What is Men's Club Shabbat?
It can vary from congregation to congregation, but in general, it is an opportunity for Men's Club members to lead Shabbat services. With some clubs it is the Friday night service, with others it is held on Saturday morning, and in still others it's both. There are also Men's Clubs that expand their Men's Club Shabbat observance to include a program on Sunday morning and others make an entire Men's Club Week as a means of showcasing all that their club does.
When is it held?
The FJMC traditionally schedules International Men's Club Shabbat on Shabbat Hachodesh each year. Shabbat Hachodesh was chosen because it commemorates our beginnings and signifies a time of fulfillment. Here is the date for the next year:
March 20-21, 2015 1 Nissan 5775 / Portion: Vayikra (It's also Rosh Chodesh, so there will be an additional reading from the second Torah scroll)
Is it that date or not at all?
No. In fact, only a fraction of Men's Clubs actually hold their Men's Club Shabbat observance on that weekend. That's because their synagogues have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah or some other event scheduled then. You can hold your Men's Club Shabbat whenever it's convenient for your or your congregation.
When should we start planning our Men's Club Shabbat?
As soon as possible. This isn't like a Sunday morning speaker breakfast that you can put together in a matter of days. It might well take months to plan! After all, you need to talk over your plans with the rabbi, assign the various parts to Men's Club members, print a hand-out listing the participants, perhaps arrange for an outside speaker, make arrangements for the Oneg Shabbat, and do your advertising. And that doesn't include the planning necessary if you also hold a Friday night Shabbat dinner in the synagogue or have other programs that weekend.
How do we start planning?
The FJMC has provided a generic Men's Club Shabbat Planning Guide that will help you plan the weekend regardless any specific theme for that year.
For more information:
Visit the FJMC website Men's Club Shabbat Page.