2011 Ma'asim Tovim Honorees & Video

The Ma'asim Tovim Award is the highest recognition a Region can give to one of its members.  It is usually given to individuals who have worked on behalf of the region for many years.  This year's honorees are set forth below, as well as short bios and why they were so honored.

Table of Contents

Anshei Darom - Hank Needle

A native of Greensboro, NC, Hank Needle graduated from North Carolina State University and spent the first 13 years of his married life in Seattle, Washington before returning to the South. While in Seattle, he would often accompany his brother-in-law to morning minyan at the Conservative shul. He felt a great sense of bonding with this small group which carried over when he moved to Marietta, Georgia and joined Congregation Etz Chaim. As he started attending minyan there, he formed a bond with several of the men in the congregation, which led to being asked to join Men’s Club. Times were tough back in those early days, but Etz Chaim was always there to provide support to the Needle family. Hank decided it was important to give something back, a practice followed by his parents and in-laws for decades. Upon joining Men’s Club, he found that he wanted to become more involved. Before long, he was on the Board and worked in several capacities, including Trustee, Programming VP, and President. Hank continued to be very involved on many levels working on various committees and projects. He is a key member of the “Best Breakfast in Town’s” kitchen crew, rising early to help cook for the monthly Men’s Club meeting. He has also been involved with the World Wide Wrap, having just concluded a very successful event at Etz Chaim with a record number of kids and adults attending. He has been involved with the Shoah Yellow Candle program including assisting with a very moving event last year in the synagogue’s Holocaust Garden. Hank continues to be involved in any way possible and constantly encourages new people to get involved, including encouraging his grown sons to take an active role in Men’s Club. In the early 2000’s, he was asked by a regional Men’s Club to attend the FJMC’s Leadership Development Institute, setting in motion his involvement on the Regional level. He has attended two LDI’s and 2 National Conventions, adding to his education about the organization. Hank has served the region first as Vice President and then as President of the Anshei Darom Region, providing leadership and encouraging involvement to men around the Southeast. He was one of the first chairmen of the Anshei Darom Retreat, an annual event at Camp Ramah in Clayton, Georgia. This event has grown in numbers and popularity over the last 12 years and serves as a great model for other regions to follow. On the synagogue level, Hank was a member of the Board of Directors, including serving as Corresponding Secretary on the Executive Board. Over the years his love of woodworking has been put to use and can be seen in several projects at Etz Chaim. He helped build the Ark as well as the wooden wall sculptures in the chapel, including hand-carving one depicting Jerusalem. The Rabbi also assigned Hank the task of building a large menorah to be used for the community Chanukah celebration. The menorah, built almost entirely out of PVC pipe and painted gold, stands almost 10’ tall and graces the synagogue’s lobby during Chanukah. All three of Hank’s sons - Josh, Ben, and Mark - became Bar Mitzvah at Etz Chaim, and all were married by the congregation’s Rabbi Shalom Lewis. His wife of 37 years, Karen, has also been extremely involved with the synagogue, from her many years on the Sisterhood board to her current involvement as an assistant for the Judaica Shop. Hank is a very proud father and father-in-law, and is especially overjoyed to be the grandfather of six amazing grandchildren. Professionally Hank has worked for Isuzu Commercial Trucks for 21 years. He is an avid lover of anything Jeep, including the 1950 Willys he has restored. Many Sundays find him working in his garage workshop; he is always looking for spare wood for one project or another. Instead of taking it easy now that the “kids” are out of the house, Hank has found the exact opposite thanks to family events and his continuing work with the Men’s Club. Life doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon!

