Happy Sukkot!

By Gilabrand (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It's Sukkot...the "Feast of Tabernacles"!Being a busy Secular Humanistic rabbi at the holiday season, I have not had much time to blog recently. But with the "high" holidays behind us we're into that second round of holidays, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.Over the next few days I'll share a few readings that I wrote for the Sukkot holiday program at my congregation. Chag Sameach...Happy holiday!Why We CelebrateSukkot is one of the richest and most splendid of all Jewish holidays.  Thr … [Read more...]

“The Feast of Weeks” Is Here Again!


Last night we celebrated Shavuot (archaically known as "The Feast of Weeks") at our congregation.Talk about a difficult holiday for Secular Humanistic Jews! This one’s got almost nothing to offer. There are very few rituals that merit any kind of modern application or re-interpretation. The main theme of “receiving the Torah at Sinai” is not exactly inspiring for people who openly acknowledge that no Torah was received at any place called Sinai (or Horeb, for that matter).The Torah has t … [Read more...]

Chanukah: When Truth Collides with Memory

Chanukah is a challenging holiday for Humanistic Jews.Yes, you read that correctly. Our little celebration of the Maccabees' victory over the tyrannical Seleucid Greek empire is fraught with challenges for anyone who gains a clear understanding of what really happened in the mid-second century BCE.According to the standard narrative, the evil Antiochus IV sought to repress religious freedom for the Jews of Second Temple Judea in order to unite his kingdom under one Hellenistic (Greek) … [Read more...]

Passover Greetings

I hope everyone in the Jewish community is having a happy holiday.  I celebrated two very nice humanistic seders with friends and at Congregation Beth Adam using “The Liberated Haggadah” by my colleague, Rabbi Peter Schweitzer and “The Seder” from Beth Adam in Cincinnati. … [Read more...]

A Supplemental Reading For Your Seder

Passover is the number one most celebrated holiday on the American Jewish calendar.  Even the least affiliated Jewish people celebrate it each year.Today we know that the story of the exodus is a myth.  Every reputable archeologist has ruled out its historicity.  But it’s been replaced with an interesting idea:  That the Israelites were native to Canaan. … [Read more...]

The Real Story Of Christmas

As my daughters will tell you, I love complaining about how when I was a little kid we only had six television stations.  That made Christmas season really special even for us little Jewish children because that’s when they would broadcast cartoons at night!  Okay, so the ones about Frosty and Rudolph were pretty lame, but there were also the Grinch (Chuck Jones! Boris Karloff!) and, of course, Charlie Brown. … [Read more...]