Submission #344 by Orangetown Jewish Center Men's Club - Orangeburg, NY (1886)

Submission information
Submitted by namkoob42
Wed, 2013-05-01 22:14
I have read the General Guidelines, "Nuts and Bolts" and Program Advanced Planning (Excel Spreadsheet) Documents
Club Name
Orangetown Jewish Center Men's Club - Orangeburg, NY (1886)
Turning Shabbat Conversations into Hearing Men's Voices
Club Representative
Person completing form
Club President at time of Convention
Club President Now
Hearing Mens Voices

Page 1

The Hearing Men's Voices committee wants to extend the ideas from the HMV books to current topics that men ((and women) are talking about . They center on problems with parenting, changing friendships, balancing Jewish values with other commitments as well as the man's role in the modern marriage.
Orangetown Jewish Center Program details

Orangetown Jewish Center Program details

After 3 years and about 15 sessions of Hearing Men’s Voices, we needed to branch out and address the needs of our men in a more “home-grown” manner. We decided to look for other topics that men were speaking about. We began listening to others in social gatherings at a kiddush on Shabbat, and virtually anywhere people got together. We noted that there is a great deal of sharing that goes on when people sit down to break bread after a Shabbat service. Our Saturday morning services are typically 150-180 people without a simcha, so there is a lot of socializing going on. In addition, there are a number of concerns shared by men and women.

When our committee meets, we discuss some of the concerns and ideas we have heard. We discuss them and decide if any are worth turning into a new HMV session. Once a topic is decided on, we toss around possible titles and focus questions. The questions may shift order several times until we determine the discussion starter question.

Another issue we decided to address was getting more support for the program by engaging the wives. After some discussions with our Rabbis, we realized that we could accomplish this and fill a need for programming on Yom Kippur between Musaf and MIncha. We opened the program to men and women, calling it, “Hearing Our Voices.”

Some of the new topics have included:
• What does it mean to be a parent and grandparent in the 21st century?
• How have my friendships changed from childhood to now?
• What is the man’s role in bringing spirituality to the marriage?
• How do I keep my Jewish values while juggling my commitments?
• What is my Jewish identity and how to I pass it to my children and grandchildren? This was part of a Yom Kippur program for men and women after Musaf.

Finally we decide on a facilitator and co-facilitator and a date at least one month in advance. A flyer is made up and is sent out via Constant Contact, e-blasts, mailings and the synagogue newsletter. In addition, the synagogue president or one of the Rabbis will announce it from the Bimah on Friday night and Saturday for several weeks before the event.

Page 2

Self Assessment
The program has engaged men who do not usually get involved in synagogue activities. A few have become more involved in synagogue life while others are now having a more active role in the Men’s Club. A few weeks after we run a session, men who missed it ask when the next session is. Regulars always ask when the next session is coming. The group runs from 8 to as high as 20 members. Most sessions have about 14 attendees.

The co-ed session on Yom Kippur ( which had about 30 attendees) generated a lot of questions and interest from the wives. Almost all of them wanted the program to continue next year, while some asked for a women’s only session or regular co-ed sessions.
This program supports all three elements of the tagline. There is leadership in creating new discussion topics based on needs. We have moved the program into new areas such as Yom Kippur and a limited co-ed session. Community is involved: the Rabbis, the women and ritual with our Yom Kippur initiative.
Original Program
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