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Statement on Arrest of Israeli Rabbi Dov Haiyun

July 19, 2018 7 Av, 5778This photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

We, the Masorti/Conservative Movement representing two million Jews around the world, are outraged by the arrest this morning of Rabbi Dov Haiyun of Moriah Congregation in Haifa, who was awoken at 5:30 am by police for the "crime" of officiating at a wedding outside the authority of the Israeli ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. Rabbi Haiyun potentially faces two years in prison for officiating at this wedding.

Rabbi Haiyun, who was ordained by the Masorti/Conservative movement at Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem, is the first to be arrested for this act since the law forbidding any rabbi outside the Rabbinate to officiate at a wedding was passed in 2013. Today's actions against Rabbi Haiyun marks a new and dangerous step in the ongoing attack on religious freedom and civil liberties in Israel; one, thankfully that was thwarted by order of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.

We uphold the right of rabbis of all Jewish streams, not just those under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate, to conduct a wedding ‘according to the law of Moses and (People) Israel.’ We stand in solidarity with Rabbi Haiyun and all our colleagues in Israel who bring couples together in love and marriage according to the traditions of the Jewish people.

Cantors Assembly
Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs
Jewish Educators Assembly
Jewish Youth Directors Association
JTS
Marom Olami
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
Masorti Israel
Masorti Olami
Mercaz Canada
Mercaz Olami
Mercaz USA
Seminario Rabinico Latinoamaericano
The North American Association of Synagogue Executives
The Rabbinical Assembly
USCJ
Women's League for Conservative Judaism
Zacharias Frankel College, University of Potsdam
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University

Back for 2019. WWW Hats!

World Wide Wrap hats are now available from a separate website.  They are great for those who are training others to put on tefillin.  They will make your 2019 Wrap extra special. 

The hats are available in several styles with two different logos:

  • regular WWW logo
  • regular WWW logo with "Tefillin Trainer" underneath

We recommend that you go to the top bar of the linked website and choose "shop by logo". It will show you both logos.  Choose the logo you want.  Then choose the style.

The hats range in price from $23.00 to $24.95.  The $24.95 hat comes in specific sizes.

Win a trip to Pebble Beach

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Conservative/Masorti Movement Condemns Decision of Israel’s Interior Ministry on Uganda’s Abayudaya

 
Our FJMC International President Stan Greenspan’s position
We are brothers. To deny one of us is to deny us all.  We endorse and applaud the following statement from the Rabbinic Assembly on the Israeli government's refusal to grant Aliyah to Kibita Yosef, one of our members in Uganda.

 

Statement Posted on: Wednesday June 6, 2018

In a blow to the unity of the Jewish people, Israel’s Interior Ministry last week rejected the aliyah application of Kibita Yosef, a member of the Abayudaya Jewish community of Uganda, currently in Israel as a volunteer on a kibbutz. Explaining its May 31 refusal, a ministry spokesperson reportedly stated, “This is a matter of principle regarding conversions in this community — it is not about one specific applicant.” But such a statement amounts to a de facto dismissal of the legitimacy of the 2,500-strong community that has been practicing Judaism for a century. 

It is outrageous, disrespectful and very possibly unlawful for the Interior Ministry to reject the validity of conversions performed abroad by a major Jewish movement. The Abayudaya Community are members of Masorti Olami (World Council of Conservative/Masorti Synagogues).

This decision reverses over two decades of government policy that has conferred Jewish status for purposes of immigration and citizenship on those who convert abroad through a major Jewish movement. It is not only an affront to the Abayudaya, but also to the entire worldwide Conservative/Masorti movement.

This announcement comes on the heels of other hostile acts from the government toward African converts to Judaism, including the government’s forced deportation last December of Yehuda Kimani, who arrived in Israel with a valid visa to study at The Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Israel should be home to the entirety of the Jewish people, and not cede to sectarianism or to the whim of whichever political parties or chief rabbis happen to be in power at the time. We stand with Kibita Yosef, the Abayudaya member whose application for permanent status under the Law of Return triggered the Interior Ministry’s verdict. He is a Zionist just as we are Zionists. He is a Jew entitled to Israeli citizenship, just as we are, and we will support his appeal of this decision to Israel’s High Court of Justice.

We stand with all the Jewish Abayudaya people and all our Jewish communities of Africa and the world. And we demand that the Interior Ministry reverse its decision immediately and accept Kibita Yosef's aliyah. Moving forward, we are committed to using all means at our disposal to achieve this result for him, and for all the other Kibita Yosefs in the world waiting to make aliyah.

Take action here

Signatories:

Cantors Assembly
Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs
Jewish Educators Assembly
Jewish Theological Seminary
Masorti Israel
Masorti Foundation
Masorti Olami
Mercaz Olami
North American Association of Synagogue Executives
Rabbinical Assembly
Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism
Zacharias Frankel College
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies

 

President Rivlin’s Speech at March of the Living

The following is a transcript from Israeli President Rivlin’s Speech at March of the Living delivered at Auschwitz-Birkenau for Yom Shoah on 28 Nisan 5778 – April 12, 2018.
 
“Sh’ma Yisrael ̶ Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” So our brothers and sisters cried out, here, in this very place.
 
I can close my eyes and still hear the weeping of the mothers as their children were ripped from their arms. I see the horror of the fathers as their loved ones were burned before their eyes. The accursed ‘selection’ process; for life, or for death. The barking of the dogs. The blood-curdling orders of the guards: 'Schnell, Schnell,' quickly, quickly. They killed the Jews Quickly, quickly. 'A person was taken off the train in the morning,' wrote Raoul Hilberg, 'and in the evening his body was cremated and his clothes packaged up, ready to be sent to Germany.'
 
"From the time this railway line by which we now stand, was laid down, from the spring of 1944, the Auschwitz train station became the busiest train station in all of Europe. The extermination process became ever shorter, from one whole day to four hours. Four hours, and whole lives went up in smoke. Loves, fears, beliefs, hopes, pain, memory: For Nazi Germany, they were merely numbers, without any identity or name. Germanic efficiency was exploited to the full. In Auschwitz alone, some one million, one hundred thousand human beings were tortured, slaughtered, murdered, cremated, and erased from the face of the earth. One million of them were Jews.
 
