(JTA) — The men’s clubs of the Reform and Conservative movements agreed on a “historic” collaboration.
The agreement between the Men of Reform Judaism and the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, announced last month on the blog of the Union for Reform Judaism, emphasizes that the agreement is not a merger. But the groups have agreed to collaborate in various ways, including sharing data and training materials, attending each other’s meetings and missions, leadership development and promoting successful programming to the two memberships.
In the memorandum of understanding, the groups said the collaboration was “in the spirit of klal Yisrael,” the entire Jewish community, and was intended “to more effectively involve men in Jewish life.”
“This is not a merger; each organization will continue to maintain its own identity,” the agreement said. “It is our joint belief that this inter-Movement cooperation between men’s groups will enhance our understanding of, and enable us to involve, Jewish families.”
The Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs is the umbrella group for over 250 affiliated Conservative organizations across North America. Men of Reform Judaism, founded in 1923, is its Reform counterpart and approved the memorandum at its June convention in New Orleans.
“Despite our cultural differences, which each group has pledged to respect, there is much that unites us and, in fact, MRJ has been working together with FJMC on a limited basis for a few years,” Steven Portnoy, the president of the Reform group, wrote on the movement’s blog, calling the collaboration “historic.”