Beth Haskalah 2017-2018 Calendar

Please call Barry Swan (585-329-3305) if you have any questions.
BETH HASKALAH Calendar 2017 – 2018 (5778)


Rosh Hashanah  Wednesday.,   Sept. 20, 6 pm. Cherin’s

Yom Kippur        Saturday. Sept. 30 6 pm “Break the Fast”        Goldstein’s

Sukkot                 Sunday, Oct. 8,   10 am (Sunday School?)      Arie’s
11 am  potluck lunch.
Hanukah               Sat., Dec. 13-20, 6 pm Ellie’s

Tu B’shevat            Sunday, Jan. 31,      in Sunday School

Purim                  Sun. March 1st in Sunday School

Passover              Sat.   Apr. 20, 6 pm Brighton Town Park

Study Groups                  2nd Sundays                       The  Summit  7 pm
9/10, 10/8, 11/12, 12/10, 1/14, 2/11, 3/11, 4/8, 5/13, 6/10
Shabbat  Celebrations:
Dates and Locations TBA

BH Board Meetings:

Sunday School TBA

SHJ Role Model of the Year- Gene Wilder

Sunday, April 9th Study Group- Trump and Jews

Shalom. Our April study group will a discussion of the current administration and their relationship with Jews. It will be Sunday, April 9th at 7 pm at the Summit.

There seems to be an increased interaction of Trump and Jews. Some of his appointments come with anti-Semitic baggage. Some are Jews with Wall Street or other baggage. There are Jews in his family, some of whom are in his administration. There are some of his supporters who have taken his pronouncements to be an encouragement to hype up anti-Semitic activities on their own. Then there is the complicated relationship with Netanyahu and Israel.

Which of these are a sign of trouble? Which are just “business as usual” and opponents are being too critical?

Please feel free to bring articles or other examples on this controversial and sensitive topic.

See you on April 9th.

Shalom, Barry

March 12 study group


On Sunday, March 12th, at 7 pm at the Summit, Beth Haskalah’s study group will investigate how the new American presidency will affect one of the central doctrines on which our government is based. We will investigate the concept of the separation of church and state.

Our discussion will be led by Dr. Robert Goldstein who is the president of the Rochester chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. He is also a representative for our local group at the annual national American United meetings.

If you see articles etc. on this topic, please bring them to this session.

Hope to see you there.
Remember that this is also the day to reset your clock for daylight savings time.

Shalom, Barry Swan
madrikh, Beth Haskalah

Study Group on Ahmadiyya Islam- Sunday, 2/12

Shalom.  The Beth Haskalah study group (TWO WEEKS FROM NOW) at the Summit, on Sunday, February, 12th  7 pm, will bring us two special guests. My friend, Mubarak Bashir, the Director of Faith Outreach for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and its imam, Imam Hamid Malik, will join us.   From them, we will learn the basics of Islam and its place in the world.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a unique part of the Muslim community (pacifistic, for the separation of church and state, and for interfaith cooperation) and we will appreciate its special place within this world.  But recent events have changed some of the dialogue Americans are having.  I hope we will learn about Islam and understand the way the Ahmadiyya community expresses its devotion to Islam.  But I also  hope we will be able to discuss some way to react to the tragic situation that has been perpetrated upon all of us.

Hope to see you there,,
Shalom, Barry Swan
madrikh, Beth Haskalah

Hanukah Celebration

We will be celebrating Hanukah on Sunday December 25th at 5 pm. We will have latkes and menorahs as we celebrate both the solstice and the first national liberation movement. Please call Ellie Cherin at 831-4189 or me (Barry Swan) at 329-3305.

Nov. 13th study group on A Bintel Brief


The Beth Haskalah study group for November 13th will be on the advice column from the Forward, A Bintel Brief. This column features letters from immigrants and greenhorns asking advice on their new American lives.

A Bintel Brief was a very popular feature of the Forward, but more importantly, it had a unique part to play in the lives of Jewish immigrants to America.  New immigrants were faced with choices they never had faced in Europe.  Many American ways were so foreign and troubling to them, and these changes were especially severe as they saw the effect on their children.

