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Judaism Reading List: Humanistic Judaism (Pt. VII)

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              Selected Sources for Additional Reading on Judaism
                         Part VII: Humanistic Judaism
         [Last Change: $Date: 1995/10/19 15:21:43 $ $Revision: 1.2 $]
                     [Last Post: Sun Feb 15 11:07:05 US/Pacific 2004]

     "Humanistic Jews need a literature that clearly and boldly states
     what they think and believe" [Win85] 
   This message is intended to provide readers of soc.culture.jewish with
   a list of references to allow them to learn more about the current
   practices, past practices, beliefs, and history of the Humanistic
   Judaism Movement.
   Humanistic Judaism is less well known than Orthodox, Conservative, and
   Reform. But, on a behavioral level, it claims to represent many more
   American Jews than any of these official ideologies. Rabbi Sherwin
   Wine, the founder of the movement, identifies three kinds of Jews who
   are neither honestly Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform. He calls these
   types the involuntary, the ethnic, and the humanistic. Rabbi Wine
   defines the involuntary Jew is the individual of Jewish descent who
   finds no meaning either in his past or in the unique practices of his
   ancestral religion. He defines the ethnic Jew is the person of Jewish
   descent who bears a strong attachment to the Hebrew and Yiddish
   cultures out of which he emerged.
   Rabbi Wine feels that these affiliations are negative. He prefers the
   positive definition of Humanistic Jew:
     The Humanistic Jew is an individual, of either Jewish or non-Jewish
     descent, who believes in the ultimate value of self-respect and in
     the principles of humanism, community, autonomy, and rationality.
     He also finds meaning in the celebration of life as expressed
     through the historic Jewish calendar and seeks to interpret this
     calendar in a naturalistic way. He perceives that the power he
     possesses to determine and control his own life is the result of
     two billion years of evolutionary history. Therefore, his religious
     feeling re-enforces his sense of human dignity.
   On the last page of his book, "Judaism Beyond God," Rabbi Sherwin T.
   Wine says:
     Humanistic Jews want to bring their beliefs and their behavior
     together and to find their integrity. They are eager to affirm:
     * That they are disciples of the Secular Revolution.
     * That the Secular Revolution was good for the Jews.
     * That reason is the best method for the discovery of truth.
     * That morality derives from human needs and is the defense of human
     * That the universe is indifferent to the desires and aspirations of
       human beings.
     * That people must ultimately rely on people.
     * That Jewish history is a testimony to the absence of God and the
       necessity of human self-esteem.
     * That Jewish identity is valuable because it connects them to that
     * That Jewish personality flows from that history -- and not from
       official texts that seek to describe it.
     * That Jewish identity serves individual dignity -- and not the
     * That the Jewish people is an international family that has its
       center in Israel and its roots in the Diaspora.
     * That the humanistic Gentile has a positive role to play in the
       life of the Jewish people."
     Humanistic Jews want to translate these affirmations and
     commitments into an effective life style -- for themselves and for
     those who share their convictions. They need a community of
     believers to worth with and to share with in this pioneering
     venture. They also need a cadre of trained leaders and spokespeople
     to provide scholarship and guidance along the way.
   Humanistic Judaism was organized by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, who founded
   its first congregation, the Birmingham Temple, in Farmington Hills,
   Michigan. In 1969, Rabbi Wine helped to found the [6]Society of
   Humanistic Judaism ([7], whose membership
   comprises more than 30 congregations and chapters, plus over 1300
   families and individual members, as of January 2000. The Society for
   Humanistic Judaism is the US affiliate of the International Federation
   of Secular Humanistic Jews. The educational arm of the Secular
   Humanistic Jewish movement, the International Institute for Secular
   Humanistic Judaism, offers several programs to train rabbis, leaders
   and educators for the movement. The first Secular Humanistic rabbi
   trained at the Institute was ordained in October 1999.
   An overview of the current status of Humanistic Judaism, written by
   Egon Friedler, of the Uruguayan Movement for Secular Humanistic
   Judaism, recently appeared in Midstream (October 1992). Additional
   information on Humanistic Judaism, as well as publications on
   Humanistic Judaism, may be obtained from:
    Society for Humanistic Judaism
    28611 W. Twelve Mile Road
    Farmington Hills MI 48334
    +1 248 478-7610
   The society is internet-accessible; visit [9] (Society for
   Humanistic Judaism). There is also a mailing list for those with an
   interest in exploring and/or furthering the development of Humanistic
   Judaism. The list is hosted at [10], and is
   called hjlist.