Connecticut Valley - Gordon Fain

My first Men’s Club/Brotherhood contacts (in the 1960’s) were when late my dad, Arthur Fain, would bring me to the Men’s Club breakfasts at W Hartford’s Temple Beth Israel (Reform). In front of the Rabbi was a gold-colored metal bagel, at the head table. The “story” was that if Rabbi Feldman, of blessed memory, could not answer your question, you’d “win” the golden bagel. As my Dad had taken a “toast master’s course,” and many were reluctant to ask the first question, my Dad would sometimes ask the first question to “break the ice.” My Dad also invented an SAT-style test on Judaica that could be quickly scored and was used by several Temple religious schools. My Mom Evelyn Fain was an unusually young Sisterhood President at Beth Israel, the year I had my Bar Mitzvah there. You can imagine the fine presents I got from the Jewish merchants on the Temple Board. From them both I learned the value of volunteering in such roles. At Yale Hillel about ’70-’73, I learned a lot about Shabbat services, the Five Megillot, and Hillel “organizing.” I learned from the late Rabbi Richard Israel (some of you may know him as later director of Boston Hillel Region) and from the undergraduates who led services. Later the late Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolfe led a “Socratic” type discussion each Friday nite at Hillel. Rabbi Israel taught us to care more how valuable and enjoyable a Jewish event is to us, as leaders/participants, than how big the “attendance” might be. Several years ago, David Kravitz, our volunteer Vice President for Training and the Geffen Institute, recruited me and our Hamden, CT Club “back” into FJMC. FJMC gave me opportunities to attend the Geffen Institute. The leaders of the New England Region’s Laymen’s Institute also welcomed us to their annual retreats. Under Prof. Burt Fishman and now Dan Kimmel, the humor and fellowship at Laymen’s Institute are famous. My “job” there is usually just to buy and bring the free door prizes. My FJMC “resume” show that if you know how to clean and operate the Temple’s Kosher kitchen for breakfasts and Friday night kiddushim, you too can become a Massim Tovim. May I respectfully send thanks to our CT Valley Regional Board, and the officers, Rabbi and staff of FJMC, and of my home club at Temple Beth Sholom. You’ve supported the growth and needs of our Region and of FJMC. Also Rabbi Ben Scolnic, our Temple Rabbi, encouraged me and our Club to renew roles in FJMC. As many of you know, the support of each Temple’s Rabbi (and/or Cantor) for given projects is a key factor in those programs that succeed. My wife Lila and I hope you had a wonderful time at Convention 2011.

Florida -  Ed Margolis

Ed served as International Convention 2011 Co-Chairman. He is father to two adult children Sarah and Jeffrey. Both are single and building great lives for themselves. He wisely married Debbie thirty-three years ago. Ed and Debbie and their family currently daven at Beth Torah in North Miami Beach, FL - the same synagogue where Ed's grandfather, Joseph Liedman z”l served as President fifty years ago. Ed has served on both the Beth Torah Board and the Executive Committee. While Membership Vice-President twelve years ago, Ed was challenged to re-establish the then defunct Men's Club in his shul. The Florida Region was also inactive at the time. Ed traveled to a USCJ regional meeting; he tracked down two FJMC leaders Gene Sacks and Alan Sussman and picked their brains. Upon his return, he shared his experience with his Beth Torah brothers; they added a few more friends who thought alike that there should be a Men’s Club and they soon formed the new Beth Torah Men's Club and Ed was elected the founding President. The "Men in Black," as the Men’s Club is now known have won multiple Quality Club Award and Torch Awards; and they have made a positive impact on the lives of thousands. He was elected to the Executive Committee of the newly awakened FJMC Florida Region in 2001 and helped the new regional leadership form a successful Man of the Year celebration in South Florida and the Region-wide retreats. Through the years, Ed served the two Ft. Lauderdale - FJMC International Conventions in 2003 and 2005 as the Local Coordinator and was elected Florida Regional President in 2007. Along with a growing team of committed, excellent leaders, the Florida Region continues to grow in size and accomplishments. Ed serves his local community as a Realtor since 1995; he is currently the Qualifying Broker and Equity Partner at Mast Realty, Inc. He is Past President of the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club and Immediate Past Chairman of the South Florida Workforce Investment Board. In 2009, Ed accepted the appointment by President Mark Berlin to the FJMC Executive Committee. Ed learns from everyone he meets. Further, Ed enjoys sailing with friends and family on Biscayne Bay.

