IN THIS ISSUE: Not Shying Away from the Issues of the Day; First Edition of Humanistic Judaism in Its New Format; Intermarriage is Good, Period; HuJews Conclave Registration Now Open!; Sharing the Meaning of Humanistic Judaism.
Not Shying Away from the Issues of the Day
In recent months, leaders throughout Secular Humanistic Judaism provided moral guidance on many of today's challenging issues.
  • In "#MeToo - Thoughts from a Female Rabbi," Denise Handlarski, Rabbi at Oraynu Congregation in Toronto, joined the groundswell of demands to end sexual harassment and assault by sharing her own personal story and explaining:
"Women don't talk about these experiences because they are so often minimized, dismissed, explained away or, worst of all, we are told we did something to 'invite' it and/or are overreacting. The whole culture around harassment makes it safe for harassers to keep harassing and unsafe for women to object."  
  • Fighting to uphold the separation of church and state, SHJ signed a letter with other member organizations of the Secular Coalition for America to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, countering the Department of Justice's so-called "Memorandum of Religious Freedom" and the inevitable discrimination it will allow against women, the LGBTQ community, nontheists, and religious minorities.
  • And during the High Holidays, rabbis in our movement related Humanistic Jewish ethics through sermons and writing, including:
    • Rabbi Adam Chalom on "Post-Truth," declaring that "Free speech does not mean consequence-free speech."
    • Rabbi Jeremy Kridel on "Finding Hope" when it seems "Racism, sexism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and nearly every other prejudice we can name have found new strength."
    • Rabbi Peter Schweitzer, about "A Time To Preach, A Time To Impeach" in what may be the only all-rhyming High Holiday meditation in movement history!
    • And Rabbi Jeffrey Falick on "Hard Truths About Jewish Peoplehood," available in high-quality video along with many more of Rabbi Falick's sermons thanks to the Library of SHJ Channel on Vimeo.
October 20th was Openly Secular Day 2017.
First Edition of Humanistic Judaism in Its New Format
Prior to Rosh Hashanah, SHJ proudly distributed our first edition of Humanistic Judaism Magazine, merging our journal and newsletter into a popular-format periodical. Please view a preview version here [PDF] to read several of the articles and enjoy the new design.
A link to the full version was emailed to members of SHJ-affiliated congregations, SHJ Independent Members, and magazine subscribers. If you are eligible for full access and did not receive a link to the full version, please contact
If you are not yet a member of SHJ or one of our affiliated communities, and would like to receive Humanistic Judaism, please consider becoming a subscriber or supporting our mission by becoming a member. Electronic editions of Humanistic Judaism are published quarterly, with two issues a year also printed and mailed to members and subscribers beginning next month with a "Hanukkah & Heroes" edition. Don't miss out!
Intermarriage is Good, Period

Secular Humanistic Judaism continues to offer the most forward-thinking approach to Jewish identity and inclusion of any denomination. When it comes to marriage, including same-sex and interfaith/intercultural marriage, we celebrate love, period, no strings attached.

SHJ executive director Paul Golin has been spreading that message in the communities he visits, most recently in Tucson, AZ last week, and his presentation in August at the Boulder JCC was recorded on video, now available on YouTube, "Who's a Jew? Intermarriage and the Future of Judaism." 



He also wrote an opinion piece in the Forward inspired by an encounter at that presentation, "Is Your Opposition to Intermarriage About Fearing the Other?" He writes that,

 "Rather than trying to police Jewish behavior, including marriage decisions, we should be focusing on how Judaism can provide meaning and open doors at any point people might encounter it, and for anyone who might benefit - including non-Jewish family members."

HuJews Conclave 2018 - Registration Now Open!
SHJ's annual youth conference is a transformative experience open to high school and college students, including both those who grew up in our movement and those who are simply interested in meeting other like-minded young people.

The next HuJews Conclave will convene in Philadelphia, PA, on March 23-25, 2018.
The theme of the weekend is "Legacy: Your Place in Jewish History." It promises to include "historic Philadelphia, service learning, and doughnuts."

Sharing the Meaning of Humanistic Judaism  
If you are attending the Limmud Boston conference on December 3, please include SHJ executive director Paul Golin's sessions on your schedule. He will be co-presenting with Rabbi Jillian Cameron, Director of InterfaithFamily/Boston, about intermarriage inclusion, and offering another presentation, " There is No God and I'm Still Jewish," together with Gladys Maged, Managing Director of Kahal B'raira Congregation for Humanistic Judaism.
In an essay for the Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee, " Do You Believe in God? If So, What Kind? [PDF]" Paul Golin recommends opening up the conversation about God in the Jewish community and argues, " The problem with not providing clearer articulation about what Jews really believe is that so many Jews have walked away, thinking synagogues and other Jewishly-labeled spaces are where 'religion' happens and thus there must be nothing in it for them. That's a shame not only because they miss all the other benefits of being part of a Jewish community, but also because they may actually derive meaning from those very rituals, regardless of belief."
And finally, CONTACT, published by the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, included a profile of SHJ's executive director. " Paul Golin: Devoutly Secular " quotes him as saying, "' In most cases in America, when Jews light a Channukah Menorah, it's a cultural expression and they don't think God is listening to them say that blessing.' They're doing it for other reasons, he explained. 'For me personally, I derive meaning by knowing where I come from and where I fit into human history and that I'm part of a unique story. '"
Thank you for your ongoing interest in and support of the Society for Humanistic Judaism,

The Staff and Board of SHJ
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