Jesse Monteagudo

The Men's Club of Congregation Etz Chaim: A Social Group for Gay and Bisexual Jews

Filed By Jesse Monteagudo | September 03, 2008 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Bisexual, Jews

As some of you probably know, I am currently the president of the Men's Club of Congregation Etx Chaim. According to the Bylaws, the purposes of the Men's Club "are to strengthen the involvement of its members in the Congregation, to develop Congregational leadership, to promote knowledge and appreciation of Jewish heritage, and to stimulate camaraderie through social and cultural activities among its members and the community-at-large." Membership in the Club "is open to Jewish men (and those men considering conversion to Judaism) and their Jewish or non-Jewish male partners, whether or not they are members of CEC, so long as they have a genuine interest in CEC and have made proper application for membership in the Club and are current in the payment of their Club dues. Sexual orientation, disability, health and similar matters shall not be a factor in the determination of eligibility for membership."

One of the Men's Club most popular events is the annual Rosh Hashanah Luncheon, which the Men's Club organizes on behalf of Congregation Etz Chaim. Held in a local restaurant right after the Rosh Hashanah Day Service, the Luncheon is the Men's Club main fundraiser and is open to the entire CEC community (both members and guests). This year's Luncheon, scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on September 30, will be at the Rendez-Vous Bakery and Bistro, located at 1576 East Oakland Park Boulevard (just a few blocks north of the Center for Spiritual Living on N.E. 16th Avenue). New Times weekly called the GLBT-friendly Rendez-Vous Bakery and Bistro "Denny's gone Bohemian and serving classic French bistro fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner . . . Service is French-accented, efficient, and utterly charming." The four course Luncheon includes a choice of salad or soup, one of several delectable entrées, a soft beverage, and one of the Rendez-Vous Bakery and Bistro's famous French desserts.

Tickets for the Men's Club Rosh Hashanah Luncheon are $30 for Men's Club and Synagogue members and $36 for guests and proceeds assist the Men's Club's efforts on behalf of Cong. Etz Chaim and the GLBT and Jewish communities as a whole. For more information and/or to RSVP, pick up the flyer during Synagogue activities or contact Alex Rosenberg at (561) 716-4825 or [email protected].

There are so many events in the Men's Club agenda that it is hard for any member to attend all of them. Some of our events are one-shot deals, while others are monthly events. One of those are the monthly dinners that the Men's Club sponsors on the first Fridays of the month. Each month at 6:15 p.m. MC members get together at a nearby restaurant for good food and even better company. Some of the restaurants are local favorites and include Bagelstein's New York Deli, Big Louie's Italian Restaurant, Christina Wan's Chinese Restaurant, Chuck's Steak House and Siam Cuisine. After dinner, we encourage our members to attend Synagogue services, which start promptly at 8. (This is why we dine at nearby restaurants.) It is also a Men's Club tradition to sponsor the Onegs on the first Fridays, and we encourage our members to contribute by donating money or by making or buying Oneg treats.

Equally popular is the Men's Club Book Club. Every six to eight Sunday mornings or so, members of the Men's Club gather to discuss a book selected by participants at the previous meeting. The books that we discuss deal with Jewish or gay topics (or both), and include "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" by Michael Chabon, "The Line of Beauty" by Alan Hollinghurst and "Band Fags!" by Frank Anthony Polito. Everyone who attends gets involved in the discussion, even the shy ones. And since no Jewish event goes on without food, our book discussions also include a tasty brunch, with dairy food items donated by the participants.

Membership in the Men's Club of Congregation Etz Chaim is $25 for CEC Members and $36 for Non-Members. For more information about the Men's Club and its many activities, call 954-567-8599 ext. 3 or e-mail [email protected].

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For those of us who aren't Jewish and don't live in Ft. Lauderdale, can you clear up a few things?

1) The address you gave is in Ft. Lauderdale? Since this is a state-wide blog, I want to be sure.

2) What in the world is an "oneg?"

Jesse Monteagudo Jesse Monteagudo | September 5, 2008 8:03 AM

1) Congregation Etz Chaim is located at 1881 N.E. 26 Street in Wilton Manors, Florida's leading "gayborhood." It is part of Greater Fort Lauderdale.

2) An Oneg Shabbat, or "Joy of the Sabbath," refers to the social period that follows a Friday night or Saturday morning Synagogue service. Naturally, food is involved.