“We stand here and we know, that from this place we cannot hope for justice. In this place  ̶ where the ashes of our brothers and sisters were swallowed by the soil  ̶ no justice will grow. We do not expect justice in Europe that seeks  ̶  too quickly  ̶  to forget, to eradicate the memory, to deny, to destroy evidence. But, our memory, the memory of the Jewish People, is the antithesis of the haste of the Nazis.
 
"We are a nation that remembers, our memory is patient. Everything done to us by Amalek is engraved in our memory, the memory of an ancient nation. Also engraved in our memory are those who helped Amalek. Those who stood to the side, those who saw the smoking chimneys, those who heard the cries, but never lifted a finger. Engraved in our memory are those who murdered and then inherited. Engraved in our memory are those who, after the end of the War, thought that Jewish blood is cheap, is forsaken, and so they slaughtered those Jews who returned to their homes. There is the Holocaust, there are those who want to deny the Holocaust and those that want to forget the Holocaust. The difference between them - is the truth. And we, who remember, we who stand here, we know, the truth will grow out of the earth.
 
The President turned to President Duda of Poland who had accompanied him on the March, and said, “Your Excellency, President of Poland, The Polish nation barely survived the Second World War. In September 1939, Poland had become the greatest field of death, murder and destruction in Europe. It was an area under Nazi occupation, and the Poles were an oppressed people, living in fear.
 
"There was also a Polish underground resistance and a Polish Government in exile. The people of Poland produced thousands of “Righteous among the Nations”. Men and women who put their own lives and the lives of their dear ones at risk for the sake of others. And they too are remembered, and we will remember and honor each of those men and women forever.
 
"Nevertheless, it is impossible to deny the truth. The Nazi death machine would not have been able to achieve its terrible vision, if it had not received help; if it had not found a fertile ground of hatred for Jews, in which to take root. True, it was Germany that established the Camps, but our People were not murdered only in the camps. The members of our nation were betrayed by the people amongst whom they lived, in France, in Holland, and in Belgium. They were murdered by Ukrainians, Lithuanians and yes  ̶ also by Poles
 
"Too many citizens, in Eastern Europe and in Western Europe, stole Jewish property, took control of Jewish homes, handed over their Jewish neighbours, murdered them, and turned their backs on those who, just a moment before, had been a part of them. And when the survivors of the Holocaust returned after the war, they were sometimes met with hostility, violence, pogroms and murder
 
The President stressed, “Polish people were killed and murdered in the cruel War, we, the Jews, were slaughtered in the Holocaust. A Holocaust that included not only concentration camps, but also killing pits, ghettos, forced labor, and pogroms. A Holocaust that included the slaughter and murder and death through torture, of one and a half million babies and children, whose only sin was that they were born Jewish.
 
"It is the right of every nation – to rewrite sections of its own narrative. It is permitted for every nation, it is fitting that every nation – should rebuild itself from its ruins. I do not want to interfere in Polish history. Poland knows how to do its own soul searching. However, if the Polish People feels that its image has been distorted by the events of the Holocaust, it is more important that we cooperate, that we invest in education, that together we establish research institutes, that together we work on commemoration and remembrance, that together, we, Poles and Jews, study what happened, that we make sure that it will never happen again.”
 
He continued, “Hans Frank, the German Governor of the Generalgouvernement, said at the Nurnberg Trials: 'A thousand years may pass, but still Germany’s guilt will not have been erased.' A thousand years. Germany did not purchase the forgiveness of the Jews, just as no nation can legislate their forgetting. For no legislation can cover over the blood. No self-interest can cover over antisemitism, racism, hatred of the other. Not in Austria, not in France, not in Holland not in Belgium, and above all, not in Germany. But those who are willing to bravely look straight into their past, those who are willing to bravely deal with the antisemitism and the racism that continue to raise their heads even today will find in us allies, determined, true partners to pave the way that leads from remembrance to the future.
 
“Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, we shall always remember, from generation to generation, the amazing goodness of the thousands of men and women who risked their own lives in order to save others. We shall always remember the horrifying, human evil of the Nazis, and their collaborators from all nations. We shall always remember the members of our nation, each man, each woman, by their names, in their lives and not only in their deaths. We shall remember their narratives, their customs, their everyday lives. What they liked to read, what they studied, what they dreamed of becoming and of doing.
 
"Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, but for us, they will never be a number. Year by year, we discover more details about them, and our one and only aim is to know  ̶  not only that 'To every person there is a name,' but what was their name? Who were they? How did they live? and how did they die? It will take time  ̶  but we will know. We shall continue to plumb the depths of remembrance, in Germany, in Austria, in Ukraine, in Poland, in Hungary, in Greece, in each and every place. The archives, the testimonies, and the silences, every one of them will eventually be revealed. There are here with us today, survivors, whose bodies and souls testify to those horrors to this day. They will hand on to us the torch of memory, and we shall carry it from generation to generation.
 
The President concluded, “I stand here today as President of the State of Israel, the State of the Jewish People, on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day. Seventy-five years since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; Seventy years since the establishment of the State of Israel; the Thirtieth anniversary of the March of the Living.
 
"Thirty years ago the first March of the Living took place, and every year since then, in close cooperation with the Polish Government and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, more than a quarter of a million young Jews and non-Jews have marched here. And today, we marched with them. Survivors of the Holocaust, people who escaped the Holocaust, living witnesses, all marched before us. And with them marched leaders of Israel’s security forces, commanders of the IDF, of the Israel Security Agency, of the Mossad, the Israel Police, with young people from all over the world. We did not march from Auschwitz to Birkenau. We did not march from Auschwitz 1 to Auschwitz 2. We marched from death to life. We marched from the Holocaust to the Revival. We marched from Auschwitz to Jerusalem. Each footstep in this march was a step in the history of the Jewish People. An ancient and surviving nation, that has been blessed with enormous powers of creativity; of both spiritual and practical strengths. A nation that was privileged to return to its homeland, after two thousand years of exile, and to rebuild there its national home as a free people among the family of nations. The nation that was born through God’s command to Abraham to “Go forth,” and continues to go forward, to walk in the March of the Living. Continues to affirm, 'Here I am,' here, I am still alive. Am Yisrael Chai!  ̶ The People of Israel lives!”
 
