I’ve jumped back into the frey… the Temple officer frey, that is. I’ve been elected a Mens Club Vice President (without portfolio), and we’re having a meeting tomorrow to discuss ideas for the upcoming year. I’ve got a few ideas bouncing around my head, but I could use some help to finish fleshing them out.
When you think of a Mens Club, what activities come to mind? Probably your typical “manly” activities, right? Sporting events. Grilling meat. Poker. Golf. Camping. We do all of these things, but they aren’t attracting new participants to join the organization. We do have other events: mens only discussions, a mens-only seder, sukkah building, but these are much lower key.
I’m of the belief that limiting the group to stereotypical “mens” activities will only get us “stereotypical” men. That’s probably not the bulk of men in the congregation. We need to come up with activities to attract other men to join. If these activities can (a) raise funds for the congregation, and (b) have a connection to Judaism, so much the better.
I’ve been trying for the last few years to start a gaming afternoon. We’ve had low attendance, but I think that is a publicity problem. I need to publicize it to the school better… and more importantly, publicize it to the adult members of the congregation who probably think board gaming is for kids only. I was wondering this morning if we might increase attendance by adding in RPGs — in particular, some form of Jewish-themed RPG, if such a thing exists (it’s an intriguing notion when you think about it–just imagine an RPG of the Jews wandering out of Sinai, battling monsters along the way :-)).
One idea I’m thinking of proposing is a quarterly Jewish-themed theatre outing. We get together to see a Jewish-themed show, and go out for dessert afterwards and discuss the show. We could probably make a little money by purchasing group discount tickets and selling them at full price; we might also be able to get the theatres to donate gift certificates for the Golf Tournament prize table, once a relationship has been established. This would serve to build community and attract those not into sporting events.
I’m open to additional ideas and suggestions. The question is: how do we draw them men of the congregation into our activities, and get them working together and making friends. If we can build the community of the mens club, we’re subtlety strengthening the community of the overall congregation.
Thoughts are welcome.
Music: In These Times (Peter, Paul & Mary): Wayfaring Stranger