IN THIS ISSUE: Gene Wilder is the Humanistic Judaism Role Model for 2017-2018; Congratulations to Larry Lawrence on Receiving the Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award; SHJ Affiliates with AU; Results of the SHJ Board Election.  
Gene Wilder is the Humanistic Judaism Role Model for 5778 (2017-2018)
The name Gene Wilder conjures feeling of both joy and sorrow. Joy for all the laughter he brought into the world through his comedic acting in classic films like The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory -- and sorrow knowing he lost the love of his life Gilda Radner to cancer at such a young age.

Author Abigail Pogrebin's 2005 book, "Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish,"  captures Wilder's joy and sorrow beautifully. In the chapter recounting her meeting with Wilder, which  you can read here, she quotes him describing his secular Jewish identity:

I'm going to tell you what my religion is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Period. Terminato. Finito.... I have no other religion. I feel very Jewish and I feel very grateful to be Jewish. But I don't believe in God or anything to do with the Jewish religion.

Beyond bringing joy through his acting, writing, and directing, Wilder also worked to make the world a better place. He promoted cancer awareness and treatment, helped found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles, and co-founded Gilda's Club, a community organization for people living with cancer. Wilder himself would later survive cancer in his 60's before passing away last year at age 83.

Throughout the coming year, SHJ-affiliated communities will offer programs to celebrate Wilder's life, revisit the laughter he gave us through his films, and honor the causes through which he expressed his humanism. To get involved with the planning, please email Rabbi Miriam Jerris.
Congratulations to Larry Lawrence on Receiving the Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award
Larry M. Lawrence, past president of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and member of Machar, The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism, was named the 2017 recipient of the Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award. He received the award during the April 21 Shabbat celebration at the Birmingham Temple in Farmington Hills, Michigan, on  the weekend of SHJ's biannual Board of Directors meeting. A video of the presentation is available online here.

Larry Lawrence served on the SHJ Board and Executive Committee since 2010, as a Member At-Large, Vice President, President, and Past President. He currently serves as the chair of the Finance Committee and the Nominating Committee. His dedication and commitment to transparency and financial integrity are the hallmarks of his tenure on the SHJ Board.

Rabbi Miriam Jerris, in her presentation of the award, proclaimed that Larry Lawrence demonstrated incomparable dedication and commitment to Secular Humanistic Judaism and exemplified serious preparation and unmitigated competency in the work he did for the Society, making him a most worthy recipient of this award.

SHJ Board President Richard Logan (left) and SHJ Rabbi Miriam Jerris present the Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award to SHJ Past President Larry Lawrence.

The Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to individuals who have "over the years, exemplified extraordinary dedication, devotion, adherence to, and activity in the Secular Humanistic Judaism Movement." The award, established by SHJ and Kol Hadash (Northern California) past president Bert Steinberg in 2003 in honor of Wine's 75th birthday, represents Steinberg's heartfelt gratitude at finding a Jewish community that reflected his lifelong philosophy and unfulfilled need.
SHJ Affiliates with AU
The Society for Humanistic Judaism has affiliated with Americans United for Separation of Church and State  (AU) as a religious body which supports church-state separation. AU's mission is "dedicated to advancing the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure freedom of religion, including the right to believe or not believe, for all Americans. "

SHJ has long advocated for maintaining the separation of church and state, most recently with a statement against weakening or removing the so-called Johnson Amendment , which prohibits non-profits including houses of worship from endorsing political candidates. Working in collaboration with AU in the future will help strengthen and grow our advocacy and activities in defense of church-state separation.
Results of the SHJ Board Election
We are happy to introduce the 2017-2018 Society for Humanistic Judaism Board of Directors. Thank you to our Board for your dedication and hard work:

President : Richard Logan, Or Emet, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
Vice President : Mary Raskin, Kol Shalom, Portland, OR
Treasurer : Susan Ryan, The City Congregation, New York, NY
Secretary : Arthur Liebhaber, Birmingham Temple, Farmington Hills, MI
Past President : Larry Lawrence, Machar, Washington, DC
Marlene Cohen, Machar, DC
Andrea Friedlander, Kol Hadash, IL
Faith Oremland, Or Emet, MN
Sheila Sebor, Kol Hadash, IL

Roger Addelson, Kol Hadash, IL
Ellie Altman, CHJ, FL
Lou Altman, CHJ, FL
Zachary Barnett, Or Adam, AZ
Stephanie Blum, Birmingham Temple (BT), MI
Bill Brostoff, Kol Hadash, CA
Paula Creed, Humanistic Jewish Havurah, FL
Jeffrey Falick, BT, MI
Jeff Friedman, KS
Rick Gold, FL
Dustin Hausner, NY
Susan Herschman, Kahal Chaverim, NJ
Lee Jacobi, Pacific Community, CA
Michael Jerris, BT, MI
Erica Jonlin, Secular Jewish Circle, WA
Loren Kramer, Beth Chaverim, IL
Vivian, Kramer, Beth Chaverim, IL
Rob Lasker, BT, MI
Eugenio Leb, Beth Adam, FL
Jon Levine, Kahal B'raira, MA
Jeff Lipkes, Humanistic Jews of Tampa Bay, FL
Sheila Malcolm, Beth Ami, CO
Janet Mayer, Or Emet, MN
Ron Milan, BT, MI
Maia Miller, Oraynu, ON
Dana Preis, CHJ, CT
Victoria Ratnaswamy, Kol Hadash, IL
Susan Rubin, Secular Humanist Jewish Circle, AZ
Amy Schneider, Kahal B'raira, MA
Bert Steinberg, DC
Barry Swan, Beth Haskalah, Rochester, NY

Areya Campbell-Rosen, Machar, DC
Miriam Feldman, Kahal B'raira, MA
Sam Greenberg, Birmingham Temple, MI
Libby Otto, Secular Jewish Circle, WA

And thank you for your ongoing membership in and support of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and our local affiliated communities!

The Staff and Board of SHJ
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