So here’s a little secret – for the past few months I’ve been one of the guys. Really!
In my role as the Development and Events Coordinator, I’ve been planning a Spring Men’s event. Men, Mikveh and Malt is coming up on April 25th at the Waterworks Museum in Chestnut Hill. Co-chairs and Host Committee members have been getting together every few weeks to plan the event and I’m the only woman present at the meetings.
The meetings are really fun; we drink scotch, eat Chunky Monkey ice cream and make jokes. These meetings are different in a lot of ways from other meetings I staff. One of the things I like is how direct these guys are. Last week, I made a suggestion and it didn’t go over well, but the conversation that followed helped to redefine the goal and we came up with a better idea. At the end of the meetings, one of the guys immediately gets on his cell phone to follow up with an action item from the meeting. After our last meeting there was a crowd of men in the parking lot still chatting. I approached them and told them that when the meeting continues in the parking lot, I know the participants were engaged in the meeting. It made me feel really good about my job.
Mayyim Hayyim has undertaken a Men’s Initiative this year to increase men’s participation in our mission and programs, to support efforts to assess men’s needs and interests and to develop resources accordingly. Involvement is not an end in and of itself, but rather a gateway to building community, offering a new doorway into Jewish communal engagement. The men-only event follows the model of the many women only events that we’ve had over the years but with men’s interests in mind and with men initiating the ideas and implementing the plan. In this case, the venue is a remarkable site filled with historic five-story machinery that once pumped water for the city of Boston; the entertainment is a very funny Jewish stand-up comedian, Joel Chasnoff and there’s scotch and whiskey tasting. Something for everyone.
Other parts of our Men’s Initiative include the Men’s Think Tank. This is a diverse group of men that meet to share their ideas and wisdom about making Mayyim Hayyim a place that feels completely open, accessible, relevant, and useful to men.
The goals of the Think Tank are:
• to envision ways of opening Mayyim Hayyim’s doors more widely to the men in our community
• to gather the input of the men in our community about specific programs for men and ways of engaging men
• to create advocates and ambassadors for Mayyim Hayyim to the entire community
• to create liaisons between Mayyim Hayyim and other organizations/communities
All men are welcome to the second meeting of the Think Tank on Sunday April 14, 6:30pm at Mayyim Hayyim. For more information or to rsvp, please contact our Rabbinical Intern from Hebrew College, Jordan Braunig at firstname.lastname@example.org
Another successful program that was part of our Men’s Initiative is the recent graduation of nine male mikveh guides. Nine amazing men went through our intensive training to become mikveh guides and graduated last week. It’s important for Mayyim Hayyim to have male mikveh guides to increase the number of men that immerse at Mayyim Hayyim, to offer a male presence for any male immersing and to increase our pool of committed volunteers. We are so proud of and grateful to Cohort 8!
Back to the event – we’d love to have you or the men in your life attend Men, Mikveh and Malt– Mayyim Hayyim’s second Benefit event for men only– coming up on Thursday, April 25, 7:00 pm at Waterworks. Tickets are limited, so register today. If you come with your poker club, cycling club, softball team, brotherhood members, father, son, brother’s father in- law and his son, you can get a discount. Click here for details.
Don’t worry women, there’s an event for us this fall, Thursday, October 17, honoring Anita Diamant. More information here.
Jody Comins is the Development and Events Coordinator at Mayyim Hayyim. She loves her job organizing events for men, women or both at the same time.