Humanistic Judaism

Humanistic Judaism (Hebrew: יהדות הומניסטיתYahdut Humanistit) (Yiddish: הומאַניסטישע ייִדישקייט) is a movement in Judaism that offers a nontheistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life. It defines Judaism as the cultural and historical experience of the Jewish people and encourages humanistic and secular Jews to celebrate their Jewish identity by participating in Jewish holidays and life cycle events (such as weddings and bar and bat mitzvah) with inspirational ceremonies that draw upon but go beyond traditional literature.

Its philosophical foundation includes the following ideas:

  • A Jew is someone who identifies with the history, culture, and future of the Jewish people;
  • Judaism is the historic culture of the Jewish people, and religion is only one part of that culture;
  • Jewish identity is best preserved in a free, pluralistic environment;
  • People possess the power and responsibility to shape their own lives independent of supernatural authority;
  • Ethics and morality should serve human needs, and choices should be based upon consideration of the consequences of actions rather than pre-ordained rules or commandments;
  • Jewish history, like all history, is a human saga, a testament to the significance of human power and human responsibility. Biblical and other traditional texts are the products of human activity and are best understood through archaeology and other scientific analysis.
  • The freedom and dignity of the Jewish people must go hand in hand with the freedom and dignity of every human being.

Read more about Humanistic JudaismOrigins, Principles of Belief and Practice, Jewish Identity and Intermarriage, Egalitarianism

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