A Webzine Worth Mentschen

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

Published April 14, 2010, issue of April 23, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

It used to be that women, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf, needed to have a room of their own, to carve space out of a male-dominated world in which to find and share their own voices. Today, it seems, men need a room, as well. So the Conservative movement’s Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs has started a Web magazine, Mentschen.org, to provide those with a Y chromosome a safe place to explore important issues in their lives.

MENTSCHEN.ORG

Mentschen is an outgrowth of the FJMC program called “Hearing Men’s Voices,” a dialogue group that began in 1997 and was, according to Mentschen co-editor Dr. Robert Braitman, itself a response to what was then a new men’s movement. He said the response to the men-only dialogue opportunities has been enthusiastic.

“I figured we’d sit around the table and nobody would say anything, but it was amazing. Men were willing to talk at length and in detail about issues of being sons and fathers, about health and the place of work in our lives, and about our spiritual lives in a very, very personal way,” Braitman said.

The volunteer-run Mentschen webzine includes interviews with interesting Jewish men; brief articles about issues relating to Israel, observance and men’s roles, and a blog. Braitman, a 60-year-old pediatrician in Norwood, Mass., said that along with being a forum for men to meet virtually, it’s a vehicle for outreach to younger men. According to Braitman, FJMC has about 20,000 members in 250 synagogue-based men’s clubs, the average age being in the 50s. “We want to reach out to men who aren’t coming to men’s clubs” he said.

The dialogue groups, and now Mentschen, “bring men into Jewish life who wouldn’t necessarily be involved ritually, men who enjoy the conversations and camaraderie,” Braitman said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.