What is secular humanistic Judaism? Basically it’s authentic Judaism based on humanistic values. When we talk about secular humanists people, we say they don’t depend in their way of life, they don’t depend on God.
Looking at Judaism not as merely as a religion, but as a culture. I don’t think that the framework is different I think that the content is different, I think that looking at people as responsible and accountable to whatever they do, rather than relying on a supreme power.
I don’t think that people start to think, who is God or what is God. It doesn’t really matter if Moses existed or not, or it doesn’t really matter if God exists or not. I don’t think that when we talk about secular humanists people, they don’t depend in their way of life, they don’t depend on God, but certainly the option of being agnostic, or pantheistic is certainly an option.
Assault on secular humanistic Judaism
Usually this movement is embraced by people who see that we care deeply about the future of the Jewish people, and the future of Israel as a Jewish land. Many people in the ultra-orthodox world, or the ultra-orthodox establishment do not look to see what secular people are actually doing spiritually. They think probably it’s insignificant, or irrelevant or maybe not even Jewish.
History of secular humanistic judaism
For much of the twentieth century, most secular and religious thinkers believed that they were living in an age of steady secularization. Many perceived the Enlightenment and Europe as the interlinked chronological and geographical focal points that had given birth to secularization before it began its inevitable march across space and time.
Today, the secular is no longer considered the norm, it has become something to be explained and studied. This broader shift has also occurred among Jews. After the Second World War, Judaism as a religion appeared to be in decline.
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Although many viewed Judaism as a resilient and meaningful force in their lives, few would have defined it as a serious challenge to the secularism of the existing political order. All of this has now changed profoundly.
A number of key developments have upended assumptions about the triumph of secularism in Jewish life. These include the strengthening of Orthodox movements and institutions in Israel and the United States; the meteoric rise of the Chabad Lubavitch movement, the growth and radicalization of Religious Zionism since 1967.
From attempts to create a new type of ‘‘secular Judaism’’ in the United States to clashes around gender-segregated buses in Israel, we are now witnessing the revival of culture wars that recall similar conflicts fought over the preceding three centuries
Today, we know that many Jews feel very culturally and ethnically Jewish, but we know that for many Jews prayer and a traditional liturgy service aren’t meaningful ways to connect with their Judaism.
Judaism comes from Earth, from choice from marriage from all different sorts of sources and we want to appeal to people for whom prayer isn’t going to meet their needs, but who want to be in Jewish community and Jewish contemplation and celebrate Jewish holidays and rituals in a meaningful way for them
Most people don’t really seek religious sources or a deity for guidance in their everyday decisions. We know that we have other ways of determining what we want to do, and who we want to be we see. Judaism as an identity that’s very important we identify with Jewish culture history and civilization and we’re invested in the Jewish future. We do it in a cultural as opposed to a belief in God rather we believe in one another we believe in the power of human transformation, and we believe that we are responsible for ourselves.
Do humanistic jews pray?
Amidah Prayer is an effort to communicate with the God, or some deity or deities either to offer praise to that deity to make a request of the deity, or simply to express one thoughts and emotions to the deity. So, using that definition I would say humanistic Jews do not pray, but I kept looking and I found a book called “prayer a history”, written by Philip and Carol Zaleski, and they suggest that prayer is speech but much richer than speech alone. It is a peculiar kind of speech that acts, and a peculiar kind of action that leads to the depths and the heights of being. So it’s the last part of this idea that really intrigues me, if prayer leads to the depths and the heights of meaning and being, isn’t that a universal human desire?
I started to think about Abraham Maslow, the humanistic psychologist and his discussion of peak experience, and I think that he could be talking about the same kind of thing. Prayer is the whispered longing of the heart, and with that kind of description, then I can really get engaged
When prayer becomes that poetic expression of meaning, I think it becomes more accessible to us as secular people and as humanistic Jews.
Do humanistic jews believe in Torah and bible?
Humanistic jews believe that the Torah and the Bible are central Jewish texts and that they kept Jewish communities Jewish throughout the ages. They don’t take them literally as sources as most Jewish communities do not take them literally. They see them as a compilation of texts that are literary that are philosophical that are legal documents we see them as wonderful source documents, and as the main source for all of the Jewish literature that followed from Talmudic writing to modern literature.
They see it in a canon of Jewish texts that we take seriously, some of them religious and some of them more cultural so, They delight in Jewish literature, Jewish philosophy and have a lot of those writers that take really seriously in the humanist tradition as well.
So, Torah is a very central text and one of many texts that they revere as part of our Jewish history and practice.