In This eNewsletter Exclusively for SHJ Members:  Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust; Dana and Rick Naimark are the 2016 Recipients of the Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award; Paul Golin's Presentation on the Future; and a Call for Volunteer Leaders!
Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust
The violin has formed an important aspect of Jewish culture for centuries, but during the Holocaust, it assumed extraordinary roles. For some it was a liberator; for others, a savior that spared their lives; and for many, it provided comfort in mankind's darkest hour. Above all, the violins of the Holocaust represented optimism for the future.

A recent 60-minute documentary, "Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust" (2016), features Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein, who has devoted the past 20 years to restoring violins recovered from the Holocaust. Behind each violin is a unique and inspiring story. Weinstein visited Cleveland at the invitation of the Jewish community there and some of the violins were used by the Cleveland Orchestra in a performance conducted by Franz Welzer.

We learned of the film through the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (CHJ) in Sarasota, Florida. Mike Vendeland, son of CHJ members Jack and Linda Vendeland, is the production manager at WVIZ/PBS where it was produced.

Alice D'Souza, President of CHJ, screened the film for her community and explains, "We had approximately ninety people in the audience, members and non-members. 
I usually say something after each film just to get conversation going. this time I could only look around the room and say, 'We are 90 people,' because in the film they had shown scenes of people being rounded up, being trucked to the cattle cars which the commentator said had 85-90 people in each car. The victims said (in retrospect) that they thought things could not be so bad with such beautiful music playing. I just could not speak any further, the room was weeping. We did not expect what we saw. The film should not be missed."

You can view the entire documentary, which is narrated by Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody, by clicking here.
Dana and Rick Naimark: 2016 Recipients of the Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award
Dana and Rick Naimark, co-founders of Or Adam Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Phoenix, Arizona, were named the 2016 recipients of the Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award, Friday November 11, 2016, during the Society for Humanistic Judaism semi-annual board meeting at the Birmingham Temple in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Dr. Miriam Jerris, Rabbi of the Society for Humanistic Judaism (left), presents the award to Dana and Rick Naimark.
At Or Adam, Rick was the principal of the Sunlight School and led, played piano, and sang in the choir to name a few of his roles, while Dana chaired the Membership Committee, mentored many Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, and served and continues to serve as a holiday and life-cycle ceremonialist.

In addition to serving Or Adam, Dana and Rick were both presidents of the Society for Humanistic Judaism in the early- and mid-1990s. They began their commitment and contributions to Humanistic Judaism when they were still in their 20s and continue to this day to model activism and self-reliance, both strong values in Humanistic Judaism.
On presenting the award, Rabbi Miriam Jerris of the Society for Humanistic Judaism said, "Because Dana and Rick Naimark have exemplified an unwavering and long-standing commitment to the philosophy and institutions of Humanistic Judaism, for more than a quarter of a century, and because Rick and Dana each have unique talents and areas of considerable competence, they have made multiple contributions at both local and national levels of the Secular Humanistic Jewish movement and we are particularly honored to recognize them with this award."

VIDEO:  Click to watch Rabbi Jerris present the Naimarks with the 2016 Sherwin T. Wine Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jeffrey Schesnol, the current spiritual leader of the congregation, shared the congregation's excitement. " Or Adam is honored that our founders have been recognized by the Society for their immeasurable contributions."

Responding to the award, Rick remarked, "Dana grew up with Humanistic Judaism in Michigan and I discovered it through her. This inspirational movement has been important to us and our children, and we have contributed back both locally through Or Adam Congregation and nationally through the Society for Humanistic Judaism in various leadership roles. It is a tremendous honor to receive this award, especially given that it is named for Humanistic Judaism's founder and the man who married us, Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine ."

The Naimarks are the twelfth recipients of the award, created in honor of Rabbi Wine by Bert Steinberg, former president of both SHJ and Kol Hadash in Northern California.  You can read about other recipients of the Sherwin T. Wine award on the SHJ website.

"The Future, The Future of Judaism, and Where We Fit In"
SHJ's new executive director Paul Golin shared his vision of the future with those attending the Shabbat Service at the Birmingham Temple on November 11, 2016, during the SHJ Board meeting weekend.

During his talk, Paul questioned whether in a future of radical choice - be anyone! do anything! - will people still choose to be Jewish? What if we're already living in that future? How might Judaism still provide meaning and relevance, and how might Secular Humanistic Judaism in particular be best positioned to serve future interests and needs twenty years from now (or at least until our robot overlords take over)?

In case you missed it, you can watch the video of his full remarks here.
REMINDER: A Call for Volunteer Leaders
SHJ is seeking volunteer leaders to serve on the national Board of Directors, and volunteers in general. To learn more, please read the invitation here and send in your nominations. Help us shape the future of Secular Humanistic Judaism!

And finally...

Rabbi Miriam Jerris, Editor
Paul Golin, Executive Director
Dr. Richard Logan, President

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