How to Organize a Brotherhood
The good news for Reform temples (and the Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ)) is that the dire predictions that men’s groups would become obsolete and would just fade away are wrong. This is not to say that temple men’s groups, i.e., ‘brotherhoods’, don’t face new challenges and need to re-think carefully their primary purpose, mission and activities. They clearly must do so, otherwise they will (if they haven’t already) become marginal to the temple community and, eventually, defunct. But let us share an observation with you: there is a clear trend that has emerged within the past few years. Increasingly, the MRJ office receives inquiries from men in Reform congregations seeking our assistance in starting a new brotherhood. These men seek to join with other men in fellowship and meaningful activity both within the temple and larger communities. The search for a venue that will give them an opportunity to meet with and share something of value with other Jewish men, in more than a superficial way, is a very real phenomenon. Often, however, they are unclear how to achieve their goals.
MRJ is prepared to assist Reform men in these organizational efforts. As organizing a brotherhood is not simple or straightforward, sending out a pre-packaged manual with a set of fixed instructions is fraught with problems. Since the source of the motivations is diverse, and as the temple environments in which each new brotherhood will have to carve out its own identity are also diverse, it is not surprising that there is no standard kit that fits all. What may work in one temple, may not in another.
Remember: the professional staff and volunteer leaders of MRJ are here to help! Do not hesitate to contact us for more detailed, tailored advice! Use MRJ as a resource! That’s why we’re here!