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National Liberation — The Hanukka Question

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 […]

The Irony of Jewish Survival

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 […]

After the Colloquium

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 […]

The Real Story of Passover

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 […]

THE MOSCOW CONFERENCE: A Gamble That Paid Off

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 […]

The Failed Messiah of Crown Heights

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 […]