   A web page of [11]links and information about Humanistic Judaism is
   available at URL: <>.
   Readers interested in Humanistic Judaism might also want to contact
   the sister organization to SHJ, the [12]Congress of Secular Jewish
   Organizations ( They can be reached through their
   executive director, [13]Roberta Feinstein <[14]>.
   Inquiries may also be sent in writing to:
    Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations
    19657 Villa Drive North
    Southfield, MI 48076
   There is also a mailing list for those with an interest in exploring
   and/or furthering the development of Humanistic Judaism. To subscribe,
   send a blank e-mail to [15], or sign up at the
   web site:
    Where Can I Get The Books
     * Many of these books are available through general bookstores or
       Judaica bookstores. A list of links to these may be found in the
       [17]sources section of the [18]General Reading List (if you are
       reading this at [19], you can simply click on the
       "Sources" button in the header navigation bar).
     * SHJ Press is the publishing arm of the Society for Humanistic
       Judaism movement. They have a web page at
   [Amazon Associate] The S.C.J Reading List has established an affiliate
   relationship with Amazon.Com. ([21] Now you
   can complete your library and support the continued development of the
   Reading Lists at the same time, for many books on the reading list are
   available through Amazon. For those reading this at
   [22], you can click the link to the
   left to browse Amazon's selections. Alternatively, if you enter Amazon
   using the URL
   sh, the reading lists will get credit for your entry. Additionally,
   when you see the Amazon graphic [24][If you were at,
   the graphic would be here] (or "[Buy at Amazon: http:...]") on an
   entry in the reading list, this indicates that the specific book is
   available for purchase at Amazon. Click on the graphic/link to go to
   Amazon and purchase the book.
   Reproduction of this posting for commercial use is subject to
   restriction. See Part 1 (general) for more details.

Subject: ORGANIZATION This reading list is organized as follows: * [8]Introduction to this Reading List * [9]Philosophy Of Movement * [10]Other Related Reading * [11]Credits
Subject: Philosophy of Movement [Arn95] Arnold, Abraham J.; Roth, Kathe (ed). Judaism: Myth, Legend, History, and Custom, from the Religious to the Secular. Robert Davies Pub; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 1-895854-26-1. [A contemporary vision of secular Judaism, containing a wide-sweeping cultural history of the Jewish people and a guide to self-definition for contemporary Jews seeking their identity in a non-religious culture] [6][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [Ibr99] Ibry, David. Exodus to Humanism: Jewish Identity Without Religion. Prometheus Books; 1999. Hardcover. ISBN 1-573922-67-6. [7][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [Kog95] Kogel, Renee (ed); Katz, Zev (ed); Wine, Sherwin (intro); Bauer, Yehud. Judaism in a Secular Age: An Anthology of Secular Humanistic Jewish Thought (Library of Secular Humanistic Judaism). Ktav Publishing House; 1995. Hardcover. ISBN 0-881255-19-X. [8][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [Mem62] Memmi, Albert. Portrait of a Jew. Orion Press, 1962; Viking Press, New York NY. ISBN 6-70003-32-8. Out of Print. [Albert Memmi is chair of the Association pour Judaisme Laic et Humaniste in France] [9][Buy at Amazon: sh] [Por81] Porter, Jack Nusan. The Jew as Outsider. University Press of America, Washington DC 1981. ISBN 0-819116-39-4. Out of Print. [10][Buy at Amazon: ish] [Rei00] Reisel, Esther; Reisel, Rudi. Modern Jewish Identity: A Rationalistic Motivation for Remaining Jewish. Gefen Books; 2000. Paperback. ISBN 9-652291-63-3. [11][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [SeiXX] Seid, Judith. We Rejoice in our Heritage: Home Rituals for Secular and Humanistic Jews. Out of Print. ISBN 0-962366-80-3. [12][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [Sei00] Seid, Judith. God-Optional Judaism: Alternatives for Cultural Jews Who Love Their History, Heritage, and Community. Birch Lane Pr; 2000. Hardcover. ISBN 