Parent Many years ago the Jews in the land of Israel were not free. They were not free to rule themselves. They were not free to live in the way their hearts and minds desired. A foreign king made their lives miserable. He sent many soldiers to make the Jews do what he wanted them […]
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A Hanukkah Manual, Autumn 1983 What is the ethical dimension of Hanukka? For Humanistic Jews the question is not trivial. Touting the supernatural intervention of Yahveh to make holy oil last longer hardly seems a reason for a celebration. And dramatizing the darkness of winter and the rebirth of sunlight is less compelling than it […]
A Hanukkah Manual, Autumn 1983 I. The Jews and The Greeks When the Hebrew tribes invaded Phoenician Canaan some thirty-five hundred years ago, another invasion took place across the sea. A barbaric people who had called themselves the Hellenes (and whom their Roman enemies and admirers would call the Greeks) poured out of central Europe […]
Sukkot, Summer 1990 Sukkot, like most Jewish holidays, is about food. The celebration of the fall harvest is marked by Sukkot, as the celebration of the spring harvest is marked by Pesakh and Shavuot. The fertility of the earth and of animals is where it all began. Now, food is not trivial (despite the fact […]
Sukkot, Summer 1990 The Jewish calendar features three seasonal holidays, which are grand celebrations stretching over a week or eight days. The autumn gives us Sukkot. The winter presents Hanukka. And the spring delivers Pesakh. Tied to the agricultural year, these are the splendid old festivals of our Hebrew roots. Sukkot was the major celebration […]
Colloquium ’97: Reclaiming Jewish History, Spring 1998 When Alan Dershowitz spoke at the Birmingham Temple, he announced that he was a secular Jew and that Humanistic Judaism was the closest to what he felt and believed. He volunteered to help us. The reason for his coming was a book he wrote about the future of […]
Colloquium ’97: Reclaiming Jewish History, Spring 1998 Colloquium ’97 was a stunning success. Eleven Jewish historians dealt with one of the most difficult issues in Jewish life with great skill. The audience was mesmerized by the information, dialogue, and confrontation. The issue had never been dealt with before in any public Jewish symposium. It had […]
A Passover Manual Passover and the Exodus go together. Tradition tells us that Pesakh is the commemoration of the departure of two million Hebrew slaves from Egyptian bondage. Led by Moses, an adopted prince of the Egyptian royal household, the Hebrews left Egypt with the help of Yahveh, their ancestral god, and began their 40-year […]
What Does It Mean to be Jewish, Winter 1995 Moscow was our destination. The Fifth Biennial Conference of the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews was to be held there on the weekend of September 23-25. Eighty of us departed North America for this Russian rendezvous. Some of us were apprehensive. We had been bombarded […]
What Does It Mean to be Jewish? Winter 1995 The rebbe was dead. Or was he? Hundreds of Lubavitcher Hasidim waited breathlessly for his resurrection. They could not accept his death. They still await his return. Whoever would have imagined that the death of a Jewish cult leader would make front page news seven days […]