Hudson Valley -  Dan Hammer

Janice and Dan Hammer have been members of Temple Israel Center in White Plains NY since 1989. He became a Shabbat regular after his dad passed away in 1991. The shul provided the solace he needed during this difficult period in his life. As time passed, his interest in the shul grew. He grew to love what the shul had to offer. In early 1994, Dan was asked to become President of the Brotherhood. His first response was to say no, but after a week, he realized that he would be able to accomplish a lot as President of one of the arms of the shul. Dan knew he would be able to give back. An idea was hatched. His theme as President was Mitzvah. We were off to the races. Brotherhood Shabbat was brought back to Temple Israel Center. His favorite part is the Silent Amidah! During a Pennies for the Poor drive, the hebrew school collected over $200 for the hungry and homeless fund at TIC. After a stint as Usher and Gabbi during the Days of Awe, Dan would go on to become Chairman of the High Holiday Committee. He held that post for 9 years, three of which overlapped with his tenure as club president. In 2001, he was a Simchat Torah honoree. Dan eventually became involved in regional activities. He became a regional officer of NY Metro, and would sit on the board of the newly established Hudson Valley region. Dan served as regional President for what he would say was a fast two years. He took 'the show on the road'. Regional meetings and executive board meetings were held throughout the vast Hudson Valley region. Every club in the region was visited. The theme of my Presidency was Hearing Men's Voices, Dan said. He wanted to make a difference, and was able to do so using the programming of the FJMC. One of the hardest things to do as regional president is getting men involved in men's issues. Well, Dan asked men to 'step up' and get involved in various regional committees. Committees of one grew to two. The work was shared. Dan didn't re-create the wheel. All he did was ask! Dan has also chaired the Regional Man of the Year / Student of the Year Committee. A post he recently handed over to the next generation of HVR officers. It's time to let some of the other guys have some fun! Dan is a former Brooklynite who graduated from Baruch College in NYC with a BBA in Marketing Management. In 1987, he started his own toy manufacturer's representative firm. He gets paid to play with toys! His hobbies are collecting airline miles and hotel points. He considers himself an expert on this issue. His tangible hobby is wine collecting. Dan and Janice have 2 children. By the time this is published, his son Eric will be engaged to Barri (a Shechter graduate). His daughter Stephanie is employed as a media planner at an advertising agency. Dan is proud of his involvement in the FJMC. The best part, as Captain Ruach Burt Fishman would say is the ruach!

KIO -  Mark Rosenson

Mark Rosenson has been a member of the Congregation of Tifereth Israel Men’s Club in Columbus, Ohio for 18 years. During that time, Mark has significantly increased the visibility of the Men’s Club in the synagogue and in the community at large. While increasing the Men’s Club membership by 50% during his tenure, Mark has also grown considerably in his own knowledge of Judaism, kashrut and Jewish traditions. Although he was raised in a Reform household, Mark’s grandfather was a founding member of the Conservative synagogue, B’nai Israel, in Pittsburgh. Mark became a Bar Mitzvah and was confirmed at Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and he married his wife, Martha, in Beth El Synagogue in Akron, Ohio. Mark has served as Tifereth Israel Men’s Club’s vice president of programming and president, as well as president of the KIO region. However, he is most proud of his accomplishments in securing outstanding speakers for the Sunday Brunch series, with notable leaders from both the Jewish community as well as Columbus at large, bringing recognition to the club and synagogue. He also coordinated the first city-wide program for Men’s Clubs across Columbus, getting together for a Columbus Clippers baseball game and picnic. Truly a kid at heart, Mark has enjoyed helping out at Tifereth Israel’s Purim Carnival, selecting the toys and running the prize room. On a more serious note, Mark has led the synagogue’s prison visitation program, engaging Jewish prisoners in lively discussions and bridging the gap to the Jewish community for seven years. Mark has helped the Men’s Club raise money for the synagogue library and religious school, chairing programs including the Yom Ha’Shoah candle distribution. While he served as KIO president, Mark was instrumental in bringing two additional clubs into the region. Mark continues to play a critical role in acquiring new clubs, working with FJMC leaders to increase awareness and interest. Mark has served his community as an insurance agent since 1989; he and Martha are the proud parents of Sarah, a college freshman. The KIO is proud to name Mark as the recipient of the year's Ma’asim Tovim award.

