Men of Reform Judaism: A Brief History
Hinei Matov… ‘How good it is’… when brothers come together and celebrate! It was in this spirit that on January 23, 1923, sixty five Reform Jewish brotherhoods and men’s clubs came together at the Hotel Astor in New York City to form The North American Federation of Temple Brotherhoods (NFTB). The stated mission of NFTB was to encourage local brotherhoods to engage in projects and activities that would provide meaningful services to their congregation; to sponsor and promote vitally important nationwide community-building projects; and to give local brotherhood members the opportunity to explore and celebrate fellowship.
Nearly 85 years later, the national organization adopted a modified mission statement: “To serve Jewish men, Reform Judaism, and its local congregations.” And thus, two years later, in 2007, the North American Federation of Temple Brotherhoods (NFTB) officially changed its name to Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ).
For the first time, MRJ’s mission statement explicitly stated that its primary function was “to serve Jewish men,” rather than simply be either a resource for local affiliated brotherhoods or as a conduit through which national and international service projects might be conducted. Fully committed to our traditional brotherhoods, the national organization’s mission now demanded it create new partnerships and relationships with hundreds of congregations throughout the Reform Movement currently without affiliate brotherhoods; rather, MRJ is now prepared to sponsor and promote any and all formal or informal local organizational structures that will serve as an effective delivery system of MRJ’s Men’s Programs to the adult men of a given congregation.