What is Secular Humanistic Judaism?
Humanistic Judaism or Secular Humanistic Judaism is one of the six major branches of Judaism, along with Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Jewish Renewal. Humanistic Judaism is human centered and fundamentally stresses the ability of people to shape their own lives independent of the supernatural. Humanistic Judaism has developed a human-focused liturgy for holiday and life cycle celebrations that allows Humanistic Jews to say what we mean and mean what we say. Humanistic Judaism is celebrated in inclusive, welcoming communities. We believe that a Jew is one who, regardless of birth, identifies with the history, culture, and future of the Jewish people.
What do we do?
Humanistic Jewish communities are an expression of the need for cultural solidarity and mutual support. A Humanistic Jewish congregation provides group identity, adult education, youth education, a setting for public celebrations of holidays and life cycle ceremonies, and a community voice for the Humanistic Jewish point of view.
Holidays and Ceremonies
The Jewish people are an extended family whose shared history, memories, and destiny are commemorated in beautiful holiday celebrations. Humanistic Jews find meaning in the celebration of life through the historic Hebrew calendar. The birth of a child, b’nei mitzvah, marriage, and even death allow the family and community to reinforce their unity and to articulate the values that make life worthwhile.
Humanistic Jews want to understand the beliefs and behavior of their ancestors without feeling compelled to agree with those beliefs. They want their children to develop their own convictions honestly — on the basis of knowledge, not indoctrination. They seek to explore the entire range of Jewish experience, past and present, and to choose what is reasonable and useful.
Humanistic Jews believe that there is more than Jewish holiday celebrations, education, and culture. One of the main purposes of Judaism is to bring aid and comfort to those less fortunate than ourselves.