Lake Ontario -  Stan Greenspan

Was born in Trail, BC and raised in Toronto, ON, where he lives with his wife of 33 years, Vanessa, and is the father of Nicole (Jerusalem) & Jessica (Toronto). A graphic artist and internet developer, Stan graduated in the first baccalaureate class in Image Arts Programme from Ryerson Polytechnical University in Toronto. He operates Interactivepages, an IT consultancy in Toronto and works with a large number of Jewish organizations all over North America. Stan has been involved in both Men’s Clubs and synagogue organization for over 30 years. 
His initial involvement with Men’s Clubs came at Beth Emeth in Toronto where he was Brotherhood president. While at Beth Emeth, Stan worked with Rabbi Barry Schneider at the Sunnybrook Hospital where he worked to build the Jewish Chapel, the only free-standing synagogue on a hospital property in Canada. Stan worked to form the chapel's Men’s Club and coordinated the Toronto Brotherhood Shabbat Programme for many years. He is currently a member of the Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am Brotherhood where he is proud to be an honorary member of the executive committee. Stan has served as an Executive member of the Great Lakes Region of the FJMC as Vice President, as President of the Ontario SubRegion and as one of the founding members of the FJMC’s Lake Ontario Region, where he was the first Nominating Chairman/Past President. Currently was the Vice President for Programming 2009-2011, and is Vice President for Communications 2011-2013, and on the International Executive of the FJMC, Stan has served as FJMC Gavel Editor, the FJMC’s first Webmaster, Chairman of the World Wide Wrap, as a senior FJMC Consultant, Programme Chairman for the 2007 International Convention in Chicago and overall Chairman of the 2009 International Convention in Philadelphia. Stan travels extensively for the FJMC, leading training programs around the continent. His recent project with Rabbi Charles Simon and David Goldis, The FJMC Unraveller, a weekly letter that offers insights into Judaism has become an overwhelming success with nearly 1000 subscribers. In 2003 prior to the FJMC convention, Stan was one of the 6 founders of the International Kiddush Club with Allan Gottesman, Allan Sussman, Barry Goodman, Larry Weiderhorn and Tom Sudow. The IKC has become the FUN raising association of Masorti Judaism with members on 5 continents. The IKC has worked to raise nearly $20,000 to purchase tefillin and mezuzot for Jews who cannot afford them.  In 2009, Stan earned his private pilot licenses for the USA and Canada and may be found in the air at the controls on sunny days.

Michigan - Jerry Efros and David Freedman

The members of the Michigan Region are delighted to honor Jerry Efros with the Ma'asim Tovim award. Jerry has been an influential member of Congregation Beth Shalom since its inception over fifty years ago. As one of the Men's Club first presidents, he initiated the first "Dinner with Daddy Program" and was the driving force behind many Men's Club fundraisers. Through his efforts nearly sixty thousand dollars were raised, funding many of the synagogue's essential programs. Jerry is a native Detroiter. He was born in Detroit in 1923 and attended grammar school, high school and university within the city. After serving with distinction in the military during World War II, he completed his studies in pharmacy at Wayne State University. Jerry is the personification of an entrepreneur. With limited funds he was able to open his first pharmacy, Efros Drugs, in 1948. The first store was in Detroit but the business soon branched out to other locations in the metropolitan area. Many a future pharmacist served his/her internship under Jerry's supervision. Jerry and his late wife, also a veteran of WWII, raised four sons; three followed in their father's footsteps and became pharmacists and the fourth became a medical doctor. In 2004 Jerry was selected as the Men's Club of Congregation Beth Shalom's "Man of the Year" for his years of service to the Beth Shalom community. When Jerry was asked about the influence of the Men's Club in his life, he offered a simple response--"it brought me into Jewish life". Jerry did not need an "Action Plan" to recruit men to participate in the Men's Club. All he needed was a comfortable chair, a telephone and a synagogue roster. He would sit for hours on the phone encouraging men to join the club. Several years ago, when the Men's Club wanted to erect a flag pole to honor the Jewish men and women who gallantly served in our Armed Forces, Jerry stepped up and provided the funds. There is no one more deserving of the Ma'asim Tovim award than Jerry for his untiring efforts on behalf of the Jewish Community of Metropolitan Detroit.