Reprinted from The Jewish Press - JewishPress.com | Jewish Press News Desk | 28 Nisan 5778 – April 12, 2018 | JewishPress.com

 

Passing of Burt Fischman, Z"L

Our friend, mentor and teacher, Dr. Burton L. Fischman, Z-L, passed away April 3, 2018. This is indeed a sad day, and the men of the FJMC shall miss his great wisdom and personality. 

Some of the comments from FJMC leaders, both current and past, are shown below:

Burt was my mentor, friend and inspiration. I will miss him. DK

From the time I met him at the first LDI . . . through my presidency and beyond, I continued to learn and grow from him. He was funny, entertaining and just a real mench and most of all my friend. MM

"In one very brief encounter at my first convention, Burt helped me see my way through the toughest part of my life." SD

"Individually and in groups when we sing the Birchat, we need to be a little louder and even with more Ruach to make up for Burt. I will miss him as a friend, mentor, and humorist." TS

"There are no words to express the great loss to FJMC . . . May we honor his memory by our actions at FJMC and beyond." AG

"He was the unseen star of every convention or leadership seminar over the past 25 years . . . enabling all of us to exceed our own expectations." SG

"A venerable spirit not soon forgotten." SS

"Captain Ruach; Being with you was a gift, learning from you was an inspiration. Your commitment to all things right is my strength. Being your friend was a blessing." BK

"He was such a wonderful person, mentor and friend. We will all miss him dearly." KM

"Burt was a great mentor and will be sorely missed by the his immediate family, his FJMC family and everyone that he touched." DS

"Burt impressed me with his ability to get individuals involved while educating them, he knew how to let loose. I was extremely impressed with how the took a prayer which everyone would run through like an express train and made it a joyous event with camaraderie, bar none. He took a Birkat and made it a joyous and happy event leaving everyone with an “UPPER"."  JHN

 

If you would like to make a contribution to honor Burt's memory, click the button below:  To post a comment, which will be posted here and shared with Burt's family, you must be logged in.

 

FJMC Office Move

On February 11 & 12, 2018, the FJMC Executive Committee held a meeting at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.  On Monday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at our new shared office space with Women’s League in the Interchurch Center near JTS.  The new office is on the same floor as our previous office.  The advantage of our sharing office space is lower expense and increased synergy between our two arms of the Conservative movement.

One advantage of holding the meeting at JTS is that we were able to join the morning service in the sanctuary in the bell tower section of the seminary.

The ribbon cutting took place on Monday.  Attending the celebration were (L to R, rear row) Gideon Aronoff, Executive Director, Masorti Foundation; Hazzan Zach Mondrow, Cantorial Assembly; Stan Greenspan, President, FJMC; Steve Portnoy, President, Men of Reform Judaism; Rabbi Andy Shugerman, Executive Director, FJMC, (L to R, front row) Rabbi Lilly Kaufman, Executive Director, Torah Fund; Linda Sussman, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg, Rabbinical Assembly; Lucy Becker, Women's League for Conservative Judaism; and Vivian Leber, Women's League for Conservative Judaism.

Movement Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse

Posted on: Tuesday, November 28, 2017

In light of the growing number of reports of sexual harassment in recent weeks, as evidenced in the proliferation of posts using #MeToo and #GamAni hashtags, the Conservative Jewish movement, as represented by the Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Women's League for Conservative Judaism, Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs, North American Association of Synagogue Executives, Cantors Assembly, Masorti Foundation, Schechter Institutes, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, the Ramah Camping Movement and the Jewish Theological Seminary has issued the following statement:

"In the wake of ongoing revelations of alleged sexual misconduct, including the willingness of more and more women, and sometimes men, to tell their stories publicly, the Conservative Jewish movement condemns the behavior of those who use their positions of power to take advantage of others. We must be better attuned to these incidents, develop procedures and policies to prevent them, and condemn and when appropriate prosecute the perpetrators.

Jewish tradition prohibits physical or sexual abuse and teaches that kvod habriyot, the dignity of each person, is to be honored and maintained, and that onaat dvarim, verbal, and by extension other nonphysical abuse, is strictly forbidden, and cannot be tolerated at any level.

We must work to ensure that our Jewish organizations and also our society at large emphasize standards of propriety and respect, and that we have in place policies and structures where those abused or harassed can safely report incidents and know their concerns will be taken seriously. We agree with the Child Safety Pledge, signed by top philanthropists in the Jewish world who have committed to support only those schools, camps and other institutions that work with children to take steps to 'prevent, report and investigate sexual abuse of minors.' Let us ensure that our Jewish institutions meet their criteria."

Statement in Protest of Increasing Limits on Religious Pluralism in Israel

Below, please find a statement protesting recent policies in Israel that severely curtail expressions of religious pluralism. 

The statement was presented on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 in the course of a reception at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC attended by delegates of the Biennial Convention of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs and the Men of Reform Judaism.

Drawing over 500 attendees from the United States, Canada, France, Uganda, and Argentina, this interdenominational gathering marks the first time that both groups have co-hosted a convention.

The statement's authors and co-signers represent a consortium of liberal Jewish groups, spanning both the Conservative and Reform movements and comprising The Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel, ARZA, MERCAZ, The Cantors Assembly, The Women's League for Conservative Judaism, The Women of Reform Judaism, The Men of Reform Judaism and The Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs.

