Submission #382 by Highland Park Conservative Temple Men's Club - Highland Park, NJ (910)

Submission information
Submitted by letraca
Sun, 2013-05-05 14:19
I have read the General Guidelines, "Nuts and Bolts" and Program Advanced Planning (Excel Spreadsheet) Documents
Club Name
Highland Park Conservative Temple Men's Club - Highland Park, NJ (910)
Calendar of Activities for 2012-2013
Club Representative
Person completing form
Club President at time of Convention
Club President Now
Best Overall Programming

Page 1

The Men’s Club of the Highland Park Conservative Temple- Congregation Anshe Emeth of Highland Park, NJ sought to provide broad comprehensive programming over the past year. We focused on bringing back a number of successful programs from the past, adding educational and spiritual variations to our events, designed for vibrancy and diversity, and held a number of events partnering with USY and the education arm of the temple to attract families and young men and women. The result was a packed calendar with an organized theme and a variety of activities to satisfy the interests of a diverse group of people in our congregation and the community at large.
The Men’s Club of the HPCT-CAE is a club of 70-80 members, with a core group of about 10 executive members engaged in the majority of the planning, programming, conducting of meetings, and overall work. With a congregation of varied demographics and spiritual preferences, our goals have been to maintain a broad range of club activities and events - educational, spiritual and fun - to engage as much of the congregation as possible in synagogue life, outside of shabbat and holidays, and to attract more men to join our programming and fundraising committees.

Social events: In recent years, our club has found its niche in holding social events as fundraising opportunities, revitalizing our congregation with events that appeal to all demographics - both young and old, within our community and in the greater metropolitan area. In 2012, our inaugural event was the “Steak and Scotch in the Sukkah” Dinner, which was held for the second year in a row. This year, the dinner coincided with our rabbi’s completion of Tractate Berachot, so we incorporated a siyyum to add a spiritual layer to the already fun-filled evening. The cornerstone of our social activities was our annual December 24th “Evening of Comedy, Music and Dancing”, which has been held since the early 2000s. This year, we invited Keith Barany, a well-known comedian; the Avi Maza Orchestra, a local band; a buffet dinner catered by a local Chinese restaurant; and a 50-50 raffle. The event brought in nearly 200 people, and made for a fun evening and a profitable fundraiser for the temple. In January, our annual Chili Cookoff, which has been held since 2009, brought out eight teams of chefs who engaged in a friendly competition with their own chili recipes, including two vegetarian chilis. All cooking was done on premises in the temple kitchen throughout the day of the competition. All who attended the dinner got a chance to vote for their favorite chilis, and award certificates were printed in hand calligraphy for all teams. Finally, to close out the year, we are holding a "Pre-Shavuot" wine-and-cheesecake tasting - a variation on our popular wine-and-cheese tastings which are traditionally held in advance of Passover.

Speaker program: We partnered with our temple’s Education Committee to invite Samuel G. Freedman, New York Times columnist and author of 2001's “Jew vs. Jew” (and a native of our town); and we partnered with Israel Bonds to invite Art Shamsky from the 1969 New York Mets for a breakfast program.

Athletic events: Our club continues to hold a variety of athletic events each year, in furtherance of the "shomrei haguf" initiative for the health and wellness of our members. This year our temple sponsored a members-only softball team comprised of 16 players who participated in the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County Softball League. Also included on our calendar was a laser tag tournament (Men’s Club vs. USY), an annual golf outing, and Men's Club members who participated in the annual Rutgers Hillel 5K race.

Synagogue Service: The club continues to maintain a tradition of service to our temple and community. Although kosher cakes, challahs, wine and kosher-for-Passover products are now more readily available at local shops and supermarkets, our club continues to sponsor cake and wine sales for the High Holidays and Passover, primarily for the elderly members of our congregation who have difficulty obtaining these items on their own. In partnering with local liquor stores and kosher bakeries, we obtain items at reduced cost and mark up our offerings as a fundraiser for the Temple. This year we saw record number of orders placed and income generated. We also held our twice-annual on-site blood drive and bone marrow testing in support of a local resident who is seeking a stem cell match. Also, for the first time this year, we partnered with our temple’s Youth Committee to undertake the responsibility for safety on Shabbat mornings: As children and teens have a tendency to run through the halls of our shul and congregate noisily in the lobby near the sanctuary during services, Men’s Club members volunteered regularly to monitor and police the premises. Financially, we made an annual donation to the temple’s operating account; helped to fund the purchase of a new commercial freezer; and contributed proceeds from the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle program to the temple fund for USY scholarships.

FJMC programs: Not only did we once again participate in the "World Wide Wrap" and the Yom HaShoah Yellow Candle Program, but this year we debuted new FJMC programs on our calendar. We held our First Annual Men’s Club Shabbat on Parsha Vayikra; and our first “Hearing Men’s Voices” breakfast on the topic of “What’s Your [Jewish] Story?” We also once again participated in the regional “Man of the Year” program: in addition to having 40 members of our temple community in attendance to honor our Man and Youth of the Year, our temple’s own rabbi, Eliot Malomet, was invited by the Northern New Jersey Region to deliver the evening’s sermon. This combination of FJMC events made for a more fulfilling, meaningful calendar of events.

Page 2

Self Assessment
The impact of our programming and marketing materials on our club and synagogue has been tremendous. This year we printed and mailed out new marketing materials that were more streamlined and professional, including a tri-fold membership brochure that incorporated a calendar of events with specific dates. The diversity of our calendar’s events and programs has brought out more participants this year than ever before - not only Men’s Club members, but their families, and youth participants in the community. Our club is no longer seen as made up of older members, or catering to only a certain generation or demographic. This year has seen increased involvement and participation from younger generations of our synagogue, especially with the entertainment portion of our December show, the Chili Cookoff and the Shabbat morning safety volunteers. And perhaps most notably, our first Men's Club Shabbat generated positive reviews from our congregation, in part because of the participation of new members in the service (a personal milestone - one of the co-presidents of the club seized the opportunity to read Torah for the first time since his bar mitzvah), and vibrant, entertaining divrei Torah and "State of the Club" speeches that made the passion, professionalism and contribution of our Men's Club all the more apparent.
The combination of programs we selected for this year fosters the FJMC element of “community”, especially the programs listed above that contribute specifically to youth initiatives (“Man and Youth of the Year” Dinner; donations to USY and Kadima Scholarships; USY sports competitions; Hillel team races; Chili Cookoff with family teams). Our club has made a more conscious effort in recognizing the youth leadership of our congregation, especially in collaborating with our temple's Youth Committee in selecting the "Youth of the Year", and including younger men on our executive board and programming committee.
Original Program
Previous Submission