July 23, 2024

Congratulations: It’s summer in Florida. The days are long and slow, the weather is predictably unpredictable and the Palm Trees gently sway in the breeze. As we come to the realization that we are blessed to live in the Sunshine State, this is also a good time for your Men’s Club or Brotherhood to look back and to look ahead. 

Begin by consulting the Gregorian and Hebrew calendar so you can avoid scheduling meetings, programs or events during times that conflict with Jewish religious observances. Two convenient Hebrew Calendar links that I like to use are https://www.hebcal.com/holidays/ and http://www.njcgs.org/Jewish-10-year-Calendar.pdf. Remember that all Jewish Holy Days and Festivals begin at sundown the evening before the date shown and conclude at nightfall of the last day; some Fast Days are from sunset to sunset, others are from sunrise to sunset.

Now that you are have a list of major and minor Jewish Religious, Cultural and Historical Holidays and Fast Days to work with (or work around), it’s time pencil in a regularly recurring annual cycle of programming or events that your Men’s Club or Brotherhood might want do throughout the year.

Your first logical calendar entry is to reserve a monthly recurring time slot for a Men’s Club or Brotherhood “business meeting” to discuss, reach consensus and plan. Whether your “business meeting” is via Zoom, at a Synagogue, someone’s home or a Brewery, ensure that YOU (or another responsible person AKA your Club Recording Secretary) keep a written record of matters discussed and decided – if you don’t write it down then it never happened.

A fun, stress free way to start your annual programming cycle is with a purely social, late summer, pre- High Holiday’s get together such as the often imitated but never duplicated “Back to Shul BBQ” like the Temple Beth Am Men’s Club of Margate, Florida. This is an easy way for your Men’s Club or Brotherhood to start a buzz and announce HINENI, “Here I Am”. Next, schedule a date to erect your congregational Sukkah, a night to enjoy a meal (and maybe a Scotch tasting) in the Sukkah and a date to deconstruct the Sukkah.

SuperBowl Sunday morning is the traditional date for Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods take part in the World Wide Wrap, an educational initiative begun by the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC) to encourage everyone – men, women and youth – to learn about, experience and promote the mitzvah of wrapping tefillin. SuperBowl game time is also a great time for your Men’s Club or Brotherhood to enjoy the game together. So be sure to add SuperBowl Sunday (February 9, 2025) to your programming cycle.

Plan a special springtime Men’s Club Shabbat or Brotherhood Shabbat weekend to raise visibility of your Men’s Club and highlight the participation of your Club in the religious and social fabric of your synagogue. This is a chance for your Men’s Club / Brotherhood members to lead and participate in any or all aspects of the Shabbat service(s), and a golden opportunity for your Club to connect, mobilize and re-energize its active membership base and engage inactive members who do not frequently participate by giving them an honor and/or a role in planning your event.

Yom HaShaoh
Begins Sundown
April 23, 2025

Participation in the FJMC Shoah Yellow Candle program is another essential link in the chain of your programming cycle. Jewish Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods around the world distribute Shoah Yellow Candles to their members, congregants and greater Jewish community so that at sundown of Yom HaShoah (April 23, 2025), candles are lit in homes across the globe to shine a light of memory, a light of education, and a light that we will never forget. Just as we light a Yahrzeit Candle to burn for 24 hours to remember a dear one who is no longer with us on the anniversary of their death, so too, once a year, we light a Yellow Yom HaShoah candle to burn 24 hours to remember our 6,000,000 brothers and sisters who died for no other reason, but they were Jewish. 

Blake Lenett, immediate Past President of Florida Region FJMC; proud member of Congregation Beth Shalom CBS Brotherhood of Clearwater, Florida

Now that you have successfully established a basic framework for an annual Men’s Club or Brotherhood program cycle, it’s time to start building out.  Reserve a quarterly Sunday morning time slot for a breakfast and Speaker series or for future programs yet to be determined.  To attract younger / more active members, consider creating a Kosher Pickleball or Bowling League, a quarterly “Guy’s Night Out” or an annual Father Son Golf Outing or Fishing Trip. No single program or activity will attract all existing /potential Men’s Club or Brotherhood members so include a mix of programs to attract both younger and older attendees on your tentative programming calendar.

One of the most important links in your annual program cycle is to save a date (or evening) to celebrate and say THANK YOU to your Men’s Club ans Brotherhood Man (Men) and/or Youth(s) of the Year, “The Keepers of the Flame”.

Recognition and reward are keys to making a volunteer organization work. Every Florida Region FJMC Men’s Club and Brotherhood is encouraged to nominate one or more of your members to receive the 2024/2025 FJMC Man of the Year and/or Youth of the Year Award to recognize and reward the key volunteers in YOUR Men’s Club, Brotherhood and/or synagogue whose efforts have contributed to building your Jewish community and to serve as an beacon to involve Jewish Men in Jewish Life.  

Finally, SAVE THE DATE on your 5785 Men’s Club / Brotherhood Program Calendar to attend the FJMC Biennial International Convention. All Florida Region FJMC clubs are highly encouraged to help sponsor at least two delegates from every Men’s Club and Brotherhood attend to the 2025 FJMC International Convention, Thursday July 3 to Sunday July 6, 2025 in Chicago. For more information visit: https://convention.fjmc.org/2025-chicago/.

Efficient planning is the essential element of every successful organization; how can the Florida Region of FJMC help you? FJMC Club Consultants 311 is available to assist your Men’s Club or Brotherhood develop and implement a dynamic, well thought out annual programming calendar that will keep your members focused, engaged and prepared for the year ahead and beyond.

This message is brought to you by the Florida Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs. We are part of a 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://fjmc.org/for-clubs/affiliating-with-the-fjmc/.

The Florida Region of FJMC serves the needs of affiliated Men’s Clubs and Brotherhoods throughout the State of Florida. 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.

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