Group renamed to Guys’ and Gals’ Book of the Month Club
By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP
Bob Weinfeld is turning the pages of his Guys’ Night Out book club to a new chapter that not only invites, but also always includes women to participate. The group is now called the Guys’ and Gals’ Book of the Month Club.
The all-inclusive group will welcome author Chuck Friedman, author of Just Call Me Mr. Lucky: An Ethical Will Entwined in an Autobiography, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Aaron Family JCC.
“We Jews are the ‘People of the Book,’ the men and women too, and we’re excited to include — and we look forward to having — the ‘gals’ join us on a regular basis. This has been a great group since 2002 and I know it can only get better,” said Weinfeld, program organizer. “It will be wonderful to hear their reviews and discussions.”
The new schedule begins with first-time author Chuck Friedman sharing his Just Call Me Mr. Lucky; An Ethical Will Entwined in an Autobiography. The book, which began as notes to his family, including sons Gus and Paul and his three granddaughters — to whom he dedicated the book — morphed into a bound bounty of advice and lessons he’s learned in his 80-plus years.
Friedman calls himself “lucky,” sharing life for 55 years with wife Ety and their sons. Enjoying good health and magnificent experiences along with both failures and successes during three different careers, the Minnesota native started as an engineer, then went from investor to president and CEO of Information Dynamics Corporation, then became a real estate professional, forming Bachman Construction Company. Looking back on it all, he put pen to paper to create an ethical will. What ensued, and the process of publishing the tome, has made for more memories.
“There’s a million books published this year and mine is one — that’s something,” said Friedman, who along with his wife has been a member of Congregation Shearith Israel for 50 years. “I wrote about how I hoped my family would live, what I’ve tried to do, and to teach them something about living a proper good life. I thought the lessons could help others too.”
It was Marlene and Fred Fisher, of blessed memory, who suggested to Weinfeld the idea of a men’s book club — something women in the community were already enjoying. Put a bug in Weinfeld’s ear and be sure he’ll act with even the slightest plan in sight.
“I thought it was a great idea and in a couple of weeks Fred, Jerry Levin, Ken Parker and I met and off we were,” said Weinfeld. “We started with Seabiscuit and haven’t stopped reading, covering 175 books.”
“Bob’s a magnet and anything he’s involved in is successful. I love walking by the meetings where you can hear the enthusiasm. It’s one more way the J opens its doors for learning, connections and community building — it’s what we’re about,” said Artie Allen, the J’s CEO. “The more inclusive, the better and we’re thrilled to have more people coming through our doors.”
For Myra Fischel, whose husband Bert has participated in the club for years, opening the gateway for the ladies is exciting. “The guys have always had a good time and whenever we’re invited, it’s been enjoyable,” she said, noting she and Bert are considering reviewing a book together. “I think we might lighten it up a little, but I like that we’ll be introduced to books we maybe wouldn’t otherwise appreciate.”
That the club is multigenerational — with Jews from all congregations and the unaffiliated too — is another positive for Fischel. “It’s nice to meet new people,” she said. “Bob is a super planner with more energy than anyone I know. If he’s leading the trail, it’s going to be a good ride.”
Brenda Nibert, who’s known Weinfeld for a while but never attended the programs, echoes that he’s a “dynamo and everything he plans is a success.” His record intact, at The Legacy at Willow Bend, where Weinfeld is dubbed “the Mayor,” he founded an in-house book club and that facility’s library, now with thousands of rotating books. “I’ve been involved in many areas of the community, including other book clubs as I love to read constantly, but I’m looking forward to whatever Bob instigates,” Nibert added.
The Guys’ and Gals’ Book of the Month Club events are open to the public and free of charge, with each review and discussion sweetened with socialization and snacks. For more information, email Bob Weinfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 20: A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order and World Order
March 20: The Life and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend, Bix Beiderbecke
April 17: Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, and the Things I’m Not Allowed to Say on TV
June 19: Schmucks: Our Favorite Fakes, Frauds, Lowlifes and Liars
July 17: The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs (a melding of fiction and nonfiction titles)
Titles for Aug. 21, Oct. 16, and Nov. 20 are to be announced, and there are no meetings in May, September and December.
While most events are hosted at the JCC, there is discussion of occasional programs to be held at The Legacy at Willow Bend.