methods to ensure greater collaboration with our regions, and enhanced availability and focus on clubs. Their goal is to work with clubs that are having challenges to make them strong, and to work with strong clubs to make them even stronger. We are also improving the operating procedures in our New York office to ensure greater customer service so that every interaction with club members is handled efficiently, accurately, and courteously, resulting in complete customer satisfaction.
- Of course you are aware of the programming that FJMC already provides. In the next two years we will expand several of our signature programs like Hearing Men’s Voices and Keruv/Understanding Intermarriage, and we’ve announced a bold new challenge for our Shoah Yellow Candle program of lighting one million candles in remembrance of the 6 million. We will also expand our newly created Health, Wealth and Retirement Initiative that was launched at Convention with a very informative Wealth Management Seminar. In addition to these activities and our ongoing core programs (World Wide Wrap, Men’s Club Shabbat, Shomrei Ha'aretz, Build-A-Pair, etc.) we are developing two new initiatives to further involve Jewish men and their families in Jewish life.
- The first promotes a renewed emphasis on celebrating Shabbat with joyous and spiritual Shabbat dinners at home with family and friends. Perhaps you read my article “Shabbat has Kept the Jews” that discusses the motivation and benefits of this programming concept in the latest issue of our Movement’s CJ: Kolot Magazine – if not you can read it online at http://www.cjvoices.org/article/shabbat-has-kept-the-jews/.
- The second will develop and provide several resources to involve Jewish men in Jewish prayer that is meaningful to them and which inspires them. These resources include updated Hebrew literacy training (taking our very successful Hebrew Literacy program into the 21st century), guidelines on conducting Learner’s services that describe both the “how” and the “why” of our common prayers, audio and video files of model prayer services, and discussion topics that address the philosophical issues of why we pray and what we expect from prayer.
I’m personally very excited about these two new initiatives which I believe will be very valuable additions to your club programming and will bring meaning to the lives of your members and their families!
Well I’ve covered a lot of material in this first blog. I hope that you find my remarks useful, and I welcome your comments, responses, suggestions, etc. Let’s keep the conversation going!
My best wishes for a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year. L'shana Tova--