he members of the Michigan Region are delighted also to honor DavidFreedman with the Ma'asim Tovim award. David's credentials for recognition by the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (Ma'asim Tovim Award) are excellent. At the Club level he is currently Vice-President of the Congregation B'nai Moshe Men's Club and is responsible for Public Relations and Publicity. In the past he has been Chair of the World Wide Wrap committee and a member of the Man of the Year Committee and the Intercongregational Dinner Committee among others. David has been B'nai Moshe's Webmaster since the website's inception in 1998, served on the Synagogue Board of Directors for two years and has assisted with the Jewish National Fund Lag B'Omer program. David developed the website for the Michigan Region and has been a member of the Region's executive board for two years. In 2010 David chaired the Metropolitan Detroit "Walk for Project Chessed" a walk sponsored by Jewish Family Service to provide medical care for low income and unemployed Jews in our Community as well as Jews who are not eligible for government insurance programs. Professionally he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto, and Master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Illinois. He was employed by the University of Illinois, Bendix Corporation, Ford Motor Company and now that he is retired he develops web sites for organizations (www.dfwebsitesetc.com) in the public and private sectors.

Mid-Atlantic -  Hersh Muchnick

Hersh Muchnick has been associated with the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs for over fourty years. As a member of the Adas Israel Men's Club in Washington, D.C., he served in many offices in the club including the presidency, when the club won several awards at the national convention in 1983. Hersh and his wife, Charlotte, moved to Philadelphia in the early 90's. It was then that Hersh worked with a group of men at Har Zion to re-start a defunct men's club. Through the the years, he worked to develope the club into one of the leading men's clubs in the Mid Atlantic Region. During that time, he served on the Region's board and today holds an honorary office of Vice President that he holds with great pride. The M.A.R. is proud to name Hersh as the recipient of the year's Ma Asim Toveem award.

Mid-West -  Ernie Smolen

A product of the “Great ‘Vest’ Side,” of Chicago and Penn Elementary School, Ernie attended Crane Technical High School, graduating in 1946 after 3½ years. During this time, he became active in Hashomer Hatzair, a Zionist organization, and looked forward to making aliyah. However, family circumstances did not permit him to do so. Ernie’s experiences in Hashomer Hatzair was the beginning of his Jewish and Zionist involvement, which continued to be a priority for him throughout his life. He met his late wife Doris z”l, a nursing student at Mt. Sinai Hospital, and they were married in 1952. When they moved to Niles in 1961, it was the beginning of the Smolens’ involvement at Northwest Suburban Jewish Congregation. Ernie was active on the congregation’s Board of Directors, as well as serving as congregational Membership Vice-President and Financial Secretary. Their three children, Renee, Lee and Alan z”l became bat/bar mitzvah at Northwest Suburban Jewish Congregation and celebrated their weddings there, as well. Ernie is the proud grandfather of Howard, Jessica, Tracey and Billy. Ernie has been active in Men’s Club for many years, both as a board member, President and as the leader of the Men’s Club Choir. Currently a member of North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, Il. serving on the Board of Directors. The past number years have found him involved in the Midwest Region and on the Regional Board of Directors. He has enjoyed attending several national conventions and regional retreats. Ernie is thrilled to be honored with the Ma’asim Tovim award and is looking forward to many more years of involvement in Men’s Club.

N.Y. Metropolitan -  Michael Harrison

Michael Harrison is a living example of his belief in dedication and hard work always pays off. Five years ago, upon the loss of his mother, Michael made sure that he attended every morning and evening Minyan and has continued to be a regular minyanaire today and most often leads the Davenning. He so appreciated the support of others in his time of need, that he became dedicated to help others in theirs. As Men's Club president of SRJC from 2006-2008 he had chaired or co-chaired many events. The Annual Succah Building, the Worldwide Wrap and Yom Hashoah and Men's Club Shabbat are just a few examples. He singlehandedly put Men's club at the forefront of Shelter Rock Jewish Center. Born in the Bronx, he now operates a Retail Discount Store in the Bronx. Upon the untimely death of his Father, at an early age, and after having recently graduated from Pace University with a BA in Marketing, Michael took over the family business in Queens and later on moved the business back to its original roots in the Bronx. Michael and his wife Millie have two children, Chris and Valerie. Both were bar and bat Mitzvot at Shelter Rock J.C. and Chris and Valerie attend College. Mike followed his tenure with the Men’s Club as the Executive Vice President of the NY Metro Region. Part of his duties was communication and he took that to a new level. Never has the region been so informed. His tenacity to get things done has propelled the region to new heights. Along with the communication, he took on the arduous task of coordinating the printed journals that the region does for its annual dinner and that this is no small task. These are just a few examples of why the New York Metro Region was honored to have Michael Harrison as its Maasim Tovim award winner.

