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Judaism Beyond God: A Radical New Way to Be Jewish Paperback – November 1, 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Society for Humanistic Judiasm; Not Indicated edition (November 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0912645083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0912645087
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #848,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rabbi Sherwin Wine was the founder of Humanistic Judaism, a fifth alternative in Jewish life. Founding rabbi of the Birmingham Temple in Farmington Hills, Michigan (the first congregation Humanistic Judaism), he was also instrumental in the organization of the Society for Humanistic Judaism in 1969, the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism in 1985, and the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews in 1986. Sherwin Wine was a modern-day Renaissance man whose interests ranged far and wide, leading him to found the Center for New Thinking in 1977, where he was primary lecturer for 30 years.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Sidney Schneider on November 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a MUST READ for any jew who questions her/his role or identity as a jew in a world where creationism is indexed under 'mythology' (or should be). The old rabbinic explanations of "who is a jew" are replaced by simpler, believable secular-humanist definitions. For those jews who are confirmed atheists, you are not alone. Now there is a philosophy behind how one can be both an atheist and a jew, without a hint of hypocrisy. This book is not found in the catalogs of the my local Public Library (Vancouver), which in my opinion says much for the strength of the religious lobby in community education. If the philosophy of this book was made known to all jews then I believe jewish identity will be carried proudly by all jews, secular as well as religious, through the coming generations.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tsvi Bisk on August 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
The recently deceased Rabbi Wine presents a critical philosophical and historical overview of Jewish identity with clear and straightforward alternatives accessible to the modern Jew. Wine takes Mordechai Kaplan's views (the Reconstructionist Movement) to what I believe are a logical conclusion - Judaism has no need of the God hypothesis. The Society for Humanistic Judaism, like Reconstructionism, is an authentic American creation. Yet like Reconstructionism it has not become a mass movement of choice of American Jews. In my own book "The Optimistic Jew: a Positive Vision for the Jewish People in the 21st Century" I posit that if they applied their energies to the "secular" Israeli they would have an opportunity to make their approach to Jewish identity a major social and cultural force in Israel. This in turn would oblige a greater number of American and European Jews to reflect on their approach to Jewish identity. A must read for the concerned modern Jew.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
Sherwin Theodore Wine (1928-2007) was ordained a Reform rabbi and became the founder of "Humanistic Judaism" in 1963 in Michigan. He was also the author of books such as Judaism Beyond God: A Radical New Way to Be Jewish, Celebration: A Ceremonial and Philosophic Guide for Humanists and Humanistic Jews, Staying sane in a crazy world, and Humanistic Judaism.

He explains in the Foreword to this 1985 book, "Judaism without God is an important existing alternative among Jewish people throughout the world. Most secular and humanistic Jews have never bothered to deal with the philosophic and historic foundations of their commitment. Many of them suffer from the disability of not feeling legitimately Jewish. Others do not know that such an option exists. This book was written to serve the needs of these people and to explain the humanistic option to the wider public, both Jewish and non-Jewish."

Here are some quotations from the book:

"But its (i.e., "Chosen People" in Reconstructionism) removal from the vocabulary of the prayerbook... seemed bizarre. Why bother to change one little item in the service when the whole concept of a worship experience where people talk to God for three hours is inconsistent with an impersonal deity? How can any reasonable person talk to creative energy?" (Pg.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hilary on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Judaism Beyond God - Sherwin Wine

A the oldest of the three major monotheisms, it can be expected that Judaism would be in the forefront of the move toward agnostic secularism and the recognition that the major philosophical question - "Why is there something instead of nothing?" - cannot be answered. Wine follows in the footsteps of Russell, who, in his 1927 talk before the South London Branch of the National Secular Society, stated "Why I Am Not a Christian." Wine differs by emphasizing a cultural identification; saying that a Jew is someone who identifies with the history and the fate of the Jewish People. Russell by contrast emphasizes core beliefs. As a rabbi with a rich personal connection to his cultural roots, Wine is not willing to advance the march of progressive cicvilization away from tribalism and advocate for the disappearence of group markers as a step toward a more inclusive humanism; but his argument obviously accepts this possibility.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mike R. on December 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The reviewer who wrote that Humanists can't have it both ways (being Jewish and a Humanist) exposes how unqualified he/she is to give advice to Jews or Humanists when he/she uses the term Godhead in the context of Jewish Theology. As in: How can it be Judaism when one leaves out the Godhead. Ha Ha! Judaism leaving out the Godhead....is Judaism EXACTLY!

Anyway, only we Atheists who feel an affinity or affection toward other Jews while having no interest in Torah or Talmud can understand why a book like this and the movement started by the author could be relevant. Look, maybe it's just conditioning by having been raised a Jew but that's my life and I'm not going to artificially renounce my feelings to please atheists anymore than I'd pretend I believed in the Torah or what have you for Jews I come in contact with.

I think that, ironically, fundamentalist and orthodox religionites and activist Atheists share this either-or proposition. The quicker both groups get over it the happier this planet is gonna be!
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