Submission #323 by Etz Chaim Men's Club - Marietta, GA (1711)

Submission information
elisson1's picture
Submitted by elisson1
Tue, 2013-04-30 11:42
I have read the General Guidelines, "Nuts and Bolts" and Program Advanced Planning (Excel Spreadsheet) Documents
Club Name
Etz Chaim Men's Club - Marietta, GA (1711)
Holocaust Memorial Garden Renewal Project
Club Representative
Person completing form
Club President at time of Convention
Club President Now
Yom HaShoah / Yellow Candle

Page 1

Etz Chaim Men's Club developed a project for the renovation and redesign of the synagogue's Holocaust Memorial Garden, enabling it to better serve as the focus of future Shoah-related commemoration activities and educational projects. After creating a design and securing approval of the synagogue board, the Club funded the renovation construction with proceeds from its monthly breakfasts as well as by selling commemorative bricks and benches that formed a part of the Garden's new design. The new Garden was dedicated at a special program held on the 74th anniversary of Krystallnacht, and the first batch of commemorative bricks was unveiled at this year's Yom ha-Shoah remembrance program.
A Holocaust Memorial Garden incorporating artifacts from Treblinka and the Warsaw Ghetto had been built at Congregation Etz Chaim in the 1990’s but had since fallen into disrepair. Etz Chaim Men’s Club, believing that the Garden was a valuable educational resource as well as an ideal location for future Shoah-related programming, decided to “adopt” and renovate it. But first the Club would need to convince the congregation’s Board of Directors to retain it - it had been scheduled for removal as part of a larger synagogue redesign/renovation.

Over the ensuing months, Club members were solicited for ideas and input, and one of the members stepped forward with a complete design and landscaping plan. To fund the Holocaust Garden Renewal Project, the Club solicited individual contributions at Men’s Club “Best Breakfast in Town” programs; revenues from the annual Men’s Club / Sisterhood Golf and Tennis Tournament were earmarked for the project as well.

In January 2012, the Men’s Club presented its proposal to the congregation’s Board of Directors; the project was approved.

Ground was officially broken on Yom ha-Shoah in 2012, with much of the major construction in mid-August. Exterior work was completed by mid-September 2012 in time for the High Holidays. The renewed Garden was the focus of a Re-Dedication Ceremony held on November 11, 2012 – one day after the seventy-fourth anniversary of Krystallnacht – attended by members of Congregation Etz Chaim and its Men’s Club, and the Catholic Church of St. Ann, with whom our congregation has forged a growing relationship as a result of our “Unity of Community” programs in 2010 and 2011.

The cost of the project (as of May 1, 2013) was $7,009, consisting of $5,636 for garden renovations and landscaping, $951 for bricks and engraving, and $422 for brochures and publicity.

As of May 1, 2013, total revenues were $9,376, consisting of general donations ($1,406), brick purchases ($3,890), certificate purchases ($80), and bench purchases ($4,000). This yielded a surplus of $2,367, which amount (and additional net income going forward) will be used for the maintenance and upkeep of the renewed Garden.

Page 2

Self Assessment
The renewal of the Etz Chaim Holocaust Garden - and, in particular, the Club’s efforts to market commemorative bricks and benches - has made both the Garden and the Club more visible to both the area’s Jewish community and to the community at large, thanks in particular to the engagement of our Men’s Club with the local Catholic church - an outgrowth of Yellow Candle-based programming that began three years ago. Thus far, about 4% of the Congregation’s families have invested $100 or more in Garden-related funding (mostly through brick purchases), with many more indicating an interest in doing so. More important, the renewed Garden provides an excellent venue for future Shoah-related programming and community events.
This project has supported the FJMC mission of Involving Jewish Men in Jewish Life by getting several formerly marginal / inactive members of the Club to take active roles in making the project a success; raising the profile and further enhancing the image of the Club both within the Etz Chaim community and in the community at large; and providing opportunities to educate non-Jewish members of our local community about the Holocaust. The Leadership necessary to make the project happen, the Innovation required to make the project attractive to the congregation’s Board of Trustees, and the enhanced ties to our Community were all critical elements of the Holocaust Garden Renewal Project.
At Etz Chaim, this project was conceived as a renovation of an existing facility that had fallen into disrepair. Other congregations or Men’s Clubs may wish to consider this type of program as a stand-alone construction. We will be happy to furnish more detailed plans to any interested clubs.
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