New England -  Ken Turkewitz

Ken Turkewitz is always ready to lend a hand to his family, synagogue, and just about anyone he encounters. He combines practical knowledge with kindness and tireless commitment to others. Ken has been an active member of Temple Shaare Tefilah since 1996. He has chaired the Building Trustees, Membership, Fundraising, and Nominating Committees. His offices have included four years as synagogue President. Ken now chairs the Marketing Committee, is acting chair of the Ritual Committee and is an active member of the Shaare Tefilah Brotherhood. Currently, Ken also serves as Treasurer of the New England Region/Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs. In recent years, Ken has chaired several regional Keeper of the Flame and Tour de Shuls events. Previously a member of Temple Israel in Sharon, Ken served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors there. Professionally, Ken has worked for many years in high tech Program Management for companies such as BBN, Digimarc, and BAE Systems. Since graduating from MIT with a BS in Computer Science, Ken has been active as Class Secretary, Class Treasurer, and frequent telethon participant. He has served the MIT Educational Council for over 20 years (including positions of Regional Chair and Vice Chair), interviewing prospective MIT students. On the home front, Ken is a loving husband to Carol, and Dad and step-Dad to their five wonderful guys: Jonathan, Max, Avi, Paul, and Lev, ages 20-25. A Long Island native and Mets fan, Ken is one of four sons of Bernard and Grace Turkewitz. Ken's mother was a role model of commitment to Jewish organizations and is still remembered for her countless contributions. Ken's extended close-knit family, now headed by his father and step-mother Judi, knows Ken as a cheerfully loving son, brother, brother-in-law, nephew, uncle, and cousin. Ken is well-versed in many areas of interest, including baseball trivia (not trivial to him), pop music history, musical theater (expert spectator), and the fine art of sukkah-building. He searches for time to go running and biking and to pursue his interests in genealogy and playing softball when he can.

Northern New Jersey -  Peter Gotlieb

Peter is a Past President of the FJMC’s Northern NJ Region, an FJMC Club & Keruv Consultant and a Past President, Men’s Club of Temple Beth Shalom, Livingston, NJ. Currently a member of the FJMC Board of Directors and the organization’s Operations Team, Peter concluded a two year term as President of the Northern NJ Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs in 2008 and serves now as Advisor to the NY Metro Region. Over the last several months he has been working as Chair of Club & Regional Training for 2011 FJMC Convention. Last summer, he served as Co-Chair of the FJMC Office Manager Search Committee. In recognition of his service, Peter is a past winner of his Club and Region Man of the Year awards. In addition to his involvement in a variety of Region & synagogue Men’s Club activities over the last 20 years, Peter chairs his shul’s Keruv Committee. He has also been active in his synagogue’s Family Education Committee and served several terms on its Board of Education. He has been a Trustee on the Temple Board, has served for several years as a Head Usher for the High Holy Day services, and enjoys reading torah occasionally, especially on Men’s Club Shabbat. In the community, Peter serves as an officer of the African American Jewish Coalition and as an alumni interviewer for the University of Pennsylvania. Peter and his wife, Diane, recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They have two children, Nina, an architect and Daniel, a real estate attorney who was recently married to daughter-in-law Rebecca Tunick. Peter has worked for the last 35 years at Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City, currently serving as Associate Dean for Experiential Learning & Career Services. A regular workshop presenter and an active consultant in the field of experiential education, he has served on the boards of both the Cooperative Education and Internship Association and the National Society for Experiential Education. In 2007 Peter was named the NSEE’s Pioneer of the Year Award recipient for his contributions to the field over the course of his long career. His proudest Men’s Club moment came at the 1999 FJMC Convention where he was privileged to accept as outgoing President, on behalf of his club, four Torch Award plaques, FJMC’s highest club honor. He also takes great pride in the succession of fine club leaders in Livingston which has led to his club’s winning many additional Torch Awards at the 2003, 2005, 2007 & 2009 Conventions, as well as the Quality Club Award every year it has been awarded. Peter identifies the following as three keys to successful Men’s Clubs: 1. effective planning; 2. diversity of programming; and 3. a personal touch by Men’s Club leadership in encouraging membership, participation and involvement