Statement In Protest of Increasing Limits on Religious Pluralism in Israel

The Conservative (Masorti) and Reform (Progressive) movements are home to the overwhelming number of Jews in North America. Our communities have long been the backbone of support for Israel. For example, experts estimate that more than 80% of AIPAC supporters are affiliated with our movements.

In light of those facts, it is painful to describe the anger, frustration, disillusionment and disappointment throughout our communities concerning the most recent developments with regard to the Kotel, conversion and the authority of the Rabbanut (Chief Rabbinate of Israel). These developments, offensive as they were, unfortunately do not stand in isolation but are only the most recent manifestations of a lack of respect for nonOrthodox Jewry both in Israel and in the Diaspora.

It is not our purpose today to recount a litany of betrayals of the religious ideals and values on which the State of Israel was founded, a State meant to be the homeland for all Jews. We know, and you know, that we are speaking of more than just what has transpired over the last few weeks; nonetheless, to embrace what, in some ways, is a Middle Eastern metaphor, these straws have broken the camel’s back.

It is not a hollow statement when we say we love Israel. We visit Israel often. Many of us have family in Israel, and we all have friends there. It is precisely our strong bonds with Israel that now compel our candor, bluntness perhaps more typical of our Israeli friends than that of North American groups.

It is important for you to understand, and therefore we emphasize it, that this is not some pro forma protest which can be air-brushed away. This is not a debate about geo-political issues. Rather, it goes to the heart of whether Israel perceives non-Orthodox Jews as legitimate. It is beyond absurd that Israel is the one democracy in the world where Jews cannot freely practice their faith in accordance with their beliefs.

The government’s actions risk dividing the worldwide Jewish community at a time when it must remain united. We count on you to make clear to the Prime Minister, the Israeli Government and Members of Knesset, that a few soothing words or exhortations for patience will not fix this. We expect concrete actions. It should matter to you that we care about all of this not only because of our own commitment to Israel but also because we want our children and grandchildren to share that love for Israel – and we are at risk of that not happening.

Announcing Our New FJMC Executive Director - Rabbi Andy Shugerman

Rabbi Andy Shugerman is thrilled to be the Executive Director of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (FJMC), a role that matches his unique career path with a decade of personal experiences in co-leading and participating in multi-generational grassroots Jewish men's groups. He is a pluralistic rabbinic educator and professional fundraiser who has specialized in engaging young and unaffiliated Jews during his 15 years of serving Conservative synagogues and institutions as well as diverse local and national organizations.

Rabbi Shugerman honed his skills as a rabbi, teacher and major gifts fundraiser while serving for four years as Rabbinic Fellow in the Florida Regional Office of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), from which he received ordination and a master’s degree in Jewish Education in 2009. His success in that position and his passion for transforming organizations from within led him to become the lead fundraiser for United Synagogue Youth (USY) while serving as the first Director of Major Gifts at United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ).

Rabbi Shugerman earned his BA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, where he was a Schiff Undergraduate Fellow. In addition, he studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, worked for the Masorti/Conservative Movement in Israel, and attended the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles. Rabbi Shugerman trained before and during rabbinical school in congregation-based community organizing (CBCO); those skills, along with intensive clinical chaplaincy work at Los Angeles County Jail and at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, prepared him for the tremendous work of helping to rebuild Congregation Shir Chadash of Metairie, Louisiana, following Hurricanes Katrina and Gustave.

Most recently, Rabbi Shugerman returned both to the pulpit (as Interim Rabbi of Congregation Beth Tikvah in Wantagh, New York) and to the classroom (as a teacher of adult learners at the Solomon Schechter School of Long Island and in Midtown Manhattan for the Development Department of the Jewish Theological Seminary). When he is not training for his next marathon, Rabbi Shugerman enjoys newlywed life in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he and his wife are active members of several independent minyanim as well as the world's largest local food cooperative supermarket community.

Rabbi Charles Simon's Retirement Tribute

Rabbi Charles Simon will retire from his role as FJMC Executive Director after the International Convention in July. FJMC is putting together a Festschrift which will provide a historical perspective on the impact Rabbi Simon and the FJMC have had on the Conservative movement over the last 35 years.

We who love and respect Rabbi Simon and his contributions to Conservative Masorti Judaism through his leadership of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs are invited to honor and give tribute, and thank him for making a difference in our lives.  His vision and mentorship has provided us with the support to be the leaders of the Conservative/Masorti movement in the 21st century.    We also now acknowledge that FJMC through Rabbi Simon has become important to the Men of Reform Judaism as they rebuild with the vision and support of FJMC programming and resources. 

Continue reading here...

 

Keruv - Pew Study on Jewish Demographic Trends

Alan Cooperman of the Pew Research Center made a presentation on Jewish Demographic Trends at the FJMC Keruv Advanced Training Workshop in Bethesda, Maryland on March 17, 2017.  Please see the below video, or for all four parts of the presentation, please follow this link.

 

Winners Announced - Welcoming Website Grants

 

The FJMC, with funding from the National Center to Encourage Judaism, has awarded $1,000 grants to twenty Conservative/Masorti Congregations in North America that met requirements for a welcoming website.  An application and proposal were submitted online, and the project was to be completed by March 6, 2017. A list of the winners with their website addresses are below.  A photo of representatives of the award winners who attended the FJMC Keruv Advanced Training Workshop in March 2017 is shown.  For additional photos, please follow this link.

