The Men of Zoom by Tom Sudow
Men’s Clubbers are highly creative and innovative people and that has never been more true than during the last 7 months. Synagogue building closed, social distancing, working and school from home, a pandemic - the creativity of the FJMC and Men’s Clubs across North America has been on display.
Many Men’s Clubs moved their programming online for their members, Zoom became the new Synagogue social hall. Clubs have weekly happy hours, where members join together online and have something to drink while having a discussion. My favorite was the Club which had a debate on should we bring back the Three Stooges. Another Happy Hour was a discussion, with a medical expert, on the prognosis for a vaccine. Beer and Bible discussion groups, which many Clubs run with their Rabbi, went online and have created significant enthusiasm.
Some Clubs have run drive -in movies, showing a featured move on the side of their Synagogue building and spreading the cars out so people could watch the film from their car at a safe distance. They found technology that can bring the movie sound right to the car's radio. Clubs have held sports nights where they have had sports personalities on Zoom, some have even done them with sports figures from Israel. One Club is holding a four part series on mental health and addiction inline with the FJMC’s Imagine Life Initiative.
Wine, beer and scotch tasting online, have also taken place. Guest lecturers and other educational programs have also moved online. Other activities have included trivia nights, joke nights, virtual poker and other games. The list is almost endless, as Clubs have been very creative as to how they program at this time.
From very serious programming to lots of fun, many Clubs are providing programming to meet the needs of the day for their members and congregations.
The FJMC has responded with a number of new programs and I encourage you to check them out and to participate. Six of the Regions of the FJMC have held online retreats, these retreats since May, have had over 400 different people who have participated, filled with very exciting programming - even how a Club can brew their own beer (two retreats have featured that program).
The FJMC has held over 80 webinars on a variety of topics of interest and over 1,000 different people have participated. The FJMC has also launched different interest groups for people who have common interests, these are all held through Zoom. From Yiddush, to cooking, to genealogy to sports. So far, we have learned to cook Greek Meatballs, Chinese Food, BBQ Chicken and Cornbread. We have had sessions with the Great Rabbino and former All-Star Catcher and major league manager - Brad Asmus. We have had wine tasting featuring one of Israel’s top wineries. A we have told jokes in Yiddish.
The FJMC and our member Men’s Club have been anything but complacent during the last 7 months, together we have provided exciting programs to involve Jewish men in Jewish life…. Even during a pandemic.
We have truly become the Men of Zoom.
Tom Sudow is the International President of the FJMC, he lives in Cleveland, Ohio and can most often be found in front of a computer on Zoom.