Seaboard -  Norman Soroko

Norman is a lifelong resident of the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area. He is the son of Haim “Hymie” Soroko and Freda Weisman Soroko, both of blessed memory. Norman is a member of Congregation Beth El, its Men’s Club where he served as its President for 10 years and is serving on its Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Directors of the Congregation. He was Chairman of their annual Blue Yarmulke Man of the Year program where he was selected as a recipient in 1994. He also chairs their annual Men’s Club Shabbat program each spring. Norman also chairs the Shomerim Committee which is made up of men and women who do the mitzvah of sitting with the dead, reading psalms till the funeral hour. He is also a member of B’nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk. Norman was the first person elected to be President of the Seaboard Region Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs from Tidewater. He served as President from 1999-2001. His presidency covered Conservative Men’s Clubs from Tidewater to the Washington, DC. Area. He was serving on its Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs in New York. He is active in the Norfolk Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society having raised alone almost $100,000 over many years of involvement. He serves as accounting chairman for the annual event. Norman is a1974 honor graduate of Granby High School and a 1978 graduate of Old Dominion University School of Business. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He is a member of the ODU Alumni Association and a member of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity. He has worked for many banks in his lifetime. He was employed in the bookkeeping department at Berkley Citizens Federal Savings and Loan from 1978 to 1982; Bank of the Commonwealth from 1982 to 1991 in the credit card division; Princess Anne Commercial Bank’s loan department till December 31, 1991. Norman retired from Bank of America after 17 years of service having worked in various departments of the Credit Card Division. Since November 2008, Norman has worked for Citigroup supporting the Department of Defense Travel card. He also works part time for Altmeyer Funeral Home in Virginia Beach as a manager of is Baltic Avenue Chapel and as a funeral attendant for funeral services. Norman has one sister, Arlene Soroko Kessel and she is married to Isi of Virginia Beach; a niece, Shayna Kessel of West Hollywood, California; nephew, Aaron Kessel of Virginia Beach. Norman enjoys watching WWE, collecting Three Stooges comics and shot glasses from cities around the world.

South West - David Kalmeyer

David has been involved with FJMC for over 20 in 3 different states as his career took him with his wife Debbie and son Jonathon to new places. His involvement included being a club member in several states and being involved at every level of the Southwest Region. His first involvement was as a World Wide Wrap Co-chair, then as a club officer and club president at Anshai Torah in Plano, Texas. Dave’s family moved to Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson Texas in 2005. Dave began by serving as on the BTMC board, helping and coaching the Beth Torah leaders to win Quality Club for the past 4 years. In 2005, he was recruited by Ed Margolis, Dave Gerstein and others to answer the call to help re-grow the Region, starting as a region officer. During the 2007 convention, he stepped up again, starting a 3 year term as Region President. During his tenure, he recruited many of the current regional officers, helped connect the active and prospective Dallas Clubs and expand their shared activities. He helped establish the Keruv program in Texas by connecting the congregation leaders with the FJMC Keruv training programs. He is proud to have started the rebuilding of the Southwest Region and looks forward to helping the next generation take the lead. Dave plans to continue his involvement in a new club and to continue his involvement with the region and with FJMC as he relocates with his wife to San Antonio, Texas. He is also proud to see his son graduate and head off to the University of Missouri. Dave wishes to acknowledge his parents Herb and Thelma Kalmeyer of Wayne NJ for their inspiration in being involved with the conservative movement. One or both of them have been involved in synagogue life and leadership for as long as he can remember.

