State of the Spirit
October 28, 2018
Did the 70 men attending JMR 27 last weekend experience (one of) the best JMRs ever? I for one can’t think of a better JMR retreat! Co-leaders Marc Jacobs and Cobi Waxman looked at the evaluation forms from the previous year (JMR26) as they planned JMR27. Where I only saw the great comments from over 90% of the responses, they saw the few comments that said we could do better. It is most impressive how Marc and Cobi did better because the critical comments were split between “do more” or “do less” in the same areas.
David Cherenson, Michael Evers, and Ralph Benmergui, the three leaders of JMR28 on October 25-27, 2019, are moved in spirit by the exciting challenge to create a deep and soulful retreat for JMR28. We are confident that these Brothers will continue the tradition of building upon the foundation laid by prior JMRs. They will have help and lead the inspired brotherhood of16 men who stepped into the Planning Team during the closing circle this past weekend. Additional resources to the independent JMR28 team will come from the Menschwork Wisdom Council of 11 men.
For the past few years, the Wisdom Council has convened a two-day planning retreat to assess and develop the long-term vision, goals and programs of Menschwork. This year the group will meet December 16-17. We welcome any input of ideas for us to consider about how to grow the vision and types of services Jewish men want to deepen our lives.
We thank Marty Pashelinsky, Cobi Waxman, and Donald Gardner, who are transitioning off the Wisdom Council, and welcome into the Counsel the wisdom and gifts of Joseph Kottler and Michal Landau.
Continuing Menschwork Connections Throughout the Year
This year’s retreat was a very powerful experience. Building from that experience, we are organizing several opportunities to stay connected and through Menschwork activities throughout the year. Please make sure to mark the following dates on your calendars and look for upcoming emails with program information:
- We are planning a series of ZOOM conference calls on a wide range of topics for 2019 on Wednesday evenings at 9pm on Jan. 9, Mar. 13, May 8, July 10 and Sept. 11. Many of these ZOOM calls will recorded as Webinars for Menschwork.org, Guidelines which are here.
Pathways: While for many years there have been various Shabbos afternoon program choices including free time/nap, this year I heard many men say they wished they could be in 2 or 3 places the same time because multiple Pathways offerings were very appealing to them (Spiritual Eldering, Sound Healing,#MeToo, Gender Identity, Original Jewish Texts about being a Mensch, Experiential Service). These offerings took on the name Pathways; based on interest, we expect to continue this work during the year ahead.
Webinars:In 2017, Menschwork created its first webinar. Reb Shawn Zevit and a small group created a great online video, available at www.Menschwork.org, giving a history of Jewish Men’s work along with a discussion among the group. This year, Mark Dwortzan and Elliott Myrowitz created a short video guidelines to making a recorded Menschwork Webinar which includes a list of topics proposed as well as an invitation for you to offer a topic here.
Mishpacha groups: A highlight of JMRs are the Mishpacha groups. These small groups, which meet 3 times during the retreat, are an open hearted, kind, sharing experience. There has been interest to continue this experience throughout the year. The Wisdom Council is considering how to best make this type of opportunity available beyond the JMR weekend.
Mensches, we say Amazing Things Happen When Jewish Men Gather. Please gather with us over the next year in whichever of the numerous rich opportunities for soulful Jewish connection and growth that I have discussed that calls to you: Webinars, Pathways, Mishpacha groups, and beyond. While we have two Webinars ready for our upcoming schedule, Pathways and Mishpacha groups will depend on your interests and response to this communication. Send me a note on our Contact page and tell me what interests you, and I will connect you with the appropriate group.
Elliott Myrowitz, Mark Dwortzan, Marty Pashelinsky, Donald Gardner, David Piver, Harold Belkowitz, Marc Jacobs, Cobi Waxman, Simon Olsberg, Josef Kottler, Michael Landau, Yosaif August, Reb Shawn Zevit.
Wisdom Council members, Menschwork.org