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The author of this primer on Jewish humanism is a founder of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and has served since 1965 as the rabbi of Congregation Beth Or, a humanistic temple in Deerfield, Ill. Espousing beliefs that are formally held by only a tiny segment of the Jewish community, Friedman has had many discussions about the unique views of Jewish humanism. In this book, he presents the essence of those deliberations in eight easy-to-read fictional "conversations," which express his understanding of an authentic Jewish stance on many issues that confront American Jews: intermarriage, observance, creation, spirituality, anti-Semitism, Jews and Christians, God, and differences among the Jewish denominations. Friedman consistently advocates a secular approach, denying the existence of an omnipotent God. The autonomous individual, rather than God, is foremost in his view. He insists that "religion plays virtually no part in the lives of most American Jews," even claiming that "Judaism, the religion, came to an end some two hundred years ago." Friedman notes that Jewish culture, history, traditions and holidays should be studied and appreciated from a naturalistic perspective. Although few Jews will agree with Friedman's opinions, he succeeds in clearly and persuasively presenting the attitudes of Jewish humanism.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"...a step in the right direction..." -- Humanist in Canada #145, Summer 2003
"excellent introduction to the ways in which being a Jew is readily compatible with being secular and even an atheist." -- About.com
Excellent. Thought provoking. Rational.
Helpful to rational and humanistic people, particularly those from Jewish backgrounds , or connected to them. Read more
This book speaks to profound truths about human beings and nature. Rabbi Dan Friedman, one of the first Humanistic Rabbis, certainly addresses Humanistic Judaism. Read morePublished on December 3, 2005 by Ronald B. Schwartz