Tri-State - Brian Cynamon

Brian Cynamon was born in London, England and then lived in Montreal, Canada. He has been a Pittsburgher since 1960. He attended Yeshiva University (New York, NY) for 2 years and then completed his college education at the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science. He was employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare from 1973 to 2009 (over 35 years). Since his retirement, he has been self-employed doing real estate, notary public, SAT proctoring, funeral home shomering, providing transportation services, acting as an elections judge, and doing various volunteer jobs including gabbai duties, leading services, and participation at 3 different shuls, and working (over the years)with a couple of different Boy Scout of America troops. He was married to his wife Barbara in 1971 at Beth Shalom, the largest FJMC Tri-State congregation. The Cynamons have 2 adult sons. The older one, David, lives and works with his wife in Baltimore. The younger one, Chad, lives and works in the Pittsburgh area. Brian was very religiously active, participating and leading many services at B’nai Israel, a major Tri-State component, until 1995 when the congregation dissolved and became part of a new congregation, Adat Shalom. After this he moved on to Adat Shalom, and became regional president. At the time he was regional president, the region replaced B’nai Israel with Adat Shalom, lost its club in Erie, PA, but was able to gain 2 other clubs-Beth El and New Light. More recently, he has been a part of the New Light Men’s Club. He has attended some 12 FJMC International Conventions and remains a highly active FJMC member on both the club and the regional level. Brian continues to have many interests and to contribute his time and other resources to the religious and secular organizations with which he is involved. He is most fortunate to have a wonderful supportive wife and family. He is particularly grateful and proud that he has been honored as this year’s Maasim Tovim awardee for the Tri-State Region.

Western -  Joel Shrater and Phil Rosenbaum (z”l)

Joel Shrater has enjoyed the rewards of being a volunteer for FJMC and the Jewish community.  He is currently a member of the FJMC Executive Committee as the Assistant Treasurer, and continues as the Chairman of the Solar Ner Tamid Project part of the Shomrei Ha’aretz program, and as an FJMC consultant, and a Regional Advisor. He has chaired the Geffen Leadership Development Institute (LDI), chaired the Yom Hashoah Yellow Candle program, and been the judging coordinator for past Torch Awards. He is a Past President of the Western Region, and a past Club President. He is also a Past President of Temple Etz Chaim, his synagogue of over 600 family units, as well as serving on various Board positions in his synagogue, Men’s Club, and the Western Region of FJMC. Joel resides in Thousand Oaks, CA in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area with his wife Harriet. He is the father of Paul who lives in Southern California with his wife Sofya and granddaughters Deanna Lucine and Daphne Arev, and is the father of Robyn who lives in Maryland with her husband Leon and granddaughters Bashah Chaya and Liora Ness. His family is his most cherished award. He was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. Joel recently retired after a successful engineering career. He has an MSEE and a BSEE from New Jersey Institute of Technology. His retirement is filled with a second career having started a family run business as a reseller of individual and travel sized products, which has flourished into a substantial business.

Phil Rosenbaum was born in Newark, New Jersey, the younger of two brothers. He graduated Seton Hall University, and received his Masters of Science from Cal State Los Angeles. He was a stockbroker and financial consultant for over 40 years. Phil and Brina celebrated their 47th anniversary last August. Their two daughters Deborah and Sharon, married Gordon Smith and Mark Berman, and Phil was a very happy man. With the arrival of his grandsons, Jordan, Tyler and Harry Berman, Phil was in his glory. He spent much of his free time with them all. Phil was elected president of Sinai Temple’s Men’s Club in Los Angeles in 1997, and was the only president to serve three terms. During his tenure, the club became a model for others to follow. Among his proudest achievements was the amount of funds the club raised for challenged youngsters at Camp Ramah’s Tikvah Program. Phil was a member of Sinai’s Board of Directors and was active in several Temple committees, including Membership, Nominating, Budget and Ritual. He chaired both the High Holiday and weekly Ushering Committees, but he had the most fun managing and playing on the Men’s Club softball team. He was President of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs Western Region, overseeing 27 clubs and over 2000 members from 2003-2005. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Ziegler School at the University of Judaism and on the Board of Directors of United Synagogue. He passed away September 25, 2010, and we miss him.