NCEJ/FJMC Welcoming Website Grant Award Winners

Adath Shalom, Morris Plains, NJ  www.adathshalom.net
Beth Jacob Congregation, Mendota Heights, MN  www.beth-jacob.org
Congregation Agudas Achim, Austin, TX  www.theaustinsynagogue.org
Congregation Agudas Achim, San Antonio, TX  www.agudas-achim.org
Congregation Beth Torah, Richardson, TX  www.congregationbethtorah.org
Congregation B'nai Amoona, St. Louis, MO  www.bnaiamoona.com
Congregation B'nai Israel, Sylvania, OH  www.cbitoledo.org
Congregation B'nai Israel, Tustin, CA  www.cbi18.org
Congregation Brothers of Israel, Newtown, PA www.cboi.org
Congregation Neveh Shalom, Portland, OR  www.nevehshalom.org
Congregation Shaaray Tefila, Glens Falls, NY www.shaaraytefila-gfny.org
East Midwood Jewish Center, Inc., Brooklyn, NY www.emjc.org
Flemington Jewish Community Center, Flemington, NJ www.flemingtonjcc.org
Kol Rinah, Saint Louis, MO www.kolrinahstl.org
Midbar Kodesh Temple, Henderson, NV www.midbarkodesh.org
Ohev Shalom of Bucks County, Richboro, PA www.ohev.org
Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, Pasadena, CA  www.pjtc.net
Temple Beth El, Stamford, CT  www.tbe.org
Temple Beth-El, Birmingham, Birmingham, AL www.templebeth-el.net
Tifereth Israel Synagogue, San Diego, CA www.tiferethisrael.com

 

Nominations 2017-18

The Nominating Committee has nominated ....

for the 2017-2019 leadership

  • President - Stan Greenspan (Lake Ontario)
  • First Vice President - Tom Sudow (Kentucky/Indiana/Ohio)
  • Vice-Presidents - Aaron Altman (New York Metro), Bill Becker (Seaboard), Alan Budman (MIddle Atlantic), Allan Kahan (Seaboard), Jeff Schulman (Northern New Jersey), Bruce Tomar (Middle Atlantic)
  • Treasurer - Steve Dix (Anshei Darom)
  • Secretary - David Singer (New England)
  • Honorary President - Allan Gottesman (Florida)

In addition,  incoming President Stan Greenspan will be selecting four additional men to serve on the Executive Committee.

We wish all the nominees a hearty Mazel Tov, Yasher Koach for the work that got them to this point, and for the efforts on behalf of the FJMC they'll be making in the coming years!

We also want to acknowledge the work of those whose terms on the Executive Committee are ending (Vice Presidents - Mark Druy and Gary Smith; Treasurer - Dave Mandell; At large - Greg Pollack), Yasher Koach for the work that you have done for the FJMC.

New Label for Yom HaShoah Yellow Candles(TM) - Watch the Video

Rising (2016) by Elyssa Wortzman

A descriptive video explaining Rising is now available by clicking here.

As a result of growing international interest in commemorating Yom HaShoah, FJMC with the aid of noted artist Elyssa Wortzman developed, Rising. The Yellow CandlesTM label, employing Hebrew, Spanish, French and English reflects FJMC’s cooperation with World Jewry. Partners in this endeavor at the Seminario Latinoamericano, Marshal Meyer in Buenos Aires and the Men of Reform Judaism.

The label addresses the question "How do you transmit memory and loss to someone who does not have a direct connection to the past event?”, an increasingly familiar theme today as fewer survivors of the Holocaust remain.

Candles and programmatic material to enrich Holocaust engagement can be found at the Yellow CandlesTM home page.

Yellow CandlesTM featuring Rising will be shipped out on a first come first served basis. Remaining orders will be filled from stock featuring The Mission - by Israeli Artist, Dubi Arie.

 

 

Biodegradable Products - FJMC Special Purchase Agreement

 

Sustainably sourced compostable dinnerware is an appropriate option for FJMC Club Functions. FJMC has a special purchase agreement with World Centric.   World Centric is committed to 100% certified compostable products made from renewable, plant-based materials. From cups, plates, bowls and cutlery to trays, to-go containers, napkins and garbage bags, their 200+ product line meets your foodservice needs both at home and in professional settings.  Their products are non-toxic and require less energy to make than petroleum-based products.  Best of all, these products will turn to soil when composted, allowing the process of growth to begin again.  When you register and apply the coupon code, you will receive a 15% discount.  Please review our Shomrei Ha'aretz webpage to find out on how to set up an account.

Men and Sports - New Hearing Men's Voices Program

Hearing Men's Voices ("HMV") is one of FJMC's most popular programs.  HMV engages men in Jewish life by building male relationships and extending Jewish community.  HMV facilitates intimacy among men through dialogue.  Men meet in groups to discuss common issues. The quality of dialogue can be rich and enjoyable.

Sports have been a special draw for men.  The FJMC has planned a session on men and sports and prepared a short booklet as a guide:  Physically Competitive Sports (You and Your Child) A Facilitator's Guide.  We invite you to use this as a springboard for other sesssions on sports, movies, religion, relationships, humor, television, youth, aging - there is a world of ideas for discussion.

For further information on Hearing Men's Voices visit the Programs section our our website.

 

Royalty, Religion, Sex and Mystery, new book by Rabbi Charles Simon

Rabbi David Wolpe states in his forward - "Royalty, Religion, Sex and Mystery is a book of modern interpretation and midrash. It takes the stories of the Bible, explains them and then helps them come to life. What did the Levite feel as a survivor when the ark fell and Uzzah was killed? What is the story of David confronting a giant supposed to teach later generations? How did the rabbis succeed in making their reading of the text the one that became Judaism as we know it?"

In Royalty, Religion, Sex and Mystery, Rabbi Simon presents us with a great sweep of Jewish History and lore, beginning with the Ark of the Covenant (delightfully told from teh Ark's point of view) to teh establishment of Rabbinic Judaism.  Using historical eveidence and various points of view and narrative voice, he retells the Books of Kings and Chronicles. With compassion and humor, he uncovers the possible motivations, thoughts and feelings of teh characters, both men and women.  The drama is replete with politics, rebellions, alliances, merciless acts, acts of vengenance, courage, loyalty and pathos.  The backdrop is the historical rise of kingdoms and then empires and the develpment of literature, religion, and theology.  Rabbi Simon has truly followed Rav Kook's dictum to make the old new, and the new holy. - Dr. Amy L. Sales, Senior Research Scientist, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University

To purchase the book, refer to the FJMC Store.