1-559725-37-0. [13][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [Sil98] Silver, Mitchell. Respecting the Wicked Child: A Philosophy of Secular Jewish Identity and Education. Univ. of Massachusetts Press; 1998. Hardcover. ISBN 1-558491-79-1. [14][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [Win78] Wine, Sherwin T. Humanistic Judaism. Prometheus Books, Buffalo NY, 1978. ISBN 0-879751-02-9. Out of Print. [15][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [Win85] Wine, Sherwin T. Judaism Beyond God: A Radical New Way to be Jewish. SHJ, 1985. Ktav Publishing House; 1995. Hardcover. ISBN 0-881255-18-1. [16][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [Win88] Wine, Sherwin. Celebration: A Ceremonial and Philosophic Guide for Humanists and Humanistic Jews. Prometheus Books; 1988. Hardcover. ISBN 0-879754-42-7. [17][Buy at Amazon: ish/]
Subject: Other Related Reading Humanistic Judaism, being such a young movement, does not yet have a large body of literature. However, there are a number of authors that are recommended reading by Rabbi Wine: * Classics Of Humanism: Epicurus, Democritus, August Comte, John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, Jean Paul Sartre, George Santayana. * Writings of Jews Who Were Humanists: Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Erich Fromm, Walter Kippman, and Walter Kaufman * Literature of Secular Historians: Spinoza, Julius Wellhausen, Emile Durkeim, Max Weber, Simon Dubnow, Salo Baron, and Theodore Gaster * Writings of Jewish Nationalists: I.L. Peretz, Sholem Aleichem, Chaim Zhitlowsky, Ahad Haam, Micah Berdichevsky, Theodore Herzl, Max Nordau, A.D. Gordon, Ber Borochov, Saul Tchernikhovsky, Vladmir Jabotinsky, David Ben Gurion, and Haum Goldmann * Jewish Essayists and Novelists Who are Ardent Humanists: Saul Bellow, Albert Memmi, and George Steiner Other books on Humanism and Judaism include: [Eli89] Eliav, Arie Lova; Oz, Amos (design); Wouk, Herman (design). New Heart, New Spirit: Biblical Humanism for Modern Israel. Jewish Publication Society; 1989. Hardcover. ISBN 0-827603-17-7. [6][Buy at Amazon: ish/] [Lac92] Lachs, Samuel Tobias. Humanism in Talmud and Midrash. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Pr; 1992. Hardcover. ISBN 0-838634-68-0. [7][Buy at Amazon: ish/]
Subject: How do I obtain copies of the Reading Lists? Answer: There are a number of different ways to obtain copies of the Reading Lists: * WWW. If you are reading this on Usenet, and would like to see an online, hyperlinked version, go visit [2] This is the "web" version of the FAQ; the version posted to Usenet is generated from the web version. Note that the version is a copy of the actual master version; if you want to access the master, visit [3] Alternatively, if you would like to see the posted version through the web, visit [4] The FAQ is in the subdirectory "FAQ"; the reading lists are in the subdirectory "rl". * Email. also provides an autoretriever that allows one to obtain a copy of the reading lists by return Email. To use the autoretriever, you send a retrieval request to [5] with the request in the body of the message. A more reliable way to retrieve these files is through the [6]FAQ autoretriever ([7] For the FAQ, the request has the form: send faq partname For the reading list, the request has the form: send rl partname "Partname" is replaced by the name of the part, as shown in the general index. The following is a short summary of the mapping of partnames for the Reading Lists: + [8]general: Introduction and General. Includes book sources, starting points for beginners, starting points for non-Jewish readers, General Judaism, General Jewish Thought, General Jewish History, Contemporary Judaism, Noachide Laws, Torah and Torah Commentary, Talmud and Talmudic Commentary, Mishnah, Midrash, Halachic Codes, Becoming An Observant Jew, Women and Judaism, and Science and Judaism. + [9]traditional: Traditional Liturgy, Practice, Lifestyle, Holidays. Includes Traditional Liturgy; Traditional Philosophy and Ethics; Prayer; Traditional Practice; The Household; Life, Death, and In-Between; and The Cycle Of Holidays. + [10]mysticism: Kabbalah, Mysticism, and Messianism. Includes Academic and Religious treatments of Kabbalah, Sprituality, and the Jewish notion