Submission #357 by Temple Israel Center Brotherhood - White Plains, NY (1810)

Submission information
Submitted by rleboyer
Thu, 2013-05-02 16:26
I have read the General Guidelines, "Nuts and Bolts" and Program Advanced Planning (Excel Spreadsheet) Documents
Club Name
Temple Israel Center Brotherhood - White Plains, NY (1810)
Jewish History - Twelve Ounces At A Time
Club Representative
Person completing form
Club President at time of Convention
Club President Now
Programming for Young Men

Page 1

I have been hombrewing ales and serving them at our Men's Club dinners for about two years. I make many varieties of beer, giving them names that reflect Jewish holidays or themes. This has added a social aspect and put a little "cocktail hour" into the programs. This has made the club more fun and increased participation.

At the Convention in June 2012, a club in a synagogue in a different region heard me speak about the program and asked me to host a beer tasting dinner at his synagogue. About 28 people attended the dinner, “Jewish Heritage - Twelve Ounces At A Time”, in which I described various styles of ales and lagers and tied them to European Jewish History.
At the Convention in June 2012, each club discussed programs we were planning. A club in a different region offered help with one of ours and asked our help in bringing another to their synagogue. We met several times during the winter, which resulted in two successful programs – a successful show at ours and a beer tasting dinner at theirs.

At the dinner, we sampled different varieties of ales and lagers. Learning about different regions and their brewing techniques reminded me of the Jewish history that I had studied in Hebrew School many years before. In discussing the differences and the development of styles in different regions, I discussed the ingredients then told about the history of the Jewish people in those regions.

One example is Octoberfest, the best known beer drinkjng holiday. What is Octoberfest and should Jews celebrate it? Was this a Christian holiday or anti-Semetic festival? The answer is that Octoberfest celebrated the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig in 1810. How did Ludwig treat the Jews in Bavaria? As King, Ludwig granted rights and freedoms to Jews, so we can feel good celebrating his marriage.

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Self Assessment
This was an original program to attract people to the synagogue for a social event rather than a religious or educational one. Craft beer and homebrewing are growing rapidly, so a beer tasting dinner was a timely event. This appealed to many congregants that don't normally come to the ususal events. This allows the Men’s Club to be a forum for people to get to know their neighbors and to build the community. Importantly, this is being used as a first step toward greater involvement.

Another goal was to teach about the Jewish contributions to brewing and European history. Distributing the TIC Men's Club homebrews also turns beer (a secular, non-Jewish beverage) into a celebration of Jewish holidays and heritage.

This was an original program to attract people to the synagogue for an original event that is out of the ordinary for a synagogue. A member who picks up a bottle of homebrewed beer with a label like “Sandy Kofax Ale” or “Judah Macabbe Chocolate Stout” tends to read the entire label. We put an illustration on the front, then use the space on the back to deliver an educational message about the holiday or Jewish theme.

The program is also a good fundraiser, since the cost of homebrewed beer and craft beer is quite low compared with what one would pay in a supermarket or bar for these beers. The participants loved the opportunity to sample different styles of beer and learn about what makes them different. This also presented an opportunity to discuss Jewish history in the 1806-1914 period (Napoleonic conquest to WWI).
We are planning a second beer tasting program this fall at Forest Hills JC, one at Temple Israel, and possible one for the Hudson Valley Region.
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