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FJMC Raps at Camp Ramah - Wisconsin

Early in July,  campers from Camp Ramah - Wisconsin were singing along with Norm Kurtz, Orin Rotman and Evan Rumack of Congregation Beth Judea Men’s Club in Long Grove, Illinois.  Norm, Orin, and Evan led educational sessions with Solelim and Shoafim about the laws and customs associated with wearing tefillin and answered a variety of questions from campers.  We’re very grateful to Norm, Orin and Evan for making the trip to camp and for facilitating a contribution of 15 sets of tefillin to Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Yasher Koach to Congregation Beth Judea Men’s Club, the Midwest Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, the International Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, and various individuals for this meaningful gift.

FJMC/MRJ Collaboration

In the spirit of Klal Yisrael, the Federation of Jewish Men’s Club, Inc. (FJMC) and the Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ) have agreed to collaborate in order to more effectively involve Men in Jewish life. It is our joint belief that inter-Movement cooperation between Men’s groups will enhance our understanding of what is occurring within Jewish families. It is FJMC’s intent to help the Brotherhoods of MRJ become the best Brotherhoods they can be in order to strengthen Jewish life in their synagogues. It is MRJ’s intent to similarly share their resources with the Men’s Clubs of the FJMC. Both organizations are aware of the cultural differences which exist and have pledged to respect those differences. In order to maximize use of resources, both organizations will be serviced from the FJMC Office at 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 820, New York, NY 10115. In a Jewish world that is often divided, we hope this model of increased cooperation will be a symbol of unity and show that we can do so much more working together

 

Friends of FJMC Campaign Launched

The FJMC has launched a Friends of FJMC Campaign. 

Those willing to pledge a minimum of $18.00 a month will help ensure that the organization's programs and influence is sustained in the months and years ahead.  To learn more about this exciting initiative and how YOU can become a part, click here.

2017 FJMC Convention - Washington DC

The site of the 2017 FJMC International Convention is the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Crystal City, VA.  There will be programs starting on Monday evening, July 17th.  Washington is a great place to plan a family vacation, with the Holocaust Museum, the Israeli Embassy (a FJMC Reception will be held on Tuesday night at the Embassy, so you'll want to plan to get to Convention early), the Smithsonian Institution and its incredible museums, National Gallery of Art, the Newseum, the Washington National's Baseball Stadium, the Capital, and a host of other attractions for your wife and family.

The dates of the Convention itself are Wednesday, July 19 - Sunday, July 23, 2017.  The Woman's League, the parent organiztion of your congregation's Sisterhood, will hold thier Convention immediately thereafter, starting on that Sunday, July 23rd.   

Visit the Convention Registration Site for more information.

Bill Becker & Joe Swerdlow, Convention Chair & Co-Chair, are planning an exciting time. 

Building Shabbat Community

Since the traditional Shabbat service isn't to everyone's liking, this book, written by Dr. Bob Braitman and Norm Kurtz, two Past International Presidents of the FJMC, and actively involved in exploring other ways to get people involved in prayer, is an excellent resource for experimenting with other types of services which will get members into the door and involved.  Sold through Amazon.com, the paperback book is available to be ordered, by clicking on the image of the book.

Price:  $14.95

 

 

 

Biblical Leadership Published By Amazon

We've 'partnered' with Amazon for the publication of our new book "Biblical Leadership After Moses."  The book was written and published in honor of Captain Ruach, Burt Fischman, receiving the Lifetime Achievment Award from the FJMC.  To order and learn more about this exciting publication, click here.

Meditative Service Paper Published

The FJMC and the Cantor's Assembly have jointly published "A Guide to Introducing a Meditative Experience in Congregations."  The preface to the paper is available on the following page link (click here), where a complete copy of the paper, in pdf format, can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of the page.

Convention Tribute Journal Now Open!

Whether it is to congratulate your club's new officers, or your region's Ma'asim Tovim Honoree, your newly elected Regional Officers, or one of the newly nominated international officers, the Convention Tribute Journal is now 'OPEN FOR BUSINESS / TRIBUTES" and you can place your tribute by clicking on this link.

Tools for your Shuls

Tools for Your Shuls, a new newsletter has been launched by the FJMC.  It provides congregational leaders and clergy 'tools' and ideas to implement outreach for your congregation, due to the changing demographics of the Jewish community.  To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.  To download the first issue, click here.

 

 

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Guys Night Out & Mens Clubs Highlighted in CA

Tribe Magazine, an electronic and hard copy publication for the greater Los Angeles, California Jewish community, highlights the fact that Men’s clubs offer a place for'good ol boys' in Los Angeles, to get and stay involved in their synagogue.  The article explains that Men's Clubs can be serious, practical or just plain fun.  Read the artticle by clicking here.

Jewish Men Taking the Plunge - in the Mikvah

Why is it that the use of the Mikvah is one of the most neglected observances, and even - G-d forgive us - a joke in some circles? Times are a changing and more and more Jewish men are discovering the spiritual cleansing and purification of the Mikvah in a spa like environment that is private, clean as well as being darn right luxurious. If there is a joke, it's because many Jewish men still do not know this.  For further information and to read the article, click here.

Israel at the UN - Not all Negative

While most of the news involving the United Nations is negative with respect to Israel, our FJMC representative to the UN (as NGO - Non-Goverment Organizations) reports on where the contributions of Israel are being appreciated and suggested implementation for other nations.  To read the report, click here. 

Engaging the Non-Jewish Spouse

Strategies for Clergy and Lay Leadership is a new publication by Rabbi Charles Simon, and can be used by any synagogue seeking to adjust to demographic change as a blueprint for discussion and planning.  It provides a step-by-step guide to inclusion, taking into consideration the unique culture of each community.  To find out more, or to purchase it, click here. 

Implementation Guide- Jewish Men at Crossroads

The FJMC has published an Implementation Guide for its recent publication - "Jewish Men at the Crossroads."  Jewish Men at the Crossroads represents the most comprehensive collection of Hearing Men’s Voices (HMV) essays to date. The book offers thought‐provoking essays and discussion questions on topics of critical importance to men, andwhich can be used to effectively engage men through HMV programming.