of the Messiah. + [11]reform: Reform/Progressive Judaism + [12]conservative: Conservative Judaism + [13]reconstructionist: Reconstructionist Judaism + [14]humanistic: Humanistic Judaism (Society for Humanistic Judaism) + [15]chasidism: Chassidism. Includes general information on historical chassidism, as well as specific information on Lubavitch (Chabad), Satmar, Breslaw (Breslov), and other approaches. + [16]zionism: Zionism. Includes Zionism and The Development Of Israel, The Founders, Zionistic Movements, and Judaism in Israel. + [17]antisemitism: Antisemitism. Includes sections on Antisemitism, What Led to The Holocaust, Medieval Oppression, Antisemitism Today (Including Dealing with Hate Groups), Judaism and Christianity, and Judaism, Freemasonry and other rumors. + [18]intermarriage: Intermarriage. Includes sections on "So You're Considering Intermarriage?", The Traditional Viewpoint, Conversion, and Coping With Life As An Intermarried. + [19]childrens: Books for Jewish Children. Includes sections on Birth and Naming, Raising a Child, Family Guidebooks, Upsheren, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Holiday Books for Children, Liturgy for Children, Bible and Torah for Children, Jewish History for Children, Jewish Theology for Children, Israel, Learning Hebrew, and Jewish Stories. The following is a short summary of the mapping to partnames for the FAQ: + [20]01-FAQ-intro: Section [21]1: Network and Newsgroup Information. + [22]02-Who-We-Are: Section [23]2: Who We Are + [24]03-Torah-Halacha: Sections [25]3, [26]4: Torah; Halachic Authority + [27]04-Observance: Sections [28]5, [29]6, [30]7, [31]8: Jewish Holidays; Jewish Dietary Law and Kashrut; Sabbath and Holiday Observance; Woman and Marriage + [32]05-Worship: Sections [33]9, [34]10, [35]11: Jewish Worship; Conversion, Intermarriage, and "Who is a Jew?"; Miscellaneous Practice Questions + [36]06-Jewish-Thought: Section [37]12: Jewish Thought + [38]07-Jews-As-Nation: Section [39]13: Jews as a Nation + [40]08-Israel: Section [41]14: Jews and Israel + [42]09-Antisemitism: Sections [43]15, [44]16, [45]17: Churban Europa (The Holocaust); Antisemitism and Rumors about Jews; Countering Missionaries + [46]10-Reform: Section [47]18: Reform/Progressive Judaism + [48]11-Miscellaneous: Sections [49]19, [50]20: Miscellaneous; References and Getting Connected + [51]12-Kids: Section [52]21: Jewish Childrearing Related Questions + [53]mail-order: Mail Order Judaica Alternatively, you may send a message to [54] with the following line in the body of the message: send usenet/news.answers/judaism/(portionname) Where (portionname) is replaced by the appropriate subdirectory and filenames; for example, to get the first part of the reading list, one would say: send usenet/news.answers/judaism/reading-lists/general * Anonymous FTP: All portions of the FAQ and of the reading lists are archived on [55] and are available for anonymous FTP from the pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism/FAQ directory (URL [56] Similarly, the parts of the reading lists are stored in the pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism/reading-lists directory (URL: [57] ts). Note that the archived versions of the FAQ and reading lists are the posted versions; that is, they are each one large ASCII file.
Subject: Credits This reading list is based on a reading list developed during research at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles in January 1993. It was remodeled and reviewed in July 2000. Other contributors include Miriam Jerris, Adam Reed,, and David A Guberman. Suggestions for additions or deletions are welcome, as are submissions of brief annotations of the entries. A special thank you... Special thanks for her patience and understanding go to my wife, Karen, who put up with me hiding at the computer for the two months it took to complete the July/August 2000 remodel of the entire soc.culture.jewish FAQ and Reading Lists. If you think the effort was worth it, drop her a note c/o [6] ------------------------------------------------------------ -- Please mail additions or corrections to me at End of Judaism Reading List Part VII (Humanistic) Digest ************************** -------

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