A Bintel Brief was a way to ask your own heartfelt questions but also see what questions other immigrants were asking.  I can only image the over-the-fence, out-the-open-window conversations these letters generated.

A fascinating aspect for us in Society for Humanistic Judaism is the role that this column played in reflecting and forming new ideas.  This allowed the immigrants to reexamine their values and basic operating world views they had had in Europe.  This column helped many immigrants put aside the European traditional ghetto mentality and accept a new secular world with many new opportunities and values.

As usual it will be at the Summit at 7 pm.

Shalom, Barry Swan
madrikh, Beth Haskalah

First Sunday School class, Sept. 18, 2016

Beth Haskalah Sunday School September 18th, 10 am, the Summit

Forgiveness is the main focus of our first Sunday school class as we approach the High Holidays.
How do our children look at their actions and how they affect others? How do we react to things we shouldn’t have done? How do we react to things that others should not have done? How do our families handle these? How do your friends handle these?
How do we get things back to normal after someone has done something that has hurt another?

As Humanistic Jewish parents, we want our children to be caring about interactions with others. We also do not want them to be hurt by others. Our relationships with others are our primary focus. Our helping our children making good choices is the goal of our rearing them.
Our class will be directed towards helping our children make decisions about both their actions and what to do when their consequences had not been anticipated.

I hope the students will bring their own stories of wanting to be forgiven and accepting requests for forgiveness from others.
See you at 10 am, at the Summit, next Sunday.

BH Study Group 9/11/16

Cultural Jew Humanistic Jew Secular Jew
Social Jew Gustatory Jew non-theistic Jew

Beth Haskalah’s first study group will help us better understand what it is to be a Humanistic Jew. Like all first BH study groups we will get a explanation of what Humanistic Judaism is, including a opportunity to ask questions to get clarification. The difference at this study group will be helping you understand what your personal perspective on a Humanistic Jew is and what it mean for your view of the world.
Being a Humanistic Jew involves two parts: What does it mean to be a humanist? and What does it mean to be a Jew? Then we have to put this all together.

See you Sunday night at the Summit, at 7 pm.
Shalom, Barry

Paul Golin new SHJ Executive Director


The Society for Humanistic Judaism (SHJ), the congregational arm of the Secular Humanistic Judaism denominational movement, has hired Paul Golin as its new executive director. Paul joins the movement’s leadership team having previously served as associate executive director of Big Tent Judaism. He is a nationally known writer, speaker, advocate, and consultant on the most important issues facing the organized Jewish community today, including intermarriage, outreach, engagement, and inclusion.

2016 Vegan Seder

2016 Beth Haskalah-Rochester Area Vegan Society Seder Announcement

Saturday, April 23rd, 6 pm

Our seder for Pesach (Passover) this year will Saturday, April 23rd at the Brighton Town Park Lodge, 777 Westfall Road (just east of the Islamic Center/ mosque on Westfall Road).*
Our seder will be a joint seder with the Rochester Area Vegan Society. All foods will be vegan. Please share with Ellie Cherin what you will be bringing when you RSVP.

For non-members of Beth Haskalah or the Rochester Area Vegan Society:

—Please bring a vegan dish to pass that satisfies the special Passover seder rules, so: no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, gelatin or honey, and

no wheat products (no wheat pasta, bread, crackers, or cookies), except for matzoh and matzoh meal (but no egg matzoh!)

—Please pay a $5 guest fee

—Please RSVP to Ellie Cherin at, or 585-271-2116

FOR EVERYONE: Please confirm you are coming, how many people you will be bringing, and what you will bring to the seder to share.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Other questions may be directed to me, Barry Swan (329-3305) Thank you.

*The Brighton Town Park Lodge (Carmen Clark Lodge) is located on the south side of Westfall Road between East Henrietta Road (15A) to the west and S. Clinton Rd. to the east. Look for “Brighton Town Park” sign. The driveway leading to the Lodge is called “Haudenosaunee Trail.” The lodge is a log-cabin type building set in a park with playground equipment and an outdoor pavilion. No alcohol is allowed in the Brighton Town Park Lodge.