Passover/Pesach Seder- 2024

This year’s  vegan seder will be on Tuesday, April 23rd.  More specific information will be circulated after the eclipse.  If you have any questions, please contact me at or 585-329-3305.

Barry Swan, Madrikh

Beth Haskalah, Rochester Society for Humanistic Judaism


Nov. 12th, 3 pm Study group on the Israel-Gaza situation

11/12 Study Group for Nov. 12th, 3 pm-  Israel-Gaza Dilemma

The last few weeks have given many us an opportunity to reevaluate the situation in the Middle East.  From the defense of the existence of Israel to a defense of what is an appropriate homeland for the Palestinians,   many positions have remained exactly as they have been for decades while others have changed their positions, some radically.

The murder of young people at a dance,  the taking of 200+ hostages, and the death of children who were victims of the bombing of neighborhoods in Gaza are all situations which most people decry.  There are certainly others who defend these actions.

There is also criticism of some groups.  Students from many of the top colleges,  who are overtly  championing the Palestinian cause,  have been criticized because it is said they are not recognizing the history of anti-Semitism and the circumstance of the founding of Israel.  Some are criticized because they seem to be avoiding the planning and carrying of  the barbarity of the Hamas attack and taking of hostages.  Others have used the circumstances to reactivate or open express their anti-Semitism. 

There is a lot of history here to consider.  There are so many articles in the newspapers, magazines, and on line which bring in other facts and interested parties.  Please gather all of your materials and thoughts and bring them to Beth Haskalah’s study group on Sunday, November 12th at 3 pm.  Please contact me, Barry Swan at or 585-329-3305 if you need directions to Beth Haskalah’s study group.

Study Group for Nov. 12th, 3 pm- Israel-Gaza Dilemma

Our Nov. 12 study group will discuss the many aspects of the present confrontation between Israel and Hamas.  We will discuss both deep historical aspects as well the present situation which involves barbaric slaughter, hostage taking, bombing of the Gaza, and the threat of an multi-faceted invasion of Gaza.

The study group will be meeting on Sunday, November     12th at 3 pm.  The meeting will be in person and by zoom.  If you need further directions in order to participate in the study group, please contact me (Barry Swan) at or 585-329-3305.


Beth Haskalah 2023-2024 Calendar (5784)

BETH HASKALAH Calendar 2023 – 2024 (5784)


 Rosh Hashanah      Friday, Sept.  15, Marcus Home

Yom Kippur        Monday,  Sept. 25         “Break the Fast”.  

Sukkot               Oct.

Hanukah                Friday,  Dec. 8                      

Tu B’Shevat Seder       in Sunday School

Purim                   March in Sunday School

Passover               Tuesday,  April 23,  6  pm Brighton Town Park


Study Groups             2nd Sundays               Ellie’s 

Time:     3 pm

9/10,  10/15, 11/12, 12/10, 1/14, 2/11, 3/10, 4/14, 5/12, 6/9


Shabbat  Celebrations:   Fall:    Friday, Spring: Friday,


BH Board Meetings:


Sunday School  Meeting  TBA

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

Vegan Seder- Thursday, April 6

Beth Haskalah’s  vegan seder will be on Thursday, April 6th at 6 pm.

Except for last year, we have had a joint seder with the Rochester Vegan Society for many years.  Last year’s seder was just us, Beth Haskalah,  because of the pandemic.  It was a very intimate and family seder. The response I have had indicates our group members wish to proceed with our intimate family seder for this year.  Hopefully we will consider doing a joint seder again for 2024.

Masks will be optional. Vaccination is mandatory.

Please let us know if you are interested in attending the seder and how many will be accompanying you.  Please also let us what you will be bringing to share at this vegan seder.  If you need advice, please contact me.  

We hope you will be able to join us.

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

Beth Haskalah 2022-2023 Calendar (5783)

2022-2023 Calendar (5783)

BETH HASKALAH Calendar 2022– 2023 (5783)


Rosh Hashanah  Sun., Sept. 29, 5 pm Goldsteins’

Yom Kippur        Wed. , Oct 9, 6 pm “Break the Fast”. Cherin’s

Sukkot     Sunday, Oct.. 13,

Hanukah                Friday, Dec. 27, 6 pm Cherin’s

Tu B’Shevat Seder    Monday, Feb. 10      in Sunday School

Purim                  Wednesday, March 11 in Sunday School

Passover               Thursday, Apr. 9, 6 pm Brighton Town Park

Study Groups     2nd Sundays   Ellie’s

Time: 7 pm, except for Dec, Jan, & Feb- 3 pm

9/8,  10/13, 11/10, 12/8, 1/12, 2/9, 3/8, 4/12, 5/10, 6/14

Shabbat  Celebrations:   Fall: Friday, Spring:


BH Board Meetings:

Sunday School Meeting TBA

Study group: I/17/23 3 pm : Mass shootings

America’s recent history has been overwhelmed by mass shootings.    School children, gays, Hispanics, Blacks, Jews, and others have been premeditated victims.   Is there a common link among the perpetrators?  Does  race, religion, or ideology provide them their rationale?  What factors have been unifying them?

A second major factor is the excess of guns, many of which are illegal.  Millions are hand guns.  Some of the guns are high powered weapons of war.     Others are “ghost” guns which are produced by individuals  so they are untraceable.   The NRA’s power and the warping of the Second Amendment complicate the whole situation.

Beth Haskalah’s winter study groups are only  available on zoom.  Please contact Barry Swan at or 585-329-3305 if you wish the link or have any other questions.