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May Musings

This month I'd like to share my thoughts on a few miscellaneous but important topics.

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The Men's Club of 2015

"We’re not your father's men's club!"  That's what I used to hear when I first became active in my club in the early 1990's.   At that time the stereotype was a bunch of older guys who sat around playing cards and drinking beer, and this comment was meant to reassure prospective members that our club included men of all ages and our programming was meaningful and worthwhile.  To be honest we did on occasion play cards and drink beer, but we also fulfilled the FJMC mission of involving Jewish men in Jewish life through ritual programs, Hebrew literacy training, social action projects, and se

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Good News About Israel

By now you hopefully have all seen the publicity from FJMC and other Conservative movement organizations about the upcoming World Zionist Organization (WZO) Congress in Israel next October, and the importance of voting in the WZO elections for the Mercaz slate.  If you have not yet voted, this is a good time to do so!  Just go to www.mercazusa.org to first register and then vote.  Why is this important?  In case you didn't know, Mercaz is the Zionist membership organization of the Conservative Movement, the voice of Conservative Jewry to the WZ

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The Wandering Jew?

Of all my activities as President of FJMC, visiting clubs and chatting with men’s club members are among my favorites.  I had an opportunity to do a lot of this recently, as I went on what I’ve jokingly called my “odyssey.”  Over the course of 11 days, my travels took me to seven cities where I met with members of 18 men’s clubs in various venues.

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Accomplishments and Future Plans

I thought this would be a good opportunity to report on our accomplishments, and let you know what’s coming next year. For me personally it’s been a year filled with pride. I am constantly amazed at the dedication and commitment of our leadership and the many volunteers across North America who live and breathe men’s clubs, and who are willing to devote their time and effort to involve Jewish men in Jewish life.

Accomplishments in Our First Year

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Israel on my mind

I’m usually a pretty optimistic guy, but for the past several weeks events in Israel and for Jews in the rest of the world have been disheartening and frustrating, to say the least. As Israel pursued its legitimate right and moral responsibility to defend itself against the continuous barrage of Hamas rocket attacks with Operation Protective Edge, the world seems to have gone mad. Here’s my take on the situation, which removes all semblance of sanity and common sense.

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The Future of Conservative Judaism

In his July 2012 article, “A Game Plan for Renewal: The Demise of National Movements and their Rebirth,” Dr.

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The FJMC Mission to Southern France

In March, Gail and I had the pleasure of traveling to France as part of the 2014 FJMC/Masorti Olami Mission to Provence and Cotè d’Azur. The main purpose of the Mission was to build relationships with the two Masorti congregations in that part of the world, Maayane Or in Nice and Or Chalom in Aix en Provence.

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Strategic Alliances

As FJMC works to build and strengthen men’s clubs and at the same time collaborate with other arms of our Movement to address the issues facing Conservative Judaism, it’s been very enjoyable and rewarding for me personally to be able to form good relationships with the leadership of these other organizations. The presidents of United Synagogue and Women’s League and I meet by phone every other month; I serve on the Boards of JTS, the Ziegler School, and Mercaz; and I’m a member of the Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism which includes the professional and lay leadership of every arm of our movement.

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Our First Six Months

In this Blog I’d like to review the progress we’ve made in accomplishing our plans and objectives, since we’re now six months into our two-year term.  You may recall that at Convention and in my first Blog, I described three focus areas that we planned to work aggressively during this administration:  growth, club support, and programming.  Here’s how we’re doing thus far:

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