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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Secular Humanist Jew?

Secular Humanistic Jews understand Judaism as the human-centered history, culture, civilization, ethical values, and shared experience of the Jewish People. For us, the message of Jewish history is that we have the power and the responsi- bility to take control of our own lives.

What do Secular Humanistic Jews believe?

  • Judaism is the evolving historical experience and cultural creation of the Jewish People.
  • The Jewish people are not unique, not a chosen people.
  • A Jew is a person who identifies with the history, culture and future of the Jewish People.
  • Jews and Judaism have made significant contributions to the betterment of our world.
  • The universe exists on natural laws, independent of supernatural intervention.
  • Human beings are the creators of morality and have the power and responsibility to shape their own lives and destiny.
  • There is no evidence supporting conscious life after death.
  • The consequences of our actions are in our lifetime, not as reward or punishment in a world hereafter.
  • We derive our spirituality from our sense of connection to nature and other human beings and by appreciation of beauty both in nature and in the artistic and intellectual creations of human beings.

What is the role of faith for Secular Humanistic Jews?

Secular Humanistic Judaism places strong “faith” or belief in the ability and moral responsibility of human beings to decide what is necessary to make a better society. Humanistic Judaism philosophy involves the natural world, from this universe, from nature and from relationships with others.

What is the distinction between Humanism and Humanitarianism?

Humanitarians are people who take specific charitable actions for the good of others and we honour such people whatever their beliefs. Humanists also involve themselves in humanitarian endeavours, especially social activism as a matter of choice and conscience, not as a commandment.

Can anyone join a Secular Humanistic Community?

In secular Humanistic Judaism, a Jew is a person of Jewish descent or any person who wishes to identify with the history, culture, ethical values, community and the fate of the Jewish people. We welcome anyone who wishes to be part of our community.

What services are used for Secular Humanist Jewish celebrations?

A secular adaptation from traditional Jewish ritual is blended with readings from various Jewish and non-Jewish sources specific for each holiday or celebration, such as mythologies, poetry, traditional Yiddish and Hebrew songs, new music, speeches by world leaders, and other readings to support the theme. We are able to be creative and relevant which results in conditionally satisfying, rich, varied and meaningful Jewish festivals and celebration observances.

Additional Information

To read about Secular Humanistic Judaism in North America, and throughout the world refer to the following web sites:

Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations
www.csjo.org

Society for Humanistic Judaism
www.shj.org

International Federation of Secular Humanistic Judaism
www.ifshj.org