In the Beginning…. 1964
- This post documenting the history of the presidency of the Florida Region of FJMC would not have been possible without the invaluable research assistance of Alan Gottesman, Elliott Davis, Jeff Litt and David Singer.
The story of the Florida Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) began in 1964, a year of hope and promise. It was a year that saw the rise of The Beatles, the beginning of Bewitched and boxer Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, heavyweight champion of the world. The New York World’s Fair showed us a future of peace and prosperity as Race Riots gripped big cities and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law. This was also the year that the Florida Region of the FJMC was created; carved out from FJMC Anshei Darom Region in order to better serve the needs of Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods throughout the State of Florida.
It is said that we stand on the shoulders of giants; Florida Region FJMC would not exist today had it not been for the dedication of a long line of Regional Presidents. Early archival records of Florida Region FJMC leadership have proven elusive, however it appears the the first and longest serving President of Florida Region FJMC was Ralph Fistel, holding office for ten years from 1967 through 1977, followed by Herbert Zemel in 1977. Robert Shellow was the third man to assume the “Orange Throne”, serving as Florida Region FJMC President from 1982 until 1984, when Al Solo took the reigns. The fifth President of Florida Region FJMC was Morris Dan, serving from 1985 until 1988 when he passed the Orange baton to Sheldon Bolt.
The year 1990 brought a new generation of dynamic leadership to Florida Region FJMC when Gary Dalin took command, serving as regional President until 1994 when he successfully engaged in succession planning as Philip Redish became the eighth Florida Region FJMC President. In 1998 Gary Dalin mounted a successful reelection campaign, becoming the first man to serve two non-consecutive terms as the Florida Region’s seventh and ninth President .
The year 2000 brought in a new millennium as well as the presidency of Alan Gross, who faithfully served two years. Alan Gottesman (of IKC fame) was the eleventh Florida Region FJMC President from 2002 until 2004 when Jeff Litt assumed the mantle of leadership, followed by Robert Mandel in 2006, Ed Margolis in 2008, Elliott Davis in 2010, Mel Kerman z”l in 2012 and Elliot Burns in 2014. The year 2015 saw the return of Ed Margolis as the (fourteenth and) eighteenth President of Florida Region FJMC, followed by David Pelzman as number nineteen in 2019. The year 2020 brought many challenges to the leadership and organizational structure of men’s clubs and brotherhoods across the Sunshine State as Blake Lenett assumed the title of the twentieth and current President of Florida Region FJMC.
Looking ahead to the future, the Nominating Committee of Florida Region of FJMC is in the process of identifying potential candidates for positions on the 2023-2025 Regional Executive Board. Do you have what it takes to be the next (and twenty-first) President of Florida Region FJMC?
The Florida Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) serves the needs of affiliated Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods throughout the State of Florida. We are part of a global confederation of over 200 Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods representing over 20,000 members across the United States, Canada, Latin America, and beyond. Learn more about how your Jewish Men’s Club or Brotherhood can affiliate with the FJMC at: https://www.fjmc.org/content/affiliating-fjmc.
Get to know more about the FJMC Florida Region and our growing network of Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods at www.floridaregionfjmc.org and please visit and LIKE our Florida Region FJMC Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/FloridaRegionFJMC.