SECULAR & HUMANISTIC JUDAISM
NEWS & EVENTS
Secular and Humanist and Jew
October 23-25, 2009 Farmington Hills, Michigan
The International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism held a wonderful
colloquium this weekend with special guest Jacques Berlinerblau of Georgetown University challenging convention within Humanistic
Judaism. Adam Chalom, Dean for North America of the IISHJ was a wonderful moderator for the colloquium. The other presenters,
Sivan Malkin Maas, Dean for Israel of the IISHJ, Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University and new author of Good
Without God, Ron Aronson of Wayne State University and new author of Living Without God, Lori Lipman Brown formerly
of the Secular Coalition for America, and Caryn Aviv of the University of Denver, author of Queer Jews and New
Jews, describing Jewish traditions among the LGBT community and our emerging youth, provided wide ranging perspectives
that allowed a good discussion of the challenges to convention, even within Humanistic Judaism.
Two new rabbis
were ordained by IISHJ, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the ordination of Rabbi Tamara Kolton, rabbi for the Birmingham
Temple, and the Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed on Bonnie Cousens, the Executive Director of the Society
for Humanistic Judaism.
At the meeting of the IISHJ board of directors, following the colloquium, the IISHJ voted
to affiliate with the IFSHJ.
IFSHJ Re-launches its Web Site
Friday, September 18, 2009, Erev Rosh Hashanah
Staff and Board are proud to announce that it has re-launched its web site with a unique design that’s clear and simple
to use. Its focus is to familiarize world Jewry about the tenets of Secular & Humanistic Judaism through the writings
of Judaism’s patriarchs, their paradigm philosophers, rabbis and educators through the middle ages and the age of enlightenment
into the twenty first century.
It links the reader to dozens of organizations throughout the world whose adherents
are like thinkers and provides means of contact. The IFSHJ does not minister to individual Jews but is composed of national
organizations which the reader could identify, unite with and enjoy the benefits of camaraderie and contemporary Jewish thought.
The site provides information about historical conferences and plans for future mini-universities combined with biennials,
rabbinical ordinations and “off the beaten path” tours that will enchant. It is a living web site, a source of
updating information about the growth of the Movement internationally and most particularly the thoughts of today’s
humanistic philosophers and educators. The IFSHJ will publish relevant books, announce them and maintain a book store that
will make available books written by its proselytizers, both Judaic and secular.
The IFSHJ is proud of its pluralistic
principles and will provide a huge archive of web sites for the reader to access in order to determine his or her identity
within Judaism. A major mandate for the IFSHJ is mitigating the attrition rate within Judaism, adjusting to the world in
which we live, maintaining that “A Jew is a Jew,” even if that Jew is an active participant in the 21st century.
FIRST JEWISH HUMANIST MARRIAGE
Friday, September 4, 2009
For the first time in Uruguay, a couple celebrated its marriage with a Jewish Humanist ceremony. The celebration took place
with a beautiful chupah installed in the “Cala di Volpe” Hotel in Montevideo´s coast and it was officiated
by the psychologist Rasia Friedler, principal of the “Saludarte” foundation. The ceremony was inspired in the
pattern created by Sherwin Wine, the ideologist and founder of the Jewish Secular Humanist movement in the United States,
who died tragically in an accident in Morocco in 2007.
JEWISH CULTURAL CENTER OPENS IN
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
DE JANEIRO (JTA) -- A Jewish cultural center opened in Brazil.
Several governmental officials attended the recent
opening of the Midrash Cultural Center in Rio de Janeiro's upscale Leblon neighborhood.
The center, which boasts
a plush facade featuring Hebrew letters, will feature lectures, courses, debates, exhibits, concerts on Jewish culture, history,
literature, poetry and philosophy.
"I hope people from different religions, and also those with no religion, can get more familiar with the Jewish culture
here," said Sergio Cabral, Rio de Janeiro's state governor. "It would be great if students from our public schools
could attend." Also attending
the opening was Rio De Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, Brazil's Environment Minister Carlos Minc, and other Jewish and non-Jewish
officials and artists.
"It is a place to promote tolerance and pluralism," said Rabbi Nilton Bonder, the
center's coordinator and spiritual leader of a Conservative synagogue. "We have built a study house of the 21st century
that will go beyond the literal by promoting the capability of looking at new perspectives."