HMV is that rare program which costs nothing to run, but pays dividends for many years to come. Running an HMV program using this implementation guide and the Crossroads material will help engage men of all ages more actively in your club.  In addition focused programming around this book can be an important tool to attract new members. Sessions can be facilitated by anyone with an interest in the topic and a willingness to stimulate conversation. HMV discussions can be targeted to any demographic group in the club or region and is a perfect small group activity.
 
The Implementation Guide is available in Leadership Documents (you must log in to see the Menu item) or at the Hearing Men's Voices page.

Future of Conservative Judaism - Myles' Musings

In his July 2012 article, “A Game Plan for Renewal: The Demise of National Movements and their Rebirth,” Dr. Steven Windmueller of the Jewish Institute of Religion at Hebrew Union College reports on his research showing that many religious, political, fraternal and social movements in North America are in decline. He offers several reasons including increasing membership costs, multiple competing causes and interests, the replacement of traditional memberships with social networks, and the lesser interest and loyalty of younger adults to their parents’ institutions. He further suggests that “an increasing secularization of American postmodern society” intensifies this trend for many diverse liberal religious groups, and cites the substantial decline in membership of Conservative synagogues over the past decade as an example.

When I read this article I was a short year away from beginning my term as FJMC president; it impacted my thinking and helped me formulate my vision for FJMC and the types of activities that we should pursue to accomplish that vision.  Read Entire Article

Improved Access to Club & Regional Officer Manual

There is now an easier way to access the Club and Regional Officer manuals.  Just log on to the website (through the Member Log on) and you'll be presented by a new Leadership menu, and within the Leadership Menu are Leadership Documents.  You'll see the manuals as the first two entries in the table, and you'll be able to download the pdf's to your computer or mobile device.

Mission to Southern France

In March, Gail and I had the pleasure of traveling to France as part of the 2014 FJMC/Masorti Olami Mission to Provence and Cotè d’Azur. The main purpose of the Mission was to build relationships with the two Masorti congregations in that part of the world,  click here

Alliances - Myle's Blog

As FJMC works to build and strengthen men’s clubs and at the same time collaborate with other arms of our Movement to address the issues facing Conservative Judaism, it’s been very enjoyable and rewarding for me personally to be able to form good relationships with the leadership of these other organizations. The presidents of United Synagogue and Women’s League and I meet by phone every other month; I serve on the Boards of JTS, the Ziegler School, and Mercaz; and I’m a member of the Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism which includes the professional and lay leadership of every arm of our movement.  To read the entire blog, click here.

Minutes of Rabbinic Think Tank on Keruv

An FJMC Keruv Rabbinic Think Tank that took place in Metuchen, New Jersey, December 2-3, 2013.  Twenty-nine congregational rabbis and two Cantors were in attendance. To read the minutes of the proceedings, click here.

Synagogues be in 5 years?

In this thought provoking article by Rabbi Charles Simon, FJMC and Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, Big Tent Judaism/Jewish Outreach Institute, they discuss what our synagogues might be like were a Conservative/Masorti synagogues choose to respond positively to demographic change implied by intermarriage.  And they raise some of the issues that will have to be thoughtfully considered and employed.  To read this thought provoking article, click here.

Yom HaShoah Million Candle Challenge

Help us light 1,000,000 candles on Yom HaShoah in memory of the children who were victims of the Holocaust.  Yom HaShoah Yellow CandlesTM are now available featuring new artwork by world renowned artist and survivor, Dubi Arie.  Check the Yellow Candles pages to find out information about the Yellow Candle program and  see a picture of the new candle packaging.   Order your candles today.   Register your commitment to light a candle on Yom HaShoah.  Answer the 1,000,000 Candle Challenge.

Captain Ruach Honored

Chicago Jewish News Guide to Jewish Chicago, honored our very own Burton Fischman, more commonly known as 'Captain Ruach' for his spirited rendition of Birchat HaMazon (the blessings after a meal), as a Jewish Chicagoan of the Year for 2013-2014.  To read the article, in which his FJMC is prominently mentioned, click here.  And from his FJMC friends, a hearty (and spirited) Yasher Koach!!  And you can leave your comments to Captain Ruach below.

President's Blog Open

President Myles Simpson unveils an on-line blog, to facilitate communication between members and leadership, about the issues which clubs and members are concerned about. Through this blog Myles hopes to accomplish two key objectives: (1) share information as well as his 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 he has written and offer your own views on these topics. The topics that he will 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.  You'll find his blog "Myles Musings" under the About Us menu item.

Board Approves Dues...

The Board of Directors of the FJMC has approved an increase in Men's Club dues of $1 per club member, effective in our next fiscal year (starting Sept. 1, 2013).  The FJMC is also launching a Membership Campaign for our Men's Clubs to help you grow your membership, starting at Convention.  We’re developing new training and promotional materials to help you attract new members, which will also be previewed at Convention.  Now here is the real good news - when your club is successful with its membership campaign, it will receive a 50% discount for each new member over your membership totals for the current year as reported to the FJMC.   As an example if you grow from 75 members to 85 members next year, instead of your dues being $935 in the following year, they would only be $880. The FJMC is delighted that over the past 10 years we have only raised dues by a $1 and we have been able to keep membership affordable to allow for maximum participation in the organization.


Please share this information with your clubs.  A Briefing Package describing the dues increase, membership campaign, and dues discount with details and examples can be downloaded from our website by clicking here.   Questions can be sent to Myles Simpson, VP Region and Club Services, at myles.a.simpson@fjmc.org.

