Humanistic Jewish Havurah announces its upcoming events

The Humanistic Jewish Havurah of Southwest Florida has planned a very stimulating season. Although the majority of our members are year-round residents, most of our activities take place during season.

Our new website was completed this summer. Visit www.hjhswfl.org to fully acquaint yourself with our organization and our upcoming events. The user-friendly website includes a membership application and instructions for submitting your dues.

Last month’s commemoration of Yom Kippur, a time of self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others, concluded with an opulent break-the-fast meal appropriate to the holiday. The experience of observing this traditional holiday in a meaningful fashion offered a unique opportunity for like-minded Southwest Floridians.

Chanukah will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 8 with a traditional holiday meal at Vasari Country Club. Details will be posted on our website and in in the November issue of this publication. Much as the Maccabees seized control of their own lives, Humanistic Jews take their future into their own hands. We celebrate Chanukah as a reminder that human beings can use their abilities to enhance their quality of life.

Later that month, at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 20, Robert Levy, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Cato Institute, will speak on “God, Politics & Constitution - A Libertarian Point of View.” Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association, and the primacy of individual judgment. Does a humanistic philosophy overlap with this definition?

Humanists share some ideals with libertarians, like support for same-sex marriage and separation of Church and State, but we may differ on their other political ideas such as foreign policy, the libertarian interpretation of the Second Amendment clause with respect to the rights of individuals to bear arms, and the libertarian position on abolishing our public welfare system. This will be a very thought-provoking program. Because Robert Levy is such an articulate, erudite and entertaining speaker, this will be a most interesting meeting.

The Havurah purchased a block of tickets for the matinee performance of Informed Consent at Gulfshore Playhouse on Sunday, January 10, thus seating will be available below the box office price. The play addresses the ethics of genetics. A theater discussion prior to the play will be an added attraction.

Another provocative program is planned for the afternoon of Sunday, January 17. We have invited Hassan Shibly, Executive Director of the Florida Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Tampa, as our speaker. Shibly has appeared numerous times on both local and national media outlets, including NPR, Voice of America, The New York Times, The Toronto Star and The Buffalo News, for his work protecting civil liberties and promoting understanding of the Muslim faith. Hassan’s work has earned him the attention of various Islamaphobic publications, which criticize Hassan for “deceiving the American people” by “promoting a peaceful and tolerant image of Islam.”

The weekend of February 19-21 brings a visitor from our national organization, the Society for Humanistic Judaism. Rabbi Miriam Jerris will be involved in several activities during her visit, most notably her Sunday afternoon program titled “Living Authentically.”

Immigration is the topic at on Sunday afternoon, March 20. We are planning to discuss the impact of immigrants on the American economy.

Our Seder will be held at the Bonita Bay Club on Saturday, April 23, and in May the Havurah typically presents an award-winning film depicting a humanistic theme.

These programs reflect topics pertinent to Humanistic Judaism. We invite the community to participate. Please mark your calendars now, so as not to miss our outstanding programs.