Study Group April 9, 2023


I will be leading the April’s study group. (Sunday. 4/9 3 pm in-person and by zoom)

Humanistic Jews often have a conflicted relationship with traditional Jewish religious practices and cultural customs.   There are often questions as to the origin of certain sets of words, how ceremonial objects are used, or procedures on how to do things. 

Why do we Jews do things in a certain way?  We are often told that it comes from the Bible and then chapter and verse are cited.  Sometimes accurate, sometimes not.  

But we Humanistic Jews are also asking the questions:  Are the way we Jews do things strictly from the theistic origin?   Just how is it relevant to Humanistic Jews when that explanation is given?    If our ancestors did it that way, is it relevant for us? (What our ancestors did may be relevant for recipes, but even those need to be amended for culinary developments. ) 

I will lead a discussion on what is appropriate for Humanistic Jews to claim from our 4000+ year tradition.   What is ours and what is appropriate for us to include in our observances?  Is there anything that is inappropriate?  How do we filter through all this history and culture?  Is there a way that we can adapt traditional material and make it ours?

The summer issue of HUMANISTIC JUDAISM, Summer 2022 asks the question: Is the Torah for us?  Reclaiming. Ancient texts. 

This issue includes articles on the Torah, “Women in the Bible”, and “Understanding Ancient Texts”.  I am sure Rabbi Wine’s books also deal with this subject.

Search SHJ (Society for Humanistic Judaism). If you do not still have your copy, it is available on line at the SHJ website.  Find Humanist Judaism Magazine and  use click here” and find the correct issue.  (Contact me if you have a problem acquiring it.). This may be a good place to start out discussion.

Hoping to see you at both the seder and study group, 

Shalom , Barry Swan, Madrikh, Beth Haskalah  585-329-3305