Nominations 2013-15

The Nominating Committee has nominated ....

for the 2013-2015 leadership

  • President - Myles A. Simpson (Western)
  • First Vice President - Allan Gottesman (Florida)
  • Vice-Presidents - Mark Druy  (New England), Stan Greenspan (Lake Ontario), Allan Kahan (Seaboard), Ed Margolis (Florida), Steve Neustein (Tri-State) and Gary Smith (KIO)
  • Treasurer - Joel Shrater (Western)
  • Secretary - Alan Budman (Mid Atlantic)
  • Honorary President - Mike Mills (KIO)

In addition,  incoming President Myles A. Simpson has selected four additional men to serve on the Executive Committee:  Bill Becker (Seaboard), Dave Mandell (N New Jersey), Warren Sufrin (Tri-State), and Bruce Tomar (Mid Atlantic).

We wish all the nominees and appointees a hearty Mazel Tov, Yasher Koach for the work that got them to this point, and for the efforts on behalf of the FJMC they'll be making in the coming years!

Wealth Management

A Wealth Management Conference will be offered...

the morning of Convention, Wednesday, July 24th, prior to the Convention activities beginning.  The Conference fomat of panel presentations and multiple breakout sessions will have two tracts:  a novice tract for those just beginning the process or retirement planning, with such subjects as preparign to operate independently; what to do with inheritance; Long Term Care insurance: assessing Financial professionals; Budgeting; Estate Planning; and Tax Planning, charitable donations and mission investing.  An intermediate tract will be available for those who have dealt with many of the initial efforts, and will cover:  budgeting for retirement and setting investment goals; advanced investment area to tempt you, including EFT's, MLP's, REIT's, Oil Well, Drips, and selling Call options; diversification options for lowered risk and greater rewards; Israeli bonds as a part of a smart portfolio; and what you can learn from Newsletters.

For further information, check the Wealth Management Seminar page at the Convention web site, which can be reached by clicking here.

Facebook + FJMC

Social Networking:  FJMC has both a Facebook and Twitter presence (FJMC HQ, FJMC Convention 2013), and (@FJMC_HQ), so you can hear the latest news of the orgnization?   Become a follower on each, and spread the news, telling your club's members to join in on the conversation.  

FJMC's new Tag Line

The FJMC adopted a new tag line..... "Leadership, Innovation & Community" which in a short three-word expression, encapsulates what Men's Clubs and Brotherhoods bring to the Jewish Community.   It strengthens LEADERSHIP - mentoring leaders at the club, region and international level.  It does this through the development of INNOVATIVE programming and material for our clubs and the member families of the Conservative / Masorti movement world-wide.  And it builds COMMUNITY which allows Jewish men to form meaningful long-lasting relationships based on camaraderie, common interests and core values. FJMC brings meaning to the lives of men, and through our programming, touches hundreds of thousands of people each year.

In the coming months, you'll be seeing the new tag line, and a new logo, used throughout the organization to create a unified identity.

Build A Pair's New Heights

Some call it creative, some may call it colorful, but whatever you want to call it, the FJMC’s Build-a-Pair program reached new heights in 2012, as 1220 youngsters assembled Build-a-Pair model tefillin, and learned about the mitzvah using FJMC Build-a-Pair Curriculum and kits. The Build-a-Pair concept, a FJMC Torch Award winning program, is a fun and educational program for 5th through 7th graders, and is an adjunct to the World Wide Wrap held on Super Sunday, February 5th. Students learn about Tefillin, construct ‘model’ Tefillin in which they place Hebrew script which they write, insert ‘straps’, and create ‘wRAP’ songs to sing during the World Wide Wrap.

And speaking about the World Wide Wrap, 194 clubs from around the world, including Australia, El Salvador, France, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, Portugal, and Spain, (which is why it is called the WORLD WIDE WRAP), as well as throughout the United States and Canada, in Conservative / Masorti congregations, learned about and celebrated the mitzvah of tefillin. With the spreading of the Wrap to more and more countries, will the FJMC have to rename it once we have a colony on the moon?

2013 Biennial Convention Announced

The FJMC announced that a site had been selected for its 2013 Biennial Convention.  It is to be held on July 24 through 28, 2013, at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Boston North Shore, located in Danvers, Massachusetts. The hotel, which is undergoing a major renovation, opens in Spring, 2012, and is 20 miles north of Boston.  Chaired by Vice President Ed Margolis and Mark Druy, the convention will focus on men's issues and Hearing Men's Voices.

Keruv Initiative Launched

Another FJMC initiative, this time the FJMC's Keruv initiative, was highlighted in a September 9th edition of the Jewish Daily Forward, in the article "Conservative Synagogues Crack Open Door to Intermarried Families."  [See the August 18th entry below for the other FJMC initiative receiving press recognition.]  In the article, it indicates that the Conservative Movement's  policies had caused an exodus of intermarried couples from Conservative congregations to Reform ones.  "Things did begin to change in Conservative synagogues in the early 2000s, when the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, under the leadership of Rabbi Charles Simon, initiated a campaign to integrate intermarried couples. Since then, an untold number of Conservative synagogues around the country have simultaneously hewn to and flouted the advice of the national Conservative leadership, adjusting membership norms in a way that nominally accommodates the intermarried."  Read the entire article by clicking here.

Watch an important video of both the FJMC's Rabbi Charles Simon and Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, Executive Director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, as they discuss how best to deal with the reality of the issue of intermarriage.

Hador Habah Highlighted

The FJMC's Hador Habah initiative, to involve younger men in synagogue life, was recently highlighted in JWeekly.com, a publication of the San Franciso Jewish Bay area.

“We’re trying to make men realize the tremendous impact they have on their children,” says Rabbi Charles Simon, the executive director of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, who writes and speaks extensively on the importance of men volunteer taking charge of their personal lives.

Simon says his organization has been involved with men’s issues since 1999 but is now making a concerted push to attract younger men. At the group’s recent national convention in Costa Mesa, Calif., a curriculum to engage men at different ages was unveiled; it is to be piloted at several Conservative congregations next year.

Eighteen months ago, the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs launched HaDor Habah, Hebrew for “the next generation,” a project that brings men younger than 45 to training seminars so they can learn how to lead men’s activities for their peers. Nearly 70 men attended the second annual seminar in January.

To read the entire article, click here.