Establishment of the IFSHJ
The Commitments of Secular Humanistic Jews
First Biennial Conference
Detroit, Michigan October 1986
We are secular Jews.
We are a unique and significant trend in modern Jewish life.
In a time of resurgent fundamentalism both in Israel and in other countries of the world, it is important for us to affirm our commitments publicly.
What are these commitments?
We believe in the value of human reason and in the reality of the world which reason discloses. The natural universe stands on its own, requiring no supernatural intervention.
We believe in the value of human existence and in the power of human beings to solve their problems both individually and collectively. Life should be directed to the satisfaction of human needs. Every person is entitled to life, dignity, and freedom.
We believe in the value of Jewish identity and in the survival of the Jewish people. Jewish history is a human story. Judaism, as the civilization of the Jews, is a human creation. Jewish identity is an ethnic reality. The civilization of the Jewish people embraces all manifestations of Jewish life, including Jewish languages, ethical traditions, historic memories, cultural heritage, and especially the emergence of the state of Israel in modern times. Judaism also embraces many belief systems and lifestyles. As the creation of the Jewish people in all ages, it is always changing.
We believe in the value of a secular humanistic democracy for Israel and for all the nations of the world. Religion and state must be separate. The individual right to privacy and moral autonomy must be guaranteed. Equal rights must be granted to all, regardless of race, sex, creed, or ethnic origin.
We have come together, from Israel and many countries of the world, to affirm and defend these commitments.
We establish this International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews so that we may do together what we cannot do alone and so that we may enjoy the strength of solidarity and unity. We give voice to an important constituency in the Jewish world. We have an important message for the Jewish people.