November is membership renewal time for the Humanistic Jewish Havurah of Southwest Florida. Dues of $85 per person include membership in our national organization, the Society for Humanistic Judaism. Visit www.hjhswfl.org for a membership form and mailing instructions, or call Dena Sklaroff at 239.591.0101 for more information.
While a growing number of Jews no longer feel the necessity to join a temple or synagogue, most of our membership, coming from dispersed families, have found that the family feeling and family support they could no longer find in their personal settings or in a large and formal congregation, is now provided by membership in the Havurah.
In these times, the old extended family has become a mere memory, so folks are searching for substitutes. Our monthly Shabbat gatherings become the family dinners, our Humanistic Jewish Seder becomes the family Seder. Our monthly Sunday afternoon meetings offer high quality opportunities for adult education and discourse on Jewish topics as well as topics of interest to secular Jewish humanists.
Until and when we attract young families with children, our activities concentrate on adult programing, lectures, dialogue, holiday celebrations, and even theater and other cultural activities. Humanistic Judaism also provides lifecycle events including marriage ceremonies and funerals/memorial services. Everyone enjoys a setting for these shared experiences with like-minded people, a benefit that comes with membership and participation in the Humanistic Jewish Havurah.
Involvement can make a significant difference in the life of a Humanistic Jewish Havurah member. We attempt to sustain our members in a supportive, caring environment. We enable our members to affirm their Jewish identity – their connection to the Jewish people, past, present and future. Most importantly, membership in our Havurah affords the opportunity to cultivate warm, personal relationships with compatible folks.
Finally, the growth and development of the Humanistic Jewish Havurah of Southwest Florida enriches the life of the wider Jewish community. We have reached out and attracted many unaffiliated, uncommitted and unconnected Jews, promoting pluralism and Jewish survival.
So, if you believe in the power of human effort and in taking personal responsibility for actions as an individual and a members of society; believe that Jewish culture and history are the creations of the Jewish people, rather than of divine origin; believe in the natural origin of events and experiences, rather than the supernatural; believe in biological evolution; believe that the Bible and other ancient Jewish books are worth reading and studying because they give us insight into our history and the way our ancestors thought; believe in scientific inquiry and a commitment to reason; believe each person should follow paths of dignity, self-esteem, and responsibility to the present, to enhance life on earth rather than prepare for an afterlife; believe in respecting the beliefs and opinions of all though we may disagree; believe in forging meaningful community traditions based on current conditions and needs rather than simply adopting wholesale those rituals and traditions forged in the past; and believe it is important for Humanistic Jews to participate in the activities of the Jewish community, and that acceptance of the right of all peoples to believe as they wish is both Jewish and empowering, then you need to join the Humanistic Jewish Havurah and add fulfillment and happiness to your life.
Chanukah will be celebrated on Wednesday, December 9 with a traditional holiday meal at Vasari Country Club in Bonita Springs, along with other fun activities. Reservations may be secured upon receipt of your payment in the amount of $40 per person, made payable to “HJH,” and mailed to Joan Weinstein, P.O. Box 110285, Naples, FL 34108, prior to December 1. Consider bringing a gift of comfortable clothing, or a monetary contribution, to be donated to JFCS of Southwest Florida for distribution to seniors in need of our assistance.