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!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • 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.