By Meir Niad, GKJ Men’s Club Co-founder & EVP of the Anshei Darom Region
The pandemic may have limited our activities, but it has not ended our commitment. A men’s club is essentially a community of men who enjoy each other’s company; we have just needed to adapt and find alternate ways of keeping the community engaged. Our Knoxville club started having monthly zoom schmoozes on April 1st of 2020, and they continue to be well-attended to this day. The negative effects of loneliness on men’s health was not born out of the pandemic, but now more than ever we must make the effort to stay connected with each other.
The GKJ Men’s Club is affiliated with the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC). In response to the need of men to stay engaged, the FJMC has provided us with weekly webinars and new affinity groups. Sports, cooking, mental health, finances, Jewish genealogy, and Yiddish are just a few of the topics you will find if you browse the webinar archive on YouTube. FJMC Webinars and Affinity Groups 2020 Watching from the archives is nice, but it can’t compare to being on the live zoom session. Disappointingly, this year’s leadership weekend, region retreat, and biennial convention have all switched to an online format. I look forward to those 3 events each year for the opportunities to reunite with my friends from all over the country and the world, to gather for learning, inspiration, and ruach. Online sessions may not be preferred, but this method may give more people the ability to attend and experience these events who otherwise might not have been able to make those trips.
We may not know where or when, but I know one day we will be together again. Until then, try to remain hopeful. Tune into a schmooze or webinar on zoom. Check in on a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Take on a new hobby. L’hitraot.